Need much Help Turntable, Phono pre, Cartridge...

Hey guy thanks for checking this thread, I need direction, and well have very little(or maybe no knowledge) on what kind of analog setup I need... Currently I play with my cheap setup that I got for next to nothing, and really like the potential of some of the albums I have over the Cd's...

#1- I listen to primarily Rock, a little jazz oriented stuff... Everything from Bowie/Pink floyd, to Pantera/Jane's Addiction Kinda thing.

#2- My current setup Includes an AR (the Ar turntable, basically an ES1)with the Original Tone arm(and wireing), Cables, etc.. with an old Shure V15 cartridge.. A cambridge audio MM phono stage(only 99.00 bucks 2005 version) which is I believe a 3 volt maybe 33-36db gain, and it is not enough to tell you the truth, running into a 2 channel Solid state pre-amp, with Very decent results, very quiet very tunefull and with some recordings excellent Visceral impact and presence...

#3- Now I like to say I have a very State of the art Digital front end, a Wadia Digimaster Player, which is the best I have Heard to date, vs. many Universals with HDCD, and SACD, AND DVD-A as well as many Standard CD players, I love the Wadia in the end with Straight Good Old CD's, nothing fancy... This CD player of course plays much more Impactfully and very, very smooth, 3D, Deep, And all the other Audiophile words you can come up with. But an Annoying CD sometimes is Just an Annoying CD in the end, And I like what some Vinyl can do with that problem, just a different flavor you know?

#3- My attempt is not to get the absolute best, or even beat out the Wadia in the end, Now remember I listen to a lot of Rock, not classical so Yes CD does have a little place with Rock sometimes for that 1st Row dynamic that Vinyl may not all the time, and I understand that. I also understand many of these recording are just crap. But not the debate I am looking for.

#4- I would like to know what is the best package for the money to go after for my overall taste..
-- #1- purchase USED I think would be for the PHONO pre...Now I do not know that an MM or MC will be best for me, All I do know is that MM is a little Higher output from the Getgo, and needs a little less gain from the phono pre than the equivelant MC, thats it, I am open to all suggestions for resonable used priceing, I am not sure I really Want to add ONE "TUBE" piece of equipment to my system But if it is the one that gets the job done So be it. Lets not get to concerned of priceing, I would like to budget of course as cheap as possible but I am realistic, so if its 300 used or 3000.00 I want to know what brands and things will get me where I need to be.

-- #2- purchase Probably this VPI 16.5 Cleaner? I know that I have Cleaned many of the albums By Hand and Treated them with Grove Glide, I don't know that this is good or not, but it was cheap and Fairly effective to be honest, very quiet I rarely hear a little Fizzle or pop.

-- #3 Purchase ?? Replace Cartridge and Tone arm Cable/or entire tonearm?

--- Or just buy an entire package setup from Like VPI and call it a day? This will all be after I hear the AR with the new Phono PRe and see how far that gets us, then I will dip into the Table upgrades or Complete package change.

I know guys this is maybe a little vague and I apologize, but I just don't know if I need to go as far as a 2000.00 Table and tonearm or if I can do pretty good with the AR which is near Mint, and a few Hundred in upgrades to do pretty well for the type of music I am running, I do not want to purchase a Classical music table just because it is far more noticeable with that kind of stuff, As I see mostly things like the scoutmaster and that Come with MC Cartridge and is for the more Classical crowd, although I am sure can play anything with excellent results.

Thanks for the help, I am sure you guys can save me much experimentation and cost from the experiance on this board.

Ps. I have read many threads trying to pin down some of my answers but as you know the situations and type of music is different with each recomendation.

Sorry, I meant 300 mv I think above for the phono pre, not 3 volt...
Okay, so I am looking at this option as it seems it may be a good solid system...

---Pick up an Ortofon 0M 20 super, But not sure if this will give great results on my table? any opinions?

---Find a better phono stage to drive it, tube or solid, with higher gain / Db output to help match closer to the dynamics of the Wadia CD player.

---Get a Good Record Cleaner with the right solution and rinse system to get the best off the vinyl in the first place.

I would still like to keep these costs relatively low, Also I have no Tools such as Stylus Pressure Gauge, Or alignment tools for the Turntable, Don't know what to do even to set it up, such as the arm weight, the antiskate and whatever else, I would need to take it in somewhere in the chicago area to have it set up right.

I want to keep the Analog rig as simple yet effective as possible... No Tweaky stuff like Clearaudio Speed regulators for the Motor, and Audioquest Gel mats, or even 200.00 Silver 22ga tone arm wire or anything like that. Just a solid good performance system. Although I would like a Table with external Motor and belt, that looks like it was built on Venus out of exotic stone, I think may not be necessary for my use. KISS, keep it simple stupid. Thanks again
Matrix, the AR in it's day was a great turntable, and as you note it can still be eminently satisfying. The new designs will give you much more of what I think you may be looking for, however, in terms of bass extension and impact, dynamics and resolution.

The VPI Scoutmaster is not just for classical or acoustic music. Depending on choice of cartridge, it can be a great turntable for rock as well because it plays what's in the grooves with minimal editorializing, be it acoustic or electronic, classical chamber music or rock. I don't own one, but I've listened to one extensively in the system of one of our local audio group members, and I highly recommend it. It just does so many things well.

As to cartridges, the Sumiko Blackbird, Dynavector 20XH and Denon 103 all work very well with the Scoutmaster. These are all high enough output cartridges to work well into a standard MM input phono stage. The Shelter 501 is another fine cartridge that works well with this TT/tonearm, but the output (0.4mv) is a shade low for a standard MM setup.

