Is vinyl too underwhelming? My system

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by mclayton, Sep 21, 2022.

  1. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    I love vinyl and have spent quite a bit of money for my modest budget on it along with all the gear. I also have thousands of CDs and a modestly priced though well performing CDP. Getting good sound out of CDs is very easy. You just need some well-mastered discs and a decent player. Vinyl is way more complicated.

    I don't think OP has provided enough info to really know what the problem is, but yeah a sub-$1K turntable and a bunch of random new mediocre mass market pressings and barely VG- used records, no RCM, etc. aren't going to outperform the modestly priced CDP. That's just not how anything works with vinyl unless you think records should be constantly noisy and/or like mediocre sound.

    I've heard plenty of rigs that run the gamut and the average used record store rig behind the counter with a filthy record that's been barely brushed usually sounds like garbage to me. Didn't grow up with CDs either - grew up on FM radio and cassette tapes!

    One more thing and this will likely catch hate but I don't care. If OP is using any of those Klipsch speakers with the copper colored woofers IMHO those sound like icepick ear murder and will accentuate the flaws on any record due to high frequency boost and a generally nasty sound.
     
  2. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    as a goof, i gave a audiophile friend a Rega P2 as a gift, with a parasound phono pre i had laying around.
    Hes got a very high end system as well as a very nice system in his den. Maybe $80k in gear.

    It didn't suck. he tried a rega phono pre, liked the parasound better. Tried a rega Elys2 I had. liked a $500 Nagaoka and a better parasound preamp better. No, its not nearly as good as his Ayr DAC but he uses is and has been buying records. It has a certain sound that is just different and alluring. Hes afraid of getting into it more because he'd spend north of $10k but at $1500 for the kit hes got, its remarkably good.
    The Rega phono pre and carts are dull, lack luster. The Nagaoka and Parasound on that cheap P2 is shocking good.

    I spent maybe $3500 on my TT rig plus the Marantz phono pre in my Ref model is great and it took a Terminator DAC to best it and hardly does. Just a bunch of compromises. If I spent another $2000 on Analog it would best it in all ways, im sure. But the connivence of Digital is KING so..


    OP. Maybe the phono pre you're using is the weak link. Inhibiting fidelity. The Fluence and Blue dont suck.
     
  3. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    A serious problem with recommending vintage equipment is that this gear was never designed to be operational indefinitely. So don't be surprised when that 40 year old never-recapped vintage receiver gives up the ghost in the first 60 days. And when that first capacitor or transistor does fail, don't be surprised that it potentially causes cascading failures of some other completely unobtainable parts.
     
    Big Blue and patient_ot like this.
  4. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    Vintage turntables double in market price over the last 3 years. And most of them sold under $1000 need service, which will add several hundreds more to the total cost.
     
  5. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    Vintage receivers are not something I recommend at all anymore. People on tight budgets can buy a reasonably priced new amp or just go the powered speaker route as many do. A vintage turntable can still be a great value however, but needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. Same deal with vintage speakers, which can be a real mixed bag.
     
    Big Blue and zombiemodernist like this.
  6. MAP

    MAP Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I too have an ATLP7, but coupled with an Ortofon Bronze through a Schiit Mani Preamp (I'll be getting the Mani2 g or my bday next month). It's a bit bright, but well suited to my aged ears. I love it.
     
    Lenny99 likes this.
  7. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    Also, don't be surprised if you find one at a yard sale or estate sale for $20, open it up and spray De Ox It on the knobs, never touch the caps and it works wonderfully for a decade. It works both ways.
     
    Gramps Tom likes this.
  8. Lenny99

    Lenny99 The truth sets you free.

    Location:
    Clarksburg WV
    Yes. I think it's my aged ears respond well to the slightly bright sound produced by my 2M Red (when I decide to put it to use. usually I stick with my AT VM540ML.) Coupled with my Klipsch RP160Ms it can sound just a bit bright at times. Others would prob hear it as too bright.
     
    Gramps Tom likes this.
  9. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    That has not been my experience. Every >30 year old piece I've ever come across has failed in relatively short order when put into service again without a recapping, whether deoxit was applied or not. But apparently your luck is better than mine.

    The old gear which has lasted the best in my experience is gear that has remained in service almost its entire life. Vintage gear which has sat for a decade or more often fails quite quickly.
     
    Big Blue likes this.
  10. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    As I mentioned above, I did found vintage pieces of gear which required minimum work. But they were in high-end, not mass market category when they were made. But I will recommend something that is no more than 10 years old. Again - only look at high-end category from well established makers.
     
    TarnishedEars likes this.
  11. Jacob29

    Jacob29 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City
    I wrote a very long explanation and then just decided to delete.

    In short

    The problem of lifelessness is not one that is attributed to a low cost turntable. (Those issues are motor noise, audible flutter)

    It's more likely attributed too the cartridge or the phono stage.

