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    Considering a foray into vinyl...any advice?

    Title says it all...

    Not looking for a crazy expensive set up for an audiophile....

    I have started doing a little bit of research on Reddit and audiokarma.com but, to be honest, I'm very busy and at the moment I'm looking for a very maintenance set up that won't require a ton of leg work but still be good bang for the buck.

    Any tips or advice?

    Thanks guys!
    "Waste no time arguing what a good man should be. Be one." – Marcus Aurelius

    #2
    Oh, right up my alley! Honestly, if you have a good, reputable used gear dealer in your area, look there first for vintage everything. You cannot--CANNOT--beat the quality for the money buying a turntable, or any equipment, for that matter, from the 70s or 60s. Best bests are Pioneer for tables, Yamaha and Marantz for receivers/amps and other gear. For speakers, go for some Advents. But please, make sure the shop is the real thing, a place owned and operated by a true audio specialist (an increasingly rare breed these days) and not just some pawn shop or junk store. The best ones are those that both sell the gear and repair it--if they can repair it, they're likely not going to sell you crap, and they're likely to know the true worth of something and will set the price fairly.

    Past the 70s, there are still some good choices, mainly in the Yamaha receivers/amps and Audio-Technica in tables (I have one and it is a workhorse!).

    If you have to buy new, it's going to be a lot more expensive. Pro-Ject is a well-known maker of some superb tables. Again, much more than used.

    But here's my ultimate word of caution: Don't buy used on eBay! Most sellers don't know what they're doing with this stuff, and they'll misrepresent (often unintentionally) the real working condition of something, and/or pack it wrong so it arrives damaged. If you have to travel a bit to a reputable used audio shop, it is well worth the trip.

    Also, do not buy one of those newer DJ-type tables, like Stantons. Junk.

    Also, spend a little on your cartridge/stylus. Shure is a good brand. So are Grado and Ortofon.

    Comment


      #3
      You can't go wrong with this baby: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...29&camp=211189

      For the price, you get a lot of great features, and you get a table that is going to last. You can feel that just by picking it up. It's heavy.

      There's always this, of course: http://www.thorens.com/turntables/dr...295-mk-iv.html. The stuff of lustful dreams.

      Comment


        #4
        While I agree with all of duvels recommendations, I can suggest an alternative route. I love vintage stuff but I wouldn't suggest just diving in on that purchase. It is pretty popular right now and easy to get taken advantage of if you aren't informed. The wrong year, wrong model of the right year, etc can make a difference. Has it been reworked with inferior parts, properly restored, or is it factory original? blah blah. You could do a beginner mistake like get excited because you found that $250 Pioneer for $175...not realizing that the cheaper one has a metal case instead of real wood and is only "worth" about $70. and I would toss the Pioneer receivers int here as the best bang for the buck if you get the right model. Marantz is great but they are quickly outpacing their value because of the popularity. I used to find 2030's for $200 in great shape. Good luck finding a busted one at that price now.

        If you are like me and enjoy the journey as much as the destination, start simple and easy. Get yourself a basic turntable like the Sony PS-LX250H if you can find it. Dirt cheap and plays records. has phono and a basic preamp option. It is not audiophile by any means but is pretty stable and allows you to get your feet wet at a low cost while you learn what to look for when buying a used turntable. Pair it with any decent receiver you may find at Goodwill or the like and you have a usable system that you can upgrade as you go. For speakers...this is soooo subjective. Go out and listen listen listen. There are tons of cool vintage options like the baby advents etc but plenty of new affordable options with surprisingly good sound if you want to play it safe. I think the speakers are the most important and most often overlooked aspect of a system because they give it the voice and tastes are very subjective here.

        Then go out and buy your vinyls. Sorry [MENTION=6633]Duvel[/MENTION], I couldnt help it.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Duvel View Post
          You can't go wrong with this baby: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...29&camp=211189

          For the price, you get a lot of great features, and you get a table that is going to last. You can feel that just by picking it up. It's heavy.

          There's always this, of course: http://www.thorens.com/turntables/dr...295-mk-iv.html. The stuff of lustful dreams.
          I want an AT table pretty bad. One of my favorite brands for headphones. For some reason I am pretty opposed to including USB on it though. I just don't want to mix those worlds. This is me telling people not to untuck their OCBD

          Comment


            #6
            [MENTION=3345]Sigtweed Corduroy[/MENTION] Jack White's Lazaretto album just recently sent me down a similar path of interest. I don't think I'm quite at the place where I want to start the hobby, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens in the future. Good luck, and keep us updated!

            Comment


              #7
              Agree. Mine is pre-USB. That sort of thing sort of ruins it for me. But like many things, I am a bit of a purist with this hobby.

