Hi-Fi Corner - Vinyl, CD, Cassettes and the rest

Habbinalan

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My good lady shares a few but not most of my interests and obsessions. Vinyl and following football teams that usually lose in obscure parts of the country are the two that most puzzle her. She just bought me this and I'm not sure if it's a "thought you'd find it interesting," or "take a look at yourself in the mirror," type present. I'll report back in due course. Meanwhile, has anyone else read any of Magnus Mills' previous novels?

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/07/forensic-records-society-by-magnus-mills-review

".......The Forensic Records Society’s idyll of pint-drinking and beard-stroking is destroyed when a rival society establishes itself on Tuesdays in the same small back room. It calls itself the Confessional Records Society, and has fundamentally different values.

For reasons of their own … they regarded records in a completely different light to us. They viewed them as little more than props and accessories, and saw no intrinsic value in the records themselves. Accordingly there existed a gulf between the two persuasions which could never be bridged.

This leads to “bickering, desertion, subterfuge and rivalry”. It also leads to a story that could be read as a disguised retelling of the Russian revolution, or the Reformation, or the Sunni-Shia schism, or any great human falling out.......".
 

Vanni

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I'm sure she means 'you should find this interesting'. It's only music, a pastime of ours, so we don't have to take a look at ourselves ;)

Anyways, just got myself Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain on vinyl. TBH, I only wanted the record for Third Uncle and a couple of other tracks, but can't say I'm too impressed. Thought the record would sound a lot better than the cd but I was wrong. Too bright and bass light to my ears.
 

Habbinalan

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En route to a cheap and enjoyable game of football yesterday (City continued the Great Escape with a 1 - 0 win over Dorchester), I picked up some old vinyl to fill out the weekend.



Forgive the photo. Prize find was Third Degree which doubles my Nine Below Zero collection. The Incredible String Band offers a flashback to 1966 and the two Live Johnny Winter Albums probably completes my Texas Albino Blues collection.

Favourite JW track from my old stuff:


Looking forward to:

 

Vanni

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Right, we all know the importance of a good carbon fibre record brush. I would even go as far as say that owning over 10,000 vinyl records is worthless if you don't have a record brush (this is a dig at people like my old man, who does indeed have a couple of brushes but they're still as new as the day he bought them back in the early 80's, I think).

Now I've had multiple examples of CF brushes, and I thought they all looked more or less the same so I decided to order a couple from Hong Kong at only 3 quid each. I can confirm that they are exactly the same as the other much more expensive offerings from the likes of Pro-ject, Milty, AM, etc etc. All these brands do is to print their name over the brushes, or in the case of SRM Tech, just plaster a sticker over the side of the brush. I've used mine for some 10 weeks now and they haven't scratched my records or anything, although I was warned by some hobbyists that these Chinese 'knock offs' would. I've even gone as far as brushing a cheap mint record I don listen to for some three days a day for these 10 weeks and I'm not seeing any scratches or scuffing at all.

So if you're thinking of getting a branded one then don't, you'd only be wasting your money.
 

Habbinalan

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Distracted by my new toy (camera), I've been neglecting updates on cartridge and speakers.

Both have bedded in and rock. A small problem is that they've taken the edge off listening to some great CDs and almost anything in the back room on midi hifi speakers..

That said, I have no Springstein, Alabama 3 or Neil Young on vinyl and they work fine anywhere coz I've only ever heard them on CD, often in the car.

Next move has to be some decent headphones to replace my ancient Sony DR-S5s. Recommendations??
 

Vanni

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Distracted by my new toy (camera), I've been neglecting updates on cartridge and speakers.

Both have bedded in and rock. A small problem is that they've taken the edge off listening to some great CDs and almost anything in the back room on midi hifi speakers..

That said, I have no Springstein, Alabama 3 or Neil Young on vinyl and they work fine anywhere coz I've only ever heard them on CD, often in the car.

Next move has to be some decent headphones to replace my ancient Sony DR-S5s. Recommendations??
Sadly, I've found that out ages ago. It's not necessarily a bad thing, as a good turntable/cartridge combo together with a pair of decent speakers is the way to go, but like you say one then neglects his cd collection including those superb sounding and decently mastered ones too.

No Alabama 3 vinyl (or cds) at all, but I've got some Springsteen and Neil Young on vinyl. Off the top of my head I've got Springsteen's The River, Nebraska, Darkness and Born To Run, plus Freedom, Rust never sleeps and Harvest by N.Young. BUT I'm sure I'm missing quite a few others, probably stacked away because I don't listen to them much.

