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Thread: Need Help.

  1. #1
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Need Help.

    After years of contemplating I am finally at a place where I'd like to delve into the world of analogue in a serious way. My main hesitation in the past was knowing that once I got hooked, I would be seriously hooked and may not have the budget or time to really tinker around in the ways that I would want to, but alas the time has come.

    I need help because while I have been to shows and seen/heard other great systems, I know very little about where to begin for myself, aside from the fact that I have a start-up budget in mind of about $5000 that I would like to invest in a table, along with the immediate pieces that coincide with that. However, I am also considering the idea of making my analogue system independent of anything else that I currently have, so I am leaning towards all new speakers as well, which will certainly increase the budget, but my initial thoughts on speakers were Totem Acoustics. I also like ProAc, PSB, and may even consider going with the entry level Hansen Audio towers.

    What do you guys recommend equipment wise and where would you invest the $5,000 initially knowing that down the road more money would be pumped into this system?

  2. #2
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I think your budget would be pretty nice for my purposes, but of course each person is different. When I decided I wanted my first nice modern turntable, I chose a Music Hall MMF-5 after a little searching around, but not exhaustive. I feel lucky to have landed on that one. I eventually decided I wanted to be at a little higher level and started looking at a wide array of options, mostly those available for somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000...either new or used. When it got to where I was pretty serious about upgrading, the choices I considered the most were the Music Hall MMF-7 or 7.1, the VPI Scout and the Rega P5. I chose the P5. I think these, along with the Clearaudio Concept would be good options for a turntable within your budget.

    For a phono stage, there are some good options in the range of $500 to $1,500. I chose the PS Audio GCPH but I also would recommend looking at the Musical Surroundings Phonomena, Rogue Stealth, Whest Two, Dynavector P75, Primare R20 and maybe even the Pro-Ject Tube Box SE II.

    Since perhaps I'm not spending the whole budget, especially if you're going used, I might suggest a nice integrated, like the Primare I30. I went the tube route and chose the Audio Research CA50. I would highly recommend auditioning the Audio Research VSi60 if you're a tube fan, but at new prices it busts the budget. I sometimes see them and the VSi55 on Audiogon. Of course, there's PrimaLuna if you want tube gear at lower prices.

    Then there's the cartridge. I think you have to look at cartridge separately for each system and turntable. I have become a Goldring fan and would recommend their 1042 moving-magnet cartridge or their Eroica moving-coil cartridge with the Rega and Music Hall turntables, but there are also good versatile choices like the Dynavector 10X5 and the 20X series that might drive your decision about a phono preamp. Highly adjustable preamps like the GCPH and Phonomena will allow you greater flexiblity in your cartridge decision, but you'll still want to consider the cartridge's weight and specified compliance along with the effective mass of the tonearm. I would avoid a preamp with high gain if you get a cartridge with high output. It could be a recipe for distortion.

    I'm not sure I have too much to say about speakers. I really like the ProAc Response 1SC, which can be found on Audiogon fairly often for around $1200. Realistically, I'm one to ask questions about speakers rather than answer them, so I'll leave that one to the better informed. Besides, it also depends on factors you haven't gotten into in this thread yet.

    So a budget check...How about $1,500 for a turntable, $500 for a cartridge, $1,000 for a phono preamp and $2,000 for an integrated.

  3. #3
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    noob made an assumption regarding amplification, will you be needing a new amp to power your speakers? If so do you dig tubes?

    My only other question is do you have any objections to used gear, Agon style?

    If you go used, even just for some of it, you could stretch that budget something fierce. You can pick up a beautiful VPI table in the $1K range nowadays.

    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    So a budget check...How about $1,500 for a turntable, $500 for a cartridge, $1,000 for a phono preamp and $2,000 for an integrated.
    noob you left out his speakers...but if he threw in some Tektons they could be squeezed into the amp portion perhaps. A decent hybrid from Grant Fidelity would leave some change.

    Anyhow answer my qustions and let's spend some money.

  4. #4
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Clarification...

    The 5K is to begin the journey into analog minus the expense of the speakers. The speakers will likely be something modest at first, but like the analogue gear will be upgraded down the line.

    So basically what I am looking for our recommendations on all that I would need (minus speakers) to get started in the world of analogue and specifics on models and such for a good combination of gear.

    Speaker-wise, I am looking at Totem Acoustics (likely the Arro or similar) and maybe something from Focal. I also like the M2 from PSB.

    I am very open to the idea of tubes as well, in fact I was looking up some integrated tube amps as potentials. I am also very open to used equipment and especially items on Audiogon, etc.

    Hope this helps!

  5. #5
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Maybe you need a PrimaLuna ProLogue Two.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Need Help.-1277833073.jpg  

  6. #6
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    Maybe you need a PrimaLuna ProLogue Two.

