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Discussion Starter #1
When I started recently messing around with my 5.1 HT system, I thought I'd try listening to music again; it had been many years since I had listened on a regular basis - I'm talking 25+ years. I used to have a small record collection - LP's, 12", and a few very old 45's. Never really had good equipment, but I enjoyed the music nonetheless.

I moved to different formats as technology changed from vinyl to 8-track to cassette to CD never thinking about anything other than the convenience factor. But now that I am starting to listen to music again, and more critically now; I have to wonder what those old records would've sounded like on better equipment.

What I've read so far makes me think there is a lot more to vinyl maintenance than I realized - I never really took very good care of my records back then as I didn't realize their real value - it was just music to me then. And it was all about convenience back then, too.

It is regrettable that I didn't keep any of those records - not even sure what happened to them over the years - so I have no vinyl at the moment which brings me to the question; is it worth it to get back into vinyl just because I can, or is there any other practical reason to do so other than nostalgia?
 

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worth it?... depends on what you think. Vinyl is expensive to get into properly. My uncle sold a 71' Boss Mustang for 30k so he could buy a 25k turntable. Then you have the cleaner machine which is some 700, needles, power supply, and he has about 4k in isolation materials under it.

It sounds amazing though. Not sure how a 2k total setup would sound but overall Vinyl is more expensive since it's a "niche" market these days.
 

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I was a big vinyl collector in the 80's and early-to-mid 90's. I ended up ripping and selling my collection when my wife and I bought our first home and kids entered the picture. At the time it was a total space/convenience issue...but I've found myself missing the pure tactile nature of vinyl...feel and smell of the records (themselves), the artwork on the sleeves and covers...even the groove notes. There's really something to be said about the uniqueness of vinyl as a medium.

I know that vinyl can sound VERY good. It does take time/care (and the right equipment) to get it to that point. Lots of cleaning. ;-)

I guess jumping back into the vinyl game will really depend in your ability to derive pleasure from re-collecting music you enjoy. Are you the type of person that enjoys the thrill of the hunt? If you are, you might enjoy jumping back into the land of records!

On a side note, I was down in Washington, DC this past weekend and walked past three record stores...all of them had customers flipping through record bins. Great to see.:T
 

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Ive got a relatively cheap turntable, a Sony T20 (no idea what it is worth these days) it sounds ok and the 15 or so LPs and about 25 45s hardly makes it worth upgrading to anything better.
Im still in the camp that if the recording is done well a CD will beat the quality of most vinyl on a reasonably priced turntable. Sure there is something to be said about the feel and artwork of Vinyl and its nostalgic if nothing less.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
...Are you the type of person that enjoys the thrill of the hunt? If you are, you might enjoy jumping back into the land of records!

On a side note, I was down in Washington, DC this past weekend and walked past three record stores...all of them had customers flipping through record bins. Great to see.:T
I can appreciate a rare find, and I did walk past a record store this past weekend - couldn't help myself; I had to go in and check it out. Had no idea what I was looking for, but for some reason, it felt natural to me flipping through those bins...
 

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That might be half the fun of it...the other half is listening :D

I miss the days of flipping through a bin and finding something you've been looking for. One of my favorite record shops of the past was little joint in Silver Spring, Maryland called Vinyl Ink Records. Very reminiscent of the shop in Grosse Pointe Blank (which I'm sure could be found in a lot of places across the US back in those days).

The store looked like a dump from the street (in fact it was tucked away on a side street that was pretty unremarkable). It had an air conditioner directly over the entry door that dripped down on customers as they entered...the inside of the store, itself, was kind of dingy...but it was a treasure-trove of British Indie vinyl. I distinctly remember the excitement of flipping through a bin and finding a new EP...or a rare 7-inch...maybe a release in limited edition colored vinyl. It's a great feeling.

I was only in High School at the time (and used to drive an hour to get there)...it got to the point that the shop keeper would occasionally stash a small stack of records behind the counter for me. When I'd walk in he'd simply say: "Here, buy these." :) Usually, the stack was laced with a rare McCarthy LP...the latests releases from small labels in England such as Creation Records or Sarah...bands and labels that are long gone.

Wow. I really miss those days.
 

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Oh where to begin!? I guess I should mention I listen about equally CD and vinyl, even though I own twice as many albums as CD's. Convenience can be king! So.. you want the bad news first or the good?

Yeah, vinyl hardware setup and maintenance are a hassle and cost extra. Yeah, record cleaning is definitely not a fast-food-society-microwave it-now-and-tan-in-15-minutes-because-I-need-instant-gratification-yesterday type of experience. Even getting up to change songs is a distraction. And speaking of distractions, one wrong move near the stylus (that's the "needle") can set you back money you don't want or have to spend... not to mention the beating your ego takes. And then there's the fact that even after all your labors of love, even brand-new records can have surface noise and tick-pops. For someone used to the convenience and pristine sound of digital, analog can be something of a disappointment at first. I grew up with it, so I can't say for sure, but I'd hazard a guess that it's an acquired taste for younger folks.

