Where to start with vinyl

In your opinion what TT and cartridge would I need to buy to experience a noticable improvement over a Resolution Audio Opus 21 or similar quality ($3-4K new) CD player. Rest of system includes Rogue M-150 amps, Martin Logan Summits and tara air 1 interconnects and speaker cable.
IMHO, comparing digital and analog is difficult, as there is just something inherently different between the two. (I much prefer analog to digital myself). Therefore, rather than saying one is "better" than another, I will confine myself to saying that one is "more satisfying".

That being said, the Resolution Audio Opus 21 does a very good job of making digital sound a bit more like Analog. (And, the Audio Aero Capitole II cdp does an even better job at this, IMHO.)

In my opinion, as a Opus 21 owner, that my old Basis 1400, with a RB300 tone arm, and a Benz Micro Glider II cartridge was slightly more satisfying than my Opus 21, when running through my ARC LS-2 preamp, and my ARC PH-3 phono preamp.

However, my Basis 2001, with a Vector M3 tone arm (with VTA adjustment), and a Shelter 90X cartridge, running through my Ayre K-1xe preamp (with the phono boards), is considerably more satisfying than the Opus 21.

BTW: IMHO, you'll need to include the cost of a good phono preamp (something at least to the level of the aforementioned ARC PH-3 or an EAR 834 phono preamp) in order to truly achieve a great sounding analog system. (Not to mention the cleaning supplies that must be considered when you make the leap to vinyl. A RCM, even a cheap one, is a must, IMHO.)

Good luck!
While I am not familiar with the sound of the Resolution Audio player I have heard many players in that range. I think beginning with a Rega P5 ($1600 w cartridge) or something of that caliber or better is the sensible place to begin- these players truly give you good dynamic range with low noise, open sound and good detail and rendering of timbre and are a nice step up from tables below a thousand dollars generally speaking. You can spend more but one of the best items I ever owned was a Rega P25 after beginning with a P3 2000. Looking back on it I was very happy with that upgrade for the difference in cash.
I asked myself that same question, and it turned out that a Michell Tecnodec with a Rega RB250 arm and tecnomods (plus Incognito wiring) does the trick nicely. I'm using the Benz-Micro Reference 3 low-output MC cartridge in that system, which has a very precise and musical sound.

Don't neglect the phono preamp. I have Michael Yee's Musical Surroundings Nova Phonomena phono stage and find it to be excellent. After much experimenting with the cartridge loading value, I found that the 150-ohm setting works really great with my Reference 3. I like that the Nova Phonomena allows many different gain and cartridge loading settings. That makes it a more optimal fit for a given cartridge and system.

I have a custom-built 6SN7 linestage preamp that works like magic to extract the most articulate, detailed and musical performance from the turntable system. Certain vocals, violins, and other acoustic instruments sound as sweet and vivid as I've ever heard, even live. And surprisingly, the bass detail and articulation on my records (midbass in particular) seems to sound more detailed, faster, and better focused than my CD player is able to provide. The CD player may dig a little deeper in the lowest bass, but the turntable system wins hands-down in terms of bass agility and veracity.

