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Looking for hifi audio help... plunge into vinyl

Discussion in 'BYTE ME: Technology discussion' started by tbrown_01923, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. tbrown_01923

    tbrown_01923 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    351
    I am a long time musician (actually - a lifelong hack) that wants to explore the world of vinyl, particularly as I age out of the concert scene. I am starting from scratch (essentially), well I have a super old (perhaps 1995 - http://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/onkyo/tx-sv525.shtml ) onkyo digital surround sound amp that appears to have a phono pre-amp built in, and some crappy yamaha bookshelf speakers.

    Essentially I would like to be able to:
    • Start playing vinyl
    • Eventually stream from a PC (no solution yet)
    • Support a Tuner
    • Support a CD player (maybe not)
    I guess once I get into a streaming solution, I would be better off moving all of my CDs to a PC anyhow (lossless?). As a musician I have always favored tube amplifiers and analogue synths.

    Ideally I would be able to grow into this system slowly, and thus be able to extend mu budget (it would be tough to come out of pocket for more than 2K on day one. That said I don't want want to under buy components that I will outgrow in a year.

    I am also not afraid of Vintage equipment, and may even prefer it in some circumstances. There is so much out there, I don't even know where to start. For example this looks like a nice entry point for a turntable:

    http://www.crutchfield.com/p_252DCESDGB/Pro-Ject-Debut-Carbon-Esprit-SB-DC-Gloss-Black.html?tp=200

    Does anybody have any experience? Thx!
     
    #1 tbrown_01923, Jan 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  2. Greg Blosser

    Greg Blosser Member SoSH Member

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    2,292
    I'd hang on to your receiver for the time being - the photo preamp is a plus and even though the '90s don't seem that long ago, stuff was made a lot more solid back then.

    I'm not a fan of the Pro-Ject TT. A couple of friends have them and they don't have auto-return (so you have to get up and lift the needle once the side ends), you have to move the belt to play something on 45... and I'm also a direct-drive guy. Sure, it looks cool, but I don't think it really offers much for that kind of money.

    I'd go with the Audio-Technica AT-LP120. It's about $250 on amazon and it's modeled on the old Technics 1200. That should keep you going for a few years. It's nothing too fancy but it's fundamentally solid and should have anything you could want features/sound-wise. Better yet, look for an old Technics or Pioneer direct-drive (preferably from the '80s) on ebay/craigslist.

    That said, if you go with the Pro-Ject, shop around. Crutchfield is really expensive - you should be able to get that same TT for around $350-$400.

    You can actually get some decent Sony standing speakers for around $200. It all depends on how much of an audiophile you are (that's not meant to sound snotty, btw). Yamaha is a very solid brand - you might be surprised how your shitty little old ones sound if you haven't heard them lately.

    As for streaming... I have no idea. I'd just plug my laptop into the auxiliary input, but I'm sure there are far better options.

    This isn't meant to be a humblebrag, but a friend of mine just dropped about $1500 on a whole new system and he's pissed off that my setup ('80s Technics TT, late '90s Yamaha receiver, and $150 Sony speakers) sounds clearer and punchier than his relatively fancy rig. I'd just add components piece by piece and figure out what works for you as you go. Have fun!
     
  3. tbrown_01923

    tbrown_01923 Member SoSH Member

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    Thanks. That project (particular) TT support 78, 33, 45 out of the box and has the acrylic platter, which prices it a little bit above standard debut models. How did you arrive at your Rig? Buying and selling components until you had the right fit? Also why do you prefer the direct drive?
     
  4. uncannymanny

    uncannymanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    4,345
    I agree with Greg here, and about most of these modern turntables. The price on this market is just jacked up to take advantage of vinyl resurgence and a product that not many people know much about anymore.

    The AT Greg references is a GREAT deck for the money and what I'd probably start with. It's not prohibitively expensive so use it as a starter and see what you like then upgrade in a few years. If you're going to spend $600 you can do a lot better, but I would advise against spending that much on your first turntable.

    As far as belt v DD it's not going to be something you need to worry about and it's generally a pointless debate anyway. Also, I highly doubt you will ever purchase or play a 78 unless you are over the age of 70.
     
