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Interested buying a Turntable, a good idea?

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

I'm really interested in buying a turntable for the fun of it. I've never experienced owning one of these and I want to know a few things.

 

1.Whats a decent turntable in the $100 range?

2.What kind of Stereo and speakers should I use that's affordable?

3.How is the sound quality compared to CD?

4.Using headphones?

 

Can some turntable owners can help me with this? I dont want to spend too much since I doubt I will be using this too often but I think it would be nice to have one since I'm getting into this whole Hi-fi scene.

 

Thanks in advance

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 49

Getting into vinyl is not something you do on the cheap.  You need records and a player and neither are cheap new.  You can go used on the records and the turntable in your price range, but you don't know what shape your cartridge will be in and you will have to clean all of your records.

 

Will it sound better than CD.  That is debatable.

post #3 of 49

I honestly don't think it will sound better than CDs at this price point. Possibly much worse depending on which dime store records you end up with and at $100 bucks for your table are you planning on a new cart? Phono stage?

 

The lowest price I usually recommending to try it at (unless you find a good vintage table) is a Debut Carbon and a Cambridge 550. So...$500 or so. 

 

Just use whatever current headphones and amp you have. Don't worry about buying new ones 'for vinyl'. 

 

You could take a look at this as it looks nice and probably can't be touched for the price.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/uturnaudio/the-orbit-turntable-0?ref=live

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by meat01 View Post

Getting into vinyl is not something you do on the cheap.  You need records and a player and neither are cheap new.  You can go used on the records and the turntable in your price range, but you don't know what shape your cartridge will be in and you will have to clean all of your records.

 

Will it sound better than CD.  That is debatable.

post #4 of 49

A decent $100 turntable is a miracle! Estate sale, thrift store, inheritance, etc.

 

What are you listening to now?

 

Do you have any records?

 

The sound quality compared to CD is remarkable at the highest levels, but not inexpensive.

 

Good luck!

post #5 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by HFoneMan View Post

1.Whats a decent turntable in the $100 range?

 

 

There arn't any, not unless you buy used and for that price it will be a crapshoot. There's a brand new turntable called the Orbit which just completed a successful Kickstarter funding campaign, you can go there and look at some images of the prototype but those won't have a realistic ship date until well into the year and the projected cost is 150$, which will probably rise by the time it reaches consumer level. 

 

Honestly, just save your money. Playing records is a rewarding but tiresome experience. The records and the equipment take up a lot of space, records have to be cleaned and stored properly or they will sound horrible, buying records carries the risk of getting warped discs or other potential issues, it is a serious investment of time and money.

 

I'm putting this bluntly because I genuinely want to keep you from wasting your money, but if your attitude is "how can I do this quick and cheap" you're already stepping off on the wrong foot. You need patience, time, and money to collect records for an experience that offers very little payoff unless you have the right frame of mind to appreciate it. Digital audio can sound just as good if not better and is avilable in a more easily digestible format. 


Edited by Greyson - 1/1/13 at 8:33am
post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by HFoneMan View Post

I'm really interested in buying a turntable for the fun of it. I've never experienced owning one of these and I want to know a few things.

 

1.Whats a decent turntable in the $100 range?

2.What kind of Stereo and speakers should I use that's affordable?

3.How is the sound quality compared to CD?

4.Using headphones?

 

Can some turntable owners can help me with this? I dont want to spend too much since I doubt I will be using this too often but I think it would be nice to have one since I'm getting into this whole Hi-fi scene.

 

Thanks in advance

 

I'm old enough to remember the days before CDs. I had a large record collection and an expensive turntable plus cartridge back in the day. Even 30 years ago you could not get a decent record setup for $100.

 
<rant>

It is a crude method of sound reproduction. I totally do not get this fascination with turntables. The advent of CDs was a huge step forward in convenience and sound quality. The only reason I didn't immediately ditch my turntable was because I have some irreplaceable records that are recordings of relatives performing in period folk groups in South America. I still have a few of these. Now with the advent of computer music I may rip this these a better format. Someday.

 

The distortion and noise levels inherent in the use of records to reproduce sound is horrific compared to CDs. I guess some people feel this added grunge makes records sound more 'analog' which they consider better in some way. 

</rant>

 

If you have limited funds spend your money on something else, like better speakers or better headphones. These will surely be more satisfying in the long run.

post #7 of 49

In theory CD is a better format but more often than not you get the best master from the LP.

 

If CDs were made with high quality listening in mind nowadays it'd be a different story, but they're not. They're often limited more dynamic range wise even though CD as a format is capable of higher dynamic range overall (not that either format is out of the -20db range).

 

I am a very recent vinyl convert and I am one because in my own listening experiences the vinyl has been better a lot of the time. Even with modern recordings/masters due to the poor quality of most of them they LP smooth out the sound a bit and makes it much better to listen to. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehlarson View Post

 

I'm old enough to remember the days before CDs. I had a large record collection and an expensive turntable plus cartridge back in the day. Even 30 years ago you could not get a decent record setup for $100.

