Newbie with some turntable, cable, pre-amp, and speaker questions.


I am very new to "higher end" audio equipment and I have a few questions for the professionals. I thought I bought a decent used system until I saw a pair of $25k speaker for sale on one of the pages here. By no means did I think I purchased anything "amazing" but those speakers were certainly a reality check! lol :) Wood cones?....wow!

I’ve always wanted a nice sound system for my house, nothing crazy, but something I can play pretty loud and not distort the speakers.
I ended up buying a used H/K AVR 7300 and some Polk LSi 15s, Center, and a RSW 400. Paid $675 for the lot and I’m pretty happy with what I got.
I definitely need to complete the surround and would like to find at least a set of F/X’s and possibly 7’s to finish it off.

This system is probably substandard to most, but for a newbie with my 1st decent sound system...I am absolutely elated with the sound I am getting out of what I have. I’m not sure I want to even listen to a very high end system as I’d like to enjoy what I can actually afford!

I have a few questions about some items I received with the lot and some accessries I am looking for.
I would like to add a turntable to the system, and would like to get some opinions on H/K models that would be best to match up with what I have. I don’t need anything super high end, but don’t mind keeping my eye out for the best possible one to grab either. I’ve also been told I’ll need a pre-amp if I want to add a TT...not sure why, but if this is accurate, I’ll need some advice there as well.
Also, the system came with Monster cables but the ends are cracked and are now useless. Does anyone know if they honor their LT Warranty to 2nd owners?

Finally, if anyone has a pair of LSi F/X’s...I am looking to buy a pair immediately. I’m located in North Western NJ.
Thank you all in advance for any info you can pass along. It is much appreciated.
jomat77
Why bother with Home Theater - unless you are planning to add a large screen TV?  Two-channel is superior and better sounding for music only! And forget about a TT - today's digital sources and playback are superior to any analog system! 
Before wasting anymore money I suggest buying some high-quality used vintage components. As an example, this is what I purchased used over the last two years: David Hafler 101 preamp and DH200 amp ($300). DCM Time Windows 1A ($219). These make a KILLER sounding combination! Add a good used CD player or streamer and you would have the basis of a fine stereo system! 
Thank you for the response.
What about speakers for that particular setup you mentioned? I will certainly keep my eyes out for those components and perhaps start to build a "music only" setup.

That said, I'm not at all unhappy with the H/K receiver for my HTS, so I don't mind simply adding to that at this point.
I currently do have it hooked up to the TV and I do plan on getting a much nicer DVD player as opposed to just a CD unit.
I also have a laptop connected for streaming as well. 
I enjoy listening to vinyl, so a TT is a must for me. That's just a personal preference.

Thank you again for the feedback.
So basically your are looking for speakers to finish your 7.1 surround system, and wishing to add a TT as an alternate source.

Given you are happy with the system as is, continue to look for those speakers that match well with the L,R and center ones you have. 

Regarding setting up your vinyl source, you likely need a phonostage (pre-preamp) as most AVR lack one internally. What is your budget for this?
I'd prefer something of decent quality but wouldn't even know where to begin with budget. If you can recommend something realistic I will keep my eyes open and wait until I find a good deal on one. Is sticking with an H/K unit a bad idea? $500 range maybe?

You are correct, I'd like to finish off the 7.1 system and I like the Polk LSi  speakers I have.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I want to get the 1000w sub for that set though. The one I have is underpowered.

