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Vinyl Records and Turntables Are Gaining Sales.

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by LabelKing, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. LabelKing

    LabelKing Stylish Dinosaur

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    Quite expensive...yes. But for what they are, somewhat of a bargain in a sense...I hear the profit margin on them is pretty low....some fairly dedicated people at The Tape Project. Hopefully, they spawn a wider interest to keep the niche alive and well.

    Have you seen what some vintage vinyl is going for these days? (and they are not 1.5 generation copies)

    I guess RTR represents the ultimate in audio, as it also represents the ultimate in inconvenience (you have to change tapes just to listen to a complete album).


    For the Tape Project tapes, you need a half-track recorder to play them. Most consumer machines were quarter track so you'll have to source out a nice half-track machine.

    Of course, you could always purchase one of their modified Technics machines, but I find some of the examples to be rather tacky--turquoise inlays?
     

  2. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    I used the Stax with tube amp system on around a dozen commercial recordings I worked on in the 90s. They are the most revealing and detailed yet musical headphones I have ever used.
     

  3. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    For the Tape Project tapes, you need a half-track recorder to play them. Most consumer machines were quarter track so you'll have to source out a nice half-track machine.

    Of course, you could always purchase one of their modified Technics machines, but I find some of the examples to be rather tacky--turquoise inlays?


    You also need one that can handle the EQ they use on their tapes.
     

  4. Faded501s

    Faded501s Distinguished Member

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    Great thread!

    AF - thank you for taking the time to share some great information.

    Faded - any chance of you telling us a little more about your current set up?


    +1, I like the way you explain things AF.

    and my apologies for neglecting this thread but really, I'm not educated enough to eloquently state what I "know" to be true without the sound engineers making me look like an idiot. I don't want to get into a pissing contest over analog vs digital because I believe that the less shit that gets between the original source and the speakers...the better. As has been pointed out, the analog to digital and digital to analog conversions introduce undesirables, mainly distortion, into the equation...which, theoretically, makes analog inherently better. But, what makes digital inherently better, theoretically, is a wider frequency response and higher dynamic range. I think I've already been corrected about my beliefs but whatever...this is what I "know" to be true [​IMG]

    For me, the swaying issues about getting into vinyl were space, convenience and money. Sound quality took a back seat because again, I believe that a high quality digital system can sound just as good, or better, than LP recordings. And digital is only getting better. But mainly, I don't really need another expensive hobby. I go listen to my friend's system (and it does sound great) and he's apologizing for the static or dust or whatever it is that you can hear. Do I really want to spend a couple minutes cleaning an LP on a $600 cleaner every time I want to listen to music just to hear snap, crackle and pop as it spins on my $2500 turntable. OK, maybe it's not as bad as that but at this point in my life there are other things to do with my time and money. If I was going to get a turntable it would be more for the cool factor (because it's probably not a process I would enjoy...say, like wet shaving).

    And also, in everything I do, I am a budget, bang-for-your-buck type of person. I don't feel the need to have the latest and greatest and prefer to stay at least one step behind the bleeding edge, for the cost savings. Especially in audiophile equipment, where the law of diminishing returns is so stark and quality 2nd hand equipment is so readily available, I believe you can put together a killer system for the cost of a high quality phono cartridge. My modest $2,000 system made my friend question his choices...and this is a guy that spent $30K on a pair of custom Transparent cables. But if I felt like spending more time working so I could afford a winter beach home in Florida, a 55' sportfish, and all the guns, guitars, whiskey, wine and clothes that I wanted; I'd probably build a designated listening room filled with shelves full of wax.

    Before I get into my system, I admit that the front end is the weakest point and it will be replaced as soon as I figure out exactly how to proceed. I've tried a lot of different equipment and will make some comments about components if I think it relevant. Also, I'm one of those people that likes a mixture of tube and solid state. For me it gives the right combination of accuracy and musicality but everyone's ears are different.

