What's the cost of an entry level vinyl setup?


I'm just curious how much it would cost to get the equipment required to make vinyl worth listening to. I know players are available for cheap, but would anticipate the sound quality to be the same.

What would be your recommendation to go with a system worth about $5,000 in total? Is there a significant advantage to vinyl at this level? I've heard vinyl on high enough equipment to know that at it's best it's better than digital, but am not sure what it would cost for the average joe to get a quality sound.
mceljo
About $2000 minimum.
I started with a VPI Scoutmaster and Lyra Argo i cart with a Lehmann Black Cube phono stage. With a little wheeling and dealing with elusivedisc, I came in under $5k for all new...including cables, cart set up, BDR pucks, and delivery. The new Lyra Delos is kinda the replacement for the Argo i at this price
It was a fantastic set up and had almost no background noise...very quiet.
As I got more $$, I added the ring clamp, center weight, cloud 9 for isolation, and SDS motor drive. When I jumped to the Aries 3, I kept the add ons as they all worked with the new table...an easy upgrade path.

Hope this helps,

Pepe
Sorry, I misread your post...I thought you were looking for a table combo for 5k.
There are some great starters for $500 or so...Rega and ProJect come to mind. The carts are included on many of them so you would only need a phono pre and maybe some isolation as the tables are not very massive.
There are many combos for $1500 if that can fit your budget.
Audiofeil has a few suggestions in another post now under analog...I believe it is the one called "How much $$$ for vinyl setup to equal digital" or something like that.

What is your budget and do you want new or can used fit the bill??

Pepe
Thanks for the info. This is more of a "phishing" thread at this point to learn more about vinyl. I'll look for the thread you referenced. It would take a lot to convince me to get into vinyl. If I ever have a dedicated audio room it would be much more tempting to play around with.
I began with $2200 a year or so ago. I'm up to $6000+ at this point. Really good sound can be had at $3000.
Check out what you can have done to a Linn Sondek 12 TT on ebay.co.uk look under consumer electronics Linn Sondek 12...the Inspire system. I have one being built as of this week. I kept my platters belt and tonearm since they are easy to install. Happy listening.
I would try the Project with a the built in phono stage, or buy the Rega P3 and get the Bellari tubed phono stage.

I have helped several friends start with the same set up and we all thought it sounded stellar.

I would have someone, if you can find a buddy with tacit analog knowledge, help you set it up. If not, buy Michael Fremmers Vinyl set up disc. Well worth the price, plus, he's pretty funny.
Dual 1229 used - $200
Grado cartridge - $50
Hagerman Bugle - $149 http://www.hagtech.com/bugle.html

For $400,you're in business and have to apologize to no one about the sound you'll be getting.

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
1.)How much would the cost? A lot. Its gonna cost a Really lot. First born child like alot. Considering your stated taste in classy music and women, I would suggest far too much of a cost of a table really, just for to start an search.

For fun time...Imagine, Go and play listen to cd start to end. Right OK? Is cds music sure helping to relaxing and melting away the daytime worrys about cost and levels...Now imagine getting up every 13-15 minutes for to flip the vinyl! tri and Relax...not too much, haha you got to GeT up and flip vinyl soon. An dont forget for vinyl to wash and rinse and or repent. You Will be sure to see how soon the costs adds up.

2.) But do too not forget, anticipations sound like you already expect anyways, so for yours do not to0 go cheap, go for other always. Unexpected god news is your lps will might suprise actually likely by sounding with music very much more enjoyable than cds ever.

So my recomendation is YES. yes significant is the Very adventageousness over your rivals. as they will cower in shame! be ready with expensive camera for trophy shots to adorn your listening room. Mount photos Over your table for most best effect and pride.

Do not be ashamed of your very height limitations. your good experience with the vinyl on high enough equipment is only a $10-15 step stool away from helping you put the vinyl on the platter, and really at average person height operating its no different.

