Three years into vinyl, where to go from here.....

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Chester0711, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Chester0711

    Chester0711 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    1600 albums purchased, 3 amps, 3 pre-amps, 4 sets of speakers, 2 turntables, 3 different types of cable, two different types of interconnect, a host of room modifications including speaker placement along with acoustic treatments of varied types, and about 12 different cart/stylus changes.
    I finally have this setup at what my still rather neophyte ears feel is a good sound (depending on the pressing a great sound), but I cant help wonder what lies on the other side of the fence.

    I have utilized this exact setup for almost the last year now and had no desire until recently to upgrade any equipment.....

    - Yamaha AS-501 Amp
    - Lounge LCR MKIII Phono Pre (Silver wire) w/ mono switch
    - Pro-Ject Xtension 9 (9cc Evo arm) Turntable
    - Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 speakers
    - Blue Jean speaker cable and Audioquest interconnects
    - Audio Technica VM740ML MM cart/stylus

    Room size is about 12x12.

    Wondering where to go to get more punch and keep the cost in check. I have had a few try to steer me to MC carts as an overall upgrade. This would require either a new phono pre or the step up option the lounge offers (not sure if that is best path or not?)

    Maybe its new speakers? Would a new Amp do much or is that an afterthought at this point?

    I am a huge fan of Micro Line stylus and the sound they give. I have tried others, even a Denon 103 MC with an older pre amp that could do MC carts. Did not like it.

    Okay, so any thoughts?

    displayname likes this.
  2. moomaloo

    moomaloo All-round good egg

    It seems to me my friend that you are falling down the rabbit hole rather too quickly.... I've been there myself and nothing good will come of it.

    If I were you, I'd stop reading HiFi magazines and visiting this forum and simply enjoy what you have.
  3. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    Maybe a Subwoofer?
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  4. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Select, process, CTRL+c, CTRL+z, ALT+v

    I think is time to enjoy those 1600 albums purchased. :idea:
  5. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    Your goals seem aimless. If you don't have any particular issues with your system, be happy about it and just pursue better pressings of the records you own and new music that you might like. One thing I would suggest is not doing what you are doing. moomaloo is right. You're going down the rabbit hole. Rather than tweaking, if you have the intend of improving your system, just save your money and build a system that you will be happy with for many years. You could try an upgrade to an MC cartridge with a new phono stage. But swapping out speakers to match your current amp will likely only lead to a future amp upgrade that will be limited by those speakers.
    TarnishedEars, MGW, wgb113 and 7 others like this.
  6. Anton D

    Anton D Forum Resident

    Chico CA
    Check this baby out. I have one and love it...and it's MM!

    Acoustical Systems Fidelis Cartridge

    If it's more punch you want, agree with the subwoofer...but a lot of the punch we feel is more midrange, so maybe a more efficient 'bad ass' speaker.

    Also, depending on how you perceive your LP sound, the Sugar Cube line might be something to check out.

    Perhaps spending for a great record cleaning system.

    It also depends on what you mean by wanting punchier sound...faster? Deeper?
  7. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Buffalo, NY
    Yeah, you are lost in space. Take the next 5 years to go and listen to different speakers with music you know well. Don't buy anything but music.
    wgb113, ceedee, bever70 and 2 others like this.
  8. Musician95616

    Musician95616 Forum Resident

    Davis, CA
    The only suggestions I might make is to consider upgrading to a MC cartridge and a new phono stage, and perhaps dual subwoofers. Not sure what else you would really want to do. Acoustic treatments for the room?
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  9. astro70

    astro70 Forum Resident

    Carbondale, IL
    It seems like you're spending more time trying to make the "perfect" setup that you don't even enjoy what you have. 1600 albums? It would take me a couple years just to make a dent in that!
  10. hbucker

    hbucker Well-Known Member

    I agree with others. Stop buying. Start listening. ;)
  11. Clonesteak

    Clonesteak Forum Resident

    Kalamazoo, MI
    I would enjoy what you have but...

