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$1000 for a Turntable and Phono Pre - what would you do?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone, I haven't been on here in a while but figured I could get some direction on this as I've been going in circles lately. I’m looking to spend around $1000 to get back into vinyl (turntable and phono pre). What do you like from the products listed below? Or is there anything else I should look at?

 

At least initially, I’ll be using these exclusively with a Maple Tree Ear headamp and Grado RS1s.  Prices are either new or for demos, but I figure I might be able to stretch things a little by looking on Audiogon (I don’t want anything more than a couple years old though).  It’s worth mentioning that, unless I luck out on Audiogon, going with a more expensive turntable like the RP3 probably means I can’t spend more than $200 or so on a preamp. 

 

I’m going to check out a lot of this stuff in person next week at Needle Doctor when I’m in town but want to have some better ideas going in. Thanks all.

 

 

Turntables:

Music Hall MMF 2.2 w/ Ortofon Blue $675 new

Music Hall MMF 5.1 w/ Magic 3 MM $700 demo

Rega RP3 w/ Elys $900 demo

 

 

Phono Preamp:

ClearAudio Nano $400

Musical Fidelity V-LPS $200

Pro-Ject Phono Box S $200

Pro-Ject Tube Box S $450

Bellari VP130 Tube $250

post #2 of 31
I would get a Cambridge Stage and the Rega, personally. The Cambridge 651 is a great bang for your buck item.
post #3 of 31

I would get a used LP12, any spec, just make sure it has had a service in the past couple of years and a Rotel RQ970 phono pre ,

a very underrated amp, superb with MM and medium output MCs, not so great on cart like Troikas or anything with an output lower than 0.3

which these days is few.

 

Remember getting the best in the long term is all, IHMO, about source first, especially re Analogue.

So get the best turntable you can and put any cart on it, an AT 95E is great, and don't worry too much about the phono stage.

post #4 of 31
I'd avoid an LP12 like the plague... YMMV of course.
post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

I'd avoid an LP12 like the plague... YMMV of course.


+1. That coloured sound might have been well received by the pipe and slippers brigade in the 80's who enjoyed their classical recordings. But it is no match for even a Technics SP-1200 with say a Denon DL-103 cart. 

post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 

Yeah, LP12 is probably older than what I'm looking for too. I know a solid turntable can last forever but I want something relatively new. I also like the clean modern looks of the Regas and Music Halls more.

 

KT's suggestion to spend on source is probably a good one though. I can always play around with a phono stage later, but my first objective is to get a turntable that I'll be happy with for years. That said, I'm leaning towards the Rega.

 

Morbid's Cambridge 651 is a good suggestion too, I hadn't looked much at that so I will. (Not to get off topic, but I assume by your avatar that you're enjoying that new Swans album. Some cool--albeit sometimes scary--music there.)

 

Thanks for the  feedback, keep it coming.

post #7 of 31

While that's not why I'd avoid them I never thought of it that way. I suggested avoiding them simply because they're a huge money dump of a turntable. While an upgraded one can sound great the 'used' models you'll pay under a grand for are going to be pretty bad.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baxide View Post


+1. That coloured sound might have been well received by the pipe and slippers brigade in the 80's who enjoyed their classical recordings. But it is no match for even a Technics SP-1200 with say a Denon DL-103 cart. 

 

My next planned TT setup is split damn near 50/50 between stage and table, but at the lower level I completely agree with skimping on the phono stage.

 

I firmly believe that at $250 the 651 is one of the best bargains out there for entry level gear of any kind (digital or otherwise). 

 

As for the Swans album...Yes. It's fantastic. I've been posting a lot about it recently and I know a few others have been listening because of me blabbing about it everywhere. It's just so good and unsettling (scary, if you will). I bought the 3 LP set. Can't wait to not be between analogue rigs soon and hear it on wax.

 

The cover is also fantastic and I'm considering framing the poster that came with the LPs. Second best album of the year, IMO.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusco View Post

Yeah, LP12 is probably older than what I'm looking for too. I know a solid turntable can last forever but I want something relatively new. I also like the clean modern looks of the Regas and Music Halls more.

