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(eBay) Audio Need help, but not toooo much help... if you know what I mean. 46-year old guy looking for suggestions of what equipment to buy to enjoy his collection of old vinyl. (45s and 33s) Budget is $400 all in and all I'm starting with nothing   ( ebay.com) divider line
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201 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 02 Mar 2018 at 12:38 AM (20 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2018-03-01 07:59:32 PM  
Well, subby, can you be a little more specific about how you want to use this stuff? Are you an elitist snob audiophile, or just someone with a great collection that wants to play them for fun?  Are you an archivist who wants to keep all the vinyl pristine, or do you accept that wear and tear comes with the enjoyment and nothing is ever meant to last?

Your answers will help define what kind of gear you want or need, based on how you want to enjoy your collection.  You might be the kind that digitizes all the records, then never takes them out again.  Or you may like the physicality of handling real product, the feel, the heft, the smell, even.   You're could get a lot of conflicting opinions from people who would answer these questions differently than you.

I guess the main thing you're going to need no matter what is a good turntable and needle cartridge system, then a decent, but not ridiculous preamp. That's assuming the rest of your existing stereo gear is adequate already, and that's a big assumption. $400 is not a lot for a great TT AND a superior preamp, but you should also budget for an analog to digital converter that will let you copy off the rare stuff and keep it archived  in a media library on the computer, cloud, etc.  For your most expensive or rare records, I'd recommend digitizing them at a very high sample rate *before* you play the living shiat out of them.  Because wear and scratches just come with the territory, and while a few mild ones add character, at some point you'll get sick of the noise.
 
2018-03-01 08:06:07 PM  
https://uturnaudio.com/

That is as cheap as you should go for a turntable.

You can find turntables for much cheaper, but they will not have a proper tone arm and will destroy your records.
 
2018-03-01 11:40:31 PM  
If that budget also includes the amplification, you'll be making some compromises.  Get a TT with  built in preamp (that you can turn off if you get a better one later) and powered speakers, but you're still compromising a lot.

About the most inexpensive turntable you'll find that'll be 'ok' will be about $299 - most below that and you'll have a lot of compromises

Add on a pair of powered speakers to start with.  I have a pair of these I got on Woot for $100, and I can vouch for their volume and quality in a 'small' room:
Kanto YU2 speakers $199 - https://www.amazon.com/Kanto-Y​U2-Power​ed-Desktop-Speakers/dp/B00GMPDA9K
 
2018-03-02 12:56:34 AM  
I decided to get into vinyl a couple years ago.  I did things on a budget, and I have a setup that sounds pretty good.

I settled on this:
Audio Technica LP-60 Turntable ($100)
Micca MB42 Bookshelf Speakers ($80)

The AT turntable is about the cheapest one you can get and still get decent sound.    It has a built in pre-amp so you can skip that bit of gear.  The AT-120 is nice step up, but costs 3x as much.

The speakers are very nice sounding bookshelf speakers for the price.  They're reference speakers, so not too much bass or treble.  I hooked the whole thing up through a pioneer amp that I already owned.  The speakers won't run a block party, but sound fine in a medium sized room.

The result is a pretty decent inexpensive setup.  More money = Better gear, but you can always spend that cash on records too.
 
2018-03-02 01:01:19 AM  
Not related to your request, but try this: Play 'em wet. Reduces wear, and lots of dust noise, pops and crackles dwindle or disappear.

Mix 500ml (or 1 pint) distilled water with 500ml methanol. Add 2 -3 drops of wetting agent (or dishwashing detergent).

If you can get hold of vinyl record-washing cloths use them. If not, try to find lint-free washcloths. Wet a cloth, then wring it out until it just stops dripping, then wipe it across the vinyl so it's wet but not pooling. Play while wet. Dry before storage. The methanol helps it to dry quickly.

If this sounds dubious, try it on an old record that has some wear-and-tear and/or mild damage, and compare wet vs. dry.