In conlusion the avg joe is not the mark being targeted too.

viva la vinyl!!!

Oakleys - There are no words that come to mind as an appropriate response to your comments.
Oakleys - There are no words that come to mind as an appropriate response to your comments.

Ditto!!

08-01-10: Oakleys
An don't forget for vinyl to wash and rinse and or repent.
Praise Jesus! Hallelujah!

Satan awaits those who don't wash repeat and/or repent!
This is what Entry Level means to me:
Vintage Harman Kardon T-60 turntable = $200-$300
or
Technics SL-1200MK2 turntable - used from $300
Grado/Sumiko/AudioTechnica/other cartridge = $120-$300
Phono pre-amp - many choices - start around $100-$200
Amp/tuner - many choices, depends in part on your speakers.
Speakers - depends on your music, your room, very good vintage speakers can be found around $400.

You know that the sky is the limit on all of this, but this sort of entry level gear can still make your vinyl sound great, or at least VERY enjoyable. Your TT/Cartridge/PreAmp combo probably have the most to say about the audio quality you get.

see: http://vintage-audio-gear.com/vintage-preamps

Craig
woops, not for confusedin uall. op said was "phishing" and im just havn fun.

only meant to imply to op there is more "cost" to owning lp playback than cost of actual deck and cartridge. i.e cleaning supplies/knowlege how to clean properly/machine or how then to clean/ricepapers or what/setting up table..level..and cartridge/loading phonostage properly/getting up every 15 mins if lucky to change sides etc/clening/always cleanin...etc...

also and more than important is ok no value or relations to music making qualities of deck and cartridge relative to costs of deck or cartridge or an audio system. ALl that matters is how anything makes music to whoever is personally enjoying. the only opinion that should have any consideration is YOURS, and even then, its only ever worth anything to YOU alone. and whats that worth?

me i prefer my vinyl getup and dance to my cdp everytime.

obviously, it goes to eleven.

enjoy.
Oakleys - Where are you from? I can't tell if you're speaking in broken English or some type of Twitter/Texting shorthand.
mceljo-

i am only visiting the internets from the land of otl's and vinyl...

in deed im just got back from Bonnie "prince" Billy "Funtown Comedown" spinnin on the table.

good times.

in queue is My Morning Jacket 'it still moves'

an then Lambchop "is a woman"

later still Thee Silver Mt Zion "he has left us alone but shafts of light sometimes grace the corner of our rooms..."

with a little Godspeed You! Black Emperor "yanqui u.x.o"
to end a lovely weekend.

are you?
Thom Mackris and others have it right. One can get respectable vinyl sound at several hundred dollars. Good looks cost more than good sound.

I find that Absolutelytopnotchblowmeawaywitheverylisten sound costs more, but that kind of thing isn't usually classified as 'entry level.'
I think before getting a vinyl rig you should think about how you are going to acquire records. It it's from Acoustic Sounds or similar, a collection of 100 records is going to cost $3000 or more. A lot less if you have access to a good used record store.
Daverz, I just picked up four complete Reader's Digest box sets from the swap shop at the dump. That's hundreds of hours of music right there. One set has ten albums dedicated to "Mood Music for Dining." Best thing is that that are so bad I don't think they've ever been played.

Point well taken.
I'm with THom and T_Bone.

I have a vintage Dual 1264 with vintage Goldring cart and Yamaha cr-420 vintage receiver that sounds way more than just respectable.

The same pieces bought used today should only cost a few hundred if you can find them.
1/2 of a bottle of Tequila, four or five beers, a couple of Mai-Tais. I have no idea what Oakley is trying to say. I even went out, cranked up the local hip-hop, and drifted around my neighborhood for an hour. Still can't translate it. Maybe drifting in my F-150 FX-4 aint' cuttin' it. I'll try tomorrow in my son's WRX. :-)

What is the cost of an entry level vinyl setup? What is "entry level"? To me this question is more about a price point than level of performance.

