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post #1 of 17 Old 05-14-2019, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Help Me Bundle An Entry Audiophile Turntable Stereo System

Hello everyone,


I was asked by my father to help him select a turntable and pair of stereo speakers so that he can listen to his classical music from the Franklin Mint collection. I don't have a clue what separates a great sounding entry level audiophile turntable from an average sounding (and featured) record player, other than price. I have never owned a turntable but my parents used to own a Dual I think many years ago. That turntable was automatic I believe.

I asked my father about the budget range and he's OK if the turntable costs around $1,500 or less. In the past my parents have spent lots on audio gear, but they are at an age now where sound quality from very high end gear wouldn't swing their decisions. I think the sounds to their ears would be pretty much the same.

This is what I am thinking regarding turntable, not in any ranked order of importance:
1. Nice to have a USB port to record the music in digital format (more on that below)

2. Turntable cover with hinges that bring the cover down slowly
3. A light that helps guide the placement of phono needle on the record medium if manual

4. Manual vs auto vs semi-auto turntable. My father was thinking about a full automatic, but I told him that most (all?) high end turntables within his budget are full manual. He's OK with that.
5. Pre-amp: built-in would be best I think. If not built-in, what external pre-amp would you recommend?


Regarding USB on turntables. Is it worth having this feature? How do you digitally record your prized record collections? Or do you? What software works with Mac and or Windows computers? I personally prefer Mac.


So far, I plan to recommend perhaps the Audioengine HD6 powered speakers for my parents. It has wireless bluetooth, includes a remote, and some nice input options. I might reconsider for a smaller footprint. They have limited space to place a turntable, possibly an external pre-amp, and stereo speakers. I think my father will play his records somewhat loudly.

Where I am there's no place I know of locally to demo a nice turntable or listen to audiophile powered bookshelf speakers. We would have to drive out of state for that.


Thanks in advance for your inputs,


David Bailey
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-15-2019, 09:58 AM
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The Rega Planar 3 with cartridge is an awesome turntable and can be had for under $ 1200. I would not call it entry level. I would call it middle range, slightly on the better side of things.

https://www.musicdirect.com/top-rate...p3-aregattp3be

This is awesome and may actually equal the Planar 3 - https://www.musicdirect.com/turntabl...-588-Turntable

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post #3 of 17 Old 05-15-2019, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Bing! I will need to do some research on this Rega P3. Does it require an external phono pre-amp?

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post #4 of 17 Old 05-15-2019, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by D.Bailey View Post
Thanks Bing! I will need to do some research on this Rega P3. Does it require an external phono pre-amp?

David
If youre using an amp or preamp with phono input, and you pick a magnetic cartridge with the TT, no. If you pick a moving coil cart, normally, you will need one that does moving coil. Unfortunately, none of the above has a USB. You won't find USB on the mid to higher end TTs. If you go lower, there are a bunch like Project and stuff.

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post #5 of 17 Old 05-15-2019, 11:08 AM
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high end, I would look not much further than the VPI Scout, but its out of budget.

something to think about, moving coil cartridges are awesome, but low output MCs need ancillary equipment which raises the cost immensely. you'll want a high end TT with it, then an MC phono pre, and then the TT project goes from 1K to 3-4K

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post #6 of 17 Old 05-16-2019, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by bing! View Post
high end, I would look not much further than the VPI Scout, but its out of budget.

something to think about, moving coil cartridges are awesome, but low output MCs need ancillary equipment which raises the cost immensely. you'll want a high end TT with it, then an MC phono pre, and then the TT project goes from 1K to 3-4K
If a receiver or pre amplifier doesn’t have a built in phono stage you still need one with a MM cartridge.
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-16-2019, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.Bailey View Post
I asked my father about the budget range and he's OK if the turntable costs around $1,500 or less
...

