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Record player help?

Discussion in 'Tilted Gear' started by Borla, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member Donor

    I'm thinking about picking up a record player. I have a handful of records, but haven't had a record player for maybe 10 years or more. Anyone have any fairly modern models they could recommend, preferably fairly inexpensive ones?

    Also any recommendations on small bookshelf type speakers?

    I'll likely keep it in my office, so I'd prefer to have a small footprint for it all.


    I'm considering something like this, just as a general idea:

    Amazon.com: Audio Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable: Musical Instruments


    Maybe @Stan could help?
     
  2. Speed_Gibson

    Speed_Gibson Hacking the Gibson

    Location:
    Wolf 359
    I paid $150 (might have been $100, the $150 might have been for my receiver) for mine 10-11 years ago at a then local shop in Portland. The model I have is a Denon DP-247. One of more the more important points with turntables is to avoid the cheap ones (as in Walmart, other big retailers) that use a ceramic stylus. You should be paying a good $30 alone for a diamond tip stylus when you need a replacement.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
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  3. omega

    omega Very Tilted

    Records aren't my thing, but a couple names that are bandied about are rega and pro-ject. Do you have a phono input into a preamp or receiver?
    As far as speakers, what is your budget? 100? 500? 1,000?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member Donor

    That particular model doesn't need a preamp.

    If I bought it, I'd probably buy some bookshelf speakers like these:
    Amazon.com: Polk Audio RTI A1 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair, Cherry): Electronics

    That is kind of pushing what I want to spend. So if you have any recommendations for a complete setup (turntable, speakers, preamp if needed) for under $350 I'm all ears.
     
  5. Stan

    Stan Resident Dumbass Donor

    Location:
    Colorado
    If you were 1000 miles closer, I'd give you mine. It's been collecting dust for a few decades. I'm not sure it will ship very well.

    At that price point, the needle and cartridge are the biggest issue. You'll want a diamond needle, preferably elliptical. Ceramic ones wear, get sharp, and trash your albums.

    I've had very good luck buying used equipment on Ebay and Audiogon.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member Donor

    Thanks for the thought and the info. I went ahead and bought the one in the OP, should be here tomorrow. The stylus and needle seem to be easily upgradeable. If this becomes a more serious hobby I'll explore upgrading in he the future.
     
  7. Speed_Gibson

    Speed_Gibson Hacking the Gibson

    Location:
    Wolf 359
    Personally I prefer the "crack and snaps" that vinyl have when it is in just right amount. The perfect stereo reproduction that CDs give you is just missing something at times.
    There are a few exceptions, bu I also prefer to play the vinyl once for transfer purposes and then enjoy it in a lossless codec like FLAC or WavPack Hybrid on my computer systems. WavPack gives you option of loading just a smaller file roughly decent MP3 sized that can be turned into the full lossless version when the correction file is in the same folder.
     
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  8. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member Donor

    Bam.



    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. martian

    martian Server Monkey Staff Member

    Location:
    Mars
    A big part of the appeal in vinyl for me comes in the form of the listening experience. Putting on a record and listening to it the whole way through is a fundamentally different experience to throwing a few tracks on shuffle on your mp3 player. I like to experience music as the artists and engineers who put it together intended and I've found that there's no better way to do that than throwing a vinyl LP on the turntable and giving it a spin.

    There are a lot of theories about the dynamic range of an analogue signal vs the digital equivalent. I'm not entirely sure they would stand up to double blind testing but I'm willing to buy it as part of the whole experience.

    I have a preference for vintage equipment personally, and you can usually get a good turntable on ebay for a reasonable price if you're willing to do a bit of hunting around. Technics is the sought after brand for DJs but for home listening you don't necessarily need an SL 1200. Dual made some great models back in the day, as did Pioneer. There's a whole rabbit hole to go down: belt drive vs direct drive, tone arm construction, different cartridge types. Generally speaking the check marks to look for are a balanced tone arm without a lot of tracking weight, a nice heavy platter and base, and a good motor. There are also a lot of adjustments to be made, and learning how to correctly set up your turntable is part of the hobby.

    That unit you've got there looks pretty good for entry level. Like stan said I'd probably look at replacing the cartridge sooner rather than later, as the one it ships with probably isn't very good. I also wouldn't recommend playing anything particularly rare or valuable on it but for occasional listening it will do the job. If you get serious about it there are a wealth of online resources to help you pick something better.

    There's a lot of audiophile woo out there about what does and does not make a good sound. Anyone who tells you the speaker wire makes a difference can be safely ignored -- double blind testing has shown that for typical run lengths most "audiophiles" can't tell the difference between high end speaker wire and straightened out coat hangers in terms of the final sound.

