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Beginner’s Guide to Turntables & Hi–Fi *READ 1st PAGE BEFORE POSTING NEW THREADS / BASIC QUESTIONS*

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Right now I have the stock (not the upgraded tubes) in. I am thinking about putting the gold pin 12AX7 Tungsol tubes in this summer.

 

Any idea of what comes stock in it?  I assume Chinese tubes.  The Tung-Sol reissues are good, but they might affect the midrange in a way you might not like.  I wouldn't pay extra for the gold pin version, but no matter what you go with, I'd pay extra to have them balanced/matched. 

 

Assuming NOS Mullard and Telefunkens are out of your price range, I would recommend Sovtek LPS tubes (not WA or WB tubes).  You should be able to find them balanced for a reasonable price. 

 

http://www.thetubestore.com/Tubes/12AX7-ECC83-Tube-Types/Sovtek-12AX7-LPS

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Haven't read the comments but appreciate the initial posts. Looking forward to a good speaker discussion.

 

One thing I've been wondering -- Is there any inherent sound quality degradation when you play vinyl through a 5.1 system? Obviously you aren't getting 6 separate channels. Assuming it just takes the two channels and spreads them out accordingly (left, right, and then blends the two together for the center and sub).

 

Mainly focused on getting a great speaker system for vinyl right now but wondering if I should future proof myself and just go with a high end 5.1 (for a future potential home theater). I don't want to hurt the quality of my vinyl sound now in order to leave room for a theater later. Does anyone use a 5.1 receiver that has the option to shut off all the speakers except the left and right fronts to create a 2 channel? Would this sound like shit (ie, those speakers not intended to be used in isolation so they wouldn't cover the full range of sounds)?

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If you really want 5.1 for the home theater, get it. Run 2 channel audio when playing vinyl. Your AV receiver will have different listening modes for different inputs. On your Phono input, or rather whatever input your phono pre is plugged into, set the receiver to "direct" or whatever mode means "I'm not doing shit to this signal you're sending me" so it will pass the audio signal directly.

 

Also, focus on getting a nice L/R or L/C/R. That way, your music doesn't sound like shit in 2channel. In reality, your rear speakers never play all that much audio, they only play little surround noises or a crowd/club in loud scenes.

 

What I'm saying is to avoid 5.1 speaker systems. Get a stereo pair of speakers, get the center, get the surrounds. Stagger it out if you have to, that way you're not crippling your system, and upgrading at the same time.

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If you really want 5.1 for the home theater, get it. Run 2 channel audio when playing vinyl. Your AV receiver will have different listening modes for different inputs. On your Phono input, or rather whatever input your phono pre is plugged into, set the receiver to "direct" or whatever mode means "I'm not doing shit to this signal you're sending me" so it will pass the audio signal directly.

 

Also, focus on getting a nice L/R or L/C/R. That way, your music doesn't sound like shit in 2channel. In reality, your rear speakers never play all that much audio, they only play little surround noises or a crowd/club in loud scenes.

 

What I'm saying is to avoid 5.1 speaker systems. Get a stereo pair of speakers, get the center, get the surrounds. Stagger it out if you have to, that way you're not crippling your system, and upgrading at the same time.

 

You kind of answered and missed on my question at the same time. So an LCR that is part of a 5.1 system is going to be designed to be used in conjunction with the sub, right? So it is going to focus more on the mids and highs and neglect the lows? Not saying I want thumps like a set of 15s rattling a trunk. Are you hurting sound quality by playing vinyl on all speakers of a 5.1 or do the extra speakers just have a neutral effect?

 

Just to summarize the main point of my question -- is a high quality 5.1 set up to only use the L and R going to provide the same sound quality on vinyl as a set of speakers that were designed to be used in a 2 channel system?

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It's really not a simple answer, because it depends on exactly what speakers you are comparing. What's a "high quality 5.1 setup" to you? Are you are refering to a sat/sub set verses two floor standing speakers? What models? 

 

Not sure yet. Haven't done the detailed shopping. But I guess based on your answer that there are 5.1 systems where the L and R in isolation would make a proper Hi-Fi setup for vinyl. That's all I was really wondering.