YET. . .

There's something about vinyl played back on a properly set up 'table (of sufficient quality) that connects me to the performance in a way that keeps me riveted and spinning songs well into the night in a way that digital cannot. Yes, a quality' table will set you back more than an equally performing digital player, but not outrageously so. And a more expensive analog rig will not be near as noisy and tick-poppy as it's cheaper cousins. About a thousand should do it for 'table, tonearm, and cartridge. That may sound like a lot, but consider what an Oppo BDP-105 costs. If that's too steep, even a complete modern rig of only $500 works sonic wonders.

And like others have mentioned, there's pride of ownership and accomplishment. Life-size artwork on the album cover is also a plus. And if you're older, you won't need a magnifying glass to read liner notes like most CD's.

Some online stores will let you try a product for 30-days risk free (except for shipping maybe). Look for names like Rega, Pro-ject, Music Hall, VPI, and Clearaudio.
 

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not sure I agree that you need an OPPO or equivalent CD player to get great CD sound. A $100 CD player will be almost as good. Thats the challenge "is the juice worth the squeeze"
 

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Fair enough when you consider diminishing returns, but I'm undecided whether or not "almost as good" applies to any $100 player, especially in sighted tests that have "Mattel Close-n-Play" on their faceplates. :D

Thanks for the reminder; I didn't mean to mislead. With help from the knowledgeable members like you here at Hometheatershack, I'm still shaking off a lifetime of audiophile snake-oil and pseudo-science.

BTW, forgot to mention that some on-line stores will set up the cartridge before shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Since I put the Oppo 103D in my living room system, I just KNOW my CDs sound better. (no, really!) (ok, maybe...?)

I, too, grew up on vinyl. I remember once when I was a little kid and the power went out, the sound of Burl Ives winding down in RPMs - I could hear his voice getting slower and deeper until the record stopped turning. I'll never forget that. Vinyl has always been something very real, even though back then I really didn't have the same respect for the format as I do today. Digital is something I can download from the Internet now - not so "real" per se, but the quality of the sound can be quite good, and it is oh so convenient...

There would be no problem for me dropping $400 or $500 on a table, provided I could get reasonably good quality sound, the likes of which I am now enjoying digitally on my Oppo. But I suppose that is subjective, part of the experience being the interaction with the table and the records - all so manual - you have to watch how hard you walk, can't bump into ANYTHING, "...if you scratch that record, so help me!"
 

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Well I would suggest starting really cheap.
Cheap turntable.
Buy a couple cheap albums of something fun and rambunctious that you like.
Mess with it for a while and see if it's something you want to do.
Don't worry about starting with good gear or high dollar vinyl until you play around with it some.
My music is all ripped, some in wav, some in ALAC, some in MP3.
Anytime I want to listen I switch over to the HDD or the iPod and select what I want to hear.

Listening to vinyl albums is a completely different experience and it has little to do with sound quality.
 

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The best think about vinyl is the sound. But, if your lazy, dont waste your money. You have to clean the records and get up to turn album over. The sound is awesome though.
 

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Well I would suggest starting really cheap.
Cheap turntable.
Buy a couple cheap albums of something fun and rambunctious that you like.
Mess with it for a while and see if it's something you want to do.
Don't worry about starting with good gear or high dollar vinyl until you play around with it some.
My music is all ripped, some in wav, some in ALAC, some in MP3.
Anytime I want to listen I switch over to the HDD or the iPod and select what I want to hear.

Listening to vinyl albums is a completely different experience and it has little to do with sound quality.
With all due respect, your last statement is incorrect. Even old but properly cleaned records can sound great on a decent 'table (excepting worn and damaged ones, of course)?

A canoe floats on water as well as a yacht, but only one is better suited for the high seas. Both a Chevette and a Corvette get you from point-A to point-B. Just as different boats/cars get you to where you're going, not all will allow you to appreciate the ride. To many people, most of the fun is getting there. To each his own.
 

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For me it's not worth it as I will go Vinyl crazy for 2-4 weeks and then never return for 1-2 years.
I will say that I plan to get a good turntable once my main system is complete and setup but it's more for having the option if someone brings a LP over.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So far I am hearing good arguments from both camps.

Seems like the sound from vinyl could have something digital just couldn't produce, assuming a purely analog system. Shortest path from source to ears, and all that. And then there's the pure, tactile nature of the medium, cover art, holding the record and manually loading/unloading, etc.

