Turntable advice

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by Falcor, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. Falcor

    Falcor Rando

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    Hi guys,

    I have been wanting to take the plunge into vinyl for quite some time and have decided to finally do it.

    I wanted to ask some advice from people here who have more experience with different tables, arms, carts, phono amps etc.

    I also wanted to ask about price. I have noticed that things escalate very very quickly in vinyl and am not sure about 'actual' returns in sound quality. I find it difficult to discern the crap from over hyped reviews etc.

    I am wondering how much difference is there between a more entry level rig from say Rega or Project and a more mid level deck, say vpi, kuzma etc. Unfortunately it's difficult to audition turntables with all the variables (am i hearing arm differences, phono amp, etc)

    After reading, I was thinking something along the Kuzma Stabi S / Stogi S line. Suggestions for a cart range dramatically from dynavector, Denon to Lyra Delos. At each stage it seems as if you are faced with price vs reward questions.

    To give you an idea of my tastes, I listen mostly to jazz and classical music (more the latter). I treasure speed and dynamics, sound stage and realism in tone.

    My current system for digital playback is an Auralic Aries -> Auralic Vega - > Taurus mk II for headphones (hd800) or Prima Luna Prologue Classic (tube amp) driving my Magnepan 1.7s.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    -Dave
     
  2. Chris1967

    Chris1967 Friend

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    Hi Falcor!

    It all depends firstly on your budget and secondly on your taste for sound representation.

    Starting off with a Rega is not a bad idea, i did the same some 30 years ago... Regas sound good and if you place them on a wall mounted shelf with a nice cartridge you may be in for a big surprise (a good one i mean...:))

    The choice for Kuzma Stagi/Stogi S is excellent, i am very fond of their presentation and looks. For dynamic sound you should go for the Dynavector Karat 17 D3, or the Denon DL-304, alternatively an AudioTechnica AT-OC9 or AT-33ev might fit the bill.

    Alternatively you might dive in for the vintage decks (but it is a big discussion and you need some experience first).

    For phono i have had experienced with the (complete) ASR range and i currently have an ASR Basis that you can pick up second hand for about 1000-1200 euros (the ASR Basis Exclusive was too expensive and not that far off sound-wise from the older Basis that i have) and it is absolutely brilliant. I have also a Musical Fidelity M1 Vinyl on my second analog rig and it is very good.

    I hope this helps, and i wish you all the best in your vinyl endeavors! \/
     
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  3. Falcor

    Falcor Rando

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    Hi Chris,

    Thank you so much for your input! I too like the Stabi/stogi look. Unfortunately i just can't find a local dealer to actually hear one in person.

    You sound like you have had quite a bit of experience with turntables. If I could get your opinion, how would you recommend spending a budget. Is there particularly one component to put more money into or should it roughly be equal on table, arm, cart, and preamp.

    I was thinking to either go a basic setup. Rega/project Debut rp1 or rp3 etc and see if I like the format first. Then upgrade later on. Although most of the time I find that buying right the first time is the way to go.

    Not sure which way to go honestly, I don't know how entry level turntables compete with mid level and where the price/vs reward curve starts to get silly.

    I would say I'm willing to spend around 3000 on a full setup. I am hoping to find most of this second hand (Although Kuzma Stabi s's don't come up that often).

    Also thanks for the ASR recommendation. A friend of mine has the Emitter II hooked up to some Tannoy's, I have no other reference by which to compare in his system but quite an impressive system! He said it made quite some difference in control and bass clarity. Definitely an impressive amp! Looks great! I find it feels like it should be powering some kind of fusion reactor from a sci fi movie. =)

    -Dave
     
  4. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

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    Having gone through a Technics SL-1200 MK II to a Rega RP3 to a Rega RP6 to a VPI Classic III in the last year, I'd recommend just getting the right thing or getting something like the Technics SL-1200 MkII for now (probably all in around $500) or go get a VPI Classic or something. I haven't tested a ton of vinyl rigs, but @shaizada has tried a ton of rigs and highly recommends the VPI Classic 3, @purrin has been through a bunch as well and quite likes his VPI.

    The lower end setup is still pretty good. Ask @zerodeefex what setup he has for specifics as I think he put something together for around $300-500.
     