    Can you tell me more about it, I have never heard this tube amp before.

  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Did anyone else read the thread title and think we had reached the fifth stage???

  8. #8
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    Can you tell me more about it, I have never heard this tube amp before.
    They get generally good reviews. The one local boutique audio store in my town carries them, but doesn't push them. They're somewhat economical, as far as tube gear goes...less than an integrated from Audio Research, but more than JoLida. The reviews I've seen aren't without reservation, though. I have no significant experience of my own with them. The salesman and I popped in that room for a minute or two and headed on over to the Rega gear that I had come in to quiz them about.

    The ProLogue Two picture came from a dealer's Audiogon listing for $1,500. That ad has expired, but I suppose they'll re-post. There's a ProLogue One, as well, which they had posted for $1,000.

  9. #9
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    IF you like PrimaLuna, then you should also take a look at Mystere HI Fi which is the baby cousin of PrimaLuna. Notice they pretty much look the same.




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  10. #10
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    They get generally good reviews. The one local boutique audio store in my town carries them, but doesn't push them. They're somewhat economical, as far as tube gear goes...less than an integrated from Audio Research, but more than JoLida. The reviews I've seen aren't without reservation, though. I have no significant experience of my own with them. The salesman and I popped in that room for a minute or two and headed on over to the Rega gear that I had come in to quiz them about.

    The ProLogue Two picture came from a dealer's Audiogon listing for $1,500. That ad has expired, but I suppose they'll re-post. There's a ProLogue One, as well, which they had posted for $1,000.
    So with that in mind, where would you put the rest of the money for the budget and what equipment would you recommend for the gear?

  11. #11
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Are you looking to sell your T6, Parasound, and others to fund the this analog journey? I'm confused because you are talking about acquiring a pair of M2.

    Assuming to keep your existing gear, if I had $5K to start again I wouldn't hesitate to spend $1500(used TT), $800(new or used cart), $2500+ (used phono).

    -Clearaudio Performance, Emotion, Pro-Ject Perplex (with 9cc EVO), lightly used VPI Scout or Scountmaster found locally, or Technics SL-12XX with a modern SME .

    -Used Lyra or Benz and have it retipped. Or a ZXY thru Sorasound or AT-150MLX.
    You just need to find out which House-Sound you like in your system,. It seems Dynvector is either love or hate. That's what I found out abou Shelter 501mk2. The Shelter is nicely reviewed, but I hated it...

    -K&K Maxxed out Phono(NEW), Modwright SWP-9.0SE, less noisy newer version of Aesthetix Rhea, Pass XONO if your system sounds warm, GNSC modded used BAT P-5, used GNSC Audio Research phonostage, GNSC modded used EAR 834P.

    Would I know above combo will sound best? Absolutely not. That's why I experiment with used gear.

    JRA

  12. #12
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon
    IF you like PrimaLuna, then you should also take a look at Mystere HI Fi which is the baby cousin of PrimaLuna. Notice they pretty much look the same.
    Are they related somehow? I'm not quite seeing the resemblense. Maybe it's made at the same factory in China?

  13. #13
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Are you looking to sell your T6, Parasound, and others to fund the this analog journey? I'm confused because you are talking about acquiring a pair of M2.

    Assuming to keep your existing gear, if I had $5K to start again I wouldn't hesitate to spend $1500(used TT), $800(new or used cart), $2500+ (used phono).

    -Clearaudio Performance, Emotion, Pro-Ject Perplex (with 9cc EVO), lightly used VPI Scout or Scountmaster found locally, or Technics SL-12XX with a modern SME .

    -Used Lyra or Benz and have it retipped. Or a ZXY thru Sorasound or AT-150MLX.
    You just need to find out which House-Sound you like in your system,. It seems Dynvector is either love or hate. That's what I found out abou Shelter 501mk2. The Shelter is nicely reviewed, but I hated it...

    -K&K Maxxed out Phono(NEW), Modwright SWP-9.0SE, less noisy newer version of Aesthetix Rhea, Pass XONO if your system sounds warm, GNSC modded used BAT P-5, used GNSC Audio Research phonostage, GNSC modded used EAR 834P.

    Would I know above combo will sound best? Absolutely not. That's why I experiment with used gear.

    JRA

    No, I have a dedicated home theater system, which I've made minor adjustments to since last here. Nothing crazy, I updated my receiver with a Pioneer Elite VSX-94TXH, bought a PS3 for all my Blu-ray needs until I can get maybe a Marantz Universal system. Also, I kept the PSB T6's, but added the C2 Center, and the Imagine S surrounds. Alas I also updated the ole' Tube HDTV and replaced that with a 46" Philips Ambilight LCD. I guess I need to take some new photos!

