My next step.....and Hello.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by haimez40, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. haimez40

    haimez40 Member

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    Hello! Long time lurker, first time poster.

    Here is my current system:
    Turntable: Audio Technica LP120
    Cartridge: Acutex 312mkII STR
    Speakers: Cerwin Vega RE 25
    PreAmp: N/A (built in)
    Amp: Pioneer SX-3700
    Cables: built in from LP120
    Accessories: Carbon Fiber Static Brush, Velvet Brush/Stylus Cleaner, AT Brush Pad, MoFi Sleeves.

    So I am fairly new to the game and using a lot of thrown together equipment I acquired via my family resources and past systems. My girlfriend and I bought the AT LP120 to gauge our interest back into the analog world. As expected I am now addicted and looking to expand my experience. We listen to mostly classic rock and hip hop, but we are all over the place really with my collection. I am getting ready to make some new purchases and since my set up is all over the place thought I would ask this group because I really have enjoyed going through the forum posts. Lets just say my current budget for this move is in the $1,500-2,000 range.

    In my opinion my next step would be new speakers. I recently was at a local shop and heard the B&W 606 and really liked them but was curious how they stack verse other new speakers out today at that price point. I know I can get used KEF LS50 similar prices on ebay. I'm not married to bookshelf but just started looking around and in St Louis here there isn't a lot of Hifi stores to demo things. In my recent trip I liked those 606s for the price and clarity at that specific stop ($800). Since I do listen to a fair amount of hip hop a sub would be added eventually. Haven't really looked into subs much but heart Martin Logan is a good value for subs?

    My other option would be keep my current speakers and roll with a new amp. I do like my vintage Pioneer amp, and it does seem to have a solid phono stage in my rookie opinion. I have been researching mostly integrated amps: NAD 3600bee, Yamaha A-S501, Marantz PM6006. The store employee recommended the Rotel A12 which I didn't get to demo but know the name and reputation.

    To gauge my current goals I believe if I was to get a pre it would be the Vincent Pho 8. I am very happy with my current cartridge for now.

    I know this is a run on post with tons of questions so thank you for any help in advance.
     
  2. SnowmaNick

    SnowmaNick Well-Known Member

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    Since you like hip-hop, I’d look at the KEF R300’s instead of the LS50’s. A lot of people are Gaga for the LS50’s, but the bass is beyond anemic. KEF has recently released a new version of the R Series, so you can expect to find deals online for both new and used R300’s.

    Here is a used pair in pretty good condition in walnut for $825.

    https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis95iij-kef-r300-walnut-monitors?refsource=hifishark

    As you like your Pioneer, I’d look next to either a new cartridge or phono-pre amp as the best bang for your buck.

    With the budget your discussing you could pick up those KEF speakers, an Ortofon 2M Blue and a Vincent PHO-8 phono and some Blue Jeans Cables and have a noticeable jump in performance verses your existing setup.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  3. haimez40

    haimez40 Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I have been eying the Vincent Pho 8 for awhile. Solid chance I buy that at some point very soon (with blue jeans to connect and pangea power cable).
    That extra KEF breakdown helps a lot too. Especially the link because I have been mostly looking at ebay.
    My amp, speakers, and cartridge are hard to research since all discontinued. My initial guess is the speakers are the weakest link with the receiver next, and the cartridge being my top piece.
    The receiver is from 1980 so right on the cusp of vinyl being main source with quality of internal phono, but its only 45wpc 8ohms .02.
     
  4. haimez40

    haimez40 Member

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    So the cartridge although discontinued I have gotten really good feedback on from a local craigslist seller. I went to house to buy a new cartridge off him and offered him 2 I had found in my parents basement and the AT that came with my LP120. He has multiples of every Audio Technica cartridge and even discontinued for sale. I showed him the 2 Acutex I have and he was amazed by it, he had heard of them but never actually demo one. He did a demo to show me just how much better it was than what I currently had been using, and what I was asking him for purchase. He offered to trade me a AT VM740ML (retail $330) for trade but I really liked the sound of the Acutex. When I found it, it was still in the original box as if it just came off the shelf. One thing I will say is the 2 cartridges looked identical but they were slightly different stylus, so with Acutex you can't just assume you can swap the stylus like on the Ortofons. I mean even in my hand before trying to switch them they looked identical but just ever so slightly different.