If you have the resources to do it, I'd recommend upgrading the TT, cartridge and phono stage together. If not, you will certainly be able to get more from your current TT with a better phono stage. I would not focus on a tube phono stage just to have ONE tube device in your system. You're likely to be better off with a very good solid state phono stage and an even better tube line stage. If you can find one, the conrad-johnson EF-1 phono stage is a fine solid state phono stage that can be even better with some upgrades. I'll let others chime in for alternative recommendations on phono stages in this price range.

Good luck,
Well if a table is the most effective than it is Rushton, I respect that, but would LIKE to not drop 2-3000.00 on upgrading the whole thing, but maybe in the end the only real way to step up a level as you stated. How much should the EF-1 Johnson go for used? sounds like a good place to start. Thanks it helps a lot.

_ I am definatly looking to not have to replace anything again after finding a very good solid setup, keep it and use is the goal, and I want to Set it and forget it kinda thing with the turntable, Not too much Screwing around everytime I want ot use it is the point. Most I ever really want to do is Replace a stylus every couple years at most if that makes sense.
I am searching and the Scoutmaster was just an example I threw out there, but I think a little to far up the Foodchain for my "Seriousness" level of the Vinyl playback, even though I have the money, I need good and solid, but maybe not so pricey... It will not get the use a new BMW or Mercedes would, so its a little rich for now. But a used table if it just simply betters the AR period for more money would make sense as to not have to put to much time in upgrading and Money wasted on the AR... Maybe a Linn or VPI VPI HW-19jr? and A good matched cartridge and Phono stage? Anything to get very close is all, I do not want something so extravagent with so little use and or need. Same with the phono stage, I guess I am looking to pull off maybe a full upgrade at 1500.00, with table and arm used for around 700, probably have to buy a good cartridge new still at 300, and the phono amp used around 400. Is it possible to get somewhere in there with Good stuff that will last Very long and give solid Frequency responce from top to bottom without missing much Musicallity of the Upper thousands in your guys systems? I have been looking and think I prefer to stay away from the more "generic" no offense, Rega, Music Hall type stuff at the lower prices. I just think the Linn, Vpi type stuff, maybe Sota looks a little better especially used value wise.
Hmm, Psychicanimal Looks interesting, first Direct drive recommendation, What cartridge and phono amp would be suggested for this type setup? Thanks
I use a Monolithic PS-1 w/ outboard dual mono power supply and the KAB modded Stanton Groovemaster. It has the midrange of a $1500 moving coil cartridge. Works for me.

I have installed the fluid damper and outboard power supply. I bought the strobe disabler but haven't installed it yet.


I feel your pain--you want satisfying vinyl playback while wanting to spend as little as possible. But what is "satisfying"? Only you can decide, and you can only decide after listening to a range of systems. If there's no local dealer carrying a range of vinyl playback systems, then it would be well worth the cost of a trip to the Big City to find one.

But maybe you live waaay out in the sticks (I used to live there). Here's my recommendations:
turntable: a good plug and play turntable is a Rega P25 (750 or so)
cartridge: lots of choices here, an interesting one might be a Denon 103 series cartridge. Haven't heard it personally, but it's supposed to be a killer cart (200 or so).
phono pre: i've had good luck with the monolithic psychicanimal mentioned (i don't think you'll need the expensive seperate power supply at this point). Other possibilities include used lehmann black cubes and musical surroundings phonomena (300-400).
Cleaning: you're smart to think about clean vinyl. If you're going to be cleaning 100's of lps, then a vpi or nitty gritty is the way to go. But if you're content to clean only a handful at a time, have the time and some spare elbow grease, then you can save money and get similar results (in my experience) doing it by hand using Disc Doctor products and procedures.

I think you should take the plunge. Who knows, the Wadia might start gathering dust. If you do bite the bullet, make sure to report back what you did and how you like it. I'm sure there are a lot of others out there in your current position who would benefit from you experience.

Good luck and have fun.
I use to own an AR Table a long while back,and I had many modifications performed on it by George Merrill of
Merrill Audio.I'm not sure if he still does the mod work on the Turntables anymore.You can try to find him on the web,and if he doesn't do it anymore maybe he can recommend someone.I had my platter replaced,motor replaced,subchassic
reworked,outer ring clamp installed.Plus I did additional mods to it myself to make it sound even better.
This Table has the potential to sound very nice indeed.With your 38 db gain in the phono stage you wouldn't get sufficient output even at 2.5Mv. which is a medium high output cartridge which some may classify as high output.
You would need a step up transformer to be able to use more a variety of cartridges.A High output Grado Wood with 5Mv output would work or the Prestidge Gold.But they tend to hum on the AR Table,and the motor would need additional shielding for it too probably work.
Thanks guys, I am going to get a Dynavector p75 phono pre this weekend at my local dealer, if its as good as everyone makes it out to be then It will stay and I will be happier with the current table... I have Ordered 3" Thick Solid Maple Butcher Block for around 80.00 to put under the table, and am going to order a set of spikes for the table to deal with some Bass and isolation issues, this should get me somewhere realistic, and besides then the phono stage is strong for whatever I throw at it, and I can always use a nice Solid Maple 3" thick shelf for something, So We will soon see what this will do without getting to crazy at first.
I think the next logical move is a fresh and decent cartridge of the newer types, maybe around 250-300 in cost, but that may or may not work out the greatest on the original AR arm, but at least if I do dump the whole table in a year for a better table arm combo I will be in the game with decent cartridge and very good phono stage. its all experimentation and logic for me right now.. but I do not really want to purchase a Notingham table or something and really not get the use out of it, and to many of these VPI - Notingham tables seem to be a little finicky with haveing to Hand start them, and swinging Gimble type Arms and things, and of course Just cost some outrageous amounts... If I do go into a newer table I think it will need to be like a SOTA with decent SME arm or something in the 1500.00 range if it comes down to it.