Is it worth expanding into Vinyl???

I've been kicking around the idea of going vinyl for awhile so I figured I'd post some questions. I understand the difference between Vinyl and Digital from a sound recording and reproduction standpoint and the pros/cons of it, but I guess real world opinion specific to my situation is what I seek.

I was born in '79 so by the time I got into music, Digital had already taken over. As such, I was never exposed to Vinyl as a child and have been raised on the digital "sound". At this point, I have a fairly substantial collection of SACD and DVD-Audio which serve as my primary listening material. Genre's are very dispersed including just about everything.

If I decided to venture into Vinyl, I would want to do so with a minimal investment up front (for the hardware)...perhaps around $500-$600. I also see that one can spend over $30k on a turntable with tonearm and cartridge, so that's a little intimidating to me. I don't want to waste even my measly $500 on getting into vinyl if I need to spend substantially more to get sound that exceeds that of my current all-digital setup.

Here is my current setup, so the only addition would be that of the turntable itself, played through these components. I suppose I'm just looking for opinions from anyone who has one regarding whether a ~$500 turntable on this system can yield sonic results that equal or exceed my current capabilities (realizing that the recording itself plays a tremendous role in the reproduction).

SACD/CD Player: Music Hall Maverick (stock)
DVD-A Player: Denon 3910 (stock)
PreAmp: Outlaw Audio 950
Amplifier: Outlaw Audio 750
Fronts: Axiom M80 v2 (Bi-Wired)
Center: Axiom VP150 v2
Rears: Axiom QS8 v2
Sub: Axiom EP500 v2
Interconnects: Outlaw Audio
Speaker Wire: Monster M1.4s BiWire

I should also mention that a nice, wide and open soundstage is the most important characteristic I look for in listening. The more "real" it all sounds, the happier I am.

Any opinions or feedback would be greatly appreciated. Turntable recommendations would also be greatly appreciated!
Once you start, you will have entered a money pit.

You've been warned.

For you, no, unless the music you are interested in is pre 80's. Once the production of music was driven by the digital format, there is little point in having this music on vinyl. I know, there is a large amount of current music on LP, but it is digital sourced. Best way to check that out is at a dealership wherein you can compare the LP with the SACD equivalent. One of the best ways to see what the pre 80's music was all about is in the Miles/Blue issues. That music is available in every format under the sun, analog and digital. I have them all, vinyl, tape, cd, sacd and each in many different mastering productions, imports, and other. You need to listen to as many as possible to determine what sounds best to you. I am sure one of the first blu-rays will be this material remastered to super hi resolution. Can't wait.
i'm not 100% sure, but i don't think the outlaw 950 preamplifier has a phono input. i'm kicking around the idea of getting into vinyl myself and i'm pretty sure a dedicated phono input is needed to properly playback vinyl. something to do with riaa equalization i suppose. hopefully those more knowledgeable of the black circle will chime in.
YES !!!!! It's definitely a good idea for you to add an analog front end to your system. You have some very good stuff, and I'm sure your music sounds real nice. An "easy way" into analog would be one of the "complete packages" where the cartridge is already mounted on the arm. In your budget, I'd seriously consider the NAD 555, Rega P1, Music Hall 2.2, and Project Debut III. Obviously, if you can spend a little more, the options will greatly improve.
Check out the popular analog websites (Music Direct, Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, Needle Doctor, etc.) and you'll get some good ideas.
Good Luck, and Happy Listening !! Once you start listening to LP's, even on a "modest" turntable, you'll be hooked !!
I agree with Tvad. If you don't have the records already,
stick with what you have and buy more digital recordings. (I'm 60 with 1500 records)
The answer to your question is a RESOUNDING YES! (IMHO). I too have recently re-entered the vinyl world after a 30 year absence; and man am I sorry that I wasted those years!

My first table was a VPI Scout ($1,800 retail) and it knocked my socks off. I used a $650 Dynavector 20xl as my cartridge. It took about ten seconds of listening to George Harrison strum the guitar on ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ on the Beatles Love album for me realize just how good vinyl can sound. There is just something about vinyl that digital (even very good digital) does not have. Vinyl has a more “organic”, warmer, richer, denser sound that I just don’t hear very often from vinyl.

My advice: try one of the entry level Rega tables or better yet, spend a little more and get a used or new VPI Scout; good deals on used Scouts can often be found on AudiogoN’s for sale site. Take a chance on one of these and you will never look back!

