A few analog questions... [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-07-2007, 09:24 AM
I'm thinking of getting back into vinyl playback. It's been many years, and I'm pretty much out of the loop when it comes to what constitutes an adequate front end. My questions are as follows:

(1) Will my vintage Yamaha YP-450 tt be anywhere near appropriate? I have no idea if this was a mass-market p.o.s. or something with a bit of quality to it. If not, what inexpensive rig would you recommend?

(2) If the YP-450 is usable, what phono stage would you recommend to couple it with my NAD T763 receiver?

(3) Again, if the Yamaha is usable, what cartridge would you recommend? I know, after all the years of use, that a new cartridge would be mandatory. I just have no idea what kind, or where to find.

I'm trying to slide back in on the cheap (under my wife's radar) so please try to be as frugal as possible with your recommendations. I thank you in advance for any and all help that you can provide.

09-07-2007, 11:48 AM
I'd suggest starting with a new belt:

Then, if it appears to run smoothly and steadily, a new cart. There are several options here. One option is something like the Grado Green which is a nice entry-level cart (you didn't give a budget). Another option is something from the Audio-Technica line - AT95E at $50, AT120E at $69, or AT440MLa at $85.

For a phono stage, you might consider the NAD-PP2, the Cambridge Audio 540P or the Parasound Zphono. These range from $100-150.

If things turn out well, you can always score a new headshell (I think your Yammie has a detachable headshell) from eBay or online at a place like garage-a-records.com or maybe even lpgear.com and save up for a second cartridge. Switching carts for comparison should be fun and easy. If things don't turn out well with your old table, then you still have a new cart and new phono preamp that can go with a new table. You'll only be out $20 or so for the new belt.

09-07-2007, 01:38 PM

Thanks for the great links and the even better advice. I'm still wondering, though, if the Yamaha is worth all the trouble. Does anyone have any experience with or knowledge of this model?

09-07-2007, 02:29 PM
hopefully, someone with experience with that model will respond. If not, then maybe these inferences will help. From the picture of that model, it looks like it has a solid, heavy base which will likely dampen vibrations. It's a belt-drive rather than a direct drive so there's less that can go bad over time. As long as the cables - power and phono interconnects - (I'm assuming they're captured rather than detachable) don't have a short in them, you won't have any frustrating channel dropouts or loud noises. I've had both a Marantz and a Dual tt from that era. I liked both of them. I eventually gave the Marantz to a friend. The Dual developed an annoying short in one side of the captured interconnects. Finally, I have a friend who swears by Yamaha gear. He has a Yamaha tt (I'm not sure which model, but it's not as substantial looking as yours) that he uses all the time. Based on all that and the fact that you could have it running for $205 (AT440MLa cart + new belt + CA 540P phono stage) compared to $300 (maybe $289) for a new Pro-Ject Debut III that probably won't sound any better (it'll come with a cart that won't be as nice as the AT440MLa) and a $100 phono stage ($400 total), the Yamaha probably deserves a chance.

At $289 to $350 you can find the Pro-Ject Debut III, the Music Hall MMF2.1, and the Rega P1. The Pro-Ject and the MH come with carts (the Rega might but I'm not sure) which can be beaten easily and for not too much money. If I was going to buy new today, I would look further up these lines - maybe the Pro-Ject Xpression or RM-5, MH MMF 5 or 7, Rega P3. IMO, your Yamaha, if everything works as it should, would compare favorably to each of these manufacturers' entry-level products. The build quality of these tables may even seem flimsy compared to your Yamaha. If you have some reservations about the Yamaha's mechanical/electrical operation or reliability after all this time, then one of the entry-level models mentioned might be the way to go. But based strictly on performance/sound quality, I don't think you'd get much improvement, if any, until you get to the $500 and up level.

09-07-2007, 02:44 PM

Thanks again! Your Pearls of Wisdom have given me a lot to think about. Now, all I have to do is convince my better half that there is something that needs repairing (lawnmower, furnace, car, etc...) that we just can't live without. I'll think of something...

09-08-2007, 10:15 AM
looks good, if the tonearm is free floating when adjusted to zero vtf and antiskating, and the belt is new (i dont know that its a belt tt, i didnt research that), and the platter is free spinning without the belt, it should be fine.

i suggest removing the platter and lubricating the bearing with sewing machine oil.

a good cheeeeep cartridge would be the grado black or if you have more than the $40 then a $90 audiotechnica at440MLa should serve more than nicely.

jim goulding
10-06-2007, 11:10 PM
Do you actually need a phono stage with your receiver?. Don't be surprised if I'm out of touch, but my wife might disagree with that (yeah, I know she ain't playing). Project and Music Hall are good TT's and they offer a variety of models to meet your budget. If it hasn't already been said, you can see them at Music Direct or Acoustic Sounds. The AT 440 seems to have a consensus and because Tommy (dyed in the wool) says it's something you should consider. If you have a collection of records, you'll be very glad you did this. And if you want to add some records to your collection, you can step up in musical variety and quality at those two sites I gave you. But records are twice the quid than back in the day. Hey, you only live once, or more. What do I know.

