Vinyl - back to the future?

Over the Easter weekend I looked through the boxes of 200-300 LPs stored in the loft and I’d forgotten what gems lay hidden away - and after browsing on Discogs, some quite valuable it seems. They were stored in sealed plastic tubs, north facing (no extremes of temperature) and wrapped up in their Discwasher VRP inner sleeves and polyethylene outer sleeves. Luckily, all appear to still be in A1 condition. 

I have REALLY enjoyed looking through these old albums, especially savouring the outer and inner sleeves. So much so that I’m now seriously considering adding a turntable to my UnitiQute 2 (or CB Nait2). Folly perhaps in the current download and streaming era, but the nostalgia fest of pawing through these old spinners has caught my imagination.

As I’ve been out of the vinyl scene for nigh on twenty years (gulp) I could do with a little guidance please. Will more than likely be buying used, so dealer demonstrations not really viable unless I find an ex-demo deck that fits. Q’s that spring to mind…

Turntable: Initially thinking of either a vintage Rega Planar 3 (I have 'form' with this old timer) to get things going and to see If I still enjoy the old snap crackle and pop? Or perhaps a second hand higher end Rega P6 or P8, or even a basic Cymbiosis built LP12 (then upgrade in time). Newer brand alternatives could be Avid, Project etc. Recommendations?

Phono stage & Cartridge: Perhaps a versatile switchable Moving Magnet & Moving Coil unit? Or a dedicated MM or MC stage? Pros & cons of contemporary MM vs MC? Has the performance gulf narrowed between the two?

Vinyl: If I do plunge, how good are new 180g vinyl pressings? I remember the early 90's vinyl quality seemed to be shockingly bad with noisy warped pressings commonplace - very frustrating.

Alternatively, cash in the vinyl and put the proceeds towards a new HDX2 - tempting! Sacrilege perhaps (burn the witch!) but that’s also an alternative to the nostalgia vinyl trip? 

Lots of questions I know, but thoughts and experience welcome from anyone else who has jumped back down the rabbit hole after a vinyl hiatus?

 

 

 

Original Post

I would recommend if you decide to go vinyl again to get a newer RP6 level deck 

Buy pre loved and if it doesn't work out for you ..it will be easier to sell on

Don't underestimate the SWMBO factor with records...even a 300 collection takes up a lot of space in the listening room and is seldom something a partner welcomes !!

Hi Yetizone

180g vinyl isn't an absolute. This is on the inner sleeve of my recent copy of Emerson Lake & Palmer's Works vinyl. The first is from Greg Lake, the second from Helmut Brinkmann.

“To all friends of vinyl.

Ever since producing and recording with King Crimson and ELP, it has been my personal goal to achieve the best possible sound quality and that remains true to this day.

Regarding the audio reproduction quality on vinyl, the popular perception for some time has been that the best sound quality is achieved by using 180gsm weight. The reality, however, is that particularly when using modern decks, the best audio quality is actually achieved using the lighter 140gsm weight. I am honestly not sure why this trend of using heavyweight vinyl came about? Probably because of the ‘more equals better’ in the world we live in. However, in the interests of delivering the best quality audio to our fans we have decided to go for quality rather than quantity.

Just to underpin the above vinyl quality issue, here below is a short explanation/statement  from Mr. Helmut Brinkmann of Brinkmann Audio, a leading authority on this subject.”

Greg Lake, 2016

“180 or 200 grams records often don’t sound as good as the thinner ones. In my opinion this comes from the massive acrylic material. As this is plastic of quite some softness, it reacts in the form of resonances during the tracking process.

As good as the recorded music may sound, the plastic sound of vinyl does not…. the music is disturbed by those resonances.

Though the thicker record may be stiffer than a thinner one, the resonances are heavier because of the sheer mass of the material (which is not that stiff compared to the dynamic tracking forces).

We know that the needle is accelerated to a few G gravity, and that causes back force resonances in the vinyl material. The more vinyl is under the needle the more these resonances can arise.”

Helmut Brinkmann, 2016

Japtimscarlet posted:

I would recommend if you decide to go vinyl again to get a newer RP6 level deck 

Buy pre loved and if it doesn't work out for you ..it will be easier to sell on

Don't underestimate the SWMBO factor with records...even a 300 collection takes up a lot of space in the listening room and is seldom something a partner welcomes !!