I have moved-on and “up” from the Scout and I am all the better for it! Vinyl still rules!!!
Thank you all for your input. The truth is, my music preference is probably considered odd for my age, but I generally prefer music from the 60s and 70s and some 80s to today's music. I've also been completely turned off from the pop/rock that I grew up with and much more into the less-commercialized but more talented musicians and genres (ie. Jazz/Blues). However, this isn't to say that I don't still listen to content across the entire spectrum, both chronologically and genre-wise.

I hear what some have suggested RE: continuing to expand my digital collection, but the truth is, there isn't much out there in hi-res digital that I want that I don't already have. SACD, while still a WONDERFUL format, is more-or-less dead unless you're a huge classical fan. I enjoy classical music, but it's definitely not my first choice most nights when I head down to my listening requires a special mood.

Modern day CDs, except for the few that come out on audiophile labels, are for the most part, garbage. Some very talented musicians with some very good music...but overproduced to the point of destruction and it literally angers me. You'll hear a song that you really like on the radio...which is low quality but understood as buy the CD to bring home and throw into your setup and it's dynamically, flat as a pancake. Sometimes you get lucky and you'll find an artist that cares more about the sonic reproduction of his/her music than how loud it can be, but it's few and far between outside of the above-stated audiophile labels.

Anyway - I think I'll kick this around some more, but thanks again for all of your comments and feedback. If anyone has anything else to add, feel free as it's always much appreciated.
Never leave it to me to give advice. Every time I do, I am sorry. Only you will know if it is right. Do you start off big and find out if it is right for you, or do you dip a toe in the water, never realizing the potential for vinyl? So here goes.....

Spend a $1000 on a turntable/cartridge, and at least $500-700 on a phono stage. I spent a $1000 on a TT, the MMF-7, and $900 on a phono stage, the Graham Slee Era Gold V. I enjoy finding pristine records at the store and bringing them home. I have better sound staging, more realistic voices and instruments, and feel like I am "there". On the downside, unless your records are new (expensive), there will be noise from the surface, including pops and static. CDs give you black backgrounds, great frequency range and zero noise, but they are more "clinical". For this to be successful, you will have to enjoy the discovery of records in stores, tolerate the surface noise, and go through the ritual of cleaning records, all to enjoy the sweetness and realism that digital hopes to achieve. In my limited experience, you have to spend $2000 on a record rig to better what you will get with digital. Once you pass that mark, you have to spend much more on digital to surpass that. My advice is worth what you paid for it. But, if the analog bug bites you, you will have moments of audio bliss. I guarantee it.

Get a entry level Rega or better yet a VPI Scout with a Dynavector 20xl.... Good used Scouts can be had right here on AudiogoN...

You will not be sorry! Vinyl has an organic sound, a richness, a dense sound, and a warmth that even very good digital just cannot seem to match.

The two are quite different. One very telling fact for me is that I can buy lots of music variety at low cost - clean the records and play and enjoy or play and discard depending on my taste and the condition of the vinyl.

One could have a trial run by buying a used TT - Rega P3 or Music Hall MM5 and a few albums at a local thrift or goodwill.

If you like them you're golden. If not you can sell the TT for near what you paid for it.
Having grown up in the 60's and 70's I listened to a great deal of vinyl and have since listened to a great deal of music on CD. Actually, in my childhood household there was a large collection of 78 rpm records. Drawbacks to both - for one thing vinyl requires handling with extreme care and essentially wears down each time you play it - though not much with current systems. I knew audiophiles back then that were compulsive about the care they gave their vinyl but you still ended up with unwanted pops and clicks due to damage. On the flip side (pun intended) CD's of some 60's and 70's music often do not sound like the original vinyl. For example, I purchased the Beatles White Album as soon as it initially hit the record stores. Over the years I gave away, left at an abode, sold, or lost the record so many times that I repurchased it at least 5 times. I no longer have the vinyl but did purchase the CD. I listened to every track on the old pressings several hundred times. The CD does not sound like the original vinyl. When I first heard the CD I though it was just my imagination. However,in an interview, George Harrison made the comment that he did not recall hearing certain sounds until he heard the CD, and he was one of the artists. Now I am not saying that the sound wasn't there on the original masters - could just be that the transfer process wasn't all that great. That to me the big drawback to CD's of music from prior to development of the CD is that you may not be hearing was there at the time. Remastering is also popular and has advantages - it sounds cleaner. It also has disadvantages - it changes what was there. It depends on what you are after. I obviously see the value of vinyl from a nostalgic viewpoint. If you are after the most authentic 60's sound then vinyl may be the way to go as to that music. One issue is whether the new vinyl pressings sound the same as the original pressings. People into vinyl can probably answer that question. The systems on which most people listened to the original pressings at the time they were first released did not approach the quality of the current systems. So if you are after the sound of that era I doubt that you would have to spend much to get there.
Yes, IMO, expanding into vinyl is worthwhile if one has a grand or so to spend and is curious about checking out the medium for the first time or returning to it. I would recommend the Music Hall MMF-5.1 based on the experience I've had with my MMF-5. It's generally in the price range you quoted (maybe a little higher with the 5 cost me $650 a year ago). My CD collection has more or less collected dust ever since I purchased this table with the stock cartridge. Trouble with vinyl is that there's sooooooooo many upgrades that appeal to the mechanical aesthetic that curiosity gets the better of nearly everyone who delves into it. I'm enjoying the music more than ever since I got my turntable but I'm always wondering just how much better that other cartridge or other entire analogue rig would sound. Conversely, for most folks of average technical aptitude like myself, a digital media player isn't something you can tweak and tinker with to the same degree...
If you want to collect and care for records it can be fun, but honestly, you'll p#ss away alot of money before you'll even know if its your thing or not. No buying a big dog, when you've never grown up around a big dog.
I agree with Stickman451. (are you a drummer stickman451?)