              Good advice, [MENTION=12021]idvsego[/MENTION]. It is easy to get caught up in this and go wild, especially if you find some good vintage dealers. From my perspective, at my age, it's like a candy store. I lusted after this stuff in the 70s and couldn't afford it, but now that same stuff is well within reach. If it was $200 back in its day, that would have been like spending something like $900 today. Considering that the vintage stuff sells often for its original retail price or less... well, you see where I'm going. It's like traveling back in time with pockets full of money.

              The AT table is worth every penny, in my opinion. If you can find a vintage AT pre-USB, etc., even better. I lucked into mine. Asheville has a couple of great places for used audio stuff. I walked into the record store where they'd just put it out on the shelf, for something like $150, and there was no question. A couple of cool things are that you can adjust the tonearm assembly height to ensure that the tonearm is exactly parallel to the record, and of course, the pitch control is very cool. I've used the pitch control to correct playback of some old concert boots that were obviously recorded at the wrong speed.
              Last edited by Duvel; June 26, 2014, 03:32 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                some google searching shows the AT below as a solid option to get going for cheap...
                http://www.amazon.com/Technica-AT-LP...atic+turntable

                For $100 you can get a decent vintage turntable...but not all vintage turntables are any better than a low end new one. I am still figuringout the target models for bang-for-the-buck purchases.

                Comment


                  #9
                  True. I have to admit I'm not too up on what the good lower-priced tables are these days. I see a lot of really great expensive ones, of course.

                  Of course, with a $100 vintage table you get some undefinable "cool" factor with it. Here's the thing that I see: The design, the look, of much of this stuff was so much better back in the 70s and 60s. I think it was better quality than much of what you can buy now, even today's expensive stuff, and it also just looks sexier.

                  I asked one of the Asheville store owners about this. He's a guy who spent a while in the industry actually making this stuff, and also selling it. He told me that up until around 1980 or so, most stereo equipment was designed and made by musicians or by audiophiles, people for whom making this stuff was a labor of love. In the early 80s, he said, stereo companies started handing this stuff over to the marketing people. That's when you start to see a decline in quality and in design/appearance. Those great wood casings and chrome faces and luminous dials on amps and receivers, for example, gave way to black metal and plastic.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    As you can probably tell, stereo gear is another of my passions. For a while it took precedence over buying clothes. Then I felt like I was starting to look like too much like a stereo gearhead nerd, and I reigned it in a bit. It still fascinates me, but I'm no longer buying any of that. I have everything I want for a stereo system.

                    One thing I learned is that, like a lot of things, there is a lot of nice stuff out there, and it's easy to get hooked, and to want more and more, and better and better. I know from being on the stereo blogs a while back that there are guys who continuously are upgrading and trading and so on. I used to wonder when they ever just settled down and sat down to listen to what they had. Sort of like buying nice clothes and then not wearing them. It seemed like the gear took precedence over actually listening to music. I decided I didn't want to be like that. I like have a moderately decent home system that treats my records with respect, and that reproduces the sound well enough to enjoy in my living room. That's all I need.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      [MENTION=6633]Duvel[/MENTION] I agree. My fear with diving headfirst into vintage has been confirmed...Some of those older ones have oddities on the assembly that makes them hard to repair/maintain. I am holding off until I can educate myself a little better. Ideally I want to build an entire stereo setup for music only that is all 60-70s. I am just taking it slow.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Good idea. A frustrating thing for me, now that I've moved from Asheville, is trying to find a new repair shop. I've got a great Yamaha int amp that quit a few months back. I know it's probably something simple, like a blown circuit of some kind. Would probably cost $50 to repair. But I wouldn't know where to begin.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Wow, a ton of useful info already, thank you guys, especially [MENTION=6633]Duvel[/MENTION]...

                          Are there any decent all in one set ups to consider for a few hundred dollars?

                          ETA: What are my inexpensive speaker options? If I can get out for around $300 total for everything I'd be excited.
                          "Waste no time arguing what a good man should be. Be one." – Marcus Aurelius

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Sigtweed Corduroy View Post
                            Title says it all...

                            Not looking for a crazy expensive set up for an audiophile....

                            I have started doing a little bit of research on Reddit and audiokarma.com but, to be honest, I'm very busy and at the moment I'm looking for a very maintenance set up that won't require a ton of leg work but still be good bang for the buck.

                            Any tips or advice?

                            Thanks guys!
                            I don't want to talk you out of this necessarily, but the real question for me is: Why this desire to suddenly start collecting vinyl?

                            The reason I'm asking isn't because I'm trying to be an a-hole or anything, but as someone who's been collecting records for ~20 years (started when I was 16 and I'm almost 34 now) and has literally thousands of them (for better or for worse), it strikes me as a bit odd to just sort've *decide* to start collecting records just for the heck of it, especially with really amazing music services like spotify available that have an incredibly large catalog of music available for pennies on the dollar. (A surprisingly large number of some of the rarest records I own are available to stream on spotify.)