Store them in a nice solid oak cabinet - SWMBO approval factor positive. Good that she likes LPs but won’t touch the LP12 - cantilever snapping phobia I had my first LP12 back in 1988 and went for an ex-dem Klimax LP12 around 2-3 years ago. It came with a Khan top plate and I had the Tranquility fitted too - a worthwhile improvement I think. I must admit that if I hadn’t bought into Linn so long ago I might just be looking at a Rega.

l never gave up on vinyl and still buy the odd discs. The latest Supercut and Speakers Corner discs are very good as are the reproduction sleeves.

My impression is  that some of the  master tapes have suffered over the decades. That may be a lot of what's wrong with newer releases of older stuff. Enjoy what you have for now and think about a good record cleaner.

Don't underestimate the importance of what the TT sits on.

I agree that recent re-releases aren't what we ought to expect and that thinner vinyl records do seem to be better than 180g. That impression may be coloured by the fact that most of my older records are relatively thin, and almost every modern re-release is 180g and the older ones often sound better. The other issue is that re-releases are usually remastered and the new masters are invariably mixed in the digital domain.

I placed a link to a BBC programme about remastering on another thread entitled 'Would a sound engineer release distorted vocals' or something similar. That explains the process of baking the older master tapes. 

I should go for an Lp12,....IF,...you have a good dealer not so long from were you live.Remember that if you shall have the best out of your LP12, you shall have it in for service every 12 month.

Also think about what you get/buy,in this days it is out so many pre-loved LP12's with third parts in it. Will you have that, or an original one?

I should go for an original one,have listen to so many with third parts in it,different....but not better. Often cleaner or/and clearer but less in musicality. And in the long run musicality winns,it's because of musicality you can listen hour after hour and wan't stop.

Many here in Sweden thinks an pre-circus is better than the newer ones if we talk musicality,it's importent that you listen for yourself.Contact a good dealer who can do different demos for you,and if you find a used one.....let your dealer check it before you buy it.....so you know what you are buying....and set it up with the right parts in it.

Lejonklou Hifi has very good MM-phonostage,you can also find this on the pre-loved market.....or you can find an old Linn LK1 pre, and only use the phonostage. It has both MM and MC and are still very,very good. You can also recapp it ( LK1),we have done that ....and I can say that it's much better after the recapp. I think ClassA do this.❗ 

Much to think about,but an LP12 is always an LP12.I see in your profile that you have had one earlier.....so you know what I'm talking about 😉.

/Peder🙂 

 

The phono stage in your CB NAIT 2 is fine and a good place to start out. Pick a suitable MM for your deck/arm of choice.  A-Ts traditionally work well with Naim.

As for vinyl, 140g may be a sweet spot.  Certainly the Acony 140g pressings are some of the nicest I've heard recently.  However, nothing is quite like the old translucent Japanese virgin vinyl that was used on those lovely Canadian Half-speeds from A&M, or the gorgeous thin Nimbus pressings from the '80s.

Peder posted:

I should go for an Lp12,....IF,...you have a good dealer not so long from were you live.Remember that if you shall have the best out of your LP12, you shall have it in for service every 12 month.

 

A correctly set up LP12 doesn't need a service every year.  Most people have the deck checked over when they have a new cartridge fitted.

This is what I've done since 1989 and not had any issues.

Thanks for all help with turntable choices everyone. The nearest Linn dealer is just over an hour away, so certainly a commitment for deck maintenance, although not a horrendous drive. If I went down this route, it would have to be an older deck or a Cymbiosis build due to budget limits anyway. Yes I owned an LP12 / Ittok / Lingo1 / Koetsu years ago and certainly remember how good it was, but not sure if I want to go to that level again, plus I wonder how much the competition has caught up… Is something like an RP8 or an RP10 a match for an intro LP12 fitted with the same AT MM cartridge?

A used / ex demo RP8 with an Audio Technica looks like it could be interesting - I do love Rega’s plug and play simplicity, so that approach appeals. Plus I have a soft spot for Rega - first real turntable! 

What about Project / Avid / Michell etc? Any fans or users. Certainly love the industrial design of the Avid decks, but have never heard one

Interesting observations about vinyl manufacturing weight. It looks like the 180g tag seems to have become a label of perceived quality then, and not to be sought out as a priority for new discs.

