New to forum and Vinyl


Good Morning,

  I have just recently been turned back on to vinyl.  We rented a home for a long weekend via AIRBNB and the host was gracious enough to allow acces to his lp collection.  I hadn't heard vinyl in many years and was taken by the feel and sound but also the interaction with the media itself.  Had plenty back in the 70's but fell away as 8 track, cassette, cd, and digital made music more accessible and portable.  

So,   I had a Marantz 1060 amp and a pair of really nice BIC Venturi Formula 4 speakers in my barn,  hooked it up to a professionally serviced and adjusted Technics SL-BD10 with a shure cartridge/needle I picked up for 100 bucks.   I went to the local swap-meet and picked up 50 albums, Stones, Beatles, Led Zep, Bowie, Who, stuff like that for 1-2-3 bucks each.  So far I'm into it for about 250 and it sounds really good.  

Where would you start to upgrade.  Turntable, speakers, add-ons?   I really like what I hear so far but I'm so new to this I am sure I may be missing something.  

Thanks,  Scott
slbradley
How about a budget?
A system can only be as good as its weakest link. Right now, you have a vintage system and I am going to assume that all is working at original factory spec.

So if your looking to upgrade, sorry but your recently acquired turntable should be the first to go. It was an extremely entry level TT that retailed at 140 bucks, has no adjustable tonearm and was designed with a simple P mount cartridge system. These TT’s were produced as the vinyl era was coming to a close with the advent of CD’s and were a low cost way to play whatever LP’s people still had lying around. Who knew that folks would rediscover vinyl.

I would get a proper TT - one that has a fully adjustable tonearm and that would accept standard 1/2" cartridges. Of which there a whole lot more to choose from than P-Mounts. If you want to stay with vintage, than look at the mid-late 70’s as TT’s were on the way out in the 80’s. But buying vintage has its pitfalls because the vast majority will need servicing. And if your not comfortable doing it yourself and have to take it to a shop, then you have exceeded its value. Like your current SL-BD10.

If your not comfortable repairing vintage yourself then consider any of the new entry level TT’s from Pro-ject or Rega or the new U-Turn Orbit. Good luck to you.

Paraneer,  Thanks for the advice.  I had a feeling the turntable was a bit low end.  I'm a bit of mechanic and a tinkerer so not afraid to get something vintage and adjust it.  That's half the fun of it all.   My budget for a TT would probably be 250-300 tops.  I feel I scored pretty good by having the Marantz 1060 Amp and BIC Venturi Formula 4 speakers gifted to me by a friend.  Suggestions on a TT/cartrige/needle in that price range would be great.  I really like the manual turntables.   If the sound quality is greatly increased by spending 500-600 on a TT, I'd consider it but really looking to keep the costs low.    
Hi Scott,

Congratulations on your newly re-kindled relationship with vinyl music reproduction. What a treat the be gifted a nice little vintage system. Are the Marantz and BIC's in good condition? Working properly? If so, you can probably focus on the TT for now. 

If you really want to stick to a $250-$300 budget, do a search here and on eBay and see what is available for that budget. You will find a few new TTs from Pro-Ject, U-Turn, Audio-Technica, Pioneer and maybe a Rega. They are all pretty good, but all will make different sacrifices to meet the price point. Maybe go take a look at what is available and get back to us with any questions about specific models. Reviews for most popular turntables can be found at AnalogPlanet.com.

Enjoy the journey.......

One other smart choice if you find a deal in your price range is the Technics SL1200mkII or later, the best selling tt ever. Known for robust motors, stable speed and solid build, they evolved into the most popular DJ tables although they weren't designed for that. There is a whole subculture of 1200 modders/restorers. 
theartofsound forum has a section called Techiepedia full of experienced tweakers that can help you kick it up a few notches over time at modest cost. With mods of ~$1k they can compete with many tables up to $5k cost. 
Since they are so plentiful, you never know when one will pop up at a garage sale, craigslist etc. for a couple hundred or so. Cheers,
Spencer
@slbradley
Here is a new turntable and cartridge within your budget of $300.
http://www.needledoctor.com/Audio-Technica-LP120-USB-Turntable?sc=2&category=358
If you are interested in the AT-LP120-USB that yogiboy mentioned, look on-line for pricing and also check your local Craigslist, etc. There was one for sale last week in my city for $95. It's a very popular unit. Check out the review on AnalogPlanet. Also, if you are handy, it is reported to sound much better if you gut it of it's built in USB/phono stage.

http://www.analogplanet.com/content/audio-technica-lp120-usb-turntable-shames-plastic-competition#lc...
Post removed 
@reubent 
A flick of the switch will bypass the built in phono stage.
Sorry, yogi, but switching it off does not bypass all of the extraneous additional circuity in the built-in USB/phono stage. Heck, just the mention of a "switch" tells you there is some amount of unnecessary circuitry that you might want to eliminate. BTW, this is not my finding. I read it in some of the review comment sections.....

Now, whether or not it is audible in any one's particular system is another story.
I agree with reubent and would stay away from the AT LP120USB. I have read more than one account that bypassing the built-in phono stage results in unacceptable noise levels. Many owners are removing it altogether. This is but one of a bunch of problems with this TT. I have read accounts of loose tonearm bearings, high w&f, and actually seen one where the black paint was flaking off the platter strobe dots. Never seen this on a Technics.

