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What do YOU consider to be the best source type? Turntable, CDP, Computer, etc

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I understand this can be highly subjective, but that's fine! I want to know why you in particular prefer a specific source over any other. I would love to hear people's experiences with different gear and setups. Pictures are absolutely welcome!

 

My home setup is computer USB > Modi > Lyr > Mad Dog 3.2/DT990 (600OHM)

 

I like the ease of using a computer as the source. However I am unhappy with the noise. With open headphones I can hear fan noise, which for obvious reasons detracts from the experience. I've been thinking of getting a CDP, but I'm not sure if the hassle of putting all my music on disks will be worth it in the end.

 

-Snack

post #2 of 22

I would consider vinyl to be the absolute best source.

 

Pair a good vinyl record with a good preamp and tube headphone amp and some Sennheiser's or Beyerdynamic's (600/650/800 or DT880/990/Tesla)

 

You get very pleasant tube distortion with nice analog warmth. No harsh brightness or ice cold sound that you get from all digital/SS setups. Virtually no listener's fatigue. You can listen for literally days. The clarity. The detail. The airy sound. The deep rich bass with crisp highs and buttery smooth mids. Natural analog sound. It gets me very excited lol.

 

My ideal setup would be something like:

 

Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB turntable (with Shure M97xE MM catridge) -> clearaudio preamp -> Woo Auidio WA3 tube amp -> Senn. HD 600/650.

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
That sounds awesome! I have been thinking of moving away from my computer as my source. I recently (as of today) was given a turn table. I haven't looked into what I need to set it up yet though. Im going to hook it up to either a Schiit Lyr or little dot mkiv se.

What is your setup now?
post #4 of 22

It's simple to setup a turntable. All you have to do is balance/calibrate tone arm, replace (if needed) cartridge or stylus, set tracking force (critical), find a good preamp at least ~50USD, have a good tube amp, and use good vinyl.

 

There's tons of Youtube videos on how to balance tonearm and change/upgrade cartridges.

 

If you start getting into vinyl, you'll appreciate it very much. The airy and warm natural sound with the fun of collecting LPs and 45s. When you have a good turntable setup, it's like having a real piece of equipment. You can actually hold your music in your hands. It's not just popping a CD into a CD player or pressing play on a music player, which is quite boring in comparison.

 

 

As far as my setup is right now, I'd rather not say. It's nowhere near as good as it used to be. I'm kinda embarrassed to even mention what it is. It's not bad, but it's not exactly superb.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'll look into getting it setup, maybe I can have it working by next weekend. Is there a ~$50 preamp you would suggest? Apparently I can get Beck - Sea Change on vinyl, I'm pretty excited to see how that sounds!

 

-Snack

post #6 of 22

for me  i owned a TT set up and while its nice i dont have the patience to change Lps and clean LP.s 

 

for me the perfect source would be something like an oppo 105 where u can spin silver discs like cd and sacd/dvda  and also u can play your computer hi res files using a portable hard disc drive and use it like a computer set up .

post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by screwdriver View Post
 

for me  i owned a TT set up and while its nice i dont have the patience to change Lps and clean LP.s 

 

for me the perfect source would be something like an oppo 105 where u can spin silver discs like cd and sacd/dvda  and also u can play your computer hi res files using a portable hard disc drive and use it like a computer set up .


Yeah that's the thing about vinyl - some consider it a hassle while others don't mind it or find it pretty fun actually.

 

For those of us who grew up in the analog word you had to deal with it, whether or not you found it enjoyable is a different story.

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnackRabbit View Post
 

I'll look into getting it setup, maybe I can have it working by next weekend. Is there a ~$50 preamp you would suggest? Apparently I can get Beck - Sea Change on vinyl, I'm pretty excited to see how that sounds!

 

-Snack


The thing about it though: You won't get true analog sound if you buy LPs from groups who recorded and mastered in digital but published their music in analog (LPs, 45s, Cassettes). To some it may sound artificial or just plain odd but most those people are die-hard analog audiophiles. You still may enjoy it quite a bit. But to get real sound, you have to buy original 60s 70s and early 80s LPs and 45s that were recorded, mastered, and published in analog. Some people may even say that there's no point at all in buying vinyl LPs sourced from digital recordings. They say it's a waste of money.

