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    #16
    Originally posted by dancinginyourhead View Post
    This thread is quite timely for me since, instead of watching the Super Bowl yesterday, I set up my new turntable (Audio Technica LP-120 USB) and hooked it up to my Marantz receiver and Paradigm Reference Studio 20 speakers. The speakers and receiver were cast-offs from a family member who bought a Sonos wireless system. To my serious-listener-but-not-crazy-audiophile ears, it sounds pretty great.

    For me, I particularly like the ritual of listening to vinyl, having to be attentive to flipping the record, etc. It seems to encourage me to actually slow down and listen, instead of treating music as ever-present background. And used record shopping is a lot of fun. I have a modest collection of vinyl, maybe about 120 LPs. I'm looking to slowly expand it, but not to crazy proportions.

    If I heard someone's stereo set-up and it sounded a lot better than what I've got now, I might be tempted to upgrade some of the components. But my ears would need to convince my pocketbook.
    If yours are the speakers I'm thinking of, they're pretty damn good. I'm in the same serious-listener-but-not-crazy-audiophile camp, and those would serve me very well.

    How do you like the AT-LP 120 so far? I very nearly bought one when I was shopping for an upgrade but, because of my relatively small space, opted to spend the extra $150-200 on my table rather than on speakers (for now). I've heard good things about the AT, though, and liked the sound when I test drove it. What cartridge are you using with it? Stock or are you looking to change it out?

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      #17
      The Paradigm speakers are rather old--I gather that Paradigm has made these same speakers in different "versions" since at least the late 1990s. That's probably when they were purchased, since I think they, and the Marantz receiver, were part of the college or early-bachelorhood system of my now-brother-in-law (if that makes sense!).
      The turntable I bought based on this review http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-turntable/. It is obviously a definite step up in quality from the plastic body Numark turntable I had when I was a broke graduate student and lived in apartments. I've kept the stock cartridge, the AT95E http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/ca...af5/index.html . Again, if I heard something with my own ears that was impressive, I could be tempted to spend some more money, but for right now I think this is more than sufficient.

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        #18
        Originally posted by dancinginyourhead View Post
        The Paradigm speakers are rather old--I gather that Paradigm has made these same speakers in different "versions" since at least the late 1990s. That's probably when they were purchased, since I think they, and the Marantz receiver, were part of the college or early-bachelorhood system of my now-brother-in-law (if that makes sense!).
        The turntable I bought based on this review http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-turntable/. It is obviously a definite step up in quality from the plastic body Numark turntable I had when I was a broke graduate student and lived in apartments. I've kept the stock cartridge, the AT95E http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/ca...af5/index.html . Again, if I heard something with my own ears that was impressive, I could be tempted to spend some more money, but for right now I think this is more than sufficient.
        I read that same write-up. It actually scared me off the U-Turn for a while, but more research led me to learn that they fixed the speed issues that review mentions. It had something to do with the spindle. I was pretty split between the fwo for a while before deciding, which is why I was curious about your experience. Glad you like it.

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          #19
          I started a small collection a couple of years ago along w/ a lower end Audio Technica TT. As I collected more new releases as well as used copies, I upgraded to a more respectable Rega RP1. Haven't really expanded my collection recently due to a potential move but I do enjoy getting everything set up for a relaxing listening session on my HD650 and BH Crack.

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            #20
            Yeah, thus far no complaints with the Audio Technica 120 turntable. (I'm listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire's "Greatest Hits" on it right now--rest in peace to Maurice White!) I think from here on out, I am mostly going to be buying LPs instead of CDs for new releases, when they're available--often a new release doesn't come out on vinyl for some time after it's released in MP3 or CD format, which is annoying! For most things on Amazon, you can get an automatic MP3 of an album when you buy it on LP. I think that's pretty useful and convenient, because it's still great to be able to have music in portable format for the car, the gym, traveling, etc. New LPs are definitely more expensive than CDs, but I think that's partly due to CDs being sort of artificially cheap. Or, if not artificially cheap, they're the same price they were 15 years ago when I was building my collection in high school. That seems crazy to me. So if when I was 17, I could afford to buy CDs for $13, I can't really balk at spending $20-$25 bucks for LPs now that I'm not working food service for $6.75/hr. At least, that's what I'm trying to convince myself!

