Any audiophiles here?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Doublegun, May 10, 2020.

  1. Doublegun

    Doublegun Practically Family

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    Location:
    Michigan
    Here’s the situation: we are looking to get a sound bar for our TV. No big deal - plenty of options. I would also like to set up a turntable. Some of the sound bars have analog ports so I could take advantage of the speakers and subwoofer.

    Given I want the turntable (with a built in amp) so I can enjoy the sound quality one can only get from vinyl but will I lose the sound quality I want to hear? Question 2: what happens to the sound quality if I listen to albums via Bluetooth head phones? Will I lose the benefit of vinyl?

    Thank you,

    jDG
     
  2. Stormy

    Stormy A-List Customer

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    Um ... No, but I was a DJ for a long time. Does that count?
     
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  3. Doublegun

    Doublegun Practically Family

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    Sure.
     
  4. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    If you really want great advice on hifi, then avforums.com is a great place to go.

    What you're proposing will give you sound if you get a tt with built in amp/preamp (I think the Teac tn400bt might be a good option for you). Tbh, though, while it will let you play those old lps, if you want the full advantage of vinyl warmth, you'd be better off with a separate system. Inbulit amps in tts are generally not that great. Most hifiheads will also tell you that a surround sound movie setup isn't as good as decent stereo for music. Of course, hifi is much like leather jackets: you have to know your limits, as you can always spend *more*....
     
  5. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    A big part of audio quality in reproducing records is having the correct equalization curve for the material you're playing. Most off-the-rack outboard preamp units have the standard RIAA curve built into the circuitry, and in my opinion, it is these preamps, not the record or the turntable or the cartridge or the stylus that have the most to do with that "vinyl warmth." I've never used a modern turntable, but I do transfer a lot of old records, mostly 78s but a few early LPs, and having the correct equalization is absolutely essential to hearing everything that the record is capable of giving you.

    Most records made since 1954 are recorded with that standard equalization, but older records used a variety of curves. If you're working with older material, it helps to have a switchable preamp, or, as I have, a graphic equalizer to specifically tailor the curve to the record.
     
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  6. Doublegun

    Doublegun Practically Family

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    Wow. Thank you for the info. Sounds like I need to start from scratch. So I need a turntable, amp, and speakers? Vintage?

    Thank you again,

    Jay
     
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  7. SteveFord

    SteveFord A-List Customer

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    What is your budget?
     
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  8. Doublegun

    Doublegun Practically Family

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    I don’t know yet. I do know that the sky is the limit when it comes to audio equipment.

    If I were to integrate with a sound bar I would expect to spend under $500 by connecting a turntable with a built in amp. If I go a completely analog system I am old turntable that will probably need to be serviced and a new cartridge, and have speakers, I may just need to buy an amp (and speaker wire). I’ll have to find the turntable but I’m pretty sure it is a mid-level Denon.
     
  9. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    You can spend as much as you have, but don't get taken in by audio voodoo -- the people who want to sell you gold-plated cables and miracle capacitors and all such trinkets as that are selling promises more than they are substance.

    Used turntables of relatively recent vintage might not need anything more expensive than a replacement rubber drive belt, which will set you back less than $20, and it's a do it yourself job.
     
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  10. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I don't know the American market so well, but there's good stuff out there. I'm a fan of vintage amps - as long as you know what you're doing with electronics OR you're sure it's been properly serviced and recapped. (I'm clueless, so I bought my amp from a dealer who had serviced it).

    The plus of (careful) vintage purchasing is that you can get quality stuff which, looked after, will retain largely the value you paid. If I were on the US market, I'd be looking into the 22 series Marantz stereo receivers, with the king of them being the 2270. The built in phono stage on those is quality, so plug your turntable in there...

    Turntable wise, there are loads of options. The Teac TN400-BT is a nice one. With a second headshell/cartridge and style for 78s, you can use it for all three speeds (plus it can easily be plugged into a computer should you want to create a digital back-up from your vinyl, which can be done in a quality lossless format like FLAC, for instance). If you're happy with "only" 33 and 45 rpm, and aren't worried about hooking up to a computer (though there are ways that can be done even without it built in to the TT), I can highly recommend the REGA Planar series, the best being the Planar 3, but evne the budget RP1 is lovely. A second hand PLanar 3 from 1978ish onwards shouldn't run you much if you can find them in the US (all over eBay here); the post 2016 model is outstanding, especially if you can find a used bargain. Loads of upgrades and all sorts of things you can do to play with those. Any vintage turntable of a decent quality will give you good sound. I wouldn't rule out a Technics 1210 - those sturdy, direct drive TTs, despite their long association as a DJ's weapon of choice, were actually originally designed to be used for home audio. Easy to find any spares you'll ever need for them too.