Nicely put: "Vinyl has a more “organic”, warmer, richer, denser sound"

I might add: a "liquid texture" that digital is unable to capture or even reproduce for that matter. Which brings me to a good point made by Buconero117: "a large amount of current music on LP, but it is digital sourced"

Case in point; I have all the available formats of Rush's Snakes & Arrows album, namely CD, MultiChannel Surround and LP. And while I still prefer listening to the LP over the other digital formats, it was recorded in the digital domain. Hence the LP still lacks what many of my other LP's have that were recorded in the analog domain. Still, the LP sounds better than the digital formats in the following ways: more micro detail with texture, while easier on the ears with analog / vinyl a bit laid back in comparison to the digital. The surround format is nostalgic in a funny way, but is not enduring as vinyl in that I do not really care to listen to surround but maybe once or twice. The LP I can listen to over and over again.

My conclusion: If I could have any recording whether digital or analog master, I would choose LP if available simply because, to my ears, vinyl always sounds superior. Even the recently released Dark Knight soundtrack is quite impressive on vinyl over the cd.

'Nuf said.
I also agree with Tvad, although I am a hard core vinyl-man.
Quite apart from the money pit he mentions, new vinyl pressings are often questionable in quality (full of clicks and pops) and in buying old vinyl you can never be really sure of the quality. I have to agree with Jaybo. If I were in your shoes I'd rather hold on to my money until high res. digital downloads became reality and get a music server or a suitable USB or firewire DAC for the laptop. I believe you have to spend more money than what you are prepared to spend to make LPs sound better than what you listen to now. Stickman451's advice is good, but he spent a lot more money it seems, than you are planning to. You will be opening a Pandora's box. Just my 2cents of course.
vinyl is great but the sound of records vary greatly. I find some of my old rock albums can sound pretty bad. Anything new I have sounds terrific. Old jazz like Dave Brubeck sounds terrific.

I guess what I am saying is that in general there is a bigger variance in sound with LPs compared to CDs but when they are good it is no contest vinyl wins hands down.

I recently took the jump back into vinyl, oh and bought a Great Dane having never had one! Sorry, it just hit me funny you said that! I am waiting on my Phono preamp to start using my new table (Marantz TT15)
I'll chime in here. I got my first record player (Garrard changer) in 1957, when I was 12. I believe I bought my first CD player in 1982. I enjoy both formats, but I recognize that they are two different animals. Best that you don't try to "beat" the sound of CD with a budget analog rig--you'll only frustrate yourself by trying to wring CD virtues out of vinyl. Vinyl will never be as quiet as digital, it will never be as easy, never achieve the frequency extremes, and (arguably) never be as transparent. CD will never give you the palpability of analog, nor the density, rhythm and drive. The "you are there" experience is really just a mental trick we perform on ourselves--we can get that from both formats. But surface noise can hinder that feeling for some listeners new to analog.

