Considering going Vinyl--Please talk me out of it

I'm standing here on the vinyl cliff,peering over the edge...I had a TT in the eighties & nineties, an AR with the Underground Sound mods by George Merrill from Memphis, TN. It got destroyed in a series of moves, and my vinyl disappeared. I have a perfectly good CD player(Denon 1650AR),EAD PM2000 amp & EAD Ovation plus prepro, & thiel 2.3's. I would need a phono preamp before I could run whatever TT I obsess over enough to buy, as the Ovation has no phono stage. Push me over, or save me! mb
Ag insider logo xs@2xmichaeljbrown
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I must be a slave to the DARK MASTER. I don't have quite as many as Elizabeth but I have few and greatly enjoy them. And cleaning them once is all that's needed. I haven't found vinyl to be that much of a chore over the years. Plus, it gets me off my butt every 20 minutes or so.

No lure here but you may just find that, as many of us do, there is happiness in exploring and listening to this format.

Good luck!
Elizabeth is will go nuts. But you may be a happy nut. Vinyl playing is an expensive hobby that is time-consuming and technically interesting. and quite separate and distinct from simply enjoying music. But that could be said for all audiophile stuff, compared with a Bose wave radio.
Do it!!!!!!!!!

I don't have much vinyl but love what I have. Last night I listened to Moody Blues Long Distance Voyager (original master recording) on my Sota table, Jelco arm, Goldring cartridge, Cambridge phono pre and this simply crushed any of my cd players (modded Music Hall, Denon, Pioneer Elite...). The clarity, imaging & soundstage were unbeatable.
Yes, cleaning is a pain. You can't be lazy. However, when you are in the right mood it is amazing. You system will make it worthwhile.
Been there, done that - a couple of times. Bottom line, if you don't have music on LP's that you really want to hear don't go there. If you do, then you don't have a choice do you. Audiophilia without musical reward can get real boring, quick!
Do you like to go to garage sales sometimes in the summer? Do you like to poke around on ebay every once in a while? Do you like hanging out at record stores with all the hipsters and their complicated shoes? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you're a prime candidate for vinyl. Finding, collecting, and playing vinyl is not a pain in the ass--it's fun, lots of fun. Enjoy.
Being completely serious for a minute, I would not bother going into vinyl unless your musical tastes and the music you want to buy was recorded prior to the digital age or around 1982.

I listen primarily to jazz, older rock (late 60's to late 70's) and blues so there is lots of used vinyl out there for me. My experience is that buying new records today is a waste of good money much of the time unless you are specifically seeking out all analog recordings or re-issues (and I am not a fan of reissues). With a decent analog setup, it just irritates me to buy a new record and then hear that it is obviously digital, not to mention the fact that the pressing quality on a lot of the newer vinyl leaves much to be desired. I buy very little new vinyl anymore and what I do buy new tends to be quite expensive (north of $40) so it's not cheap relative to buying CD's.

On top of that, there are cleaning issues. You can have top quality cleaning for as little as $200-$225 with a KAB EV1 and the proper fluids, but you do have to put in the time and effort to clean, so vinyl is quite a bit more labor intensive.

I listen almost exclusively to vinyl (simply cannot get into listening much to CD anymore), but it's obviously not for everyone. But I would make your decision based almost entirely on what kind of music you listen to. If it's predominantly newer music, skip it.
best of all, you have to replace/retip those crazy expensive cartridges about every 1500 hours. insanity.
I'm still peering down into the void; keep up the input, as I am looking at a beautiful AR restoration/mod.....gulp!
I agree with Elizabeth and Hdm. If my house burned down today I would not replace my turntable and all my vinyl. Well, maybe not. Certainly not all 1500 albums, maybe only half of them and 1500 more.

Seriously: It is a wonderful hobby. Definition: hobby a hole in the ether you throw your money into. I re-started (after the 60's, 70's and early 80's)with my wife's Denon DP7 and an upgraded Ortofon cartridge. I quickly acqired a VPI 16.5 which I heartily recommend with appropriate ear protection. I then graduated to a Rega P5/Exact2 combination which is my first real high-end turntable. I'm having great fun with dollar bins, garage sales, and used record stores picking up Brenda Lee, Johnny Cash, Petula Clarke, or whatever to clean it and play it enjoying the music with just a slight degree of noise issues.

I was an immediate adopter of CD's because I thought I couldn't live with the pops and ticks. I've since found that I can.

So, welcome to the Dark Side. Come on in. But Beware! You can spend any amount of money on this hobby, or as little as you care to and enjoy it just as much.

