Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Gemelli, Sep 7, 2023.
I would be very suspicious of anyone who says that the quality of a turntable has a bigger impact on sound than the quality of speakers.
I’m going to let my ears decide. It’s time I go visit dealers and ask them to demo …1. A $1000 Source on $5000 amp and $5000 speakers versus 2. A $5000 Source on $1000 amp and $1000 speakers.
It always starts with the source. Garbage in, garbage out!
Absolutely. Higher end components down the line will be more revealing of the source.
We all know that the gear's price is not the only thing to consider, but in many cases the high price can give better sounding.
As we are all different, some will argue for sources, the other for speakers and so on for preamp, amp, sub, phono stage, etc.
After some changes, I'd trust the "balance" between components, not in money amount.
This will take time but time will be better spent.
As side note, the speakers were the revealing factor for upgrading the rest.
For me when I changed to P3, I almost needed to change (second hand LP12 was nice surprise), so turntable, cartridges, phono stages, amps and still work in progress.
I believe the way most people who say that the TT is more important than speakers are framing this, is that, without getting the most accurate signal as possible from your source, if you upgrade to better speakers, you will just be getting a more accurate representation of an inferior, inaccurate signal.
Of course, speakers make the biggest audible difference, but getting the most accurate signal to feed them, is more important for better accuracy.
I've had a P3, P6 and P8 all through the exactly same set up. Including interconnects and Cart. The turntable MATTERS !!!!! Start with the best turntable you can get. I had a Goldring 1042 on these tables, which is a rad cart, but not the best. The difference between TTs was a lot.
Of course speakers are the most impactful ont what you hear, but it is all a system so each piece is important. Balance and synergy are key.
During my own upgrade journey, when I made a major speaker upgrade, within the first week I recognized I needed to move up on my TT/cart.
The finest speaker will only reproduce what you put in it, every time.
It cannot turn a poor source into great sounding music, just as you cannot make chicken salad out of chicken ****. Similar concept.
You have a nice turntable, cartridge, and integrated amp.
Your experience is proving the strategy beautifully. Was the same phono pre used with all three turntables? I have a decent phono stage but it’s not at the level of the Clearaudio Concept turntable, which has me wondering. It will be a revealing experiment to hear my phono on a better turntable than the Clearaudio. It’d be much easier to add a phono than turntable. But I’m not married to it. I’m open to selling the Clearaudio for a better turntable.
As others have said. It all matters. Simplified, a system will only sound as good as the weakest link. Knowing what you are seeking and where you want to end up can be helpful in determining what "needs" upgrading next.
I would experiment with some different phono stages FIRST. There must be some dealers in TO that will loan you a phono stage for the weekend? Pick a budget range and try a bunch, both SS and tube.
I’m seeking a wider soundstage, more depth, more air and space between instruments, more flesh. I’m hearing a bit of all that, especially when I switch from streaming to vinyl. And now I’m wondering what changes will give what I’m searching.
Yes, that sounds like a good first step. I’ve never asked a dealer to borrow a take home component, but I’ll try.
I've borrowed lots of gear from a local dealer over the years. They won't let anything out the door without your credit card number thou.
Hmm. How much have you played with speaker/sweet spot positioning and room treatment? Might yield some incrementality for "free". If that has been explored or if it's not an option, then you might be on to something with the phono front end given that it improves when you switch from streamer to vinyl.
Depends entirely on the relative starting point quality of the speakers and turntable that someone is looking to replace/upgrade. It's certainly at the level of mechanical transducers -- the speakers and the record player -- that the grossest departures from linearity tend to occur and where changes made tend to have the grossest impact. But if the speakers are halfway decent already and well matched to whatever is driving them, and the turntable is not, well, it may be that a change in the turntable will make a bigger impact on the sound quality than a change in the speaker. Turntables and tonearms are vastly different in terms of mechanical noise and vibration breakthrough, susceptibility to acoustic breakthrough, resonances that modulate signal, ability to produced more or less tracking distortion and/or have a higher degree of adjustability. These things subjectively can have a huge impact on timbre, dynamics, separation, detail, etc.
Have you optimized your room set up and room acoustics? To me, things like first reflection times, the presence of flutter echo in a room, comb filtering effects from non diffused quickly arriving reflections in small rooms, undamped overhanging bass decay times, all these things have huge impacts on soundstage width and depth and imaging (in addition to impacting -- both because of boundary interference effects, off axis speaker response, and room modes -- frequency response at the listening position in ways that are much more dramatic than most equipment differences). Often moving speakers and listening position a foot can make a much bigger change than a change of equipment.
I haven’t put much effort in the room. It’s a typical room with area rug, furniture, and a listening chair in sweet spot. I have played around with speaker positioning a lot though.
I asked for that from about a dozen dealers who were uninterested. In the end, I had to buy without testing anything. Some dealers had demo gear and they wouldn't let me borrow that for 24h either. Dealers in BC might be different but the ones in Toronto are anything but cooperative, in my experience.
When i first got into this i had a local dealer who offered to send me home with whatever i wanted to try out (within reason: Amps, Preamps, Phono stages, Smaller speakers etc..) ... it was a game changer. They got my business for decades by doing so. Being able to have the gear in my system, my room, my speaker, my tunes, my cables etc really showed me what i was getting into before dropping dollars and hoping for the best. Living with a piece for a few days would usually tell me if it was something i wanted to invest in. If you can find a dealer who will do this, take them up on it!!
That sucks man, sorry to hear it.. Some dealers these days are more hesitant to offer because folks sometimes demo something and then find a used one on Audiogon and they don't get the sale...
I figure business must be booming if they're unwilling to let me test an 8K turntable, or 6K speakers, or 5K phono preamp, or, or or...