I'm afraid I don't have any recommendations re. headphones, as my fav is a pair of Yamaha HP-1's from 1976 according to this site - http://www.digitalthis.org/bild_other\1_yamahahp1.htm - and just like the guy who wrote that piece, I also used to think they were from the late 80's. I got them from a friend of mine who thought they were too heavy. Granted, they're not the lightest but they're rugged and that's a big plus to me. And they sound good :cool1:

I've got another two pairs (one of which is a Sennheiser which are supposedly good), but truth be told, I'm not a fan of modern headphones. Far too flimsy for the most part, and the better and more rugged ones are too expensive IMO.
 

Habbinalan

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The wife is slowly dragging me into the 21st Century. From being a minor user of our old Evesham PC, last year she made the leap to Windows 10 with a new all singing and dancing Tablet, which she now watches a lot of TV and videos on. I'm still clinging to Windows 7 and only use my Android phone for texts, FM Radio and the odd photo or emergency call.

She's now bought and installed a Bose soundbar for the TV - why hadn't I done it years ago? I only need to make use of the wifi network I've half set up and I can solve my frustrations with my Laptop sound by playing all the great music shared on here through the soundbar.

Should be sorted by next year.
 

Habbinalan

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Pleased to report that the good lady's inspiration has delivered dividends.

It's only taken a couple of hours of head scratching to get my new B & W P7 wireless headphones connected up with everything. What do you know, the laptop had bluetooth. TooTronics wireless transmitter connected to the Denon amp. That'll do for now. I need a rest.

 

Vanni

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I've never met anyone with a blue tooth. The ones I've seen were generally whitish or yellowish, or what once were whitish but are now yellowish due to cigarette smoking like mine are.

Seriously though, I'm glad it was a couple of hours of head scratching Alan, and I would have probably easily doubled your time if it were me. I'm a quick learner, but that's the thing, I need somebody to show me how things are done first before attempting to do them myself. Unless it's something predominately mechanical like a full manual turntable for instance, and that's mainly because I had so many record players before that I don't struggle so much whenever I need to repair one nowadays.
 

Vanni

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Nobody buying any new records then? I most certainly will not be buying any recently pressed records for the foreseeable future unless it's a record that I simply have got to get. Last new record I bought was Sun Kil Moon's Ghosts of the Great Highway and I had to return my copy for another as it had a two inch deep scratch across side 2. Now bear in mind this album was pressed at two record plants (Optimal for the UK/European market and GZ for the NA one) and apparently the GZ pressing - quelle surprise ;) - was horrendous, so I supposedly had the good pressing but I still managed to get myself a dud one :ffs:

However the main reason I'll be trying not to buy any recent stuff is down to this whole trend of remastering everything in sight. While I do acknowledge that some 60's and 70's stuff (i.e. notably the records with, say, guitar on the left channel and bass and drums on the right one or vice versa) do indeed benefit from a proper remastering job, 99% of all remasters are only done for monetary reasons and nothing else.

As you all know, I listen to a wide variety of music but my favs will always be artists from the post-punk era like The Cure, JD and the Banshees among many others, and most of the original pressings already sound great IMO. I could do with new copies of certain records by the aforementioned artists but I want these to sound like they did back in the early 80's and not remastered to sound like a mono record, which in truth is how most recent remasters sound.

Rant over.

Btw, I think I'll be using this thread in the future to post any interesting vids I come across on YT. Don't worry, the vids I have in mind are certainly not of the 'audiophile' variety!
 

eightiesrobin

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Old thread resurrection!

I continue to be unable to walk past a charity shop. I've had some nice-enough finds since I last posted on here.

2 Clash albums (debut and Combat Rock) in nice shape for £1 each
Van Morrison "Moondance" in very nice shape for £2.49 (original pressing too)
A few nice "golden-age" classical LPs, and a nice collection of jazz records from a chap on a jazz forum.
 

Stevencc

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The last record I bought was a mint copy of the latest Marilyn Manson album, last week :blush:

I actually need to buy a new record player soon, I'll pop in here for some tips nearer the time.
 

Vanni

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Old thread resurrection!

I continue to be unable to walk past a charity shop. I've had some nice-enough finds since I last posted on here.

2 Clash albums (debut and Combat Rock) in nice shape for £1 each
Van Morrison "Moondance" in very nice shape for £2.49 (original pressing too)
A few nice "golden-age" classical LPs, and a nice collection of jazz records from a chap on a jazz forum.
I just felt like resurrecting a thread and it was either this one or the Foresta Suceava one. I was leaning towards the latter but while I was checking out their results on a Romanian website I came across this quote from their manager "At the last training we had 11 players. And with me 12. I asked the leadership to legitimize four children'' :bl:Pretty distasteful if you ask me so I gave up on 'em.