The cost is up to the purchaser, but I say buy the best you can afford up front and save on the upgrade costs. You'll have to decide for yourself about how to allocate your budget to the various components needed.
This is where I have started

1) Thorens TD 166nkII $250
2) Denon 103r cartridge $250
3) Musical Fidelity v-lps phono stage $100
4) Spin Clean Record Washing System $80
5) Record Brushes and Stylus Cleaners $50

I had some Audioquest cables in storage so I didn't need to buy any.

Thanks Chuck
$2500-$3500 for a decent turntable + arm
$1000-$1500 phono preamplifier
$800 - $1500 a good MM or MC cartridge
$300 - $500 a decent phono cable
$300 - $600 Record cleaning machine
$100 - $300 LPs
Oakleys: I find your posts, shall I say, thought provoking. From your syntax I presume you are Korean, would this be North Korea, land of otl?

"Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven".

Eleven is hyperbole.

Mceljo: Please excuse the sideline. If cost is your concern, consider vintage/used. Linn, Lenco, AR or the infamous Technics SL-1200xx are good starters. Plenty of avenues for upgrades as your system evolves. Duals are good "plug and play" units, nothing shabby about the better decks. Turntable, pre and cartridge perhaps $500 to $1500. Another "agree" with Mapman, Thom_macris, T-bone.
Mceljo, that is a good question and I would agree that in the 2-3K range sounds about the right spot for a beginning TT set-up. It is a slippery slope though, the next thing you know you will have 10K in an analog front end and all the associated accessories.

In looking at your system, you may want to first consider gear that is designed solely for 2 channel listening before going that route.
Maineiac,

I'd love to have a system that was more 2-channel specific, but I don't have the budget or space to do both so I'm stuck in the world of compromise. I am extremely happy with the sound of my system, but realize that the sky's the limit for those that keep looking. I had considered going with a 2-channel amplifier running out of a less expensive home theater receiver, but my old receiver didn't have pre-outs forcing me to purchase both and I couldn't find anything of equal overall quality for the same price. The other downside for me having another component is the WAF. She's been as supportive beyond any expectation that I would have so I'm always trying to keep her in mind with the system.

I'm not really planning to get into vinyl, most because of the dedication it takes to do it right and the added expense. It would take an investment of a significant percentage of my entire existing system to exceed the sound quality of my CD/SACD playback and at the age of 32 I'm not attached to vinyl in my heart like some of a different generation.

The general cost estimate seems to be $2,000+ for great quality sound. I'm enjoying learning about vinyl and what it takes to really get it right. I simply can't afford to start down that never ending path...
I simply can't afford to start down that never ending path...
Mceljo (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Then don't start with LPs, 'cause it's a never ending path that can be confirmed by reading the analog discussion threads.
oh me oh you all. not too sure bout confusion?

just trying to give much important and justly earned and easy to understand advice to the "phishing" op. who never said anyting bout own already owned audio system or room or room layout or rack/space or rack for tt or about already records owned or what were expectations for vinyl or what op did not like or did about vinyle or digital already owned or listened to or and or really or do or i or need or to or go or on or...oh wait, op did says knows cheep exists, and cheep will already be expected to not good, but against what? not said so I assume..and his/her will be with that mindset an why not and so I say, i says so go way too expensive! no worries then right? oh, op didnt say what is too expensive either. or if him/her considers own system cheep already to begin with, or what likes about own system or doesn't or what the strengths and weaknesses of said system are, and im too bored....so for a 5000 system, I'd put in most expensive t.t., walker audio i.e. and be done with it! Considering the op question, this would be worth listengin to..but then he/she wont even need records or phono stage or cartridge or knowlege then, just look at and be happy. a?

