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I got some vinyl, but no turn table. Where to start & what to buy...

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I recently acquired a lot of vinyl records from my Grandmother. However, I have no turn table.

What turn table should I buy? I really am not trying to piece together a system since this will be my first jump into the vinyl game. Maybe later on when I feel that there's more to vinyl than what my turn table provides, I'll go the audiophile route.

Like every other audio venture I've ever dealt with (headphones, car audio, home audio) I start off wanting "audiophile" quality but realize it's just too expensive, too much work is involved than expected, & that I can't even tell the difference between audiophile & budget quality (I don't think!).

My current "rig", if you want to call it that, just consists of my computer (Chaintech AV-710; again, something I bought because of it's "audiophile"-ness and I can't tell the difference between it & the onboard sound card) going to my Klipsche ProMedia 2.1 speakers. (1/8" stereo jack input).

So the turn table would need to have an 1/8" jack output to connect to the promedia speakers.

For now, I'm just trying to listen to the music (and oh yea, without crackles & that phasey rpm speeding up & slowing down effect), and if I wanted to, to feed it into the line-in on my computer so that I could save it as FLAC/MP3/OGG & throw it on CD if I wanted to.

Budget is 200 dollars for something that can #1 play vinyl, #2 amp it to a good level to feed into ProMedia 2.1 speakers and/or amp it up to a good level to feed into a computer's line-in jack.

Is vinyl even better than digital (CD?). Does a vinyl record by itself contain better quality than a CD?

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumone
So the turn table would need to have an 1/8" jack output to connect to the promedia speakers.
You cannot connect a turntable directly into speakers, you will need an amplifier and a phono stage.
Quote:

(and oh yea, without crackles & that phasey rpm speeding up & slowing down effect),
If the vinyl that you have is of the "used a lot" variety, and played on a table with unknown origin where you cannot be certain whether the cartridge was set up properly, you may be stuck with noisy records. I would certainly make sure that you invest in a good cleaning system for the best audible results.
Quote:
Budget is 200 dollars for something that can #1 play vinyl, #2 amp it to a good level to feed into ProMedia 2.1 speakers and/or amp it up to a good level to feed into a computer's line-in jack.
It will be extremely difficult to find all you need within that limited budget. Your best bet will be to scour eBay or local garage sales and/or classifieds. If you find a table, be cautious of the cartridge and stylus. If the cartridge is not mounted properly, or if the stylus is damaged, it can wreak havoc with your vinyl.
Quote:

Is vinyl even better than digital (CD?). Does a vinyl record by itself contain better quality than a CD?
I think so. At least with a properly set up system, clean and undamaged vinyl, a good phono stage, and good music. But like CDs, you can find vinyl that has been mastered poorly.

With everything audio, you and others may have differing opinions.
post #3 of 34
You DO realize that you'll need an amplifier, phono stage, speakers, and a turntable in order to get this to work, right?

The only other possible way is to cut out the cost is to have the phono stage go into a line-in on your soundcard, and then have that sent to your speakers. However, that'd be a waste of money and the quality would suck beyond comprehension.

200 dollars is not enough money to spend. Because you have just about nothing resembling true hi-fi necessities, like an amp and speakers, getting into vinyl for under even 500 dollars would be difficult and probably not worth it.

Could you give us some details as to what kind of records they are? Are they 78s? I know that if I acquired records from my grandmother, they would not be LPs, but instead 78RPM records from the pre-sixties. You might benefit better from a crank-up victrola

Quote:
Is vinyl even better than digital (CD?). Does a vinyl record by itself contain better quality than a CD?
In your case, almost definitely not. I hate to bring down your hopes, but you really need to have an actual stereo in order to play vinyl. Although, if you want any help with getting that started, we can certainly help.
post #4 of 34
My 2 cents: since the ProMedia speakers are powered computer speakers, you only need a turntable and phono stage bare minimum.
post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 
I know I would need a turn-tbale & phono stage, so that's why I was looking for a table that was an all-in-one, so to speak...where all I had to do was just connect the output of the table to whatever set of (amplified) speakers & be done with it. I really don't know a lot about vinyl, so I really don't know what's required for a good vinyl-system in order for it to actually be more advantageous than digital media (CD). To tell the truth, the only knowledge I have pertaining to vinyl is really from the articles I read on wikipedia.org for the term "vinyl record" or "gramaphone record". On a side note, aside from my own googling of how to get a good sound from vinyl, what are some links you guys could refer me to, in order to learn about what makes a good vinyl system?