IIRC this came from a usenet audio group.
 
2018-03-02 01:24:41 AM  
I got a Denon dp-300f turntable a few months ago.  It's normally $300ish but I got it for $200 on sale.  I'm just starting out with records but it seems pretty solid to me.  It's got Auto start/stop, a built in preamp you can change the speed with a button rather than having to adjust a belt like with a lot of other units in this price range.
 
2018-03-02 01:30:52 AM  

Lord Bear: I decided to get into vinyl a couple years ago.  I did things on a budget, and I have a setup that sounds pretty good.

I settled on this:
Audio Technica LP-60 Turntable ($100)
Micca MB42 Bookshelf Speakers ($80)

The AT turntable is about the cheapest one you can get and still get decent sound.    It has a built in pre-amp so you can skip that bit of gear.  The AT-120 is nice step up, but costs 3x as much.


I've got the AT-120, but I think I paid under $200 on Amazon. Fine turntable; it reminds me of an old Technics. (I upgraded the perfectly decent cart just because I had better one lying around.)  Before that I just hooked an old turntable to the PC's audio input thru a cheap phono preamp.
 
2018-03-02 01:33:44 AM  

ol' gormsby: Not related to your request, but try this: Play 'em wet. Reduces wear, and lots of dust noise, pops and crackles dwindle or disappear.

Mix 500ml (or 1 pint) distilled water with 500ml methanol. Add 2 -3 drops of wetting agent (or dishwashing detergent).

If you can get hold of vinyl record-washing cloths use them. If not, try to find lint-free washcloths. Wet a cloth, then wring it out until it just stops dripping, then wipe it across the vinyl so it's wet but not pooling. Play while wet. Dry before storage. The methanol helps it to dry quickly.

If this sounds dubious, try it on an old record that has some wear-and-tear and/or mild damage, and compare wet vs. dry.

IIRC this came from a usenet audio group.


I've heard this is a bad idea; it acts like water on a hone and the stylus cuts into the vinyl.
 
2018-03-02 01:48:42 AM  
You can fling your vinyl a la "Disks of Tron" at annoying teenagers and motorists for free.

Take the $400 and buy a cheap chromebook and a Spotify subscription to listen to music in the non-pretentious hipster way
 
2018-03-02 01:58:57 AM  

Thong_of_Zardoz: You can fling your vinyl a la "Disks of Tron" at annoying teenagers and motorists for free.
Take the $400 and buy a cheap chromebook and a Spotify subscription to listen to music in the non-pretentious hipster way


As a Jurassic music nut with 2,000-odd records and five or six turntables, I agree with you wholeheartedly. There's no way I'd get into vinyl today. The only conceivable reason would be that there's simply too much stuff out there that hasn't been and never will be digitized. AND I WANT IT ALL.
 
2018-03-02 03:05:11 AM  
Buy used gear. 70s equipment can still be found at decent prices. Maybe later get a new Grado cartridge for your turntable.
 
2018-03-02 03:54:53 AM  

EdwardTellerhands: ol' gormsby: Not related to your request, but try this: Play 'em wet. Reduces wear, and lots of dust noise, pops and crackles dwindle or disappear.

Mix 500ml (or 1 pint) distilled water with 500ml methanol. Add 2 -3 drops of wetting agent (or dishwashing detergent).

If you can get hold of vinyl record-washing cloths use them. If not, try to find lint-free washcloths. Wet a cloth, then wring it out until it just stops dripping, then wipe it across the vinyl so it's wet but not pooling. Play while wet. Dry before storage. The methanol helps it to dry quickly.

If this sounds dubious, try it on an old record that has some wear-and-tear and/or mild damage, and compare wet vs. dry.

IIRC this came from a usenet audio group.

I've heard this is a bad idea; it acts like water on a hone and the stylus cuts into the vinyl.


