Thinking of Purchasing a Turntable; Any and All Advice Welcome!

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JLasher22443

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So I've been debating for some time now about getting a Turntable. I've always loved the McIntosh MT10 when ever I went to my local shop and listened to speakers they used one. However thats way out of my price range. Lately I've been watching tons of videos on youtube of amazing HiFi systems and seeing most use a Turntable; and now I've got the itch.

The question is where would be the best place to start?

I've been looking at Specials on MusicDirect.com; anyone have experience with them?

I'm thinking of spending about $1500-$3000 on a TT. I've got some records to start with but plan to start shopping for some once the player is in the system.

Thanks in advance!
 

twich54

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Hi Jason, long time analog guy here (50 plus years), couple of questions first and foremost. Your budget, is that for 'all' items analog....tt, cartridge, phono-pre, cables, RCM, chemicals ?

Understand there is a lot that goes into making a 'listenable' analog set up.

get back to me and we'll get started........
 

JLasher22443

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Hey Dave, see I'm already lost. LOL I thought I could just purchase the Turntable and plug it into my system as another source?
 

GW1800

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Save your money and get a DAC for the same money will be far better off. If you had a few hundred LP's or more cash for the LP set up I would say go for it. Not to mention all the space this setup will take up. Just my 2 cents.
 

Victor

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Actually, jLasher, this is one of the healthiest budgets for startup that I've seen for some time! ;)
It's more often the case that someone thinks they can "do justice" to vinyl for $1000 or less.
3K gives you choices. Personally I prefer new gear but if you want to take a short cut to the "high end" there's nothing to stop you trawling the s/h market.

It needs to be said that there are other forums with more dedicated resources (Vinyl Engine, Audiogon Analog Forum, Pinkfishmedia, Steve Hoffman etc) where this very same question will have been asked more than once and will have received scores, if not hundreds, of replies.
I don't know how much the new Technics SL1200GR is but as a brand new plug & play they don't come better or more competitive. This leaves a narrower but still achievable budget for phono stage& cartridge (suggest MM cartridge as this will allow the purchase of a cheaper phono pre-amp with little sonic penalty)
RCMS are low priority in your situation unless you are buying 100% used LPs.

Of paramount importance is the table you intend to site the turntable on. You could even make this yourself modelled on some successful designs if you are feeling creative or do what I did and get a bespoke carpenter to make it. It could even take the form of a tripod platform that can be placed on top of regular furniture or a shelf. There are many ways to approach the problem. Seismic platforms can be very expensive (Townsend are typically £1500 for example - a huge chunk of your budget).

Good luck!
Hope this helps.
 

twich54

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The new Technics will not fit into his budget, he obviously needs more than just a TT. Music Hall / Pro-Ject tables , some with pre mounted cartridges would be another option. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used phono-pre to save some money and as far as a RCM, at a minimum get a 'Spin Clean'
 

JLasher22443

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Thanks everyone for the replies and info.

GW100 I currently have the Bluesound Node 2 and use Tidal for streaming music. It sounds great to me but I'm sure there are other DAC's out there that will blow it away. I'm not leaving this format behind; but for now I have no complaints with the Node and I'm satisfied with the quality. I'll do some demos on others and see what I think. Never know.

So after dave's earlier response I think I need to up my budget a little with some more research I've done on Preamps. I just thought I'd be buying a TT and thats it. But boy was I wrong. LOL

So with that being said I'm thinking I can stretch the budget to $3k - $5k for everything. The most critical thing is I want a good quality start not just the cheaper option that I won't love and never use.

So Phono Preamp? Since I had no idea this was even needed I need advice here. LOL I'd love to get something great here so I don't need to upgrade in a few years.

Turntables I've looked at the following.

Used VPI Prime Scout

https://www.musicdirect.com/turntables/VPI-Prime-Scout-Turntable-DEMO

Used ClearAudio Concept

https://www.musicdirect.com/turntables/clearaudio-concept-wood-turntable-mm-cartridge-demo
 

JLasher22443

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So I'm thinking I can put the rack shown below in the corner for the TT along with other equipment such as the Xbox, Bluesound, Panamax, and the Phono Preamp. Its currently doing nothing upstairs. It stands about 57" tall and the TT on top of that may be a bit too high. But I can put the TT in the middle with it having so many options for glass placement. And its heavy as hell with all of the glass in. Then purchase an Isolation Platform for the TT itself. Thoughts?


DSC_0532.jpg
 

sdolen

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Thanks everyone for the replies and info.

GW100 I currently have the Bluesound Node 2 and use Tidal for streaming music. It sounds great to me but I'm sure there are other DAC's out there that will blow it away. I'm not leaving this format behind; but for now I have no complaints with the Node and I'm satisfied with the quality. I'll do some demos on others and see what I think. Never know.

So after dave's earlier response I think I need to up my budget a little with some more research I've done on Preamps. I just thought I'd be buying a TT and thats it. But boy was I wrong. LOL

So with that being said I'm thinking I can stretch the budget to $3k - $5k for everything. The most critical thing is I want a good quality start not just the cheaper option that I won't love and never use.

