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The price of vinyl satisfaction?


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Yes, I know what forum this is and, no, this thread is not one of those vinyl vs. digital pissing contests. I was just reading elsewhere about the Grado Aeon cartridge that sells for $6000. This got to wondering if someone already satisfied with the amp/preamp/speakers in their rig were to take an audiophile dive into vinyl, how much would they need to spend to again reach an undisputed level of audio nirvana. I'm guessing that 20 to 30 thousand dollars spent on a vinyl rig(turntable, arm, cartridge, cleaning supplies, LP sleeves, etc., all in sans furniture and vibration control and, of course, LPs) would probably get you there. Yes, you could spend a lot more but you wouldn't have to. I should also add that, when I was imagining such a rig, I did so with the understanding that an expenditure of 20 to 30 thousand dollars is not what many in this hobby would consider extravagant.

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I didn't spend nearly that much and my turntable set up, which sort of sounds like my R2R dac.  Went with a moving magnet Ortofon, so you can only expect so much on a MM, along with VPI Classic with some upgrades.  Around 3500.00.

 

Trying to stick to AAA records.  I have about 3000.00 into 150 or so albums.  Another 1K for a preamp.  Cleaning machine and supplies can be had for no more than 1000.00 and you can get some decent results.  An expensive ultrasonic would change that number significantly.

 

8000 -10000.00 should get you rolling pretty well.  

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Same could be said about digital, there is always the MSB Select DAC for $84,500.00.

 

My vinyl rig I got used, 1,600 for the TT, 1,700 for the phono stage and $800 for the cartridge.   I've got a few hundred plus Lp's

 

All depends on how far you feel you need to go.

 

The Truth Is Out There

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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

but your friends will not leave...

 

 

snap crackle pop.jpg

Yes, they will as soon as they hear the clicks, and pops and background noise level. I lived with vinyl for decades. It's time is long gone. And yes, $4k for an absolute minimal decent vinyl investment, plus $29.99 to $39.99 for any new vinyl release. 

 

JC

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4 hours ago, esimms86 said:

and, no, this thread is not one of those vinyl vs. digital pissing contests.

 

Hey You,

 

Yes, I read that (quote above) but I know where you come from. Please do yourself a favor and when you audition a TT in your home, don't make the mistake in thinking "oh, those highs - those dynamics, I will find them in there in due time".

You won't.

 

IOW, I know my NOS1a/G3 and I know yours too. So be careful, especially when really a lot of money will be involved (and I think it will anyway, starting with that cartridge that next will put "some" constraints on the TT).

 

Btw, I could do the exercise too, but for the exercise indeed - ready to give up at some stage. But it would intrigue me as part of the hobby - "can I get there ?". I suppose this is your motivation just the same ? I guess you'd have my support (FWIW but let's start with a long term relation :x).

 

Peter

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16 hours ago, esimms86 said:

Yes, I know what forum this is and, no, this thread is not one of those vinyl vs. digital pissing contests. I was just reading elsewhere about the Grado Aeon cartridge that sells for $6000. This got to wondering if someone already satisfied with the amp/preamp/speakers in their rig were to take an audiophile dive into vinyl, how much would they need to spend to again reach an undisputed level of audio nirvana. I'm guessing that 20 to 30 thousand dollars spent on a vinyl rig(turntable, arm, cartridge, cleaning supplies, LP sleeves, etc., all in sans furniture and vibration control and, of course, LPs) would probably get you there. Yes, you could spend a lot more but you wouldn't have to. I should also add that, when I was imagining such a rig, I did so with the understanding that an expenditure of 20 to 30 thousand dollars is not what many in this hobby would consider extravagant.

