Record wear is a problem no matter what the system. If you've never owned records, starting with a budget system is a good way to go. But my recommendation as to software is not the 50 bucks a pop fancy 45's, but a trip to the used record store where you can buy 20 lps for that price. Plus buy some new "regular priced" lps from sundazed, etc--and on major labels that release them on occassion. See if you like what you hear. In my mind the ultra-priced analogue software products are aimed at folks with pretty high-priced turntables. In my opinion you cannot "live" musically on the reissues...there just isn't the selection (compared to cd's and used lps). Maybe as a treat or experiment buy one of the high priced spread and take your chances on record wear. Hell, for the several thousand dollars it sounds like you may end up spending on an eventual "high end" table, you can replace a few of the records. Although I have owned lps forever, I may not be the best to advise you on this if sound quality is your main criteria--for the most part, audiophile type software bores me. The most 'spectacular' lp I ever bought was a direct to disk Missing Linc on Sheffeld. When I think of great (lp) sound, that one always comes to mind. But in truth I never play it, nor do I play very much the cd's I have purchased for strictly audiophile reasons. GOod luck in whatever you decide.
20 responses Add your response
Record wear is not a problem in my experience if a few simple rules are followed. Keep the record & stylus clean. Cartridge alignment and setup is key.
With clean software and a properly set up turntable records can last a lifetime. I have a copy of the Stones Beggars banquet that I've been playing for over 30 years and it's in excellent shape.
An alignment protractor (available free from the Vinyl Engine), a stylus force guage (the Shure is aprox $25), a method to clean the records (new ones too!), and poly lined sleeves will keep your collection in top shape.
I agree with what Tarsando said. You can definitely get into vinyl, have a lot of fun, and get a lot of emotionally involving, good sound and music without spending a fortune on the LPs themselves.
I just got into LP playback again 2-1/2 mos. ago and some of my favorite, as-new LPs are from the 99-cent bins at used record stores and thrift shops. For the cost of an mp3 single song download, I come away with one or two albums.
If you want to start really cheap, you could get an entry-level Technics belt drive turntable with P-mount tonearm. Even though it wouldn't be the most sophisticated rig, P-mount arms are factory-set to track at 1.25g, which is very light, and P-mount arms are straight, low-mass designs (though I doubt that the pivot bearings are much to write home about). An example is the Technics SLBD20D as described here: http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-Technics-SLBD20D-Automatic-Turntable/dp/B00005T3Y8
Another alternative would be to start at a little over $400 for a Technics SL1200 Mk2. It's a 'way cleaner machine with a lot of upgrade potential should you decide to keep it, and a very high resale value should you decide to sell it. Its tonearm also have very low bearing friction and should be easy on the LPs.
A third alternative would be to check garage sales and Craigslist and the like. I got a Yamaha garage sale turntable very much like the Technics SLBD20D for $2 and that's what got me hooked. 2 weeks later I bought a Technics SL1210 M5G and play it an average 2 hrs a day.
IMHO, dirt and dust are the biggest problem (static electricity makes many Vinyl albums a magnet for dust) followed by natural degradtion of the plastic. My limited experience was that the more cleaning I did the worse it eventually sounded (faster it degraded) and that the stylus of any decent mid range TT NEVER did any damage (except if you bumped it or someone jumped on the floor next to the TT)...just my two cents.
Good suggestion above- hit the Goodwills and buy only music you like, but make sure it's in good shape. Hit the used record stores as well. Don't buy dirty, scratched LPs. As stated above- don't use stylus cleaner (liquid).
As to turntables: used Music Hall, Rega are a good entry level.
Don't forget to buy a carbon brush from Music Direct.
Good Luck and enjoy!