 
<rant>

It is a crude method of sound reproduction. I totally do not get this fascination with turntables. The advent of CDs was a huge step forward in convenience and sound quality. The only reason I didn't immediately ditch my turntable was because I have some irreplaceable records that are recordings of relatives performing in period folk groups in South America. I still have a few of these. Now with the advent of computer music I may rip this these a better format. Someday.

 

The distortion and noise levels inherent in the use of records to reproduce sound is horrific compared to CDs. I guess some people feel this added grunge makes records sound more 'analog' which they consider better in some way. 

</rant>

 

If you have limited funds spend your money on something else, like better speakers or better headphones. These will surely be more satisfying in the long run.

post #8 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyson View Post

 

You need patience, time, and money to collect records for an experience that offers very little payoff unless you have the right frame of mind to appreciate it. 

 

 

Perfectly stated.

post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyson View Post

 

There arn't any, not unless you buy used and for that price it will be a crapshoot. There's a brand new turntable called the Orbit which just completed a successful Kickstarter funding campaign, you can go there and look at some images of the prototype but those won't have a realistic ship date until well into the year and the projected cost is 150$, which will probably rise by the time it reaches consumer level. 

 

Honestly, just save your money. Playing records is a rewarding but tiresome experience. The records and the equipment take up a lot of space, records have to be cleaned and stored properly or they will sound horrible, buying records carries the risk of getting warped discs or other potential issues, it is a serious investment of time and money.

 

I'm putting this bluntly because I genuinely want to keep you from wasting your money, but if your attitude is "how can I do this quick and cheap" you're already stepping off on the wrong foot. You need patience, time, and money to collect records for an experience that offers very little payoff unless you have the right frame of mind to appreciate it. Digital audio can sound just as good if not better and is avilable in a more easily digestible format. 

In a way, I can second this opinion. Analog can not sink below certain level/price, where it quickly becomes anti propaganda for itself. It is perfectly possible to get even great turntable for $ 100 - used, off ebay or similar, IF you have the knowledge and if you have highly above average patience in order to score some more steals than deals. What follows IF , the knowledge in order to pull off such a feat, you probably lack.

 

If you think that analog will, analogously to digital, eventually come down in price, you are mistaken. It already is at the lowest level that still sustains it at life - or very close to it. I, for one, prefer paying 10% more in order to support its availability than staring at closed doors because I got 10 % discount the last time. New vynil is expensive - numbers issued are anything but in the golden age and costs distributed over lesser number of copies plus greater care they are pressed now with make prices what they are.

 

If you do not see yourself in say 5 years time with enough time and money in order to do it really right, you are better off with digital. Great analog is that cherry on the top of the cake icing - but it is neither cheap nor easy to get there.

 

The only situation that does change this if you have or are in the prospect of getting larger number of well preserved LPs with the music to your liking.

Then, by either more steal than deal or stretching the budget, you will be motivated enough to pull it off right. $100 and no records - rather not.

post #10 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

In theory CD is a better format but more often than not you get the best master from the LP.

 

If CDs were made with high quality listening in mind nowadays it'd be a different story, but they're not. They're often limited more dynamic range wise even though CD as a format is capable of higher dynamic range overall (not that either format is out of the -20db range).

 

I am a very recent vinyl convert and I am one because in my own listening experiences the vinyl has been better a lot of the time. Even with modern recordings/masters due to the poor quality of most of them they LP smooth out the sound a bit and makes it much better to listen to. 

 

That was a cool link about the Orbit!  I would rather they not include the cartridge, though.  I was never keen on Ortofons.  They were always inexpensive, though, and I guess that's their aim.

 

I agree completely with what you're saying about the dynamic range.  Anyone who's installed the VU meter option on Foobar can readily see this.  Most CD's - even ripped carefully with EAC - vary little more than 10dB in many cases.  Finding a popular music CD that varies more than about 20dB in dynamic range is exceedingly rare.  More than 30dB, and you've found a rare jewel.  It's a shame, although many SACD, DVD Audio, and other formats offer a pretty good alternative and seem to fight against this tide.

 

I think the compression depends on which medium is meant for the masses vs. audiophile.  Right now, vinyl is for the audiophile.  So great care is probably taken in most instances - otherwise no one would purchase them.  However, when vinyl was king - there was just as much compression going on, perhaps more so.  There were some really sterling popular vinyls that were produced back in the day, but most were truly sh*t, IMHO.  There were a hundred terrible LPs for every good one.  You also had to buy them when the release was current.  If you waited a year or two later, the pressings were worse because the masters had been used so much or they would substitute inferior vinyl and poor packaging.  Of course, warps were an ever-present danger in any LP you ever bought.  One trick to save money was removing the "fold-out" album feature present on current releases and just converting them to a single cardboard outer sleeve with a cheap paper liner.  Buying audiophile protective sleeves garnered a great following.  Even then, the move toward MFSL, half-speed masters, etc. was prevalent until CD's hit.

 

I guess I'm ambivalent about vinyl.  I enjoy my turntable from time-to-time, but I view it as a fun option - and not for my primary music collection. 


Edited by tomb - 1/1/13 at 10:26am
post #11 of 49

After hearing the difference on some of my favorite music it was easy to choose to toss digital out the window (not completely as a bunch of stuff I love is digital only). 