 

I recently upgraded to a Triangle Art Concerto + platter upgrade + Jelco 750 ($4k), Triangle Art Crystal speed controller ($2k) and Triangle Art Zeus cartridge ($2k). Manufacturer price all in was $8k (MSRP is a lot higher). The crucial upgrade to SQ over my old MoFi StudioDeck ($1k) + AT-OC9ML/II ($500) is in the area of dynamic performance; the new setup renders life-like dynamic speed and power which I believe is the key to being happy with a system. Did I need to spend $8K to achieve this level of performance? Maybe not, but that is the price I ended up paying.

 

Also, you can't just play any vinyl. They MUST be audiophile grade pressings. Actually, this is very important to get across: don't worry about the gear, that's the easy part -- worry about the vinyl you're going to play on it. Here's the deal -- most vinyl SUCKS. There's a FEW audiophile labels that CONSISTENTLY put out high quality pressings (MoFi and Analog Productions). It's NOT ENOUGH to just be on 180-200g vinyl. It's NOT ENOUGH to just be from a limited audiophile label -- case in point, half my Reference Recordings records are UN-LISTENABLE due to NOISE. An expensive system will be wasted on noisy and/or compressed junk. Modern big label releases are purely a crap-shoot, with crap being the most common outcome.

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14 hours ago, TubeLover said:

Yes, they will as soon as they hear the clicks, and pops and background noise level. I lived with vinyl for decades. It's time is long gone. And yes, $4k for an absolute minimal decent vinyl investment, plus $29.99 to $39.99 for any new vinyl release. 

 

JC

 

the friends I was referring to were those 3 carton characters: Snap, Crackle & Pop are their names.

 

but we agree..

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19 hours ago, davide256 said:

$4k is about right for a serious start, ~$2k for TT with arm, $1K for phono preamp, $1k for MC cartridge. I'm partial to VPI's design where the arm wand can be easily swapped, handy for mono and cartridge comparison.

Or when you are looking for a change up. I swap between a Koetsu Rosewood and a Shelter 501. I am preparing to build a table with two arms to replace it. If anyone happens to be interested in a Scoutmaster with two arms, PM me.

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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7 hours ago, GUTB said:

 

I recently upgraded to a Triangle Art Concerto + platter upgrade + Jelco 750 ($4k), Triangle Art Crystal speed controller ($2k) and Triangle Art Zeus cartridge ($2k). Manufacturer price all in was $8k (MSRP is a lot higher). The crucial upgrade to SQ over my old MoFi StudioDeck ($1k) + AT-OC9ML/II ($500) is in the area of dynamic performance; the new setup renders life-like dynamic speed and power which I believe is the key to being happy with a system. Did I need to spend $8K to achieve this level of performance? Maybe not, but that is the price I ended up paying.

 

Also, you can't just play any vinyl. They MUST be audiophile grade pressings. Actually, this is very important to get across: don't worry about the gear, that's the easy part -- worry about the vinyl you're going to play on it. Here's the deal -- most vinyl SUCKS. There's a FEW audiophile labels that CONSISTENTLY put out high quality pressings (MoFi and Analog Productions). It's NOT ENOUGH to just be on 180-200g vinyl. It's NOT ENOUGH to just be from a limited audiophile label -- case in point, half my Reference Recordings records are UN-LISTENABLE due to NOISE. An expensive system will be wasted on noisy and/or compressed junk. Modern big label releases are purely a crap-shoot, with crap being the most common outcome.

My understanding is that, with the proper stylus and record cleaners and static removers, you could have an enjoyable listening experience  even when spinning some non-audiophile discs. 

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19 hours ago, PeterSt said:

 

Hey You,

 

Yes, I read that (quote above) but I know where you come from. Please do yourself a favor and when you audition a TT in your home, don't make the mistake in thinking "oh, those highs - those dynamics, I will find them in there in due time".

You won't.

 

IOW, I know my NOS1a/G3 and I know yours too. So be careful, especially when really a lot of money will be involved (and I think it will anyway, starting with that cartridge that next will put "some" constraints on the TT).