You may be right, but it sounds reasonable - the water reduces friction, and helps to keep the vinyl and stylus cooler, thus reducing damage from heat produced by friction. Another IIRC is that the actual pressure per square inch at the stylus-groove interface is enormous, albeit the actual area is tiny. Damage/wear is caused by heat from friction, and by dust trapped behind the stylus being dragged along the groove as the record turns. My own experience is that the amount of pops and other noise is considerably reduced while playing wet. As I said, try it yourself and see how it sounds.

I'd prefer to listen to Dark Side of the Moon on SACD while fondling the LP cover and inserts - to get the best of both worlds - but there is a nostalgia to putting on an LP. Audio quality isn't the entirety of the experience.
 
2018-03-02 04:23:33 AM  
My first set up was a used Parasound turntable (~$100), a Yamaha stereo receiver with phono input (~$120), and a set of Paradigm Mini Monitors (~$200). That was around 15 years ago.

These days, for $400, I'd be looking at an Audio Technica turntable with a built-in preamp and powered speakers. I just bought powered Edifier speakers for my desktop system and they are great for near-field listening. If you are trying to fill a big room, you might want bigger speakers and/or more wattage.
 
2018-03-02 04:57:13 AM  

ol' gormsby: You may be right, but it sounds reasonable - the water reduces friction, and helps to keep the vinyl and stylus cooler, thus reducing damage from heat produced by friction. Another IIRC is that the actual pressure per square inch at the stylus-groove interface is enormous, albeit the actual area is tiny. Damage/wear is caused by heat from friction, and by dust trapped behind the stylus being dragged along the groove as the record turns. My own experience is that the amount of pops and other noise is considerably reduced while playing wet. As I said, try it yourself and see how it sounds.


Oh, I have tried it. I think it screws up the sound. It "lubes" the needle and reduces hiss somewhat, but also the treble/high-midrange freqs in that slice of the spectrum. And it likely lets particles collect and glom into a wet muck, however microscopic, on your stylus . Records were made to play dry. 
Your cleaning fluid recipe is pretty good. I use 50% alcohol (lab-grade if I can find it), 50% distilled water, and a couple of drops of surfactant (Triton-X or Fotoflow). It's cheaper than it sounds. When I feel ambitious and/or OCD, I clean records with the homebrew Wet Vac thing.
 
2018-03-02 05:01:23 AM  
Not reading the thread, I am sure it's been covered more times than comments, but whatever you do: record ALL of your old vinyl digitally.
 
2018-03-02 05:05:11 AM  

ol' gormsby: Not related to your request, but try this: Play 'em wet. Reduces wear, and lots of dust noise, pops and crackles dwindle or disappear.

Mix 500ml (or 1 pint) distilled water with 500ml methanol. Add 2 -3 drops of wetting agent (or dishwashing detergent).

If you can get hold of vinyl record-washing cloths use them. If not, try to find lint-free washcloths. Wet a cloth, then wring it out until it just stops dripping, then wipe it across the vinyl so it's wet but not pooling. Play while wet. Dry before storage. The methanol helps it to dry quickly.

If this sounds dubious, try it on an old record that has some wear-and-tear and/or mild damage, and compare wet vs. dry.

IIRC this came from a usenet audio group.


This was something I wondered about as a kid... I was always curious if the potential for added vinyl wear would make it worse in the longrun.
 
2018-03-02 05:20:56 AM  

puffy999: ol' gormsby: Not related to your request, but try this: Play 'em wet. Reduces wear, and lots of dust noise, pops and crackles dwindle or disappear.

Mix 500ml (or 1 pint) distilled water with 500ml methanol. Add 2 -3 drops of wetting agent (or dishwashing detergent).

