Just retired and want to get back to vinyl listening

I'm reeducating myself.... after years of no TT and focusing on just stereo listening.. I had a some early Klipsch Hersey’s and some GENESIS speakers pair with Yamaha receiver and low end turntable 30-40 years ago -- I can afford a higher end setup this days -- so what are thoughts on pairing a luxman l-550axII with Klipsch cornwalls?

I like the Herseys for music in the day.. cornwalls seem to be larger herseys but may well need audtion some of the tower types folks seem to tout..

I still thinking on TT -- but may get a VPI scout or prime -- thinking through the cartridge choices and other things is still a serious education -- recc?

music taster are varied -- jazz to singer vocalist miles davis - linda Ronstadt and a host of others for vocal musics and instruments- soft rock of the 70-80s- to some classical

thoughts -- looking to 15-20K for the refit for stereo listening - but could stretch some if I like the setup

Well, as always choose speakers first. The rest is relatively easy. And decide whether you will accept only new equipment or some used would do. And..tubes or transistors or it depends. It does take time and effort to get it right.
Before getting a TT, do you have a stable place to put it?  I have springy floors and I couldn't survive without a wall shelf.  Personally, if I were buying a tt right now and had some money, I might consider the new Technics 1200.  If I didn't have much and just wanted to get my feet wet again, I would probably try a Music Hall 7 - comes shipped pretty much ready to go with a decent cartridge installed for about $1500.  Not a bad tt at all and you can sell it later on if you want to upgrade.  
I'll second the advice to select your speakers first. Go for higher sensitivity (i.e. +92 dB) speakers - that will give you a greater range of amplification options.

There is a lot of very good value to be had in the used market, if you are patient and aren't in a hurry.

What sources will you use? You've mentioned vinyl, but do you still have a large selection left over from when you had a stereo? If not, you might want to consider streaming audio (digital files) instead.

Music servers (dedicated appliance or stand alone pc) and DAC technology have come a long way in the last 15 years.

I may be venturing into sacrilegious territory here, but digital file streaming now has the ability to match vinyl reproduction, in terms of sonic performance.

I have both. On certain (hi-res) digital files, my streaming setup can match my vinyl rig, and yet, my vinyl setup is four times as expensive.

Have fun and welcome back!  
thanks... I pretty much for last 20-25 years have only had a HT type setup with Denon receivers and NHT speakers all round with hsu VTF mk2 sub -- some music listening but not a large amount.. I built up a very large collection of DVDs and Blurays abd even rip this to large storage server for HTPC playback -- but for this project I’m going back in time when I did much more stereo music listening and want a good setup just for that...I be buying vinyl for the most part of this new phase of retro life. I also had some Time Frame 500 speakers for a while in 90’s..

so I do plan to go listen to speakers that I can.. I have good memories on the herseys and Genesis speakers, but it has been so long -- I need to relisten -- I do like the retro look of the luxman integrateds and not sure I want to get full separates for this setup I moving to Spokane Wa in 4 weeks -- from northern VA -- so will be doing the setup after I find a new place to rent in Spokane -- as my first location to live in retirement

as noted TT is hardest to work out as I have not had a TT since 1985 or so

I’m targeting vinyl -- but I have a large collection of CD’s most bought in the 80 -- I gave my vinyl and turntable to my brother along with the Genesis speaker in the 80’s - I think he still has the LP’s -- I have all the CD’s I have ripped to FLAC files for use "occasionally" on a SONOS setup -- so I may get a CD player again - not sure -- I have not bought a CD in nearly 4 years-- but could use the SONOS player with high quality DAC to feed the integrated on one of the inputs

probably should have mentioned the SONOS multi-room setup -- but I do not use it that much lately
hard to find speakers more efficient than the Klipsch heritage line.. other suggestion is the larger - tower type  -- probably cannot do speakers that need the larger 2 feet or more from the wall
$15-20k is a lot to spend on not knowing what equipment to buy and having an old stereo as your reference. Is there a dealer nearby where you could get better acquainted with newer gear?
Yes, with patience and good ear a lot can be accomplished for $20k even with new equipment, and with used you could have $40k-$50k very high level system, far beyond Klipsh and Luxman, I would guess.
Don’t let high efficient speakers lock you into your speaker choice. Efficiency does not mean better sound. Any speaker that I've preferred always seemed to be on the low to mid sensitivity type!
The permutations are endless but this rig might suit your needs.
Speakers: http://www.tektondesign.com/double-impact.html
Turntable:  VPI Prime Turntable
Phono amp: Croft RIAA tube
Cartridge: Nagaoka MP500
Amp:  Line Magnetic Audio LM-518IA integrated http://www.toneimports.com/
as noted -- I’m reeducating and will go to some shops around here if possible before my move -- I set the budget to get input and to shop for the redo of new stereo - mainly vinyl listening setup to enjoy these "golden years" -- I get it that my old experience from my "poorer" 70’s and 80’s days is ancient history - hence the education for today

I will be buying the setup after my move to Spokane WA

as noted in another thread -- it seems many places have limited choice on shops to audition things

I like the retro look of the luxman integrated amps -- if that helps a bit on me going somewhat retro here - they have a good rep it seems and have a decent starter phone stage built in it seems - I could bypass this later with separate phone stage as I learn -- other choices?