IIRC, wasn’t the vinyl weight issue addressed in the 1970’s by RCA with the their “Dynaflex” range? I came upon this on some of the secondhand orange label Bowie (US & Canadian) albums I picked up in the 80's. Their sound was notably different compared to their UK equivalents, which were in most part, hefty slabs of black. Theses albums were really flexible, almost like a magazine flexi-disc and sat really flat on the turntable. They were generally less prone to warping, tracked really well and were overall much quieter having less background noise. Maybe RCA were on to something back in the time of flares?

If I do plunge, my first thoughts are to probably only buy the odd new limited edition vinyl releases from some of the artists I collected years ago and for the most part buy most new music as a HD download as love the convenience of streaming. But I can also see myself scouring the second hand shops for period LPs though!

 

EDIT: Vinyl weight - using Bowie as an example, has anyone compared the sound quality of the generations of vinyl output? From the RCA original orange labels, through 1980’\s green labels and on to the recent boxed sets - which looks very tempting for their overall desire factor. But, how do these 180g (remastered?) vinyl issues compare with the old timers?

Richard Dane posted:

The phono stage in your CB NAIT 2 is fine and a good place to start out. Pick a suitable MM for your deck/arm of choice.  A-Ts traditionally work well with Naim.

As for vinyl, 140g may be a sweet spot.  Certainly the Acony 140g pressings are some of the nicest I've heard recently.  However, nothing is quite like the old translucent Japanese virgin vinyl that was used on those lovely Canadian Half-speeds from A&M, or the gorgeous thin Nimbus pressings from the '80s.

I wonder if the Nait 2 phono stage would be competitive with a new up to date dedicated stage? 

I remember an old school friend importing a Japanese copy of Tubular Bells that sounded astonishing to our teenage ears (on my Rega Planar 3)!

Richard Dane posted:

The phono stage in your CB NAIT 2 is fine and a good place to start out. Pick a suitable MM for your deck/arm of choice.  A-Ts traditionally work well with Naim.

 

Of course Richard,I didn't know he has this CB Nait 2. Agree,thats a good way to start.

/Peder🙂 

YZ, I am going through the exact same process you. 700 LP’s suddenly telling me to play them. I also had LP12/Ekos1/Karma, but also more than 20 years since I snorted any Vinyl. I’m reluctant to spend a fortune. I’m obviously no expert, but in my explorations so far I’d very strongly recommend you listen to the new Rega P6/Ania. I think it’s seriously good by any standards. 

Thats top of my list so far, but I am booked to visit Peter at Cymbiosis on May 23rd to see if he can convince me otherwise. £3-4K my topmost budget with him including ps and phono stage.

kevin J Carden posted:

YZ, I am going through the exact same process you. 700 LP’s suddenly telling me to play them. I also had LP12/Ekos1/Karma, but also more than 20 years since I snorted any Vinyl. I’m reluctant to spend a fortune.

I recently resurrected my LP12/Lingo/Linto/Ekos 1/OC-9 Mk II which had been in storage for a couple of years - must admit I never took to CDs despite having a few hundred, but Qobuz was a game changer for me with digital music.

It's been a couple of weeks with the LP12 again, but I'm generally loving playing vinyl and have started buying some of these new 180g re-releases.  Must confess some sound fantastic, a few have some surface noise/crackles but it's always been so.  What really strikes me is how flimsy many of my albums from the 80s and 90s were.

My young kids are fascinated by the vinyl and are quite excited going to the supermarket where they have some of the re-issues in the aisles - bought an 80's compilation for the hell of it, not really my kind of 80s stuff but must admit it sounded fantastic.  I enjoy the vinyl much more than HD streaming purchases.

Guinnless posted:
Peder posted:

I should go for an Lp12,....IF,...you have a good dealer not so long from were you live.Remember that if you shall have the best out of your LP12, you shall have it in for service every 12 month.

 

A correctly set up LP12 doesn't need a service every year.  Most people have the deck checked over when they have a new cartridge fitted.

This is what I've done since 1989 and not had any issues.

Hi,Im also an 80's-LP12 guy,get my first 1983 in december. This days I do the service myself,I have done this since around 1997. I have all the original tools and equipment for it.

Before that,I also do as you say you do,when a new cartridge was fitted.But back in time you buy a new cartridge every 2 years, if you use your Lp12 as you should......often 😉.But now this days,when you also are streaming and maybe also play CD's,....maybe you buy a new cartridge every 4 year....maybe longer than that. That's really,really to long for a service on your LP12...if we talk the best soundquality we can get from our LP12.

