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Vinyl use with Headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by eyedea, Feb 25, 2013.
  1. Eyedea
    Hey everyone. For the past year or so I have been listening to high quality music with my Sennheiser HD 650's. My setup is currently the HD 650's paired with the Schiit Bifrost DAC w/ usb
    and the Schiit Valhalla Tube Amp. I have my DAC plugged into my laptop with a usb cable where I play my lossless digital files that have been ripped from cds. I have been trying to stay away from the vinyl world but I can no longer resist my temptation. I am wondering what are my best options for playing vinyl with my current setup. I am looking to spend around 500$ on a good record player. Also I'm wondering if a phono preamp is necessary for listening to the records with my tube amp and dac. 
     
    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
    Thanks
     
  2. kh6idf
    Yes, you would need a phono preamp to drive the Valhalla.  For 2 reasons, the phono cartridge output is in the millivolt range so you need to amplify it enough to drive the Valhalla input, and you need to apply the inverse RIAA curve to the frequency response (although this could in theory be done in software if the phono input was digitized, but I assume you want to keep everything analog.)
     
    A phono preamp does both tasks.  So what you need is 1) a turntable 2) a phono cartridge (the turntable may come with one installed) and 3) a phono preamp.
     
    With a $500 budget I would look for a used turntable (the seller will often include a cartridge) and a used or new low cost preamp.  Another preamp option would be an older receiver with a phono input.
     
    Be aware that there are two types of phono cartridges, moving magnet and moving coil.  You would probably want a moving magnet as they are high output and ANY phono preamp will accept them.  A moving coil is usually very low output and requires a special high gain preamp or a step-up transformer.  On a $500 (or even $1000) budget I would definitely go with a moving magnet.
     
    One other issue:  Now you will have two devices to connect to the single set of inputs on the Valhalla.  The cheapest way would be to just move the interconnects from the Bifrost to the phono preamp when you want to listen to vinyl.  You might find a phono preamp (or receiver) that can take another line level input and has a switch to select the phono or Bifrost input.  But there's nothing wrong with just unplugging the cable and moving it.
     
  3. zazex
    As someone who's listened to a whole lot of vinyl, MM cartridges, MC cartridges, a variety of head amps, preamps, cables, etc.,
    I really have to commend kh6ldf on the clarity, detail, accuracy, and plain common sense of the given explanation and advice.
     
  4. Mickice
    My current vinyl setup is rather basic but sounds beautiful.
     
    $100 Altec Lansing 2.1 speakers (tone / bass)
    $60 MDR-V6 headphones
    $130 Creative X-Fi HD 24/96 USB sound card with phono / line in with RIAA level.
    $216 Sherwood turntable.
    - Aussie prices.
     
    Beautiful soundcard, not sure how it would fair running power hungry phones but I have my V6's at about 75% volume. My turn table is a Sherwood with 2 speed, manual tone arm and pitch speed adjust with track light. The cartridge used is a ceramic Audio Technica.
     
    For cleaning I use AM Record cleaner and a RCA discwasher brush.
     
  5. Kodhifi
    Quote:

    If you like the subjective qualities and ritual of cleaning and operating a turntable then enjoy. If you're doing it for sound quality you should know that under pristine conditions the amount of detail a record is capable of reproducing is only around 12bits of information, far less than CD or even MP3.
     
  6. Bee inthe Attic
    I know you want to use your Valhalla, but I'm a fan of connecting a turntable to a vintage amp or receiver from the 70's. These were made to play vinyl, and the headphone jacks sound great on these amps (if you get a quality brand one). You can also connect speakers to them, which is how I feel vinyl sounds it's best through.
     
    $150 vintage amp/reciever
    $300 turntable
    $50 for a cleaning (anti-static) brush, album cover sleeves, and upgraded inserts for the vinyl (the paper ones most discs come in are crap)
     
    ....and if you're just getting started buying/collecting vinyl, I am truly sorry for your wallet.
     
     
     
     
    ps: for the sake of clarity, if you decide on using the Valhalla, a DAC (digital to analogue converter) is not used in the setup, as vinyl is already in analogue.
     
  7. Eyedea
    Thanks everyone for the help. Really appreciate you guys taking the time to provide me with valuable information. Over the next month Ill be looking for a good turntable and will update you guys with the decision I make. The idea of a vintage amp also interests me so I might keep my eye open for that. 
     
    Thanks again.
     

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