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

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

  1. brubacca

    brubacca Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Get ready for the absolute flame war but......

    I recently tried two different interconnects and absolutely love them. They made big difference in the sound of my system (flame suit on, here come the double blind police). The first is an internet direct company called Black Cat Cable. Their entry level Coppertone interconnect sounds really good. Also I tried a Chord Cable Company Clearway interconnect. The Coppertone is very detailed and fast in the midrange and sounds great with my DAC (Gumby). The Clearway is very balanced and fun. Neither is crazy expensive.

    If I were you I'd lose the Blue Jeans Cable Speaker Cables. I've found on my quest that cables do make a difference. I use Analysis Plus Black Oval 12 speaker cable, but after my latest foray into the interconnects I wouldn't hesitate to try either the Clearway or Coppertone Speaker Cables.

    I have a Rega Planar 2 table with the Carbon cartridge and I can say the I tried both interconnects from my Lounge Audio LCR and they made the table come alive. I was using some Emotiva Interconnects and Transparet Audio Interconnects. I found that both the Emotiva and Transparent interconnects were not allowing the table to sound its best.

    Again I know cables is a crazy subject, but this is my experience in my room.
     
  2. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Could I get you to agree with the L100s and a subwoofer? ;)
     
  3. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Helping Disco Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    But nicer stuff, spend more money. Seriously, buy it right the first time and you will save money. I would cite buying 12 carts in 3 years a perfect example. 12 carts would have to cost well over $1,000 and you have one that sells for $350.

    If you want high end results you have to get high end stuff. If the budget isn’t there, enjoy what you have and don’t worry about what else is out there.

    For more specific advice...I’d get out of the Yamaha and elac business as my next step. There was a simaudio amp posted for sale on the board in the past couple weeks that was about $800. That and say a pair of used paradigm studio 40’s (should cost about $400) would light up a 12x12 room nicely. Get out of the entry level best bang for the buck new stuff and spend the same money on used gear that is five to ten years old. And for god sake stop buying anymore cables.
     
  4. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    @Chester0711 Have you thought about getting a record cleaning machine and Mobile Fidelity inner sleeves for your records? It's a very worth while purchase to clean your 1,600+ new and used records in your collection.
     
  5. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I own a Lounge LCR III, with Silver upgrade. I've seen this guy's tepid review of the Lounge, and let me tell you - don't take it as gospel. Everyone's tastes are different. You should not discount thousands (literally) positive accolades for the unit based on the opinion of this one guy who built himself cred by posting prolifically on YouTube.
     
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  6. Chester0711

    Chester0711 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Minneapolis,MN
    I love the feedback, and yes, this whole thing can probably be regarded as a mild illness of sorts.

    I am very happy with my TT and arm. Have not really thought about an upgrade there.
    The Amp (the Yamaha) does not strike me as the upgrade where I can increase the "wow" factor much staying under $800 for the unit.

    This leaves speakers, cart, and pre-amp. In my opinion/experience, these are the pieces that change/improve the sound the most without stepping off the ledge and dedicating $2000+ to a single piece.

    Decent floorstanding speakers have been in my thoughts, but it takes a room rework to get it done. Also, not sure if I can get floorstanders for $800 or less that will make a large difference.

    The AT ML cart/stylus combo has made me happy for over 2 years now (various models). While I haven't heard everything I know that the sound it produces I like. I have been curious about Hana and the ML stylus, but I am not sure the sound difference is worth the cost or difference in the cost between the vm740, which i can literally replace at just over $200.

    I am kind of zoning in on a pre-amp, but will probably need to test a few out. One reason is the desire to try out some MC carts which current pre cant do. Other reason is outside of the initial upgrade to an ML stylus, the pre-amp has given the best bang for buck upgrade.

    So it's probably a pre or speakers with the lean going to a pre.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Oh, and the 1600 albums.....I average listening to 2-3 albums per day. I love variety and hate re-listening to music over and over. Don't get me wrong there are a few that make it to the table more than others, and I fully realize that I wont listen to some more than once, but I want selection and it is usually driven strictly by mood.

    PS- I forgot to mention that I am on my third RCM. I currently have the Pro-Ject and love it.
     
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  7. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    The “buy right, buy once” concept makes sense to me. I don’t like small incremental improvements, as I think you end up spending more money that way. Cartridges can be a little different, because I presume he still has the cartridges, which can be nice to have around to switch out (admittedly not a super convenient thing to do on a Pro-Ject arm). But the point stands, if you’re making an upgrade, really make an upgrade, because sometimes better simply is better, and you do pay for it.
     