I have a Michell Orbe SE with a Wilson Benesch arm and Benz Ebony L cartridge in my other system, and it's even a little better. But you don't need to spend that much to surpass the quality of your CDs. The more affordable Tecnodec is capable of stunning performance if set up properly. Oh, one other thing... I use a heavier Basis record clamp with my Tecnodec rather than the lighter Michell clamp. I used to roll with the big VPI decks, but for me, the more compact Michell decks are working out better. Good Luck!
Sgunther, just to add to my earlier post, if you need to skimp anywhere, I'd skimp on the cartridge... You could get very good results using a Benz Glider or Ace (low output preferred) if you don't want to spring for the Reference 3. That would get you going and I think you'd be very pleased.
Wrong... High output cartridges are much easier to deal with. Its really a tradeoff. Yes you might get very slightly more detail with a low output, because of the fewer windings on the coil, however rf, hum, noisy power, etc. can and usually does swamp that detail.
Make sure you've actually listened to some records on some system before you spend the bucks (ask where to "start" so I'm making a guess the whole thing is new to you--if not, just disregard this post).
I would go with one of the VPI turntables or the SME 20/2, which is what I have, assuming you could spring for the $11K. I would also recommend one of the SME or Graham arms--I have the Graham Phantom. And my experience with very low output MC cartridges is similar to that of the posters above. Anything below about 0.5 mV and a lot of problems can arise.
Rega TT from the P3 on up, Dynavector 17D3 cartridge, and Dynavector P-75 Mk. 2 phono preamp (will accommodate low or high output cartridges). To borrow from one of the other responders, this combo will be "more satisfying" than virtually any digital playback device. Good hunting!
Stringreen, you're so wrong it's pathetic. The better MC phono preamps are quite quiet and hum-free -- just as much so as a MM phono stage. So now folks can take advantage of all the extra detail and transient speed provided by today's better MC cartridges. If your experience is otherwise, you must have been using an inadequate/noisy phono preamp, or one with insufficient gain for the cartridge you were using. Or maybe you have a hum issue related to a grounding problem.

I see that you use the Benz Ebony high-output cartridge. Nice choice, but I bet you dollars to doughnuts that my low-output version sounds considerably better when loaded properly and hooked up to appropriate electronics.

Tarsando, if you ever want to hear a wonderful sounding vinyl playback system I can arrange that for only a small cover charge... But as I recall you are most content to play the ostrich.
Wright Sound - WPP200C Phonostage with separate power supply ($900). Marantz TT-15! Designed by Marantz and built for them by Clearaudio. For $1600, you get a contoured acrylic table with an outboard motor, special anti-resonance feet and a sophisticated tonearm. TT-15 comes complete with an $800 Clearaudio Virtuoso Ebony Wood Cartridge.

For $2500 this combo is hard to beat.

I agree with one of privies statements, that analog & digital sound different ( LP being more emotional. CD being more sterile). Just me...................?................I don't think so.


My personal choice:

Re-plinth Lenco 75 ( Depends how much you pay for Lenco & cost of a new plinth - My cost - trade one of my components for NOS Lanco/Denon 103R. $400 for plinth, TT isolation platform & dedicated stand, made by myself )

Wright Sound - WPP200C Phonostage ($900),
Advanced Analog MG-1 Linear Arm Tonearm with air pump (about $800)-
Cartridge Man's Music Maker IInd ($750 - $950) with Cartridge Man's -The Isolator ($150)
Second T-arm, Rega RB300 ($395),
Denon 103R cartridge ($250-$299) also thinking about modifying 103R wood shell ($50),

Total for TT & Phono: about $4000 ( depends on discounts ).

After completion, we'll do a shout out with my friend's $10,000 turntable & $3000 phonostage + Arm + Cartridge ( I can already predict the outcome ) .

Good luck in analog journey.
I came from somewhat the same place as you a while back. I'm running a very nice Meridien CD player, but came accross an old Oracle Delphi priced very low at an estate sale a few years ago. I picked it up, and it came with a Grado Platinum cartridge installed on an SME series III tonearm, a Musical Fidelity XLP phono stage and a nice pair of MIT interconnects.

At the time, that was enough to get me started - and it was a very enjoyable combo - certainly comparable to the Meridien despite being a fraction of the price. However, the Oracle was showing its age so I proceeded to an upgrade this year. I now am running a JA Michell Gyro SE mk 2 with a Graham 1.5tc/2.2 tonearm and a Benz Wood cartridge. The Musical Fidelity phonostage is still in use, though that'll change soon. In any case, this setup, at a bit less cost (used) than your CD player, absolutely sounds much more musical and involving than any digital setup I've ever heard.

All this to say...vinyl is a lot of fun, a lot of tweaking, but the ultimate reward is worth the time and cost. And the most fun aspect of it is the record shopping afterwards! There's so much good stuff on vinyl that costs so little and is so much fun to listen to, that I've been listening to much more music ever since the vinyl upgrade.
Double ditto Plato!
>>Wrong... High output cartridges are much easier to deal with. Its really a tradeoff. Yes you might get very slightly more detail with a low output, because of the fewer windings on the coil, however rf, hum, noisy power, etc. can and usually does swamp that detail.<<

Readers, pay no attention to this.

