System Upgrade Advice in Germany

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by uvwxVinyl, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. uvwxVinyl

    uvwxVinyl Well-Known Member

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    I come into this part of the forum and literally (yes, literally and it's embarrassing since I'm at work) drool at the pics I see and from what I read.

    My setup in comparison is basically the equivalent of "found at the side of a dumpster". I have a Dual 505 with the stock Ortofon cart, Sansui R-30 Receiver and some Magnat bookshelf speakers I re-purposed from a home theater set up. Not to say that doesn't sound decent and gets the job done, but I think I would like to take a step up on all my equipment.

    Realistically I don't think I'd be spending boat loads of cash, more so looking for a reasonably priced gear that would take the sound to a noticeable next level. Have you guys put together a list like a "forum approved starter pack setup"? Considering I've spent $2000 on records in the last year, I assume I could take a break from purchasing more stuff (yeah right, like that's going to happen) and use this as a baseline budget to upgrade all gear over the next year.

    If this amount of money won't make much of an improvement to what I already have, then what should I be looking at budgeting?
     
  2. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    You can do a lot with $2000, and definitely get well into next level gear. While there are lots of solid recommendations on the forum, the recommendations change as we discover new gear and share between ourselves.

    First question- is the Dual in nice condition or do you want to change that as well? The reason I ask is because the 505 is a nice turntable. If it's in good condition, I'd recommend keeping it and upgrading the stylus.
     
  3. uvwxVinyl

    uvwxVinyl Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for giving my post some attention. I was hoping you would reply ;)!

    The Dual is in fine condition and like I said, everything I have does work well and sounds decent. I've timed the drive speed and also checked the tone arm/anti-skating setup, all good in that regard. The phono cable plugs are slightly old and I was thinking of cutting these off and replacing with new plugs at some point but they don't really affect sound reproduction at the moment.

    Regarding stylus upgrade, the table is a CS-505-1 with a TKS49S Cartridge / Ortofon 49S stock needle. Unfortunately from what I have researched my upgrade options for this are slightly limited and there's not a lot I can do. The problem is this has a standard Dual part, and apparently you need a 1/2 inch adapter (http://www.dualfred.de/Tonearm/Tonearm-Head/TKS-Adaptor-300107-2-en.html) to be able to use non-TKS cartridges.

    I am thinking of at the very least upgrading the 49S (spherical) to the DN-155E (eliptical) stylus. I think that's at least a small upgrade.

    Let me know if you've got any other ideas of what to do for a stylus upgrade.
     
  4. displayname

    displayname Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you need to stop buying records entirely, but I see what you're saying. Take things one part at a time, and just consider a "vinyl diet." It's a term several people here have been using. Limiting to one add on item per month, or things like that.
    But let's start with a $2000 budget and pretend you are buying all of this today. This can change over time, and going used could help you step up a class or two in most areas. I'll list the system that comes to mind, then some popular options below to mix and match.

    PLX-1000 - $700
    Nagaoka MP-150 - $300
    iPhono2 - $500
    Onkyo TX8020 - $170
    Elac B6 - $280
    System total - $1950

    Below are some other options to consider that can help get the most out of your budget, especially if you can get certain items used or on clearance.
    TT: UTurn, Mofi StudioDeck, well kept SL-1200.
    Cartridge: Nagaoka MP-110, Grado carts, some Denon carts, some AT carts.
    Phono: Pho 8, StudioPhono, Sutherland KC Vibe.
    Amp/Integrated: options from Yamaha, NAD, Marantz and Rouge Sphinx 2
    Speakers: Elac F6, maybe a few others

    Edit, forgot cables if you need to upgrade those as well. I suggest Blue Jeans Cable.
     
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  5. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    Ohh. That table could have come with one of two cartridges here in the States- you have the "other" one.

    Not a biggie. Get the adaptor you linked to above. Then you can put a standard cartridge on it. The perfect cartridge for that arm is the Ortofon Super OM20:

    https://www.lpgear.com/product/OROM20S.html
     
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  6. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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  7. uvwxVinyl

    uvwxVinyl Well-Known Member

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    You think that would do the job? I was concerned that adding this adapter would mean the extra weight of adapter + non standard cartridge might exceed rated tone arm tracking capabilities. Edit: I just saw on the link they do offer an extra attachment to the counter weight as well, so this might not be too bad.

    I'd need to find a video or some instructables on how to put it all together. Have you happen to come across any?

    So with ~$300 in upgrades I should end up with a turntable that could hold it's own against to the other products you have listed? No need to consider buying a new TT? Considering I only spent $50 to buy the table I'd be quite pleased with that.

    This all gives me a good start to dig in to. Also thanks for your list @displayname !! Seems to be some overlap.

    One question, the Sutherland, namely the Insight seems to be the talk of the town, but how come you allocate more on the pre-amp than the power amp itself? Or is this quite normal? I see the vincent pho-8 being talked about a lot too, how would that fare in comparison?

    Also in terms of an upgrade plan then I guess I could start with the TT upgrades, then speakers, and then the phono stage + power amp. Thoughts? I think I could space this out over a year or so and I should be able to afford it all.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  8. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    I really like the 505. Is the PLX-1000 a better table. Yes. Is it enough that I'd recommend spending $765 (you'll need a new headshell because the Pioneer headshell sucks). No. You already have the Dual- let's repurpose it and put the money somewhere else. The 505 is a fine turntable.

