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Discussion Starter #1
...but, I'm considering getting into it anyway.


After pointing out that my birthday is coming up, I have secured a $400 WAF budget to purchase a turntable and phono preamp.


Although the Marantz TT42P with it's built in preamp looks like an attractive package at ~$350, I foresee it's lack of adjustability not playing well with my need to constantly tweak and twiddle with my system. Besides, I read that it also has a cheap pair of RCA leads soldered to the main board. Again, attractive features....but something about it just screams "don't do it."


My other option is to pick up a higher quality used turntable, and a higher quality used phono preamp. I have absolutely no experience with turntables, so I don't really know what I'm looking for. However, I would be willing to give the Parasound Zphono unit a go since I love my Halo amp and believe Parasound makes quality products across the board.


Am I approaching this correctly?
 

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Just curious, this a revisit to your old records or you brand new to vinyl or? $400 won't get you far if you start with the Parasound box. :)


I'm brand new to vinyl.


I've seen a few of the Parasound Zphonos go on Ebay and Audiogon for $100-$200 or so, so it could still work for me I think, especially if I can find one on the lower end of that range.


I'm fully aware that $400 is not a lot to allocate to getting into vinyl for the first time. My main goal is to either buy something I'll be satisfied with for a couple years (yeah right), or at least buy something I can easily sell at not much of a loss when its time to upgrade. That's why I lean towards buying used, but I'm quite serious when I say that I know very little about turntables.
 

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Have you checked out vinylengine.com? Does your current pre/pro/int amp/receiver not have a phono stage to start with? I think my 30 year old tt sells for more than $400 still but understand ones in condition like mine are rare (Technics SL1200mkII).
 

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For a nice entry level turntable I'd take a look at the U-turn Orbit. For an inexpensive phono stage, perhaps the Art DJ or the XPS-1 from Emotiva.
 

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"Vinyl is a deep, dark, scary rabbit hole..."

Or more accurately, it is an obselete, fussy and inferior medium for recorded music that is seeing a rebirth thanks to misinformation and hearing bias.
Those of us who grew up with vinyl were ecstatic to see it replaced with digital.Good luck.
 

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"Hearing bias" aka youre enjoying the wrong thing, stop it!!
If you are looking for separate amp and tt, id say start with a cheaper standalone phono pre that you can upgrade later. My real suggestion though would be to get an all in one TT like a Pro-Ject and sell it on craigslist when you have the funds for the setup you really want
 

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I'm brand new to vinyl.


I've seen a few of the Parasound Zphonos go on Ebay and Audiogon for $100-$200 or so, so it could still work for me I think, especially if I can find one on the lower end of that range.


I'm fully aware that $400 is not a lot to allocate to getting into vinyl for the first time. My main goal is to either buy something I'll be satisfied with for a couple years (yeah right), or at least buy something I can easily sell at not much of a loss when its time to upgrade. That's why I lean towards buying used, but I'm quite serious when I say that I know very little about turntables.
You did the first step- you set a price point. Now that you have done this, you can set a new one.:D

Seriously, don't obsess about the number, just find the best for the money.

If that Orbit is decent, and I didn't know about it until I read the reference here, it looks like a great option. I would, however, use a better cartridge. The AT-95 is decent for an entry-level piece, but the cartridge IS the voice of the phono section. That's where the detail, response and overall performance come from. Also, they all sound different. If you can afford to buy a better cartridge now, I recommend doing so. The AT-100e is good, the AT-120e is definitely better. Shop around. Also, Grado (sold by Orbit) and Ortofon are still very good choices.
 

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"Vinyl is a deep, dark, scary rabbit hole..."

Or more accurately, it is an obselete, fussy and inferior medium for recorded music that is seeing a rebirth thanks to misinformation and hearing bias.
Those of us who grew up with vinyl were ecstatic to see it replaced with digital.Good luck.
Some people can listen to something and enjoy it without worrying about where the sound originates. A few clicks and pops aren't the end of the World, although if the noise is bad enough, it's not enjoyable. However, a decent setup and albums that are in very good condition can sound better than many would think.

Digital isn't universally better. It's more quiet, it's certainly more convenient but as far as the sound, it has deficiencies and negatives. Vinyl has its own limitations and problems, but it can sound excellent.

Mis-information? Show some.
 