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  8. Fruff76

    Fruff76 L100 Classic - Fan Club President

    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    I also agree. I’ve been buying records off and on since the 80’s and I don’t have that many!
     
    Aftermath likes this.
  9. Chester0711

    Chester0711 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Minneapolis,MN
    I figure I should address my process too (yes, this is all very mental).....

    Every record I buy, new or used, gets cleaned on a Pro-Ject RCM using Audio Intelligent one step cleaning solution. It is then placed in a MoFi inner sleeve (unless the record comes with something comparable) and a MoFi outer archival sleeve. It gets filed into a section of "have not listened to yet" records in chronological order by purchase. After an initial listening it gets put onto the shelf which is ordered by genre (sort of, some genres are blended) and alphabetical.

    There is no record that enters the collection without going through these steps. Yup.....I know.
     
  10. I'm about five-plus years into my "return" to vinyl and an almost completely new system. The biggest difference in my whole system was when I changed the speakers. And I agree with @Jimi Floyd that big full-range speakers can give you a more life-like presentation. I personally don't want to complicate things with subs, but I can see the advantage of them, even when running large speakers.

    After that, with vinyl -- assuming your satisfied with the turntable itself -- is the cartridge. MC cartridges are not necessarily better (just different), though they are generally more expensive. The one thing I like about them is capacitance doesn't much matter, however you need several loading options and sufficient gain to get the best sound. The thing I generally dislike, other than price, is I've yet to find a MC that can track quite as well as the best MM designs...my old Stanton 981HZS and 980LZS will track absolutely anything at only 1.2 grams, but unfortunately the styli are no longer available (the latter of this two is low impedance/output and requires an MC phono stage even though it's a MM design). My Ortofon Pro S/OM 40 tracks pretty darn well also, and those are still available despite their push towards the more expensive 2M line. I've not heard the AT you have, but I understand it's quite good as well.
     
  11. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    My problem with taking his reviews as gospel is he doesn’t account for differences in systems and rooms. I don’t accuse him of having any sort of agenda (maybe some bias toward gear he has decided he loves, but that’s natural), but at the end of the day, his reviews are just one more man’s (thoroughly produced) opinion.
     
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  12. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Great to know that you've got an RCM and a cleaning regiment going. I'll defer the others to provide you some feedback on what components can be improved.
     
    zombiemodernist likes this.
  13. Fruff76

    Fruff76 L100 Classic - Fan Club President

    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Dude, thank you!!!this should just be a canned response to just about every other thread on here. I know, I have both! The Elac’s are good in our general listening area but not even remotely close to the JBL L100 C. AND, you’re right, it’s an epidemic with the shoe box speaker and thinking micro changes are going to somehow completely alter the sound so it’s what most people are probably actually looking for. Ditch all the other upgrade plans and get the L100c, it’s a force to be reckoned with that IMHO, no 6.5” bookshelf speaker, regardless of price, can come remotely close to. It’s an actual, real game changing upgrade!
     
  14. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Not mental at all, that process makes perfect sense to me!
     
    Chester0711 likes this.
  15. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    As to a prescription to your upgrade itch: many people have given you good advise - stay put and enjoy. If, however, you're not missing your mortgage payments to buy gear, and can afford upgrading even without an obvious need - the answer is "why not?". It's a hobby, and the whole point of a hobby is to practice it and enjoy it. So, weigh both types of advice and act according to your circumstances.

    In practical terms: I would never part with the Lounge LCR Silver, even going to an MC. To get similar quality, you may have to spend 3 to 4 times the price of the LCR, and even then it's not a guaranty. Just get a step-up device. SUT's are a popular choice, but they're not universal, and need to be matched to the cartridge carefully. I prefer a good quality head amp - Lounge Copla is one you already know, I own it and like it. However, there's one I own and like even more - Hagerman Labs Piccolo 2. Adjustable across the board to fit a multitude of various carts, and dead quiet.

    Read part 2, about hte Lounge:
    Gramophone Dreams #20: Lounge Audio & MoFi UltraDeck

    Piccolo2 - MC Headamp

    Should you go the MC route, remember - the arm of your Pro-Ject is relatively low-mass, so it favors higher compliance carts. Two obvious good choices at reasonable prices are Denon DL-301/II and DL-304. Very good carts for the money.