I think Tgrisham gave you a good description of the sonic qualities of the two formats, and good advice. I would probably change his numbers a bit by buying used: a Lehmann Black Cube can be had for $300, and some pretty good entry-level table/cart combos for well under $1000. Used records are cheap ($3-$5 at used record stores here in Minneapolis) and you can wash them with mild detergent (rinse well!) and dry them on a dishrack. Give yourself 6 months to get accustomed to the sonic and mechanical demands of vinyl replay--if by then you still haven't found a place for it in your heart, you can easily resell the equipment here at Audiogon for what you paid. It's virtually a free trial.

But if vinyl moves you the way it moves me, then I think the first response from Tvad said it best...
Getting into vinyl is not cheap particularly if you don't have a substantial record collection. New and reissued vinyl is overpriced and in many cases very poor quality. If you have the time and wherewithall to attend record shows, record stores, and work with on-line vendors you'll fare much better. In any case, you'll need to commit a big chunk of your time to build a collection.

Also keep in mind analog is quite interactive. You don't grab the remote, hit a button, and kick back.

Lastly, as documented by previous posters, most but not all, vinylphiles find themselves in a continuous state of upgradeitis. Symptoms include frustration, confusion, and insomnia.

Which brings you back to expense and interactivity.

IMO, your money is better spent upgrading the weakest links in the system i.e. the cd player, amp, and preamp.
I'm not sure I have anything new to add, but will reinforce many of the comments above . . .

I grew up on vinyl, and held out to the last minute in the 80's before buying a CD player (my local record store quit stocking vinyl). I still much prefer vinyl over CD's. That said, here are my suggestions to anyone asking your question:

Do it only if some or all of the following conditions apply:
1) You have a lot of cash, and really want to experiment.
2) You already have a large collection of vinyl setting on the shelf.
3) You have a good source of used vinyl (ie at a local record store, and you like pre-90's releases - especially Jazz, Classical, Rock that are widely available (not to say other genre's aren't also abundant). Used vinyl can be bought for $1 to $5 normally - in good to great condition. Sometimes you pay more for rare titles.
4) You have heard vinyl compared to digital and know you prefer its sound.

Realize that if you don't have a collection and intend to buy new vinyl releases exclusively, it will be extremely expensive. I personally would put that cash into improving other components or buying new s/w.

Also realize caring and feeding of vinyl is more labor intensive. You can't pause, nore skip, etc. You need to clean them and handle carefully. It's very hard to digitize to your iTunes library.
the marantz table is an extremely good way to dive in... and reasonable(in a couple thousand dollar kind way). there are thorens and dual models too that are great values, and play as well as many of the veg-o-matic brands that sell for a alot more. 'take care of your records, and your records will take care of you'.
I'm not sure you need to go to the lengths described here.All it took for me to realize the upside to vinyl was a used Yamaha pf-800($279.00)a Cinmage SUT($300)and a Denon 103($175.00).For a total of $750.00 I feel completely satisfied with this setup.
I might suggest spending time with some friends who own both formats. Make an attempt to match your CDs to friends LPs and listen to them A-B. You will probably walk away from such a comparison being better informed and more than likely even more confused.

I'm 49 years old. I have been playing vinyl since I was preteen.

My opinion?

Digital has really become excellent. I owned an original Sony CDP101 during the original release. It was absolutely horrifying digital. Back then, the sound of vinyl was very, very different compared to digital. At this point in time, I have to very carefully question if the sonic differences between vinyl and CDs isn't slowly beginning to diminish and minimize.

But do also consider that low end analog provides low end results. A good analog front end is a substantial investment. I feel an important consideration would be the cost of investment. I promise you...... If you're bitten by the analog bug, you are not gonna stop at a $2k rig. You'll also find that your record collection will begin to represent a huge outlay of money.

A quality digital front end properly connected to a Tubed-pre is a very fulfilling and satisfying sonic presentation. I'm gonna put my neck out here and state that some will rival analog all day long in terms of tonal accuracy, texture and holographic imaging characteristics.

Boy..... Am I gonna catch Hell for that one. :>)

The short answer is yes. Analog is far superior to digital, and music was also better recorded back in the day than it is now. You can get into vinyl in the price range you want. Give it a try, and you won't regret it.
Busic2, You won't get much hell from me. I owned a 101 too. Didn't buy any CD's to speak of for about 10 years until I got a Cal Aria III, then the Alpha/Delta combo. For me the choice is now determined by the music I want to hear.

Fatgh0st, FWIW, in determining whether or not to add Vinyl at any price, budget or high end, don't overlook the availability and/or cost of records. If for example, if you have great access to used records of music you want to hear, either because you are already familar with the content and enjoy the nostalgia of older pop/jazz/rock etc, I wouldn't hesistate to add a TT to my system, or if you want to explore classical the used bins are full and you can really hear some great performances at a reasonble cost. BUT, if you have to buy new issues at $30 a pop or more from speciality stores I'd think long and hard before I even bothered to go there.

