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tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/5/21 9:22 a.m.

Currently my music has devolved into "Hey Alexa..." followed by ads for Amazon music plus unlimited Eddie Baeur edition

 

It's bad.

 

Recently my FIL responded to "Hey if you're ever at an estate sale" Let's pause here. FIL loves going to estate sales because he likes buying things. He retired early and is basically on vacation 100% of the time. he can be annoying, but he tries. "and find a cool turntable, I want one" with a request to come get the stereo setup out of the back of his car.

 

The stereo setup is all 90's glorious, with a giant box which is only a cassette player, another giant box which is a giant huge gargantuan CD player, a giant box which is an amplifier, two giant speakers which seem to have blown tweeters, and an old turntable with a broken stylus. Without the speakers, the thing stands like three feet high. Oh, also a TV with a built in DVD player. I want zero of these things.

 

A little about me. My "entertainment center" is and will continue to be an old 27" flat screen sitting on a beautiful Brazilian cherry corner cabinet that Tunawife and I made. It's maybe 30" on each side and maybe three feet high. We have an older Wii, a teeny DVD player, and just lots of CDs in it.

 

I want elegant and simple, but I want to do vinyl as well. I don't want to spend lots of money, and I don't want to rattle the neighbors windows. I was thinking here:

 

https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/turntable-listening-packages-alpha/products/audio-technica-at-lp60xusb-edifier-r1280db-turntable-package-ttl-setup

 

I know bluetooth speakers are supposed to not be wonderful, but wireless is pretty attractive, and I can make a shelf for each speaker.

 

So let me know what makes sense, all parts. Pretend I am seven years old and have just discovered records. preamp, amp, turntable, speakers, etc. I don't really know any of it.

 

Thanks, hive!

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
11/5/21 10:13 a.m.

Here's what I would do;

1. Grab everything from FIL and really inspect it and see what's worth keeping.  We can help figure that out with some kind of megathread where people insult each other's intelligence, but they're our people, so that will be fun.

2. I like that Turntable Lab website.  I would go buy this instead of what you offered up; https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/turntables-under-300-alpha/products/audio-technica-at-lp60x-bw-automatic-turntable-brown-black  - nice price, line-level outputs so easy to integrate with any stereo reciever/amp package, from a real brand.  

3.  If you can get over the wires-to-speaker hangup, and I understand that hangup, that amp from your FIL might be really useful in getting this together.  I would go that route in a heartbeat.  You then need....

4.  We can help you pick speakers.  A budget and the information from my #1 will help a lot as well as space requirements etc.

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass Reader
11/5/21 10:27 a.m.

Prepare for another rabbit hole... 

 

Been buying for almost 20 years, and upgraded my stuff over time for a bit but Im pretty satisfied now, but it gets expensive quick for quality gear. Hopefully what you get from the FIL will work for your needs and you have a great time listening to those old records!

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
11/5/21 11:16 a.m.

In reply to hybridmomentspass :

I just grab something from the dusty storage place at my house.  Yes I even have a decent collection of 78's 

 one advantage of being an old Geezer. 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/5/21 11:16 a.m.
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

Here's what I would do;

1. Grab everything from FIL and really inspect it and see what's worth keeping.  We can help figure that out with some kind of megathread where people insult each other's intelligence, but they're our people, so that will be fun.

2. I like that Turntable Lab website.  I would go buy this instead of what you offered up; https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/turntables-under-300-alpha/products/audio-technica-at-lp60x-bw-automatic-turntable-brown-black  - nice price, line-level outputs so easy to integrate with any stereo reciever/amp package, from a real brand.  

3.  If you can get over the wires-to-speaker hangup, and I understand that hangup, that amp from your FIL might be really useful in getting this together.  I would go that route in a heartbeat.  You then need....

4.  We can help you pick speakers.  A budget and the information from my #1 will help a lot as well as space requirements etc.

