"I’ve been looking at some used Music Hall MFM and Ikura turntables in the 500 range over kill for 1st TT?"
Shame on you. A system can never sound too good.
What ever you decide to go with, make sure you post first. Vinyl is not difficult, but you need to be aware of certain things. The phono cart needs to be compatible with the phono preamp. Same thing for the phono pre and line stage, and a few other factors as well. Just make sure you have someone that knows analog look at what you plan to do first. It's easy to make mistakes with you are new.
Looks like I'll need a phono pre and a turntable any suggestions on a pre?
So your going down the rabbit hole, huh?
First thing to is to realize that a TT is as much a precision machine as it is an electronic component. This being said, $500 is not overkill for your first TT - its really just the starting point if you want to get a decent modern, new deck. You have to pay for precision.
The TT’s you mentioned, along with entry level units from Pro-ject and Rega are a good place to begin. They are all simple manuals, belt driven and come pre-equipped with MM cartridges. Also consider the new U-Turn Orbit that is built in the USA and can be custom built from their website. A fully loaded model will come in around your $500 budget. If you don't have a phono stage yet, the U-Turn Pluto is a great phono preamp.
I would stay away from the myriad of cheap TT’s, all being built by a Chinese company called Hanpin, and marketed under the names of Ion, Gemini, Stanton, Pioneer, Reloop and even Audio Techinca. And stay away from any TT with a built-in phono stage - these are usually very cheap, noisy and designed as a plug and play solution.
And last as the above poster points out, it would be good to know someone already familiar with vinyl to help guide you. If not, take your time and learn as much as you can before you buy anything.
One last word...there will be many recommendations to buy vintage, mainly from the 70’s. The biggest reason being the extreme quality of these machines back in the day. And they are right but keep in mind that all these TT’s are pushing 40 years old and will still require some degree of repair or at the very least, a thorough cleaning of their internals. That means opening the unit up. If comfortable doing this, great - there are bargains to be had. If your not and must take it to the shop, you have exceeded its value, so stick with new. Also, the vinyl resurgence is driving up the cost of these vintage TT’s too.
Good luck on the journey - a properly set up analog front end can sound amazing.
A Pioneer PLX will wipe the floor with any of the budget Regas, MHs or Pro-Jects, even if it is possibly (no definitive proof) made by Hanpin.
Whenever I see this question, I usually recommend getting a table in the > $1200 range. $1200 because that's where turntables almost universally offer precision machined parts and good sonic performance. The plinths and platters are heavier and better damped, the bearings are higher quality, and motors are typically quiet in this range.
If you only want to adopt the medium for playing a dozen reissues of your favorite albums and the hipster factor, (like many kids are doing) then you'll do fine with something like a U-turn Orbit. Anything less is basically a toy.
The "rabbit hole" often begins when one is looking for better sound quality than what CDs offer. The common misconception among many folks who are just beginning with this medium is that it's interently better than digital. In the case of some recordings, that can be true. However, analog rigs that sound better than CD playback in terms of dynamics tend to cost thousands.
If your goal is to simply get some analog "warmth," (with analog sourced pressings) it can be achieved with budget rigs, but I wouldn't expect any jaw dropping experience in terms of other sonic parameters.
It can also be a "rabbit hole" if you're someone who always looks for the weak links in your system.
Thanks everyone looks like I'll have to save a while longer and up my budget a lil to achieve what I'm after. I have Krell system with Tyler Acoustic Decade speakers which is very revealing so I'd have to get a run of the mill TT and be disappointed so I'll just save more and look into a 1200-1800 budget. As far as a phono stage what do you guys recommend?
While saving for the right TT, spend some time researching pnonostages regarding the amount of gain provided and cartridge loading parameters. Systems differ in the gain provided post cartridge and phonostage and cartridges vary in gain provided and electrical load requirements. Many threads available on this forum refer to these characters.
For a first rig, if possible, I'd try to get a VPI Scout Jr. One can be on sale for around the $1000. For a versatile phono preamp, I'd go with the Lehman Audio Black Cube for around $400. That will serve you well for a while. The dealer I work with loves this combo, so feel free to message me if you'd like to get in touch with him. It's a great value in my opinion. Best of luck.
It's apparent by your system that you're accustomed to high quality reproduction. It will take some doing and expenditure to equal your present setup. When I got into vinyl about three years ago I decided to wait until the system that I could afford was a keeper. Glad I did.
OK. WHY do you want to get into vinyl? Have you heard turntable set ups that blew you away? Are there titles available only on LP that you can't find on CD? Have people told you that LP's sound better than CD's? For the life of me, this new phase of vinyl nostalgia is bewildering at best. Pops and clicks, the possibility of needle damage and the unnerving impossibility of track selection is enough to make me scream! And better sound? If YOU think so then go for it. I do own a turntable (VPI TNT Mark5 with 12 inch VPI arm and a Benz ruby cartridge, all set up at the VPI factory). Does it sound as good as my Cary 306 SACD player? It's very close. I upgraded my Cary to an Esoteric X-03SE player. It isn't even close now! Man, the Esoteric is a mile ahead. Certainly I can throw more money at the VPI but how much to better the Esoteric? Thousands! Get a turntable if you're really compelled to BUT, hear one that sounds great to you. Don't read about how warm or great they are. The only real advantage I can think of is the vast number of records out there that may never see release on CD and of course the great 12.5 X 12.5 area for artwork. Other than that, $2000.00 put into a great CD player will blow away most $5000.00 turntable set ups. My humble opinion. Good luck. Joe
I think its great your getting into vinyl is great as always its just another medium to find music. and the factor of holding it in your hand is not to be ignored. I like both good digital and good analog so both can be a good source for music. I think your idea to hold out to buy somthing in a higher budget is a good call. there is some nice tables in the $1200-2000 range that will satisfy long term. also the black cube is a good phono pre as well as the Gram Slee stuff and the ifi iphono2 is gettiing great reviews all in that $500 range of course more mony will yeald beter sound but i think thats a good starting piont. as you will want to invest in records '-) good luck.
