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$1000 for a Turntable and Phono Pre - what would you do? - Page 2

post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusco View Post

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)?

 

When you're shopping for turntables or turntable packages at the same price points you're going to get fairly similar sounding set ups.  The manufacturer can only do so much with a certain price point.  One package might be a better soundstager, one might be a bit bassier, one might be a pace rhythm timing type, or any of the audiophile descriptive words you want to use, but they'll still be close to one another overall.  

 

You might have made up your mind about the RP3, walk into Needle Doctor and see/hear something else, and change your mind just like that.  I was set on the RP3, then the RP6, then completely forgot about them when I saw the VPI Traveler.

 

The vinyl world makes people do this:

 

 

 

But then you get home, put a record on and stare at it go round and round, listen and smile.  It's fantastic.

post #17 of 31
Thread Starter 

I'm excited for my ears and terrified for my wallet.

 

But your point is well taken EP, I'm going to check things out with an open mind and hopefully find something I really like that's in the ballpark of my budget.

post #18 of 31

You should be absolutely terrified. Turntables often have a ton of upgrades you can make. 

 

For instance. With my planned rig I can add the 'heavy kit' ($1800), the TT PSU ($1200 I think), the Phono Stag PSU ($1200)...Not to mention the fact that I'll have room for another tone arm and cart. 2 and 2. 

 

Isolation platform (which actually work for turntables), cables...Ugh.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusco View Post

I'm excited for my ears and terrified for my wallet.

 

But your point is well taken EP, I'm going to check things out with an open mind and hopefully find something I really like that's in the ballpark of my budget.

post #19 of 31

SemiAudiophile has a good thread about his journey with a Rega which includes upgraditus.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/583312/the-rega-p3-24-project

 

I think I'd skip table upgrades and put the monies into a better cartridge.  Though that depends I suppose...

 

You'll read everything you can about the Rega Elys 2 and they'll say, "Oh it's good at this, but...  And it's good at this, but..."  And that goes for any cartridge out there, but as you move up the ladder, there's less "buts".

 

These are mechanical devices, and the better the parts and execution, the better they are and that costs money.  No way around it.  "Start at the source" they say.  Well, that's the cartridge.  Next important to me is speed accuracy of the table, as that's a pretty primary job and that means adjustable PSU for the table before different platters or mats or arms or isolation.  Of course there's more to it than that...

 

Hope things go well for you.  Records are involving and fun to play with, and to listen to.


Edited by Eee Pee - 9/19/12 at 3:57pm
post #20 of 31
Thread Starter 

Bringing this thread back to life....

 

I stopped by the Needle Doctor earlier this week and spent some time browsing, listening and chatting with the guys there. I think I'm going with the Rega RP3. It seems to be the best fit for me in my price range. The Music Hall tables are a bit more detailed whereas the Rega is more musical. I couldn't bring any of my gear but I have high hopes that RP3 with my Mapletree Ear tube amp and Grado RS1s will give me a warm, musical sound, which is just what I'm after.

 

My phono pre is probably going to be dictated by the cartridge I pick. The guys at Needle Doctor had me pretty sold on the Dynavector 10X5 if I decide to stretch my budget a little. If not, I'll just go with the stock Elys. They also seemed to favor the Musical Fidelity VLPS over the Cambridge, but I'll see. Re the Cambridge, they also said there's no benefit to the 651 vs. 551 if my cart is MM.

 

I'll update this again once I get things rolling (or spinning) in a few weeks.

post #21 of 31

If you're going MM, they're right. Remember future flexibility though. 

 

Depending on how much your like spinning vinyl MM carts start to fall off against MC carts at about 1500 bucks.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusco View Post

Bringing this thread back to life....

 

I stopped by the Needle Doctor earlier this week and spent some time browsing, listening and chatting with the guys there. I think I'm going with the Rega RP3. It seems to be the best fit for me in my price range. The Music Hall tables are a bit more detailed whereas the Rega is more musical. I couldn't bring any of my gear but I have high hopes that RP3 with my Mapletree Ear tube amp and Grado RS1s will give me a warm, musical sound, which is just what I'm after.

