Can I match or beat my digital, and at what cost?

Hi folks,

I had a friend bring over an old Kenwood TT ( KD1033 ) and a phone preamp, JEC it looks like. Well it sounds pretty good and has me interested in trying a vinyl setup now.
The frequency extremes and the layering aren't there that I am used to.

Say for 1k total close can I get to my current digital? I will likely buy new from my local dealer. They have Rega so I was thinking of starting with a p1.

Current system is
Audio Reserach REF2 MK2
Proceed HPA 2
Musical Fidelity A308 CR
Martin Logan Ascent
all transparent Ultra MM IC and Speaker cable.

Thanks for any advice.
Well, it will cost some money.....


Should more budget go to the table or the pre?

I am totally new to analog so yea..... My thought would be a majority of the budget, 7-800 would go to the table and 200 for a cheap pre to be upgraded later.
I agree with Bob. Your budget isn't big enough to do vinyl right. I tried 3 times and never could get what I wanted without having to spend $3k or more. Once you factor in phono stage, record cleaning system, vinyl collection, fragility of cartridges, and the cost of a good TT and arm, my Audio Aero CD player was the obvious winner. So I sold the TTs and bought CDs instead. Been super happy even after hearing my neighbor's $12,000 vinyl rig many times.

I don't think you can even get close for $1000 new. Used you can get close but you have to up your allowance a bit. I think that at $1,500 used prices you can have a fine phono system (complete). Less than that, they become more disposable/plastic.

They have Rega so I was thinking of starting with a p1.
The P1 doesn't really bring much to the party. Everything is noticeably compromised and it doesn't upgrade gracefully. The P2 isn't much better, but the Rega P3-24 (which is just inside your budget) starts strong and offers ways to upgrade as your ears demand over time--outboard power supply, upgrade the platter, upgrade the tonearm. Another alternative: If you shop online and google for the best deal you can score a Technics SL1200 mkII for about $350, or the M5G version (better tonearm wire) for under $500.

If you go with a P3-24 you'll definitely hear a different presentation than digital. The P3-24 has good 3-D imaging right out of the box and a relaxed presentation that eludes most CD players until you get into the stratospheric price range. Even then, you're still making do with a 16-bit dynamic range (64K increments of amplitude).

To keep it under $1K NEW, I'd go with a Technics SL1210 M5G, Foculpods to replace the feet ($25), a Herbie's mat ($72) and record damper ($22), and Ortofon 2M Blue ($199) or Audio Technica AT150MLX ($299) cartridge.


The Rega P3-24 with Ortofon 2M Red ($99) or Blue ($199) cartridge to stay just within budget or a tiny bit over. The 2Ms are a good match with the P3-24.
picked up a P-1 and NAD pre for now. I can bring the table back for full credit for up to 4 months. Hopefully by then I can go for the P3-24. So far the p1 sounds pretty darned good.

Thanks for all the input.
and.... upgraded to the P3-24.

Much closer to what I was hoping to hear.
Welcome to vinyl!
My advice going forward: All due respect to local retail dealers, I found that the folks on this forum provide me with very experienced advice without the inevitable dealer ulterior motivation of upselling me only the shop's limited products. I say this after many years and many dollars of high price/mediocre performance mainly due to mismatched components, local retail shop influence, and my own stubborness. If I had better followed the suggestions, hints, and gentle nudges in the right direction from this forum (as well as audio asylum), I would have saved quite a bit of time and money.
05-06-09: No_money
and.... upgraded to the P3-24.
Good show! Save yourself the hassle later and enjoy
more music better sooner.

Cartridge is the Elyes 2.
Ok so I tried posting another thread to update what I ended up with but that was "denied" for some reason??? Odd..... So I will bring this one back up.

I ended up with:

Rega P-3 24 , to be upgraded to p5 this weekend
Rega exact 2 cart.
Clearaudio Basic plus phono

I also found a local shop that has a fairly decent selection of LPs. Lots of new
and used to select from.

Haven't turned the cd player on in a while :)
Wow going from a p1 to a p5 is quite a jump! How bout marantz-clearaudio table w~800 usd cart for 1500?
my dealer stocks Clearaudio and Nottingham as well. I am really lusting for one of the Clearaudio Ambient solo tables but at 4k that will have to wait.
A used Nottingham Spacedeck sounds nice for the price.