On the other hand, the equipment can be expensive, maintenance is much higher, and the entire process can be fussy. It was said to the effect a good recording on a CD can sound as good or better than vinyl on a reasonably priced system.

Sooooo, if one was to get into vinyl, starting from nothing, the suggestion would be to start small, with this I agree. But it also sounds like there is a learning curve to consider. Perhaps I will take this leap...
 

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The trouble with starting out cheap to figure out if you like it is that you will hear a very high noise floor, static, pops, wow & flutter, etc leading to disappointment. The vinyl-philes will argue that you have been let down due to the cheap gear. So you will then buy expensive gear and still hear a high noise floor, static, pops, wow & flutter and still be disappointed (compared to digital).
Even with brand new virgin $25 vinyl that has been properly cared for and washed, there probably will still be static and pops.

I got back into vinyl just over a year ago, hear is a copy of my first posting about the experience....

"This Christmas I bought myself a turntable, Pro-ject Debut Carbon. I have not had or listened with a turntable since 1988. I got the turntable because my parents have many LP's that we don't have digital versions of, so I wanted to hear some different music.
Also I was very curious about the raging debate between digital and vinyl fanatics about which is superior. I went into this with the notion that digital is superior and so far I still hold that opinion. Of course vinyl fanatics will argue that because I didn't spend at least $1000 on a TT (and I don't use a $500 LP cleaner), then it will not sound as good as it can.

This purchase also reinforces my experience that the most important aspect of sound quality is the engineering of the audio. MP3's, CD's, Hi Res downloads, and LP's can sound good or they can sound bad. Over the last week I have listened to many LP's that sound wonderful and many that sound dreadful (same experience with MP3's, CD's, and Hi Res dwnlds). But playing vinyl does have several negative aspects that are noticeable even with well engineered audio, these include very high noise floor, the pop's & clicks, and maintenance of both the vinyl and the TT.
But there is much more appreciation for the music when it is so tactile. The TT needs to be set up properly, the vinyl needs to be properly cared for. And there is a good feeling when you start to play an LP, it doesn't sound right with extra popping & clicking, and doesn't sound clear, then you take the vinyl off and physically wash it, dry it, wipe it with a brush, clear the cartridge needle of debris, put the vinyl back on the platter, drop the needle, and now there is noticeable improvemnet in the sound. There is a sense of accomplishment in that process.

As far as the TT goes... I have nothing to compare my Debut Carbon with, but I love the look and feel of it. There are many great reviews that have already been written for this piece of gear." ....
Read more: http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/two-channel-audio/71946-my-first-turntable-many-years-pro-ject-debut-carbon
 

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^^^^^^ thank you for this post.

Like i said....
Listening to vinyl albums is a completely different experience and it has little to do with sound quality.

If you enjoy the LP experience by all means enjoy it, but there is a lot more to it than just listening to music.
 

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There is plenty of music that never made the transfer to digital, and digging through the bins at a record store and finding an old favorite for $2-4 is a lot of fun. I would never buy a new digital recording that has been transferred to vinyl "just because", though.

Vinyl can sound very good, but it takes decent gear and dedication. I got started on the cheap, and went as bare bones as is possible while still getting satisfactory results, for me.

First, I found a NOS h/k turntable at a pawn shop. You can find nice used TT's, too, locally or online. These are the items that got me spinning and enjoying the sounds.

- Ortofon Super OM 10 cartridge (best match for my tonearm, call Needle Doctor or another shop like that for advice, matching the tonearm to the cartridge is KEY!).
- Cartridge protractor for alignment.
- Stylus force gauge (turntables.com has great prices).
- Spin Clean beer powered record cleaner. ;)
- Carbon fiber brush, for a quick clean and to remove static.

That should get you going and give the results you are looking for. You can also skip the 'table/cartridge hassle and buy a 'table that is ready to go, the ProJect Carbon is a great deal.
 

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I just bought an album - the first one I've owned in 30 years. (All the ones I used to own are long gone, replaced by a rather substantial CD collection...) Actually, I pre-ordered the album: Mark Knopfler's 'Tracker'.

I'm going to play that album in my bedroom on a new turntable (only $150, but has an aluminum platter, and a MM cartridge) that should be here on Monday, running into the phono preamp of a new (old) 35W RMS Marantz PM5004, feeding a pair of new Axiom M3 v4 bookshelf speakers. The turntable is fully automatic, so when I put on side one and snuggle up with my sweetie, I don't have to worry about that dreaded "tick, chrrrrrr, tick, chrrrrrr, tick" sound that used to rouse us from our haze-induced 'Dark Side of the Moon' torpor (back in the day.)

Total equipment cost: $1,000. Album cost: $29.95


Why?

I honestly don't know...Just seems like fun I guess...
 
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