  5. catomatic

    catomatic thinks gen turgidson is super mean!!! SoSH Member

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    1,577
    In my teens and early twenties I was a cash-strapped audiophile who sold equipment at Tech Hifi in Quincy. If you're playing vinyl, it starts with the cartridge and finishes with the speakers. These are where you should place your emphasis. You want some power (75-100 real watts should suffice) because higher end speakers crave the support but start where the diamond hits the groove. Have fun!
     
  6. HriniakPosterChild

    HriniakPosterChild Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    9,608
    I am so old that all we had was vinyl, and we had to walk to the record stores in 5 feet of snow to buy albums. And it was uphill, both ways!

    You will hear scratch after scratch, pop after pop, crackle after crackle. In the 1980s, the state of the art of cleaning vinyl before playing it was a Discwasher. I still have mine, but I hope there's a better solution now. Back in the Stone Age, we'd clean the albums every time we played them, but the dust always won in the end. Which is why we had cassette tape. You'd tape the album on first play and never play it again. Only trouble: tape hiss was as bad as the vinyl artifacts, so they had Dolby, which cut off the high frequencies, because the technology was (I was told) a fancy set of tone controls.

    Oh, but the sound was warm!

    Are you sure you want to do this?
     
  7. Greg Blosser

    Greg Blosser Member SoSH Member

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    2,292
    I like direct over belt due to the accuracy of RPMs as well as the fact that I don't have to worry about it wearing out as quickly, at least, as a belt. A lot of people prefer belts due to the fact that they're quieter, but I've never noticed my DD causing any vibrations, distortion, etc.

    My system's been frankensteined over about 30 years. My Technics receiver that came with a rack system in '87 or so started crapping out on me in the late '90s. The sales guy at Nobody Beats The Wiz recommended that I get a Yamaha instead of the Sony I was looking at (I wanted "Mega Bass". He schooled me.) - I did so, and I loved it. Very pure sound that's faithful to the recording. Once that one started dying this year, I bought the following year's model in mint condition on ebay for around $50 - sounds just as good. It's around 80 watts, I think - definitely no more than 100. Oh, and I don't really have any interest in 5.1, etc., so I'm happy with just stereo for TV, movies, etc.

    My apartment is long and narrow so next to the TV/stereo console I have a pair of big Technics speakers that came with that same '80s rack system. About 20 feet forward, I have a pair of $150ish standing Sonys I bought on amazon about 5 years ago - they're narrow but they have pretty decent bass and very good dynamics for what are probably 5" woofers and pretty tiny tweeters. I rarely listen to both sets at once, though - just whichever one is closer to where I am in the apartment. As you'd expect, the big ones are boomier and the smaller ones are tighter and punchier... but the difference between the two isn't really that great, all things considered.

    My turntable is a late '80s Technics (not a 1200 - something more geared for home use) that was never used by a family member. I change the cartridge (very basic - a P-mount Audio-Technica that runs about $20) about once a year.

    And I've got a Yamaha DVD player that I use for CDs (it also decodes SACD and HDCD) that I picked up a few years ago for around $150 (new but a discontinued model).

    Keep in mind, I'm in an apartment so I can't really turn it up past 3 or 4. But at a low-to-moderate volume, it sounds pretty big with some kick. A set-up like mine might sound like shit if truly cranked, but for my use it's fine. I think my friend's anemic-sounding $1200 system could be due to the fact that it may be some 200w behemoth that's designed to be cranked, which he can't do as he's also in an apartment. My point? If you're not going to play things really loud, you can probably get away with a lot of moderately priced gear.

    Another thing to consider is what type of music you'll be listening to. What works for me with rock & basic paino/bass/drums/horn jazz might not work at all with classical or, say, EDM.
     
  8. adam42381

    adam42381 Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    4,489
    I just got a brand new Teac TN300 for $229 (now $279) on eBay and it sounds very good and looks fantastic. This turntable is a real sleeper in the budget category. It retails for $400.
     
  9. topps148

    topps148 Member SoSH Member

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    I agree with catomatic. The stylus and tone arm are the places to begin. These are what will wear out your vinyl.

