get vinyl rig or audio aero capital

I have an old bang and olufsen 1700 turntable cl cartridge
mid fi about 300 albums from 70-80's (some jap pressings)
my discs were played once and taped to a Nak - so great there

I'm wondering - do I go analog and spend big bucks on an analog rig (table, arm, cartridge, phono stage, cleaner, cables, platform) to get superior sound but then have a dated collection to play

arc ls5 preamp - no phono stage - all balanced inputs

or do I buy an audio aero capital - most analog like cd player and enjoy further my 1200+ cds

current digital end is Teac VRDS10 (Wadia) and EVS Millenium II dac - a nice combo

is there any good mid end tables that will perform well and not wear out my old vinyl??


Buy an old used in good shape Dennon, or a newer Rega, and outfit with the cartridge of choice and move on.

Well, I'd say you can't ignore the fact that your CD collection far exceeds your vinyl collection, so that has to be a major factor. However, I do think that you already have quite a competent digital system, so that may open up the door for an analog player for you.

You don't have to spend the world of money to get an analog system that will perform very nicely. I'd try to listen to some friends' analog systems, if you can, and see what level of performance you can be satisfied with.

If you spent the same money on analog as you would on an AA Capitole brand new, then you would have pretty close to a world-class vinyl system that would definitely beat any digital player by quite a margin(IMHO). I spent under $4k, and I have yet to hear any digital player even come close. I know several people who feel that any digital player can be exceeded for sound quality by some fairly inexpensive analog systems. I would tend to agree, myself, with that assessment. But don't buy cheap for cheap's sake. Put the same amount of study and money into it as you would any other important component in your system. The analog systems do get better in the higher price ranges also. Treat it as an important purchase, study and audition, and make an informed choice. You may find that you will start increasing your vinyl collection dramatically, once you get a good analog player.
"However" is the operative word in the previous post. "IMHO" is also of prime importance. Try and set up a side by side comparaison of the Audio Aero and analog front end you are considering. Play the same recordings in both formats. Use a variety of music. Play recordings you are familiar with. You have to make sure that the levels are matched, since any difference in volume will normally tend to favour the source playing a bit louder. Then let your own ears be your guide. Try not to think of this choice as though considering joining a club. Whatever you do, enjoy the music.
I side with Jeff. Your investment is in CD and, to have the lions share of your software sound as good as possible, you need to upgrade your CD rig. You don't even know the condition of your existing LPs. Put your toe in the analog waters and see how it feels; it won't cost too much. I too like the older Denons. If you need to buy a new LP rig then try the Technics 1200 for direct drive, or a rega P2 for belt drive.
thanks for the responses
keep them coming
especially recommendations

it's just when I start adding up the table arm cartridge shelf and preamp one's easily at $2-$4 k
used Capitoles under $5

living in New Orleans I have no such chance of such an audition
my sole audio outlet sells a few of the Nottinghams which I've heard good things about - but doesn't have the market to have one lying around in the store to audition
well maybe I'd get the choice later this summer
with a stop to NYC on vacation

thanks guys
If you buy the Capitole used, you will be able to sell it at almost no loss it it doesn't work out. Being an owner of the Mark II, I doubt you will be selling it. In your post you imply that you don't listen all that much to your vinyl collection and it is obvious your direction is toward digital(1,200 CDs...). Invest in the direction you are going. This does not mean you can't have a turntable for the occasional playing of vinyl.

The Audio Aero is a very fine piece of equipment. I use it for my CDs and I use the DAC for 2-channel HT. I also use the toslink connection through which I route my 5-disk Yamaha CD player when I don't want to bother changing CDs.