That said, I wouldn't mind building a system specifically for music though. I can certainly keep my eyes out for nice components in the meantime.
How do you currently listen to vinyl?  Unless the TT you have has a built-in phono pre-amp aka phono stage, you will need a separate one to plug in to any of the line level RCA inputs on your AVR.  Looking under pre-amplifiers>phono on this site, you can specify a $ range and see what is available.  Just for giggles, I searched in the $200-$500 range and came up with 6 or 7 units, new and used, neglecting some step-up transformers and so-called tweaks.  You will need to decide if you want to stick with what's called a moving magnet aka MM cartridge (generally lower cost) or get a phono stage that is moving coil aka MC capable.  Some of those available accept both, but not all. 
Take the comment by roberjerman with a grain of salt, he obviously has a bone to pick, analogue can be quite rewarding when set up well so bear that in mind as you are setting your system up. Good luck and have fun and absolutely enjoy the music.
If I were you, I would try to go to some dealers and just sit and listen to music. Try out as many brands as you can. This is the only way you are going to educate yourself and know what you are looking for.
If you can get to Verona, check out Audioconnection. John Rutan is an Agon member, so you can PM him. I know he can give you clear, honest information without trying to sell you something. 
B
I would agree with Roberjerman that even pretty basic digital gear beats expensive analogue sources. Vinyl, tape or FM are romantic nostalgia for connaisseurship at a hefty price. But indeed, enjoy the music.
@willemj , please forward a short list of that pretty basic digital gear that beats analogue gear and where I can get it please, I am waiting. And thank you in advance.
E.g. the Chromecast Audio.
willemj says, Chromecast Audio besting expensive analog sources....that’s it no more Truffles (magic mushrooms) for you bro!
Fwiw, my surround system speaker set up is all Polk, vintage but Polk nonetheless.  R/L front 3.1TL, center Cs350l, surround FX500. Had it that way for a long time and am not changing it. I've heard a lot of systems but like mine the best. No all that expensive either but totally audiophile.

I don't own a even remotely high end system either but got an Audio Technica AT5 TT I am really enjoying with an Ortofon Blue . I play it through a Yamaha RX V779 receiver in stereo mode, with a pair of Boston Acoustic 210. I use small Yamaha speakers for surround and center channels. I also have a Samsung 4K Bluray player hooked up as well to listen to CDs. 

Judging by by the fantastic equipment I've learned about on posts here, I'd guess I have the cheapest rig on theses forums!

Even so, I think it sounds good and I get a lot of enjoyment from it. Getting back into records has been a lot of fun. Some vinyls sound fantastic, others just sound ok but I can say the same of my CDs. I'm happy my system lets me hear the differences and subulties in different recordings.
lol, you guys are funny. No need for banter, just looking to get some info from the pros.
I'm a clean slate at this point and I have no preference towards analogue gear or digital. I assume it is just a personal choice.
I am happy with my music sounding really good when it's loud. As long as I'm not distorting speakers...I'm pretty happy. 
I'm mostly into classic rock and I am a HUGE Floyd fan. I enjoy sitting in the middle of my living room, drink in hand, and just listening to loud music. 
I'll listen to mostly anything but country, rap, or R&B. Everything else is fair game though...even classical and big band. lol

I do appreciate the feedback so far and I'll certainly take all advice into consideration. 

Question, what am I not going to get out of this HK receiver that I would get out of an analogue unit. Are these AVR receivers juat not capable of picking up certain sounds in the music? 
I'm not going to lie, the first time I turned this system on, I couldn't believe the sound that was coming out of it! Guess that's from not knowing any better. :)

Swampwalker, I used an old cheap-o Pioneer All in One system. I've never owned a good system before. Trying to up my game just a little bit. :)

@willemj , no really I was being serious,quit joking around.
@willemj -- The problem we still have with digital media is access to good source material; Chromecast Audio may be capable of streaming 24 bit, 96Khz files, but if the music on your device is Redbook quality (16 bit, 44Khz) or less, you are not going to hear the detail that you find in vinyl recordings.

Moreover, analog equipment does not have to be expensive to appreciate this difference. I recently found a fairly good quality used turntable for $150 on Craigslist, paired it with a $120 Nagaoka 110 cartridge, and the sound is noticeably better than I get from my CDs on a $1300 Cambridge CXU. This is not a knock on the CXU; it is a good unit, with a solid transport and decent DAC, but it cannot create detail that isn’t there in a 16/44 format.  Yes, you can get up to 24/96 resolution with a subscription to Tidal Masters (for $30/mo), but their library of HiDef material is very thin. Until we have dependable access to a comprehensive library of Hi-Res digital recordings, I will be very happy to hold onto my vinyl.


If you can stretch your budget a bit and for simplicity, I would recommend a used Rega P3 or P3-24 with an Elys 2 cartridge. You can also add a used Rega Fono or, for less $, a Nad phono preamp.
Check out the Audio Technica PL120 TT. Cost about $270. A good most basic budget unit. Has a built in phonostage, however one that could be easily beat with an outboard one. Comes with the AT95E cartridge. 