    The most important thing is to set up something in your budget that you can enjoy. Collecting vinyl is a hobby and like any hobby it's got a lot of folk wisdom and old wive's tales surrounding it. At the end of the day if it makes you happy I figure that's the main thing.
    --- merged: Jun 18, 2014 at 1:37 AM ---
    I actually put together a post in pointless announcements a couple months ago outlining a good listening setup on the super cheap. It's a bit late to help here but I'll do the copy/paste thing for the sake of discussion.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2014
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  10. Leto

    Leto Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Toronto
    my system was packed away for several years (due to a home renovation) but my 16 year old son dragged it out and assembled it in our basement. It's a Technics, with some Boston Acoustics speakers. Warms up the rec room considerably. My problem was with the belt drive. Over the years they get stretched and it's really noticeable if you set the speed to 45 rpm - not that we play too many 45's these days. It sounds fine on 331/3 tho. He's been enjoying my rather eclectic circa 1973 - 1988 crates of albums.

    I solved the belt drive problem with a quick visit to Bay-Bloor Radio ( Bay Bloor Radio )
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member Donor


    Thanks for the input. :cool:

    I'm not 100% sure I'd always pick out the analog versus digital myself. But the experience of putting an album on and listening to it all the way through in the proper order? Yeah, that is what I am aiming for. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2014
  12. Stan

    Stan Resident Dumbass Donor

    Location:
    Colorado
    I could probably write a thesis on the subject, at this point. I've been on a 2 yr mission to get analog/vinyl sound from my digital music collection.

    Better, worse, I dunno; but they do sound different. Digital has always sounded harsh to my ear, I have visions of square waves abusing my eardrums. A vacuum tube preamp and high end DAC solved the problem for me. Understand that I'm 58, vinyl is the sound quality that I grew up with.

    I've always listened to music in album side chunks, these days it's migrated to full CDs. I'm approaching 500G of FLAC blues and geezer rock. I'm sure "random" is possible; but I have no interest.
     
  13. Leto

    Leto Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Toronto
    Stan, I think what you are saying is similar to my point above when I say the turntable warms up the rec room. Even my son says that the music sounds less tinny or harsh. But that could be attributed to the speakers themselves, as he has been used to playing his ipod either through earbuds or docked in those little Sony ipod alarm clocks.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member Donor

    Since it is relatively on topic, I'll post this here...


    I stopped at a real record store yesterday on my travels. I hadn't heard of it before, but decided to do some searching on Yelp and stumbled across it.

    RAGGED RECORDS | YOUR BEST SOURCE FOR NEW AND USED MUSIC IN THE MIDWEST


    They had a pretty impressive selection. Hundreds, probably thousands of new records. And an incredible amount of used ones. They had probably 20-30 large tables full of vinyl, each table covered, and each table with boxes underneath it as well.

    They also had CDs, old rock concert shirts, and other music paraphernalia. Cool spot.



    Edit - their website claims over 250,000 albums. I believe it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  15. martian

    martian Server Monkey Staff Member

    Location:
    Mars

    That's just the thing. There are so many different things that can impact the way your music sounds, the same recording in a different environment with different speakers, amp, preamp, different equalization. In all of these different factors it's hard to really say whether or not the analogue signal makes a huge difference, at least in my experience. But I like records. I like the ritual and atmosphere that surrounds them. That's enough of a draw for me that I don't really feel the need to justify that it sounds better or worse.

    Go with what you like.


    Oh geez, now you're in trouble.

    When you go, try to watch the experienced shoppers. See how they examine and handle records before buying. That will help you get a feel on what to look for in your used vinyl.

    Also, set a budget. It's easy to get carried away in a place like that. I say this from experience.
     
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  16. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member Donor


    Yeah, I've already spent way more than I planned. Everything in that pic above, plus over a dozen albums. I need to be done for a while. :p
     
  17. Stan

    Stan Resident Dumbass Donor

    Location:
    Colorado
    Given your choice of motorcycles, grills, and puppies, you're going to be easy to corrupt
     
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  18. Borla

    Borla Moderator Staff Member Donor

    I have a pretty broad taste in music too.


    And in the count above I forgot to count the albums I've ordered but haven't arrived yet. So I'm at 20 in a week.

    If I end up dead, you know my wife figured it all out.
     
  19. MSD

    MSD Very Tilted

    Location:
    CT
    The analog-digital argument is piled high with bullshit, but in a lot of cases (my brother and I are metalheads, and a lot of metal albums are still released on vinyl,) the mastering for digital and analog (vinyl and cassette) will be done by different people in different styles, with the analog version leaving much more headroom. Depending on the standard used for encoding, the upper end of the frequency range could be as low as 2kHz or as high as 45kHz (which would make a clean record sound indistinguishable from an equivalent CD version.)
     
  20. Speed_Gibson

    Speed_Gibson Hacking the Gibson

    Location:
    Wolf 359
    The mastering done for much of the current music these days is terrible. Way too much of it clips almost instantly and hardly leaves the red.