dan-de-me i almost forgot how much an Funny driving while drunk Always is, also your big f-150 will make sure make sure someone else payes the punchline too! yee-haw! please to post pics of carnage or yes mugshots always good too. please to leave kids car out of youare problems. or and just listen to familiar music if you need to lose confusion an frustration from not being in touch an or understnadin hiphop, and unfamiliar musik/tings or cultures not ur own. or me.

the enemy always lies within, and if you go straight long enough you'll end up where you are.

keep up the good work?

timewilltell in deed. god's pee is BACK!! to play live along with curating the 'all tomorrow's partie's nightmare before christmas' festivel in decembre 2010!!! oh joy. weird al will be there too...

no hyperspace, it just goes to eleven. says so right on the faceplate. eleven. big ol 11. obviously must be better...i mean, it goes to eleven. right? says so right on the faceplate.



IMO, you would get more return on spending $2-3K on a high quality integrated amp with a home theater pass through vs. going vinyl. I have a lot of respect for Integra and have listened to their equipment many times. It is excellent home theater kit but I am quite sure you would be taking a big step forward in 2 channel with the right equipment that was a good match for your speakers.
I disagree with the really high $$ that are being bandied about here. That's just crazy.

You can get into vinyl, entry level for about $500 - 700 bucks and see if you like it, and get a very good idea of how the sound compares to digital.
Yup agree with macdadtexas as that is what I did
Well, if it truly costs that much ( I do not think so), so much for a vinyl revolution in that few will ever see any benefit.

I still believe a lot of the vinyl revolution to whatever extent it exists has to do with the fact that used records can be had for cheap or that people already have a lot of records that they want to play but do not want to spend a lot of money. It has always been the case that low end record players have outnumbered high end turntable systems by a huge margin and that will never change.
The general cost estimate seems to be $2,000+ for great quality sound. I'm enjoying learning about vinyl and what it takes to really get it right. I simply can't afford to start down that never ending path...

No it's not if you do thorough due diligence. Thom Mackris gave you some excellent advice on a set up. Even adding in the cost of a good record cleaner (VPI) and fluids you'd be under $1000. As Thom said, you'd have nothing to apologize for either.

Analog is my priority, but I have what I consider to be a an excellent digital set-up. I recently purchased a Galibier Serac from Thom that has an SME Series III tonearm mounted on it and I use a B&O MMC-2 cartridge. I also use the Hagerman Bugle phonostage. This system exceeds $3k and while I was waiting for it to be delivered I played around with a few B&O tangential tracking tables. None of these tables cost me more than $550 with cartridge. All of them delivered very good sound (very competitive with digital) and while I can clearly hear that the Galibier set-up is better (and exceeds my digital playback), I will admit I could have easily lived with my refurbished B&O 8000 with MMC-2 cartridge.

Dual, AR, Thorens, Luxman, Lenco, Empire, and B&O tables among others can get you great sound for little investment and set-up effort/maintenance. What really appears to be the issue is that you're on the fence and can't decide if you even want to get into vinyl. If that's the case consider this last point. You can buy a nice vintage table (with tonearm), a decent cartridge, the Bugle phono, a Nitty Gritty cleaning set-up, and some records and give it a whirl. If it doesn't work out you should be able to resell everything pretty easily and not suffer too much of a loss in the process. My feeling is if you do it right, you won't be selling it off.
Clio09

Agree as I am already looking into a phono stage upgrade.

Chuck
Let's be brutally honest. $1000 may get one into vinyl with a rig that requires no apology, but I can't identify one contributor here who would stay with that rig for very long, and that's the real issue.

The OP doesn't want to get on an escalator to higher and higher expenditures, and there's absolutely no indication that anyone posting and reading Audiogon discussion threads has the fortitude or willpower to stay with a sub $1000 analog rig.

I would direct the OP to AudioCircle, where there is a higher ratio of members on a budget, and many of whom remain true to their budgets.
The OP doesn't want to get on an escalator to higher and higher expenditures, and there's absolutely no indication that anyone posting and reading Audiogon discussion threads has the fortitude or willpower to stay with a sub $1000 analog rig.