You don't have any issues as you wrote,BUT....you have a very big difference in soundquality, if you do service more often.....read, once a year❗ 

You have where I live, winter-weather,...the air is very dry.Summer-weather, the opposite. The LP12-plint is in wood,.....yes,I see that you understand what I mean.Around the world it's always a difference between winter and summer weather. Because of this, you should do a service every year, if you are "Attention To Detail" and looking for the best soundquality from your LP12. You shall also clean your belt more often than 3-4 years if you looking for best soundquality......it's a big different to the better if you do this once a year.

Also all screws and other things has to be check over once a year.I promise that you hear a difference to the better in soundquality if you do this once a year.

🔴 YETIZONE,an advice to you. In your budget include some money for a turntable-rack/wall-shelf. You shall see that item as a part of the turntable. If you wan't it cheap and you go for an LP12, buy an IKEA Lack-table and modified it as we do from 1980 and forward. It's still a very good table for the LP12,....BUT,this is importent...you shall NOT use Trampolin with IKEA Lack. Use Solid Baseboard and original rubber feets in the corner of the LP12-plint.

/Peder🙂 

Adam Zielinski posted:
Yetizone posted:

 Is something like an RP8 or an RP10 a match for an intro LP12 fitted with the same AT MM cartridge?

 

 

I own both Rega RP10 and a mid-to-high level LP12. And personally I think RP10 is a better sounding turntable.

Hi Adam Zielinski 😃,....some questions.

1◾ Have you a Solid Baseboard alu or Trampolin2 alu under your Lp12..?

2◾ Where have you placed your LP12,...a special rack,wall-shelf or an ordinary table..?

3◾ If you have your LP12 on a special rack (Fraim,Mana Quadraspire ect),have you many items under the LP12 (pre,power,streamer,dac ect)..?

4◾ How long was it since you have a service on your LP2..?

5◾ Is your LP12 an Linn original, without any third parts equipments..?

6◾ What power-supply has you..…(Lingo1 or what)..? ..and if it's old,have you had a service on it...(the power-supply)..?

I shall tell you later why I ask this questions.

/Peder🙂 

Adam,I try to help you,depends on your answers I must do a lot of writings. Maybe you know about what I shall tell you,maybe not. But it's importent information for better soundquality.

I take of my time to write down 6 questions,this I do to inform you, what we have fund out around this questions. If you not will do this,no problem....we just drop it,but it's you who lose than.not me.

/Peder🙂 

Peder - just to remind you: this is a thred about returning to vinyl. Not about pseudo-optimising my two turntables.

From your recent posts in other threads you come accross as a person, who needs to lecture everone who does not confirm to your view of a world. 

So - backto the main topic, please.

Take a look at Graham Slee phono stages. You can't get anything better for the money I think. I've got a Revelation with the optional PSU1 power supply. It's got three 3-way switches providing equalisation curves covering virtually all records ever released, including today's modern RIAA pressings. It's a match made in heaven with my high output Sumiko Blackbird MC cartridge. TT is a Acoustic Signature Storm with a SME IV tonearm. 

My experience with 180-g vinyl is that it's largely marketing hype. In fact, the thicker vinyl compromises VTA set for the traditional ~140-g LP. Even if all analog from the original tapes, 180-g re-issues are often mastered to a modern sonic with boosted bass and compression. For vintage LPs I'd seek OPs and would readily pay equal to the re-issue price for a VG+ or better OP. Some of the best sounding LPs I have are flimsy OPs. Creedence Clearwater Revival on the deep-groove blue Fantasy label come immediately to mind; about as flexi as an LP gets.

Adam Zielinski posted:

Peder - just to remind you: this is a thred about returning to vinyl. Not about pseudo-optimising my two turntables.

From your recent posts in other threads you come accross as a person, who needs to lecture everone who does not confirm to your view of a world. 

So - backto the main topic, please.

1+1 is 2 not 3 Adam,if you think that optimising the turntables, and things around it, is a pseudo-thing I'm really chocked. We have tested everything around turntables and know that it isn't a pseudo-thing,other here I think also know that....end of story.

I ask you this questions because we.....our group has an opposite result than you, when we have compared the Rega RP10 against an LP12. Rega RP10 is a very good turntable,but as I say....we had an opposite result than you.