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It's not impossible to get really high quality 2 channel reproduction with a 5.1 setup, but it costs a lot. The cost of a piece of equipment should never be considered the guideline for the level of quality, but it gives you a slight idea of what you can expect. So by that rough estimate, a 5.1 channel system (6 channels of amplification, 6 speakers, accessories) would cost you approximately three times as much as a 2 channel system (2 channels of amplification, 2 speakers, accessories) for the equivalent level of sound quality.

 

The 5.1 reproduction though will be insanely good, because the source material for the 5.1 reproduction (your average blockbuster movie) is simply put not as revealing and not as real-life-comparable as the average music recording. In other words, for an avid music listener the drawbacks of an audio system are much more highlighted when listening to music than when watching movies.

 

So the question is, do you enjoy 5.1 (movies) enough to warrant such an expensive system? If yes, then this is the best solution for both music and movies.

 

If your priority is music though, then there is another, in the audio world very common option to achieve top notch 2 channel reproduction and only "solid" multichannel experience. You build a really good 2 channel system, but for the difference of additionally spending twice as much for what would be the equivalent 5.1 multichannel part, spend only the same amount or even just half that, and use your main 2 channel setup as the front L/R of the multichannel setup built up around it. All you need is an integrated amplifier with a "HT bypass" (also known as the direct/passthrough/whatever) option. This way you use your amazing 2 channel system for music, but when watching movies, your 2 channel system runs the front left and right channels, an your 5.1 receiver runs the rest.

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If your priority is music though, then there is another, in the audio world very common option to achieve top notch 2 channel reproduction and only "solid" multichannel experience. You build a really good 2 channel system, but for the difference of additionally spending twice as much for what would be the equivalent 5.1 multichannel part, spend only the same amount or even just half that, and use your main 2 channel setup as the front L/R of the multichannel setup built up around it. All you need is an integrated amplifier with a "HT bypass" (also known as the direct/passthrough/whatever) option. This way you use your amazing 2 channel system for music, but when watching movies, your 2 channel system runs the front left and right channels, an your 5.1 receiver runs the rest.

 

This is the answer I was looking for. Thanks man.

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I'm thinking about buying an old Marantz (maybe a 2230, 2245 or 2238b... still early in my search... but it'll be something along those lines) and I need some help becuase I'm a complete novice when it comes to audio equipment/set-ups.

 

I currently have a Rega RP1, Klipsch B-20 bookshelf speakers and a JVC Z-GX3 (receiver? amp? I don't know what the heck it is... that's how little I know about this stuff... I just know I plugged my tt and the speakers into it, and it worked). Since I want to get a Marantz to replace the JVC... I can't figure out how to tell if it'll be ok with my speakers.

 

What should I be looking for when I look at the specs of my speakers and the the receiver I want to buy to ensure they'll be ok? Also do I need anything additional with the Marantz? I would think I wouldn't need a preamp since all of the ones I'm looking at have a phono input... but I don't know if there's something else I'm missing. Any help would be really appreciated.

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The only thing that even remotely gives any viable information is the power output per channel. It's generally a bad idea to get a low powered amp for speakers that need a lot of juice.

 

In your case, any single Marantz amp or receiver from that era will be a good buy. Those speakers are very efficient (meaning you need less power to drive them properly), so even the weakest Marantz could drive them easily. Of course, it's always beneficial to have extra power, and higher up the chain you go better sound quality you'll get overall, but as far as "matching" the amp/receiver with your speakers goes, you don't have to worry about a thing.

 

And you're right, they all have phono inputs so you won't have to buy anything else.

 

In your case I'd focus on making sure you buy whatever you decide to buy from a reputable seller or a shop that specializes in servicing vintage equipment. Unless you find one for something like $20, then it's worth a gamble.

 

EDIT: I'll add for anyone interested how to actually determine how efficient the speakers are.

 

Not that manufacturers never lie in their specifications, but on average it is pretty accurate. You have to look under "sensitivity". It will be expressed in decibels.

