To Vinyl or not to Vinyl

Discussion in 'TTVJ Premier Sponsor Forum' started by dolifant, Jul 8, 2005.
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  1. dolifant Contributor
    That is the question.

    Whether it is nobler to stick with my large CD/SACD collection, and put any further investments into better front ends ( AudioAero Capitole....mucho dinero), or to dig my 150 lps out of the closet and buy a vinyl rig.

    On the one hand I know I can get alot of good Classical and Jazz vinyl on the cheap at a local half price books. They buy mass quantities and sell them cheap from people who are dumping out of vinyl. It seems that the new, remastered pressings are actually MORE expensive than the corresponding CDs or even SACDs. But I have never really heard a truly good vinyl rig before. My old rig was decidedly mid-fi.

    But the hassle factor and the $$$ are an obstacle. Do I need an automated LP cleaning rig, like a nitty gritty or VPI 16.5? If not, how do you properly clean your records? Do I need an isolation platform? Most importantly..., I have been looking at VPI and Origin Live tables (online looking....no local dealers). Just how much do I gain is there in going from Scout to Scoutmaster? How about the peripheral ring clamp and the SDS...are they worth the significant extra $$? How do you select the right cartridges for either of these two. Should you put more into the cartridge, or get the SDS, or just go to a higher end model. Is there a sweet spot in the bang for buck curve?

    If you get a Scout, what price range for a phono stage should I aim for? If I get a Scoutmaster, should I have a better phono stage to "match" this upgrade? It seems so confusing, not to mention expensive that half of me wants to do it and the other, cautious half says forget it, stick to the ease of CD/SACD. But am I missing something special? I wonder! Do I need to spend $10K to get to the wonder of vinyl. What is the minimum ante to get in the game?
     
  2. periurban
    Not.

    Vinyl is an anachronism designed by Satan to taunt audiophiles all over the planet.

    He promises crackle free listening (but only at ludicrous expense).

    He promises that your records will last forever (but only if you never play them).

    He promises fidelity of sound (but only if you can't tell when the sound is being coloured by harmonic distortion).

    He promises a relaxed listening experience (but only if you live in a vibration free, dust free, static free, acoustically dampened bubble).

    He promises the adulation of your peers (but only if you cannot recognise that special look your buddies give one another when in the presence of a nutbox).

    Scratching a groove in a plastic disc with a tiny needle surely cannot be the pinnacle of sound reproduction. There must be some other means of getting perfect sound without having to mount your house on titanium pillars.

    That newfangled digital technology seems promising......

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Zanth Contributor
    Or you could try your luck with a the far more interesting black discs and enjoy the journey!

    I have a very fine digital playback system. Yet I heard the call of vinyl. I just recently jumped head first into the world.

    If you could with a non-suspended dec, you will need a good rack. If you go with a suspended dec, it depends on where you are at in the house. I am in the basement on a concrete floor. I can jump right next to my rig while playing on the cheap desk it rests on presently and there is not even a HINT of skipping. No fuss no muss.

    Now then, if I were to be upstairs on my suspension flooring, well, then it would need to be mounted on a wall for best results.

    Phonos? You can get excellent results for not a lot of money. What is the true issue is cart/phono pairing. I had some troubles in the beginning with they much raved about Dynavector P-75 (750 MSRP) but it is doing very well now though I still have my eye out for an Ear 834p mm/mc (I am very close to selling the P75 and buying the Ear from Todd, as I want to test out the tubey love of the highly acclaimed Ear). There are other options like the Grado PH-1 which Todd has favourably reviewed. Or, you could even get away with a little Radioshack Phono Pre (the Little Rat) until you were used to the sound you wanted (though it is MM only).

    I like vinyl, I like the journey, the interaction, the sexy appeal and the hunting for gems amidst a sea of crap. Media on the cheap? Vinyl is where it is at!

    Oh...and it apparently sounds better than digital too [​IMG]
     
  4. Todd Contributor
    All I can say is that I listen to vinyl 95% of the time. I have an above average CD player (Meridian 808) and my turntable just delivers a more natural, more enjoyable sound. AND I get some excersize flipping albums over to hear the second half. I find the 200 gram vinyl to be a good workout.

    As for phono stages, It depends as much on the cartridge as the TT. I like the VanguardII (from Trigon). It sells for $595 - it just went up $100. It can be upgraded with a battery power supply. Then there is the Grado phonostage that is very nice with Grado cartridges - a lot of synergy there! If you go for a high end table and cartridge, There ar eplenty of choices - my personal favorites come from Ray Samuels - the XR-2 ($1050) or the mighty X-10b at only $5K. There is the very tubey EAR 834, a nice phonostage from Transrotor for $3K.

    Cartridges of note - the Lyra Argo, Shelter 501 II, Grado Sonata. All of these are excellent and a great value. They also sound very good on VPI turntables as well as Transrotors and SOTAs.

    It is, in my humble opinion, the best way to become involved with the music. I am a vinyl junkie!

    Todd
     
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  5. Zanth Contributor
    I can't argue with anything Todd mentioned. Listening to vinyl has become very entertaining in a way that goes beyond the music itself. I really like the experience and given my tendency to be a tweaker, I think I will enjoy this interaction for many many years to come.
     