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              #21
              I've also started buying all new music on vinyl. In addition to the Amazon instant MP3 offer, a lot of new releases (and some vintage reissues) come with download codes.

              A lot of friends point to the cost of new music as the biggest reason to remain digital. But I think the $20-25 for vinyl is worth it for me because I get more out of the listening experience. In other words, I enjoy it more because it's more than just background din. And, if you think about it, $25 for an hour of entertainment isn't a lot. If you listen to a record only a few times a month, you've more than gotten your money's worth.

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                #22
                I recommend avoiding the crosley cruisers or any turntable with the speakers built in. A lot of my records were getting skips in them. The guy at the record store told me that the cruisers will do that to your vinyl if you listen to it at any kind of volume.

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by Whompuscat View Post
                  I recommend avoiding the crosley cruisers or any turntable with the speakers built in. A lot of my records were getting skips in them. The guy at the record store told me that the cruisers will do that to your vinyl if you listen to it at any kind of volume.
                  Absolutely. Any of the Crosley turntables you can get at Target, bookstores, etc. are nightmares. In addition to the skipping caused by the built in (awful) speakers, they're designed to apply A LOT of tracking force to the stylus, like in excess of 5 grams when even moderately better setups should register around 1 gram of force. This is done to compensate for the cheap parts and help the stylus hold the groove better. But it ends up being counterproductive because it wears out records to the point of damaging them, wears out the stylus way earlier than normal, and also increases the effects of any defects in the vinyl, causing more skipping than that which occurs from the speakers making the tonearm jump. They're just not very good for any kind of real listening and absolutely terrible for vinyl.

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                    #24
                    Originally posted by ForeverGuest View Post
                    Absolutely. Any of the Crosley turntables you can get at Target, bookstores, etc. are nightmares.
                    I disagree. I have a crosley turntable, and it serves my needs appropriately. I am no audiophile, but I do like music and I do appreciate the ritual of listening to vinyl. My SO and I get a lot of enjoyment out of putting a record on while we cook dinner in the evenings. Granted, we're not listening on noise canceling headphones and debating the finer points of Bright Eyes vs. Conor Oberst. If that's your thing, then perhaps a $400 "entry level" set up is necessary. But, if you want a little Billie Holiday in the background while cooking up something nice with your partner in crime, the crosley works just fine.

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                      #25
                      Originally posted by C.Dubs View Post
                      I disagree. I have a crosley turntable, and it serves my needs appropriately. I am no audiophile, but I do like music and I do appreciate the ritual of listening to vinyl. My SO and I get a lot of enjoyment out of putting a record on while we cook dinner in the evenings. … But, if you want to put on a little Billie Holiday in the background while cooking up something nice with your partner in crime, the crosley works just fine.
                      This is true, and a huge point of clarification I should have made. I didn't mean to put down anyone who enjoys their Crosley. I'm sorry if it came across that way. My reentry to vinyl was actually with a Crosley table but my experience with it was horrible. It lasted about 3 months before the skipping issues started and that's what led me to researching their performance specs and what shaped my opinion on them. I think they're great for helping people catch the bug, and for the kind of light use you're taking about. I would still recommend against playing any new or nice vintage records on it or expecting to get significant hours out of it. Obviously, though, it's just one guy's POV. End of the day, I'm just happy so many people enjoy the experience of vinyl. Didn't mean to sound like a prick.

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                        #26
                        Originally posted by ForeverGuest View Post
                        This is true, and a huge point of clarification I should have made. I didn't mean to put down anyone who enjoys their Crosley. I'm sorry if it came across that way.
                        Not at all. I just wanted to offer a different opinion. I understand completely that not everyone would be happy with a crosley. However, there is a certain market need that they do meet.

                        Like all things, it's a matter of relevance. If you're in the market for a racecar, you won't be happy with a ford pinto, but if all you need is something to take you to the grocery store once a week - the pinto might be the right answer.

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                          #27
                          Originally posted by ForeverGuest View Post
                          It's a slippery slope, [MENTION=2659]Deke[/MENTION]. Once you start, it's hard to stop. Before you know it, you'll be trying to figure out where to store all the crates you've filled with the records you never knew you needed to listen to again. What kind of turntable does your dad have? Some of those old ones can be great if they were well taken care of. If they were, and if you pop a new stylus or a new cartridge on the tonearm, you can get a lot of life out of them.
                          Long delayed, but I finally got it the other day. I don't recall the exact model number, but it's a JVC (I believe something like al-fq555). I googled the actual model when I first got it (and it was fresh on my mind), and it looked like a solid turntable but nothing crazy special. I was told that the stock stylus was replaced with something like a "nude ruby" one awhile back, and apparently it really improved the sound.