1: I already got it, wired it, did all the things other than the records due to the stylus (also, I own zero records. I'm just barely not old enough) Everything works but is super ugly and volumous

2: isn't that the same TT but without BT?

3: Amp from FIL is a nonstarter. It goes into the hobby room for the kids to play with and glory in the worst of the 90s. I could maybe run wires, but I really would not want to. Really really really. Also BT speakers have the added benefit of allowing streaming, which sounds fun since we try and do that with a tiny terrible BT speaker from our phones from time to time. We could also broadcast to the Fire stick from the phones and use the speakers for that as well.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
11/5/21 11:17 a.m.

New turntables are either garbage, or expensive.  And sometimes, both.  Modern amplifiers, at least at the consumer level, ceased having phono inputs about 20 years ago, but you can purchase a reasonable phono pre-amp for about $100.  I have a Cambridge Audio one and it's marvelous.  We just got my FIL one of the $25 Amazon ones for Christmas last year and my tin ears really can't tell much difference.

As for turntables, pretty much any old Technics will be great.  Some are more desirable than others, and tend to go for more bucks, but even the less-desirable ones are still good and sturdy, and easy to get decent styli and such for.  I have An SL-D202 and its a nice, simple, good-sounding table.  I recently picked up an SL-3200 basically because it was a price I couldn't resist.  We have a 1970's vintage Radio Shack TT in the upstairs that I paid $20 and it was a surprisingly good unit, too.  Woodgrain veneer and everything.

On the cheap end, you could do a $25 pre-amp, a $25 thrift-store turntable, and a $50 cartridge, and have a decent-sounding setup all in for about $100.  Or splurge for the high-end preamp, a decent Technics TT, and a really good stylus, and be all-in for about $300. 

EDIT: re-read your OP and discovered you do not have an ampl, or speakers either.  Again, I'd look for something inexpensive and used.  I have a Kenwood 50 x 2 amplifier I bought new in 1992 that still works great, and already has the phono pre-amp ins.  So that saves you from having to buy the pre-amp.  Speakers are all over the place, and range from free to infinity dollars.  Our local dump has an electronics recycling area which always seems to have a pair or two of decent-looking loudspeakers there.  And they always seem to work when I get them home. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
11/5/21 11:27 a.m.

Speaking as a minor audiophile and major music lover who grew up with vinyl as the only viable choice in the '70s and '80s, I really don't understand the modern fascination with it.

I know folks speak of the "natural warmth" and much is made of the process of putting an LP on to play, but to me, it's just a fragile, outmoded technology with a lot of disadvantages and a large form factor for storage.

I have about 700 LPs.  In 1984 I spent the equivalent of $800 on a good turntable because CDs were still in their babyhood commercially.

In 1990 I bought my first CD player and I don't think I've played an LP since 1991.

 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
11/5/21 11:27 a.m.

I have no advice to give on bluetooth speakers meant for use like what you're wanting to do.  I don't understanding wanting to... not integrate?  I'm not sure how your Wii and TV factor into this if you want these bluetooth speakers to only link to the turntable.  I would have everything pushing analog audio to a reciever and then I guess there may be some available bluetooth dongle that takes in speaker level inputs and puts out bluetooth connectivity to a pair of bookshelf speakers like what's shown in your first link if we're doing the wireless audio thing.  You'll have power cords running to the speakers instead of speaker wire (or what will you do, charge them up every time you use them?).

If a speaker level input to bluetooth output wireless dongle can be found so that you can universal-ize this then you're probably in business.  I would probably find a way to run wires in the wall and under baseboards to get the speakers some decent connection directly to the amp that you end up using.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/5/21 12:10 p.m.

Do you have a set budget, a target budget, or just "best economy value"?

How much work hunting for nice used deals vs new turn-key options are you up for? Do you want to buy all your stuff in one go from a single retailer, or fine picking different components from different locations?