If you can get hold of vinyl record-washing cloths use them. If not, try to find lint-free washcloths. Wet a cloth, then wring it out until it just stops dripping, then wipe it across the vinyl so it's wet but not pooling. Play while wet. Dry before storage. The methanol helps it to dry quickly.
If this sounds dubious, try it on an old record that has some wear-and-tear and/or mild damage, and compare wet vs. dry.
IIRC this came from a usenet audio group.
This was something I wondered about as a kid... I was always curious if the potential for added vinyl wear would make it worse in the longrun.


I'm sure it doesn't help. A dry stylus bounces dust off; a wet one collects muck and pushes it all the way down the groove.
 
2018-03-02 06:35:15 AM  
Showing off my current toys.
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-03-02 06:37:51 AM  
Agree with the advice to get used gear from the 70s or 80s. Went down that rabbit hole back in the day. Paradigm 11s/NAD 7155/Micro Sieki BL-30/Grado MP11+. Another option for bang for buck is headphones instead of speakers.. but today you can get a good Class "D" amp cheap from eBay.. Speakers haven't changed much in that you get what you pay for (unless you diy or buy a kit). Don't pay extra for upgraded wire.

Also agree it will be tough to make it sound better than 320k Spotify "HD" without good speakers (and I'm not fan of their quality). The old rule was spend half the budget on speakers. I also get the nostalgia factor and album art fun. Hope it works out for ya.
 
2018-03-02 06:44:06 AM  

EdwardTellerhands: ol' gormsby: You may be right, but it sounds reasonable - the water reduces friction, and helps to keep the vinyl and stylus cooler, thus reducing damage from heat produced by friction. Another IIRC is that the actual pressure per square inch at the stylus-groove interface is enormous, albeit the actual area is tiny. Damage/wear is caused by heat from friction, and by dust trapped behind the stylus being dragged along the groove as the record turns. My own experience is that the amount of pops and other noise is considerably reduced while playing wet. As I said, try it yourself and see how it sounds.

Oh, I have tried it. I think it screws up the sound. It "lubes" the needle and reduces hiss somewhat, but also the treble/high-midrange freqs in that slice of the spectrum. And it likely lets particles collect and glom into a wet muck, however microscopic, on your stylus . Records were made to play dry. 
Your cleaning fluid recipe is pretty good. I use 50% alcohol (lab-grade if I can find it), 50% distilled water, and a couple of drops of surfactant (Triton-X or Fotoflow). It's cheaper than it sounds. When I feel ambitious and/or OCD, I clean records with the homebrew Wet Vac thing.


Yeah, maybe it's better as a cleaning fluid, rather than a playing fluid. Gahd, Fotoflow! I've seen photog students mistreat fotoflow concentrate....... 2 drops good, 2 cups better

/ no it doesn't work that way
 
2018-03-02 06:46:41 AM  

ol' gormsby: Yeah, maybe it's better as a cleaning fluid, rather than a playing fluid. Gahd, Fotoflow! I've seen photog students mistreat fotoflow concentrate....... 2 drops good, 2 cups better

/ no it doesn't work that way


A half cup of Triton-X is loads of fun in a public fountain.
 
2018-03-02 06:49:51 AM  

Doctor Crab: Showing off my current toys.[img.fark.net image 587x780]


Its not often you see a direct drive turntable next to so many tubes.

/was that passive aggressive?
//triggered
///am I doing this right?
 
2018-03-02 07:00:19 AM  

EdwardTellerhands: collects muck and pushes it all the way down the groove.


Go on......
 
2018-03-02 07:02:50 AM  

Doctor Crab: Showing off my current toys.[img.fark.net image 587x780]


Jaysus, bhoy - you're gonne distoert all yeeeri vinyyylll witha allla thar heatt.

/ you're going to distort all of your vinyl with all of that heat
 
2018-03-02 07:05:40 AM  
Buy the mp3s of all the tracks and listen to them while pretending you are listening to vinyl. With that budges the mp3s will sound better anyway.
 
2018-03-02 07:07:36 AM  

ol' gormsby: EdwardTellerhands: collects muck and pushes it all the way down the groove.