Schiit Audio makes a quality budget moving magnet (MM) phono stage for $129.

Check out Needle Doctor, Music Direct, Audio Advisor online for alternative TTs and phonostages.

Good luck in your search!
 
So am I correct in this....
The TT will either have a built in amp, or it will need to hook up to a separate Pre-amp, and then that will hook up to my AVR which runs to my speakers? 

If that's the case, I've seen multi channel pre-amps...should I be looking for one with a specific # of channels?

I do already have a vintage Pioneer PL-a25 TT sitting in the closet. Wasn't sure it was worth using or not. Sounds like I still need a pre-amp regardless, unless the TT I end up using has one built in. I'm gathering these built-ins can be of lesser power/quality...perhaps? 
Still learning some of the jargon on here so my apologies if I don't pick things up immediately. 

I'm trying to take all the info I'm seeing in here and research it out on the web. 

Thank you all again.
There are some older audio video receivers that have phonostages. Does yours? There would be a pair or input RCAs labeled phono and a grounding post nearby on the back if so. If not you will need a separate phonostage (phono preamplifier). Phonostages built into TTs are not of highest quality.

I am not familiar with your Pioneer TT, however I would break it out, clean it up, and check it out for function using an inexpensive cartridge. Often they just need a belt. 
I was not joking about the Chromecast Audio (and I have a Linn Sondek/SME for comparison). See here for the CCA data at 16/44.1, using its own internal DAC:
freq response: +0.06/-0.5 from 20-20K Hz
noise dBA: -97.1
THD: 0.0033%
IMD+noise: 0.0050%
Stereo crosstalk: -89.1
This is already far better than any TT can achieve, and it sounds the part if you know what live acoustic music sounds like.
The internal DAC will struggle a bit at higher resolutions, so for those the digital output and an external DAC is recommended. However, I am not convinced that significantly higher resolutions produce any sonic improvement.
willemj says, “I am not convinced that significantly higher resolutions produce any sonic improvement“

I guess that’s pretty much sums the very reason why you so aggressively advocate Chromecast on almost every thread. May be someday you will step out of your 16bit/44.1khz ‘box’ and dare yourself to experience the higher resolution.

As good as 16bit/44.1khz files sounds through Tidal, the 24bit/192khz files are on another level. Granted, not all recordings benefits from higher resolution but the one’s that are, the differences in dynamics are far from subtle and well worth the price of admission.

If you have listened to higher resolution files and came away unimpressed then please include complete list of components in the setup in your reply.

PS: Kindly spare us from the test measurements and Archimago’s ramblings 😉
No I will not spare you Archimago’s measurements as an antidote to your ramblings. My own equipment: Quad 606-2 amplification, Quad 2805 electrostatic speakers, plus B&W PV1d subwoofer tamed by Antimode 8033. All of this in a large listening room.
I have listened to enough hi res recordings, as that is what many Bluray discs are as well (or 24/48 on many DVD’s). And yes they often sound very good. However, there is ample research that questions the benefits of such hi res formats, as long as these are from the same masters, even though 16/44.1 is indeed at the very margin of where there may be benefits, or not (hence 24/48 may have been a better idea, but was impossible at the time of the CD format development). The snag with listening tests is that Hi Res recordings are often from different masters with greater dynamic range, and that is where the difference comes in, and not from the format itself. That may still be a reason to go for them, of course.
But in any case, the Chromecast Audio will also do 24/96, even of that is better done with an external DAC.

@willemj,

I see very little or no point debating with folks who choose to live in their own bubble. I rest my case, take it easy!
@willemj,

It’s the best of both worlds 😉
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I have owned some DCM speakers before and the were pretty amazing.TF350 or 400's[been awhile].Those were some well designed speakers!not a lot of bass but awesome soundstage.I cant imagine how the models above what I had sounded like.
@jomat77

I suggest you take a look at an iFi iPhono2, there is a used one here on Agon right now.  Whether you use your current TT, or get a new one, the iFi will make it sound great. MM & MC capable. 

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis8fdg1-ifi-audio-iphono2-mm-mc-phono-preamplifier-phono

It is one of the better budget phono preamps, especially at the used price.