I am debating with myself to upgrade my turntable setup and am wondering how to go about it. I purchased my first turntable about half a year ago and the bug has bit. All components of my set up are "entry" level and I am wondering where to make an upgrade and if I should bother due to budget.
I have an old Sony AV receiver (with built-in phono pre-amp), an Audio-Technica AT-LP 60, and Cambridge Audio S30 speakers. As I cannot afford a pre/pro & amp upgrade I was looking at the turntable. I've been looking at the Rega RP1. I just read another post where some of the replies didn't really favor the RP1 (I didn't want to jack that thread though).
Any thoughts if upgrading my turntable to the RP1 will have a big impact due to the my older (average) receiver and decent, yet average speakers?
1) the AT120, which will run you $200 and change
2) kabusa's refurbed Technics SL20BD, also $200 (but I'd upgrade the cartridge, which is easy since it's a p-mount)
Above that, you're in the Rega P1/Pro-ject Carbon/Music Hall–whatever range of $400-450.
As long as you're sticking to 2-channel, I would not bother to upgrade the receiver. The next upgrade should be speakers. But get rid of that turntable first.
If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed
If I go with an upgrade I think I'd rather spend a bit more cash and get something that will allow me to use as I "grow" my other components... I assume the RP1 will be good for that or any other TT around $450.
Am I correct in that assumption?
I think that the Music Hall MMF-2.2 is the best you can get in the $400-500 range; it is very good.
The Music Hall 15.3 integrated amplifier is $550, and it is hard to beat for top sound quality (under $1000). It will be a big improvement in sound quality compared to what you have now.
If you have the money, those are the components I would recommend.
They will take you a long way and give satisfaction for a long time.
Realistically changing your loudspeakers and/or cartridge is going to make the most difference to the actual sound of your system.
OTOH and speaking as a vinyl lover of nearly 50 years standing. If you are serious about a TT system the very very best thing you can do is find yourself a clean 2nd hand or refurbished Technics 1210 Mk2. While they are still about and easy to find in excellent condition. I just checked in my city. Over 100 units on offer......
If you have the capital look to buy a pair someone bought to teach themselves to DJ at home, lost interest and now needs the space/cash. Keep the one you like the look of best and sell the other on. Don't be too worried about not buying new. They have legendary reliability and longevity. A photo will tell you if it looks clean. Spares are easy to find. Professionally refurbished is also a possibility at the top end of your budget.
Honestly mate. Nothing will give you more pleasure and pride in ownership. For years. Maybe even decades to come.
Over the years I have owned TTs from Linn, Dual, Garrard and Rega among others. Twenty years ago I got a pair of Technics.
Still in love with them today.
I would have to agree with the writers that say to get a new turntable first. That will make the most noticeable difference right away. Any of them mentioned in the $400-$450 range will sound way better than what you have now.