And within your budget, you're unlikely to find much satisfaction in getting a 'hi end' sound superior in the overall to that available on an inexpensive CDP.
If you're bitten by the analog bug, you are not gonna stop at a $2k rig. You'll also find that your record collection will begin to represent a huge outlay of money.
Buscis2 (System | Threads | Answers)
This is the heart of the matter, IMO, considering the OP mentions a budget of $500-$600.

It's important to offer advice within the parameters of the OP, rather than simply stating personal opinion based on equipment well beyond the scope of the question.

"Entry" level analog will quickly reach $4k before you can say "vinyl". Add the cost of cleaning supplies and related accessories, and the cost and time of obtaining clean vinyl, and the OP will soon be at a cost many thousands of dollars over his stated budget.

Vinyl is terrific...

...but so is digital.

Essentially, the quality of the listening experience is related more to the quality of the source material, whether digital or vinyl, than it is to the machinery playing it back.
There was a thread here recently where a vinyl lover complained about the poor sound quality of classic rock lps. He said he couldn't listen to most of them. IIRC, it was concluded that they were poorly recorded and manufactured.

I'm in the save your money for high-res digital downloads camp. Vinyl is not only expensive in $ terms but requires much more time and effort than digital.
Vinyl's been getting lots of attention lately, with lots of strong emotions surrounding it. There have been a good number of posts with clear, levelheaded wisdom. Take note and heed the cautionary advise—keep kicking it around—soon you'll know whether or not this is just a following-the-fad-flash-in-the-pan, or if it's a real interest that's worth putting more into than a half hearted effort.
You got alot of advice and good advice. Is vinyl worth it yes. If you like the convenience of compact disc you may have a problem getting up and changing the record over. You may have occasional pops and ticks. No vinyl is perfect for ever. And neither is CD! But vinyl has a sound that is different than Compact Disk.
I would go to a friends house and listen to some of the CD's you have on vinyl before getting into vinyl. See if you think the medium is worth it.

If you want a real nice turntable that has been respected for many years look at a Rega turntable with a RB300 tonearm. The table with the RB250 will be fine to. I think Rega has the RB301 out now oops!

See if you appreicate the sound first then ask us the question of really good table that will compare to your current digital setup. I'm sure there are some that will trounce your current CD Player but digital has come a long way and something as simple as a tube Dac could improve your digital front end even more. It all depends on how critical your listening is and your preferences a well.

Good Luck
Save your time and money. You'd be better served by investing in improving the sound quality of your listening room. In any case, IIRC, the Outlaw does not have a phono preamp, so you'd need to budget for that.

Frankly, you already have a very nice digital source and adequate preamp and amp sections, I used to own a Denon 3910 and loved it. The Outlaw 950 and 750 combo is a good one. Not stellar, but good enough, nonetheless.

Unless you are willing to replace ALL of your speakers and your preamp/amp, upgrading your *room* is your wisest move - by far. Have an acoustician come in and give you an audit of your room. And then implement the changes he suggests. The cool part about this is that ALL of your sources (CD, DVD, FM, etc.) will instantly sound better.

You CAN achieve better sound than what you currently have, but adding a turntable is NOT going to do that for you...

(Feel free to contact me offlist if you have any other questions.)

Tvad, you just hit the nail directly on the head.

Many of us consider our turntables or CDPs our sources. It's the actual records or CDs that are the actual sources. It's the recording that stirs the emotions. The electronics are simply the carrying vehicles.

Bad recording = Bad listening experience. An extremely important thing to keep in mind is that only CLEAN records sound good. And there are only a few record cleaners that do the job properly. Take some time and also investigate the costs associated with the proper cleaning equipment/supplies.

Anyone on this thread will tell you..... Dirty records sound really bad.
An extremely important thing to keep in mind is that only
CLEAN records sound good. And there are only a few record cleaners that do the
job properly.
Buscis2 (System | Threads | Answers)
Furthermore, no
amount of quality cleaning will repair damaged vinyl.

Microscopically damaged vinyl is the number one cause of surface noise, IMO.
Damaged vinyl is very common in the used record bins where I buy 95% of my
records (damage is often impossible to detect by looking at the record surface).

