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So I decided to buy a Technics SL-1200 MKII that my local record store had for sale, and now I would really like some advice from the more experienced members around these parts:

a) The Technics is equipped with a Stanton 500-II cart which has had a new needle installed. Did a little bit of research and saw that it's more of a DJ-purpose cart. The owner insists it is perfectly acceptable for listening purposes, which I believe, but I thought I would get some other input. Will this be suitable for my needs for now, while I save up for something better in the future? What would be a good replacement?

B) As for the rest of my setup, I found a Pioneer SX-780 receiver on Craigslist that looks to be in very good condition and that I believe is fairly priced (asking $200, but I got them down to $160), would this be a good match for this particular table? If so, what are some fairly priced speakers I could seek out to suit this receiver? I found a pair of HPM 100s for $300, but that's a little too steep for me. If that's truly what I should go for, I'll try to barter a bit, but I'd prefer to keep it around $200 max for now. Upgrades will come with time.

Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated, as I'm relatively new to this and haven't had a good setup in my few years as a collector.

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The Stanton will work fine, it's a perfectly good cart and yes it's used for DJ'ing because it has a very stiff cantilever which means it's good for back cueing and scratching but obviously isn't really the optimum for hifi. It will do for now though if it has a new stylus and you can always work up to something better later, with a 1200 of course you have a removable headshell so can get another and set your new cart up in it to do back to back tests very easily.

 

The 1200 is used by DJ's for many reasons, mostly they are very well made, pretty bullet proof and are very stable both physically and speed wise but it isn't as standard a hifi deck in the strictest sense so the Stanton will mate with it very well for now.

 

The great thing about a 1200 is that there are so many about and you can modify it in many ways so that it can be made into a hifi deck and in standard form is perfectly good enough for most, that said if you get to that level the money you would have spent would have bought a very nice proper hifi deck so i question the wisdom there but each to their own

 

With all hifi how it's set up and what it is used with is more important than having any one item that stands out, it all needs to be of a similar standard otherwise you don't get the best out of whatever expensive thing you have been talked into buying.

 

It will work very well with your amp and all you need are some similar quality speakers.

 

The Pioneer HPM's are Marmite speakers, you either love them or hate them so be careful there, it does depend very much on what drives them, where and how you position them and what you listen to so I would do a bit more research on them but I don't think they are a hard sell as with all the kit you have bought so if you get them at the right price you can always move them on if they are not to your taste.

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Thanks for the input! I'm glad to hear about the cart, as I'm not exactly ready to go spending another few hundred on one right yet haha.

I've definitely done some research (not too extensive, by any means, but enough) to know of a few of the ups and downs of the Technics. At this point, I don't think my ears are picky enough to be all that concerned with it not being "hi fi" per se. Yes that's absolutely preferable, but my main reasoning for buying the table, aside from the good (if not amazing/audiophile) sound, is the speed stability, and all around build-quality and durability it is said to provide. I do agree that upgrading the Technics to such an extent is questionable, and I'm much more likely to buy another table in time if I outgrow this one than to upgrade much.

I totally understand that a great setup requires more than one great part. I guess for now I'm only trying to get my foot in the door, so to speak. With time, should I get to that level, I'm sure I'll be apt to upgrade the rest of my setup as well. My biggest concern was that I was heading in the wrong direction. At this point the speakers are the biggest concern for me... I don't love the idea of paying that much for a pair that I may flat out hate haha. Do you have any suggestions for me as far as speakers might go?

Also, I've found a few vintage Kenwood Integrated Amplifiers (specifically the 7100) for decent prices, how do those fare in comparison to the Pioneer? I'm not really looking to use the AM/FM portion whatsoever, I just want the better sound.

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Ok well firstly you have a great starting point and way way better than a lot of people starting out so no problem there.

 

Your instincts sound good by the choices you are making and talking about so no worries there.

 

The biggest problem you have is personal preference as in yours may be way off from someone who is doling out advice to you so the golden rule of buying with your ears is always first and foremost.

 

There are a lot of general rules in hifi and the trick is gaining enough experience to know when the general rule doesn't fit but an integrated should always be better than it's receiver equivalent, the reason being that having the extra RF electronics in there will raise the noise floor no matter how well it is isolated.

 

The other general rules that come into play here are that manufacturers tend to have a house sound and that there are very few bargains but quite a few things that are priced above their quality, so if you like the Pioneer sound stick with it until you like something better and if something is cheap it's for a reason but beware of the hype on the expensive stuff, sometimes it's just legend that keeps the price up not quality.

 

that said if something has a general value like your SL1200 or the HPM's it's generally easy to move them on and up to something else.

 

You need to listen to both the Kenwood and the Pioneer though as to your ears the Kenwood may be what you are looking for but not as easy to move on as the Pioneer if you don't like it. I expect the Pioneer will be a bit more musical and better at detail but the Kenwood will have more punch

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Thanks again for the input, and you raised some excellent points regarding the flaws in my approach.

Unfortunately, with the shifts I work, I don't have a ton of time to test out much equipment. As far as the Pioneer goes, that's Craigslist, so I can try that out, however the Kenwood was an eBay find, so I'm likely to stray from that anyway. Besides, from your description of how you'd expect the two to sound, I think the Pioneer is more what I'm looking for anyhow. I'm not too picky yet, I don't think, but the only things I know I'm really avoiding is muddiness in the bass and harshness in the highs.

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Thanks again, I did a little search for some Yamaha stuff on my local Craigslist and saw a pair of NS-4 speakers for $50... Thinking I might grab those. Dunno about getting a Yamaha receiver, as I haven't found one and the price on that Pioneer is really perfect for my budget, but I'll keep searching.

If I do go for the Yamaha speakers and the Pioneer receiver, do you think they'd complement each other all right? Again, I know it's personal preference, but I just kinda want an opinion before I spend.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, the SX-780 deal fell through, but I ended up finding a Craigslist seller with a good condition KA-7100, so I think I'll be going with that after all. Should be getting both that and the Yamaha NS-4s this week, and I'm incredibly excited to finally be able to spin some of these records I've been accumulating the last few months. Hopefully I like the sound combo with the Technics.

As for my next order of business, I think I'm going to go for a record cleaning device and some nice inner sleeves. At my price point, it's looking like I'll be getting a spin clean, but I'm wondering if there's a better solution for close to the same price? Also, are there any sleeves close to being as good as the MoFi sleeves for cheaper? I'd have to buy about 3 packs of 50 and at $60, that's a bit steep at the moment.

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