    Acutex M312IISTR Cartridge Specifications:
    ○ Tonearm mount: 1/2 inch or 12.7 mm
    ○ Type: Tri Pole Induced Magnet
    ○ Output voltage at 1kHz, 5 cm/sec: 4.0 mV
    ○ Frequency response: 20 - 35,000 Hz
    ○ Impedance: 2.7 kΩ at 1 kHz
    ○ DC resistance: 610Ω
    ○ Load impedance: 30 - 100 kΩ
    ○ Channel separation: 30 dB at 1 kHz / 27 db at 10 kHz
    ○ Output balance at 1 kHz: within 1.0 dB
    ○ Tracking force range: 0.9 - 1.9 g
    ○ Compliance: 24 x 10-6 cm/dyne
    ○ Stylus: Symmetrical Tri-Radial (STR)
    ○ Cantilever: Special aluminum alloy
    ○ Dimensions: 17.5(H) × 17(W) × 29.0(D) mm
    ○ Weight: 6.2 g
    ○ Color of body: Gray
    ○ Stylus replacement: N-312 III STR, Red color
    ○ Accessories included: 6 screws, 4 nuts, 2 washers, 1 screwdriver, 1 brush
     
  5. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    Welcome!

    I know you said you were happy with your cartridge, and it's pretty good. Acutex was the house brand for Atlantis Sound back in the '70s and early '80s. You will have a tough time finding a non generic replacement.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/arch...0dec9ea/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.14df9277d7c8

    The SX-3700 is pretty decent receiver. A friend had one when they first came out. I was in high school at the time. You can't tell a lot from amplifier specs- amps can look the same on paper and sound vastly different from each other.

    The Rotel looks like a nice amp. I've seen one but haven't yet heard one. B&W is a solid choice.

    I'd probably upgrade the speakers, turntable, cartridge and add an outboard phono stage- keeping the Pioneer.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  6. blujay

    blujay Well-Known Member

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    So you wanna buy my Music Hall 5.3 to go with the Vincent is what you’re saying.
     
  7. haimez40

    haimez40 Member

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    I think by the time I look into a new table it might be sold, but when I get there I will DM you if I see you might still have it.

    Also blujay that post you did on the history of your system and your thoughts is top notch. That is a solid read and was very helpful.
     
  8. haimez40

    haimez40 Member

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    Thinking it over last night I think my next move is that Pho-8 and Speakers. Started researching some towers vs bookshelf and I probably need to be more realistic about my current budget and the price of speakers I would want/enjoy for an extended period of time. Those top of the line Bowers & Wilkins towers are nice but probably go a tier below or so. So far in my limited experience I like the B&W sound. Not ruling out other brands yet, but as of now coming down to 2 towers vs Bookshelves and a sub set up in the Bowers & Wilkins just to see what my real goal sound wise is there, if that makes sense. I'm thinking 2 bookshelves and sub will sound great for hip hop/rap but the other stuff might get slightly distorted.....possibly.
     
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  9. blujay

    blujay Well-Known Member

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    Did someone say B&W bookshelves?
    1. 24F46AEE-6B63-4CC5-87C6-414C0A582CDE.jpeg
     
  10. haimez40

    haimez40 Member

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    I was starring at those hard yesterday and listened to them. It was insanely hard not to just throw my credit card down and walk out. I really like those stands you got too.
     
  11. displayname

    displayname Well-Known Member

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    A good sub (or better yet, a pair of subs) will not muddy the sound if it's integrated properly. That's the part most people miss. Honestly it took me a little longer to dial in than I expected, and it's honestly not perfect at this point.
    Subs are also expensive, so keep that in mind. But I'd say find speakers you love, and worry about a sub later. It can be it's own purchase and you'll have a better idea of how much/how big to go once you have the speakers in your room.
     