So Phono Preamp? Since I had no idea this was even needed I need advice here. LOL I'd love to get something great here so I don't need to upgrade in a few years.

Turntables I've looked at the following.

Used VPI Prime Scout

https://www.musicdirect.com/turntables/VPI-Prime-Scout-Turntable-DEMO

Used ClearAudio Concept

https://www.musicdirect.com/turntables/clearaudio-concept-wood-turntable-mm-cartridge-demo
Having owned the CA and also a VPI Scout, Classic and now Prime, I would take the new Prime Scout any day over the Concept. While the Concept is a nice plug and play table, the VPI is the better choice if you want to change or upgrade anything down the road.
 

twich54

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Jason,

First off 57" is too high , 40-45" is ideal. It all depends on ones height of course (I'm 6'1") What kind of floor is below...wood, concrete, tile ? you want a stable surface, if walking about will cause disturbances than you would be better served with a wall mount system.

As for upping your budget that's all well and good but understand you still don't know what your ears and mind are going to tell you.

Lets look at what you need and budget from there .....

turntable - first off do you feel competent in installing the cartridge yourself ? if not then a uni-pivot VPI would not be my first choice unless you could have this task done for you. Pro Ject and Music Hall offer nice units with pre mounted cartridges.

cartridge - moving magnet or moving coil, MC will require more gain out of your phono stage. In the world of affordable moving coils the Denon DL-103 is superb($300)

phono pre - plenty to choose from in the $300-$1200 range. I have heard and like the Rogue 'Triton' $995 but you need to be sure that if you go the route of MC your phono stage has enough gain.

cables - blue jeans or signal cable ........DO NOT get sucked into the expensive cable BS !

misc tools, cleaning supplies , etc - at a minimum a 'spin clean' kit to start, stylus force gauge, cleaning fluids, carbon fibre brushes, etc.

FWIW .......here's what I would do ....

Music Hall MMF 9.3 turntable - $2195
Denon DL-103R Cartridge - $449
Rogue Triton phono-pre - $995
cables ------------------- $100
misc supplies ------------ $250

Total --------------------------- $3989

money left over to buy more records !
 

JLasher22443

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Jason,

First off 57" is too high , 40-45" is ideal. It all depends on ones height of course (I'm 6'1") What kind of floor is below...wood, concrete, tile ? you want a stable surface, if walking about will cause disturbances than you would be better served with a wall mount system.

As for upping your budget that's all well and good but understand you still don't know what your ears and mind are going to tell you.

Lets look at what you need and budget from there .....

turntable - first off do you feel competent in installing the cartridge yourself ? if not then a uni-pivot VPI would not be my first choice unless you could have this task done for you. Pro Ject and Music Hall offer nice units with pre mounted cartridges.

cartridge - moving magnet or moving coil, MC will require more gain out of your phono stage. In the world of affordable moving coils the Denon DL-103 is superb($300)

phono pre - plenty to choose from in the $300-$1200 range. I have heard and like the Rogue 'Triton' $995 but you need to be sure that if you go the route of MC your phono stage has enough gain.

cables - blue jeans or signal cable ........DO NOT get sucked into the expensive cable BS !

misc tools, cleaning supplies , etc - at a minimum a 'spin clean' kit to start, stylus force gauge, cleaning fluids, carbon fibre brushes, etc.

FWIW .......here's what I would do ....

Music Hall MMF 9.3 turntable - $2195
Denon DL-103R Cartridge - $449
Rogue Triton phono-pre - $995
cables ------------------- $100
misc supplies ------------ $250

Total --------------------------- $3989

money left over to buy more records !
Hey Dave thanks for all of the info. Sorry I never came back to this thread but life has/had gotten in the way for the past few years and we ended up moving out of our house temporarily to be closer to work. But now I'm back in the house and room and loving it.

So to answer your questions about the room. The floor is carpet covered wood on base level of the home. The room itself is built off of the back of the home as an original Sunroom. So if I have to do anything to get the room sturdier I can.

Do you still recommend the same setup or do you have better options now since we are discussing 2 years later. Also here is a photo of my main cabinet up front; do you think the turntable can sit there on the right in between the ESL C18 and the Montis? If not what type of stand should I be looking at and how do I know placement in the room is good?

 

JLasher22443

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So question; if I go with the Marantz TT-15S1 can I plug it directly into my Marantz AV7703 and have it work or do I still need the Phono Preamp? Just looking at all options.
 

MOON

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You could have your turntable on a separate rack section in front of your present rack. I have it that way in my system as it isolates the turntable from other equipment which can induce hum into the system.20191027_142428.jpg Sorry for upside down picture. VPI Classic 4 turntable.
 

amey01

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Save your money and get a DAC for the same money will be far better off. If you had a few hundred LP's or more cash for the LP set up I would say go for it. Not to mention all the space this setup will take up. Just my 2 cents.
This ^^^^^^
 

JLasher22443

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Thanks again everyone for the replies. After some of these replies I've held off so I could save some more funds to up the budget. I'm now trying to stay between $5k - $7k. So with that said I have a few more questions and choices I'd like your input on.