Just DO NOT TRY ANY TUBE AMPLIFICATION!!!!!!!!! That way lies insanity, "they're coming to take me away, ha, ha"
I would agree with Hdm almost totally. At this point in the game it would not be very cost effective for you to try to get back into vinyl, in fact it would be quite expensive.
(That is if you are talking about quality vinyl playback)
But who said that this hobby is about cost effectiveness? It is in fact about doing what makes you happy within the confines of your budget. If you can afford it go for it because I can tell you personally vinyl is quite a bit better than digital. That is why I'm so glad that I didn't fall for the digital hype! I still have my 2000 plus LP's and my Linn LP-12 TT and every time I switch back from digital playback to vinyl I just smile and know I made the right decision.
If you don't already have a huge collection of Vinyl music that you desperately want to hear again (all that older nostalgic stuff in the attic or basement) then you need to ask yourself why all of sudden do you now show interest?

This is not something you just do because you want to collect and trade things like this and this

Vinyl collecting is primarily about the music. The music should lead you to Vinyl, IMHO.

If you struggle to find what you want on current formats and have a treasure trove of older stuff stashed away then by all means go for it.
I can't possibly talk you out of it! You will be sorry if you don't.....
You'll be sorry if you DO (get into vinyl) addition to what's been said, I believe there is a cult issue with this, and since hi end audio is a cult to begin with (ask your friends who are non-audiophiles), the cult within the cult just sucks the life out of bang for the buck. I grew up with lps. And jumped to CDs as soon as they became available. I still have a turntable and my old lps and once in a while I buy a used lp...but if someone pointed a gun to my head and said, choose one, CD's would win hands down.
Vinyl is as vinyl always has been. Nuff said I have no desire to go back.
All those telling you not to go vinyl are correct.
But if you do,one evening,if all the planets are aligned just right and I mean JUST RIGHT you will experience something you never imagined you could feel.
I guess that makes all the problems of vinyl playback worth it.
Good Luck!!

If you want access to out of print albums, remixes, remasters, rereleases not available anywhere else, plus access to masters that have not been overcompressed and clipped to death, then you are doing the right thing...

If you are not interested in any of those things then stick with the digital formats, because you end up paying a high premium for good TT equipment and new albums.

I decided to go back to vinyl for the reasons listed above, and while it is expensive, I'm extremely satisfied now that I have learned to accept that there will sometimes be slight imperfections in the vinyl that are not worth returning an entire album over. "Good" online stores will let you exchange vinyl within reason. This is so they can continue to stay in business. I have found their terms to be reasonable enough to make me satisfied with my decision to indulge in vinyl again.
I'd wait-n-see how the new digital formats shake out
(Dolby True HD and/or DTS HD).
They are supposed to be something special.
It's $$$$ but worth it if your family will still have food. btw - I charge my family $25 each time I'm (slang) "dissed". Spent $900 this month and their still not learning. sic
Oh, another thing. You can also record all those alternate masters/remasters/remixes/out-of-prints/etc onto CD to archive them and remove pops, ticks, hiss, etc, if you like as well. So you can have the best of both worlds... The only downside IMO is you have to pay to play.
As Delmer said in the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"... I agree with you fellars!!!! (You too Elizabeth!)


I tried it 3 times before deciding it just wasn't for me. But you have to try it to truly find out.

Nope - Its a lot of fun... Not only do I like the quality of sound, but I really grove on my Rube Goldfarb looking VPI Superscoutmaster with all the wheels and pulleys. :)
My response is biased since i never really got into CDs. THe few that I have owned are typically trashed in less than one year where as I have albums I have owned since 1972 and play some vinyl that is almost 70 years old. I know you can keep CD's better than I took care of them, and CD's or tapes are more mobile than vinyl but oooh the sound is so much better and as my daughter says, vinyl is personal. you must get involved(clean, put arm on record, flip the sides, etc). Is it worth the effort, by allmeans
Tom G
I have just rediscovered my love of vinyl again, which I did not listen to since I was just a youngin'. I did this largely based on the advice of folks here but my own curiosity and interest in music generes that are available on vinyl led me there naturally. Like you all I needed was a nudge.

I started with just a handful of Lp's and now have a modest 300 lp collection. I invested in some good equipment. I researches and learned and asked questions (all thing I enjoy).

I can say without a doubt it has been the most fun I have ever had with music. Instead of viewing it as a hassle, I enjoy being responsible for the sound I am getting, playing around with VTA/VTF, cleaning recordds, different isolation etc. And I can say without reservation that the planet align nightly in my living room.

Yes, its cost me a lot, so be warned. But its been woth it for my ears.
Hi, I am deep into vinyl land and it can sometimes be fun and frustrating. Here is something you might want to consider:

Vinyl is a commitment that needs your time, effort and patience. Since you have no LP's to start, you can still think it over before hastilly plunging into the void. The worse thing is that after spending your time, effort and money...(turntable, arm, cartridge, acessories, phono stage, cables, etc......oh forgot the software and cleaning machine) and finally deciding it's not 'yer cuppa tea! Then, all will be lost.