As for what types of vinyl records...I'm not entirely sure, but I doubt they're 78s, as from wikipedia, if a 78 drops & breaks, it breaks in pieces. I doubt if these records dropped, they would break. Also wikipedia says a 78 has a limit of about 4 minutes per side; some of the labels on the records display song lengths that add up to more than 20 minutes so I'm guessing 45s (or was it 33s)?

I'm a young guy at 20 years old, so my Grandmother would be pretty much younger than you guys' Grandmothers; she's around 70. Most of this music is from the late 60s & 70s.

So let's put it on a spectrum...

If I wanted a ...

...Poor setup = $x

...Mediocre setup = $y

...Hi-fi setup = $z

(and describe what you classify as a "poor","mediocre", and "hi-fi" setup, with regards to vinyl)

Again, my goals as of now are just to listen to the music with little noise (which I understand is dependent upon the quality of the record). I'm not looking for a sound that sounds better than the corresponding CD of a vinyl record. I just want to listen to the music for now!

College kid here who pays college himself & the rent & other bills!
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumone
I know I would need a turn-tbale & phono stage, so that's why I was looking for a table that was an all-in-one, so to speak...where all I had to do was just connect the output of the table to whatever set of (amplified) speakers & be done with it.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg.../-/B00066EJP0/

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg.../-/B00006HO3O/

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg.../-/B00005T3XH/

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...l/-/B00012EYNG (this one looks like the best of the lot by far, and is the table I'd recommend)

P.S. you won't find anything with a 1/8" jack output, but you can buy a female RCA to 1/8" male adapter at Rat Shack.
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Wow, I'm sold on your recommendation!

For $205 & free shipping, is there any reason why I would NOT want this? Let me know before I hit BUY!!!

Features at-a-glance:

Code:
    * Type: Direct-drive, 3-speed, fully manual operation
    * Cartridge: ATP-2
    * Platter: Die-cast aluminum
    * Motor: DC
    * Speeds: 33-1/3, 45, 78 rpm
    * Forward/reverse play: Both
    * Pitch variation: +/-10 percent or +/-20 percent
    * Starting torque: Greater than 1.6 kgm-cm
    * Braking system: Electronic brake
    * Wow & flutter: Less than 0.2 percent WRMS (33 rpm)
    * Signal-to-noise ratio: Greater than 50 dB
    * Output level: Preamp "Off" 2.5 mV nominal at 1 kHz, 5 cm/sec; preamp "On" 200 mV nominal at 1 kHz, 5 cm/sec
    * Phono preamp gain: 38 dB nominal, RIAA-equalized
    * Pitch output: Output signal to drive remote pitch indicator: 2.5V square wave signal, 675 Hz +/-1 Hz for 33 and 45 rpm quartz locked speeds; varies from 540 Hz - 810 Hz when +/-20 percent pitch is selected; varies from 607 Hz - 742 Hz when +/-10 percent pitch is selected; 1,170 +/-1 Hz for 78 rpm
    * Remote: 2 conductor 1/4-inch connector (T/S)
    * Start/stop: Normally open contact closure
    * Power input: 115/230V AC, 50/60 Hz, 13W
    * Power consumption: Information not available
    * Cartridge specifications: Frequency response: 15 to 22,000 Hz; channel separation: 23/17 (dB at 1 kHz/10 kHz); vertical tracking force: 3 to 5 grams; stylus construction: bonded round shank; output: 5.3 mV (at 1 kHz, 5 cm/sec); channel balance: 1.5 dB; stylus shape: 0.4 x 0.7 mm elliptical; cantilever: alloy tube; mount: half-inch; replacement stylus: ATP-N2
    * Item width: 17.75 inches
    * Item height: 6 inches
    * Item depth: 13.88 inches
    * Item weight: 23.4 pounds
    * Warranty: 1 year parts and labor
    * In the box: Turntable, removable hinged dust cover, slip mat, headshell/cartridge (ATP-2), AC power cord, 45 rpm adapter, and a user's manual
post #8 of 34
Personally, I think it's an excellent table for the price, particularly if you want an "all-in-one" solution (for maybe $50 more you can get one of the low-end Music Halls, but no phono preamp or anything).