 As you say,this is a turntable advice thread and because of that, when you have the opposite result then us,I start to wunder why.....because of that I ask you this questions. It's importent to know why, because we give YETIZONE advice,and he shall perhaps trust at our advice.For me it's importent to give right advice,everything I/we give advice on we have tested....many times,in different set-ups/systems.

Because of your answers to my questions nr 4,5 and 6, I think I maybe.....I say maybe can have the answer to why we have different result, Rega RP10 vs LP12. And if it is so,....that can help YETIZON to take a decision to what he maybe shall buy. So you see,all is in the rules for the thread subject 😉.

So,if you will be kind to answer if you have Trampolin2 or Solid Baseboard alu on your LP12.....that would help alot. After you have answer, I shall explain what I think about.....depending on your answer, you can have something very wrong with your LP12 turntable.

AND,....I don't say this because I want to lecture everyone 😉.

Peder🙂 

I’ve not compared anything as I’ve been more than happy with LP12s over the years. The Radikal motor to my ears offers rock solid dynamics but I see there also been a recent upgrade to the Lingo which is said to improve AC motor performance. Shock horror - I tend to service my LP12s as I have the tools including a Kradle. I won’t touch the Kandid though, working on the basis that if anyone snaps the cantilever my dealer should. I must be getting it right since my dealer has complimented me on the quality of my set up. Not all of us live near Cymbiosis and I’ve always wondered about setting up at the dealer only to put the thing in the back of a car and set up again at home. That’s me I suppose but having serviced 2 LPs over the years I’m happy. The Khan top plate and Radikal are also a lot easier to set up than the AC motor and stainless steel top plate.

 

I started with REGA 3 from a friend and then uprgraded to LP12 in time,  just had the old girl uprgraded and now better than ever

as others have said either REGA, Project AVIA or LP12 from a specialist dealer, there are a number, I have always used Peter @Cymbiosis

would not by LP12 off the shelf! when you get deck then Cartridge - Dynavector DV10 is a good starting point,  get a budget in mind, when I first got my LP12 it was £600

on records, I think you will be happliy suprized how the older vinyl sounds, might need to get some cleaned but this can be done, was listening to a vinyl I have had for 30 years and it still stands up vs my NDX

there are plenty of special vinyl sellers on the interweb and retail

enjoy the search

 

Peder

LP12 Akurate Plus specification included: Trampolin, Kore, Akito arm and a mid-range MC cartridge (Krystal's predecessor). It was factory configured for me with Radikal. It is powered by a PowerLine (off a separate circuits) like all the components that I use. The turntable was set up and is maintained by my dealer. It's connected by a Superlumina RCA > DIN.

My RP10 is outfited with an Aphelion cartridge and set up by my dealer (as I don't have patience to do those things) run via an SuperLine, powered by a SuperCap.

As to the rest of the components - all are in my profile.

I think I'm ok for supports, component separation, cable dressing and designated, separate power-supply circuits.

Adam

Adam,super 👍🏻.I shall later today put in a longer post here, that I think can help many here.

Depending on your answer now, you must check up your LP12...I shall explain better i a couple of hours.I have some meetings now with some friends.

/Peder🙂 

joerand posted:

My experience with 180-g vinyl is that it's largely marketing hype. In fact, the thicker vinyl compromises VTA set for the traditional ~140-g LP. Even if all analog from the original tapes, 180-g re-issues are often mastered to a modern sonic with boosted bass and compression. For vintage LPs I'd seek OPs and would readily pay equal to the re-issue price for a VG+ or better OP. Some of the best sounding LPs I have are flimsy OPs. Creedence Clearwater Revival on the deep-groove blue Fantasy label come immediately to mind; about as flexi as an LP gets.

Thank you Joe, you beat me to it! VTA is certInly affected, although I wonder if the positive results that people report with 180g are the result of VTA being slightly improved with inaccuately set up tone arms or poorly matched Cartridges, particularly if the tone arm does not have the capacity for easy VTA adjustment. Presumably the same is true for those who prefer a thicker platter mat? I spent a considerable amount of time adjusting VTA on the ARO as a result of Russ Andrew's speculations about lowering the tone arm thus increasing the rake of the leading edge of the stylus. Some very interesting results, but with mixed success. I came back to the truly horizontal, as Naim suggests, as being the best compromise.

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