    The AT tracks at 2 grams, which I'd consider the absolute maximum acceptable. I assume the cartridge/stylus that ships with it is designed to track at 2 grams as well. It's possible to go seriously crazy on cartridges, but I'm happy with the Sumiko Pearl (now the Black Pearl, I see), which I've been using in my two vintage turntables (Philips GA-212's) for almost fifteen years. Tracking is set at 1.75 grams. When considering turntables, I don't rate auto-return a must-have feature, but I absolutely insist on auto-shutoff, sometimes called semi-automatic. This requirement automatically disqualifies me as an audiophile. Pffft.

    The big question about speakers has to do with your living arrangements. Do you expect to be in the same place for the next (pick a large-ish number) years? If not, get the least expensive speaker setup that performs acceptably in your current environment. It's pretty likely that your needs will change if you move. I have a ca. 1980 set of Pioneer HPM-900's that I loved dearly when I bought them. I liked them even better in the house I moved to in 1985. My current environment (since 2010) is a sonic nightmare--2500 sf of tile floors on a single level with a long hallway. Fortunately, the Pioneers can be driven at low power, so they sound fine as long as I'm alone with them in the record room (the most acoustically dead part of the house). I tried them in the big open living area, but they were unacceptably boomy. I now have a set of small speakers there that are OK for background music, but probably no better than your "crappy" Yamahas.

    A note on CD's. The system I had when I lived in New England included a computer. The inputs on the (standard) sound card allowed the capture of material played on the analog components (the software I used, called Spin Doctor, is fortunately extinct). The results were always unsatisfactory. To avoid clipping, the input level had to be kept unacceptably low. To create digital media in my current system I use a Tascam CD-RW900SL, which I like a lot.

    Notice that I haven't said anything about the amplifier. Echoing catomatic, I'd say that's the least important item in getting started. If your current power allows for phono-level input, you should be fine to start.

    Finally, to HPC's comments about noise, today's vinyl (the material itself) is incomparably better than the stuff used in all the "classic" recordings, especially RCA's dreaded Dynaflex. I don't want to say I'm a dinosaur, but I still have an SAE-5000 Impulse Noise Reduction unit.
     
  10. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    1,214
    I always say start with quality speakers. A system will never sound any better than the speakers. A $500 tt with a $300 cartridge won't matter if the speakers are crap. High quality source devices are great but it's a long way to your ears from there.There are plenty of moderately priced speakers which will do very well. This is an area where eBay/vintage can help a lot if cost is an object. I tend to favor Paradigm as a brand. Lots of options on eBay for them. Older models from their Monitor, Reference or Signature lines are all out there. I'm sure others will have brand biases also.
     
  11. tbrown_01923

    tbrown_01923 Member SoSH Member

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    351
    My condo is a 1700sqft brick and beam loft, main living area is ~1200sqft (the remainder is in the bathrooms/bedrooms), with 9 foot ceilings and hardwood floors. I guess that impacts speaker selection - but trying to decipher the vintage speaker market is as difficult as the TT...
     
  12. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    25,029
    Paradigm makes awesome and well-priced speakers. Polk, Tannoy, and Energy are worth a look as well.

    Another option to consider depending on how you put your system together is a decent set of studio monitors (self-powered); the Monoprice ones are fantastic, as are Tannoy's. Needs a phono preamp (built in on the turntable or otherwise) to work with your vinyl setup, but can let you skip a receiver/amp altogether which is one more place to lose fidelity.
     
  13. tbrown_01923

    tbrown_01923 Member SoSH Member

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    351
    When did powered monitors become so popular... I ran active 20/20's in my home studio for years until a moving accident ended them...
     
  14. HriniakPosterChild

    HriniakPosterChild Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    9,608
    Is today's vinyl better than the stuff MFSL used for their half-speed masters? Because even with those, the dust always won the war.
     
  15. topps148

    topps148 Member SoSH Member

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    Dunno. I never owned any MFSL pressings. Like you, I used Discwasher, which was both better and more expensive than doing nothing, but, as you said, not really effective in the long run.

    After some research, my conclusion is that there's really no substitute for a machine that both cleans the grooves and vacuums up the residue. I've self-justified the expenditure on the basis that most of the records I buy these days are (ab)used, and I've promised myself a real record cleaner when I complete construction of my record room. The higher-end VPI machines seemed like the knee of the value curve to me, but they've had a management change, and only the "entry-level" units are still in the line. The European cleaning machines are way beyond my means, so it looks like it's going to be a choice between the VPI MW-1 and something from Nitty Gritty.