 

KT's suggestion to spend on source is probably a good one though. I can always play around with a phono stage later, but my first objective is to get a turntable that I'll be happy with for years. That said, I'm leaning towards the Rega.

 

Morbid's Cambridge 651 is a good suggestion too, I hadn't looked much at that so I will. (Not to get off topic, but I assume by your avatar that you're enjoying that new Swans album. Some cool--albeit sometimes scary--music there.)

 

Thanks for the  feedback, keep it coming.

post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 

I like what I've been reading on the Cambridge 651 and it's certainly sharper looking than the V-LPS. So, I guess the front runners for me now are Rega RP3 w/ Elys 2 > Cambridge 651.

 

Any other thoughts?

 

And Morbid, if Seer is your #2 this year, what's your #1? I've really been liking the new Grizzly Bear if you haven't heard it yet.

post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusco View Post

I like what I've been reading on the Cambridge 651 and it's certainly sharper looking than the V-LPS. So, I guess the front runners for me now are Rega RP3 w/ Elys 2 > Cambridge 651.

Any other thoughts?

And Morbid, if Seer is your #2 this year, what's your #1? I've really been liking the new Grizzly Bear if you haven't heard it yet.

BT's Morceau Subrosa. Absolutely stunning work. Listened to it again just last night.
post #10 of 31
I thought I posted last night, guess not. I was gonna second the RP3 Elys 651 combo and mention that vinyl rigs really like a stretched budget.
post #11 of 31

I wouldn't waste time pondering about a phono stage right now. Getting the deck, tonearm and cartridge right comes first. And don't split your budget arbitrarily. First go in for the kill for a good turntable that might even increase in value when you come to sell it. Then get advise on the best arm to match that deck and that you can afford. And then get advise on the right cartridge with the correct compliance to match the arm's characteristics. Only then do you hunt down a phono stage.

 

I got an expensive deck and arm combination but use the built in phono stage of my 1982 integrated amp that forms part of my pure analogue system. An equivalent phono stage would have cost a lot more.
 

post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eee Pee View Post

I thought I posted last night, guess not. I was gonna second the RP3 Elys 651 combo and mention that vinyl rigs really like a stretched budget.

Unfortunately this is true. My budget was around 3k total. It's been stretched to 5k.
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post


Unfortunately this is true. My budget was around 3k total. It's been stretched to 5k.

For that sort of money I would hunt down a Technics SP-10 turntable, Technics EPA-100 tonearm, and the spend the rest on a cart and phono stage. Mind you a Michell Gyrodec with SME 309 tonearm would be a right killer in looks and sound.

post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baxide View Post

I wouldn't waste time pondering about a phono stage right now. Getting the deck, tonearm and cartridge right comes first. And don't split your budget arbitrarily. First go in for the kill for a good turntable that might even increase in value when you come to sell it. Then get advise on the best arm to match that deck and that you can afford. And then get advise on the right cartridge with the correct compliance to match the arm's characteristics. Only then do you hunt down a phono stage.

 

I got an expensive deck and arm combination but use the built in phono stage of my 1982 integrated amp that forms part of my pure analogue system. An equivalent phono stage would have cost a lot more.
 


This is good advice, thanks. So is the RP3 w/ Elys 2 about the best I'm gonna do in the sub-$1000 turntable range (bear in mind that I don't want anything more than a few years old)?

post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baxide View Post

For that sort of money I would hunt down a Technics SP-10 turntable, Technics EPA-100 tonearm, and the spend the rest on a cart and phono stage. Mind you a Michell Gyrodec with SME 309 tonearm would be a right killer in looks and sound.

It's looking like a Nottingham Interspace Jr, Shelter 501mkII, and Sim Moon 310LP Stage. Stock arm for now.

I still think the Rega is the best choice. For a good cheap system well under what you're lookig at consider the ProJect Debut Carbon. Great cart included with it.
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