Again, do with your direction which you say to toward your CDs.
UncleJeff - yes the resale on an Audio Aero is a big plus
and I also do 2 channel home theater so using the dac end on my dvd player would be a good use

I do have some rather nice vinyl
particularly Japanese pressings played once (taped to Nak)
most of my stellar 70's - 80's music that I still play a lot

old Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Bowie, Roxy, Costello, Crimson, Eno etc

I've been reluctant to play these unless I have an analog setup that won't degrade them (the B&O is why bother)

You have a pretty good CD based source, a very fine line stage, even with only 300 LPs, I think it makes sense to seek a decent LP source. An old used Denon is not the ticket based on the rest of your system. The ARC PH2 is an awesome phono stage but the BAT P5 or P10 are as well.....and they are balanced as well. You should be able to find something to fit well with the LS5 here for $1000-1500 or so. As for the TT itself, there are great great deals on Sotas, Oracles and Well Tempered in the $1500 range that will give you a mighty fine start to fit with the rest of your system.
no neccessity to buy capitole.
in reality it's not the best value player available on the today's market. spare capitole fund to some descent analogue along with good value cheap player such as NAD541 or Cambridge D500.
Of course everyone on the Analog forum will suggest you get a turntable vs. an Audio Aero --> What else would you expect? I've owned all or most of the high end CD players out there and after introducing analog into my system, I find the notion that ANY of the top CD players are somehow "analog like", just plain silly.

Once you hear a decent turntable / cartridge you will immediately realize just how "un-analog-like" most any CD player truly is. There is one digital solution that somehow comes closer than any of the top CD players and that is a Meitner BiDat with all the latest (2003) mods. Its not as magical sounding (artificial) as the top players but it somehow does something right which makes it the ONLY choice for redbook digital right now. A used BiDat will set you back 600 ---> 900 bucks depending on the Mods. Pair that with your TEAC or other transport and forget digital. I wish I could tell you how/what/why the BiDat is so "right" its very difficult to describe.

Then.. get yourself a turntable. But which one?

I have recently done a lot of comparison between a Linn LP12 and many other tables. Most notably, I compared the Linn with Shelter 901 to a SME 20 with Koetsu Urushi. While the SME was more refined, controled, precise - it was also somehow mediocre sounding, somewhat borring, and un-lively when compared to the Linn. The Linn sounded "sloppy" compared to the SME but.. somehow was more fun to listen to - it's an odd paradox indeed. How can the SME be so borring yet be better? I guess its how you base judgement and discover what matters to you most. Surgical precision or lively fun music. I could guarantee that non-audiophiles would appreciate the sound of a Linn/Shelter 901 more than the sound of a SME/Koetsu but is that really saying something? For the extra money, the SME may be worth it to some folks but truth is, the Linn is a great table and could save analog newbies thousands while providing massive amounts of enjoyment in the world of analog as they are the best bargain going for "entry level" tables.

So to break from the norm of the Analog Forum, let me suggest you get yourself a nice digital rig. Whether that's the AA or something else it is up to you. Then sell your existing digital stuff to buy an "entry level" turntable. You'll be surprised at how much better that entry level table sounds than your top-of-the-line digital.
Shame on you Brian!!! 8-) An Io Signature owner recommending digital.

But Brian does have some good points on the Linn. I owned one for 18 years and then moved up to a Clearaudio Ref. I did not have the experiences like the comparison to the SME though. The Clearaudio has so much more resolution over the Linn and yet it has an incredible musicality without being analytical. Brian's recent selling of his Io to me here has brought on a level of LP playback that I never experienced in my home before.

But I still would recommend other TTs over the Linn as they bring on a bass foundation that I had been missing for so long. And other TTs I heard at friend's homes or dealers made me aware of the Linn's weakness. Still I enjoyed the Linn immensely but was aware of its shortcomings compared to others in its price and used pricing perspectives.

But even with all the LP enjoyment, a purchase of the awesome Manley Ref DAC last year has brought on a level of CD enjoyment like I had not heard before as well. I am wondering if an equally top-noth transport will bring on the same level of improvement.

Both formats have strengths and weaknesses and the trick is to know where to put those limited $$ to get the best out of our LPs and CDs.

So Tom, I think you have a decent CD playback already. Now we need to find a way for you to enjoy those LPs and have a reason to buy more.

Hi John... Glad you're having fun with the Io!! Its awesome! I don't want to spend too much time defending the Linn however, my comments as they pertain to the Linn are specific to the combo of the Shelter 901 and the Linn together. I've heard the Linn with less dynamic cartridges and not been too impressed. The Shelter 901 is such a dynamic & high resolution cartridge that it compliments the Linn very well and perhaps removes some of the stereotypical characteristics commonly associated with the Linn -- which are seen by some as negative. Its like anything else - synergy is mucho importante'.