    (Aside: the VPI page for the MW-1 extols its merits by saying that the vacuum will "pull the grim [sic] off your records." Don't worry, be happy, or something)
     
    #15 topps148, Jan 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  16. Bergs

    Bergs Member SoSH Member

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    10,780
    I have the Nitty Gritty without the motorized turntable. Iove it. Note that the plastic cover is sold separately, and you'll want it. So worth the money.
     
  17. kotrp83

    kotrp83 Active Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    32
    About a year and a half ago I purchased the Orbit from U-Turn Audio, it sounds great to me and I love it. It's not for everybody as it is completely manual so you'll need to place the tonearm on the record and take it off when it's is done playing. You also need to manually adjust the belt to switch from 33rpm to 45rpm which isn't difficult but can be a little tricky at first. This doesn't bother me as when I'm listening to vinyl I'm focused on only that but it could be a hassle if you're just playing music in the background and not paying close attention.

    Entry price level is an affordable $179 although the platter is made with MDF and you'll need a preamp if your receiver doesn't have a phono input . Can't say how the MDF platter sounds as I upgraded to the acrylic platter (+$75) and a better cartridge. The ability to customize to your taste and budget is a nice option, you can start basic and upgrade if your interest in vinyl continues. Kind of surprised I haven't seen any mention of this in the various vinyl threads as U-Turn is a Boston based company that started as a kickstarter campaign.
     
    #17 kotrp83, Apr 25, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  18. Rancho Relaxo

    Rancho Relaxo Member SoSH Member

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    207
    Forgive me if I should start a new thread, but I have a question. Is there a way to connect a turntable (or any audio component) to a conventional stereo receiver wirelessly? Our entertainment center cannot easily accommodate another component, but I also don't want to run RCA cable across the living room. Ideally, I'd like the highest-quality audio option, but I can compromise for the sake of convenience.
     
  19. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    25,029
    I use these to transmit to my (powered) surround speakers; they take RCA L/R in, broadcast wirelessly, and output RCA L/R at the other end. They're zero latency and sound quite good.

    Caveats:
    1. They need line of sight, and they're pretty ugly. I taped the front one to the bottom of a shelf near the front, so it's not too visible, and they are small (2.5" square).
    2. If you have anything else going in the 2.4 ghz frequency (e.g. your wi-fi) you'll get sound dropouts when they're both active. Using 5ghz wifi (modern N/AC high-band) avoids this problem. This is only relevant if you're close to whatever's transmitting. I'm in an apartment and the neighbors' wifi is no problem, but until I switched to 5ghz I'd get sporadic sound dropouts when downloading stuff to a laptop in the same room.
    3. The RCA cable that comes in the box is junk; toss it.
     
  20. Rancho Relaxo

    Rancho Relaxo Member SoSH Member

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    207
    That's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. Thank you. I was having a terribly difficult time searching for a similar solution. It just kept leading me to wireless speakers...
     
  21. Red Sox Physicist

    Red Sox Physicist Member SoSH Member

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    102
    I'll add a caveat for the turntable use case. Those look like they're designed for line level input. If his turntable doesn't have a built-in phono preamp, he might need to add one between the turntable and the wireless transmitter to convert it to line level.
     
    #21 Red Sox Physicist, Jan 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  22. Rancho Relaxo

    Rancho Relaxo Member SoSH Member

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    Thanks for that. Fortunately, mine does have a preamp.

    My receiver also has a phono preamp. Hypothetically speaking, could I use that one instead, or is it always preferable to use the preamp before the transmitter (instead of after)?
     
  23. Red Sox Physicist

    Red Sox Physicist Member SoSH Member

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    102
    The issue is that the transmitter is designed for an input RMS voltage of 0.7 V and an output RMS voltage of 1.1 V. Turntable cartridges output in the 0.5-6 mV range depending upon the type. This is 2-3 orders of magnitude (40-60 dB of power) lower than the expected input. You'd likely end up with a ton of noise. Also, you wouldn't be able to ground the cartridge to the preamp on the receiver either.

    I would not hook that the transmitter into the phono preamp on your receiver since it is designed to transmit line level.
     
  24. Rancho Relaxo

    Rancho Relaxo Member SoSH Member

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    207
    Brilliant, thanks!
     