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  5. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    Dave,

    To me, it sounds like you already have a basic understanding of the virtues of listening to a vinyl rig. Looking at what you have posted so far, I would suggest you save up around $5k and then check out the used market to see how you can get the best bang for your buck.

    Kuzma does not make a single bad component. Everything he makes is really top notch and offers a lot of quality sound. Since you are starting out, get a high quality matched table and arm combination, so there is little room for error with any mismatch. I really like the VPI Classic tables and regularly recommend the Classic 3. It is really a destination level turntable and gets your almost everything that is hidden in the grooves. Then, cartridge selection and Phono section are extremely important, including the phono cable.
     
  6. Chris1967

    Chris1967 Friend

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    My experience with Technics decks (i have also a very old slq2) is that they sound very flat and mechanical, i would mot like to get into why this is so.

    If you are looking into entry level decks the Rega is absolutely unbeatable in value as i briefly described above.

    I am in Greece and the European market is somewhat different, we don't get much VPI's around.

    A friend had a HRX full with Ortofon Roman (not so fond of this one), and he ended up selling it after he got a Lenco GL75 and modified it.

    I am not trying to run down VPI's they sound wonderful, just expanding the options.

    This led me to get one also and this (my secong Lenco) is my current main deck.

    [​IMG]

    This is a picture just after completion and successful setup (still on the dinning table).

    Getting and modifying a Lenco is an option if you are good with your hands and have the appropriate tools. LencoHeaven is all about these tables and you can have a look there if you are curious http://www.lencoheaven.net/

    A Garrard 401 is also a fantastic deck and maybe the best of the vintage decks. If you are lucky you might pick one up for a song (quite difficult these days due to the demand) and make a plinth for it... will beat all modern decks under 5.000euro's and many more expensive ones in my opinion.

    But i should stop babbling...

    The Kuzma Stogi/Stabi might be an endgame deck for you so if it fits your budget go for it.

    In my experience of over 30 years of vinyl (from student days till now) is that i had always underestimated the value of the phono stage and i understood this only in the last five years or so.

    I was always trying to get the best tonearm/cartridge combination that i could afford and never paid much attention to it.

    So i would really recommend you get some hiend preamp (phono) secondhand and don't even think about it. This will survive all your upgrades if it is good, and at the same time bring out the maximum of your setup at all times.

    Yes the ASR's are great, a friend (he is a member here) has the ASR Emitter (full house) and also the ASR basis Exclusive... and with his Garrard 401 it makes wonderful music.
     
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  7. kapanak

    kapanak Canucklehead - Friend

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    Is the VPI Classic Signature the same as the Classic III?
     
  8. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

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    Yes. They changed the motor power button location and it comes with the 3D tonearm by default, but in every other way, yes.
     
  9. Falcor

    Falcor Rando

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    @drfindley - Thanks for your input. This is exactly the fear that I have. That over the years I go through many tables (and money) To end up somewhere I should have started =) Can you give some insights into your journey through the technics - rp3 -rp6 -VPI classic journey? I have found along my digital journey that at the lower end compared to the upper end you are comparing sound quality. Whereas once you reach a certain level it starts to become just comparing different presentations and comes down to personal preference. Did you find some point for this? e.g. between rp6 and classic? or was the sound quality still increasing?

    @shaizada - Thanks for the advice. From what I am reading here (and also from my experience with setting up a digital playback system) I am better to save for a better first rig and wait for one to come along second hand, than going through a "not happy with that" journey.

    @Chris1967 - I too am in Europe, There seem to be a few VPI's around in Germany, however they are likely much more expensive here than "locally" made decks. I will check. You do open up another good point which is going down a modded vintage deck. mmmmmm difficult.

    -Dave
     
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  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    VPI will not be the value proposition in Europe as it is in the USA. However, I find quite a few good used VPI tables for sale in Germany every now and then. Another possibility is a Clearaudio which is made in Germany. A used Clearaudio Innovation type table could be a good deal. I like the design of the Nottingham tables (UK) too. DaveBSC has one.

    FWIW, I didn't care for the lesser (not necessarily in terms of price) Rega or Linn tables I've owned or borrowed in the past. I'll be doing a write up on the Project Xpression table I still have sitting around and its weaknesses. Project actually carries certain craptastic elements of their design quite a bit up their line.
     