    So in short, this system will be the place for all my home theater needs along with CD and SACD, but the analogue will go in another dedicated room for my wife's artwork, paintings, and soon....listening. We would like to decorate the walls with some of the best vinyl artwork as well, but first we need to get the system in tact.

    As far the the PSB M2's are concerned, I still love them and think they would be a great starting place for the analogue system, although I am open to other ideas as well. The room for this is 16" X 18" and is about as square as they come with the only entry-way being at the very corner, so placement will be fairly easy in this room.

  14. #14
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    The 5K is to begin the journey into analog minus the expense of the speakers. The speakers will likely be something modest at first, but like the analogue gear will be upgraded down the line.

    So basically what I am looking for our recommendations on all that I would need (minus speakers) to get started in the world of analogue and specifics on models and such for a good combination of gear.

    Speaker-wise, I am looking at Totem Acoustics (likely the Arro or similar) and maybe something from Focal. I also like the M2 from PSB.

    I am very open to the idea of tubes as well, in fact I was looking up some integrated tube amps as potentials. I am also very open to used equipment and especially items on Audiogon, etc.

    Hope this helps!
    I'll take a stab at this. Start with a good tubed preamp from Quicksilver (full-function), Conrad-Johnson, Cary, Audible Illusions or Audio Research (SP series) all of which have well-respected phono sections. Add to that any used solid state amp from the likes of Adcom, Parasound, Rotel, NAD, B&K, Aragon, etc. at about 55wpc at the lowest up to around 150wpc. Here's the catch. You really need to do your homework on the used preamp, especially if you go AR because there are so many different models. Make sure the tubes have plenty of life left and that it hasn't been "modified" by some amature. Most ss amps from the above makers are built to last. Do some reading on their characteristics. For example, NAD is usually warm and some think Adcom is bright. You can always upgrade the amp later when you get your new speakers. That's probably the best route to take. Then drop $2,500 for the VPI Classic and as much as you have left on a Dynavector cart (making sure the preamp's phono stage can handle it).

    Here's a realistic example:
    Conrad-Johnson PV10-A used in excellent condition $850
    B&K ST-2140 used two channel amp $550 (on the high side, usually less)
    VPI Classic $2,500 new (the msrp just went up to $2750 so you'll have to ask for 10% or more discount)
    Dynavector 20x $750 new (get the high output at 2.5mv if the preamp has mm only phono stage)

    That leaves about $350 from your $5000 budget to put in the new speaker fund. But it might be better in the long run to move more money to the preamp and go to an Audible Illusions Modulus 3A or AR SP-9 (or even a lower end VTL). Remember, you can do just as well with a used 2ch amp from NAD, Adcom, Parasound, Rotel or even B&K at $250 to $350 and upgrade it later to suit your new speakers. Good luck.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Did anyone else read the thread title and think we had reached the fifth stage???


    Yes admitting it is an important stage. ROTFLMAO
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  16. #16
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    One simpleton way of going about it would be a Rega Mira 3 ($1,200), P5 ($1,400) and Exact 2 ($600). Total: $3,200. I could be happy with that as my starter system.

  17. #17
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Are they related somehow? I'm not quite seeing the resemblense. Maybe it's made at the same factory in China?


    Yes, you are correct. They both are made at the same factory in China....for the same Dutch company who owns both....Durob Audio. They are both distributed in America by Kevin Deal.

    Here's one question from the question and answer section found on the Mystere Audio site.

    http://www.mystere-eu.com/faq/index.php


    4. Durob Audio is also responsible for PrimaLuna amplifiers. Are Mystère amplifiers the same as PrimaLuna, just another cabinet?

    We are indeed also responsible for the design and production of our PrimaLuna range of products. And we are proud of that. No, PrimaLuna and Mystère amps are not the same amps. Not the same designs, not the same parts. PrimaLuna is an ultralinear design and Mystère is a penthode design. Both are stretched to give the maximum possible quality, within the budget given. If compared, you can say that the Mystère line has received a bit more attention for the cabinet design and that the parts used are of a slightly better level. Both good reasons for a slightly higher price for the Mystère products.
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  18. #18
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Great Advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    I'll take a stab at this. Start with a good tubed preamp from Quicksilver (full-function), Conrad-Johnson, Cary, Audible Illusions or Audio Research (SP series) all of which have well-respected phono sections. Add to that any used solid state amp from the likes of Adcom, Parasound, Rotel, NAD, B&K, Aragon, etc. at about 55wpc at the lowest up to around 150wpc. Here's the catch. You really need to do your homework on the used preamp, especially if you go AR because there are so many different models. Make sure the tubes have plenty of life left and that it hasn't been "modified" by some amature. Most ss amps from the above makers are built to last. Do some reading on their characteristics. For example, NAD is usually warm and some think Adcom is bright. You can always upgrade the amp later when you get your new speakers. That's probably the best route to take. Then drop $2,500 for the VPI Classic and as much as you have left on a Dynavector cart (making sure the preamp's phono stage can handle it).