Direct-drive isn't generally an "audiophile" favorite (most prefer belt drive) but a modern direct-drive table like this should be fine. And there's actually some room for upgrades, via additional headshells you can attach better cartridges. I say go for it .
post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 


Done!!!

Thanks for the recommendation. And I understand all you other guys points too, however I just at least need to expierence how a turn-table works (I've never even touched a turn-table in my life!) & from there I can look into improvements.
post #10 of 34
Glad I could help (guess I earned my "budget hi-fi guy" tagline today )... you'll still need a Ratshack adapter for the 1/8" plug, but that shouldn't be more than another $5.00 or so.
post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 
Rat-Shack haha...yea I've got a couple of those cables.

I used to have my TV, my computer, and my radio all going to the ProMedia 2.1 speakers (at the same time). And I also hooked up my sound system in my car with my karma mp3 player going to the head-unit's aux-in (but using the dock & rca). I've just never messed with a REAL setup involving a receiver & stuff.
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumone
I've just never messed with a REAL setup involving a receiver & stuff.
Seems to be getting less & less common, with home theater these days. I haven't had a "full" setup myself in years (early 90's I think)... at the moment my turntable output is going to a vintage preamplifier, but I don't have a headphone amp to listen to it with at the moment... I've made a bunch of vinyl to digital transfers using my soundcard tho, which was my original reason for getting a turntable. Gotta pick up another headphone amp eventually, so I don't have to listen to it through the soundcard.
post #13 of 34
P.S. I didn't notice this thread was posted in Todd's forum. Well, I don't think he's lost a sale... you weren't looking for a high-end, pricier table.
post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 
Well I just got the table today. UPS actually tried to deliver it yesterday & I wasn't home. So today I actually went up to the UPS warehouse to pick up my package (which is kind of far, however, I'd know that I have my table & wouldn't have to sit around waiting for it to come, at whatever time it was going to be)

So first thing I did was read through the instructions before I put anything together. The quick start guide told me that the counterweight tracking force should be @ 3.5 grams & anti-skate at 3.5 also.

First impressions...wow, I never knew vinyl could actually sound this good. I had always imagined the sound you get from vinyl was with a loud background noise w/clicks & pops, treble almost non-existent, and distorted bass. I guess I was wrong. I guess it really depends on the quality of the record. Along with the records I acquired from my Grandmother, I bought one new record, I guess to see what an old & a new record sounds in comparison.

I do still hear clicks & pops on quiet sections, however...so answer me this: is getting no clicks/pops even possible?

I now hate dust with a passion!

#1) Since this is the first time I had ever set up let alone listened to vinyl up close & personal, how can I ensure that I have the right tracking force/anti-skating settings? The cartridge specs say 3.0 to 5.0 grams.

#2) How to differentiate between a bad record & bad turn-table component (stylus/cartridge specifically)? It's funny cause in this one record, they repeat measures back to back, purposely sounding like a broken record; so when I first listened to it, I thought something was wrong with the record and/or table!

It's gonna take some time adjusting to the not being able to jump to a specific track w/o a remote or keyboard...see what the digital revolution has done to us???

All in all, I'm happy with my purchase & will be looking into improvements soon...I still need to learn. I haven't really found any good sites for learning yet. I think a trip to the (physical) library is due.
post #15 of 34
#1: An essential tool for turntable playback is the Shure tracking force gauge. Get that from Todd - he's got them for 20 bucks I think. This will help determine the correct mass and etc.

#2: I believe that if you get skipping, it's almost always a bad turntable setup. I just learned from Todd, actually, that really, the only way that the skipping could be the fault of the vinyl, is if the vinyl is warped in a way that it jumps to a very radical height difference in a very short amount of time. He said that this can throw the cartridge out of alignment with the grooves. You have to have a properly-mounted cartridge, aligned properly, with the right tracking angle, and with the anti-skate set to the correct amount. Otherwise, you will get crackles, pops, and damage the record permanently. Just as a note, I have records that I thought were bad, but when I upgraded my gear and took better care of my records and set everything up properly, these records came out and started to be some of the best-sounding records in my collection. There's hope yet to save them from destruction. You just have to make sure that everything is clean, aligned, and mounted accordingly. Vinyl looks fragile, but I'll tell you that even my poor setup before becoming more aware didn't do as much damage to my music as I thought it would have.
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