    If you want to upgrade I would upgrade to Elac Uni-Fi 5 speakers. I just bought a pair and running the same amp and a Elac sub. The Uni-Fi made an amazing jump in imaging and separation.
    Just enjoy your hundreds of albums. That is what I plan on doing the next decade or so. :edthumbs:
    Old Rusty likes this.
  12. IRG

    IRG Forum Resident

    Ithaca, NY
    Well you commented on my thread (thank you!) so I'll return the favor. I wouldn't change anything on the vinyl front, you have a really nice setup now. Whereas my system, that's what needs upgrading, but I'm happy (for now) with my amp and speakers.

    We have similar room size. I have those Elac's as well, good for the money, heck they're good at several price points. But I upgraded to the Dynaudio Excite14 anyways, and now that they're being replaced with a new line, there are some deals to be had. I like these speakers more than the Elacs, so that could be one area to look at. Your amp is fine, but that could be another area to sink some additional resources too. Maybe a Rogue Audio Sphynx v2 or better? So many choices now, but a tube amp might at least give you a different tone than what you have now.

    1600 records is a helluva lot. I'm not sure I could even pick that many if they were free. Almost too overwhelming for me. I couldn't listen to them all, so why have them. But that's me. I used to be that way with guitar pedals, had a lot, kept trading and buying and selling all the time, which in the end served little purpose. I have a few now I like a lot, and in the end most everything will sound similar anyways, based on my playing style. Took a while to learn that.
  13. Guildx500

    Guildx500 Forum Resident

    I’d audition speakers at local dealers. Since you mentioned more “punch” that suggests bigger speakers.
  14. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    near Tampa, FL
    It is fun to suggest to stop changing gear and just listen for years and years...
    But we all know it is almost impossible.
    Tullman, Twinsfan007, mreeter and 3 others like this.
  15. IRG

    IRG Forum Resident

    Ithaca, NY
    COuld be. Someone else mentioned dual subwoofers. But I'll be the contrarian in that the room is only 12x12, so I would consider that a small listening room, like my own. I do have a subwoofer, but I keep the level fairly low as to not overwhelm my main speakers. I actually went from the ELAC's like the OP has to the smaller Dynaudio Excite14, and don't feel like I lost punch or anything. I got something a little more musical if anything. In a bigger room, I'd likely want larger. Depends on the room size, imo.
    eyeCalypso likes this.
  16. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    My two cents... both the advice to stand pat with the gear you are currently using and the advice to look into subwoofers make sense to me. If there is something particular you feel is lacking in the sound of your system, then it makes sense to look into upgrades that address that need. However, your post seems to indicate you are in more of a “what am I missing?” place which is just too nebulous to chase.

    However, I feel confident in suggesting that the addition of a subwoofer or two would add something you almost have to be missing with bookshelf speakers (I was even missing some of it with towers before I added a subwoofer). I would be inclined to think you will gain more by adding subwoofer(s) than by changing the speakers, especially since you used the word “punch” in your post. If you for some reason are opposed to subwoofers, then I would agree with the suggestion others have made to find somewhere to listen to possible speaker upgrades. I just can’t recommend a good, deep-reaching subwoofer enough, based on my experience adding one.
    Old Rusty likes this.
  17. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Looks like a case of upgrade-itis, absolutely nothing wrong with it. If you're happy with what you've got, and simply curious about what's out there, why not plan a visit to a major city with a well known audio dealer? Your stuff looks pretty good. Curiosity can be a good thing when tempered by experience and patience. Just the listening experience of other stuff can be eye opening -er- ear opening. This would gauge your present setup, and a much more informed decision on what to upgrade. I have a friend who owned Apogee ribbons, who after auditioning countless other systems always felt happier about her present system (everything sounds not as good by comparison she said) I highlighted your room dimensions, since appox 12 x 12 can be a problem with bass modes and coloration of the bass and mids... so a room upgrade should be considered too, perhaps your most significant upgrade. You could look into a different room, maybe renovation, (take down a wall to an adjacent room) alternate speaker placement, and/or room treatment.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
    Helom and IRG like this.
  18. Otlset

    Otlset under western skies

    Temecula, CA
    To get more punch and maybe keep the cost in check, consider just a cartridge change to something in the London/Decca line of cartridges. They are very high output cartridges too, 4-5 mv usually.