Vinyl newbies, who are unexperienced in the realities of vinyl playback, are led
to believe cleaning will rid records of noise. It simply isn't the case in the
majority of instances, IMO.
Tvad, I think you are right, but would add -Microscopically 'damaged' vinyl that is not visable to the naked eye is, however, as much a matter of poor pressings in the first place, not from misuse/storage. And yes, there is no remedy for it.

When I first started to collect vinyl it seemed as if American pressings from the late 60's onward were plagued with poor pressings, from, especially, the majors like Angel, CBS/Sony/Columbia, RCA etc.

I was amazed when I bought my first 'Import' recordings from EMI, Decca, Phillips, DG etc and found them to be amazingly clear and quiet. I was also amazed to hear the same thing on early RCA Living Stereos along with the sonics in the grooves.

I was not amazed that folks rushed to digital when it arrived because these exact problems were epidemic. That folks are now buying these lemons in the used bins is not surprising - I gave all the crap away to Salvation Army long ago and its probably found its way there.

Now if I get into a used record store I will only buy 'Imports' and a few other labels I know have the same consistent quality, which have unblemished surfaces. I've had good luck so far, but I'd be lying if I said there were many of these out there to be found. I think most have stayed in someone's library.

BTW, FWIW, if you like jazz and see any recordings put out by Concord Jazz buy 'em. Some American (non-audiopile labels) seemed to have almost always gotten good pressings, as have audiophile labels like TELARC(if you like the bass drum!) and Reference Recordings, to name a couple.

I agree with TELARC. Columbia three eye (or six eye) jazz has also been consistently good.

Also, ECM vinyl has always been spectacular in my experience. For some reason, owners of ECM vinyl seem to take excellent care of the discs.

I'll keep my eyes open for Concord.
Like some others here have mentioned, you WILL need a good LP cleaning machine--I had a VPI HW16 that I paid about $400 for. Takes a few minutes to clean EACH Lp.

You will want to buy high quality inner sleeves if you have older LP's w/o them.

You WILL need a good phono stage if your amp or pre-amp doesn't have one. I'd budget at least $500-$1000 (it's as important as your cartridge or TT).

A good cartridge alone might start at a few $$hundred. And if your $700 Benz cartridge fails after a few years, you might not be happy. And if you're not good at installing & aligning cartridges, that's another issue.

IMHO, (I hope the vinyl addicts don't shoot me!), digital players & CD's & SACD's have improved so much, that it would be very difficult to best a $1000-$1500-$2000 CDP with the same amount spent on vinyl equip.

OTOH: If you find a used rega p25 w/cartridge for $500-$600, spend a few $$hundred on a phono stage, & get some used vinyl, have fun with it!! This is a hobby after all. Like in the move "Risky Business", where Tom Cruise's friend says to him: "Sometimes you just gotta say, What the ----!"
I love records, & think that it is a great idea to expand into vinyl. Try something inexpensive used, so that if you change your mind, or prefer to upgrade, there won't be a financial loss.

I saw a nice Systendek table with a Linn arm & cartridge here...

I have bought a dozen components from Echo, & it is a good company. This set up for under $400 will give you a taste of the potential of vinyl.
Cheers, Marty
That Systemdek IIx w/Linn Basic tonearm and Linn cartridge is a good suggestion. The Systemdek can then be upgraded through Audio Note if the OP wishes.
Wow...37 replies in 24 hours...amazing!

Thank you all for your input. I think that after reading all of this, I'm going to put this idea on hold again. Convenience is a huge factor for me, which obviously lends itself favorably to the digital approach that I've already ventured into. I have two small children (1 and 3) so at the end of the day (the ONLY time I have to enjoy this hobby) when I head downstairs, I just want to pop in, kick back and relax. The thought of having to get up and flip is probably not what I'd want to do at that late hour. In addition, I do think that the clicks and pops would probably drive me nuts.

Truth is, my digital system sounds interest in vinyl was more for the wider availability of titles, but it sounds like the TIME investment, coupled with the financial investment probably just doesn't make sense for me ATM.

Again, I want to thank everyone for their time and comments in helping lead me to a good decision (for now anyway :-) )
I've just been going through this very same thought process and have some observations.

1. For analog recordings (i.e. pre-1985 or so), vinyl gets to the soul of a music experience that digital simply cannot. Even with it's higher resolution and expanded resolution formats, when compared to vinyl digital just plain

2. Jazz on vinyl is the ultimate hi-fi experience. All the great jazz that was produced from the late 50's to the late 70's sounds best on vinyl without question. Recording processes were perfected for that medium and the medium loves it back. If you doubt this, vinyl is probably not for you.