                          Now I'm trying to decide my speaker setup. I'm leaning towards using a preamp and active speakers, just for simplicity's sake. Anyone have any thoughts on specific equipment? I'm not an audiophile, but I'd like something that sounds good. For reference I use Sennheiser HD 558 on my PC (over Beats by Dre or a "gaming" headset). So, by no means top of the line, but still respected in the entry level audiophile world.

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                            #28
                            Originally posted by Deke View Post
                            Long delayed, but I finally got it the other day. I don't recall the exact model number, but it's a JVC (I believe something like al-fq555). I googled the actual model when I first got it (and it was fresh on my mind), and it looked like a solid turntable but nothing crazy special. I was told that the stock stylus was replaced with something like a "nude ruby" one awhile back, and apparently it really improved the sound.


                            Now I'm trying to decide my speaker setup. I'm leaning towards using a preamp and active speakers, just for simplicity's sake. Anyone have any thoughts on specific equipment? I'm not an audiophile, but I'd like something that sounds good. For reference I use Sennheiser HD 558 on my PC (over Beats by Dre or a "gaming" headset). So, by no means top of the line, but still respected in the entry level audiophile world.
                            From the little I know of that JVC turntable, it's a nice model. I'm not 100 percent on my terminology, but I think the "nude ruby" refers to the construction of the stylus and cantilever. A nude stylus and ruby cantilever are supposed to provide improvements to sound, but I've never listened to a table using one of those carts so I can't say from any experience to what extent this is true. Any idea who manufacturers the cartridge?

                            As far as setups, I'm using a built-in preamp because I tried to keep costs down when doing my setup, and U-Turn makes their own preamps so the quality-to-price ratio for the built-in I got was pretty strong. Luckily there's a bypass switch so if and when I decide to improve the preamp I can do so without having to replace my table. To your needs, though, I've heard really nice sound out of Cambridge preamps if that helps.

                            I'm not sure if you purchased speakers yet, but I don't think there's anything wrong with active. I really liked the sound of the Audioengine A5 speakers and plan to upgrade to them eventually. If you want to spend a bit less, I've been very happy with the M Audio AV-42s I have. For about $140, they fill my smallish room with nice clear sound. I'm no audiophile, but I feel like they provide a nice range of sound.

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                              #29
                              Originally posted by ForeverGuest View Post
                              From the little I know of that JVC turntable, it's a nice model. I'm not 100 percent on my terminology, but I think the "nude ruby" refers to the construction of the stylus and cantilever. A nude stylus and ruby cantilever are supposed to provide improvements to sound, but I've never listened to a table using one of those carts so I can't say from any experience to what extent this is true. Any idea who manufacturers the cartridge?

                              As far as setups, I'm using a built-in preamp because I tried to keep costs down when doing my setup, and U-Turn makes their own preamps so the quality-to-price ratio for the built-in I got was pretty strong. Luckily there's a bypass switch so if and when I decide to improve the preamp I can do so without having to replace my table. To your needs, though, I've heard really nice sound out of Cambridge preamps if that helps.

                              I'm not sure if you purchased speakers yet, but I don't think there's anything wrong with active. I really liked the sound of the Audioengine A5 speakers and plan to upgrade to them eventually. If you want to spend a bit less, I've been very happy with the M Audio AV-42s I have. For about $140, they fill my smallish room with nice clear sound. I'm no audiophile, but I feel like they provide a nice range of sound.
                              It's an Ortofon X3-MCP.

                              The A5 speakers seem to pop up every time I search for speakers, so I'm definitely giving them some serious consideration. I'll have to look into those AV-42s as well. I need to figure out how much I'm willing to spend

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                                #30
                                Originally posted by Deke View Post
                                It's an Ortofon X3-MCP.
                                I heard this cart demoed once on a vintage turntable and everything sounded really nice. Ortofon makes great products, so I'm sure it'll sound great with your setup too.

                                Originally posted by Deke View Post
                                I need to figure out how much I'm willing to spend
                                Story of my life.

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