Seeking Turntable Audiophile Advice

takeitback86

Estimable
Sep 12, 2015
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4,510
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I'm trying to purchase my first semi decent turntable setup. Although I don't have the budget for audiophile grade components, I'd like to get my feet wet and experience my vinyl collection with a better quality stereo system than what I have (which isn't saying much). What I've been using for the last 7 years is a Sony PSLX300USB connected directly to a pair of M-audio AV 40 studio monitors. This wasn't my ideal setup but the speakers were all I had to connect a turntable to when I was just starting to collect vinyl and knew nothing about stereo systems. After reading a lot of articles, reviews, and forums, here's some info that might be helpful

Volume Levels - I won't be cranking the volume to max, but most likely would like to pass the 50-60 db mark on occasion.

Music Genre - I have a few instrumental and jazz albums, a bunch of rock/punk rock/hardcore/metal albums and a few indie rock albums. I can give examples of each if needed.

If I go towards a stereo receiver with built in phono preamp, I'd like to have an optical in to hook my computer up to it as well, but I can always get a small DAC that converts optical to RCA. I would rather sacrifice the sound from my computer than the sound from my turntable.

Here are the turntables I've been looking at:

Technica AT-LP120
U-turn Audio Orbitz Pro with Ortofon OM-5E Cartridge
Pro-Ject Essential II
Marantz 6300 on craigslist with 1 missing foot for $350 + $60 for a new foot (this option would leave little room in my budget for receiver and speakers so the rest would have to be on the cheap end)

Receivers I've been looking at:

Onkyo TX-8020 Stereo Receiver with small DAC for computer
Onkyo TX-8050 Network Stereo Receiver
Sherwood RX-4109 with small DAC for computer

Speakers I've been looking at:

Martin Logan Motion 4 (can sometimes find good deals on a pair on ebay)
Polk Audio TSi100
Polk Audio RTI A1

Eventually I'd like to explore tube amps and tube preamps but I don't quite have the budget for that starting out.

I know these components aren't the best, but right now I just want something better than what I have. I'd like to spend between $700-$850 and I'm open to recommendations and suggestions.
 

SoundGeek

Estimable
Nov 6, 2015
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4,520
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You could get one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Stanton-T92USB-Direct-Drive-Turntable/dp/B00292BREU
I work around these a lot, and I know many people that offer engineering services to digitize vinyl collections. The onboard dac is surprisingly really good, and having SPDIF is nice as well so you can run out at a higher quality. As far as playback is concerned, Mackie MR5's or MR8's are a huge upgrade to the AV40's. Krk's are okay too, but when you A/B them the Mackie's are definitely better.
 

shotgunz

Distinguished
Dec 17, 2011
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18,660
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I would suggest reddit's r/audiophile since there's plenty of geeks there who know about turntables and vinyl. Post this into their stickied purchase advice thread.
 
The Marantz TT is cool looking but direct drive is not the way to go. Belt drive is usually preferred and direct drive motor bearings wear with time, get noisy, and can't be replaced.
If I had your budget and priorities I would get the following
U-Turn Basic with Grado Black (add acrylic mat later)
Onkyo Stereo receiver
Schitt Modi 2 DAC
Paradigm Atom Monitors
Used equipment is another option but it's hit or miss what is out there at any one time. You could do the receiver and speakers first.
 

SoundGeek

Estimable
Nov 6, 2015
2
0
4,520
2
You could get one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Stanton-T92USB-Direct-Drive-Turntable/dp/B00292BREU
I work around these a lot, and I know many people that offer engineering services to digitize vinyl collections. The onboard dac is surprisingly really good, and having SPDIF is nice as well so you can run out at a higher quality. As far as playback is concerned, Mackie MR5's or MR8's are a huge upgrade to the AV40's. Krk's are okay too, but when you A/B them the Mackie's are definitely better.
 

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