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Any point in getting a turntable?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if there is still something worthwhile about getting a turntable. I know about the analog sound thing, that it sounds different and so on. But how much different? I just want to enjoy my favorite recordings a bit more, can vinyl be the way to do so? Any comparisons, rants, testimonials and sales pitches are welcome. Just tell me what it is about vinyl that has caused it to survive alongside CDs for so long.
post #2 of 30
I think that the turntable and vinyl recordings will always have a place in the audio menu. I have been told by many high end audio shops that true audiophiles still find vinyl recordings to deliver that overall sound that they look for. The sound that doesn't sound digitized or sterile. You'll notice that there are some very expensive turntables and cartridges offered by very high end companies.

Personally, I do not own a working turntable. My Technics died a few years ago and I have not replaced it yet. But I still have about 300 albums, many of which I cannot find on CD. Eventually I will purchase another turntable.
post #3 of 30
I agree with JMT about the sound of vinyl. I would describe it as fuller and richer than most cd's on most cd source units. Supposedly SACD sounds much more like vinyl but I cannot comment directly on that.

I have a few hundred albums but don't play them much anymore. Not because of their sound but because I need to upgrade my turntable/cartridge. Right now I have an old Dual direct drive and I really dont want to upgrade the Ortofon cartridge on this table. When I upgrade I will probably upgrade to the Music Hall 5. The reviews are very positive and it sounds very good in the showroom. The only question I have is how it will integrate into my system.

That being said, the real decision may be based on how much vinyl you already have and how willing you are to search out more.
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
I hardly have anything since my dad sold of his collection. But I'm just looking for stuff I already like, not really interested in broadening my listening right now. I could buy stuff every now and then.

EDIT: The reason I'm asking is that I, being 19 years old, missed the vinyl era altogether. CDs have always been my method of listening, and now I want to check out the next level.
post #5 of 30
Quote:
I agree with JMT about the sound of vinyl. I would describe it as fuller and richer than most cd's on most cd source units.
Exactly the sentiments of my two eldest sons a few years ago when I A/B'd a vinyl recording and a CD recording of the same album, using speakers, not headphones. They were amazed that there was such a difference......they both commented on the smooth, full sound of the vinyl as opposed to the sterile sound of the CD. They felt the CD was "missing something."
That said, even though I have close to 1,000 albums that I've collected over the past 35 years, and still have my Thorens TD-125 MKII turntable with Stanton 681 EEE cartridge up and running, I rarely listen to vinyl anymore. I've been seduced by the convenience of CDs and lack of snap, crackle, and pop that ultimately develops on vinyl. I also find the increased distortion on the last track of the album, (which I believe is inherent in the production process), to be a detriment to my listening pleasure. Does vinyl sound better? To my ears, most definitely. Is it worth the hassle? Only you can decide. Good luck.
post #6 of 30
Yeah, i would describe the sound as effortless. There is a very natural easy to the presentation that convinces you that the pops and scratches are worth it. Unfortunately the turntables at my school are all ******* up. maybe it's the LPs, but high and high mid frequencies have a terrible staticy screechyness to them. oh well...
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
Suppose I do decide I can deal with the hassle, would a cheap ($250 or something) turntable suffice? I don't want to spend too much on it, and since my CDP only cost $400 I'm not spoiled hi-fi-wise either. I'm just looking for smooth sound.
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by XXhalberstramXX
Unfortunately the turntables at my school are all ******* up. maybe it's the LPs, but high and high mid frequencies have a terrible staticy screechyness to them. oh well...
Oh oh ... Sounds like they need a new cartridge or at least need to have the tracking force adjusted. A good example of what joelongwood said. Turntables can be a hassle to set-up properly, to maintain and even to just play a disc. You have to decide if the sound is worth it to you.

mcbiff: You may want to check out the music hall 2.1 as a good entry level turntable. It is right at your price range with both a tonearm and a cartridge included. Many (most?) turntables do not come with a tonearm or cartridge included in the price. There is also another UK based entry level tt mentioned in a headwize thread, but I cannot remember the manufacturer. I guess we'll have to wait for headwize to return un less someone has a less severe case of memory loss.
post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
Do I need anything apart from the player itself, assuming it's complete with arm and pickup, or can I just use standard RCA ICs to connect it to my amp?
post #10 of 30
Well, I just did a quick A/.B comparison of vinyl vs. CD. Here's the equipment:

CD "Moondance" by Van Morrison off Van Morrison's greatest Hits.
Vinyl: same cut off of "Moondance" album
Receiver: Carver 6250 headphone jack
Turntable: TD 125 Mark II
Cartridge: Stanton 681EEE
CD Player: Sony CDP-C715
Headphones: AKG k340 (supposedly very neutral)

I played and listened to each source twice. This is what I heard:
With the vinyl, I was aware of slight crackles (I usually took very good care of my albums.......cleaning before each play), and the sound was well, very smooth and well balanced. Van's voice sounded real and possessed depth. His voice seemed attached to his body......very organic sounding. The instruments had no harshness at all. Horns, in particular, sounded very good. I could discern a definite placement of instruments as well as proximity to the microphone. The ambience of the recording studio was also reproduced well. But those damn crackles! They did take away from my enjoyment.