So far, I plan to recommend perhaps the Audioengine HD6 powered speakers for my parents.
Is the $1500 just for the turntable or for the whole system? If it's for the turntable only, it would be better to provide a budget for the whole system to allow recommendations on turntable, cartridge, phono preamp (if required), and amp/speakers (or to include the cost of Audioengine HD6 if that is already written in stone) within the total budget.
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-16-2019, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.Bailey View Post
So far, I plan to recommend perhaps the Audioengine HD6 powered speakers for my parents. It has wireless bluetooth, includes a remote, and some nice input options. I might reconsider for a smaller footprint. They have limited space to place a turntable, possibly an external pre-amp, and stereo speakers. I think my father will play his records somewhat loudly.
Might be worth looking at Edifiers alongside the Audioengine based upon this thread:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/173-2...l#post58054138

Different models -- but interesting comparison in the youtube below -- no clear overall winner in my mind because which one sounded best was very dependent on the material (overall, Edifiers go deeper, but Audioengine sounded cleaner and more transparent on some tracks) ->
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-16-2019, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjp View Post
Is the $1500 just for the turntable or for the whole system? If it's for the turntable only, it would be better to provide a budget for the whole system to allow recommendations on turntable, cartridge, phono preamp (if required), and amp/speakers (or to include the cost of Audioengine HD6 if that is already written in stone) within the total budget.

It's for the turntable. Thanks.


David
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-16-2019, 03:44 PM
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$1500 turntable is not what I'd call "entry level". When I clicked in the thread I was thinking $150 - $300 or so.

$1500 will get you a really nice unit.
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post #11 of 17 Old 05-16-2019, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjp View Post
Is the $1500 just for the turntable or for the whole system? If it's for the turntable only, it would be better to provide a budget for the whole system to allow recommendations on turntable, cartridge, phono preamp (if required), and amp/speakers (or to include the cost of Audioengine HD6 if that is already written in stone) within the total budget.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjp View Post
Might be worth looking at Edifiers alongside the Audioengine based upon this thread:


Different models -- but interesting comparison in the youtube below -- no clear overall winner in my mind because which one sounded best was very dependent on the material (overall, Edifiers go deeper, but Audioengine sounded cleaner and more transparent on some tracks) ->

Thanks PJP for the suggestion regarding the Edifier speakers. I'm guessing either brand will do; I have a HD3 on my desk for my computers and they do sound great for the speaker size. I think the HD3 is a bit over-priced for what you get, however. I will need to read the thread about the audioengine and edifier system comparisons.
Thanks!


David
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post #12 of 17 Old 05-16-2019, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
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$1500 turntable is not what I'd call "entry level". When I clicked in the thread I was thinking $150 - $300 or so.

$1500 will get you a really nice unit.



Ok. I figured a turntable in the $3K - $6K range would be high-end? I've found with google search some specialized TT costing much more that that range!


Thanks.





David
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post #13 of 17 Old 05-16-2019, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by D.Bailey View Post
Ok. I figured a turntable in the $3K - $6K range would be high-end? I've found with google search some specialized TT costing much more that that range!


Thanks.





David

Well yeah, there are the ridiculously priced units (as it is with this hobby), but a $1500 turntable is nothing to scoff at.

If you're just hooking it to a pair of powered speakers (like the mentioned Audioengine HD6), you probably would not be able to tell the difference between a $1500 unit and a $3000 unit.

Even with the nicer and more expensive powered KEF's or new Elac Navis...with some records maybe you'd notice a difference...maybe not.
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post #14 of 17 Old 05-16-2019, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by D.Bailey View Post
Ok. I figured a turntable in the $3K - $6K range would be high-end? I've found with google search some specialized TT costing much more that that range!


Thanks.





David
For the huge majority of non wealthy audiophiles such turntables ARE high end. More expensive tables are better but given the same cartridge and phono stage the difference is slight. Better tracking due to better tone arms and quieter backgrounds are the main differences. You really need higher end components, especially speakers to reap full results.