3. One of the highlights of my week is heading down to my local used record shop every week-end to plow through the new additions bins and see what gems I might find. I rarely leave with less than 4 albums and rush right home to bask in their brilliance. Getting back into vinyl has allowed me to rediscover music that didn't sound right to me on digital.

4. You will have to invest a minimum of $2,000 for 'new' equipment for a table and cartridge to do a decent hi-fi justice. Add a little more if you require a phono stage. The better your system, the more flaws it will point out. Buying used may save you some money if you are disciplined to stay with the same class of component. But if you are like me, buying used says "hey, I'm getting a deal so I should spend just as much and move up."

5. Whatever you think you are going to spend, add 50%. While people often forget the 20% cost rule for cables (interconnects, power) when buying components, accessory can get downright ridiculous with vinyl. Dust covers, record clamps, arm wiring, cartridges, replacement belts, isolation platforms, record cleaning supplies, etc.

6. Old popular records are dirt cheap at your neighborhood used record store. If you live in a city of any size, you have at least one or two. Get a stack of your favorites for $1.99 each. Some will be thrashed, but many will be in surprisingly good shape.

7. New records are crazy expensive - especially the ones that are really involving and make vinyl worth listening to. Half speed masters, 45 rpm re-issues, 180 gram editions - the production of these are not cheap.

My conclusions have 2 parts; (1) If you want to get into vinyl because of it's auditory properties like superior staging and lively feel, don't start down the path unless you are financially ready to do so. In my experience, that means close to $5,000 - $3,000+ for equipment and $2,000 for LPs and ancillaries. (2) If you want to simply try out the experience, you can easily get an inexpensive table (with a built in stage amp) and a fat stack of used records for your $500. Just know going in what you want from the experience and think through what you are willing to spend for it. We all have different priorities.
Remember nearly EVERYONE toosed the records when CD came out. IT WAS FOR A REASON.
IF: you love to fiddle with your stuff, you love cleaning things... you want to be part of the new 'in' crowd. Go vinyl.
If not, save your money. The fad will pass, and only the old codgers will still have vinyl.
Also, unless you have acess to a LOT of used stores at cheap prices, or have LOTS of money, vinyl is a money pit, (as previously mentioned)
I wonder why so many vinylphiles seem to go out of their way in order to discourage prospective new "members". I've owned high-end turntables, tonearms and cartridges for twenty years now, and have rarely ever needed more than my trusty walnut-handled Discwasher record brush, a few seconds dust-removing treatment when the LP is first spun up. For those very infrequent used LPs or new "sticky" LPs which need it (maybe a few times a year), I use my budget Nitty Gritty record-cleaning machine, something like a couple of hundred bucks new. Too busy listening to the music to have the patience for more than that, too impatient to lay on the next LP :-). So, I have to disagree, vinyl need not be particularly time-consuming (though you do have to get out of your chair to flip sides) or expensive, and excellent results can be had at a budget price, especially considering the various superb used deals out there.

The problem of ticks and pops as well is exaggerated, a decent tonearm takes care of that (sloppy bearings exaggerates/amplifies the effect), and a cartridge which does not emphasize such things (some are noisy, some are quiet in the groove). Amazing results on a budget, $200-400 used including tonearm, can be had from such trusted names as Thorens, Ariston, Rega and others. And thinking outside the box, old-time receivers such as a MARANTZ 2220 had superb phono stages for a fraction of today's sonic equivalents (about $100 used these days, and with superb tuner section), just use the tape output and use it strictly as a phono stage or tuner! Preamps such as the older C-J PV-series can be had for about $400 with decent tubes, and have high-end phono stages it would cost well over a grand to match today, if not more, and can also be used as outboard phono stages via the tape outputs. With the low low price of used LPs, some serious fun - AND sound quality - can be had on a budget.

Experimenting is fun, satisfying curiosity is fun, and the music from good ol' vinyl is entrancing and rewarding. Vinyl is also a lazy and relaxed music-lover's medium (the dust on my Nitty Gritty is a 1/2" thick), not only the preserve of masochists ;-).
I agree with Johnnantais. You can make this as much or as little work as you want to. If you see it as work though maybe it's not for you. It's a hobby and no hobby is for everyone. There's gratification in being able to have direct impact on the sound you're getting in so many ways. Digital formats simply don't have the same potential for involvement. If putting effort into a hobby weren't satisfying why would anyone build a ship in a bottle, tie flies, or needle point? People threw away their records when the CD came out not because CDs are better but because they're easier. Convenience will always win out with the general public.
>>Remember nearly EVERYONE toosed the records when CD came out. IT WAS FOR A REASON.<<

Yes they did.