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I have an Audio Technica LP1240-USB with an AT95E cartridge, mainly for listening to vinyl that my parents left me. I just don't think it's worth it to buy new vinyl or super expensive carts and turntables. Something like the LP120 or LP1240 are perfectly decent tables. At $20-30 a pop, I could go buy a good CD and have the same sound every time with no surface noise. I hear people go on and on about how vinyl sounds better than a CD, but I just don't hear it. If I have to spend thousands of dollars to get a good vinyl setup, then forget it, it ain't worth it to me. So it's more than a rabbit hole, it's a giant money pit imo. Far cheaper and easier to build a good digital setup.
 

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"Vinyl is a deep, dark, scary rabbit hole..."

Or more accurately, it is an obselete, fussy and inferior medium for recorded music that is seeing a rebirth thanks to misinformation and hearing bias.
Those of us who grew up with vinyl were ecstatic to see it replaced with digital.Good luck.
Really!!!!! I missed the election when you were voted the official spokesman for all of us.:rolleyes:
 

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I grew up with vinyl, fully embraced the switch to digital in '85... but now, back to vinyl. Like cars, there's something magical and beautiful with the old analog tech, in spite of cost, maintenance, and finickiness of setup.

To the OP - as this thread is pointing out, AVS isn't a very vinyl-friendly messageboard. If you would like to be around more analog love, check out AudioKarma.
 

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I have been into audio since 1970 and listened to the changes in sound quality from stereo vinyl to quadrophonic vinyl back to stereo on virgin vinyl from boutique recording studios like Sheffield Labs; then the introduction of digital through CD which initially sounded harsh/terrible; then the effort to improve CD with SACD and DVDA which never really took off; then the move to mobile digital with MP3 which sounded compressed and flat; then the effort to improve the sound of mobile digital with Hi-Res digital downloads which are now finally approaching the resolution, ambiance and detail of the better recordings from vinyl between 1975-1985.

Iv'e been lucky enough to have systems (electrostatic speakers, Audio Research, etc) with enough capability to resolve these differences as they occurred. I used to have a Lynn LP12 with a Koetsu cartridge. Then I got out of vinyl briefly and sold all my gear/LP's because I decided it was a dead format (bad mistake). Now I'm using a Denon DP60L with an Ortofon Black until I can rebuild my vinyl collection and afford another Lynn LP12 used on Audiogon.

I can understand how people who have never really heard vinyl on a really good system could think CD is comparable. But to my ears, it's only now in 2015 that I'm hearing the same magic in the music with high resolution audio that I've gotten since 1985 from well pressed vinyl.
 

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I have an Audio Technica LP1240-USB with an AT95E cartridge, mainly for listening to vinyl that my parents left me. I just don't think it's worth it to buy new vinyl or super expensive carts and turntables. Something like the LP120 or LP1240 are perfectly decent tables. At $20-30 a pop, I could go buy a good CD and have the same sound every time with no surface noise. I hear people go on and on about how vinyl sounds better than a CD, but I just don't hear it. If I have to spend thousands of dollars to get a good vinyl setup, then forget it, it ain't worth it to me. So it's more than a rabbit hole, it's a giant money pit imo. Far cheaper and easier to build a good digital setup.
You ought to listen to a good phono setup and compare a decently clean LP with the same CD- the differences can be pretty strong. CDs can't go much higher than 20KHz, where LPs can. There's also a fullness that LPs can have, which makes it sound a bit more real and I write this knowing that some of this is from RIAA equalization, resonances in the turntable/arm combination and other sources, as well as having played bass for decades. Also, CDs are mixed to max out just below 0VU and LPs can have much better dynamics.

I worked for one of the first 50 Sony CD player dealers and I was as eager as anyone for them to come out and I was also one of those who were disappointed by the early CDs, due to the fact that the version on CD was mixed for vinyl. Once they started to mix for CD, it was better. Then, they started to mix for portable players and sound quality slid backward. The realization that MP3 and other digital files sound like crap made people start to dig their vinyl out and start playing it again. Another thing is the fact that their kids are older and they don't have to worry about it as much. Also, kids are asking their parents what it was all about- I have a customer whose kids wanted to use his old turntable, so I'll be checking that out soon.