It is completely erroneous. A well designed and constructed low output moving coil suffers none of these baseless maladies.

Audiofeil. What is your opinion about Musicmaker II and III ? How it compares to others within its price rage ?
Please private email.

Other than specifications and/or technical questions, I avoid discussing my products in the threads.
If you're main goal with getting a vinyl rig is to get "better" sound than your CD player I think you're going about this for the wrong reasons.

Vinyl sound isn't necessarily "better" .. it's just different. It still has it's down sides.

Don't get me wrong, my system is totally geared towards vinyl and that's where I'm going to stay. I prefer it over CD by far. But it's not because it always sounds better. It has to do with ritual, emotion, being connected to the music in a different way.

I personally feel that it has a nicer sound, more warmth and depth. But finding a record in perfect shape isn't easy unless you stick completely to brand new reissues and invest in a proper vacuum cleaning machine.

I'm not trying to be discouraging, I absolutely love (obsess over) vinyl in all forms, even used slightly worn albums.. and I would encourage any music lover to explore the amazing music available on record that never came out on CD.

But you'll get the most pleasure out of it if you go into it for the reasons I've stated rather than the quest for perfect sound.

Just IMHO...
I will double up on what Emenel says...

However the real issue in vinyl is getting the vinyl you want if you have nothing, and good enough copies to warrant saying it is better than the Cd's you wish to correct.

A good vinyl rig can for sure be put together in many forms and manufactures, cartridge outputs etc.. at your 2k to 3k range for sure. But remember this to take advantage of the best in analog much of the investment is the time, learning, and Tools of the trade such as a good cleaning machine, and other setup devices etc... to get the best out of your investment. so if you decide to drop 3k on a nice vinyl rig, new or used, remember you will start to find the need for many other little key items down the road to really have a library of proud and excellent sound... For example good inner sleeves for your black discs.

One good thing about all Analog rigs over any CD player in general, accept if it has tubes and you can play with the flavor a little, you can really adjust the sound to your liking once you know how on a turntable. So yes if your looking for a fun different version of what your Opus does now you can get it, just depends on how far you are willing to go to get there.
I did the same thing.. I just got into vinyl/analog. I also have a similar system as you do (ML Summits). I purchased a VPI Scoutmaster with Dynavector 20XH cart to go with my Cary SLP-98Phono preamp. It's going to be a long process (collecting albums, getting a vacuum/cleaner, working the kinks out)... but I'm sure going to enjoy the journey.

We had the same budget and we have the same system... I'm going to look forward to hearing what you have decided for your system when the time comes. Let us know what you choose to do (or what rig you choose to buy).

I did Not asked, how much - but what do you think.
It is a simple question related to analog, isn't it ?
If you don't feel like answering, fine.
It is an open forum - NO SECRETS.

Mariusz Stark.
Other than technical information and/or specifications I feel it is improper to discuss any of my products here. Discussing the merits of my products or comparing them to others would be nothing short of self promotion IMO.

I'll leave that to oracle, bobby, and the rest.

I ask you to private email me.

The invitation stands.
A better question may have been, "Where does vinyl end?". As you may have gathered from the enthusiasts here, there's a level of commitment to this as a 'project' that you don't have with a 'plug in and play' digital rig. Nobody has even started on isolation problems, which is another mega thread. You are going to have to get used to the idea of working on your set-up to get it right. A lot of people get turned off vinyl because they don't have the knowledge or patience to make that part of it enjoyable too. If you do, then welcome to the club.
I'm not saying that modern low output cartridges are bad..they are excellent...but so are some high output moving coils. If one has a less than state of the art pre-pre, the high output cartridge allows the unit to work what wonderders it has rather than not being able to do its job properly at all. Like someone said earlier, it is a tradeoff..you give a bit of detail up, but also you give up lots of hum and noise. Which would you give up Plato..
I understand. Lets leave it there.