Think it over. Maybe the $ you'll spend on the analog rig can be better spent on upgrades to your current system, your room acoustics and bring you more joy when listening.

Anyways, best of luck whichever way you go.

Sorry !!! Can,t talk you out of it . I myself beleive that vynil is far superior in sound reproduction than bits and bytes . Digital hype is what one member stated . I have to think that how is it people will spend insane amounts of money on players and transports and dacs and what do all theses expensive units share in common ? The claim that they don,t sound digital at all but are anologue bliss . Technology thats so good it is made to mimic something that people beleive is inferior ? A technology thats so good not even the manufacturers can make up their minds for you on the format they will use .Technology that they still have not got right in over 25 years. In my experience with others that I know who ventured back into vynil the one thing that so few know how or have done is to have the table and arm properly set up . As far as the noise that others complain about , anyone who hears vynil in my home always comments on how dead quiet it is and how much better it sounds than their expensive digital players . It does not have to be overly expensive gear , simply set up properly . I have good digital gear also but for me like most its the user friendly aspect of it, pushing play and walking away . When I want to sit down and truly enjoy the MUSIC vynil rules that domain for me IMHO . I will admit I have bought albums I have been dissappointed in how poorly they were recorded but I will also state that I have had just as many experiences with poorly recorded cd's . Quality gear will not make something sound better it will only reproduce what is there and nothing else be it vynil or digital . Now ignore everything I have said and think as well as all others beleive because in the end it is your opinion and tastes that matter to you ! Cheers.
I would disregard most of the above advice! Spinning vinyl is a contegious illness... a money grabbing pursuit... a time consuming folley RUN.. RUN.. RUN.. away as fast as you can. Please do not enter one of the many used record stores, do not buy that new state of the art T.T. do not demo any of the many phono pre amps and especially avoid the thought of buying one of thoes high end phono cart's.... Instead please come over a buy one of my many CD players that I find that I seldom use, you see I did not heed my own advice and now spend most of my time listening to vinyl.
if you can tolerate the surface noise from older records there's no reason not to at least get a thorens with a $150 cartridge. alblums are nice to hold and look at/read while you listen- unlike cd's with those horrid little booklets i rarely pull out. records provide music in bite-sized chunks unlike 75 minute cd's that never seem to come to an end. one record dealer once stated that the entire package of cover pictures, sleeve, and lp was in a sense a work of art in itself. not that i don't cherish a well-recorded cd, but the package doesn't inspire much of anything; it's just there to protect the playing surface. as for all of the accessories and machinery for playing records, it used to be affordable (a dual 1229q, a thorens td-160, an AR turntable, etc.) but while i now have a VPI ARIES, i have only a weak attraction towards getting a $10k (or more) turntable, only to play a record i bought for $3 and vacuumed once or twice.
other than mikey fremer, i haven't heard too many people with EXPENSIVE record players properly describe what is so special about the medium at that VERY high level. OTOH, i have heard alot of very high-end digital and it sounds pretty convincing to me, although it is ridiculously expensive as well (see- Esoteric separates for a rude awakening to extremism in that direction). goldmund has a nice player that costs $75k and they will engrave your name on your limited-edition copy (gee, should i get one or not??).
Jump! You won't know till you do. If you buy good equipment you can sell it later if you change your mind or find you don't want the added hassle. That being said, I have seldom found anything worthwhile that required little or no effort. Vinyl is simply more engaging and seductive in my system, making the added hassle totally worthwhile.
Ask your self what is your compulsion to do so. Is it reasonable?
Michael: Think about this ... Vinyl and CD's are reflective of lifestyles .

The Boomers grew up on vinyl playback. Parents taught childern the do's and don't of record playing from the time kids could flip the black orbs without sending them to the trash bin. Vinyl by its very nature in the present tense, requires a significant investment of time , money & patience. CD's require no special skill-set and the playback equipment is cheap.

The fact you questioned..."Do I or Don't I"...tells me your not committed , so avoid the bridge scene... Don't jump just walk away. Besides , you can always visit your friends that own vinyl and buy them out whenever they begin to speak about tall buildings or bridges.
Here is a constructive suggestion. Go to a good high end dealership and challenge them to show you how good vinyl can sound. Listen. Your ears. Then check out how much money you would need to spend, and don't forget the extras like a RCM. Then, you decide.

I have a decent vinyl playback setup, but am troubled by various imperfections and nuisances. Some people on this site and elsewhere suggested that if I would only upgrade I would find vinyl to be near-perfect. I used the method described above and came to the conclusion that what I consider a slight improvement could be obtained using about $50,000 of equipment. You can guess how I decided. Your results may differ.
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If you want less hassle, get a boom-box. Extremely convenient. All you need in a stereo system in one box. I've heard that they even come with a remote. Some of them have detachable speakers, so you can expand the soundstage all you want at any time. Very hassle free. And the sound? Very boomy (hence the name), just like your neighbor likes it. What about black backgrounds, silky highs and tight bottom octaves? All in there, in the box.