                            I would only really recommend getting into vinyl if you're interested in older music that is difficult to find on CD or online, or if you just sort've want to collect physical artifacts of music you like. If you're on the search for weird older music, awesome! Hit up your local record stores and thrift stores and start digging for interesting stuff! Maybe even buy a portable turntable to skim through records before you buy them (I have this one: http://www.amazon.com/Vestax-Handy-T.../dp/B0000WRVK0).

                            If you just want to collect physical artifacts of albums you know you love and you just want to have them on vinyl, dope! Do that too! Just be smart and patient about your purchases. I know nothing about your musical tastes and I'm saying this to be helpful not judgmental: many people have this mistaken impression that Beatles albums and whatever other classic rock albums their parents have in their basement are rare records... 99% of them are not and can be found in your local dollar bins. Check ebay; check discogs.com; and beware of re-issues of easy to find albums... there's no reason to buy a re-issue of some random Moody Blues album on 180 Gram vinyl for >$20 when you can find a Near Mint copy for less than $5.

                            Whatever you do, please don't buy into the "OMG MUSIC SOUNDS SO MUCH BETTER ON VINYL" crap. There's so many subjective variables that come into play when talking about whether or not music sounds better or worse in different media (imo, New Orleans funk 45s usually do sound legitimately awesome on vinyl, but 80s synths and 808 kick drums sound way better coming from CDs; not to mention the turntable, needle, pre-amp, speakers you're using) that spouting off that "ALL MUSIC SOUNDS BETTER ON VINYL" crap just makes you sound dumb.

                            Records do rule though. Just try not to buy thousands. It makes moving really wack.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by emynd View Post
                              I don't want to talk you out of this necessarily, but the real question for me is: Why this desire to suddenly start collecting vinyl?

                              The reason I'm asking isn't because I'm trying to be an a-hole or anything, but as someone who's been collecting records for ~20 years (started when I was 16 and I'm almost 34 now) and has literally thousands of them (for better or for worse), it strikes me as a bit odd to just sort've *decide* to start collecting records just for the heck of it, especially with really amazing music services like spotify available that have an incredibly large catalog of music available for pennies on the dollar. (A surprisingly large number of some of the rarest records I own are available to stream on spotify.)

                              I would only really recommend getting into vinyl if you're interested in older music that is difficult to find on CD or online, or if you just sort've want to collect physical artifacts of music you like. If you're on the search for weird older music, awesome! Hit up your local record stores and thrift stores and start digging for interesting stuff! Maybe even buy a portable turntable to skim through records before you buy them (I have this one: http://www.amazon.com/Vestax-Handy-T.../dp/B0000WRVK0).

                              If you just want to collect physical artifacts of albums you know you love and you just want to have them on vinyl, dope! Do that too! Just be smart and patient about your purchases. I know nothing about your musical tastes and I'm saying this to be helpful not judgmental: many people have this mistaken impression that Beatles albums and whatever other classic rock albums their parents have in their basement are rare records... 99% of them are not and can be found in your local dollar bins. Check ebay; check discogs.com; and beware of re-issues of easy to find albums... there's no reason to buy a re-issue of some random Moody Blues album on 180 Gram vinyl for >$20 when you can find a Near Mint copy for less than $5.

                              Whatever you do, please don't buy into the "OMG MUSIC SOUNDS SO MUCH BETTER ON VINYL" crap. There's so many subjective variables that come into play when talking about whether or not music sounds better or worse in different media (imo, New Orleans funk 45s usually do sound legitimately awesome on vinyl, but 80s synths and 808 kick drums sound way better coming from CDs; not to mention the turntable, needle, pre-amp, speakers you're using) that spouting off that "ALL MUSIC SOUNDS BETTER ON VINYL" crap just makes you sound dumb.

                              Records do rule though. Just try not to buy thousands. It makes moving really wack.
                              Ha, no offense taking, this is excellent advice, thanks! I definitely think these are very wise things to consider.

                              Mainly my motivation is that it sounds like a fun hobby since I am a longtime lover of music discovery and also an appreciator of (like you said) older music, especially soul and do-wop. It's something I have considered for a long time but have just never gotten around to it. I'm definitely not a hoarder so buying sparingly is probably how I will start out. I'm also trying to be reasonable with starting small on the expense side of things to make sure it is something I think is worthwhile. I don't plan on going crazy and approaching it judiciously. I've been listening to a lot of music on the weekends in an effort to get away from the TV/computer and it's been really enjoyable so that's part of it too.
                              "Waste no time arguing what a good man should be. Be one." – Marcus Aurelius

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