I'm not about massively loud volumes -- just clear - musical - voice and instrument separation decent soundstage for a moderate sized room -- not really a large room

thanks all for the feedback
It appears, though I may be wrong, that you want to do amp first approach not speakers first approach. This can be done but I think is more complicated and might limit your speakers choices. 
There are good reasons to go to numerous dealers and try to piece together your system.   The tough thing about starting from scratch is it's so hard to try out components at dealers because there are fewer than 10, 20, 30 years ago.   It could be really hard to go hear the Luxman with Cornwalls together.  But, the good news is you can audition them in your own space, which is ideal as you can hear them together where they will sit. 

You could, for example, buy the Luxman (say L550 @ $5500) (they are superb amps) and get a new Technics 1200, and the Cornwalls. (~$4k) and jump right in.  Many Luxman's have very decent (if not really, really good) phono preamps so you'd be good to go out of the gate. You could certainly buy the Luxman at a vendor like Musicdirect.com that offers no questions asked returns.  Crutchfield may sell the Cornwalls with a fantastic return policy too. 

Full disclosure:  I have the Technics 1200 GAE and it's superb--but most owners of their own gear say that.  It's built like a tank, is not prone to footfall noise, and is a dream to set up and operate. 

not necessary -- but I’m fairly sure I want integrated amp of very good quality versus separates in my starting setup -- I put out some thoughts as a starting discussion to see where the conversation went to help give me some ideas... given where I’m moving to -- I’m expect I’ll have to order online - whether new or used.. another data point -- I did visit a friends home recently -- that retired from my same office recently and he had a VPI scout - audio research pre and amp- some home built speakers and separate phone stage -- He is one that pointed me at this site and has sold and bought here -- . I did decide then I wanted an integrated amp highly rated a - a/b amp for just fewer pieces as a start... hence the insertion of the luxman strawman


Look at this link:  https://www.musicdirect.com/integrated-amp/luxman-l-550ax-integrated-amp-demo

You can get an open box demo Luxman L550ax for $3745.  That's a solid price.  That seem like a great place to start your system. You could even cart this around to hear speakers at dealers. Or, you could just take the plunge on the Cornwalls.  
what is the diff -- between ax and axii?? 

Congratulations on your retirement!

While you’re out and about auditioning components, may I suggest to audition the Audio Research GSi75....


that AR.. is a bit of monster..... at 16K or so it is a bit much for that part of my new setup given the overall target budget ;-)  how much to replace the tubes????????????

thanks for sharing one end of the bell curve for I-amps
If you consider Luxman you got to consider Accuphase as well. Do not buy the former before you have heard both.
specific accuphase I-amp to research?

Many good pieces of advice here.
From me; I would be in the pick your speakers First camp. Everything else will fall into place after you pick your speakers.

 I am a vinyl guy myself; 3000 LPs - 83 CDs 

Enjoy and Best to you

The tube replacement would be around $300.00. If you're patient, you may find one around $10K. 

I realized it's on the other end of the spectrum but I wanted you to hear before you pull a plug anything else.  

PS: You can thank me later 😊

Not really. I just know that many choose Accuphase after listening to both. Could be more expensive. And you would want to audition the phono sections too. I understand, you want your integrated to last a long time before you upgrade.
But that's "Japanese" sound, there are other kinds of sound. Why not get aquainted with them all if possible? You can't really be sure what you will like most.
If you like the retro look of the Luxman.  Not sure if a tube amp is an option, but you should definitely also consider the Leben CS600 integrated.  It's made in Japan and they sound wonderful. I believe the amp designer is an ex Luxman engineer.  Detailed, yet it has that tube quality warmth.  Pair it up with a pair of Devore or Harbeth, Spendor speakers.  I recently listened to a Leben CS600 powering up a Devore O/96 and it was a fantastic combination.   You have a lot of choices with your budget.  Listen to has many speakers and amps as you can and buy the one that sounds the best to you.  Good luck!