 

I'm mentioning this because you talked about getting Beck who performed from '85 to the present and the early 80s was the start of recording and mastering in digital.

 

I'm sorry but I can't recommend any preamps until I know what country your from. I always have a hassle recommending equipment to people because they can't get that in their country or they can't get it at that price.

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua277456 View Post
 


The thing about it though: You won't get true analog sound if you buy LPs from groups who recorded and mastered in digital but published their music in analog (LPs, 45s, Cassettes). To some it may sound artificial or just plain odd but most those people are die-hard analog audiophiles. You still may enjoy it quite a bit. But to get real sound, you have to buy original 60s 70s and early 80s LPs and 45s that were recorded, mastered, and published in analog. Some people may even say that there's no point at all in buying vinyl LPs sourced from digital recordings. They say it's a waste of money.

 

I'm mentioning this because you talked about getting Beck who performed from '85 to the present and the early 80s was the start of recording and mastering in digital.

 

I'm sorry but I can't recommend any preamps until I know what country your from. I always have a hassle recommending equipment to people because they can't get that in their country or they can't get it at that price.


Thanks, I didn't even think about that! Sometimes I feel like I enjoy learning about the technology behind the audio industry as much as I like actually listening to the music. Well I do like quite a bit of classical, so I should be able to find some decent vinyl in that genre.

 

Sorry for not mentioning my location, I thought it showed in the top right of my posts. Turns out it does, but only if you set it to....which I hadn't. I live in the United States, Texas to be specific.

 

Thanks for your help

 

-Snack

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by screwdriver View Post
 

for me  i owned a TT set up and while its nice i dont have the patience to change Lps and clean LP.s 

 

for me the perfect source would be something like an oppo 105 where u can spin silver discs like cd and sacd/dvda  and also u can play your computer hi res files using a portable hard disc drive and use it like a computer set up .


The oppo 105 looks awesome, I was actually talking to some people about desktop DAPs in another thread. I'm building an audio shelf at the moment, I might have to find a place for both a TT and an oppo.

 

What are you using now screwdriver?

 

-Snack

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnackRabbit View Post
 


Thanks, I didn't even think about that! Sometimes I feel like I enjoy learning about the technology behind the audio industry as much as I like actually listening to the music. Well I do like quite a bit of classical, so I should be able to find some decent vinyl in that genre.

 

Sorry for not mentioning my location, I thought it showed in the top right of my posts. Turns out it does, but only if you set it to....which I hadn't. I live in the United States, Texas to be specific.

 

Thanks for your help

 

-Snack


I can't think of any specific preamps right now for $50 but try Behringer, ART, NAD Electronics, Cambridge Audio, Music Hall. Some of these may might be more than $50 though.

 

You could also get a vintage (or modern though I'd go for a vintage) Marantz, Yamaha, Onkyo, Pioneer, or Denon receiver/amplifier with an integrated MM or MC phono preamp. Some of the absolute best preamps were built right into those suckers. You could just use the line out and connect to your headphone amp. It will definitely be more expensive (than $50) but sound quality will be superb if you find a good vintage receiver.

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnackRabbit View Post
 


The oppo 105 looks awesome, I was actually talking to some people about desktop DAPs in another thread. I'm building an audio shelf at the moment, I might have to find a place for both a TT and an oppo.

 

What are you using now screwdriver?

 

-Snack

i have a borrowed oppo 105 and i am using is with a nad M51 DAC - boht connects to a preamp in the decwARE CSP2+  ( i can switch  in the csp2+ between the nad dac or the opoo dac ( with dsd) ) - then i have the alo studio six amp and lcd x.  the sound  with the studio six alone is not as good but with the decware pre amp / the tubes on both pre amp and amp and the interconnect  cables/power cables and fuses shapes the sound and makes it very powerful , dynamic , detailed .