Based on my system with a $2200.00 retail turntable, a better cartridge would be my first upgrade as opposed to the same cartridge and a better table.
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post #15 of 17 Old 05-17-2019, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by D.Bailey View Post
It's for the turntable. Thanks.
I feel that "$1500 for a turntable" isn't anywhere close to being enough information for anyone to provide suggestions that are useful. You will need some or all of the following:

1. A turntable <- is $1500 inclusive of cartridge?

2. A cartridge <- which cartridge you can use (moving coil or moving magnet) will depend on which phono preamp, or which amp, you choose

3. A phono Preamp <- which phono preamps work is dependent on whether you choose MM or MC cartridge, whether you will need a phono preamp at all is dependent upon which amp you choose

4. An amp or powered speakers <- the amp determines whether or not you need a phono preamp (if the amp has one) and, if it does, it also determines which cartridges will work

If you want useful suggestions, specify what is decided (for example the audioengine speakers or a list of possibilities) and then provide an overall budget for all of the remaining components. Then experts can suggest the mix of components that actually works together and that is optimal within your overall budget.

Asking for $1500 turntable suggestions in a vacuum about everything else is an impossible question to answer and will not yield you useful information since you still need to fill out the rest. The far more important thing than "spending $1500 on a turntable" is to get the overall budget and then you can get suggestions about the best allocation of specific components across turntable, cartridge, and preamp investments to get you the best solution for what you want to spend overall.
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post #16 of 17 Old 05-17-2019, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pjp View Post
I feel that "$1500 for a turntable" isn't anywhere close to being enough information for anyone to provide suggestions that are useful. You will need some or all of the following:

1. A turntable <- is $1500 inclusive of cartridge?

2. A cartridge <- which cartridge you can use (moving coil or moving magnet) will depend on which phono preamp, or which amp, you choose

3. A phono Preamp <- which phono preamps work is dependent on whether you choose MM or MC cartridge, whether you will need a phono preamp at all is dependent upon which amp you choose

4. An amp or powered speakers <- the amp determines whether or not you need a phono preamp (if the amp has one) and, if it does, it also determines which cartridges will work

If you want useful suggestions, specify what is decided (for example the audioengine speakers or a list of possibilities) and then provide an overall budget for all of the remaining components. Then experts can suggest the mix of components that actually works together and that is optimal within your overall budget.

Asking for $1500 turntable suggestions in a vacuum about everything else is an impossible question to answer and will not yield you useful information since you still need to fill out the rest. The far more important thing than "spending $1500 on a turntable" is to get the overall budget and then you can get suggestions about the best allocation of specific components across turntable, cartridge, and preamp investments to get you the best solution for what you want to spend overall.
Point taken PJP. I need suggestions for turntable, pre-amp, and cartridge all within the total budget of $1,500 or less. The speakers are additional. Some TT have the pre-amp built in; but my guess is that the nice ones do not. I do want the cartridge included with the TT, with the option to upgrade in the future. Magnet or coil I have no idea and therefore no preference. I am not into TT, hence the reason I have posted here.

My parents will need to make a final decision on speakers because of space limitation. I am recommending the HD6 from

Hope this helps.

Thanks
David
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post #17 of 17 Old 05-17-2019, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by D.Bailey View Post
Point taken PJP. I need suggestions for turntable, pre-amp, and cartridge all within the total budget of $1,500 or less. The speakers are additional. Some TT have the pre-amp built in; but my guess is that the nice ones do not. I do want the cartridge included with the TT, with the option to upgrade in the future. Magnet or coil I have no idea and therefore no preference. I am not into TT, hence the reason I have posted here.

My parents will need to make a final decision on speakers because of space limitation. I am recommending the HD6 from

Hope this helps.

Thanks
David
That helps a lot. The HD6's do not have a phono input, so your $1500 needs to cover turntable, cartridge, and phono preamp (somewhere -- whether external or internal).
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