 

For the mentioned Klipsch B-20s, the sensitivity is listed as 92.5dB. This is usually followed by "2.83V / 1m" or "1W / 1m". Both mean that the speaker produced (in this case) 92.5dB of sound pressure (or loudness in layman's terms :)), powered with 1 watt, measured 1 meter from the speaker. Generally speaking, anything above 90dB is good and means you don't have to worry that much about your amplifier's power output. Of course there are other factors, both with the speakers and amplifiers, that determine the final result, but those are harder to calculate and very often not even mentioned in the specifications, so for a beginner the speaker sensitivity is more than enough information.

 

For example, my speakers have a low sensitivity (86.5dB). For every 3dB increase in sound pressure level, you have to double the amplifier power. So to achieve the SPL of around 105dB, the Klipsch B-20 would need 16W of continuous power, whereas my speakers would need 64W.

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Looking at picking up a Sansui 350a receiver from a guy in Milwaukee, wondering if its worth $40?  From what I've found it seems like it is plus the guy is throwing in whatever speakers he was using I don't think they're anything special mostly just interested in the receiver.

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Looking at picking up a Sansui 350a receiver from a guy in Milwaukee, wondering if its worth $40?  From what I've found it seems like it is plus the guy is throwing in whatever speakers he was using I don't think they're anything special mostly just interested in the receiver.

 

Yes, it's worth it. Only 20 watts @ 8 ohms but that won't be a problem with efficient speakers as described by slinch above.

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Slinch- you're freaken awesome! Thank you so much for the info!!!

 

 

You're welcome! If you haven't already, check out this site: http://www.classic-audio.com/marantz/mindex.html

 

They list all Marantz equipment from the "golden era", most of it is listed in order from the entry level to their top end gear. For receivers, anything above the 2216 (so basically the entire "Group 2 recs" and "Group 3 recs") is a great buy.

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I'm thinking about buying an old Marantz (maybe a 2230, 2245 or 2238b... still early in my search... but it'll be something along those lines) and I need some help becuase I'm a complete novice when it comes to audio equipment/set-ups.

 

I currently have a Rega RP1, Klipsch B-20 bookshelf speakers and a JVC Z-GX3 (receiver? amp? I don't know what the heck it is... that's how little I know about this stuff... I just know I plugged my tt and the speakers into it, and it worked). Since I want to get a Marantz to replace the JVC... I can't figure out how to tell if it'll be ok with my speakers.

 

What should I be looking for when I look at the specs of my speakers and the the receiver I want to buy to ensure they'll be ok? Also do I need anything additional with the Marantz? I would think I wouldn't need a preamp since all of the ones I'm looking at have a phono input... but I don't know if there's something else I'm missing. Any help would be really appreciated.

 

 

I have a Marantz 2245 and really enjoy the warm sound. I have it with a Pro-ject Carbon and some Sony bookshelf speakers that are inexpensive, but well reviewed. Those will be my next upgrade though.

Like Slinch said, make sure you buy it from a reputable person unless you're getting it for really cheap. It's worth it to pay a little more if you know it's already been newly serviced. I learned that the hard way.

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Further to the above, if you're looking for vintage amps/receivers, I wouldn't pay more than around $50 (there are some exceptions) unless it has been recently serviced or you're buying from a trusted dealer. Servicing takes longer than with turntables, usually a minimum of two hours. There's usually more to be done than a simple cleaning.

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Slinch- I'll be sure to check out that link! I seriously can't even begin to tell you how helpful you've been.

 

Lexicondevil- I've been looking on ebay and some various sites, and filtering out any units that haven't been tested and any sellers that don't have really good feedback. Nice to hear that the 2245 is good. That and the 2270 is what I'm leaning towards right now.

 

Heypeterman- I really haven't found any around $50, and will probably end up buying it for more (as a result of impatience and wanting one in really great condition). As you can see from my other comments, I'm a dunce when it comes to audio equipment, so don't want anything I'll have to do anything with other than set up.

 

And a question to all- there's a lot of talk about making sure the person I'm buying from is a reputable seller. Besides feedback, is there anything else that will help me determine that? I've just been googling the models I'm interested in and a majority of the it's going to ebay... is there something else I could try?

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