Here's a good video on building a <$500 audiophile setup: https://youtu.be/H1waVEH16pU

Here is one for <$1,250: https://youtu.be/Fdb8wLd73Tg

Big thing with audio equipment is where the major weak links are in the system, and spending money on the most important things. Kinda like knowing what upgrades on a car get you the most value (tires).

With most stereo systems speakers and room/placement are the biggest factors for sound quality. (I improved my sound quality immensely with $50 of acoustic foam and double-sided tape.) For a turn-table stylus/cartridge and setup (proper alignment, balancing, etc.) are your key things.

For a turntable, I highly recommend getting something with an adjustable counterweight and anti-skate. This will give you the 

I'd recommend at least getting this: https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/audio-technica-alpha/products/audio-technica-at-lp3bk-automatic-turntable-black

But I would probably spend the extra to get this model: https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/audio-technica-alpha/products/audio-technica-at-lpw40wn-manual-belt-drive-turntable-walnut

Or this one, if you want Bluetooth: https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/audio-technica-alpha/products/audio-technica-at-lp120xbt-usb-bk-direct-drive-usb-turntable-w-bluetooth-black

I believe all of these come with a built-in phono preamp, so you will not need that when looking for an amp. But it can be turned off, if you get an older amp with a phono in.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/5/21 12:10 p.m.
Duke said:

Speaking as a minor audiophile and major music lover who grew up with vinyl as the only viable choice in the '70s and '80s, I really don't understand the modern fascination with it.

I agree, and feel the same way about tube amps.  It's old tech that's been passed by, new tech is objectively better in every way.  And yes, I acknowledge that the same thing could be said about manual transmissions, but I find that personally the listening experience is not about the satisfaction of operating machinery the way that driving is.

As for bluetooth speakers, I also don't really understand the point to those.  Unless you're talking about something portable with batteries you still need to run power to them, and if you're doing that then IMHO you might as well run speaker cables back to an amplifier too.

 

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/5/21 12:14 p.m.
Duke said:

Speaking as a minor audiophile and major music lover who grew up with vinyl as the only viable choice in the '70s and '80s, I really don't understand the modern fascination with it.

I know folks speak of the "natural warmth" and much is made of the process of putting an LP on to play, but to me, it's just a fragile, outmoded technology with a lot of disadvantages and a large form factor for storage.

*Shrug* and some people will spend thousands of dollars to make a 20 year-old E36 M3box perform almost as well as a modern sedan.

A manual transmission car will have inferior performance to a good modern automatic. But I'm buying my cars with a stick shift.

Edit: It's a thing that's fun to collect. I have friends who have walls covered in those silly Funko Pop bigheaded collectible figurine things. They also have comic books that sit in cases and never get read. I have a hundred records with pretty covers that I flip through, pull out, play with, and can enjoy interacting with. I probably spent an average of about $10 on each one.

I'm riding high today because yesterday I found an original '75 pressing of Physical Grafitti in *excellent* condition. $30 to be in a good mood for a day and a half? That's a win.

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass Reader
11/5/21 12:53 p.m.

I like getting rare pieces, finding 1 of 50 of a certain color or something

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
11/5/21 1:01 p.m.

In reply to Beer Baron :

There will always be music out there on record pressings that never got transferred to vinyl.  I have a bunch of big band and classical recordings that were thrift store buys that only exist on little black platters.  For a while I was into finding multiple versions of the 1812 Overture.  Every one is a little bit different, and it's fascinating to listen to them back to back.  And you figure out what you like, and what you don't. 

Also agreed, getting a good stylus for that TT and setting it up perfectly is crucial not only for sound quality, but for longevity of your records.  I remember in college I had an old JVC TT that I used to listen to, and I had one of the campus audiophiles come and help me get it all set up proper.  The difference, even in a little dorm room set up, was noticeable.  And get a decent cleaning brush so those platters are clean and lint-free when you spin them. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
11/5/21 1:19 p.m.