There have already been some very good recommendations. Now, I don't want to rain on the parade, but until you find out what kind of space the system is going to be used in, this is all pretty pointless. Doing your homework in advance is valuable and you will gain some knowledge regarding what is available in today's market. However, until you determine what the room is going to be, choosing speakers should be out. Some speakers are just going to be plain unacceptable, undersized, overkill, etc., depending on the room. And since speaker choices can't yet be made, amp choices are also out. You could decide on your front end though, but do you really want to have a moving company handle your new TT?

Anyway, just my thoughts. Get an idea on what you want for front end components, then wait until you get to WA to buy anything. Visit dealers in VA and WA to see what brands interest you and buy the stuff after you know what kind of room they will be in.

Good luck on your retirement, your move and your future audio bliss. With your budget, you should be able to build a really good system. Heck, for half of your budget you could build a killer system buying quality used items, especially if the room is not too big.


Since you are moving fairly soon, might not it be better if you start your search in earnest where you are moving? I’m not sure how many hi-end dealers there are in Spokane, but Seattle is just over four hours away and I’m sure there must be plenty of them there. And you'll have local dealer support if you need it. Maybe in this case it’s not about the swift road, but more about the journey and the fun you can have along the way. 

Hope you have a great retirement. I’ve got about 6.5 more years myself and plan to visit lots of dealers to build one more system. I’ve already started my search and dealer visits!
The Accuphase is only slightly better than the Luxman and it does not come with a phono stage. I have owned both brands and amp currently running an Accuphase E-600, which is an additional $2,000.  If I had to do it over again, I would have kept my Luxman L-590AX at half the price of the Accuphase. Luxman offers excellent value for what you get. The L-550AX is a great place to start. Speakers are going to very much a personal preference and room-specific. DeVore speakers in addition to the Heresy and Cornwalls mentioned wil be a good match. Also any of the Totem Element series will sing very well with the Luxman.

Don’t skimp on cables and interconnects and maybe save about 10% of your buget for room treatment and tweaks.

Take your time, work with a dealer that will let you audition the gear at your hone and enjoy the process!
I second the congratulations on your retirement. Life is just beginning!

Don’t buy speakers until you’ve heard modern Magnepans and Quad ESL’s. You may not like them, but if you do, there is simply no comparison for anything like the money.

Spokane isn’t that far from Victoria, Canada, which is home to a really fine audio store, Sound Hounds. They’ve been around since the early seventies, really know, and really care. I’ve spent quite a lot there.

For turntable, consider buying factory direct. If you don’t need suspension, consider a Trans-Fi Salvation turntable and air bearing arm. About $5000 new; although I haven’t heard the table, I do have two of the tonearms, and they punch far, far above their weight.

I suggest that you don't spend more than a few hundred on cables. Let your ears adjust to the sound and then see if you can improve on the cheap cables you already have. You may find, as I have, that cables are the least cost effective way to spend money.

Good luck!
Not to start it again but what terry9 said about cables was simply not true. You do need to spend a lot more especially if buying new and they can be the most cost effective upgrades. This includes power cords. I just didn't want the man to be misinformed or I would not have said it. Cables are components, signal transmission is very important.
Well, Inna, why not let the gentleman decide for himself? Throwing away $200 worth of cheap cables is 1% of what he expects to spend; it's rounding error; and when it comes time to upgrade cables, he will know what he wants, what will work with his system. And I'll bet he doesn't have to throw any cables away.
Congrats on retirement. We have some similarities. I just retired a month ago and I used to live in Spokane for 22 years. IMO, buy a system before moving to Spokane unless you buy online or you want to make a trip to Portland or Seattle to look for gear. Spokane doesn't have any decent stereo shops compared to the bigger cities!
If you are looking at a VPI, the Prime with the 3D arm is a very good starting point. I have the VPI 10" 3d arm in my TT setup. If you are looking at cartridges, check out Soundsmith, they have a very good synergy with VPI gear.
If your mind is made up on the Klipsh, check out the Rogue Cronus Magnum II tube integrated amp with the KT120 tubes. Highly rated, good power, american made, great support, and it has a built in mm phono preamp. I used to have 1 and it drove much more inefficient speakers than the Klipsh. If you want in the future to upgrade the phono preamp. you can but you might not need to. If you want solid state, check out Hegel. You can probably get the H100 or H200 integrated amp but you will need to get an external phono preamp. 
I would use the SONOS system for background music only. I would also skip buying a CD player and go with a music server/DAC with your ripped music either on a server or on a NAS. I used to own the Auralic Aries which I liked over other streamers for a lot more $$$, and I had a very nice external DAC which had an expensive SB cable to connect them together. The aries has a great interface playing ripped cd's or streaming Tidal. I upgraded the aries and external dac to the PS audio directstream with the Bridge II and couldn't be happier. At the same time, I switched to using Roon which is a fantastic interface to playing music. The PS Audio DS with bridge II supports MQA as well as using the network interface instead of a USB cable. Each year, PS Audio comes out with an upgrade to its firmware which improves SQ on a system that is very good to begin with. The PS Audio DS Jr is very good too for 1/2 the cost.
If you don't want to get an external DAC/streamer, Hegel makes the H160 or ROST integrateds that include the digital pieces but not the phono preamp. But if your priority is vinyl, then you can get a nicer external phono preamp. My preference would be the Rogue and the DS/bridge combo.
Good luck, 
You mentioned the Luxman integrated amps I'm a big fan my self and I would definitely go for a class A Lux they are wonderful but your looking at 20-30wch in the new o es and up to 50class A in an older one but they are harder to find. That said 30wch class a is pretty good and the Liam's have good drive. But you will need a more efficient speaker. Toile many have said there are a huge amount and I'd seriously look at used as speakers have the largest markup and biggest depreciation.  I think your table thoughts are a good direction and look used there as well. VIP have a good rep lots out there and they make a lot of people happy. I also stream tidal so as other said that's an easy addition later 
thanks all for lots of good suggestions advice.. moving van is coming in 4 weeks -- still packing -- taking all my HT and computer stuff after my 4 days "vacation" to Shenandoah NP next week.