Go on......


the stylus bounces up and down, producing throbbing ululations, and the vinyl quivers underneath--expectant and willing...
BRB
 
2018-03-02 07:11:58 AM  

EdwardTellerhands: ol' gormsby: EdwardTellerhands: collects muck and pushes it all the way down the groove.

Go on......

the stylus bounces up and down, producing throbbing ululations, and the vinyl quivers underneath--expectant and willing...
BRB


OMG - give me quadraphonic, baby!!!!

/ gotta go to bed now
// really, it's 10:11pm here and
/// I'm drunk
 
2018-03-02 07:14:44 AM  

ol' gormsby: EdwardTellerhands: ol' gormsby: EdwardTellerhands: collects muck and pushes it all the way down the groove.

Go on......

the stylus bounces up and down, producing throbbing ululations, and the vinyl quivers underneath--expectant and willing...
BRB
OMG - give me quadraphonic, baby!!!!
/ gotta go to bed now
// really, it's 10:11pm here and
/// I'm drunk


You know the National Lampoon Radio Hour joke about the guy whose quad system has only one working speaker? When I play Abby Road, all you hear is "sun...sun..."
 
2018-03-02 07:18:49 AM  

EdwardTellerhands: ol' gormsby: EdwardTellerhands: ol' gormsby: EdwardTellerhands: collects muck and pushes it all the way down the groove.

Go on......

the stylus bounces up and down, producing throbbing ululations, and the vinyl quivers underneath--expectant and willing...
BRB
OMG - give me quadraphonic, baby!!!!
/ gotta go to bed now
// really, it's 10:11pm here and
/// I'm drunk

You know the National Lampoon Radio Hour joke about the guy whose quad system has only one working speaker? When I play Abby Road, all you hear is "sun...sun..."


:sadface:

/ no, really, I'm going to bed now
 
2018-03-02 08:01:34 AM  

Intone: Agree with the advice to get used gear from the 70s or 80s. Went down that rabbit hole back in the day. Paradigm 11s/NAD 7155/Micro Sieki BL-30/Grado MP11+. Another option for bang for buck is headphones instead of speakers.. but today you can get a good Class "D" amp cheap from eBay.. Speakers haven't changed much in that you get what you pay for (unless you diy or buy a kit). Don't pay extra for upgraded wire.

Also agree it will be tough to make it sound better than 320k Spotify "HD" without good speakers (and I'm not fan of their quality). The old rule was spend half the budget on speakers. I also get the nostalgia factor and album art fun. Hope it works out for ya.


Need to clarify for subby: you have to be much more careful about buying 80s amps. Sure, there was junk made in the 70s, but there was A LOT more junk for amps made in the 80s.
 
2018-03-02 09:44:33 AM  

ol' gormsby: Mix 500ml (or 1 pint) distilled water with 500ml methanol.


Methanol is a bad thing to use around the house because it's toxic.
 
2018-03-02 10:02:55 AM  
Headline---Need help, but not toooo much help... if you know what I mean.

Actually, no. I have no idea what you mean.
 
2018-03-02 10:33:19 AM  
sotaturntables.comView Full Size
 
2018-03-02 10:54:41 AM  

vonster: [sotaturntables.com image 781x310]


people who buy that kinda thing ALWAYS have 10 records, max.
 
2018-03-02 02:47:17 PM  
konigsforst:

Need to clarify for subby: you have to be much more careful about buyinfg 80s amps. Sure, there was junk made in the 70s, but there was A LOT more junk for amps made in the 80s.

Agree, you can find back issues of stereo review and other buyer guides online to check out ratings.
 
2018-03-03 11:04:12 AM  
Look around on Craigslist for something like this:  https://vermont.craigslist.org/ele/d/​v​intage-stereo-with-turntable/650127719​9.html , and then spend the other $200 on an upgraded cartridge.
 
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