Suggestions from all you wise ones


This may be long but I will try to be brief. 63 years old, spent $1200.00 back in 1974 for my system. I'm known around my circle as a music nut. I only have a couple of friends that are into music as I. But, they have no systems, they would be happy listening to some old Zeppelin through a sea shell. I've been following this site for months and feel really upset that I'm missing out on my number one passion, music. I'm running a new NAD C165BEE That replaced my old Adcom GTP-500 II that started having balance problems, a Adcom GFA-555 II amp which I need to feed my Infinity Kappa 8's that are in great shape. Just got back into vinyl so I had my 1974 Thorens TD 160 tuned up. I think it sounds great. Is there any of you that live in the Milwaukee area and be willing to give me a listen to your system? Or any comments from you all.
Thanks Very Much !!!
Some more info, I have a new Grado Red cartridge and had to get a phono amp to run through a different input on the new NAD due to the lack of volume.
golden210
Hello Golden - I don't live in the area, so I can't offer a convenient listening session, but I would be happy to lend any advice that I can.  If you fancy a visit to Miami, let me know!

If you feel that you are missing out on your music passion, is that from an audiophile / sound quality perspective?  If so, there are many ways to upgrade, just decide on a budget, and consider your weakest link.  The people on this forum will happily help!  Your amplifier is a good one (a Nelson Pass classic I believe!), and the speakers are high quality, though they are probably getting a little long in the tooth.

Are you using a streaming service such as Tidal?  This can be a very, Very good way to turn up the music passion meter a lot!  By having access to literally millions of albums, you can go wild in seeking out new artists, or albums.  Tidal gives you access to millions of albums at CD quality or higher for a monthly fee.  I have a large CD collection (2,000+ albums), and I also listen to vinyl (a smaller collection than my digital), but despite owning a fair amount of music, I would be lost without Tidal.  I can get on a whim with an artist and listen to virtually anything that they've recorded.  It's pretty outstanding.  

What are you using for music on the digital end in your system?  CD player?  Or do you already have a streaming option in place? 
When is the last time you heard live music?Go see a few concerts of differing types of music.Since our ultimate goal is to reproduce recordings as closely to the original event as possible the only baseline you should use to gauge your system is a concert or 3...
 +1 to above reply regarding Streaming music...Even a free service like basic Pandora will expose you to a ton of music & artists in your favorite genre 's you didn't know existed...
Thanks guys, I don't use a streaming service. I have over 3000 CD's and about 150 quality albums. That keeps me busy.
@golden210- So, you were last involved in 1974, and are only now just getting back into it due to your love of music and want to get your bearings?
First, nothing happened between 1974 and now. :) Record manufacturing declined, the audiophile market expanded beyond a handful of expensive brands to a lot of expensive brands as well as a lot of hype. Numerous factions developed- the tube v transistor schools, the analog v. digital schools, the explosion of ancillaries, from cable to various resonance and isolation devices. Perhaps most significant, the Internet happened, and people no longer rely on their monthly dose of "informed entertainment" via commercial magazines to glean information. 

You should go hear some systems. In my experience, home listening and live performance are very different worlds, and though we have come quite far since 1974 in some ways, I’m not sure the gap between live and reproduced has closed that much, though hi-fi has gotten much better in many respects. At the same time, many people- not just fringe retro-geeks, have taken to vintage equipment, from rim or idler drive or direct drive turntables, to SET amps and horns, old Western Electric hook up wire, and other antediluvian technologies.
How does this relate to music? That one’s on you. I found the "audiophile" approved listening diet to be far too limiting- sonics over musical quality. It took me a while to break through that but once I did, my level of enjoyment increased as the range of what I listen to expanded into genres and artists I missed or ignored. Streaming is very good (though I don’t do it) to access a wide range of material. Ultimately, you can get recommendations, but aside from sonics (and even opinions on that vary), the choice of music and performance is a very personal one.
I treat it like an adventure of exploration. One thing the Internet can do is help you with research on recordings, artists, bands and history. I buy a considerable amount of older records and the hunt is fun, as is knowledge about different pressings. Record cleaning is important and that has also improved since 1974 when, apart from the Discwasher and a couple of dry brush devices, the only machine was a Monks, something that few people had access to.
Enjoy the journey-- we are approximately the same age- I stayed plugged in to a degree throughout the years, but what has changed most for me isn’t the equipment but my interest in pursuing different genres and recordings.
Welcome back to the fold.
^^^ Go hear as many systems as you want BUT without Live Music reference as to what  instruments actually sound like how the hell do you know what your chasing?
I haven't been gone from the scene just meant I started back in 74. The return to vinyl just started recently. Out of my 400 LP's I was able to salvage 150. The others didn't make it out of the 70's very well. (As I) I use 2 Spin Cleans for cleaning. First one with the cleaner added, the second one with clear distilled water as a rince. Then onto a lazy Susan with a 1/4" bolt attached to the center for the album to center itself. I place a piece of that rubber non slip shelving material down first. Then use a vinyl Vac attached to a shop vac to suck off all the water. Works extremely well.
@freediver - assuming your question was directed to me, re-read my paragraph that begins with ’You should go hear some systems...’. I didn’t suggest that this was a substitute for live music- in fact, as my next sentences made clear, I think a big gap remains between live and reproduced.
So, by all means go to shows, I catch many here in Austin. But I also believe the home listening experience is different than live and if the OP has not been involved since 1974 (a point which he has since clarified), I was suggesting he get a chance to hear what a system today is capable of.
It seems to me that you are happy with your current setup. One thing not mentioned is what you use to play the ~4000 CDs. Possibilities exist for improvement in the digital arena without making other changes to your system.  What player do you use? does it have digital output?