Are we here to discuss the validity of vinyl vs. the world or are we here to tell Tuna what to do?  

I still want to hear about the Wii and TV integration into a turntable to make those bluetooth speakers actually useful for more than playing and listening to records.  I really think we need to talk about that and think about the goals for this project; is it just to play records and the Wii, TV, CD player etc not factor into this, or is this to build a system that can integrate these different audio sources?

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/5/21 1:19 p.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

It's like setting up the suspension on your car. Don't just spend $$$ on parts and throw them on a car. You need to do the alignment and get it corner weighted to actually get the value of your upgrades.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/5/21 1:31 p.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

There are several ways to integrate all those into one sound-system. I'd get a modern consumer grade (like a Sony) 2.1 amp with Bluetooth in.

I'd run game consoles, blu ray, etc. into the TV. Then run the TV, CD, and TT into the amp. Then wire to speakers.

Bluetooth amp means that you can run music from whatever device you want at any time when you just want something on. 2.1 because good stereo > cheap surround sound, and you have an easy uption for upgrading with a sub later.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
11/5/21 1:34 p.m.

That's not what he wants bluetooth for.  He wants to have wireless speakers.  I am very familiar with bluetooth input dongles having owned a couple.  He's trying to avoid wires to speakers which is kind of hard since they would need power and I don't think he wants to have battery powered speakers that he has to randomly charge now and then.  Which is why the suggestion of "just get normal wired speakers" has been shared before.

Tuna, if I'm getting the above wrong about your interest in bluetooth, please let me/us know.  

Also let me know if this statement is correct/incorrect, which I am basing on what you've said about the size of some components; "I, Tuna, would like as small of a system as possible, so a large reciever or other large components is something I see as a negative which should be avoided during suggestion of components". 

Thx, pres589.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
11/5/21 1:36 p.m.

Couple thoughts:

I think the rule of thumb in the 80's was spend at least as much on the cartridge as you do on the 'table.

Old amps and receivers will have a "Phono" input with the required equalization.  New amps will not.  You can't plug the signal from an un-equalized phono out to an aux in.  They do make standalone phono pre-amps.  I'd stay away from the very cheap ones.  https://www.crutchfield.com/S-3SgA95GdqPA/p_252PBMMB/Pro-Ject-Phono-Box-MM.html?awcr=12166468109&awdv=c&awkw=phono%20preamps&awmt=e&awnw=s&awat=&awug=

I'm kind of in the Duke camp.  I have all my old records, and a working turntable, but I don't listen to them much.  Still, I DO have all my old records and working turntable.  I don't know if I'd say they sound better, but it is kind of a kick.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/5/21 1:42 p.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

I have a friend who got some nice Bluetooth speakers. His decision was based on them including their own built-in amp, so he wouldn't need to buy or find space for a separate amp box.

I can see the advantage of Bluetooth for that, or maybe setting up a fancy surround system where you're placing multiple speakers on different walls or away from walls, and don't want to run cables across the floor or ceiling.

If the goal is to tie in multiple devices into the stereo system, a stand-alone amp would make that easier and not require much in the way of extra space. If Tuna is talking vinyl, that's going to mean stereo, not surround.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/5/21 1:43 p.m.

In reply to 1988RedT2 :

It looks like many/most modern turntables (all of the Audio Technica I looked at) have integrated preamps to run directly to an aux-in.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
11/5/21 1:53 p.m.

In reply to Beer Baron :

Thanks!  I acknowledge that most of my audio buying experience is a few decades out-of-date.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
11/5/21 2:35 p.m.
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

Are we here to discuss the validity of vinyl vs. the world or are we here to tell Tuna what to do? 

Fair enough.  My apologies to those answering the actual questions.

 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/5/21 3:01 p.m.

This got pretty far and into some pretty interesting topics.

 

Let's table the vinyl quality for now. It's not relevant.