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  12. Corycm

    Corycm Well-Known Member

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    I have the B&W 685 S2 which are a bit more affordable and sound dynamite as well.

    Nice bass level as well with the front-firing port, if you have room constraints and need closer wall placement.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
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  13. kvetcha

    kvetcha Well-Known Member

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    As the resident Klipsch-head, I'd suggest, if you have the room, that you look for a pair of vintage Klipsch floorstanders (Fortes/Forte II's are a solid value). They dig pretty deep for rock and hip hop, and your amp should provide enough power to blow the doors off.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/273517178867

    These come with the Crites crossover and diaphragm upgrades, which are exceptional.

    edit: local pickup only - St Louis to NJ is a bit of a hike.
     
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  14. kvetcha

    kvetcha Well-Known Member

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    Find some makes and models that interest you and set up a query at HifiShark. I found it very helpful.
     
  15. haimez40

    haimez40 Member

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    So what is the general consensus on speaker wire? Right now I have RCA 14 gauge going to my RE25s right now. They are 6ohm speakers, would it help to drop the gauge or is that not very noticeable? I have heard conflicting reports and curious of the thoughts on the forum. Is there a specific brand or type people like if so? I was about to order some 12 gauge off Amazon of a brand called InstalGear that has good reviews.

    So I also bit the bullet and bought the Vincent Pho-8, BlueJeans LC1, and the Pangea 14 power cord which should show up tomorrow. I will report back how it sounds vs that vintage internal after it arrives and put some hours on it.

    Also considering getting a power conditioner since it would be a thing that would stick with the system for a very long period of time. Am I to early in the game for this only running around 80watts total from my receiver? Was reading some other posts that led me to believe this might actually help me. Pretty sure the outlet I use is newer but parts of my house do have aluminum wiring (gonna double check that tonight).
     
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  16. Corycm

    Corycm Well-Known Member

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    Not to be that guy, but I will be. I’d take a hard look at your table before I started bothering with stuff like power conditioners. Particularly if you don’t have any outstanding issues with your wiring, the limitations of that table are going to show up and make themselves known before a dirty power issue.
     
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  17. haimez40

    haimez40 Member

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    No that is more than fair. That is why I asked, because in the past I never considered it but the basic theory of the conditioner makes sense to me now. I just wasn't sure on that point you reach when it helps to have one. Thanks for the feedback. Honestly out of all the pieces the least amount of research I have done is on a new table which probably needs to change going forward.
     
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  18. Corycm

    Corycm Well-Known Member

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    I think you’ll see a nice improvement based on what you’re already doing on your existing rig, but I’d definitely cap spending on a cart before a new table. A more sensitive cart is going to pick up the limitations of that table (plus be subject to the 120s known preamp issue) and your preamp/amp/speakers are gonna broadcast those flaws really well ;)
     
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  19. blujay

    blujay Well-Known Member

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    Gonna throw in that the upgrade to the 1200G for me did away with the noise a power conditioner and high end phono stage didn’t tame. Sometimes you just gotta start at the source.
     
  20. haimez40

    haimez40 Member

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    Hooked up the Vincent Pho8 on Friday. I know it will take awhile to breakin, but from a rookie perspective to others who might read this with similar equipment. I always use Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid as my A/B because of the bass, vocals, and imaging. With the internal phono I always had the loudness turned on with treble at +3 and bass at +2.
    When I first hooked up the Vincent to my Pioneer SX-3700 it sounded a lot lower volume wise with my setting I had originally. I immediately 0 the trebble/bass and turned it up. The bass is noticeably better, but the highs sound good but definitely feel limited. This over time now is obviously an issue with my speakers not keeping up.
    I wouldnt argue someone preferring the internal of the SX3700 over the Vincent Pho8 but I really like the upgrade. I know once I upgrade the turntable and speakers it will shine more, especially in the high frequencies. Im very happy with it.
     

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