If we break down the components individually we can see more clearly:

The Linn has a tendency toward a fat mid bass - the Shelter a tendency toward thin/detailed, the Linn has a tendency to roll the highs, the Shelter has extremely extended - airy highs, the Linn has bloated - loose bass, The Shelter has sledgehammer bass. The two together work very well and only when compared side by side with the SME 20 could I tell that the Linn/Shelter combo was sloppy & far less refined than I previously suspected. One thing about that comparison & for a lack of better explaination it seems I could hear the suspension of the Linn moving/bouncing ever-so-slightly when compared to the SME. The SME seemed solid whereas the Linn seemed almost somewhat out of control and adversely subjected to the dynamics presented by the Shelter. It was almost as if the Shelter was bouncing in/out of the groove when compared to the solidity - smoothness and precision of the SME. Not sure if I am describing this correctly as this comparison was the first time I ever noticed this behavior with the Linn suspension since no other table I've tried forced the Linn to perform at such a high level - so to speak.

Anyhow... I didn't mean to hijack this thread or anthing.

My point originally was that even a basic "value" table is going to sound better than the most digital rigs. Since Audiotomb has a significant investment in CDs, I suggested he invest the $$ in digital while opening the door to analog slowly with a entry level table that is commonly accepted as "nice sounding". Once he hears what that entry level table can do, he will then be better able to make a long term decision as to the direction of his system. If he never tries that high-end CD player, its perceived sound/performance will always be in the back of his mind - haunting him. He needs to compare in order to come to realization. Make sense?
Brian and John

thanks for the comments

my quest is for musicality - I don't need the latest or fanciest - just something engaging

my thoughts on putting my post here were as follows
those who had made the switch or invested heavily in both a digital and analog front end would steer me 1) above the entry level tables 2) to a level where I wasn't damaging my vinyl and getting stellar performance 3) would give experiences on their own digital forays - and yes comments on the glory and alternatives to the audio aero (I baited it a little)that sizeable cd collection will still be in heavy rotation

I had heard of the Meitner here, those that have it are impressed. The EVS Millenium itself is quite a formibidle dac and it has faired better than quality stuff like ARC and Sonic Frontiers I put it up against

I've been doing a little research -
the Nottingham tables seem to get rave reviews
and a mid line one could suit nicely or a modifiable VPI

thanks a lot for the input
Hi Tom:

No one has mentioned this, but if the 1700 is properly adjusted (and the stylus is in good shape) I doubt that it will do any harm to your LP's.

I would just not play it too loudly due to the rumble spec's, which are quite high for a belt drive design.

Might as well spin some LP's while deciding what your priorites are.
hey Dekay

well I need a phono stage first

I could play it on my bedroom system NAD 3400 integrated with phono (or maybe even rig that up into my pre - thats a little scarier)

alternatively my dealer has an old ARC PH2 that he wants way too much for $1300 and an NAD 533 so I could borrow those for a weekend and play on my real system


Yes, why not hook it up in the BR for starters if you have a place to set it?

The following is a link to an inexpensive phono preamp that looks interesting (the $300 version offered in the US). Not familar with it myself, just recently ran across the site.