    New Decca Cartridges for Sale
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  19. Subagent

    Subagent All I know is What I Read in the Liner Notes

    Arlington, VA
    You are getting a lot of "hold off for a while" advice, which I also think is valid. IMO, the big advantage in settling down with what you have is that you will come to know your gear very, very well. After 10 years of chasing the next upgrade, I stayed with my eventual analog setup for almost another 10 years. Lots of speaker positioning, and cartridge changes and so forth but no major acquisitions. During that time I became much better acquainted with my albums and their sound. I was shocked (shocked, I tell you) at how much easier upgrade decisions became when I had my system's sound signature pretty much imprinted on my brain.

    The other advantage was financial, of course. I pretty much stopped spending money on gear for a long time. When I finally upgraded to the current setup, I was able to make it happen within a year +/- as my audio coffers were full. Well, they're empty now but I am also running a set of components that were carefully selected for synergistic satisfaction. Upgrading is great, but piecemeal it is a special challenge when each new component has the potential to highlight shortcomings in older gear, or sometimes just not play well at all with the rest of it.

    Having said that, I'd get a nice RCM for that collection of vinyl. ;)
  20. Musician95616

    Musician95616 Forum Resident

    Davis, CA
    In regard to the dual subwoofers, the purpose of the subs is not to create throbbing/pumping bass. Instead, it's to fill out the bottom frequencies, allowing your main speakers to focus on the other end of the spectrum. You should be able to hear more detail and presence in the voices, etc. now that the subs are taking care of the bottom end.
  21. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA
    Ignore all posts so far - they don’t want you to be happy.

    Start reading about vintage idler wheel tables until you can’t live without at least two of them.
  22. p.analogowy

    p.analogowy Forum Resident

    Warsaw PL
    How about a different preamp? I know the Lounge gets a lot of love around here, but then there is this...

    tiller likes this.
  23. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Pisa, Italy
    BIGGER speakers. Too many people is suffering of this epidemic which spread among "audiophiles". Shoe box sized speakers never did it and will never do, it's like being in love with a Barbie doll instead of a real person. Get a pair of JBL L100 classic speakers and forget about MC cartridges or subwoofers. Thank me later!
  24. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Absolutely, a heavy turntable built like a Sherman Tank, however it must be properly restored and upgraded. (just try to find a good tech to restore the right way, ie: the proper way to clean and dry a bearing with compressed air, etc... almost non-existent) There is nothing like mass for good isolation and stability of the image. This would be a less costly option to a massive $5k and up belt drive audiophile table.
  25. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    BTW, I’m only about 2.5 years back into vinyl, and subsequently 2.5 years back into spending serious money on audio gear, so I definitely understand the mindset behind this thread. As of recently, I should probably be holding everything where it is (and financially kind of have to for a while...), but of course the temptation and wondering are there. I think part of the problem is the knowledge that much more expensive gear exists, and surely it must be “better” than what I have if people are willing to pay so much more money for it. This is reinforced with the fact that every big upgrade I have made has truly sounded worth it to me. I need to remind myself to settle down, and that I actually think what I have sounds ridiculously better than what I had just a few months ago.

    I will also point out, though, the OP says the current setup has been in place for a year. That’s enough time to be familiar with the sound and start to identify what needs improvement, surely? OP mentions the word “punch” and the speakers appear to be the weak link in the system. I just can’t imagine the $300 6.5” bookshelf speakers alone are living up to the gear upstream. While I appreciate the idea that upgrade-itis can spiral out of control, it just has to be worthwhile to look into bigger speakers and/or adding subwoofer.
    The FRiNgE and IRG like this.

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