I think anyone considering swimming in the analog waters needs to ponder their reasons for doing so, vinyl isn't for everyone. Unlike some, I have never felt analog was vastly superior to well done digital. Vinyl is clearly superior in some ways, but inferior in others. Vinyl is a pain in the rump to store, clean, and acquire IMO. The quality of new releases is quite variable. I've been so aggravated by warped, noisy and dirty new releases. To me, the best reason to put up with analog is access to new music that is never going to be digitally released or access to releases you'd never pay the price of a cd for. I've been poking through the .99 cent racks at a record store and taken many a chance on a release I'd never pay $10-16 for and have been turned on to a lot of good new music as a result. I take good care of my vinyl and wear isn't an audible factor in my experience. As to component recommendations, what's your budge forecast? BTW, you've got a very nice system and a beautiful room.
Hi,50 bucks a pop is alot of money for an lp.I go to flea markets,estate sales,used record stores.Records run 10cents to 5bucks,stores higher.Most stores will take trades of cds for credit or cash.Sites like DELMARK/JAZZMART have great deals, also try MOSIAC records.There prices on new jazz lps and some blues are great.Don't know what inexpensive means to ya,$350 will get you a nice new table,used 50 and up.GOOD LUCK,KP
Dear Bigamp: +++++ " In my inexperience, I'm concerned that a lower-end system may introduce a lot of record wear...." +++++
A lower-end or a top one system contribute in almost the same way to very slowly makes a degradation/wear to the LPs.
If you mantain your Lps clean, the stylus in good/pristine condition and the VTF is between manufacturer advise you don't have to worried about.
Regards and enjoy the music.
buy some good record sleeves. the record player isn't going to damage your records as much as not buying a decent record rack and re-sleeving the records that come in ultra-cheap paper. outer sleeves are not expensive either, and prevent
records from slipping out of the covers. box sets, like all nine beethoven symphonies, do pose a problem however; dividers would be nice, but then the records aren't going to fit inside the box anymore... you really should transfer the vinyl to single-alblum covers- which for some particularly valuable records is probably a necessity. "bags unlimited" has a free catalog and has alot of useful stuff in it.
If the cartridge/tonearm are reasonably high quality and aligned correctly, it is virtually impossible to "wear out" a record. Keeping your records clean is very important as well.
The gear I used 40+ plus years ago was hardly state of the art but the records still play quietly and without any significant problems. I
Those who espouse record wear being a problem probably need to upgrade their hardware. My opinion is based on a review of that system.
Despite being on record as saying "wear isn't an audible factor in my experience", Photon46 is not a cult member as he simply makes too much sense. I think it boils down to what type of music is being reproduced. Anything that has a lot of quiet moments or soft music will, in my experience, dissapoint, if not initially, then after a few plays.
On some music, there is magic in LP listening.
Not for everybody and, more to the point, not for every type of music.
Bigamp, looked at your system and with the amount of money you spent on it am left wondering why you think that new vinyl is pricey and why you have decided to be thrifty when it comes to an analogue setup. Then again, maybe your idea of inexpensive does not match mine. If you want a simple solution I would say get yourself a used Rega P9/1000 and a good cart properly set up and a decent phono section and you might want to live with these a while.
Pbb, you are quite right about the type of music, wear, noise, etc. I should have been more specific about that factor. I've got several hundred classical lps and many more rock and jazz. There is an increase in noise after repeated plays in many, but not every case. I've got some 80's German ECM releases that have many quiet passages and for some reason, they seem resistant to increasing noise. That's not the case with most of my classical recording though, there usually is a small incremental increase in the noise floor. It's honestly hard for me to say how much that noise floor increases as time passes though. With thousands of recording to listen to, I don't think even favorites get played that many times in a given year. I tend to prefer listening to vinyl rock and jazz recordings, as the inherently poorer signal to noise ratio of vinyl is masked by higher music db levels.
I though about this wear factor a little bit driving in to work. Record wear can be of both a subtractive and additive manner perhaps. As in wearing away vinyl when a cartridge is misaligned or otherwise doing damage. Noise is noticed when records are scratched or miscroscopic debris is welded to the vinyl during play, so that's additive. When I say that I don't hear audible wear, I mean that frequency response, soundstaging, etc. sounds the same, nothings been audibly lost. However, the noise floor can increase if things aren't cleaned to perfection.