  11. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

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    The Technics/RP3/RP6 were all some form of side-grades. I think they belong in the turntable section of mid-fi purgatory. I had a good cart in the RP6 as well, but when I listened to the same cart on Marv's VPI table, it sounded so much better. Better detail extraction, better macro and micro dynamics. More full-bodied. That's what really convinced me I needed to make the jump
     
  12. Falcor

    Falcor Rando

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    drfindley - Thanks. I think I will stay away from that path then =) I have only heard good things about VPI.

    Kuzma, or VPI equivalent will be the most likely first table then =) I don't think a Lenco vintage build is for me just yet (Although I am from Switzerland so i can maybe retain the made is Switzerland sticker =))

    Any thoughts on the new VPI prime? I have just seen one come up in Germany for 2500 eur.
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The VPI Prime seems like an immense value with the 3D tonearm. The main weakness is the MDF plinth. The offboard motor will be quieter but not have the speed control of the Classic series. A Roadrunner Eagle or VPI SDS should improve speed stability and would be a higher priority on the Prime compared to the Classic. (The newer Classics also have elements of the SDS built-in.)

    I have thoughts about the Prime because of its immense value and upgrade-ability. I was thinking about machining a heavy weight solid plinth to replace the Prime's MDF plinth.
     
  14. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    The VPI Prime is a very good table, but you really want to be at the Classic level at the very minimum for a serious turntable listening experience, if you plan to go with the VPI lineup. I actually really like the looks of the Prime...you can also mount dual tonearms on the Prime pretty readily, one for stereo and one for mono. But VPI lets you quickly switch arm wands if you wanted, so that advantage of the Prime becomes less pronounced actually.

    However you go about this whole analog experience, be ready to leave the digital in the dust! :) Exciting times ahead....

    I'm listening to Daft Punk - Random Access Memories on vinyl right now as I type this...bloody hell...show me ONE piece of digital gear that sounds like this!!!
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Looking for a Classic 3 / Signature now. This is all your fault.
     
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  16. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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  17. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    End game level turntable right there...nothing to go wrong. They are pretty much bullet proof turntables. Converse with Findley if you need any specifics...he is a VPI Classic 3 Jedi master! ;)

    If you like, I can also help you set it up perfectly with any cartridge of your choosing. Just putting that out there for ya. Dive in...the water is perfect!

    If you have the space, this is a fantastic turntable right here, the VPI TNT 6. Though he is calling it a Hot Rod, it is not. Hot Rod means the JMW tonearm is drilled directly into the plinth. This table has a removable arm board which is actually really neat. You can always change out tonearms whenever you want. I HIGHLY recommend this turntable as you can configure it to surpass the Classic 3 performance.

    https://app.audiogon.com/listings/t...-turntable-2015-09-15-analog-92804-anaheim-ca

    Cool thing about the table above is the copper tonearm wiring which I like better than the new silver Nordost cabling they use in the current tables. In fact, VPI now offers their own copper cable tonearm wiring again, finally, realizing that some people prefer the copper sound (more natural, more analog).

    I own a VPI TNT 6 Hot Rod with the two JMW 12.5 Tonearms with the Rim Drive. Table has NEVER given me any problems and is so easy to upgrade.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  18. kapanak

    kapanak Canucklehead - Friend

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    Can somebody point out where one would go about purchasing a VPI Classic 3 or rather the newer versions, the Signature line? Brand new I mean.
     
  19. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    I don't know where you are located, but this guy is a dealer and seems to have fantastic prices!

    https://app.audiogon.com/listings/t...arranty-2015-10-02-analog-33009-hallandale-fl

    Any reason you want the Classic Signature over the Classic 3? They are exactly the same turntable, just being renamed. Also, I think the Signature does not include the VPI Periphery ring and center weight, which are standard with the Classic 3. You can confirm with the dealer in the link above.

    Also, here are all the VPI dealerships:
    http://vpiindustries.com/dealership.html
     
  20. kapanak

    kapanak Canucklehead - Friend

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    TBH, just the naive belief that the newer is better :D

    So, for example, this model at musicdirect http://www.musicdirect.com/p-13266-vpi-classic-3-turntable-with-jmw-105-tonearm.aspx is the sought-after Classic 3?

    And what's this "3D tonearm" compared to the JMW 105 tonearm?
     

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