I walked into a dealer and got a shock....

I walked into a local Hi-Fi dealer with what I thought was just a turntable (Reaga P25 with Sumiko Blackbird Cart) needing minor repair. My vinyl sound has been a bit thin and the platter was making a grinding noise at startup and sometimes needing a push to get the platter moving. I described the rest of my system (Pro-Ject Tube Box SE II, Linn Kollektor, Mac MC402, Dali MS5's) and the size of my room (14x16) and the fact that the CD playback (Marantz DV7600)
It was suggested that my system was not matched and basically "too much electronics for a room that size". They recommended I replace the Linn preamp and the Mac Amp with an Audio Research VSi55 integrated (tubes). The price of the AR is about half of what I paid for the items that would be replaced. I understand price does not always equal performance. But I am shocked, especially since I just bought these items. Any thoughts on this suggested combination?
Ask if they will let you try the AR and determine for yourself.
You need a dealer who can repair your analog front end, not editorialize on your home system in an attempt to make a sale. You don't have 'too much electronic's' for a room that size. If the combo of the Mac and the Dali's float your boat be happy. Now if you don't like some aspect of the sound and your dealer was just responding to an observation from you about the sound, thats a different situation. (BTW, I have an old Oracle table which has always squeaked on start up and which I have always nudged a bit to get it up to speed faster - its never affected the sound.

If your system's sound is new to you because of the change of components (speakers, amps) perhaps you are hearing a mis-match. If only the TT/Cartridge/Phono stage are new, perhaps you need to work on cartridge set up, specifically VTA.

Personally, I think I'd not like the combo of an ARC amp and the Dali's from what little I know about their character from reading about the Dali's and ownership of some other ARC products.

But the bottom line is if YOU like what you have relax and enjoy it. :-)
sounds like a pretty blatant attempt at just making a sale. I'd second the first post: if they'll let you take it home to audition, at least overnight, you can see if they know what they're talking about - otherwise it's BS.
I second the poster how suggests 'let me try it in my system'. Yes, that means a loaner, for a least two weeks of time, with a written agreement of the terms. Some dealers will want a credit card number to put a credit card hold on the amount of the unit. Don't let them do it. If a loaner is not part of the dealer's business model, move on.
Pure BS. Don't pay them any mind unless there's something that you think is lacking, then address that.

They saw that you believe in good equipment and have the money to spend when motivated, so they tried to motivate you.

Your electronics will certainly handle a much larger room, but that's no reason to downgrade it. You fit the amp to the room with the volume control. You have equipment that will work for decades in a wide variety of envirnonments. It's not what I have, but it's what many consider "the best" so don't worry about it.

If you MUST spend some money, buy a better speaker cable or upgrade your ICs.

I'm not sure I fully agree with everyone here. It's really just the amp that's the issue. Could the dealer have been guessing that the MAC amp is just loafing along? In a small room, it would not be operating in anything like its optimal, middle range, whereas the ARC, being lower power, might be performing more within its optimal performance range. Plus, you'd have a tube line section, which many prefer. It would save some space. If you try it, you may prefer it. However, if you're going down this path, a used VAC Avatar might be better.
The Mac does just fine "loafing along". Its middle range is not "optimal" and it will operate at it's highest specifications with low loads. Where do you guys come up with this crap?

The OP never said he was having any problems other than with his TT. So why are we now questioning his amplifier. (A damn good one at that). These guys just sized him up and are trying to make him feel insecure to make a sale.

The person went into the dealer with a known problem and in the course of a discussion described the rest of his system. Nothing unusual there. At that point I think it's fair game for the dealer to comment on the system and to make suggestions. I don't think it's a big deal. I have no idea whether what they suggest would improve his system, but if they are willing to give you a loaner, where's the harm?
They are willing to give me a loaner for a couple of days but I am a bit skeptical about it which is why I posted - to get your collective feedback. I need to decide if it is worth the pain of setting up, etc. The dealer also said that the Sumiko Blackbird is a bad match for the Rega P25 because the P25 does not allow VTA (like all Rega's). A smaller issue than replacing a $5-6K Amp but still I wonder about that one also. Any thoughts on this TT/Cart match? Thanks for the feedback so far.
The dealer was just trying to make a sale, too much electronics for the room is absurd,You have a great amp and it is going to sound great in any size room.I would question the integrity of the dealer.
IMHO, using a TT with an arm that does not allow VTA adjustment is not a fatal problem, just restrictive and a PITA to set up. The problem usually arrises out of the differnt thickness of LP's which you might play. If your original set up is calculated for 180gm LP's it won't sound as good when you play 200gm or stuff thinner than 180 gm. You can do some down and dirty adjustments by just selecting mats platter mats of different thicknesses to compensate for the difference in thickness of the LPs so that you can always have an 'in the ball park' setting. An arm with an easily adjustible VTA is preferable. The other possibility which would help would be selecting a cartridge with a stylus that wasn't a line-source type, more conical in shape, and not as in need of an absolutely perpendicular cantact with the record groove. Your dealer could be right but you'd sure what to hear/research what he proposed as a solution.

