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  1. #26
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    The turntable and tonearm can handicap a cartridge every bit as much as the other way around. Members of another forum with far more talk of turntables than this one tend to overrate the importance of the cartridge. The OM series isn't so good that it warrants basing a turntable decision on it. It's all that simple.
    If this were a general audiophile discussion about turntables, I'd agree with you. But, the topic is the entry level market, and from what I've seen in this market, the OEM-installed cartridge is very much an afterthought.

    Music Hall doesn't even disclose which vendor supplies the cartridges for their entry level MMF 2.2 model. And the flood of USB turntables I've seen coming onto the market similarly don't typically disclose the cartridge make and model, and often use inferior conical styli. Indeed anyone can simply upgrade the cartridge, but that's yet another learning curve for a vinyl novice and an added expense on top of whatever the turntable itself costs.

    I'm not claiming that the Ortofon OM series is the last word in cartridges, but it does offer up decent performance in the entry level price points and a seamless upgrade path. Given all that, its inclusion with the Pro-Ject turntable is a plus, especially for someone who's just getting into vinyl and doesn't have a huge budget.
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  2. #27
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    If this were a general audiophile discussion about turntables, I'd agree with you. But, the topic is the entry level market, and from what I've seen in this market, the OEM-installed cartridge is very much an afterthought.

    Music Hall doesn't even disclose which vendor supplies the cartridges for their entry level MMF 2.2 model. And the flood of USB turntables I've seen coming onto the market similarly don't typically disclose the cartridge make and model, and often use inferior conical styli. Indeed anyone can simply upgrade the cartridge, but that's yet another learning curve for a vinyl novice and an added expense on top of whatever the turntable itself costs.

    I'm not claiming that the Ortofon OM series is the last word in cartridges, but it does offer up decent performance in the entry level price points and a seamless upgrade path. Given all that, its inclusion with the Pro-Ject turntable is a plus, especially for someone who's just getting into vinyl and doesn't have a huge budget.
    I'm just saying I disagree, specifically about the turntables and cartridges at hand in this discussion. That's the sum total of it.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post
    Problem with your budget is that while there are decent turntables in that price range, you're still short on (IMO) the most important yet overlooked part of the vinyl playback chain -- the cartridge. Each cartridge imparts its own sonic signature on the playback, and they interact differently with different turntable/tonearm combinations.

    The two most frequently cited budget turntable brands in audiophile circles are Pro-Ject and Music Hall. They get high marks for their playback quality, but Music Hall uses a proprietary cartridge with its entry level MMF 2.2 model. Supposedly, this is the same thing as the Goldring Electra, which is their entry level model.

    Pro-Ject's entry level Essential turntable uses the Ortofon OM 3E. Now, Ortofon's OM series is a solid and versatile choice, but the 3E stylus is their bottom-of-the-line and while I'm not familiar with that model, I used to own the higher line OM 10. If you're concerned with quality playback, I'm not sure if I'd go too much further below the OM 10, which sounds decent but not nearly as good as the higher end 20, 30, and 40 models.

    Fortunately, the OM series allows you to upgrade by simply changing the stylus, but each step up will cost you. The best bang-for-the-buck is the stylus 20, which costs about $140. The stylus 10 costs about $50.

    I don't think that Goldring offers a similar upgrade path for their Electra model, which means upgrading will require buying an entire cartridge. So, if you need to stick with your budget, and can't add more for a cartridge, I would opt for the Pro-Ject by virtue of its including the more easily upgradable Ortofon OM cartridge.

    Keep in mind that with a lot of playing time, you'll need to replace the stylus about once a year or every other year.
    Thanks a million guys for all the advise. Sorry for the late reply.

    I'm going to go for the Pro Ject Debut 3 OM10. Now all I need to find out is what the best suited amp for that vinyl player would be. Can anyone give any suggestions? Thanks again for all the help so far

  4. #29
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rock View Post
    Thanks a million guys for all the advise. Sorry for the late reply.

    I'm going to go for the Pro Ject Debut 3 OM10. Now all I need to find out is what the best suited amp for that vinyl player would be. Can anyone give any suggestions? Thanks again for all the help so far
    Give us a budget, tell us about your speakers or other equipment, musical preferences, whatever else seems pertinent.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob View Post
    Give us a budget, tell us about your speakers or other equipment, musical preferences, whatever else seems pertinent.
    Well, I generally go with... your vinyl player is only as good as your cheapest component that you use in your set-up. It's a general rule of thumb that I tend to stick by, so given that the Pro Ject 3 OM10 is approx 250... I would prefer to keep to the same price area for an amp. I haven't got speakers yet... but again, something in and around that price bracket.