As for the DAC Comments I have a Bluos which sounds great while using Tidal. Also my 4K Apple TV using the Tidal App is also amazing sounding. so I'm not sure any other DAC is going to blow me away where I'd spend 100's or thousands on another option. But; if you have a recommendation please let me know and I'll give it some research.

Ok so I have been working on this setup by doing tons of research and also working with Upscale Audio online. Right now I have the following choices set in the cart at Upscale from chatting with them.

VPI Prime Turntable with JMW 3D Tonearm 10-Inch 3D (Unipivot) or VPI Prime Scout w/ 10.5" Tonearm & VTA On the Fly(On Sale)

Hana M Series MC Phono Cartridges ML - Low Output

Sutherland KC Vibe Phonostage


Also I plan to sit the turntable on the right side of my cabinet up front. Going to use the IsoAcoustics Delos Turntable isolation platform. If this doesn't work I'll purchase a stand alone piece of furniture and move the Table elsewhere after I have heard it in the room.

How about the McIntosh MT5? I'm thinking that would work well with my current McIntosh and Martin Logan setup? Only research I can find on it that is bad is the cartridge it comes with. Thoughts?

If the cartridge and Phonostage are doing most of the work is it possible to make the lower end tables perform just as good as the high end designs. In other words take a used $1,000.00 table and upgrade everything on it?

If I move the table to across the room is it bad to use a 20' RCA cable from the Phono Preamp back over to the front of the room? AudioQuest makes them in that length so it must not be to bad?
 

twich54

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Jason, quick question ......... its been almost 3 years since this thread began. How many LP's do you now own ?

As for the VPI suggestion, as much as I love my VPI TT I would never recommend a uni-pivot set for a novice.

Answer my question above and I'll comment further ..........
 

JLasher22443

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Jason, quick question ......... its been almost 3 years since this thread began. How many LP's do you now own ?

As for the VPI suggestion, as much as I love my VPI TT I would never recommend a uni-pivot set for a novice.

Answer my question above and I'll comment further ..........

A couple 100 but mostly hand me downs from my Father-In-Law and mother. Haven't been purchasing any since I had to replace my center channel this year. Brother blew it while I was out on vacation and he was house sitting.
 

twich54

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A couple 100 but mostly hand me downs from my Father-In-Law and mother. Haven't been purchasing any since I had to replace my center channel this year. Brother blew it while I was out on vacation and he was house sitting.
gotcha, my reason for asking was to see what level of commitment you had made to 'analog'.

as for your VPI table thoughts, I wouldn't for the reason I mentioned. Have you taken a close look at the TechnicsSL1200G ?

https://www.technics.com/us/products/grand-class/direct-drive-turntable-system-sl-1200g.html

I've listened through this set up with the Hana cartridge and given the 15-18% discount off it's 4k msrp that's available if you look, IMO represents a bargain.

As far as phono-preamps, my brother-in-law just recently got the Schitt unit https://www.schiit.com/products/mani?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxa34wp6J6QIVSAiICR0cIgT1EAQYASABEgK1afD_BwE and it too represents a fine value.

I'm suggesting some of these pieces in order to keep you under budget because you will need a good cleaning set up for your LP's given the 'used status' of many of them. Plus you also want $$ left over to buy some more albums !
 

Spike

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VPI Prime Turntable with JMW 3D Tonearm 10-Inch 3D (Unipivot) or VPI Prime Scout w/ 10.5" Tonearm & VTA On the Fly(On Sale)
Hana M Series MC Phono Cartridges ML - Low Output
Sutherland KC Vibe Phonostage
Nice list for a good analogue set-up you've compiled. I was in your position a couple of years ago and went with:
  1. Technics SL-1210GR (15% discount from Guitar Center)
  2. Manley Chinook MkII from Upscale Audio
  3. Sound-Smith Aida cartridge from Upscale Audio --> Since upgraded to Sound-Smith "The Voice"

There's no right or wrong answer here. Just what you're comfortable with given your musical taste. I do have to say that I went with Sound-Smith for the sound quality and the low cost of rebuilding/retipping in the future.

If the cartridge and Phonostage are doing most of the work is it possible to make the lower end tables perform just as good as the high end designs. In other words take a used $1,000.00 table and upgrade everything on it?
Only if the "low-end" turntable is designed with high-performance in mind. It does give you some flexibility but you'll have to know what your doing before taking on the 'upgrades'. I've gone that route and am quite happy with the result. I started off with the Technics and Manley Chinook. Over time, given the excellent direct-drive motor of the Technics SL-1210GR, I've upgraded to the Jelco 850S tonearm, and the Sound-Smith cartridge. Your mileage may vary...

Good Luck,
Spike
 
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