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Author Topic: My vinyl front end system sounds great.  (Read 3195 times)

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Offline raymonda

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My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« on: August 22, 2015, 10:01:47 PM »
Over the past year my system has undergone a huge change and in the process my listening pleasure has increased tremendously. I attribute this to the synergy of the new components, however some singular changes have earn praise for their own merit.

Gone.....Classe 5, Classe 150, Well Tempered Record Player, Highly modded Thorens TD 160, Matrix Mini I v2, AKG 701Q, Matrix M-stage.

In........Audible Illusions M3a, Rogue M120's, Thorens TD 850 highly modded, Michell Tecnoarm, Benchmark HDR, Hifiman 400.

The difference is not so night to day that a listener would easily notice but a serious listener could easily hear the increase resolution and over all improvement. My playback system went from good to very good and on that note it brings an increasing bigger smile to my face.

Now the dog that wags the tail is the work I put into the Thorens TD 850. The Origin Live motor, carbon fiber boards and Michell arm provides the music a great jumping off point for everything else down stream. My trust worthy Benz Glider with Soundsmith ruby upgrade never sounded better. Add new vinyl pressings that serve up music that far exceeds what was offered in vinyl's heyday provides sweet, sweet music to my ears.

The Benchmark HDR is a honest product that gives a very clear and dynamic conversion to digital files. Add to that a great headphone amp and wowza!!!!!! Finally, Hifiman has created a product that, IMO, give the average Joe and opportunity to hear state of the art sound for small change. This is a product that everyone must own. You just shouldn't get this good sound so cheap. The more these burn in the better they sound and that is saying something because out of the box they raise the bar pretty high.

Anyway, as of today I am really happy with the choices and work I have done. Wise shopping on my part means that I actually spent very little to go a long distance.

I know that in the past I have listed individually each of my changes but I feel that it is time to reflect more on the totality and the success rather than each component. So, if I bored you with a rehash, my apologies. To make your time worth it, here is something new. Go out and get the vinyl copies of Paul' s archive version of Venus and Mars and James Taylor's new album. Both sound incredible.  The former kicks the ars out of any copy before it!!!!!!!!!   
« Last Edit: August 22, 2015, 10:22:31 PM by raymonda »

mfrench

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2015, 09:37:35 AM »
Glad to hear that you're liking the setup.
My latest adventure has been in getting my behind kicked by a cheap amplifier that is changing the way that I think about this game.  Why spend $3k, when $75 all-in + a bit of labor, gets it done.

But, with that said,... it seems that folk here don't discuss audio. Lots of opinions in other threads about what they hear in their recordings; just no discussions about what it is that they're listening to that reveals these findings.

Offline raymonda

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2015, 08:22:21 PM »
To a certain respect, that is true. However, there are some seriously good systems here. But, I would agree that you would think more folks would be engaged and interested in playback.

Online kindms

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2015, 04:49:49 PM »
I dont generally talk a lot of playback but read what you guys are doing etc Always fun to watch folks who know what they are doing

My main system is basically sitting idle. I need / want to get something to drive my VR-2s. the mambo gets the job done but needs some repairs. Have always wanted to checkout mono blocks but $$$ is always the limiting factor.

looking for a simple route squeeze box touch > Pre > Amp > speakers.

running 3.1 in the basement for tv / games and tunes. Cheap but cool Yamaha receiver > Klipsch book shelves 1.5s, klipsch center and a 12" sub. I let the receiver set it all up as it shipped with a mic. I setup my FOB stand at couch level and ran the diagnostics. I thought that was pretty cool.

I know more about the networking side of things vs. analog playback so I have focused on that side for now.
AKG c426, AKG414 XLS/ST, AKG ck61, ck22, >nBob colettes >PFA > V3, SD MixPre >  TCM-Mod Tascam HDP2, Sony M10
Little Bear tube Pre >Outlaw Audio 2200 Monoblocks > VR-2's

Offline capnhook

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2015, 04:55:59 PM »
To a certain respect, that is true. However, there are some seriously good systems here. But, I would agree that you would think more folks would be engaged and interested in playback.

I'm glad I was interested a bit in the playback side, and took raymonda's suggestion to add a subwoofer to my system.

Sounds great, sure.......but it reveals the low frequencies in my recordings, and helps me encourage (or tame) them.

Thanks raymonda, for making me a better taper.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2015, 06:47:45 PM »
Interested.  Always like reading about what people are doing for playback.  It's such a critical part of the loop.

We need to complete the full feedback loop to know where we're at and further tune the whole system- the live listening experience through recording through the playback listening experience.  Each stage in that chain interacts with the others.  All of them working together achieve that magical teletransportative musical experience when a critical psychological/listening threshold is crossed, after which we can further raise the bar.