Having recently gotten back into vinyl, I won't gush about how life-affirming it is, but I have been very pleasantly surprised by the sound quality of some LPs that aren't import copies, special re-masters or audiophile versions. With the current state of the art audio mastering gear/facilities and fresh ears, I think it will be interesting to see how far they can go in improving the sound of LPs. There's a lot of bad vinyl out there- produced for druggies, by druggies, with druggies in mind, at studios where drugs of all kinds were rampant and record budgets were smoked/snorted up in record time (no pun intended). They slapped the records together, took previous versions and edited the good parts out, added a couple of crap songs, shot a few cover photos and called it a day. Happened to some friends of mine and the original non-major label version was much better.

I don't think you would have to spend thousands to get a decent turntable/cartridge. You certainly can and high end stores are perfectly willing to charge tens of thousands for the whole package but it's not necessary.

I would recommend that anyone who has doubts how good vinyl can sound go to a high end shop and listen, at least a couple of times.
 

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Or more accurately, it is an obselete, fussy and inferior medium for recorded music that is seeing a rebirth thanks to misinformation and hearing bias. Those of us who grew up with vinyl were ecstatic to see it replaced with digital.Good luck
Really!!!!! I missed the election when you were voted the official spokesman for all of us.:rolleyes:
He spoke for me just fine.
 

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It's funny to see audiophiles spend all this money on a top notch system then shackle it with a poor source with lots of noise and terrible resolution and dynamic range. It's like putting a lawnmower engine in a sportscar, it might get you to the corner store but you won't reach 200 on it.
 

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It's like putting a lawnmower engine in a sportscar, it might get you to the corner store but you won't reach 200 on it.
I think bias-ply tires is a better analogy. Or a carburetor. Or contact points. Or drum brakes. Outdated crap that once served us well -- and has a certain charm -- but now has no place in a modern high-performance system.


By the way, to the original poster, if that's what you wanna do, have at it, have fun. It's just a hobby. Just keep your sense of perspective and don't be sucked into the lunacy that can be "audiophilia."
 

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You ought to listen to a good phono setup and compare a decently clean LP with the same CD- the differences can be pretty strong. CDs can't go much higher than 20KHz, where LPs can. There's also a fullness that LPs can have, which makes it sound a bit more real and I write this knowing that some of this is from RIAA equalization, resonances in the turntable/arm combination and other sources, as well as having played bass for decades. Also, CDs are mixed to max out just below 0VU and LPs can have much better dynamics.

I worked for one of the first 50 Sony CD player dealers and I was as eager as anyone for them to come out and I was also one of those who were disappointed by the early CDs, due to the fact that the version on CD was mixed for vinyl. Once they started to mix for CD, it was better. Then, they started to mix for portable players and sound quality slid backward. The realization that MP3 and other digital files sound like crap made people start to dig their vinyl out and start playing it again. Another thing is the fact that their kids are older and they don't have to worry about it as much. Also, kids are asking their parents what it was all about- I have a customer whose kids wanted to use his old turntable, so I'll be checking that out soon.

Having recently gotten back into vinyl, I won't gush about how life-affirming it is, but I have been very pleasantly surprised by the sound quality of some LPs that aren't import copies, special re-masters or audiophile versions. With the current state of the art audio mastering gear/facilities and fresh ears, I think it will be interesting to see how far they can go in improving the sound of LPs. There's a lot of bad vinyl out there- produced for druggies, by druggies, with druggies in mind, at studios where drugs of all kinds were rampant and record budgets were smoked/snorted up in record time (no pun intended). They slapped the records together, took previous versions and edited the good parts out, added a couple of crap songs, shot a few cover photos and called it a day. Happened to some friends of mine and the original non-major label version was much better.

I don't think you would have to spend thousands to get a decent turntable/cartridge. You certainly can and high end stores are perfectly willing to charge tens of thousands for the whole package but it's not necessary.

I would recommend that anyone who has doubts how good vinyl can sound go to a high end shop and listen, at least a couple of times.

You might want to take a read here - http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Myths_(Vinyl)
 

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Seen it in the past- I never wrote that there are any absolutes but if you want to see the actual dynamics in action, fire up a tape recorder and watch the VU meters when a CD and an album are playing. I was never referring to any theoretical limits.

The ones who only buy albums because of their sound quality are missing the point- the music is the priority, not the system or ultimate sound quality. Those enhance the experience, but only if the listener can forget about them for a while.
 
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