Another idea is to buy a good vintage Garrard 301-401 or lenco and build it up your self. that will take some research but well worth the time and long term investment.
I think it's a good idea for you to wait & rethink your budget as $500 only buys a decent cartridge today.
If you can find a vintage "restored" table with arm for a G note & a really nice phono stage for another G @ $2,500 you'll have a great start as you will only have to upgrade your cartridge in the future.
Then as your vinyl collection grows you can spend what you wish to upgrade piece by piece.
If you buy junk - you will never be happy & will never recover the cost of your mistake + you may lose your interest in analogue forever.
Be a little patient & save up some cash for the right first table even if it takes a year - In the meantime buy an album every month so you will have something to look forward to listen to.
Rome wasn't built in a day & I don't think anyone here has built any part of their system on their very first try.
Remember this post 5 years from now & then look @ your $5K analogue set up.
What ever vinyl rig you end up with, remember ... its all about the music. Instead of spending your money on quality reissues at $25 per pop, start shopping at the local thrift stores and garage sales for your records. Always check the records in direct sunlight before buying anything as it will brutally expose the flaws in the vinyl. Find a good used record store that will allow you to trade in your rejects for store credit. Remember that all records of the same recordings sound different from each other. One record of Steely Dan may sound dull and rolled off ... and the duplicate may have him in the room right in front of you. Lastly, be sure to buy a quality record cleaning machine ... something like the VPI 16.5. Record collectors NEED the record cleaning machine ... even for brand new records.
Frank just said it, but let me emphasize his advice by repeating it: The VERY first thing you should do is buy a good record cleaner. Once an LP groove (each side of an LP is one long continuous groove, from beginning to end) has been damaged, there is no way to repair it. Franks recommendation of the VPI HW-16.5 is a good one.
I have Krell system with Tyler Acoustic Decade speakers which is very revealing so I'd have to get a run of the mill TT and be disappointed so I'll just save more and look into a 1200-1800 budget. As far as a phono stage what do you guys recommend?
I’m thinking I should get into vinyl what do I need to know?
one thing to consider.
Which Krell are you using ?
they typically use a lot of power - high wattage at idle. With high power amps you will need to have a good grounding system in place, and a high quality phono stage to match the Krell. Vinyl does not amplify a high level signal like digital. If your phono stage is not up to par you will hear hum/noise/pops/clicks. Also if a Single Ended phono stage, you will need to be extra careful; the type that is anal with your cables/wires arrangement.
For this reason alone, I do not see your budget leaving much for a table after you buy a good phono stage. fwiw - One of the amps I own is a Krell 600 - it uses 430 watts at idle.
I cautiously re-entered the vinyl world, read lots of posts both pro and con, so I just bought a cheap B+O turntable for starters, was encouraged enough to buy a used Music Hall MMF7. Pla;ying that through a Supratek Chenin preamp and Connie J MMF2250 amp and Revel Performa bookshelf speakers.
All I can say is I haven't turned my CD player on since then, rather than analyze the sound of my system, I'm getting foot tapping head nodding joy from the sound, something about the natural warmness of LP's, using a tubed preamp is part of the rightness.
I just got a cheap Spin Clean ($80) and a vintage discwasher brush for the cleaning duties.
One of the better suggestions I got regarding re-entering the LP world was having access to lots of cheap vinyl ups the fun factor.
I have that in spades, here in Baltimore, be sure to inspect any used lps, you can see quickly the beat up stuff, I usually pass on it, but most of what I'm finding is in surprisingly good shape, just needs some spring cleaning.
I recently re-purchased an analog front end to have access to my 500-600 LP's in storage. I got tired of tweaking and the work of analog and only because of the idle music did i get back.
I am having decent luck with the Clearaudio Concept table with Verify ARM with the Concept MC cartridge. This table is kindly represented as plug and play package.
There are certainly things that would improve the table but it does not embarrass itself in the least. There is a new one with MC cartridge on Ebay right now for $1669 shipped. Normal pricing is $2200 for the package.
This table is a clear winner from my perspective as a good starting point but the cartridge is low output that will require some serious gain from a phono stage.
Once again, after selling my Linn years ago and doing strong digital I only re-entered to listen to my idle LP collection.
Digital front ends have come a long way and a poorly recorded LP along with the same on CD will deem the work of analog as a tiring event.
Best of Luck with your adventure.
Last year an old highschool buddy wanted to return to vinyl to enjoy his old albums again, but he had just $1,500 to invest. I built a modest, yet flexible and beautiful-sounding system for him and kept it under his budget, so I will share that with you. Happy spinning :-)
Turntable: Music Hall USB-1 $221
Digital Filter: Jitterbug $49
Integrated Amp: PS Audio Sprout $499
Speakers: Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 $350
Speaker Stands: Wharfedale Diamand 10.1 (matched pair) $200
Interconnects: AudioQuest Tower $23/half metrehttp://www.audioadvisor.com/mobile/prodinfo.asp?number=AQTO3R&opt=2703&gclid=CJXB6Orr1c0CFQq...
If you need a separate phono pre look no further than lounge audio LCR MKIII. Does almost everything right at a ridiculously cheap price point. Will easily compete with anything <$1500 from personal experience and reviews. Good luck.