BTW, IMHO, unless you have a preference for a speaker/amp combo that is best described as tonally neutral and tending to sound lean and analytical, and many folks do seem to like this, I think you would be dissapointed in the short and long run. But, if its free it is not much of an effort to plug it in, let it warm up, and get a free education. That is how we all learn, I think. :-) Who knows maybe you'll love it, they are your ears, not mine, or your dealers.
Does it shock you when you walk into a car dealership and they try to sell you a car? BTW, you should always start your Rega with a gentle push on the platter. This will extend the life of the low torque motor used in this type of deck.
Another bit of BS. Lack of VTA adjustment will impact any cartridge, not just the Blackbird. The Blackbird should work fine with that arm and your equipment. They probably want you to get a low output MC so you'll have to buy the cartridge and a step up device that they'll sell you.

I wouldn't trust these guys one bit. They're making stuff up and it doesn't make any sense.

Your Blackbird's compliance at 12x10-6Cm/dyne is considered at the high end of low compliance. Your RB300 tonearm's mass is 11.5gm, which is at the very low end of what's considered "moderate mass". The two should be a very good match up with regards to resonance, which is the primary consideration when picking a combo. Like Dave said; Addressing VTA is everyones' cross to bear, and this saleman's observation was unadulterated BS. Too much electronics for the room? Give me a break!! He must have been selling used cars before he started in audio. I would most definitely take the AR home and try it. you may just fall in love with the fully tubed system. If so: return it and find one here on AudiogoN, or elsewhere. I wouldn't spend a dime at a store that viewed me as a patsy!
That's either the biggest crock I've heard in 35 years with this hobby (including sales when I worked my way through college on commission) or some amazing physics: "too much gear in the room". Well, maybe, if the gear keeps you from locating your speakers properly or youlisteing chair is in the middle of a standing wave.

Otherwise, you need either a new dealer or a lot better explanation of what "too much..." means. I think it means they're insulting your intelligence, your ears and your common sense and they think you're foolish enough to buy stuff just because they tell you to. Very suspicious and grossly weird explanation. You've got nice gear.

Maybe if they meant "you have a lot of gear with impedence interface problems that can be cured with a nice integrated", I could understand that, but the way you put it, it sounds like pure, unadultered (and insulting) hogwash.
I went from a MA6500 to an Ayre AX7e to the VSi-55 and am happy with my choice. I like the depth of soundstage of the Vsi-55 compared to any SS integrated I've owned. It has less power and is more neutral but it gets the depth and texture of instruments and vocals right. I find this important. I also prefer the Ax7e to the other Mac integrateds I've heard if that helps.

I'd imagine however that the MC402 with a good pre would be a tough act to follow. If you want to buy the C2200 and ship the combo over I'd be glad to send you VSi-55 for a few weeks :)

I think a good dealer will guide you toward a synergy that he feels you will appreciate. I think this takes time and some kind of trusting relationship to get right.
I think a dealer will say just about anything, they can not be passive and so sometimes the comments can get pretty lame. "too much electronics for a room that size" is an example.

I sold furniture for a few years in the 80s and I found that the successful salespeople were the ones that pushed their ideas on others, whatever approach they used did not seem to matter as much as the fact that they tried something (no passive helpful types like myself did very well) and if they turned off 90% of the customers the remaining 10% bit and they made a sale.

Sorry to get off topic but it sounds to me like you had an insensative person 'helping' you. Ignoring the tt issue would make me uncomfortable as well.

sorry to get off topic, just my 2cents
You ever hear the story about the frog and the scorpion - same thing, except he's a salesman....don't take it personal, just play the game.

Response #1 - "lets get the turntable fixed first, then we can talk about some of your ideas for changes to my system."
Response #2 - "sounds like you have some interesting ideas about my system. I like the way it sounds now so any component change would have to sound substantially better before I would spend the money. If you really think I would like XYZ that much, let me take it home and play it for a week in my system, then I will tell you what I think."
Remember the golden rule... and you have the gold.
What was that famous line in the movie, 'Amadeus' where, after hearing one of Mozart's longer works, the King remarked...

"Too many notes...."
Thanks for all the responses. You guys help quite a bit. I'm looking for another avenue to get the TT looked at and repaired. Hopefully its just in need of oil or some other easy fix. As for the AR, a free audition is tempting if for no other reason than to check out tubes. A way to learn with no obligation. I agree with the posts relative to the dealer.
It is common, although not always correct, to think that less power gets you more finesse. It is quite possible that the salesman felt the MAC was overkill "for a room that size" and that you'd get better sound by going for quality rather than quantity. ...and MAC is not everyones cup of tea.

BTW, another vote for starting the platter by hand, always a good idea for any table. The sound you're hearing is simply the belt rubbing on the pulley before the momentum of the platter catches up with the motor. This happens even on new Regas sometimes.
Come on Pied, unless you know something specific about the Mac, don't speculate about this stuff. My 1000 watt Rowland Continuum 500 is just hunky-dorry idling at 1 watt (sweet and transparent, better than my single-ended, micro-watt, Class A tube amp). I don't know about the Mac other than general reputation, but there's no reason to believe that just because it's powerful that it can't work at low wattage.