    My front end is an Oppo 981, $160 used from Audiogon. Again, the weakest point in the system IMO, but a top-rated budget player with a good (enough for me until I figure out what I really want) DAC. This will eventually be replaced with some kind of media server like the Logitech Squeezebox or a Sonos or, if I can figure out the right configuration, I'll set up a laptop as a media server (I'm investigating the pros/cons and it definitely seems like a viable, low-cost solution). The shortfall of the Oppo is that it won't play FLACs (it will play SACDs though) and you can't connect a computer to it.

    I run a 10 year old MAC-3 as a pre only, although at some point this will become the heart of a stereo/home theater system. I don't know what to say about this component...it's a McIntosh, and the only one I've ever owned. I've only had it for a few weeks but so far it lives up to the reputation and I can't see ever selling it. I've owned Rotel and Acurus and the only pre that I liked as much was a Blue Circle that I sold for $700. I paid $220 for the MAC, delivered to my door, also from Audiogon.

    My favorite component is my Wavebourn Pyramid VII, Prototype 1, built to my specs and as far as I know, the only one in existence. I originally bought the Pyramid V, also a prototype that was damaged during shipping (as seen below). I always wanted to try a tube amp but I've got some terribly inefficient Magnepans and the tube power needed to drive them was just too cost prohibitive. After searching for months I rolled the dice on the Wavebourn and it's been the best stereo purchase I ever made. The designer, a Russian dude from Cali, was basically going to lose his home unless he raised some quick cash...so I got this amp for less than the cost of the power supplies. The V was originally designed to be used in a PA system and as a guitar amp. After seeing it on Audiogon I researched Anatoily, the designer, and what little I could find out about him he seemed very well respected among his peers. When the V showed up the power supplies were literally ripped from the chassis so, to make a long story short, it took six months but he tweaked the circuitry and I ended up with the Pyramid VII. I've had Acurus, Rotel and some other lesser SS amps in this system and the Wavebourn is by far the best sounding. Very, as they say, musical...and not fatiguing at all. The truth is that I bought this amp because I liked the way it looked. I love it for how it sounds and I'll never part with it because of the history I have with it and the uniqueness/cool factor. At 80W X 2 it drives the Maggies but not quite as loudly as I like when cranking NIN, Rob Zombie, etc. For classical, jazz and blues though...[​IMG]

    The damaged Pyramid V as I received it...

    [​IMG]

    My speakers are Magnepan 12/QRs. $650 from craigslist. Like the MAC-3, these live up to their reputation. I had some DefTech Mythos and I loved them until I tried some Mirages, but they were both bright and fatiguing running on an Acurus A250, in comparison to the Maggies. People either love or hate Magnepan and I am a convert. The only other speaker that I've heard that I like as much were some Martin-Logan electrostats. The guy I bought my Blue Circle from had some MLs set up in what was probably a $10K system and they sounded incredible, if not a little forward and bright. Once I audition some 1.6s I will DIY the Magnestand tweaks. Again, right now, beside the "weak front end", the main problem with my system is that my speakers are underpowered. The Magnestand tweaks supposedly increase the sensitivity from 86db to 92db!

    I use Mac Ultra Silver+ interconnects, $36 per pair from Audiogon. These are the only ones I've ever tried and, knowing I wanted tubes in the mix, got silver because it is the best conductor of electricity, maybe a little "bright", and supposedly preserves the signal better than anything else.

    Right now I'm just using Monster 12 guage speaker cable because of the retarded Magnepan connections but I've got some Tara Labs Prime bi-wires and some DNM Reson, both single core, that I'll try once I put some binding posts on my Maggies. Both sounded great with the Mirages. And yes, to a certain extent I think that cables and interconnects make a difference, but can't see paying more than $100 for speaker cables.

    So all in all I've got just under $2K in this system...less than half of what a high end phono cartridge might cost. And again, if I had the time and money I'd probably get a nice turntable and start a record collection. I just see the whole endeavor as a completely separate hobby.
     

