Budget Vinyl Rigs

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by Merrick, Feb 26, 2016.

  1. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    For any owners of old Regas with non-24V motors: Pure Fidelity in BC are selling their remaning stock of 24V units, complete with PCB and wall-wart (AC transformer) for $CAD 95 (approx $US 75) each. This is way cheaper than the kits, or indeed the bare motors/boards - when you can even find the latter. A bit of fooling with the mounting will be required, but either a sticky-back pad or rubber bands on a sorbothane gasket (my solution) works fine.

    https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649472608-rega-24v-motors/
     
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  2. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    New to vinyl and not sure if it was for me, ended up snagging an AT LP120 from Best Buy. The reason I didn't go for an Orbit is because I'm not even sure if it's for me and a return would be 15 minutes of my time (BB is literally down the street ) vs a shipping process that would actually cost me. I also get BB rewards for future purchases.

    Chain is Torpedo 3/HD800

    Anyway, it was a decent turntable out of the box. Nothing blew me away, but it was a decent enough start. I made the following tweaks:

    Replaced stock power cable with a Shunyata Venom I had laying around

    Adjusted the cartitdge with a protractor

    Added a weight to the center spindle (the LP120 actually comes with one)

    Did some A/B tests with the tone arm balance to get the right adjustment

    Balanced the platter using a bubble level

    I was pretty astounded by the change in sound! At this point it sounds better than the G.umby I used to own. And I have not yet replaced the stock felt platter mat or ripped out the shitty preamp inside and use an external. I don't wanna get ahead of myself but I think vinyl rocks.
     
  3. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    Biggest upgrade to this table is exactly what you already mentioned...ripping out the tone robbing internal preamp. Even in bypass with an external preamp, it is still in the circuit. However, you WILL be voiding your warranty by doing this. So if you're happy with it, maybe save until that 1 year warranty is up.

    The arm is way more advanced than the U-turn arm, and a better motor as well. I mean not TOL by any means, but it gets the job done.
     
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  4. monacelli

    monacelli Friend

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    Congrats on picking up your first table. The LP120 can be made to sound quite enjoyable with some effort. The internal preamp is objectively terrible though, so at the very least I recommend picking up a new Mani or TCC TC-750 and using the bypass switch on the rear of the 'table. The filter capacitors on the built-in phono stage board will still be in the signal path and hence knock down much of the top octave, but even so, switching to an external pre is the best bang-for-your-buck upgrade you can make.

    And I agree that adding a center weight can make a big improvement to the sound, especially bass clarity and focus, but I've never seen the LP120 ship with one. Does your setup look like the one below? If so, that's a 45 adapter (for playing records that run at different speeds), not a center weight. Unfortunately it's not heavy enough to make a meaningful difference when pressed into service that way. A cheap way to test the waters with a center weight is to use the hockey puck trick that Marv has highlighted [in this post]. Audio Technica also manufactures [their own center weight], which you can find at LP gear or Amazon, but be aware that it's on the heavy side.

    But isn't listening to vinyl fun? To me it's a totally different, more intentional experience than listening to digital.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Ah, I thought it was a weight. Honestly I could sense a slight difference in sound when using it, in the positive direction. It makes me excited about getting a real weight.

    The TC-750 is definitely on my next purchase list. I will listen to it for a while first before ripping out the internal preamp.

    Question. How big a deal is cartitdge break in? I have about 10 hours on it.
     
  6. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    Cartridge break in varies between models. The Ortofon's to me take the longest of the ones I've tried, like 50-100 hours, but normally 10-25 hours should be fine.
     
  7. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    The sound definitely opened up after about 6 or 7 hours. Cool.

    Yeah, vinyl is a very different experience besides the SQ. Alot more deliberate as it's not as easy to jump around tracks like with CDs. Reminds of my teenager days getting into laserdiscs. The bigger artwork, careful handling of discs, jump in picture and audio quality (compared to VHS) made it feel alot more personal.
     
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  8. luckybaer

    luckybaer Friend

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    That's an impressive feat to sound better than Gungnir Multibit. IIRC, you were quite enraptured with your Gungnir Multibit back in the day.

    What VTF did you end up with after your A/B tests? AT95E says anywhere from 1.5g to 2.5g is OK, w/2.0g being recommended. That 1.0g spread is pretty big. My AT cart says 1.8g to 2.2g, with 2.0g being recommended. I ended up going with 1.8g. Sounds good and tracks well - even on some sketchy LPs from my college days.

    Do you plan on doing any needle drops?

    Enjoy, and I look forward to more impressions.
     
  9. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Gungnir Multibit was my first big step up besides my HD800. It showed me what was possible with digital. Absolutely adored the sound signature. But my table after all the tweaks just destroys it. Miles Davis 'Kind of Blue' vinyl was a revelation. Never knew wind instruments could sound so achingly euphonic and tactile. Queen's 'News of the World' LP slammed so hard on certain tracks it startled me. And the soundstage is bigger, more life sized. Torpedo 3/HD800 really scaled like crazy with a better source. It's scary that it's barely a mid-fi setup.

    The cable swap had a pretty big impact on SQ. The venoms are pretty serious and really help eliminate graininess and bring out the midrange, as well as add bass weight.

    Cleaning the needle often seems to be essential too, as I notice the clarity becomes improved. I bought a record cleaning kit as it seems pretty important to keep the vinyl clean as well, I can tell it makes a difference.