yes -- I plan to buy after I move and get into a new place... as it will effect final choices..

Luxman is high on the list likely 550, but could stretch to 590 as hedge to driver a wider range of speakers over time and will look harder at the Accuphase E-470 or stretch to E-600, but as noted the phone stage on these are separate purchases either as their cards or external -- Luxman maybe a better starting point for me and put some of the saved money in other parts of the setup, but will review other I-amps as suggested

There is one decent here in town I may be able to go audition the Devore speakers -- not sure what models they have --  Klipsch Cornwalls are still on the list but I will try to audition others and may well need a trip to Seattle or Portland after I get into a place in Spokane

research on TT has me looking at VPI Scout - stretch to Prime - Musichall 9.3 or Po-Ject -- so reading much on these and will try to view in person

as noted -- I have 500+ cds ripped to FLAC on a server and use the SONOS for intermittent very casual - as noted background music -- I I have a ZP80 into my HT setup + 4 other room SONOS players -- I do use it less today than when I first got SONOS 10+ years ago or so -- I could relocate ZP80 to the new setup and add in a better DAC -- suggestions?

lastly just for education - conversation -- what are suggested interconnects and cable -- that does seems to get lots comments -- consider this connections - cabling for VPI or MusicHall TT  - Luxman - Cornwalls as an example -- even if choices are not near final..

thanks for all the suggestions - comments -- very helpful in getting me to spend some money to enjoy my retirement 
BTW on the ripped music - streamer aspect -- I have my FLAC files on a QNAP NAS that the SONOS systems accessing  --  I have another larger server system for ripped DVDs and Blurays for the HT with 2 viewing setup -- a primary Denon and NHT with HTPC on large Panasonic plasma - I hope survives the move as it a great TV 65in ZT60 -- not made anymore for living room and a Projector - Yamaha sound bar for the bedroom, this stuff is what I have played with and updated over the last 15-20 years, all of that and the many pieces and parts and stands probably has 30-35K of original and upgrade cost over 2 decades ---  but the new project is all about stereo audio listening and getting back to vinyl
My first move with cables and power cords would be in the direction of Audio Art. I am a big Purist Audio cables fan but out of curiosity recently tried their $100 Classic RCA cable. Very good and great for the price. I would get their SE with Xhadow or XLR connectors cables, speaker cables and power cords. Break-in time is at least 150 hours but they can do it for you for additional fees. They offer 30 days return so no risk. Accuphase makes their own cables, I think, at least interconnects. I would stay with one brand cables at this already high performance level. If you discover that Audio Art is not enough or just wrong choice, consider Purist Audio and Stage III cables. Some say that Furutech is excellent too, maybe, I don't know.
Do as much listening as you can before moving.  I live in the Nortwest and it's almost an audio dealer wasteland.  Portland is better than Seattle for dealers.  Some smaller dealers in Seattle and little variety.
it is far less pickings than in the 70-80's but back then in school and other professional training - I had far less decretionary money than now

I only have 2-3 places that I can get too prior to the moving van and drive away.. one has devore speakers as mention in an earlier entry.  their is a best buy magnolia - but it not really in the class of things being mentioned here.  I also would like to hear martin logan 60xts and some others in that style -- but I will have to decide and buy once I get a place in spokane
Other integrateds you might want to consider.
Gryphon Diablo 120 ( $13200 with great phono ).
Pass INT-60 ( $9k, not sure about phono ).
VAC 160 Sigma SE ( $13k ? ).
Octave - SE edition models. ( $5k - $13k ? ).