If I do not end up building the new Bottlhead phono preamp (thought it might be fun as I already have their line preamp and amps) I may seriously look into this one.
Hi Audiotomb:
You mentioned a concern in your thread that you were weary of having only a 'dated collection to play'. I just wanted to mention that in my recent move into the world of vinyl, I find that I can source about 70% of new music on vinyl over the web. Hence, I don't find there to be too much of a software/music availability issue with vinyl, which surprised me (check out eBay or MusicFringe to really see what you can source on vinyl - you may be surprised). Overall, I find I'm way happier having gotten a great vinyl rig(Teres 135/OL Silver/Shelter 501Mk2) that just upgrading my CD player. My CD player is a pretty respectable YBA CD1a. I toyed with the idea of upgrading to a Capitole or MephistoII, but I don't think the CD upgrade would have been that material. The turntable really is quite a gem to listen to though. Go analog! All I can say is that I've no regrets. Cheers,
I think you need to start a new thread called
"What analog setup is best for $$$$$$$"
I don't know what the audio aero capital sells for but like TWL says He spent just under $4k for a killer analog setup. I think you could get a great sounding front-end and still have a lot of $$$$$ for some LP's, IMHO.
FWIW, I'd let my choices in music dictate which direction I would follow. I have an older Oracle and I'm considering upgrading to a Nottingham - I like the design - but every time I get out the check book I start looking around to see whats available in recordings to justify the purchase. I enjoy jazz - very hard for me to find good jazz records. I enjoy Classical - easy to find, but its mostly stuff I already have and don't listen to much anymore. I like BWhites comments, get a good but less expensive TT/amr/cartridge with good trade in value, Rega comes to mind, and concentrate on expanding your LP collection (but I wouldn't commit to a new CD player yet). Your success in expanding your collection might well dictate where to spend your big bucks.
thanks for all the suggestions

looks like I have a wonderful deal on an ARC ph2 and am going to buy it. I can always use the B&O to start out. Being that I have a balanced ARC LS5 this looks like a perfect match. I've heard great things about Nottingham and my local hifi dealer in New Orleans has ordered a few, so I may get to go demo a spacedeck.

I guess I'll need another rack to hold the ph2 and turntable. Are there shelf units where I might be able to add a section below to house the phono stage, or a floor framed rack (I have carpet on slab flooring).


I have just this two months gotten back into vinyl.
I suddenly was given a chance to purchase a bunch of classical LPs for $0.50 each. I didn't have a TT or a pre pre amp. But I bought them. Then I got a Audio Research PH1, Then a borrowed TT. I started looking around for some LPs. They are all over the place. Locally a bought almost 300 from a group of local stores selling off used LPs they had over a year, for $0.20 each, VG+++ or not.Along with hitting the various secondhand stores, I now have almost 2,000 LPs for about ??? guess $650. tops. And they are not "Mitch Miller Sings XXXX either!
I have enough 'new' music to keep my ears happy for a LONG time. It doesn't have to be new 2003 recording to be new. I have a lot of great 1950's mono shaded dogs etc that are as good as most of the CD stuff being recorded now, and it has one big advantage, it cost me $0.35 per LP.
And finally for my pet peeve, I no longer am supporting the rotten disgusting RIAA when I make MY music purchases. If the RIAA can figure out a way to capitalize off 30 year old used LPs, I'd be surprised. New music?? what new music do I need? The same old warhorses of classical music? the commercially crafted, souless pop diva's of rock? (I cannot comment on jazz, as I do not have any interest in it, beyond the tinyest interest in early jazz and blues)
So basically I am saying try the vinyl, Yeah, if you play it, it will wear out... if you play it on a high quality machine, with a stylus in good condition... you should get a couple of hundred plays out of each LP. Then you can go get another copy... Lets see, if I play every LP (of 2,000) a hundred times say an hour a LP, that's playing music an average of 6 hours a day... Thats NINETY ONE YEARS of playing time, for my 2,000 LPs. Hmmm worrying about them wearing out is not an issue.
Yeah I am rambling... gotta go flip the LP.
thanks all, I'm taking the analog plunge!!!

already buying up vinyl at my local used record store in New Orleans (good deals)and ebay

bought the ARC PH2 phono pre (on it's way)

now do I wait six months for an expensive rig $2-3K Nottingham Spacedeck is one option I am looking at

or do I jump on a used VPI HW19 MKiv for $900-1000

or a Nottingham Hyperspace for $1200

or other good deals

cartridge recommendations - most bang for the buck?

all suggestions welcome

I just went through this process and after buying and selling some of the tables you mentioned, I settled on the Nott Spacedeck. Wait and get the Spacdeck. In the end you will gravitate there anyway. You will not be disappointed.
For $1200, I am supposing that you mean the Interspace. If you can get the Hyperspace for $1200, RUN, do not walk, and get your money order sent!!!! Better yet, tell ME your source and I will run! :-)
4yank - sorry - yes an interspace $1200 with arm and cart

mikeyaya - that's just the type of comment I wanted to hear
do it right the first time

and thanks twl for all the comments offline