  6. kartik
    I bought my entire analog set up from Todd. He gave me a great deal on what I think is an excellent entry rig. I have a VPI-Scout/ JMW-9 with a Grado Platinum and the PH-1 phonostage and have enjoyed every minute of owning it. Once my fiduciary difficulties end, I will be buying a cleaning machine too!
     
  7. Aman
    I have to agree with Todd here!

    I was persuaded by numerous Headfi members to get into vinyl, and I took the plunge and I have found it well worth the trip! I at first felt overwhelmed by the need for accessories I didn't have, etc., but there isn't a better person to deal with than Todd! If you are going to start out with vinyl again, Todd is the guy to do it with - he will make it MUCH less confusing than it is hyped up to be, and he'll do it in an INCREDIBLY friendly manner and for fabulous prices as well.

    Really, if you are thinking about vinyl, especially with Todd around, it's a no-brainer. To me, vinyl has been the most rewarding change I could have made. It made my recordings come to life, and I have had a lot of fun doing it! And again, you are able to do it all at the aid of one of the most friendly and knowledgeable guys around!
     
  8. Blooze
    I want to get into vinyl soooo bad. I heard a "good" rig a while back and was blown away. But you all are talking about entry level VPI's that are so out of my price range it's crazy. I mean, I'm in the Goldring, Pro-Ject Debut range at this point and I don't have the knowhow to set up and fix a used deck. I realize that for the better sound I'll have to spend the dinero, but that'll have to wait till the kids are a little older. I'm fortunate that my integrated amp is a late 70's model with a phono stage, so I can get by without an upgrade there for a while. A cleaning machine? ummm, mine would have to be manual.
     
  9. kartik
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blooze
    I want to get into vinyl soooo bad. I heard a "good" rig a while back and was blown away. But you all are talking about entry level VPI's that are so out of my price range it's crazy. I mean, I'm in the Goldring, Pro-Ject Debut range at this point and I don't have the knowhow to set up and fix a used deck. I realize that for the better sound I'll have to spend the dinero, but that'll have to wait till the kids are a little older. I'm fortunate that my integrated amp is a late 70's model with a phono stage, so I can get by without an upgrade there for a while. A cleaning machine? ummm, mine would have to be manual.



    Well the original post mentioned a scout. I chimed in because I own a scout. If you're planning to go cheaper, I've heard that the Rega P3 is a very good choice and you could possibly get a P3 and tonearm/cartridge for much less than 1K if you scoured the market carefully. That said I've seen some modded Panasonic 1200s which are rumored to sound great as well for much less.
     
  10. screwdriver
    I have a decent vinyl and cd rig - listening using speakers .

    i use the vinyl rig most of the time ......
     
  11. tyrion Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blooze
    I want to get into vinyl soooo bad. I heard a "good" rig a while back and was blown away. But you all are talking about entry level VPI's that are so out of my price range it's crazy. I mean, I'm in the Goldring, Pro-Ject Debut range at this point and I don't have the knowhow to set up and fix a used deck. I realize that for the better sound I'll have to spend the dinero, but that'll have to wait till the kids are a little older. I'm fortunate that my integrated amp is a late 70's model with a phono stage, so I can get by without an upgrade there for a while. A cleaning machine? ummm, mine would have to be manual.



    There is no need to reach the Scout level to enjoy vinyl. Pic up a Goldring GR-1, Rega P2 or P3 or an mmf-5 and you are on your way to vinyl bliss. I have an mmf-5 and I love it. I will move up to a Scout in the future but for now, I am very happy.
     
  12. kartik
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by screwdriver
    I have a decent vinyl and cd rig - listening using speakers .

    i use the vinyl rig most of the time ......




    You have a scoutmaster with a dynavector and the EAR.
    I hate you!
     
  13. dolifant Contributor
    Those of you without an automated cleaning machine, what is your ritual to clean the disks (and stylus)? Zerostat, fluid? what brushes?

    Also, how often do you have to check your setup...alignment, what not?

    BTW, I will likely go with Todd if I take the plunge...I'm leaning to VPI.
     
  14. Zanth Contributor
    I don't have the funds at the moment to go VPI 16.5 even though I would really like to. So I am looking at a manual solution (perhaps fully, no vacuum, just perhaps some Disc Doctor fluid and brushes? or something similar? Then perhaps a Nitty Gritty.

    I don't have enough records yet to justify the high cost of VPI when my budget is strapped already.

    So, I too am quite interested in the answer to the above post. I use Zerodust for my stylus. I brush each record with a carbon fiber brush before each spin.

    I think I need to get a Zerostat device though, there is definitely some static going on.
     
  15. Aman
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dolifant
    Those of you without an automated cleaning machine, what is your ritual to clean the disks (and stylus)? Zerostat, fluid? what brushes?

    Also, how often do you have to check your setup...alignment, what not?

    BTW, I will likely go with Todd if I take the plunge...I'm leaning to VPI.




    I use an Audio Advisor Record Doctor III with Todd's Vinyl Zyme (I do NOT use the fluid that came with the machine) - it would cost you a total of 250 dollars for the machine and the fluid. I also got a better brush from Todd (I don't know who makes it - though if you ask Todd what the hard brush was that he sold to Andrew, he'll tell you what it is).

    This method for me has been fantastic. It cleans and preserves my records like never before. Some people even prefer the use of manual rotation because then they are confident that they are getting a good clean. To me, the only thing that you are getting from paying more for a more automated machine is the convenience factor (and that's no big deal for me).
     
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