 

My phono pre is probably going to be dictated by the cartridge I pick. The guys at Needle Doctor had me pretty sold on the Dynavector 10X5 if I decide to stretch my budget a little. If not, I'll just go with the stock Elys. They also seemed to favor the Musical Fidelity VLPS over the Cambridge, but I'll see. Re the Cambridge, they also said there's no benefit to the 651 vs. 551 if my cart is MM.

 

I'll update this again once I get things rolling (or spinning) in a few weeks.

post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 

Another update and a question for everyone. I stretched my budget a little and just pulled the trigger on a used Rega P5 with the TT PSU and new Exact 2 cartridge. Once I realized I could get this for pretty much the same price as a new RP3 w/ Elys and the power supply (which I assumed I'd get soon anyway), it seemed like the right choice.

 

This now leads me to wonder if a ~$200 phono pre like the V-LPS II will be a bottleneck. There seem to be a ton of good options and differing opinions on the sub-$500 phono stage market. I'm having a tough time deciding if I should just get the V-LPS and see how it sounds or move up the ladder to something like the Pro-Ject Tube Box S, ClearAudio Nano or Jolida JD9.

 

And, apologies in advance for anyone who finds this thread with a search and realizes that my $1000 limit has gone out the window.

post #23 of 31

Good job on the stretching.  Now do it again with the phono stage.  biggrin.gif

 

Or, maybe grab the V-LPS and start saving for the long run.  I'd consider the P5 table as a long term investment made and the cart and whatever phono stage short term.  Or, they're fine and buy more records!

post #24 of 31


For anyone else reading this thread who wants a TT set up and needs to stay within budget I can recommend the following:-

 

The Audio Technica AT440MLa is a superb moving magnet cartridge with a specially designed stylus. ~ $250 street price.

 

Also consider the AT100E for less cash.

 

http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/cartridges/2cafc1c694070c54/index.html

 

ART make high quality and durable RIAA preamps for little money. The DJPRE 2 is excellent for ~ $50.

 

They also do the USB Phono Plus which for only #$30 more will connect direct to your PC.

 

http://artproaudio.com/artcessories/turntable_preamps/product/djpre_ii/

 

That should leave you with ~$700 which will be easily enough for a reconditioned or used Technics SL1210 in excellent condition. Shouldn't be at all hard to find.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technics_SL-1200

 

This will give you decades of high quality, trouble free operation. If you do manage to break it (?) spares and skilled service people are easy to find. Look after it, not difficult, and you will almost certainly be able to sell it for more than you paid years from now.

 

Do not be fooled by the outdated and spurious hi-fi tweeks' knee jerk prejudice against DD TTs and professional grade audio gear. This is quality gear at a good price not an overpriced toy for people with more money than sense.

post #25 of 31
Thread Starter 

Well, I ended up getting a SimAudio Moon 110LP phono stage at a decent price. I had read a few positive things about its synergy with the P5/Exact and I decided against a tube phono stage since I run a tube amp. I finally got everything set up last night and WOW it's been a long time since music sounded this good. I was up late jumping from record to record and generally having a great time.

 

Thanks for all the help and if anyone is looking for tips on a $1000, $1500, make that a $2000 turntable rig, I'm happy to help.

 

In the end (for now), I'm running Rega P5 w/ PSU and Exact cartridge > SimAudio Moon 110LP > Mapletree Ear+ Headamp > Grado RS1.

post #26 of 31

This is why turntable budgets are stupid. You'll never, ever get out in/under budget. 