  5. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    ^Thanks Faded501s for the kind words. If I may clear up a few minor things... 1. You generally only need to clean an LP once and it should stay fairly clean for a while, especially if you resleeve in Mofi anti-static inner sleeves. $20 per 50 sleeves or less. 2. LPs enable (above say $300 in turntable) better sound in many aspects, maybe not bass, than most CD players. So I would argue you get more sound per buck. Andre may disagree here. 3. There are some new and great phono cartridges for cheap $ like the $100 Ortofon Red. 4. MG 12s and the Oppo are super high value for dollar items. Well done. [​IMG] 5. I have heard Magnestand does great work. Certainly pretty pieces.
     

  6. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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  7. GQgeek

    GQgeek Stylish Dinosaur

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    This is a good free online publication for more affordable audio:

    http://www.affordableaudio.org/


    That is going to piss Slim off. [​IMG]
     

  8. audiophilia

    audiophilia Distinguished Member

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    Currently, I have a JVC QL-Y7 turntable with a custom copper mat and disc stabilizer like the Micro-Seiki ones of old with a Fidelity Research FR-1 MK3 and the FRT-3 Torrodial Step-Up transformer.

    Also, a custom vacuum tube amplifier with vintage military Mullards and Svetlana EL-34s. The preamplifier is a solid-state Stax combination head-phone amplifier and independent preamp, SRA-12S, that also has a Tape Loop.

    I primarily use Stax SRX-MK3 headphones, or rather, Ear-Speakers.

    Also, a Teac A-3340S reel to reel with a DBX 128 range expansion and a Revox A77, which has unfortunately been acting up recently.

    Essentially, it's all audiophile stuff from the late '70s, early '80s.


    Great stuff. Thanks.

    Mullard [​IMG]
     

  9. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    Great stuff. Thanks. Mullard [​IMG]
    I have Mullards in my Jolida phono stage. Phenomenal tube. I am soon ordering some Tung Sol Platinum grades [​IMG] from Kevin Deal. As EveAnna says, TUBES RULE! Right Andre? [​IMG]
     

  10. audiophilia

    audiophilia Distinguished Member

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    Especially in audiophile equipment, where the law of diminishing returns is so stark and quality 2nd hand equipment is so readily available, I believe you can put together a killer system for the cost of a high quality phono cartridge. My modest $2,000 system made my friend question his choices...and this is a guy that spent $30K on a pair of custom Transparent cables.
    This. Great post, Faded. Keep the passion. Enjoy the music. Ignore the crap.
     

  11. audiophilia

    audiophilia Distinguished Member

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    I have Mullards in my Jolida phono stage. Phenomenal tube. I am soon ordering some Tung Sol Platinum grades [​IMG] from Kevin Deal.

    As EveAnna says, TUBES RULE!


    You know her? Well?

    [​IMG]
     

  12. A Y

    A Y Distinguished Member

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    2. LPs enable (above say $300 in turntable) better sound in many aspects, maybe not bass, than most CD players. So I would argue you get more sound per buck. Andre may disagree here.

    Thanks for the consideration, but I don't have any problem with people saying X sounds better than Y. I only have problems when people say X sounds better than Y because of some random technical reason that makes no sense.

    Get the system that makes you happy --- that's all that matters.

    --Andre
     

  13. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    You know her? Well? [​IMG]
    We did it on her bike. [​IMG] [​IMG] The girls from Ultimate Ears at RMAF were very hot by the way. There are some fine ladies in audio if you look...hard.
     

  14. audiophilia

    audiophilia Distinguished Member

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    We did it on her bike. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    LOL
    The girls from Ultimate Ears at RMAF were very hot by the way. There are some fine ladies in audio if you look...hard.
    Very hard.
     

  15. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    I've only talked to EveAnna at shows. Nice girl and genuine passion for the business. She is married now I heard.
     

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