Agreed. I wish I had the willpower to stay with any single aspect (cart, phono, table, arm) that is sub $1000.
Why would the OP necessarily get on an escalator to higher and higher expenditures?

I get the whole upgrade bug among us. In my case I'm always looking for my analog equipment to better my digital. So obviously I've been on the escalator. I also agree that other forums like Audio Circle and Vinyl Engine, maybe even Audio Asylum might be more appropriate for the OP. On the other hand we sure get a lot of those Technics SL-1200 threads and discussions around here.

What I can't help but ponder in this case is after looking at the OP's system, assuming it is up to date, that there are a number of vinyl set-ups under $1000 that can better the Pioneer and Integra players he has. The OP started the post by saying he felt a cheap investment would equal cheap sound. A few of us posted why this would not be the case. The OP also asked for a recommendation for a $5000 vinyl set-up. Considering it is early in his endeavor and considering his system, that's way to much IMO.

I think this is one case where the OP could assemble a nice budget sub-$1000 vinyl set-up and be happy with it.

08-03-10: Clio09
Why would the OP necessarily get on an escalator to higher and higher expenditures?
A cursory search of the analog threads will reveal several reasons why: quest for better sound, quest for "fixing" a perceived deficiency, insecurity, general dissatisfaction..."keeping up with the Jonses"...the list goes on and on.

I think this is one case where the OP could assemble a nice budget sub-$1000 vinyl set-up and be happy with it.
Clio09 (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Clio9, if he does, and if he stays with it for even six months, then he'll be the first in these threads to have done so as far as I can tell.

BTW, having owned a Technics SL-1200, I don't believe one can get a satisfying, long-term, "entry level" set-up based around this table (or a Rega P-3, or Music Hall MMf 7.1, or...) for less than $2K (including table, arm, cartridge, phono preamp, interconnects, platform/base, set-up tools, and cleaning supplies).

Sorry for being the persistent dissenter here, but sometimes folks deserve a reality check from those who have been down the road and discovered brambles among the roses.
Clio09 - My intent was to inquire about a recommendation for a vinyl setup that would sound great without being outlandish compared to my system that is worth about $5,000 in total, not a $5,000 vinyl rig.

A sub-$1,000 vinyl setup would be a fair investment compared to the total value, but it wouldn't, for example, make sense to spent $10,000 on a turntable to hook to a $1,400 receiver.

I was interested in finding out if it was possible to do vinyl with a buget that was within reason compared to my existing system. It sounds like it could be.

I've also noticed that I'm at a level of audio that is essentially picking up scraps from the kitchen floor compared to the average audiophile on this forum. I also know that my equipment isn't really considered "hi end" on this forum, but certainly is for the average listener. I personally only know of a single person that may have a better system than I do so even though I'm at the bottom end I'm certainly in the minority. I think that being a Harley 1%er makes a person part of a larger group than serious audiophiles (I don't consider myself a true audiophile, half-baked comes to mind).
I was interested in finding out if it was possible to do vinyl with a budget that was within reason compared to my existing system. It sounds like it could be.

Mceljo (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
I agree that it could be. The question in my mind is if you are the type of person that will be satisfied with what the $1000 buys, or if you are the type (like most here) that continue to upgrade.

That's the question I hope you will honestly answer before you start writing the checks.
I was interested in finding out if it was possible to do vinyl with a budget that was within reason compared to my existing system. It sounds like it could be.

I've also noticed that I'm at a level of audio that is essentially picking up scraps from the kitchen floor compared to the average audiophile on this forum.

As I've said a $1000 set-up including cleaning equipment and some vinyl to spin would be a fair expenditure considering the overall value of your system IMO. I also think you're the type of person, based on your posts, that can be satisfied with that investment, as well as the sound it would produce, and avoid riding the escalator.