 

The revelation for me was NIN's Pretty Hate Machine. I have the original (slaughters the 2010 master) CD from 1989 and the 2010 remastered LP. The LP still walked all over the original CD.

 

There are of course always going to be exceptions, but it's what I've been finding more and more. 

 

Again, I realize that vinyl as a format has had (and still has) just as many (if not more flaws) than CDs...but right now, at this moment I feel it's safe to say that you'll usually get better sound out of an LP. 

 

Also, of course we have things like DVD-A, SACD, and High Res downloads that will get you more range than your average CD usually, but when talking costs they can easily be just as bad, if not worse than vinyl in this day and age.

 

EDIT: For reference, here's the DR numbers on the NIN stuff. 

http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/details.php?id=30887 1989

http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/details.php?id=6877 2010

Nobody has done the 2010 vinyl but while I feel it still may be less dynamic than the 1989 CD it just sounds better. I still find this album quite harsh in some parts regardless of the master, and the LP fixes that in a big way as well as filling out the low end nicely without being stupid.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

That was a cool link about the Orbit!  I would rather they not include the cartridge, though.  I was never keen on Ortofons.  They were always inexpensive, though, and I guess that's their aim.

 

I agree completely with what you're saying about the dynamic range.  Anyone who's installed the VU meter option on Foobar can readily see this.  Most CD's - even ripped carefully with EAC - vary little more than 10dB in many cases.  Finding a popular music CD that varies more than about 20dB in dynamic range is exceedingly rare.  More than 30dB, and you've found a rare jewel.  It's a shame, although many SACD, DVD Audio, and other formats offer a pretty good alternative and seem to fight against this tide.

 

I think the compression depends on which medium is meant for the masses vs. audiophile.  Right now, vinyl is for the audiophile.  So great care is probably taken in most instances - otherwise no one would purchase them.  However, when vinyl was king - there was just as much compression going on, perhaps more so.  There were some really sterling popular vinyls that were produced back in the day, but most were truly sh*t, IMHO.  There were a hundred terrible LPs for every good one.  You also had to buy them when the release was current.  If you waited a year or two later, the pressings were worse because the masters had been used so much or they would substitute inferior vinyl and poor packaging.  Of course, warps were an ever-present danger in any LP you ever bought.  One trick to save money was removing the "fold-out" album feature present on current releases and just converting them to a single cardboard outer sleeve with a cheap paper liner.  Buying audiophile protective sleeves garnered a great following.  Even then, the move toward MFSL, half-speed masters, etc. was prevalent until CD's hit.

 

I guess I'm ambivalent about vinyl.  I enjoy my turntable from time-to-time, but I view it as a fun option - and not for my primary music collection. 


Edited by MorbidToaster - 1/1/13 at 10:42am
post #12 of 49
Thread Starter 

You people are quick to respond! Lets say I bring the price up to around $300 for the turntable alone. I planned to spend much more than $100 on records and other equipment.

 

Hifiguy528 did a nice little video(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unPWrYwB_MY) on turntables showcasing a numark turntable thats around $350. I could probably buy it used for close to $300. I've seen an audio technica turntable at the $100 price range. Given the company that is selling it can't be awful. But I am skeptical at buying since it is only $100.

 

Like I said before, I don't see myself becoming a collector of tons of vinyl records. But I would like to try something new.

post #13 of 49

http://www.needledoctor.com/Pro-Ject-Essential-Turntable-in-Black?sc=2&category=46

If I were in your shoes I'd give UTurn a shot. Little less than the Essential and basically the same thing. Same cart even on the $250 model.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HFoneMan View Post

You people are quick to respond! Lets say I bring the price up to around $300 for the turntable alone. I planned to spend much more than $100 on records and other equipment.

 

Hifiguy528 did a nice little video(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unPWrYwB_MY) on turntables showcasing a numark turntable thats around $350. I could probably buy it used for close to $300. I've seen an audio technica turntable at the $100 price range. Given the company that is selling it can't be awful. But I am skeptical at buying since it is only $100.

 

Like I said before, I don't see myself becoming a collector of tons of vinyl records. But I would like to try something new.

post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

In theory CD is a better format but more often than not you get the best master from the LP.

 

 

The loudness war problem is really concentrated in only a few genres, and within those you can avoid the junk by being careful with the selection of the version you buy.

post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by ehlarson View Post

The loudness war problem is really concentrated in only a few genres, and within those you can avoid the junk by being careful with the selection of the version you buy.

True to an extent but what about new music that does have 5 masters to pick from? Mumford & Sons for example. The LP release is significantly more dynamic than the CD.

http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/index.php?search_artist=Mumford&search_album=Sigh+no+more

Unfortunately good new music is often hit hard by the loudness war. Nothing you can really do but by the vinyl to squeeze the best out of those releases. I love Sigh No More but even the LP sounds very lackluster compared the live (inb4sodoeseverything)...but I'd take it over the CD all day long.

The best versions are also usually significantly more expensive and though this is true with vinyl as well your chances of getting at least a decent one are better.
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