    Initially started with 2grams, then switched to 2.25, which I thought sounded better. But after the cartitdge started to break in I switched back to 2 and it just seems right. Gonna grab a rubber mat and spindle weight next to see what lies ahead. Probably won't get the external preamp til mid December.
     
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  10. Stapsy

    Stapsy Friend

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    I quite like my Mofi StudioPhono. I think it is a great option, especially if you want to try an MC cart.
     
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  11. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    After fooling around with vinyl the past week or so, I've decided to stick with digital for the time being.

    While the setup I had sounded subjectively better than any digital I've ever heard (barring some minor issues, like the new rubber mat I bought kind of deadening the sonics), there are too many factors in this format barring me from jumping in immediately:

    Time: Others have mentioned this and I really felt it. Vinyl demands your time and focus alot more than digital. I'm not a teenager anymore, and my patience for constantly cleaning records/stylus, flipping them, carefully putting them back into sleeves, searching online for the best masters/pressings... it's just something I don't have the patience for at the moment, and kind of detracted from the most important thing I value right now, which is just musical enjoyment.

    Cost: This is a bigger issue for me. I don't know if its the resurgence of vinyl with hipsters or whateverthefuck, but alot of records simply cost way too much for someone like me on a tight budget for the time being. This isn't a problem for people with vast collections they've been building since the 70s or whatever, and can easily slip right back into it with little expenditure on new albums. I have hundreds of CDs, and that's more music than one person can casually listen to in a lifetime... there is just way too much invested in digital for me to jump to another format, and I'm not someone who can just go back and forth, ie; have a few records on the side I listen to occasionally... the sound quality difference is just too jarring for me. I like consistency so need to just stay loyal to one format. So CDs win.

    Nervosa: This is the ugly side of vinyl for me. There are soo many tweaks you can do to improve (or just change) the sound quality that it becomes a rabbit hole I don't wanna dive into. I'm a notorious tinkerer, and can picture myself sitting there endlessly messing with settings, tone arm weight, table balancing, different mats, cartridge alignment, preamps... I even saw a guy on youtube say you can change the VTA depending on how thick the record is? Jesus Christ... yeah, sorry, I just cannot willingly throw myself into what is sure to be a nightmare of nervosa and tinkering. I am just recovering from that with digital and feel content with the amp/headphones I have, and that's a great feeling I'd rather stick with. The great thing about digital is it just works. Very plug 'n play.

    Now, none of this means I've given up on vinyl. I'd love to start up again when I'm financially and time management wise in a better position to handle what is surely a fun part of the hobby. And obviously good vinyl sounds better than digital. I honestly think I may even transition to speakers instead of headphones when I make that leap. It's a ways down the road.
     
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  12. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    I don't blame you and I won't try to convince you to change your decision. I just don't ever have an all in or all out mentallity on any format. Even CD's I have ripped to FLAC I will throw the CD in a CD player because it is more convenient sometimes to listen on my HT rig.

    I will also add that most of the tweaks are extremely minor and mostly overrated. I have never changed VTA for thickness of 180g or 200g records. There is kind of a rabbit hole of equipment, like carts and phono preamps, but most people I know get to a point and kind of hang there. You get a lot of life out of one cart, so kind of silly having multiple, unless you want one for a type of genre. Once you have a table, cart, and pre, nothing to do but enjoy.

    You are right on the amount of time/care and one of the least convenient formats. Only second to reel to reel. Mostly I reserve when I really want that experience, but no one should tell you you need that immersive experience everytime. It is a hobby after all, which is why many of us enjoy everything from IEM's on the go and home rigs and vinyl and stuff in-between.
     
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  13. sfoclt

    sfoclt Friend

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  14. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Ha, yeah.

    Fortunately (and I mentioned this before), I got over that side of digital. I found it mostly was with USB and computers but I don't use that anymore, mostly because it sounded like ass no matter what I did, compared to CDs/coax. CD player/coax to DAC to amp to HPs is a simple enough chain for me not to worry about stuff these days.
     
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  15. luckybaer

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    At least you gave it a shot. When you're ready for the commitment, vinyl will be there for you.
     
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  16. ergopower

    ergopower Friend

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    My son wants a turntable. Sol + cartridge is out of reach. Current prices are:
    Orbit U-Turn w/acrylic platter & Ortofon 2M Red for $329
    Fluance RT83 w/aluminum platter & Ortofon 2M Red for $349​

    Can't get acrylic platter for Fluance without going up to RT84, which is another $100
    Fluance includes cue lever, $40 upgrade for Orbit
    Will get TC 750 phono preamp

    What say you?

    Oh, and does anybody discount these things? Given they're primarily Internet direct I suppose not, but I've been surprised before. Didn't see anything in a quick Google search
     
  17. mitochondrium

    mitochondrium Friend

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    Have you considered buying used? Don’t know the market for used TT your side of the pond but might be an idea.
     
  18. ergopower

    ergopower Friend

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    Quite a reasonable idea, but I'm not exactly living in hipster country. The ratio of secondhand firearms for sale to used 2 channel gear is like a jillion to 1
     
  19. Decomo

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    My personal vote would be Flueance RT83. Much better build quality and removable headshell and switch speed control. And, unipivot arm is not for everyone especially beginner in my humble opinion.
     
  20. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    Anybody have any experience with or seen the Audio Technica AT-LP7? It was released last year. And it seems to have all the tonearm adjustments one would like at $799. VTA on the fly is a new feature on this deck.

    Just wondering if anybody else is getting in the game where the Sol will live, in that price range...

    https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/turntables/b6cce142475c6940/index.html
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019

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