    My guess would be the phono stage. Right now I have an 2M Red in a system worth 100x the 2m's asking price. As I'm working on my main table and didn't want to switch cartridge. It can run circles around My digital setup

    In my opinion a quality phono stage is one of the most underappreciated links in the chain
     
    mclayton, Gramps Tom, norliss and 5 others like this.
  12. Derek Harold Nicholls

    Derek Harold Nicholls World Class 12'' arms Temaad

    Well I may have missed (sorry if I did), but we still do not know what the CD player is. My Arcam Solo 2,1 will runs rings around any T/T less than, say $5,000 to $8.000
    So it is important to know how good or bad the CD player is
    Cheers.
     
  13. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    I picked up a Pioneer Receiver from the mid-70s at an elder couple's estate sale back in 2017 or 18. I gave them $20 for it. It had clearly been sitting in the home unused for years. I opened it up, eliminated the static by spraying the knobs with Deox-It, cleaned out some of the dust inside and it worked wonderfully. I paired it up with some bookshelf speakers I got at a yard sale and an old Hibachi turntable someone had gifted me years ago, added a new Gardo Black cartridge, and curated a crate of 50 or so used albums. Then I gave it to my daughter when she moved into her first post-college rental. She's been using it ever since with no issues.

    I bought a late 70s Mitsubishi receiver and turntable for $65 at an estate sale around the same time. I serviced the receiver the same way as the Pioneer and replaced the cart on the TT. The turntable auto return broke after a year or so, a plastic piece that can't easily be replaced. So it operates like a modern TT now. :eek: I used this as my secondary system of a few years, then gave my TT to a friend and use the receiver as I test and work on TTs and speakers. No issues besides the TT auto return.

    I have 6 60s-70s era Dual Turntables mostly bought as "parts or repair" from e-bay. With some time and effort at least 3 are up and running at any one time. They are a lot of fun to mess with. I'll take a 1219 or 1229 over a new turntable any time.

    Most of the other components I use now for my two systems are vintage purchased from the classifieds here. I just don't have many issues and as a retiree I listen to one system or the other on average 3-6 hours a day. Would the two systems I mentioned earlier sound better were they recapped? The probably would, but they show no signs of failing any time soon. Recapping is the next skill I plan on learning so I'll probably start with them.

    If you are looking for a simple "plug and play" and have the money then sure, buy new. But you can often save a lot of money going with older components picked up from family member and friends, or at thrift/junk shops, yard/estate sales, or ebay, classifieds here, or craig's list. And sure there may be times that the equipment fails you, but if you have 10s dollars or a few hundred rather than $500-$2,000 in an amp, speakers or turntable then I think it's a good risk. Especially if you can do some of the work yourself or know someone that can at a reasonable cost.
     
    Gramps Tom and B. Scarpia like this.
  14. B. Scarpia

    B. Scarpia WatchingYouWatchingMe

    Location:
    WNC
    90% of the 113 posts on Vinyl vs. Digital.

    Would be nice to hear from the OP as to whether his tracking and SQ problem is solved and what, if anything, worked.
     
  15. B. Scarpia

    B. Scarpia WatchingYouWatchingMe

    Location:
    WNC
    Re-capping old receivers in particular, at best, will yield a noticeable but slight improvement in SQ. Bulging or leaking caps of couse should be replaced. There's no art to it, nearly every capacitor will be clearly marked with a value, xx uF or pF and voltage. Mouser and Digikey and other places the guitar guys know will have what you need. Very old resistors may have drifted enough from spec to need replacing but that's rare. Look for them or the PCB under having brown spots. Resistors may be (usually) measured in situ capacitors not. Jameco is the place for a casual hobbyist to buy a Digital Voltage Meter and capacitance meter. Get a set of Grabber probes to augment the ones that come with.

    Thermostat controlled soldering stations have come down in price to the $50 range and below but I haven't checked since Covid turned everything upside down. https://www.parts-express.com/search?keywords=soldering station&order=relevance:desc
    Higher heat, 750 to 800F. will enable you to get a good melt and get on and off the part quickly w.0 heat damage better than a low wattage iron. Not only is there a better chance of heat damage while waiting for a 20 Watt iron to make a connection, you'll get bored.

    I've had many replies to pix of my work that say, "I wish I had your skills". Skill is maybe 10% of the necessary, the rest is desire to do it. Someday, soon I hope (I'm 75) I'll have learned from enough mistakes to get good at this.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    I’ve been using a Classic era Technics SL-1900 mid grade fully Automatic or Manual Direct Drive turntable that I Refurbished myself, speed is spot on, cueing and all features work like it’s new.
    Slapped that Audio technica AT 120 mid level cart on it, set it at 1.75 grams and the synergy is perfect! Total cost …… less than $200. To get that level of turntable new today, and not even fully automatic, would be $2000. But the point is I have NO desire to replace it, the fidelity and synergy are there.
    It’s sad the state of New tt’s under $500 out there, most are just Chinese garbage.
    Easy to spot as so many “off brands” I’ve never heard before are offering the same identical tables, with slight cosmetic differences for stupid money.
    So in the end my friends do what you need to do to get your sound, and then ENJOY the music.