    Musically, I listen too rock, classical, film score electronic... really a bit of everything

    Any help would be much appreciated

  6. #31
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Trying to get near or into that price range, I'd probably look first at the Marantz PM5004 integrated. I think Cambridge Audio and NAD have comparable models that would be worth considering. I own a Pro-Ject Debut III but in this price range I'd recommend the Rega RP1. I bought my Debut III used and got a good deal. But if I were buying new, I'd be more interested in the Rega.

    I also like Rega's small speakers on the value end of things, but it depends on preference. Small speakers will usually not produce the quantity of bass that the larger speakers will.

  7. #32
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    Hi guys, still on the hunt. But I'm going to commit to buying one... I originally decided on the Pro-Ject Debut 3, but came across the Pro-Ject Audio RPM 1.3 / Genie 3 and now I'm completely lost. Which is better, the Pro-Ject Debut 3 (with a Ortofon Super OM10 cartridge) or the Pro-Ject Audio RPM 1.3 / Genie 3 (with a Ortofon Super OM10 cartridge, which could add later)?
    I also need a pre-amp (was looking at the basic Pro-ject Phono stage), as I've only a B&W Zepplin for now. It'll be a good while before I can think of getting anything else, and I don't want to wait any more

    I'm looking at Ebay for the best prices... have be outbid on a few pro-jects... and one in particular had the phono stage included

    Please can you guys help me figure this nighmare out

    Thanks again for all your help

  8. #33
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    "amazed at how the Technics made them all sound so similar."

    thats one of the reasons i drifted away from my PLL1000a. yes, the carts sounded different but not as much as in my MMT arm or g707 arm.

    getting started, one can accept the cart that comes on the tt but after a while, changing up to a better one will elucidate the reason for doing so. i agree that the pearl (or oyster) is better left for someone else or kept as a backup for when it is better than NO cartridge. a grado, ortofon, or nagoaka can take you to better places than the pearl, oyster, or BP2.

    project is certainly a good alternative to mhall and i wouldnt hesitate getting one if i had to start over. a used dd or belt table with an arm that uses a detachable shell can be a great start into the vinyl part of the hobby. changing carts and inspecting the stylus is ever so much easier with a detachable shell. changing carts on an arm on the table is nerve wracking.
    ...regards...tr

  9. #34
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rock View Post
    Hi guys, still on the hunt. But I'm going to commit to buying one... I originally decided on the Pro-Ject Debut 3, but came across the Pro-Ject Audio RPM 1.3 / Genie 3 and now I'm completely lost. Which is better, the Pro-Ject Debut 3 (with a Ortofon Super OM10 cartridge) or the Pro-Ject Audio RPM 1.3 / Genie 3 (with a Ortofon Super OM10 cartridge, which could add later)?
    I also need a pre-amp (was looking at the basic Pro-ject Phono stage), as I've only a B&W Zepplin for now. It'll be a good while before I can think of getting anything else, and I don't want to wait any more

    I'm looking at Ebay for the best prices... have be outbid on a few pro-jects... and one in particular had the phono stage included

    Please can you guys help me figure this nighmare out

    Thanks again for all your help
    Personal opinion...The Debut III is better than the RPM 1.3. I don't like the 1.3's tonearm.

  10. #35
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    Cool Need some advice also

    Hey all, I am new to this forum but not new to audio. I would describe myself as a strong audio enthusiast who aspires to be an audiophile but does not quite have the budget yet. My musical interests range from hard rock, alternative to experimental quirky and lounge stuff. Having a house with 3 young kids makes it difficult for daddy to listen to any kind of grown-up music right now. I have the whole surround sound system down for watching movies, but now I want to build something special for the living room.

    I would like to be able to listen to some higher end recordings, on 180-200g vinyl. I have an extensive and outdated collection of rock on vinyl that is all scratched from a previous life on panasonic and luxman turntables. I also have a middle sized collection of cd's and some decent super audio cd's but rarely listen to them. I now have about 80gb of mp3's, some high quality rips some not.

    I have a decent pair of Monitor Audio Silver 3i's on stands in my 20 x 22 living room. I would like to build a very nicely presentable system around them, as few components as possible but very nice and sweat sounding, for entertaining adult dinner or party guests at our house. I would like to start with vinyl and mp3's only, no cd's and no radio. I think my starting budget should be about $2500 for now just so my wife doesn't get too upset. I have always wanted a tube amp, but most seems out of my budget. I also want a decent turntable, like a Rega or Music Hall.