Come back here for set up. It's important.

10-07-2007, 08:03 AM
Hey Roy51,

Does your tonearm look anything like the one you see below?


The most important question would be what DM asked.

Does it spin at a proper speed? And does a platter maintain its speed at all time?

Some older TT can't maintain its platter's speed and drfits. It doesnt look like it has a stobe disc so it's hard to tell.
Go to this site and print yourself a free strobe tool.
Bookmark this link with free tools, especially for a free protractor when you will replace your cartridge.


If your TT platter doesnt spin at a proper speed, then you have to get a new/different TT to get back into vinyl.
I think Pro-Ject Xpression II is a great suggestion.
I have a version 1. This is a cheapest component that I have in my system, and I'm a vinyl guy! Price doesnt always equate to quality, but just letting you know that it's a solid deck. The other thing you may want to look into would be a Music Hall TT. They will be introducing new lines of TTs, so you may even get a MMF-5.0 for much cheaper than others.

REGA P1 is a great deck too, and it comes with a cheapest Ortofon cart that sounds good. I've only played a couple of LP on the deck at a store so no personal experience on that.

If you TT turns out to be in a good shape then, you got some great suggestions above.
I personally would stay away from Grado Green. never worked with my Pro-ject arm, but others were able to get some great result. I thought it sounded 2 dimensional and very dry.

Definetely test out your TT first then decide what you need to do to get back in to vinyl.

I hope this helps a bit.

10-07-2007, 08:40 AM
JRA, if i'm correct, that tt in the pic is almost exactly the same tonearm as on my tt (if it's not completely the same)

and if that is true, a rega p1 won't be a challenge...

10-07-2007, 09:29 AM
I have no idea who was the main supplier of tonearms back in the 70's. Most of the S shaped arms look exactly the same, so it's hard to tell. Man, I wouldnt mind having a TA with a detachable headshell though. I've been tempted to get a classic deck with SME-3009. Mmmmmmmmmm.


10-07-2007, 09:31 AM
get a 70's thorens with a sme 3009 or 3012. You will not regret it :)

but keep it as a second deck, new vinyl sounds better on new tt's somehow :)

10-07-2007, 09:38 AM
with detachable headshells are the way to go for me. not too many new ones out there though. the sme 309 aint cheeep nor are the headshells for them but certainly fine and worth considering.

i have an mmt and love it. most cartridges work well in it and i can swap very quickly and be hearing a different sound in minutes.

the 3009s have knife edge bearings and MCs dont do well with them it is said (although i have no personal experience here). as beautiful as they are, they arent the best sounding arms around.

10-08-2007, 03:11 PM
I really appreciate all the responses! As soon as I get it up and running, I'll post my impressions (I do a great W.C. Fields) and hopefully some pictures as well.

You guys are the best!

10-09-2007, 09:51 AM
what pre did you end up with? i went with the tcc 750 from phonopreamps.com and have been vary happy with it for the price. if you did end up with the nad then you need to upgrade the power supply to make it sound good. I am running a B&O 1900 w/ a mmc 20E cart.

10-09-2007, 03:54 PM

I haven't ended up with anything yet. I'm still mulling over my options, keeping an eye out for E-Bay bargains and consolidating my financial position. We just had a melt-down in our breaker box over the weekend, so the old fiscal acquisitions department is temporarily in arrears. I'll be sure to post when I finally pull the trigger.

10-13-2007, 11:27 AM
how about coming to a meeting of the http://www.laocaudiosociety.net/? next meeting is in redondo beach. see the meeting schedule. see you there?

10-13-2007, 02:11 PM

Thank you for your most generous invitation, but I'm afraid I must decline. I spent many years doing the outside sales thing in the L.A. area, where I averaged over 150 miles per day on its freeways. When I got to the point where I could no longer handle commuting, I got a job at a Home Depot that is 10 minutes from my house. I also swore that I would never (except under extreme duress) travel those freeways again. I know that this probably sounds pretty silly, but if you could feel the degree of loathing that I have for that concrete octopus, I think you would understand.

If there is ever a meeting held in O.C. I would love to attend. I think it would be wonderful to converse with like-minded audio enthusiasts. I know that I could learn a lot, just by listening to the accumulated wisdom of those such as yourself.