 

i used to have a vpi scout with dynavector cartridge , EAR phono preamp .. once u get used to playing thru compter files - its hard to do TT set up LOL.


Edited by screwdriver - 4/21/14 at 6:12pm
post #13 of 22
music server
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnackRabbit View Post

What do YOU consider to be the best source type? Turntable, CDP, Computer, etc

 

TT

Pros : some look like the USS Enterprise, and go great with Duevel speakers

Cons : maintenance can be a pain - if the arm is off you're in trouble, it can even scratch up the vinyl more than what you'd get in normal use; I'm not even a fan of Rice Krispies is for breakfast, certainly not for audio (Snap, Crackle, and Pop); vinyl takes up too much space, get enough moisture and you can lose them within your lifetime; on the upside, if you have the tools, they're actually easier to maintain than CDPs unless you blow your money on fancy tonearms and other parts

 

 

CDP

Pros : no Rice Krispies elves getting in the way of the music, discs last longer - storm can crash the roof and get your discs wet, but throw out the cover and other paper parts and dry the discs, and they'll probably work again

Cons : transport can fail on you in a relatively short time - I've had some fail on me in one way or another and buying a new laser or new transport isn't as straightforward as replacing a tone arm, not to mention you can get a decent $100 tonearm but an entire transport is around $300 (top loaders I imagine would be easier to maintain, but with the exception of the Sony Playstation, are more expensive)

ex. total failure on a friend's NAD C520; from my own, an old Onkyo flagship stopped reading discs; Marantz CD60 stopped reading CD-Rs and can't read new CDs with PC content for some reason, but reads PCM layer on SACDs just fine, also the tray mechanism broke twice on me; Sony SCD-595 stopped reading SACDs but reads regular CDs (not CD-Rs); Pioneer DV676 or something slowed down disc reads; old Alpine CD receiver stopped spitting out CDs...

 

 

iPod(+digital transport), or similar

Pros : no need to swap out discs

Cons : on a speaker system, not swapping out discs is off set by having to walk over to the iPod because you can't see the screen, much less navigate 160gb of music, unless you have your HT in the same room )and hook it up to the TV)

 

 

Computer

Pros : Can be technically free - you already have it for other needs, so you have a free transport lying around already; DACs will outlive several of them unless you are perpetually afflicted with SARS (Severe Audio Replacement Syndrome; also known as upgraditis); you won't have to swap out discs

Cons : conventional computers take longer to boot up, power supply wastes a lot of power; some people get around this waste by working on the computer while listening but personally I still prefer some of my listening with no distractions

 

 

Smartphone/Tablet

Pros : tehcnically free, particularly a smartphone, which you need for something else; battery-powered; SD cards and/or wireless drives, on some devices (with the port on the bottom) cable management can be good, can be a pain otherwise; UI looks nice, works well too

Cons : limited storage, wireless storage may not work with uncompressed audio and not all player apps have it (usually iTunes and the stock player apps)

 

 

 

 

Music server, or headless Android mini-PC/Mac Mini

Pros : no need to swap out discs, theoretically limitless storage potential with NAS and streaming, less power consumption than regular computers, better cable management than laptops (with USB ports on the sides), remote control apps for smartphones and tablets that give you the same UI as a player using local storage on the same device

Cons : not plug and play, can be too complex to set-up if you're not tech savvy, and choices limited if you need a local hi-fi shop to set it up (many manufacturers are coming out with these nowadays)

 

------------

 

All things considered the newest ones tend to be the best, so I'm going to go with the music server. Still saving up for one.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 4/21/14 at 8:35pm
post #15 of 22
I would consider the best source to be the one with the best mastering. For some albums that may be vinyl, for some that may be CD. I believe the most important factor is a well mastered album otherwise even a lossless rip may not sound as good as it can. I'm thinking, for example, of mobile fidelity soundlab. Some of their remasters sound fantastic. Heck, I even still listen to cassettes sometimes through my nakamichi dragon and Sony TC k909es!
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