    One good thing though is there are a couple of people on The Bay who are refurbishing good Tt’s like Kenwod, Pioneer Technics, bringing them back to like new and selling them for $500 give or take a few hundred. that’s. The way to go if I had to start again…….
    Beave
     
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  17. RogerE

    RogerE Rambo, the world famous squirrel, says yeah!

    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    no.
     
  18. moople72

    moople72 Forum Resident

    Location:
    KC
    I have a modest bedroom system with the Fluance RT-85 w/ Ortofon 2M Blue.

    The plinth is the problem (along with the feet)--it does not absorb vibration well at all, otherwise very nice to have a factory installed cart and the Acrylic platter---very accurate tracking.

    To eliminate the problem I was having with vibration, I cut these to little squares--double stacked--under the three feet. All good. Beats CD and streaming to heck (generally)---especially with the position of the speakers just right for the sweet spot---pure joy.

    [​IMG]
     
    Big Blue likes this.
  19. MAP

    MAP Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    The Chinese certainly have perfected the art of making junk turntables look expensive and presenting them in very high end looking packaging. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some Chinese products really aren't that bad, the ATLP5 and LP7 are actually outstanding (I love my ATLP7) and most of the lower end AT entry level turntables are a good starting point for newbies. I still wish I still had the Garrard I had 40 years ago in my younger stupid days. I beat that deck to death and it kept on going.
     
    The Beave likes this.
  20. MAP

    MAP Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Cheap brown rubber furniture floor protectors work well also.
     
  21. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses?

    After reading this thread, I can only imagine if I were a young kid interested in albums, I would run away and hide. Let's not complicate the living **** out of this. If you're interested in records, get a turntable, even a cheap one will do, and play some albums. If you like it, and want more, move on from there.
     
    curbach, The Beave and Technocentral like this.
  22. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Meat and Potatoes all day long

    That was ME.
    I bought a Fluance RT82 just to see what its potential might be.
    The arm was total garbage.
    It was buzzing all the time like everything was fuzzy sounding.
    An average person would not know what was going on and might like the music part---but all the extra added noise from the machine was goofy.

    So I put on a real vintage tone arm and listened again.
    This time it lit up!
    But there was still a muddy dullness to everything.
    Even though now the music part had terrific tone and even at timesw sounded beautiful.
    But the mud was a drag.

    So I replaced the Fluance with a Technics.
    And screwed an adapter plate on it to run that arm on it.
    Because the stock Technics SL1210M5G arm with modifications (rubber sleeve on the arm, damper, feet, mat, headshell---you name it!) that Technics still sounded weak and thin because the arm was pretty flimsy.
    At least it didn't buzz like the Fluance.
    It just sounded two dimensional.
    It would not develop much detail like perhaps all that plastic junk was holding the Technics arm back.

    Anyway---the combo of Technics drive with vintage arm sounds amazing.
    Solid.
    Deep bass.
    Clear treble to the moon.
    Sweet mids.
    No buzz or distortion.

    I am going to buy it a balanced preamp and a Hana ML.
    It should perform at the five grand level quite easily.
    That's my experience.
    First the arm matters a TON.
    Then after you clean that up you will hear your chassis muffling the sound if the chassis sucks.
    With turntables you hear EVERYTHING.
     
    The Beave likes this.
  23. jluce50

    jluce50 Active Member

    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Fwiw, room correction (Audyssey, etc.) makes all the difference for me. Without it, the sound is relatively flat and lifeless. With it enabled, it comes alive.
     
  24. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    You need to start with acoustic treatment of the room. Digital correction cannot do a job without physical support first.

    But all that will affect both digital and analogue playback. So this is irrelevant to the topic of this thread.
     
  25. Lenny99

    Lenny99 The truth sets you free.

    Location:
    Clarksburg WV
    I'd also suggest the you get piece of lumber to place under your TT. Perhaps 3/4" thick and cut to extend beyond the feet of your TT. I use an old, large breadboard. You can buy thiz item at various costs, but a scrap of wood that is level and large enough will due. Then put some self sticking rubber pads on the bottom of the wood.

    The self sticking felt/material pads which it seems you have acquired should be followed with self sticking rubber pads adhered to the felt pads then placed on the TT's legs. You can get these round pads at most hardware stores for a minimal cost.
    I'd also check your system's stand for stability. Tighten all nuts etc.

    That should help in TT isolation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2022

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