As to your other comment, let me share an experience from this past weekends Bay Area Audio show. There was a room using "scraps" that included an Audiolab 8000 integrated amp ($300 used) and a Magnavox CDP ($50 used). I won't mention the speakers, but I will say the sound in that room was in my top 3 of the whole show.
Clio9, if he does, and if he stays with it for even six months, then he'll be the first in these threads to have done so as far as I can tell.

I have faith in him :)

BTW, having owned a Technics SL-1200, I don't believe one can get a satisfying, long-term, "entry level" set-up based around this table (or a Rega P-3, or Music Hall MMf 7.1, or...) for less than $2K (including table, arm, cartridge, phono preamp, interconnects, platform/base, set-up tools, and cleaning supplies).

As you were a SL-1200 user you obviously have more experience with this table. However, it keeps getting mentioned in "budget" threads and that was my point.

I'll disagree with the Rega P-3, or for that matter the refurbed/modified AR or Thorens tables such as those that can be found on Vinyl Nirvana. As a B&O user I'll say an 8002 refurbished by Soundsmith can be an extremely satisfying table.
Clio09, my comment regarding the Technics SL-1200, Rega P-3, MMF 7.1, and any other "budget" table one wants to include in the list was not intended to offer a judgment about the sound of the tables, or about whether an owner would find their sound satisfying.

My use of the word satisfying was probably poorly chosen, but my intention was to suggest that with an investment of $2K, one might be less likely to want to change one of the elements to something more expensive (more expensive cartridge, arm, table, interconnect, phono preamp, etc.).

Of course, whether one desires to upgrade is open to many factors with the most significant factor being the personality of the owner.
The operative term in the original post was "ENTRY LEVEL".
I stick to the opinion that you can get very good sound from some careful choices and smart shopping. I got a brilliant Dual 721 for $20. It is in great shape. Stuck a $150 cart on it, and voila!

I'll also stick my neck out here and say that a large percentage of the population who have spent years going to clubs or live music (or with the MP3 player stuck in their ears) have such damaged hearing that they really can't distinguish the nuances that make someone spend 5K on a TT, or preamp or a cartridge.

Craig.
There was a room using "scraps" that included an Audiolab 8000 integrated amp ($300 used) and a Magnavox CDP ($50 used). I won't mention the speakers, but I will say the sound in that room was in my top 3 of the whole show.

Clio, we have to at least know the price level of the speakers?
"Clio, we have to at least know the price level of the speakers?"

Why?
Clio99, I was reading your hypothesis that a system built with scraps could sound awesome. If in reality it is scraps with a $10K+ speakers then I am not sure the point is as valid.
In his review of Rega's P5 and P7 turntables, Art Dudley said, "were I to recommend a turntable to a vinyl enthusiast who's new to perfectionist audio, it would be the P3, hands down—virtually regardless of that person's budget. And to the more seasoned audio enthusiast, who already has some familiarity with good analog gear but simply wants an easy way off the merry-go-round, the P9 is my equally easy choice."

I haven't heard the OP's Focal Chorus speakers, but from reviews it seems they have strengths that Rega turntables would complement. The P3-24 with factory-mounted Elys 2 cartridge should fit well into his system. His receiver has a phono input, so he wouldn't need a phono stage. At some point it might be interesting to compare the Rega Fono MM with the built-in stage to see if it's a worthwhile improvement, and the same with the TT PSU, but just the 'table and cartridge, at $1095 for the package, would be worthy of his system and could be all the turntable he ever needs.
They were far from $10k+ speakers and I'm still not sure I'm seeing the point.

In my analogy, I was taking into account what the OP listed as the price for his speakers plus sub (about $4k), and how that compared to the cost of his other components.

The total cost of the system I heard including cabling was $7k. It was #3 in my top 3 rooms at the show (Dehavilland and Salk Sound were #1 and #2).