Gryphon will be the most dynamic and versatile.

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Hey if you like retro, look at what noromance has suggested.
Line Magnetic Audio have based much of the design and engineering of the audio line on old Western Electric designs. I have the LM Audio 216ia, little push/pull tube amp. Point to point wiring and LM Audio's bigger amps are FANTASTIC. Pair them with a VPI or the Shinola Runwell turntable and you have a great retro system. Of course, McIntosh always has retro looking stuff and is very good.
Interestingly I was in exactly the same position as you with respect to vinyl listening (Retired, sold my last TT and LPs 33 years ago, $20k budget and now wanted to get back into analog). See my previous post on this subject:


Like the post says, "I am there". I could not be happier with my TT setup, looks and sounds beautiful. I have absolutely no plans to upgrade this system.
again -- all thanks for the info.. lots to think about...  Just a another specific directional discussion - while I'm heavily leaning to speakers like Cornwalls ( I am concerned if I can fit these into the places I may rent in spokane based on internet searches of rentals with garages for my new yukon  - even the Devore 0/93 - o/96 styles are retro appealing - even Volti Rival mentioned - keeping more retro -- I will be listening to the tall thin types like ML 60XT - Definitive Tech Mythos and other in a wide price range like this to include devore - KEF towers - just to understand what is out there..  I do need the speaker to do vocals as clean - natural as possible and have clear - not muddled reproduction and sound stage for the hearing the various instrument on good source -- I a low - modest volume listen of variety of material that include jazz - instrumental - singer - songwriter - classic songs by male and female vocalists that have instrumental voices -- some classic soft rock -- but I rarely listen to hard rock or metal - so what I'm after is not about hard pounding loud rock
I would also check out Vandersteen speakers if can find a dealer out there.  Great sound and value.  Good luck! 
I just did that exact same thing....was always into home theater. Decided to go back to vinyl...took me a while to get to where I feel finished. I too run a set of Klipsch horned speakers (Chorus II’s) went with used Mac solid state.
The turntable took a couple of tries with both table and cartridge.
Good luck with your quest....I hope you have as much fun as I did.
Although I am not retired yet....I will be in January
I'm also in the Pacific Northwest.  Definitely check out Gig Harbor Audio in where else Gig Harbor WA.  They are very much into vinyl and have a great website.   Of course once you come over to that part of Western WA you may not want to go back to Eastern WA.  Also Tacoma has a Vandersteen dealer. 
A couple of general comments.  Take your time.  If you are a bit like me you will enjoy window shopping.  I mostly have to buy 'blind' as I live in rural New Zealand.  My town only has two hi-fi dealers.  Both excellent and knowledgeable but of necessity the rage is limited.  Forums and magazines are helpful.  I would counsel to give more weight to magazines that are able to do their own testing - Stereophile, Hi-Fi News (UK) etc.  I am a long time reader of these sorts of mags and you kind of get to know the reviewers, and their fetishes. Every now and then there will be a review of a product you have or have heard and that gives you a touchstone.   Maybe I am just lucky but have generally been satisfied with my blind purchases.  

I second the recommendations of Rogue Audio for amplification, and Technics for a TT.  
I just setup the Marten Bird 2 in my demo room. Truly an amazing speaker. Stage III/Jorma design for interconnects. EAR for electronics,Kuzma for turntables etc are some good choices. Of course Transfiguration/Ikeda for cartridges. Good luck with your retirement and safe travels.

"vocals as clean - natural as possible and have clear - not muddled reproduction and sound stage for the hearing the various instrument on good source -- I a low - modest volume listen of variety of material that include jazz - instrumental - singer - songwriter - classic songs by male and female vocalists that have instrumental voices"  Have you considered Maggies?
I have shy’ed away from electrostatic panels so far - but will give a listen..

as noted - thanks for all the advice... I expect I will need to travel to some shops in western WA after I get moved and outfit the place I rent with a new bed etc.. and have my moved stuff delivered -- I do have a small project to have a Truck Vault setup put in my Yukon which would be a trip over to Sedro-Woolly area 

obviously in retirement - I’ll have the time

lots to think about and I will try to "hear" what I can
A "like new" Luxman L-590AX integrated was just posted for sale on this web site.  It's a phenomenal amp!