  25. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    25,029
    Yeah, exactly. It might "work", but you'll get much less noise (better sound quality) if you match the intended input level.
     
  26. staz

    staz Intangible Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    10,191
    Looking at getting back into vinyl with vintage stuff - and without breaking the bank (so tubes are out).

    Receiver: Thinking about a Marantz 2226b from 1977 (non-monster). I was all Sony growing up, but I've heard the Marantz' throw deep rich sound. Something like...

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/232267824453?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT


    TT: Technics 1600MK2 semi-auto DD TT. Had good luck with the Tech. I had in the past, and I'm a sucker for those fancy pop-up stylus lights.


    Any pros/cons/opinions of the above would be appreciated..
     
  27. tbrown_01923

    tbrown_01923 Member SoSH Member

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    351
    Just updating in my absence to date:
    • VPI Scout (1.1) with Ortofon Black MM *

    • Philharmonic 3 way bookshelf speakers (probably should have spent a little more and got towers, btw Dennis Murphy is a pretty chill dude).

    • Onkyo - same old crappy digital receiver. Now that I am getting comfortable with listening - I am diving into a dedicated phono pre.
    * I ended up finding a scout used on-line for a song. I called to buy it, but the store had sold it 7 months ago and couldn't remove the page from googles cache. They had been receiving non-stop calls on it. Having been involved in web engineering since 1996, you pick up a few things (event though they may be more tangential to your interests/job), so I asked if he wanted help removing that page. He was gracious and gave me the TT for the price of the used TT and the cartridge steeply discounted ~$1800. All and all it was more than I wanted to spend on a turntable, but I don't have kids and earn decently, and don't spend much money at all (well wine, food, wife excluded) - I jumped in.

    The system opened up the next year when I upgraded my vintage speakers to the philharmonics. On certain recordings the hi-hats pitter-patter in the living room (mostly jazz) and vocalists are lush and full of life. The thing that is most impressive (given the small woofer) is the bass response it is super tight and true to the song. You can hear harmonics on the upright bass play that I never heard on CD or the other crappy speakers. I have tried streaming some tunes through the system - and it really isn't the same as the analog.

    The plan is for a phono-pre with this years bonus, followed by a (likely integrated) amp next year.

    Note: No Kids...
     
  28. 75cent bleacher seat

    75cent bleacher seat Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    1,526
  29. uncannymanny

    uncannymanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I’ve been bringing records to a shop that will VPI them for $1 a piece for a while, but it’s a hassle. I bought one of these and it actually works better than the VPI.

    http://www.hifigem.com/hydraulic-lp-cleaning-apparatusMKII.html

    It looks ugly but it’s already brought back some records that the VPI could not. I’m blown away by how well it works. If you’re resourceful you can probably build the unit yourself, but it was cheap enough that I didn’t want to go through the effort.
     
  30. TFP

    TFP Dope Dope

    Messages:
    16,197
    Ok - resurrecting this thread.

    I recently bought a house, which has a big room downstairs where I spend most of my time. Big screen tv, couch, etc. One thing I've always wanted to do was get a turntable and start collecting vinyl. Both my parents and my gf's parents have a ton of records, so I'll have a head start there.

    I need advice on getting a turntable and speakers. I really don't know much about anything, but a few notes:
    • This will likely go next to my TV (on the right under the clock) on a wall facing the couch (picture below).
    • I currently have a Sonos Playbar that I use with the TV. I'd like to factor that into any speaker decision. I don't HAVE to stick with Sonos, but I wouldn't mind using this as an excuse to upgrade to surround sound TV as well, if it makes sense.
    • I'd prefer a built in phono pre-amp and not having to buy a receiver if possible.
    • I don't want to break the bank. I'm just starting out so I don't need top of the line. Just something to get started and sound pretty good, allowing for upgrades later.
    • If anyone has great cabinets or record holders, I'm all ears on those too.
    I'm leaning toward getting the TT in the 2nd post of the thread, the AudioTechnica AT-LP120BK. The price is right and it seems to do everything I need.

    Is this still a good approach? Thoughts on speaker options and what works best? What else should I be considering?