    Most people think the speakers are the most important part of a system because that's where the sound "comes from" and will tell you to spend the most money there. They are mistaken. The sound "comes from" your records (must be clean) your stylus/cartridge, turntable, and phono stage. Most people skimp on the phono stage. This is a mistake.

    If you spend the majority of money on speakers, you hear every flaw that they are fed. That's no fun at all. Spend more ahead of the speakers and you'll hear your speakers full capabilities. You'll be surprised.

    As far as phono stages, the Sutherlands are head and shoulders above anything else I've heard for even money. We aren't talking "golden ears" audiophile stuff- anyone can hear it. I'd really love to squeeze an Insight into your budget, and it could be done, but at the at the expense of the 326BEE. The Onkyo that @displayname mentioned would come close to getting you there, but you can do better. You'll still end up in budget with a system that will knock your socks off.

    As far as the KC Vibe costing more than the amp, don't worry about it. My amp is $3500, and my Insight is $1400. But I wouldn't hesitate to mate my amp to a Sutherland Duo ($4000).

    I'd not recommend the iPhono any longer- they have had a rash of QC issues lately. Supposedly, they've straightened them out. We'll see.

    Installing the new cartridge is pretty simple. I can walk you though it online or by phone as I've done for others.

    Edit: The PHO-8 is wonderful for $299. Southerland's products are far superior- a totally different universe.

    Don't worry about the extra weight of the adaptor on the Dual. It'll work perfectly with the Super OM20.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  9. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    @uvwxVinyl see edit above.
     
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  10. uvwxVinyl

    uvwxVinyl Well-Known Member

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    That should set me on my way to start reading about the products . I'll have to get together a list of dealers in Germany for the Sutherland (their website lists one, so I'll try them).

    One last thing about the NAD amp - my quick google search shows me only 120VAC models. I'm going to need something 220-240 compatible. I'm sure they make one this side of the Atlantic but if the don't do you have another recommendation? Also I noticed this model has a lot of extra "modes" (buttons), for example "video", "tape", "CD" etc. I really don't need all of that, actually I think a volume button, phones outlet and adjustments for treble/mid/bass would be sufficient really. I've always been under the impression that the extra modes mean extra boards internally which just add points of failure to our device. Might as well do without if I'll never use them. Thoughts?

    Thanks for all of this once again. I'll probably start the upgrades on the table during the summer!
     
  11. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    I didn't realize you are in Germany. Here's your cartridge- in Germany.

    https://www.thakker.eu/en/pickup/ortofon-super-om-20-cartridge/a-5112/

    Give me a bit of time on the amp then. I need to research and see what's available to you.
     
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  12. uvwxVinyl

    uvwxVinyl Well-Known Member

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  13. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    No problem.
     
  14. Corycm

    Corycm Well-Known Member

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    For those of us armchairing this one, maybe just pop out the last few posts into their own thread and go from there - if you are comfortable with it. This sort of info can be really helpful to new folks looking for info.

    If you want to keep the convo going, certainly don't feel like you're inconveniencing anyone. We all like this stuff. I'm sure @mcherry could migrate a few posts to anew thread with the appropriate amount of please and thank you'd.
     
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  15. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    Good idea @Corycm

    @uvwxVinyl Here's a link to German NAD dealers- the 326BEE is available in Germany.

    https://nadelectronics.com/dealers/

    @mcherry Thanks in advance for your most excellent mod powers!
     
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  16. displayname

    displayname Well-Known Member

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    Sutherland is the hottest thing on the block here right now, and I'm riding that hype train all day. I'm now a big believer in getting the best phonostage that you can get. Each move I've made with the phono has been significant, and the improvements in performance were instant. As far as budget - the retail of my phono is more than 4x my amp, so clearly I'm comfortable with that. Not that the amp doesn't make a difference, but I think the phonostage is more important if you're primarily running vinyl. My amp will be upgraded at some point, but it's later on my list.

    As far as where to start, I think from the source out is a good plan. However if you see a great deal on something used or clearance, don't be afraid to mix up the order. Changes this big aren't easy to make overnight, but don't miss a killer deal if you have your upgrade path outlined as a whole system. It'll all make it in sooner or later. And it might evolve in the process.

    Lastly I want to add that @HiFi Guy offers great advice, so I would trust him. He hasn't steered me wrong, and I believe several others here would agree as well. We have a few other members here that are huge helps. @Ed Selley might offer some solid input for your side of the world as well. The hands on experience they (and others here) offer is invaluable!
     
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  17. mcherry

    mcherry Spam Slayer ☠️ & Moderator Extraordinaire

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    I’ll migrate posts in a bit. First, you should start a thread and tag me there.
     
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  18. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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  19. mcherry

    mcherry Spam Slayer ☠️ & Moderator Extraordinaire

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  20. uvwxVinyl

    uvwxVinyl Well-Known Member

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    @HiFi Guy since the post I had noticed that the 326BE on amazon.de for what seems to be a fantastic price (approx USD 420 taxes in) which is great because we rarely get things here cheaper than US list price. I hope this is the same one you were referring to.





    So I'm quite pleased about the price but since I now have my own thread to nitpick, do you mind lending me your thoughts on my last comment about the NAD:


    Also Thanks @mcherry for giving my own thread!
     
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