 

I've had to cut down my plans quite a bit though because of a new pet (next week) and the need for a new car. My budget's been cut from 5k to 2k (again) but I have solid plans in place for what I want at this point. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusco View Post

Well, I ended up getting a SimAudio Moon 110LP phono stage at a decent price. I had read a few positive things about its synergy with the P5/Exact and I decided against a tube phono stage since I run a tube amp. I finally got everything set up last night and WOW it's been a long time since music sounded this good. I was up late jumping from record to record and generally having a great time.

 

Thanks for all the help and if anyone is looking for tips on a $1000, $1500, make that a $2000 turntable rig, I'm happy to help.

 

In the end (for now), I'm running Rega P5 w/ PSU and Exact cartridge > SimAudio Moon 110LP > Mapletree Ear+ Headamp > Grado RS1.

post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusco View Post

Well, I ended up getting a SimAudio Moon 110LP phono stage at a decent price. I had read a few positive things about its synergy with the P5/Exact and I decided against a tube phono stage since I run a tube amp. I finally got everything set up last night and WOW it's been a long time since music sounded this good. I was up late jumping from record to record and generally having a great time.

 

Thanks for all the help and if anyone is looking for tips on a $1000, $1500, make that a $2000 turntable rig, I'm happy to help.

 

In the end (for now), I'm running Rega P5 w/ PSU and Exact cartridge > SimAudio Moon 110LP > Mapletree Ear+ Headamp > Grado RS1.

Congratulations!   Enjoy!beerchug.gif

post #28 of 31

Get the P3 or a used lP12 with an Akito arm (though they are hard to set up and maintain!) and have a look at the Cambridge Audio Azur 640p, great phono stage, almost as good as my linto when I had one and finally replaced with an EAR that wasn't leagues ahead!

 

None of my tables have cost the earth, I have always bought junk and done them up, http://www.head-fi.org/g/u/65849/mark-h/ you can see some here. The most expensive part for me is the vinyl new stuff is silly money now!!


Edited by mark_h - 10/11/12 at 11:22am
post #29 of 31

Congrats on your choices and your process of decision making. I was cringing as I was reading through the posts which unfortunately I did not begin to read until minutes ago and so my feedback does not matter much now as you have made your decisions.

 

That said, I just feel compelled to throw my two cents in and if it helps great, if not, you only lose a minute of life:

 

I have tried two dozen different turntable and cartridge combinations and every combo has plus and minuses that I sometimes hear quickly, but most times do not discover until I have 10s or 100s of hours of listening time in.

 

Since you bought your rig already, please make sure you take the time to balance the TT, arm, and cart, aligning the cartridge length as it sits on your tonearm and the angle at which the stylus rides in the groove (VTA). The weight of your cartridge affects your tonearm in the way that it rides in the groove, and you need to adjust, listen, adjust, listen, and repeat a few times until you get the most balanced sound quality over the widest range of the album (from outside to inside grooves).

 

Until I learned to take the time to do this with patience and precision, I found I was rolling through cartridges always looking for "better" sound. Several carts and thousands later, I was back to the original suggested cart for my TT except this time I REALLY took the time to adjust it over and over until I was very happy with the sound. I have not changed it now in over a year.

 

And, if you find yourself looking to upgrade your phono stage, I would suggest staying away from ProJect as I have tried all their stages, and they are just OK...I have an RSA F117 Nighthawk now which is a battery powered, gain and load adjustable phono from Ray Samuel and this thing is as close to a $3K to $5K phono stage I have heard yet for about $800. I have compared it to the Einstein when I was buying it on a $100K setup, and the Einstein turntablist was slightly more revealing (at $4k) and I have compared it to a Cambridge 650 and it was not even close. The RSA amp has been the most significant upgrade I have made to the sound from my vinyl since I stopped swapping carts like they were cables (which is another story).

 

Enjoy your setup, I love my vinyl!

post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusco View Post
Thanks for all the help and if anyone is looking for tips on a $1000, $1500, make that a $2000 turntable rig, I'm happy to help.

Excellent!  Yup, that's just how it goes with these things.  Enjoy!

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