Seriously though, I'm like you and I also can't help it when it comes to car boot sales and charity shops, though with easily accessible sites like Discogs and Popsike, the days of grabbing yourself a bargain are long gone I think. A few days ago I found a handful of NM looking tapes and one of those was one by Otis Spann (The Blues Never Die) and it's really good. I have a couple of Otis Spann cd's in my collection but this one's different as he's accompanied by a full band. One of the other tapes is by Sweet Emma, an artist I had never heard of before, but I haven't had time to listen to this one yet.

Btw, what is this golden age of classical? I confess the only classical stuff I listen to is of the minimalist variety (Glass, Reich, Adams etc)


The last record I bought was a mint copy of the latest Marilyn Manson album, last week :blush:

I actually need to buy a new record player soon, I'll pop in here for some tips nearer the time.
Oh don't you worry about that, we all have our little guilty pleasures. One of mine is freely admitting to people that U2 do have a number of great tunes like The Unforgettable Fire, Bad, Dirty Day and a handful of others. Bear in mind that I can't stand Bono and you'll see where I 'm coming from!
 

eightiesrobin

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[
Btw, what is this golden age of classical? I confess the only classical stuff I listen to is of the minimalist variety (Glass, Reich, Adams etc)
[/QUOTE]

It refers to early stereo classical LPs from certain labels. Many of them are very sought-after and expensive, and it's still possible to pick them up for a quid in charity shops, if you know what you're looking for.
 

Vanni

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[
Btw, what is this golden age of classical? I confess the only classical stuff I listen to is of the minimalist variety (Glass, Reich, Adams etc)
It refers to early stereo classical LPs from certain labels. Many of them are very sought-after and expensive, and it's still possible to pick them up for a quid in charity shops, if you know what you're looking for.[/QUOTE]

Ah I see. I thought it referred to a certain era like when e.g. somebody says the golden years of punk were 1976-78.

I remember stumbling across this blog one time and there was this little article about collectable classical records and how to distinguish different pressings by looking at the record label's logo and label colour and other such stuff. Even then the writer warned about paying extra attention to matrix numbers and other minute details. I reckon one really needs to know his stuff when it comes down to seeking out rare classical records as it looks much more harder than seeking out rare pop and rock stuff.
 

Vanni

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audio-Tech...cs&ie=UTF8&qid=1526208467&sr=1-1&keywords=lp3

Is this any good?

I'm looking to spend under £200 and this seems like a decent all-rounder for my money.
Just saw your post Steven. I cannot really comment on the turntable you're interested in as I'm not a big fan of current turntables (unless of course, we're talking about some 6k plus Linn model ;)) Not that I'm a snob or anything, but build quality nowadays is nowhere near the standard set by several mid 70's/early 80's models. But then again, this applies to almost everything under the sun unfortunately.

Another thing you should be aware of is that most of today's affordable turntables are all made by the same Chinese manufacturer, so it doesn't really matter if it's a Pioneer, a Denon or a Marantz - they're all basically the same under the hood. So it pays to shop around for a lesser known brand - like Reloop for ex - as it will be the same model like that fancy Pioneer or Denon one but at a much more appealing price obviously.

However before I go any further, it would be very helpful if you let us know if you're building a hi-fi system - amp/turntable/speakers - or if you'll planning on hooking up the new turntable to your pc.
 

Stevencc

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The one I linked gets the best reviews for 'budget' (under 200 smackers) players in most of the big magazines etc.

I'm going to buy a set of speakers the month after with a similar budget of about £200, I've got no idea what a preamp is and I won't be connecting it to my pc.

Cheers Vanni.
 

eightiesrobin

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You do have an amplifier though? Through which to play the TT? If you do, and it has a "phono" setting, you won't need a pre-amp.

Genuinely not meaning to sound patronising here btw, so apologies in advance if it feels that way
 

Vanni

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This turntable has got a built in pre-amp, so one can indeed go without an amp Robin, but one would need to get a pair of powered speakers for this to work though. Obviously, a powered speaker means it's an amp + speaker 2 in 1 package so the sound quality will not be the greatest ( versus the traditional hi-fi separates you and I are accustomed to). I had got myself a pair of such speakers that I thought I'd connect to my pc but I didn't like the way they sounded - too much bass and muddy highs - so I gave them to my nephew. TBF though, they were only about 90 quid for the pair so there's definitely better models out there.

Steven - frankly, I would not read too much into what the big hifi mags suggest as they've got to bear in mind that they're reviewing products made by companies that advertise frequently on their own website. As in 'Do not bite the hand that feeds you' I'm afraid.