 

Btw, I could do the exercise too, but for the exercise indeed - ready to give up at some stage. But it would intrigue me as part of the hobby - "can I get there ?". I suppose this is your motivation just the same ? I guess you'd have my support (FWIW but let's start with a long term relation :x).

 

Peter

Yes, I’m aware of the limitations of vinyl and I’m also not looking to match the experience of listening to digital files played using my NOS1a/G3. I also expect that the XXHE Mach III PC has taken things to a whole other level.

 

In the meantime, my interest in vinyl is part nostalgia for the old days and the ritual of playing vinyl, and part social(i.e., having friends come over, bringing their own records to listen to). It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised by the introduction of music heretofore unknown to you.

 

I don’t think this degree of involvement will require a $6,000 cartridge.

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17 minutes ago, esimms86 said:

Yes, I’m aware of the limitations of vinyl and I’m also not looking to match the experience of listening to digital files played using my NOS1a/G3. I also expect that the XXHE Mach III PC has taken things to a whole other level.

 

In the meantime, my interest in vinyl is part nostalgia for the old days and the ritual of playing vinyl, and part social(i.e., having friends come over, bringing their own records to listen to). It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised by the introduction of music heretofore unknown to you.

 

I don’t think this degree of involvement will require a $6,000 cartridge.

 

If you just want to have fun with old vinyl, get a Rega Planar 2, a Benz Micro MC20EII and a decent used phono pre and enjoy.  It's a very lively combination and so easy to set up.  $1000 bucks.  You could go even cheaper buy an old Technics or Dual won't be as thoroughly musical.  Just my .02!

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39 minutes ago, zackthedog said:

 

If you just want to have fun with old vinyl, get a Rega Planar 2, a Benz Micro MC20EII and a decent used phono pre and enjoy.  It's a very lively combination and so easy to set up.  $1000 bucks.  You could go even cheaper buy an old Technics or Dual won't be as thoroughly musical.  Just my .02!

I have a Marantz KI Pearl integrated amp with phono pre built in so I’m already part of the way there. I’m somewhat concerned about making a cartridge selection since I wouldn’t want to damage expensive vinyl. Digital files are so much more forgiving! Obviously, I still wouldn’t need to go crazy with spending on the cartridge.

 

 I had a Garrard turntable back in the day. I later replaced it with a Dual turntable and, still later, replaced the Dual with a linear tracking B&O. 

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6 hours ago, esimms86 said:

My understanding is that, with the proper stylus and record cleaners and static removers, you could have an enjoyable listening experience  even when spinning some non-audiophile discs. 

 

Yes, that is common misinformation. I learned the hard way otherwise. I even resorted to sending some noisy records -- some of them brand new from shrink -- to a cleaning service (Perfect Vinyl) that does a multi-pass ultrasonic clean and enzyme soak + vaccum after trying over and over to clean them myself to no or little effect. BTW I've used expensive enzymes and ultra pure water, vacuuming and even the wood glue method myself. Meanwhile every single one of my Analog Productions discs are almost perfectly quiet right out of the shrink with no cleaning needed. 

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Already the cleaning of the LP's makes me want to go back to them. Such a ritual and always being sure all would sound better again.

Maybe I cleaned them with snake oil ?

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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4 hours ago, PeterSt said:

Already the cleaning of the LP's makes me want to go back to them. Such a ritual and always being sure all would sound better again.

Maybe I cleaned them with snake oil ?

Using a colored marker on the edge my CDs, in addition to having the proper  Shakti Stones, always did wonders for my listening experiences! ?

 

Overpriced water and detergent beats snake oil every time. Now, could you pass me that anti-static gun?

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17 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

I've never had to reboot iTunes.  It sometimes does split my albums into 2 pieces tho.  Well worth it over vinyl but too bad some vinyl albums are hard to find on CD.

But I've had to re-boot my PC, my NAS, etc... and the updates are a crap shoot to where they screw something up or not. A pain in the ass,

The Truth Is Out There

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