Now the CD. Very detailed, but sterile. Van's voice was a bit thinner and seemed almost detached from his body. I didn't get the sense that this voice was indeed attached to a living, breathing body. There was something digital sounding about it. As for the instruments, the horns were definitely not as smooth, but they sounded more detailed in the higher registers. I also did not get the same sense of distance in the recording studio. The horns sounded closer on the CD than on the vinyl. The ambience of the recording studio was almost non-existent. Ah, but there was zero background noise on the CD.
Results: I may, at times, pull out an album to give it a listen, but I'm sticking with CDs. What convinced me was the fact, as I was writing this, the record ended and I had to get up and flip it over!
Another major advantage of CDs. It's hard to relax with vinyl. Hope this helps in making your decision.
PS: I did not use any of my headphone amps because they're not connected through my system. Oh, and the bass.........I did not hear any discernible difference, but I'm not really a bass kinda guy. Both sounded good to my ears. As I'm editing this, side 2 of the album is playing through my Klipsch Forte's and there are handclaps which startled me because they sound so "real." Maybe I'll give vinyl a second go-round.............all those albums!
post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot joelongwood, that's exactly the kind of comparison I was looking for. It doesn't make deciding any easier though, I'll have to weigh the benefits of sound against the downsides of maintenance. Damn...
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by mcbiff
Do I need anything apart from the player itself, assuming it's complete with arm and pickup, or can I just use standard RCA ICs to connect it to my amp?
You will also need a preamp that has a turntable input or a separate phono preamp. Cartridge outputs are generally less than the line level outputs of Cd players, tuners etc. You also have to look at the output of the cartridge itself. There are both high output and low output cartridges (in terms of voltage or millivoltage) and the preamp or phono preamp must be matched to the cartridge output. The tonearms can be either standard or p-mount and so the cartridge must be the same kind of mounting. Any second thoughts yet?

joelogwood: Nice A/B comparison. I couldn't have said it better myself. You're not a teacher, are you?
post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by morphsci


You will also need a preamp that has a turntable input or a separate phono preamp. Cartridge outputs are generally less than the line level outputs of Cd players, tuners etc. You also have to look at the output of the cartridge itself. There are both high output and low output cartridges (in terms of voltage or millivoltage) and the preamp or phono preamp must be matched to the cartridge output. The tonearms can be either standard or p-mount and so the cartridge must be the same kind of mounting. Any second thoughts yet?

joelogwood: Nice A/B comparison. I couldn't have said it better myself. You're not a teacher, are you?
Holy crap that's a lot of extra stuff that needs to be bought, I thought I could get away cheap. I guess I should've learned by now that there's no such thing in the world of audio. The work is also pretty daunting, I guess years of CDP plug-and-play have spoiled me totally. How did you guys manage before?

I do believe joelongwood is a teacher BTW, your hunch was correct.
post #14 of 30
McBiff, by all means get yourself a turntable! I'm a 21 year old convert to the glorious world of analogue! It just sounds so much more... real? Organic? Less harsh? It's hard to describe (for me). Plus there's nothing nicer than buying a lovely gatefold double LP set, so much better than a crappy plastic cd case!

OK, so vinyl gets scratched easily, but look after it carefully and it will be fine. And there is so much second hand stuff around! There's also a lot of new stuff being issued, depending what you're into... the new Muse and Radiohead albums, for example, are available as LPs, and lots of Indie stuff too.

As far as equipment goes, you can pick up a decent turntable for £100 UK - I'd suggest a Projekt 0.5, or a secondhand Rega Planar 3. These will come with a cartridge, but another £50 will get something decent, and, depending on whether your amplifier has a phono stage or not, an external phono pre-amp can be had for about £40 for a Nad PP1.

Disclaimer: It is addictive! I've just spent £300 on a new cartridge, and now I can't afford my rent...
HTH
Andrew
post #15 of 30
Quote:
I do believe joelongwood is a teacher BTW, your hunch was correct.
Yup.........why do you think I have time for all this stuff, especially in the Summer?

As for how we managed before the advent of Cd, there wasn't anything else to do. It was actually kind of a ritual.......putting fluid on the cleaning brush.......cleaning the record...........cleaning the stylus. And you know how there's a difference in the sound of headphones and amps? Well, there's a difference in the sound of cartridge/stylus as well. And the best bang for the buck cartridge 25 years ago? It cost $10 and most reviewers claimed it could compete with the over $100 models..........GRADO!!!!
It was a very high output cartridge with a slight hump in the midrange which imparted a sense of presence that was lacking in other cartridges. Kinda like their headphones today.
And I agree wholeheartedly with insanefred........there's no comparison between a real album and the crappy CD case. There was some beautiful cover art produced back then.
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