    As to your speakers. My room is 11 x 13 - practically same as yours. And I happily run tower speakers. I did have an issue with bass boom at one point, but I fixed it by pulling them 2 feet away from the wall. Since then, I've never felt that towers are too big for my room. You did mention wanting more oomph to the sound - I suggest bigger speakers. Just try to avoid the bass boom issue by getting those with front or bottom ports, as opposed to rear ports. Others have suggested sub-woofers, which is also solid advice, just not to my own liking - I've never liked subs.

    Again, all these are purely hypothetical suggestions, for even now you have a rock-solid system.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  16. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    Mind you, I've only been listening to music for 63 years, spent tens of thousands of dollars on equipment, upgrades and veritable years on both the research and testing. I've been in and out of recording studios since I was 15, 35+ years in radio, including production, jingle work and mixing. Driven to work with every listening situation from wind noise and road noise to cars that convince you you're floating on a cloud of air. So...there may just be some areas of my audio experience that don't measure up to others here on this board.

    But, for my money, and personal satisfaction with the 2,000 LP's, 4,000 CD's and scarily-increasing collection of surround sound, I can offer you this one piece of advice:

    ...you're apparently chasing after some ideal of sound reproduction that is not getting through to your ears, no matter how much money and investment you throw at it. It is possible you have far too high expectation from reading the ambergris that floats around on this forum and many others, and like a woman with an addiction to botox surgical reconstruction, it will bankrupt you, and all you will get out of it will be watching the fish-lipped silicon lady bouncing out the door with your best suitcases.

    The needles in the grooves still do a fine job of reproducing every speck of dust in the vinyl, the static is optimally-represented annoyingly within the soundstage, the hiss of the master tape in-between the tracks still reminds you of its' presence, the noises in the motor function continues to be accurately-captured and amplified to a point of madness, and the fact that you can't allow yourself to admit that because "well, that can't be the problem, it's the most sophisticated sound reproduction system on the planet...maybe it's my DAC connectors..."...should tell you at least something about the real issue, but you're training your own logic processes to ignore it.

    The same things I hear when I do my best efforts to clean an LP, tweak the system, and align, re-align and degauss my listening room...are the same irritants I kissed goodbye to when I changed my focus to CD's back in the mid '80s. The things the Used-LP-store owners were crowing about had some merit to their resentful proclamations, but couldn't be heard over their fear their business model was really their agenda. Decades of righteous indignation, it became apparent, the biggest problem they had with the sound of a CD was the same thing that plagues a bad LP experience in the best of circumstances: the master, not the medium. Better selection of recordings and better selection of available masters made all those arguments sound more like a junk yard dog howling in an airtight jar, than a clarion call of resistance. And today, my not-quite-consistently-Perfect-Sound-Forever, has benefited from years of improvements both in the manufacture and production, but the marketplace as well.

    Not to the point of shutting-down the argument by any stretch of the imagination, but to the point where it's a cocktail chat, not a presidential debate circus. And, once I found I could live with that...I stopped feeling the need for posting threads hera about how to best spend the remainder of my life savings I had earmarked for Rogaine, insulin and Meals On Wheels.

    My solution isn't perfect. Neither is the mania surrounding the pursuit of a manufactured sound ideal that goes out the window anyway when your $800 cartridge hits that first side-long gouge.
     
  17. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I can’t imagine anybody on this forum was actually suggesting you’ve purchased too many albums, that’s just got to be well above average acquisition rate! It’s where most of the money probably should go, IMO.
     
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  18. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    Onward and upward!! To infinity!
     
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  19. p.analogowy

    p.analogowy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Warsaw PL
    No worries, I am taking his advice with a grain of salt. For instance, he is a strong advocate of the Nagaoka MP-110, but for me it was disappointing: harsh and sibilant on certain records, and on couple it just felt out didn't cut it. However, the feedback on the Lounge I saw was mixed, so all I am implying is that a different preamp might help.
     
  20. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Helping Disco Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    [​IMG]
     
  21. Hab

    Hab Forum Resident

    Location:
    Walsall
    1600 albums in 3 years? Christ on a bike!!
     
  22. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    Or on crutches:)
     
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  23. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    Ha! Love it!
     
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  24. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I do have to wonder if it’s actually 1600 separate titles, or 1600 total discs, including box sets, etc. Also, how many are brand new, how many are individually sourced and graded, how many were bulk thrift/garage sale lots, etc. Was there an inherited collection or something that contributed to the total?
     
  25. Fruff76

    Fruff76 L100 Classic - Fan Club President

    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    true, we have record stores in Pittsburgh that give away boxes of albums occasionally - not exactly the best stuff. I suppose you could accumulate a lot that way.
     

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