Also, not everybody's reviewing criteria is the same. I once came across this turntable shoot out on one very well known mag and they gave top spot to a turntable that ran at 34 rpm instead of 33.3 rpm. They said something like 'even though we know that this model doesn't run at the correct speed, we feel that it's a worthy winner due to it's musicality' Ahahahahahaaa.......:lol:
 

Stevencc

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I have no idea what an amp or preamp is.

I'm buying from scratch so as of right now I have nothing.

So I'll need to buy an amp on top of the speakers and record player? Why? To adjust bass, mid, high and volume levels? Like a guitar amplifier but without the speaker?

Don't worry about sounding patronising, I have no idea about this hardware so dumb it down for me.
 
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eightiesrobin

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Yes, if going down the traditional route, you will have to buy an amp (like you would with an electric guitar), into which you plug the turntable and the speakers.

OR, as Vanni says, you can buy a pair of powered speakers (sometimes called active speakers), which have their own built-in amplification, so no separate amp required

A pre-amplifier is something used with turntables only (Vanni?) as the signal from a turntable is very weak and it needs a boost before it reaches the amp. BUT, as the TT you showed already has a pre-amp built-in, don't worry about that.

I've never had a pre-amp. All the amps I've ever had, had one built in. I think it's your higher end stuff which uses the two separate components.
 

Vanni

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eightiesrobin correct, only turntables need a pre-amp, or to use the correct terminology a 'phono stage'. I can never get it into my thick skull that pre amps and phono stages are quite different things - a phono stage boosts the rather weak signal coming from the stylus/cartridge while otoh, a pre amp's signal is not enough on it's own and needs to be paired with a power amp.

Stevencc pre-amps and power amps are those amps stacked on top of each other - the pre-amp is the one with all the tone controls (bass, treble etc) and the volume/balance control, the power amp will only have a power on/off button. And yes, you're right, it's pretty similar to those guitar/bass amps you see on stage; that big speaker is like a power amp, while the smaller box on top of it is like the pre-amp.

The good thing is that 80'sRobin is right and you don't have to get a pre/power amp combo but get an integrated amp instead.

Back to 'phono stages'. All the 70's and 80's amps had a built-in phone stage so one would just hook up the turntable to his amp. However, during the 90's when everybody was donating his record collection to Oxfam and then buying the same albums on CD, most of the amp manufacturers decided that a built-in P.S. was no longer necessary, so this meant one would have to get a separate 'phono stage box' if they still listened to vinyl. Or to get themselves a new turntable with a built-in phono stage like the one you're looking at.
 

Vanni

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Stevencc in short, you've got three options -

1) turntable + integrated amp + speakers
2) turntable + a phono stage box(40 quid will get you a decent one) + powered/active* speakers
3) turntable with an in built phono stage + powered/active* speakers

*cheers eightiesrobin!

No.1 would be my choice for a wide variety of reasons. If my budget says no can do then I'd go for no.2, only because a separate phono stage box is much better than an in-built one on a turntable.

BTW, you could also look at used turntables and amps, though I would advise you to get brand new speakers. I've bought loads of second hand turntables and generally the only repairs I'd had to do are easily done by just about anyone. I mean how hard is it to say change the rubber belt or to change the oil? Or spray some contact cleaner on the speed pots and the like? Re. amps, you can quite easily find an integrated amp in good nick on ebay.
 

Stevencc

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Now you've gone and introduced a new piece of jargon with phono stage! :bl:

I thought I needed a turntable (the one with an integrated preamp is the one I'm going for), some speakers and an amp!
 

eightiesrobin

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Now you've gone and introduced a new piece of jargon with phono stage! :bl:

I thought I needed a turntable (the one with an integrated preamp is the one I'm going for), some speakers and an amp!
You'll be right with the TT, speakers and amp. Phono stage is another term for preamp.
 

Vanni

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Stevencc Look on the bright side to all this;) Whenever you find yourself in a record or hifi store and you overhear a couple of teens discussing preamps, you can wade right in and tell 'em no guys, that's 'a phono stage'. Trust me, they'll think you're an audiophile in no time. Then when they start asking all sorts of questions don't you worry Steven mate, you just tell'em you're like really late for some important meeting or whatever.

Seriously though, I don't want to impose on you what you should or shouldn't get but the in-built preamps on new turntables aren't very good, and everybody ends up getting a separate preamp eventually anyway. I could go into more detail but I won't :woo:and I'm only telling you this in order to save yourself a few quid down the line.

eightiesrobin I don't have a pre/power amp combo either, though I did have a pair of affordable entry level Nads once, but I sold the pair after only for a couple of months. The thing with pre/power amps is that apparently you've really got to move up the line (iow, loads of ££) if you want to get an audible improvement on a well made integrated amp.
 

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