Quite interested in those Hifiman cans, myself.
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Offline jlykos

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2015, 07:17:15 PM »
I truly do not understand what the point is of investing all sorts of money in a great taping rig without having a playback system that allows you to determine whether you are making recordings that sound good. How do you really know what your Schoeps and dpa and Gefell recordings sound like if you are playing them back through mediocre equipment? Are you purchasing a microphone that can do justice to recording the music or just a brand name?

You need to invest in both a good recording and playback system. In this hobby, one is worthless without the other.
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Offline nickgregory

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2015, 09:25:05 AM »
I have had similar experiences that Ray had over the past year on my playback system.

Out - Arcam AVR300, Rega P3-24
In - CJ PV-11 Pre, CJ MF 80 Amp (feeding bass), Primaluna Prologue 5 w/ Russian NOS EL34s (feeding mids/highs), CI Audio VPC-3 Passive Pre (used for balancing bi-amp'ed signals), Nottingham Interspace Jr w/ Benz Micro Gold cart

all still feeding VS VR-2s

Each of the changes happened singularly and as a result I have been able to judge the effect as I make the change...

-moving from a SS integrated to tube/SS seperates had a huge impact.  Music sounded good on the Arcam, but moving to the PV11 and MF80 initially gave me a warmer much larger soundstage.

-next I added the primaluna prologue 5.  Initially had Gold Lion KT88s in the unit.  Difference was subtle, but by bi-amping the uppers/mids to a tube amp, it gave a much more airy...lively sound, versus the somewhat sterile sound i got from the SS amp

-however, as it is near impossible to match gain stages when bi-amping, I bought the CI Audio unit and feed the primaluna through it.  Jackpot!  it allowed me to fine tune the uppers/mids I feed my speakers based on the recording.  Gave me my bass back and a much more balanced sound.   

-moving from the Rega to the Nott was not night and day, but made a significant difference.  seemed to get much more detail from the music than i did originally

-KT88s to NOS EL34s...huge difference.  No clue how to explain it as these tubes were apparently used to open bomber doors for russian airplanes.  How do they give the music more life?  No clue, but they do.

The amazing thing about this upgrade path is it cost me maybe $2K by careful shopping and selling off older pieces.  Had I bought this gear equivalent new, it would have cost a huge $$ more.  Add to that I have been to my stereo guys house a few times where he runs much more expensive NAIM gear and while it sounds great, it lacks the "musicality" (detail, openess, staging) that i get from my system...at a lot less cost. 

Bottom line, i am finding myself trying to find time to truly sit down and listen.  Spend time with the turntable and the vinyl again.

Offline JimmieC

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2015, 11:22:18 AM »
^  Never heard a stereo bi-amped but that is what I would like to try too.  Just need to get my kids out of private school first.  Some day it will happen.

How is the CI Audio VPC-3 Passive Pre used for balancing bi-amp'ed signals?  One input constant and second channel variable or both variable?
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Offline nickgregory

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2015, 12:58:22 PM »
^  Never heard a stereo bi-amped but that is what I would like to try too.  Just need to get my kids out of private school first.  Some day it will happen.

How is the CI Audio VPC-3 Passive Pre used for balancing bi-amp'ed signals?  One input constant and second channel variable or both variable?

the way I use it is I feed my pre out>VPC3>Primaluna>speakers, and this allows me to fine tune the amount of signal I send to the uppers/mids.  Basically more flexible than putting in a fixed attenuator.

I would encourage bi-amping...opened up my speakers like nothing else...just have to do it right or you will be chasing

Offline JimmieC

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 05:28:06 PM »
OK. Thanks Nick.  I have never used an amp that does not have a volume control.  I think I get the need for the VPC3 now.  I guess the Primaluna is always amplifying at 35W with the preamp amplifying to a listening level and VPC3 adjusting the mid/uppers to preference of mix with the lows.  Is the lows source>preamp>solid state (fixed watts)>speaker or source>SS>speaker?
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Offline nickgregory

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2015, 07:23:51 PM »
OK. Thanks Nick.  I have never used an amp that does not have a volume control.  I think I get the need for the VPC3 now.  I guess the Primaluna is always amplifying at 35W with the preamp amplifying to a listening level and VPC3 adjusting the mid/uppers to preference of mix with the lows.  Is the lows source>preamp>solid state (fixed watts)>speaker or source>SS>speaker?

I feed both the lows and the uppers with my Conrad Johnson PV11 Pre.  The only difference between the two is that I insert the CI Audio device in the signal path between the pre and the primaluna and the lowers are direct pre to SS amp.

Offline raymonda

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Re: My vinyl front end system sounds great.
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2015, 01:41:20 AM »
I just picked up an Oppo  103 and I am having a blast using it to play back files from my hard drive. I like this as an alternative to using my laptop, as it is a bit cleaner and removes clutter. This deck is quite the unit and offers a lot of features for very little.  I have not listened to its  analog outs but feeding a digital signal to my hdr has been pretty impressive.

The fun just keeps on rolling.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 01:43:08 AM by raymonda »

 

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