    What can you guys suggest for a decent system, all inclusive, in my budget range? I would be willing to entertain used equipment but I know this can be difficult to find and sometimes troublesome to fix. I am in the Chicago suburbs, so there are quite a few decent hifi stores in the area, including my favorite MusicDirect.

  11. #36
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    My first thought would be an integrated amp by Marantz, Rega or Cambridge Audio. Marantz starts under $500 and includes a phono input. Put together the Marantz with a Music Hall MMF-5.1 and the stock Goldring cartridge and you're in under $1,500. Or how about Rega's Brio-R integrated, RP3 turntable, and the Elys2 cartridge. Or maybe do an Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge instead. That setup would be $2,000 plus tax.

  12. #37
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    You could also pick up a nice Jolida tube integrated amp on Audiogon. I saw a JD502RC on there for $1190, add to that the Music Hall MMF 5.1 that Noob had mentioned and you have a very nice system for less than $2000.
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    Rotel RCD-1072 (CD Player)
    Bryston BDA-1 ( DAC )
    Sennheiser HD-600 (Headphones)
    Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 (Headphone Amp) _

    HT System
    Usher X-719 (Mains)
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    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

  13. #38
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    Thanks for the ideas, but a couple of quick comments/questions:

    1. I have owned several Marantz components in the past 10 years, and although I felt like they were very high performance for the money, they all stopped functioning within a few years, which was way too short of a lifespan IMHO. Because of this I vowed never to buy Marantz products again.
    2. I have read some nice reviews on the new Rega RP3 with the standard configuration, but you are both recommending the Music Hall MMF 5.1 instead maybe. Any specific reason? Just wondering since the article in Stereophile made it sound like the RP3 was a really top notch choice for the price.
    3. What do you think is the minmum threshold of power output into 8 ohms for a tube or other preamp that would still play sufficiently "loud" in case I really want to crank up the volume? I still want something that sounds really nice, but I guess now I am thinking I also want to be able to wake up the neighbors a little...
    4. The Jolida integrated amps are really nice looking, especially the jd202rc that I see on Audiogon for $950.00. Are they reliable if you pick one up used?

    5. If I simply went this route, and got the Rega RP3 in stock configuration with Elys2 cart and the Jolida JD202rd, that's about $2000.00. Don't I need anything else if I want to play MP3's as well or will an integrated amp do all the connections I need it to? I am used to my audio/video receiver doing everything that I am not sure what I need.

  14. #39
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Regarding Marantz, I see no reason you couldn't exclude them and still have very nice options in this price range. I think the Rega amps would be very good contenders for this system.

    I think Jack and I have both had good experiences with Music Hall turntables and consider them to be relatively good value in the current market. I moved on from my MMF-5 to a Rega P5, but I really enjoyed the Music Hall. I might even get another, someday. Rega is no doubt a good contender in your price range and I don't have any reservations about the RP3. As you might have noticed, the RP3 was one of the only two turntables I recommended. There are not many new turntables in this price range, but the ones in this range are quite good. They don't necessarily measure up to what you could buy for the same money on the used market, but it's that way with just about any component.

    If you want volume that will wake the neighbors, perhaps high sensitivity in the speakers is the way to go. I used to have a 60-watt Adcom amp paired with some efficient JBL speakers and it could play really loud. I also had the 200-watt model and eventually settled on the 100-watt Adcom. They all easily provided enough power. I'm not necessarily recommending Adcom...I'd probably more likely recommend Rotel for economical separates...but the power ratings are the point. That being, it doesn't always take a high number to play loud. My main system contains a 45-watt tube amp and it can play louder than I'd ever want.

    I've always had just a little bit of reservation recommending Jolida amps, but for no real concrete reasons. I mostly just think it would be better to look at PrimaLuna for that sort of thing. Personal preference, I suppose...at least partly due to being able to listen to PrimaLuna amps at a local dealer.

    If you want to play MP3 files on this system, I would suggest a DAC. A DAC may have a USB input, a coax SPDIF input, a Toslink, and perhaps more. You can run many MP3 players into audio inputs, but a DAC can do a better job. I have a PS Audio Digital Link III for that purpose, which goes for around $600 to $700 on Audiogon and lists for around $1,000. Cambridge, Music Hall, Musical Fidelity and Rega have DACs at various price points from $1,000 on down. Some people use little devices like the HRT Streamer for this purpose, too.

    Another use for the DAC is to run your CD or DVD player into it. You can get a substantial upgrade from the sound quality of budget CD players by running the digital output into a DAC. Of course, you could always just plug a computer into the DAC and use your hard drive as your transport instead of a CD player.

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