There are several audio shops in the Chicago area. You should plan to visit some. One I have frequented in the past is Quintessence Audio on Dempster, in Morton Grove. Friendly staff, new and used products. 
How far is it from Milwaukee to Axpona?
golden210,

You have made contact with this forum. You have already received some good advice.

Axpona is next weekend !!!! I would try to attend it at least for one (1) day.

 I am going to meet Ralph Karsten of “Atmasphere “ since he will be modding the Technics SL1200G that I ordered Friday from HiFi  Heaven in Green Bay and according to tracking; Ralph will receive Monday.  Tri Mai will also be there and he will be building the Triplanar tonearm that will be mounted on the Technics TT. 

So, myself and I think the other posters are not sure where you would like to go. Axpona will let you see and hear so much gear. 

At 63 yrs , you sound like many at our age. We are listening alone. Friends have passed or are acting their age. Their passions have changed for whatever reason.  

PM me, if you think about coming to Axpona. We can have lunch. My music tastes are 70s / 80s R&R, but stretch far beyond just that.

 I am a vinyl guy, 3000 LPs / 83 CDs ; four of which are test or burn in CDs

Anyway, Welcome !!  Milwaukee is not that far away. Axpona is a good place to meet and should be a good time. It was great in 2016. And I have more skin in the game this time. Hopefully having my last TT built and meeting the people that are doing it. Come and join the fun.

Norb
Axpona is only a hour and half away. Sounds like a great reason for a road trip. I will try to make it.
Thanks for the tip.
@golden,
You have some great manufacturers near you. 
Atma-Sphere- who is another Audiogon contributor here
and Magnepan.
If it were me, I would pick Ralph (atmasphere)'s brain via PM. 
He knows a lot, and builds some of the finest tube equipment in the US.
And, he's a nice guy.
B
golden210,

I will be at Axpona with a couple buddies on Friday and maybe Sunday.  I would be open to meeting you there and seeing if there is a day that worked for both of us that you could listen to a pretty well thought out system that has taken me several years to get where I wanted it.  I have both analog and digital front ends that are very good.  My system is in a dedicated room in the basement and sounds very dynamic, transparent, and detailed.  The last things I've changed have caused a much more organic sound.  I have about 1100 albums and 750 CDs.  I live about 35 miles SW of Chicago so it would be 2 1/4 hours drive at worst each way from Milwaukee.  The total cost of my system bought mostly used would be quite a bit more than what you currently have.  It would give you an idea of what an upgraded system could sound like and if it is even worth it to you.

Let me know if you're interested.
Bob


Hey Bob,(dorkwad) I can make the Friday date. From your post I'm not sure you want just to meet at the show plus go to your cave. I'm open for anything. I will be alone as the few of my friends come to my place when they need an ear full but that's as far as will go. Matter of fact they both got my equipment for free through the years. I think I explained above I just replaced my Adcom preamp with a NAD C 165BEE and really happy except for not enough volume from my Thorens TD160. I fixed that by using. A phono preamp and plugging it into one of the non phono inputs. My CD's even sounded so much better than my 25 year old Technics so I thought a new CD player would be better so I ordered a new NAD c546BEE today. To qualfy my love for music I can admit having my new wife of 6 years catching me in the basement with headphones on and she can't understand why I have tears running down my face. No clue that great music moves my soul. If you're interested then let's stay in touch and we can exchange phone numbers during the week.
Thanks,
Guy
Hi Golden,

I live in the Milwaukee area. I have two AXPONA worthy systems I would be glad to show you (at least I think they are AXPONA worthy). Please send me a message if you still would like to hear some other systems. 

Thanks,
Dave
Hi Dave,
I would like to take up on your offer. Can you send me your phone number to my email at guyrobb45@gmail.com.

Thanks,
Guy