I know that what you say can be true with some poorly designed amps, but I don't expect it of Mac.

Hi Dave,

I think my post makes it clear that I wasn't stating my own opinion, and not specific to any brand, simply a common belief that the salesman may hold. Just playing devil's advocate with a spoonful of compassionate sugar to balance out the above cynicism. Although it is challenging for a salesperson to be truly objective and altruistic on behalf of the customer, personal integrity pays off in the end. There certainly are dealers who recognize this.
Piedpiper said:

" that you'd get better sound by going for quality rather than quantity...and MAC is not everyones cup of tea." among other things.

You're the first to imply that the Mac isn't good quality and unless one of those "everyones" doesn't include you, you're implying that the Mac has a weakness. I don't think your post makes anything clear. It implies that the saleman may be right, but you provide no basis to support the salesman's remarks.

This hobby, in case you haven't noticed is full of extremely varied opinions. My comments above are intended quite literally. You can try to read into them if you like but I was simply trying to add a little perspective since that is what the poster requested. No harm meant.
i own a rega 25, too. i also get a grinding sound upon start-up...i don't like it, but for the meanwhile, i'm gonna live with it. i also found the rega 25 "thin" sounding until i got an outboard power supply for it...the heed orbit. actually, the rega was still thin sounding after i got the heed orbit, but then i switched out the stock power cord (on the heed) for an after market one and voila!!..the rega 25 isn't inherently thin sounding. the proper upgrades can help bring out the best in it.
It's one of the peculiarities common to our species, that we are always relying on "experts" to tell us what we should like. Moreover: We rely on the same "experts" to TELL US whether or not they ARE "experts."

Some info for those with Rega "grinding issues".
The comment "too much electronics for that room" makes me hiughly suspicious of the talents and knowledge of that particular salesman.

I wish more sales guys would just shut up and listen once in a while.
Azmoon : Before you make any other audio decisions , you need expert advice on the Rega. I suggest going to the Rega Web Site requesting a solution to the problem and perhaps advice on locating a tech to assist you. Piedpiper is good with diagnostics but a second opinion helps. All the best.

SALESMAN = You have too much gear..
TRANSLATION = Trade that stuff in since I could resell it in a New York minute for a nice profit.

My understanding the Goldring 1042 is a perfect match for the P25.
I would check to see if the ball bearing is still in the well and replace the oil with some 90w gear oil.(4 small drops).
How about a new belt?
Also check to see if the motor spindle is slipping.
I have read that a drop of superglue will work.

My second hand Rega P25 was running slow.
Discovered the ball bearing was missing.
Located a new belt, ball bearing and some 90w oil.
Then it ran too fast, so I put 4 layers of electrical tape around the subplatter.
Ahhh. Just right.

I downloaded a Stevenson Protractor, set up the alignment and bought a second hand Rega Wall Mount.
Regarding the Rega 25... When I had that table and inquired about that grinding sound, Rega told me that it was belt slippage. They told me to clean the belt and (I think they said) use talcum powder on it. ..no problem after that.
About the Rega too...there are numerous upgrades - rewire the arm, dropped counterweight, Boston mat, but the thing that worked best for me was getting cones - there are many makes - and invert the cones, put 3 under the Rega with the points up into and under that beautiful surround.
I think dealers sense what you came in the store for and run with it. If you ask about a certain brand, that's what the store will guide you toward. If you come in for a speaker, the store will send you to speakers, rather than discuss an appropriate amp to drive the speakers you have.
If the grinding noise is only on start up you be pretty sure it is just a belt/pulley/motor issue, rather than a missing bearing but by all means check it out. It's easy to do but be careful of loosing the ball bearing. It's small and rolls. Good luck and enjoy!
Update - I should mention that the dealer I went to was the one that Rega sent me to!! Actually, I went to the Rega site and they routed me to Sound Organisation who referred me to a local dealer. I have since talked to another Rega dealer who gave me suggestions but who will not "open up" the P25. So I have tried the simple stuff (cleaning etc.). Noise is reduced but still have to give a slight nudge to the platter about once every 10X I turn it on. I will live for this for a while until I can find someone to work on the guts which I am reluctant to do myself ( a listener more than a technician but learning). Thanks to all you guys!

Stringreen - Thanks for the input. Can you please tell me how to find the cones you are referring to?
To rephrase my former advice, the Rega manual instructs you to always start the platter with a manual push. This is ALWAYS a good idea with ANY turntable in that it saves wear on the motor and belt, if it has one. Many tables specifically use low torque motors that typically exhibit less vibration than their higher torque brethren, with the assumption of hand starting the platter. This becomes even more relevant with very heavy high mass platters.

Pulling the platter off and removing the subplatter/bearing is not a big deal. Just be careful to align it as you pull it out and put it back so as to minimize any initial chafing. There will be a small ball bearing at the bottom of the bearing well. If this is not there, replacements are available.
..again... I never pushed my Rega, and once the belt was cleaned I never had any trouble. Belts I was told lasts at least 5 years.