    Denon are generally pretty good for everything. Indeed, if you don't want to spend huge on the whole project, I bought my dad a DM41 (Denon minisystem) for his birthday last year - couple of hundred GBP, plus speakers, and the sound is surprisingly high end for a small mini-sytem box (CD, DAB/FM radio). Add some quality speakers (vintage or modern - the QAcoustics range are great VFM if you can find them in the US, not sure), a phono stage into the Aux, plug your turntable of choice in there and away you go - a surprisingly capable system which you should be able to put together for a few hundred bucks. The DM41 also has blutooth, so you could play sound from your computer through it that way too.

    FWIW, I'm a big fan of vintage when it comes to Stereo Receivers and turntables. The 70s was a golden age for hifi. For digital formats (CDs, w.h.y.), I think it's best to buy new - not so easily serviced / bits replaced.

    Re vintage, fwiw - I wouldn't always assume tubes are better. Tubes are great for low volume listening, but of course they can distort as you turn it up. That organic / overdrive / distortion is why tubes remain so prized by guitar players even now, but if you want clean volume, solid state is your birdy.
     
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  11. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

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    7,195
    Hey @Doublegun:
    Before spending your hard earned money, which probably will be a few hundred to easily many thousands depending on your choices, i think it wise to access your listening environment. Do you live in a small apartment or in a concert hall? Probably somewhere in between.
    A monster system in a small apartment just pisses off the neighbors whereas an underwhelming system in a large area just pisses off you.
    It’s hard to make equipment suggestions that aren’t just generalities based on personal preferences which are as varied as the amount of money spent to buy them.
    As @Edward said, 70s vintage equipment stands the test of time and Marantz is a star among others.
    Access your listening situation, do some homework and hunting, then buy.
    But, a turntable, a control amp or receiver and a couple decent speakers will get you in the ballpark. Don’t forget a good set of headphones, your neighbors will love them.
    Good luck.
    Bowen
     
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  12. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Even headphones can be crazy money, though that said, if you're the only one listening, a pair of outstanding headphones can be had for the same price as some fairly cheap speakers....
     
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  13. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

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    ^^^another wonderland.
    Vintage Koss ESP/9B and Pro 4AA...lovely!!
    B
     
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  14. Doublegun

    Doublegun Practically Family

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    Last edited: May 13, 2020
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  15. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    If the belt's been in the attic, treat yourself to a new one, and you should be ready to run. If it isn't slipping yet, it will be soon.
     
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  16. Doublegun

    Doublegun Practically Family

    Messages:
    773
    Location:
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    I’ll spring for a new belt and probably a new cartridge. Now to figure out what to put in between it and the speakers. (Don’t want a full blown receiver)
     
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  17. SteveFord

    SteveFord A-List Customer

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    Then you'll have to see how efficient the speakers are, how big your listening area is and what volume you expect?

    As for tubes distorting, I suppose it depends on what you're doing. My stuff is pretty stout (VTL 250 and 300 monoblocks) so no distortion problems here. Total overkill for what the OP is after, though.
     
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  18. Doublegun

    Doublegun Practically Family

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    I have yet to determine where it will be set up will be located but it will most definitely be in a smaller space, maybe 12’x15’.
     
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  19. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I've not personally handed one of those, but Yamaha TTS from that period have agood reputation afaik. The Wharfdales will be pretty decent speakers too. All you need now is stereo-receiver - either something vintage, or a newer one. If you go new, it's unlikely to have a phono stage, so remember to buy one of those as well.
     
  20. Doublegun

    Doublegun Practically Family

    Messages:
    773
    Location:
    Michigan
    I really have no need for a full blown receiver so what are my options? I have seen pre-amps where it appears the TT plugs into and output directly to speakers. Would that be an option? Relatively inexpensive.
     

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