Suggestions on a TT/cartridge/needle in that price range would be great. I really like the manual turntables
Since you said you are comfortable bringing a vintage TT up to speed yourself, you are wise to consider a manual TT only. Far less to go wrong as there are no automatics and inevitable degreasing to deal with.
Consider a good used Technics SL-1500 or SL-1800, servo controlled direct drive TT. They are very easy to work on and are strictly manuals. About the most they would need to a good deoxidizing of the speed pots and possibly refilling of damping fluid for the cueing control. Plenty of online videos and instructions showing you how. They have fully adjustable tonearms, anti-skate and removable headshells. You should find these units on your local Craigslist for around $150 but they will still require the above despite what the seller says, And you can't go wrong with a good SL-1200 MKII or its later incarnations.  There are many out there that just seen home use so try and avoid one that was used for DJ'ing.  If you see an Ortofon Concorde or cheap Shure at the end of its tonearm, run from it.  It was probably a DJ table.

Speaking of Craigslist, I strongly recommend buying vintage on CL only as you will be able to inspect the TT and possibly audition it too. You can’t do this on Ebay and most selling over there have no idea what they have nor are they able to properly package it and ship it.

There are many manuals built by Pioneer, Kenwood and Marantz from that era too. Find a good Micro Seiki from the late 70’s like a DD35 or DD40 and you have found what was considered high end back in the day.

Whatever you buy, don’t put stock in the cartridge as that is pushing 40 years old and should be replaced or at the very least, stylus replaced. So I would worry about the cartridge after you have found a good quality TT.


First, have some fun. Loved the older Marantz gear and owned much of it. For the TT, I'd suggest checking out the U-Turn stuff. I just ordered their top end player w/ walnut plinth and am quite happy. Good choice if manual works for you. Secondly, I feel for little investment you can better those speakers. I remember them from my 70's heyday reading Stereo Review etc. Ultimately, that's where the music comes from. To me, used TT's are a real crap shoot. If there is one delicate component in the chain, that is it. Good luck and enjoy the ride.
Rega has been a good value for many years

Best value: put the turntable & its pre-preamp in a different room as close to the main system as possible (so you won't need long wire runs)

drill some holes in the wall if you need to...
Why would you do that ?
A tt I picked up recently really surprised me by its sound as I was not expecting too much tbh and mainly bought it as it had a built in phono as I did not have a pre with phono stage at the time.
This is a Teac tn-300 with standard at cartridge.
It sounded good through my ARC LS2 pre
it sounds much better through my mac c48 pre using its own phono stage using the switch on the back of the teac to bypass the phono of the tt.
I hear no ugly noises from bypassing its own built in phono stage.
build quality is good to my eyes, nice it has a 33/45 speed selector instead of removing platters to change pulleys etc.
top flight? heck no but for 200 brand new on eBay i think is a good buy, just my opinion.......
If you want to stay with a vintage table, the AR (Acoustic Research) XA would be great choice, as long as the cartridge you mount on it is shielded. The AR has an unshielded motor, and you will get hum out of the table with an unshielded cartridge (such as a Grado). The later AR XB is almost exactly the same, the difference between the two mostly cosmetic. Both the XA and XB are purely manual, the XA even without an arm cue!
Couple Rega Planar 2's on CL for 200ish.  Any love? 
Yes, those would be a really good value if they are in good working order....
A record cleaner is a good idea. First, it makes your records sound better: quieter, more detailed. Second, it reduces stylus wear. Often overlooked, but highly cost effective.
@paraneer Great post! 
@slbradley , read that advice slowly and carefully, so many excellent points raised. Cheers,
Spencer
I said "put the turntable & its pre-preamp in a different room as close to the main system as possible (so you won't need long wire runs)"

...so as to provide as much acoustic isolation as possible for these sensitive components.

BTW, it is getting a bit late to get back into vinyl as all the kids are picking up on it, driving prices up
If you still want a vintage TT in the 200-300 dollar range, I suggest a Sansui SR636. Beautiful piano black plinth and great performing TT. 
I agree with the previous poster.  Save your money and get a $500 Pro-Ject or Rega.  They are good value.   Get it set up correctly and you won't have to mess with it.  Spend your time listening instead of tinkering.
Thank you all for the advice. I found a Rega P2 for 200. Listing says excellent condition. I’m going to check it out today.

Any love for Martin Logan speakers? I heard a pair a liked them.

As @terry9  suggested, a good record cleaner is a must
Scott, if you like ML, you should also listen to other electrostatics before you buy. Also Magnepans. Not everyone likes the planar sound, but I have never gone back, since I first heard them in 1973. To my ears, it is no contest at anything like the price point. YMMV

ML or Maggies will kill on classical or jazz if set up correctly.

On rock, they can more easily be bested by a top quality cone based speaker, as long as you spend 2x to 4x as much.

Maggies are a simple load to drive as the impedance curve is nearly straight at 4 ohms, but are not particularly efficient and do require high current output from an amp.  Electrostatics DO have a complex impedance curve and are harder to drive.

Any line source has significant advantages over a point source.

No speaker is perfect and you will need some extended listening to decide which flaws are less important to you.
oh yeh, add Quad to your panel speaker list
Anyone in the tri-state NYC area?  I'd like to hear a few systems.

Send me a PM.

Happy Listening.
Goldring GR-1, supposed clone of the Rega PL2.  Would 250 be a good deal?  
@slbradley
I strongly encourage you to try and be patient. Learn as much as you can about turntables/tonearms and cartridges and their features as you can, making a list of the features that are most important to you. Listen and look at some at friends and dealers, if you can and read, read, read. Here and on other forums such as Vinyl Engine, which has a database that is quite educational:
https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable-database.php

I bought a Linn Basik when I was in your situation. Very nice turntable. No regrets. But I soon decided that I wanted to be able to switch cartridges quickly and easily. The Linn tonearm is not good for that and the Rega and Pro-Ject are worse. Does this make them bad choices? Not unless you're into cartridge rolling, and many are not.

By the way, which Shure cartridge do you have? It may be worth salvaging.

Best of luck with your new affliction, you poor bastard. ;^)