And for a very bad reason.


Paradoxically, nearly "everyone" regrets doing it.
Paradoxically, nearly "everyone" regrets doing it [tossing their records].

You said it Audiofeil! I had a collection of abut 1,000 LPs at one point. Should have just stored them somewhere while I was moving around. Instead, I'm slowly rebuying many as I find them at my local used record store.
A few points to reiterate on all the above (cause some of it is really bull-hockey):

If you do not honestly believe that records sound better than CD, then; (1) you should go listen to a modest, well-implemented vinyl rig; compare for yourself, and then you will agree/understand that records do in fact sound best, or alternatively (2) Immediately sell all of your stereo gear and invest in a good IPod.

Of course records are more ‘trouble’ over-all; you don’t get something for nothing (that’s what we got with digital)… Most things well worth doing require a little extra effort.

In the final analysis, if the original recording was not well executed, then the end product whether it is a record or a CD will reflect that poor execution. But, on most days and in most instances, I would rather listen to a poorly executed record than a poorly executed CD…

Ericjcabrera Nope; I’m not a drummer…wish I were though… 
Johnnantias, One reason that 'vinylphiles' want to discourage 'new members' is that success would result in less competition for those few remaining great RCA Living Stereo's in the Goodwill bins.

However, I believe that many who may sound discouraging to you are nothing more than unvarnished realists faced with helping inexperienced folks who seem (to them) to be driven by the popular resurection of vinyl but have no idea of what the actual problems are in setting up and utilizing a TT system not to mention the acquisition of high quality LP's.

There is a lot of good music to be heard in vinyl over any system, but high quality software and sound is neither cheap nor easily acquired. As someone already said, Vinyl playback is a hobby within a hobby. If a fellow can be easily discouraged by a few 'reality' remarks, then it probably wasn't a pursuit to be pursued.

Audiofeil, No arguement about tossing LP's out for CD' are right! BTW, are these the same folks who now hawk the benefit of liquid based tweeks for CD's? :-)
This has been a very interesting discussion, and there have been many, many insightful comments and suggestions. I think that the bottom line needs to be's all about the enjoyment of music !! With the proper synergy between audio components, both digital and analog recordings can sound fantastic, and there should NOT be a "which is better" argument.

Personally, I love both my CD and my LP collection, and I spend equally happy hours listening to both my digital and analog front ends. I started my "musical hobby" in the early 1970's, so, naturally, I have a large collection of vinyl. As I got into the mid-80's, through the 90's, and to the present day, I bought quite a lot of CD's. Now, my interests are going back to vinyl, as I'm discovering a vast and wonderful collection of my favorite albums (1950's -- 1960's jazz) getting re-issued by labels such as Blue Note. There are many websites where good re-issues (new vinyl) can be bought for around $10 each.

So, IMHO, the answer lies simply in enjoying equally the two main modes of recorded music. Both digital and analog, for my tastes and musical appreciation, are fantastic, and I am thankful that both formats are available. Some nights, as I sit in front of my Vandersteens, I only listen to the music made by the needle in the groove, and other nights, all my music comes through my CD player.'s all about the music. Sit back, enjoy the tunes, and Happy Listening !!
Like some others here have mentioned, you WILL need a good LP cleaning machine--I had a VPI HW16 that I paid about $400 for. Takes a few minutes to clean EACH Lp."

I have to disagree with this statement. While a vacuum machine MAY be the optimal way, I get very good results using the manual Disc Doctor brushes and cleaner. As a few others have said, this doesn't have to be a high $$$ adventure. OTOH, others that had said you won't stop at a 2K rig...... well, I think they're on to something..... Seems vinyl has the most addictive form of upgraditis......
I am enjoying getting into vinyl. I love the packaging, ritual of putting on a record. Instead of bouncing around from track to track with a remote, you sit and listen... Even cleaning LPs feels rewarding.

Unfortunately it may very well be a money pit. I've thrown thousands of dollars (almost 10k) and have had bad luck with sound quality (unlistenable). I think I've just been unlucky (suspected bad cartridge, bad phono stage, etc). I'll work it out sooner and later and it will all be worth it (I hope!!)
I've thrown thousands of dollars (almost 10k) and have had bad luck with sound quality (unlistenable).
Madfloyd (Threads | Answers)