Now, it you want every listening experience to be priceless, get a nice turntable and buy just new records. Only a good concert hall and a middle seat can match the listening experience of a well set up turntable.

I think we've become a very accommodated society and we usually end up paying big bucks for convenience, not quality. Most of my purchases are delivered to my door, so I feel that a little bit of exercise while turning the record over is good for my health.



Very well said iSanchez !!!! I completely agree with you especially the last two paragraghs . Cheers !
Hi Def digital is going to surpass analog playback at some time in the near future. It will be cheaper and more convenient as well. If I didnt have 4k+ albums that Ive collected over 40+yrs I wouldnt bother with vinyl. Indeed, if I could get back a 1/4 of what Ive invested Id quit now. Make friends with an analog fool and make 24/96 recordings of the records they have that you like and youll be way ahead. Just ask some of my friends.
Gee, I just met a bunch of very interesting and entertaining people by asking essential questions about vinyl; its like the people I've met while on a sailboat--only cheaper! Really, it is cheaper, isn't it? Isn't it?...tell me it is..........
Don't do it unless you have easy access to used records at a good indie record store-- unfortunately a dying breed. Amassing a large collection of desireable LPs at a record store will cost a fraction of building a collection through ebay or other web sources. Most people would be better off upgrading to a better digital front end, which these days can surpass many turntables.
Yes, less expensive than sailing, but you will still experience moments of being becalmed... and moments of running with the wind. Coming about!
A lot of very interesting replies here, but I have to say Elizabeth's is the best. I love it!

You'd be surprised what you can do on the used market. But even so, good vinyl does take a little sweat equity.
Vinyl has elevated my audio bug from "an expensive pastime" to "a ruinously expensive hobby". Come to the Broke Side, Luke...

Having two different kinds of source, different but equal imo, has more than doubled the fun factor of the rig. The pix appended to my System contribution show how.
cheers apo
All my friends agree CDs sound like crap, vinyl is alive, or they're not my friends.
Go for it! Jump!
Don't be a CD weenee.
Make it a point to hit every Goodwill store in town.
After listening to CD's for twenty years I took the plunge back into Analog. I had alot of turntables as a kid. I come from a family of musicians. I bought a used VPI Aries with a new wood bodied Benz cartridge. I had it professional set up by the very well known Brooks Berdan. I also bought a ARC-Ph-5
here on Audiogon. All told with cables and a VPI cleaning machine I spent 6000.00. Keep in mind I bought the TT used as well as the phono-pre and cables. If I had purchased everything new I would of spent 10,000.

I have a Gamut CD-1 which is a highly regarded CD player that I have enjoyed for the last 4 years. I have also had other highend CD players.

To make a long story short I have had the VPI setup for the last 9 months and I have only listended to the CD player twice. Once you get a good vinyl setup you will not want to listen to CD's anymore. There is just no comparison.
No Bucketjr...CD's sound very good indeed. Comparing my Ayre C5xe to my Superscoutmaster/10.5i/Benz Ebony LP, the CD sounds like there is a scrim in font of the performance. The difference is like regular tv to hi def
Aborigine, your system definitely cost more than a sailboat; probably in the neighborhood of a Cal 45 footer...
Buy used equipment and a couple of albums if you like then you can always dive deeper. If not you can sell all the stuff and not lose much money.

The point about Hi Def digital surpassing analog has legs, but I think it's flawed. I came back to analog recently (never got rid of my old albums and most of them are in A-condition). I bought a Pro-ject RM10 with a Sumiko Blackbird cartridge for $2880 which elevated my vinyle experience several orders of excellence above the AR-days. My vinyl blows away my several hundred CDs.

Soon after I bought the Pro-ject I bought a Korg MR1000 that'll record 1-bit DSD up to 5.6MHz. This thing matches the analog in resolution.

DVD-Audio is a format that I could be happy with forever, IF I had a broad software selection. SACD has that same potential, but it's really been screwed up with producer's perception that they need to add multi-channel. I think we're moving toward Hi Def programming coming only from downloads, at resolution rates no where near the potential of DSD, much less DVD-A, or fewer and fewer self-produced CDs OR vinyl reissues, which actually seem to be thriving.

Concerns for digital compatability, lack of average consumer demand (dude, mp3 is the best), distribution uncertainties, etc. all adding up to an environment where producers can't afford to take a chance on Hi Rez, except for the vinyl market. Of course that could be wrong.

Vinyl is here right now and thriving. It's just like buying into any new technology, if you wait for things to settle down, you'll likely miss the whole thing.