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 Post subject: So what's next?
PostPosted: 03 Jun 2010, 16:32 
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Joined: 02 Sep 2008, 14:34
Posts: 527
Location: Rochester, NY
So what's next?

I have purchased int the last few months close to 200 albums, 90% used and 10% new. Am I having fun, damn straight I am. Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall '62 is an amazing adventure in how live music should be recorded. Lionel Hampton Golden Vibes, was a incredible $.50 find. Jimi Hendrix at Clarke University is just plain fun with its technical flaws, but you get the Guitar Giant in the raw.

My currnet table is a Rega P1. Arguably one of the better entry level tables available today. However, it has some flaws. Bass can is week, it runs fast, the platter is cheap and light, and the arm is not very refined. Finally, listening to piano pieces is painful, the piano sounds all wrong. I am not ripping on the table here, just stating that which I no longer care for.

Which brings me back to what's next. I have done some extensive listening to the Denon DP 500M, the Pro-Ject RPM-1.3, the Pro-Ject Xpression III, and handful of vintage tables. I am left wondering which direction to pursue? The Pro-Ject RPM just blows away the Xpression in their basic form. This maybe due simply to the fact that the RPM comes with a Sumiko Pearl while the Xpression gets the simplier Black Pearl. Or it could be due to the decoupled motor combined with the newly designed inverted bearing. Or any of the other differences. To many variables and not enough time. I do not care for the Denon, not fan of Direct Drive tables so we can let that go. As for the vintage tables, well let the buyer beware.

Having said all that I am looking to the wisdom gained by others in there turntable upgrades. Looking forward to reading your responses.

Cheers, Alan

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Cheers, Alan
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Denon POA 2200 | Bottlehead Quickie with PJCCS | Integra CDC 3.1 | SOTA Sapphire-RG301-Grado Gold 1 | Soundwave Soliloquy Series I


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 Post subject: Re: So what's next?
PostPosted: 04 Jun 2010, 12:32 
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Joined: 28 May 2008, 21:53
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Hi Alan,

Ironically (and as you already know) I am pretty much in the same boat. I've got the same player and on top of most of what you already noted with the player, surface noise from the LPs bothers me. It bothers me to the point that I find myself concentrating on the noise and ultimately not enjoying the performance. I have this problem with brand new "audiophile" vinyl pressings and naturally with old LPs.

So I am at a crossroads too. At the recent Salon Son & Image 2010 audio show I found some players that sounded great but they are pretty expensive. From the show I came to the conclusion that to be happy with the sound I need a TT in the $2000 price range, a $400-600 record cleaner and preamps which would be inexpensive (and fun) to DIY. Since I only have about 100 LPs a lot which are not so great I am thinking of dumping the format and concentrate only on digital and CD. The benefit is that my audio budget would not be split between the two.

Thanks for your tip on the Spin Clean Record Cleaner. I may have to take a chance on it before I give up on LPs completely.

The Rega P3-24 was a noted improvement over the P1, but it still left me wanting more.

Cheers

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 Post subject: Re: So what's next?
PostPosted: 07 Jun 2010, 20:43 
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Joined: 03 Oct 2009, 19:04
Posts: 35
Location: Austin Texas
I would urge you to look at vintage idlers and have some fun,and you will get something that belt drives and only a few direct drives can deliver. Incredible pace, attack, and rhythm.
If you look at Lenco, Rek o Kut, (or the pricey Thorens or Gerard) with a little wood work or stone work and some bearing and idler upgrade or repair you can have a giant killer. I firmly believe no currently produce turntable at any price can beet a correctly set up Lenco.
Look at some of the buzz on the other forums, and get one as they are going up in price fast.
The American Rek o Kut Rondines are close behind and can be pretty good. (I had two before I got my Lenco).

Cheers and happy hunting
Ed


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 Post subject: Re: So what's next?
PostPosted: 08 Jun 2010, 10:37 
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Gio wrote:
From the show I came to the conclusion that to be happy with the sound I need a TT in the $2000 price range, a $400-600 record cleaner

Hi Gio.

Sorry, I have to disagree with you above.

Maybe I am lucky.