 

I initially didn't want to wire the speakers because I don't want wires criss crossing the room. I have nowhere to hide them, so I would need to go through the walls or down into the crawlspace. That said, if I am powering them anyway, I need to go somewhere. I guess that's also going down into the crawlspace.

 

That means I can handle some form of amplifier if needed. I do just want want something simple and small.

 

Regarding the other components, my understanding was that those BT bookshelf speakers could be paired with a phone as well, and we could stream music from the phone (or the TV if we were casting to the TV from the phone?) to the speakers. I do not think the TV has any way to communicate directly with a BT speaker, though I suppose it would if an amp were wired to them and sitting in the entertainment center. I don't know what an elegant solution is for all of that. I absolutely don't want a 90s fabulous giant remote that nobody knows how to use.

 

The other items which I mentioned were only to demonstrate the bareness of my A/V equipment.

 

Does that help direct the conversation?

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/5/21 3:11 p.m.
tuna55 said:

Regarding the other components, my understanding was that those BT bookshelf speakers could be paired with a phone as well, and we could stream music from the phone (or the TV if we were casting to the TV from the phone?) to the speakers. I do not think the TV has any way to communicate directly with a BT speaker, though I suppose it would if an amp were wired to them and sitting in the entertainment center. I don't know what an elegant solution is for all of that. I absolutely don't want a 90s fabulous giant remote that nobody knows how to use.

Modern "class D" amplifiers have enabled much smaller amps than used to be the case.  For example, if all you need is a single pair of RCA cables and bluetooth, something like would probably get the job done:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BQC7GNL/   (Disclaimer, I don't know anything specifically about that product, I just found it by searching Amazon)

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
11/5/21 3:56 p.m.

Ahh... vinyl. There are a few different ways to get into this hobby:

-Get a cheapo Crosley all in one thing

-Go absolutely insane and spend thousands on an audiophile setup and the proper listening space

-Go modern and stick to a budget

-Get a bunch of vintage gear that's decent

I fall into the "Get a bunch of vintage gear that's decent " category. My current rig consists of the following:

-Kenwood KR-A3060 receiver ($15 at Savers)
-Denon DCM-280 5-disc MP3 compatible CD changer ($9.99 at Savers)
-Gemini DJQ-1200 direct drive turntable w/Stanton cart ($20 via Craigslist)
-Mirage bookshelf speakers (Free from a friend's dad 25 years ago)
-Ikea steel shelf ($19.99 at Ikea)
OPTIONAL STUFF
-MPow Bluetooth receiver/transmitter thingy ($49.99)
-Amazon Fire HD tablet for streaming digital collection via Jellyfin Server (Freebie someone gave me)



So, I'm into my entire basic rig for $65. I also have a NOS in-the-box 1980 Realistic turntable I've been thinking about swapping in for a bit that I got from some friends. That one's belt drive, so I'm not sure the belt is intact even though it's new. The optional Bluetooth receiver/transmitter can broadcast the sound output to a Bluetooth speaker in the next room or I can connect other devices to it. The tablet serves to stream music to the receiver.

My setup is good enough for me right now. Sounds great and works great. Subtracting the optional bits, it costs less what one of those cheapo Crosley deals sell for, and it's vastly superior and won't tear up your records. Most cheap turntables made today use the same crappy mechanism which can be found on AliExpress/Wish for under $10, and they are crude and rough on vinyl. Audio Technica makes some decent entry level stuff if you're buying new.

As far as actual vinyl records go, you can really go down the rabbit hole here. A lot of sound quality comes from two things: clean records and quality pressings. I use Discogs to find out about specific pressings and to manage my collection. It's pretty good about keeping track of info on what's good and what's trash as far as pressings go. And for cleaning records, you can go nuts here as well. Ultrasonic cleaners and Spinbrush stuff can cost hundreds. I was using a $20 cleaning kit with a felt brush for a while, but that's just OK. I might DIY a Spinbrush-like device myself. Old records can get nasty!

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