Vinyl rig or digital?

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by Cakecake, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. Cakecake

    Cakecake Guest

    I was wondering how much investment in a Vinyl rig is need to sound pretty good, for example at the level of Gungnir Multibit?
    Some turntables I am looking at are VPI nomad or U-turn with Schiit phono preamp.
     
  2. cardigan

    cardigan Facebook Friend

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    There isn't a ton of vinyl talk around here but the folks who do discuss turntables know their stuff. Still, you should probably do more research in addition to what you could find here.

    That being said, I too would like to read thoughts on what would be considered "very good" vinyl rigs (not including cartridge and stage). Is there something not used between a low budget pro-ject or u-turn table and a vpi classic that would be the HD6x0 of vinyl rigs or is the vpi classic the HD6x0 of vinyl rigs at around 3k?

    Mods,
    Maybe we should pin a general vinyl gear advice thread?
     
  3. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    I have a project debut carbon + Phono box ds for a analog source and a multibit bifrost + wyrd. Both systems cost approx the same. Don't know if there is a good value / high quality top of the line system because there are more variables with turntables than with digital (cartridges, phono pre's, tone arms, platters, clamps / weights, etc).

    I have a huge digital collection of music and still like streaming albums through tidal. I have a much smaller collection of vinyl, mostly my favorite albums purchased on good quality vinyl. I prefer the sound quality / feel of vinyl. Don't know if it can be measured, but I get a different sensation playing the same albums, real or perceived. Music feels more realistic and I find myself enjoying myself more. I find that I get more excited to listen to a new album rather than a new download, but I don't think that is totally due to what I hear.

    I recommend finding a local shop where you can listen to a table and hear the difference for yourself, possibly even bring your own headphone / amp to hear the difference.
     
  4. Donald North

    Donald North Friend

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    Rega makes some very good sounding affordable turntables
     
  5. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    The Steve Hoffman forums will have more information for you. They really know their vinyl over there.

    I'll say this though, while I'm no expert in vinyl, I do have a vinyl rig and have done some research. IMO, digital is much easier to get sounding good than vinyl. At the most basic, if you have good sounding masterings, and can play them back bit perfect, sending them to a Gungnir Multibit (or Bifrost Multibit even) and out via a decent amp is going to sound quite good. Honestly, even my Geek Out V2 single ended out to the Vali 2 sounds pretty darned great, playing back my files through JRiver.

    Now, you can get fancy with it, try different audio programs, different USB defuckifiers, different connectors between the DAC and amp, etc. But even if you don't mess with any of that, as long as you have a decent media player with the correct settings for bit perfect playback, a good DAC and amp, you're going to have a setup that will beat what 85-90% of people in the world have for music playback.

    With vinyl, there are a lot more variables. The turntable alone has multiple parts that affect the sound, like the cartridge, the tone arm, and the mat. Then you need to find the synergy between your preamp and amp and speakers (or headphones).

    On top of this, finding the media is more of a hassle too. There are some question marks when it comes to the provenance of some digital albums, but you can usually get a good handle on what's good and what's not. And you can always rip from CD, and there's plenty of info out there about CD masterings. While the info on which vinyl masterings are good and which aren't is out there, it can be difficult to track down the exact issue you're looking for (Discogs makes this easier but you'll probably pay a pretty penny if the mastering you want is a first press or otherwise rare), and then you have issues of quality. Is the disc scratched or warped? Is your turntable aligned correctly so as to not damage the record in playback?

    So I would say that it's almost certainly going to be more expensive to get really good vinyl sound than it is to get really good digital sound. That's my two cents on it, feel free to disregard though.
     
  6. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

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    It's cheaper to get a decent digital setup and be decently happy, but once you discover the joy of a good vinyl setup, you completely forget about your digital setup. My digital setup rarely if ever gets used and I have 14,000+ tracks I've purchased. My vinyl setup brings me joy every day that my digital setup never did.
     
  7. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    I have both and enjoy them both for different reasons.

    Vinyl is more time consuming and expensive, but you don't have to go overboard. And, when I want to listen to an album from beginning to end and really immerse myself in the experience, vinyl works for me. Something about the physical ritual of dusting the record and dropping the needle helps me invest myself in the experience and really listen without distraction.

    Digital also has its upsides obviously...it's easier and quicker and doesn't have the headaches of scratchy records and dust particles. Since it's all run through my laptop it takes a lot more self-discipline to not be distracted by...this place, for example :)

    No need to pick just one.
     
  8. Mr.Sneis

    Mr.Sneis Friend

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    Getting into vinyl with any serious intent is significantly more of a lifestyle change than spinning CD's or using DACs for music listening.
     
  9. calaf

    calaf Rando

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    vinyl for me is about coming across a great rock recording from the 60s or 70s at a record shop, or, even better, at a garage sale, cleaning it up as best as I can, and then finding a quiet moment to enjoy it as it was meant to be. You don't need an expensive TT or cartridge for that. BTW in my (limited) experience a pretty good cartridge is more important than a pretty good TT.
     
  10. Chris1967

    Chris1967 Friend

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    Getting into vinyl is going to be an expensive endeavor but at the same time very musical rewarding if you do it right.

    One way to start is buying NEW one of the entry level turntables you propose. It is the safest way although there are many second hand turntables out there that are not going to break the bank and yet would be better value than the new basic models.

    To choose one that is in good condition and to be able to set/service yourself is easy but needs some experience.

    The phono you propose must be good (i have never heard it, but i am positively biased toward Schiit stuff so...) and able to complement many entry/mid level cartridges.

    The most important part are the records themselves, your present and future collection. This is your major investment, the playback system is (and should be) of lesser financial value, if you want to keep everything in balance (unlike someone i know that owns a 40,000 dollar turntable and just a few hundred records).

    This takes meticulous time to find/seek especially if you are looking at older pressings (secondhand). I listen mainly to classical on vinyl and have a sizable collection that took over 30 years to accumulate.

    As your collection grows, you may want to get a better turntable/arm/cartridge/phono combination at a later stage.

    Vinyl takes a lot more commitment from your part. And as someone already pointed out, a lifestyle change.
     

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