I get great sound from my 30-year-young vintage Thorens 125II on its original wood plinth. No upgrade at all. Yet it plays my hundreds LPs (99% are cheapie recycles) so faithfully that I can't complain. Amazingly, It tracks properly the innermost soundtrack of 25HZ subsonic pipe organ pedal notes from "Andrew Davis plays the organ at Roy Thomson Hall", another $1 recyle from a local the Goodwill store.

Deep deep clean sub-bass from my 10" 100W sub-woofer !!!! Honestly I only know what is true bass after I listened to this pipe organ subsonic bass notes from the organ wizard: Sir Andrew Davis.

Not many TT, however costly, can track innermost track properly less alone subsonic signals involving huge stylus/groove excursions.

I think all depends on proper alignment of the tonearms, & arrangement of the TT support platform.
As I posted here before, my TT is 'floated' on a DIYed 100-lbs-plus platform, totally isolated from the audio rack.

I don't have any costly brand name record cleaning brush nor record cleaning machine.
I just play vinyls wet with distilled water. That's all.

c-J

PS: it is crucial to check the dynamic tracking balance of the tonearm/cartridge. Even a cheapie no-name cartridge like mine, can perform miracles.

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 Post subject: Re: So what's next?
PostPosted: 08 Jun 2010, 23:51 
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c-J, How can you disagree with my subjective sonic preferences? ;)

Excellent point about the dynamic tracking balance of the tonearm/cartridge - which in the end amounts to even more money to be invested in the phono setup. More money that could otherwise go to speakers which IMO play the biggest role in the overall sound quality of a system.

One of the selling points of the Rega P1 was that the tonearm and cartridge come factory fitted and supposedly balanced and aligned. I don't think this is the issue as there are very low hours on the table. My issue seems to be physical noise with the format.

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 Post subject: Re: So what's next?
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2010, 14:58 
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Gio wrote:
came to the conclusion that to be happy with the sound I need a TT in the $2000 price range, a $400-600 record cleaner

Hi Gio.

Maybe yr above statement mislead me to think you need to spend big bucks on a TT in order to get great sound. I disagree simply I still get pretty gratifying sound with my old cheapies.

Gio wrote:
How can you disagree with my subjective sonic preferences?

If you told us how great was the sound on that $2000 range TT, then I would be challenging yr subjective sonic reference. You seem to take a sweeping statement across the board that only hi priced TT can sound great. Hence my response.

Gio wrote:
My issue seems to be physical noise with the format.


What phyical noise you meant?

Yes, generally TT which works on stylus tracking vinyl grooves, is a physical contact system which can generate noises during the pickup process. But given proper arrangement & undamaged grooves to track, such physical noises can be done with to an aurally forgiveable level. In return, TT gives us superb musical being-there enjoyment that digital formats lack. That's my experience even with DVD-audio reading 24bit/192KHz mastered soundtracks.

So often we overlook the amplifier string downstream gets too much gain to boost up the TT format noise to some excessive level. If the gain control is taken care of properly in the amp design/building stage, such TT excessive noise issue can be minimized to acceptable level.

This is why I always take the role of less-gain-more-music approach. It always works for me, to say the least.

FYI, I enjoy bigtime my one single stage RIAA tube phonostage which I breadboarded last year, driving my Dynaco ST-70 power amp direct. Yes, I have to crank up to max volume in order to get comfortable SPL from my medium efficiency 2-way KEF bookshelver (135" on axis from my sweet spot). So nice is the music that it beats my super-upgraded Dynaco PAS-2 (comprising only 2-stage RIAA phonostage with passive linestage), which I seldom need to set its volume control beyond half way.

Vinyl surface noise is never an issue to me with this 2 tube phonostges to me despite my TT is only a 30-year-old vintage junk. Apparently it is an successful exampe of correct gain control.

c-J.

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 Post subject: Re: So what's next?
PostPosted: 09 Jun 2010, 19:31 
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cheap-Jack wrote:
Maybe yr above statement mislead me to think you need to spend big bucks on a TT in order to get great sound.

Nope, that is right on. After listening to some 40 turntables at the SSI show that varied from about $300 to $10,000+, I (me) did not like the sound from them until I got up to about $2k. I guess I'm real picky.

That's great you found a cheapie that works well for you.

Cheers

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