Duane, you specifically addressed the record cleaner, but then did not offer an alternative "for
less money." You should offer alternatives if you want to criticise others' recommendations.
There aren't that many "half-decent stereo receivers" made anymore. There are integrated amps, some
with decent phono preamps built in. I like the Marantz PM6005, for instance; I have one at our place
upstate. It's got a built-in surprisingly good DAC (no USB input but jitter-rejecting optical and
SPDIF inputs so you can use a cheapo DVD player to both play music and watch movies). And also a
good phono preamp (I have it paired with a Shure M97 and a stock Technics 1200mkIV turntable). I use
it to drive B&W 805 speakers, so it's somewhat like taking a Honda Civic on the Autoban, but the
whole system sounds really good. We listen to music almost constantly, when we're inside. This
summer's project is to find a half-decent wireless-speaker system for outside.
The older Marantz 6004 is on discount all over the web, but it doesn't have the built-in DAC, which
I considered worth the extra money because I didn't have a spare DAC around and wanted to use a
spare cheapo Toshiba DVD/CD player.
It's worth noting that the headphone amp in the Marantz is also good. Overall I consider it a good
deal, and it can be had for $550 or so if you negotiate hard with your local Marantz dealer rather
than buy online.
There are similar units from Cambridge and I think others, although I'm not sure many or any have
both a phono preamp and a built-in DAC at that price point.
As far as real-deal "receivers," meaning a radio is built in, the choice is more limited, especially
if you want a phono preamp. We have an old tuner up there, mainly to listen to NPR, but it's mostly
used to provide background noise when the dogs are left alone. If you love radio, a receiver is
probably more desireable.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stewart Gooderman" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2014 2:02 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] WSJ article on vinyl playbackl equipment
> What about buying a half-decent stereo receiver? Are the pre-amps in these units so inferior? Then
> attach speakers to the receiver.
> On Mar 15, 2014, at 8:34 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> One other comment about this "starter" vinyl system. It will definitely produce far superior
>> sound to vintage record-wreckers, anything sold by "Crosley" and most other catalog-sold
>> self-contained "record players." If any listmembers or their friends/family are considering
>> plungeing into vinyl (it'll be a deep dive before you're done, be forewarned!), I recommend the
>> 1. read the manual carefully to your turntable. Understand how to align a cartridge. You will not
>> enjoy playback without a properly aligned cartridge. Any of the Technics-like Chinese turntables
>> can use the Technics alignment gauge/headshell holder. You can still find these little plastic
>> do-dads for a few bucks from Needle Doctor or KAB. You can find a good, useful alignment grid
>> from Sleeve City.
>> 2. also from Sleeve City, you will find several options at low cost for record cleaning, I would
>> say that the Spin-Clean is the minimum system likely to properly clean the records you get for a
>> buck at the Goodwill or yard sale. There is a good stylus cleaner sold by Sleeve City, too. They
>> also sell reasonably-priced record crates. The assemble-yourself model, for about $20, can be
>> copied if you have a few wood-shop tools. It's very useful for keeping your "in rotation" records
>> near your turntable.
>> 3. finally, from Sleeve City or the place in Rochester NY (which is more costly than Sleeve
>> City), invest in good plastic-lined inner sleeves. Always dump old paper and plastic inner
>> sleeves, and dump most of the inner sleeves included with new-issue vinyl, especially those pink
>> plastic inner sleeves used by Sony. A few cents invested will save a lifetime of scuffing on the
>> record. Vinyl "guru" Mike Fremer makes a convincing argument that if you clean and store your
>> records properly from the get-go, and keep your stylus clean always, and set your cartridge
>> tracking angles correctly, and track at the light weights recommended by the manufacturer of your
>> cartridge, your records should not wear out over hundreds of plays. Antique record-wreckers will
>> destroy your platters from the first play forward.
>> 4. A good phono preamp will sound superior to what's built into any of these "USB turntables." I
>> would say that should be your first upgrade. There are many choices under $200 that do the job
>> Bottom line, if I were starting out in the world of LP records, I'd set it up this way:
>> 1. Music Hall USB turntable - $250
>> 2. Shure M97 cartridge - $100 or Denon DL-110 cartridge - $130
>> 3. Cambridge Audio phono preamp/USB ADC - $230
>> 4. Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones - $150
>> 5. figure $300-500 for a good headphone amp, more like $500 if you want a decent USB DAC so you
>> can listen to your laptop or PC.
>> 6. if you want powered speakers, there are many choices at many price ranges. Anything with a
>> woofer smaller than 8" will not give you very good bass response, so figure on a subwoofer.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Steve Ramm" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2014 11:04 AM
>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] WSJ article on vinyl playbackl equipment
>>> Not to start a discussion but for those who don't get the Wall Street
>>> Journal you might enjoy reading this if interested in NEW "Home" playback
>>> _Svelte Systems for Spinning Vinyl - WSJ.com_
>>> Steve Ramm