    Edit: Adding the picture

    [​IMG]
     
    #30 TFP, Jul 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  31. NortheasternPJ

    NortheasternPJ Member SoSH Member

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    11,995
    How do you deal with the glare of those windows on the TV? I hope you have some shades.
     
  32. uncannymanny

    uncannymanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    The shades are down.

    I’d recommend bookshelf speakers over the soundbar. Beyond that, it would help to know what the “bank” is for you.
     
  33. cgori

    cgori Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    2,163
    I would think about the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 as an alternative - it loses the USB, which it seems like you aren't going to use, and some of the DJish features (pitch/bi-directional rotation). Saves $50 too.

    The soundbar is really made for TV (and surround sound). If you want surround sound, Sonos definitely supports adding two Play:1s to the soundbar for 5.0 (plus a sub for 5.1). I can't tell if this is where you will primarily watch movies or not - if so, probably want to think about surround sound. I can't tell how big the room is, you could also go for two Play:5's instead (about $1k for the pair) - but that might be overkill. The Play:5 has a line-in input, and you could use that to play music (like from the turntable) - the Sonos app lets you broadcast from that input to other speakers. The Play:1 doesn't have an input.

    The Sonos soundbar is meh/ok for 2-channel/stereo. Good bookshelf speakers will likely be better. It also does not have any line-in (except the optical). You'll need some kind of receiver to manage the TV + turntable input to the soundbar if you want to use that as your "main" speaker. A reasonable Denon receiver (AVRS-640H looks about right) is ~$350 these days. That would let you connect a Roku/PS4/etc as well. I know you said you didn't want a receiver but what you are trying to do is basically what a receiver is made for...

    You might be able to use a analog to digital converter box (I can't get the amazon link to work) but I think the soundbar only has one input (?), so that's probably a no-go. I can't tell what TV that is - there is a tiny chance it can do the conversion for you but I wouldn't bank on it.

    Actual budget will drive some of this too.
     
  34. TFP

    TFP Dope Dope

    Messages:
    16,197
    It’s rarely that bad. That’s actually the worst I’ve ever seen it and when the TV is on it’s fine.The windows are basically ground level so a ton of direct light doesn’t come in except in the morning.

    Good question. I don’t want to go crazy, so staying around $1k total to start is probably where I’m at. But I could flex a bit if it makes sense. I just don’t want to be spending multiple thousands to start.

    Couple things, thanks for the response. I’m not wedded to the sound bar, so if something else makes more sense then that’s totally fine. The room is large (there’s another 15 feet to the right, it’s about 15 feet deep too. 25 x 15 total. I definitely do the majority/all of my tv and movie watching here.

    I have an Apple TV that runs through the tv (a Samsung Plasma, I forget the model) into the soundbar now. Getting two Play 5s is probably overkill, but then idea of a line in that lets me broadcast to all speakers is intriguing. If I go with Play 1s, is that possible without the line in?

    If none of this works, any recommendations on bookshelf speakers? I assume it’s probably not super easy to use those in conjunction with the Sonos for surround sound?

    I also don’t have to put this right there, I can put it on the other side of the room which I’m gonna build outnumbered too. I just thought it made a good spot if I was going to combine it with TV speakers.

    Appreciate everyone’s help.
     
  35. uncannymanny

    uncannymanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    4,345
    Oh, well $1k will get you a very solid starter setup. After that you can upgrade pieces as you feel the need...or not!

    I hear the Rega acrylic tables are nice for the price (I’m a vintage nerd so I’ve not owned anything made after like 1989). A Technics that *isn’t* the SL1200 would also work great (the 1200 just has too much name cache and isn’t worth it if you’re not DJing at a club). Those 80s/90s Technics tables are built like tanks. My first table was an SL-Q202 that I got for $20 and was fine for a few years. The AT suggestion above is also a very good one.

    The most important thing about the table is the cartridge (I love the Nagaoka MP-100). I’d spend around $100 on this. DO NOT use any cartridge that comes with a used table unless you know it’s brand new.

    I run Polk TSi100 speakers and they’re more than fine. My friend has some Dayton speakers that he swears by. Don’t use the soundbar, they are tuned for tv and movies and will make your music sound like hot garbage. Surround is also silly for this application. Music isn’t produced for it and you’re more likely to have weird sound issues unless you have an acoustics expert installing it.
     

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