    Here's a realistic example:
    Conrad-Johnson PV10-A used in excellent condition $850
    B&K ST-2140 used two channel amp $550 (on the high side, usually less)
    VPI Classic $2,500 new (the msrp just went up to $2750 so you'll have to ask for 10% or more discount)
    Dynavector 20x $750 new (get the high output at 2.5mv if the preamp has mm only phono stage)

    That leaves about $350 from your $5000 budget to put in the new speaker fund. But it might be better in the long run to move more money to the preamp and go to an Audible Illusions Modulus 3A or AR SP-9 (or even a lower end VTL). Remember, you can do just as well with a used 2ch amp from NAD, Adcom, Parasound, Rotel or even B&K at $250 to $350 and upgrade it later to suit your new speakers. Good luck.

    This is precisely the type of information that I was looking for, and some great recommendations. Especially since this gives me the room to really upgrade later while having a very formidable start-up. I doubt that I will upgrade the speakers until I can get to a very extensive stage and at that point I will likely be looking at the following:

    Hansen Audio The Prince V2

    Wilson Sophia III

    Avalon Isis

  19. #19
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    This is precisely the type of information that I was looking for, and some great recommendations. Especially since this gives me the room to really upgrade later while having a very formidable start-up. I doubt that I will upgrade the speakers until I can get to a very extensive stage and at that point I will likely be looking at the following:

    Hansen Audio The Prince V2

    Wilson Sophia III

    Avalon Isis
    Have you taken a listen to the Sophia lll ? IF so what where your impressions?

    I've taken a listen to some Watt Puppy's. IF I may add.....Very neutral speaker in my opinion.
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  20. #20
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    When you get to the level of speakers you're considering, do you plan to still have the same turntable that you'd buy now?

  21. #21
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon
    Have you taken a listen to the Sophia lll ? IF so what where your impressions?

    I've taken a listen to some Watt Puppy's. IF I may add.....Very neutral speaker in my opinion.
    Yes, completely neutral, which is what I love, I don't want the speaker to get in the way of the intention of the recording.

    I was impressed with all three of these high-end speakers and that is why I have narrowed my search down to these 3.

  22. #22
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    When you get to the level of speakers you're considering, do you plan to still have the same turntable that you'd buy now?
    No, if you checked out my statements below, I am anticipating this passion for analogue to grow at a fairly rapid rate, I need a starting point, then when the speakers come into place at a later point in time, I will want to upgrade the rest of the system to complement the speakers.

  23. #23
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    No, if you checked out my statements below, I am anticipating this passion for analogue to grow at a fairly rapid rate, I need a starting point, then when the speakers come into place at a later point in time, I will want to upgrade the rest of the system to complement the speakers.
    Then I can't figure why you'd start with a VPI Classic. My first and last replies focused on a balanced system, where there is no obvious weak link.

    PS...I read everything you wrote. The question was rhetorical.

  24. #24
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    Then I can't figure why you'd start with a VPI Classic. My first and last replies focused on a balanced system, where there is no obvious weak link.

    PS...I read everything you wrote. The question was rhetorical.
    No worries mate. I appreciate the help, I guess what I am trying to do is get a start somewhere with a mid-range system that is capable of getting me to the desired long-term destination of a high-end analogue system. Since I am not as knowledgeable in this area of audio, I wanted to see what recommendations I could get regarding the main gear.

  25. #25
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    No, if you checked out my statements below, I am anticipating this passion for analogue to grow at a fairly rapid rate, I need a starting point, then when the speakers come into place at a later point in time, I will want to upgrade the rest of the system to complement the speakers.
    Well after being away from vinyl for 20+ years noob and a few other guys here help to wet my apatite again for vinyl just from reading their postings in the analog section. Then I sorta reached out for help to them and also mentioned to the missus my desires. She gifted me a entry level table and boy it sure grew on me in a fairly raid rate the way you're anticipating it growing on you. I dont know about you, but it was in me all along, seeing I was a vinyl lover up until the advent of CD's in the 80's. What also help it to grow on me at a rapid rate was that to my ears vinyl seems to offer a certain level of smoothness and cohesiveness to the music that I dont find in digital. While I still love digital, I find myself wanting to listen to vinyl more and more. To me its hard to explain...its velvet like in its presentation...a very pleasant, luxurious, desirable experience with me and my favorite sounds. Now if they can just figure out how to make it flip it self over without the table looking odd and me getting out of my sitting position.
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