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So basically I want opinions/thoughts from people who know more than me about turntables.

 

I've been listening to records for about 3 years now and I've only had this one turntable. Honestly, not really sure if what I have is great, good, or downright awful. I was given this 79 Technics by my dad--it's the one he bought when he moved out for his freshman year of college. Everything works great but I can say that I don't think it sounds amazing.

 

1979 Technics SL-Q3 (Fully Automatic Quartz-Locked Direct Drive)

1595391_1818458132307.jpg

     Other parts of my setup:

     *cheap Behringer pre-amp (probably $20 on Amazon)

     *10 year old Sony stereo receiver

     *simple Polk Audio desk speakers

 

- How good is what I have?

- How can I make what I have sound the best?

- Am I truly missing out on anything?

 

Feel free to tear into this if it sucks--I really have no idea!

 

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I used one of these for years. I gave it to a buddy and he's been using it for the last 3 years. It's a great table to use as its rock solid (not cheap plastic) and easy to maintain. I would recommend a new cartridge. There are plenty of often recommended ~$100 carts that would go perfectly, and improve the sound.

Also register at vinylengine.com and download the user manual. It has basic setup and maintenance info.

An upgraded preamp would be next.

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It's a solid table, nothing to write home about, but not bad either. The weakest parts of your setup are the behringer phono and (very likely) your sony receiver. Changing these two would benefit you far more than changing the table. What cartridge are you using?

My buddy picked up a new cartridge for me last summer for my bday--I actually had nothing to do with it. I think he spent about $50 at an equipment shop to get it.

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I used one of these for years. I gave it to a buddy and he's been using it for the last 3 years. It's a great table to use as its rock solid (not cheap plastic) and easy to maintain. I would recommend a new cartridge. There are plenty of often recommended ~$100 carts that would go perfectly, and improve the sound.

Also register at vinylengine.com and download the user manual. It has basic setup and maintenance info.

An upgraded preamp would be next.

Any preamp recommendations? I didn't realize that would have to do with the sound so much. I've been focusing on getting info on tables.

So you guys think this table is worth keeping around?

FYI I have plans on getting a new speaker setup (I work at best buy, just waiting for the right employee deal) as well.

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The table is good for now. I mean, you could upgrade if you wanted but I agree that a bigger impact on your listening experience is going to be upgrading your pre amp/ amp.

I had a similar set up (cheap pre amp + old Sony receiver) for years. I recently upgraded to a Marantz PM5004 integrated amp (has both pre amp + amp) and it made a dramatic improvement in quality. It's getting the job done for now, and I can always upgrade to a separate pre amp in the future if and when I see fit since the marantz is a solid amplifier.

Also, what cartridge are you using? Going from an entry level audio technica (or whatever your friend got for $50) to a Shure M97xe or an Ortofon Red will make a bigger difference in this stage of your upgrading rather than getting a new table all together. And when you find a table you like, you can always switch your newer cartridge over to it so it's not a wasted investment.

I'm sure there are other recommendations in your price range all over the forum, these were just a couple things that came to mind.

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The table is good for now. I mean, you could upgrade if you wanted but I agree that a bigger impact on your listening experience is going to be upgrading your pre amp/ amp.

I had a similar set up (cheap pre amp + old Sony receiver) for years. I recently upgraded to a Marantz PM5004 integrated amp (has both pre amp + amp) and it made a dramatic improvement in quality. It's getting the job done for now, and I can always upgrade to a separate pre amp in the future if and when I see fit since the marantz is a solid amplifier.

Also, what cartridge are you using? Going from an entry level audio technica (or whatever your friend got for $50) to a Shure M97xe or an Ortofon Red will make a bigger difference in this stage of your upgrading rather than getting a new table all together. And when you find a table you like, you can always switch your newer cartridge over to it so it's not a wasted investment.

I'm sure there are other recommendations in your price range all over the forum, these were just a couple things that came to mind.

Thanks so much for the post! So I'll definitely need a receiver that I can run an auxiliary 3.5mm out of as well as an xbox. How much is the one you mentioned? Do you use it for all your room's audio?

Also I've noticed people haven't been knocking my speakers very much--I don't even have a sub but seems like people aren't too worried about it? That would've been the first thing I thought to upgrade. (reminder that I probably will be upgrading soon, but I was just checking haha).

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The PM5004 retails for ~$450, but you can usually find deals on a used or refurbished one. I got mine for a little over $200. I think best buy just started carrying the 6004 so you should be able to get a good discount on it.

It has a phono input as well as 5 or 6 RCA (red+white) inputs as well. I currently have a turntable, CD player, iPod dock and TV hooked up to it that I use for cable, blu rays, and ps3. So yes everything is hooked up to it. I eventually want to get a nice DAC for everything but that's another can of worms to open for another time.

And yes, you will be able to hook auxiliary > RCA and depending on the audio out from the Xbox you may just want to hook your TV straight to the receiver. It all depends on what connections everything has / supports. For example, I run HDMI out of 3 devices into my TV, and go headphone out (auxiliary) from the TV to the amp. So even though there's three sources on the TV it only uses one input on the amp. Hope that makes sense.

As for your speakers, the world is your oyster. Can you upgrade them? Always. Do you have to if it sounds good to you? It's completely your prerogative. Does your best buy have a magnolia? If so, have them demo you some nice MartinLogans or B&W speakers to show you what's possible with premium audio. The discount on that stuff isn't too shabby either.

If you want to do bookshelves then a sub will be ideal for your LFE. I'm a big fan of 2.0 audio though, there's nothing better to me than two floorstanding speakers that can deliver a full and rich sound. I guess that depends more on your price/space in your room. Talk to some of the home theater guys in your store. Like me, they'll probably want to talk your ear off on this stuff.

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Any preamp recommendations? I didn't realize that would have to do with the sound so much. I've been focusing on getting info on tables.

So you guys think this table is worth keeping around?

FYI I have plans on getting a new speaker setup (I work at best buy, just waiting for the right employee deal) as well.

Best Buy can be a dangerous place to work if you contract a case of upgrade-itis. It can be rather contagious. Do you work in Home Theater? whether you do or not, always let the manager know what you are interested in/looking for. And make sure to check the EOL list. During my time there, and since, I bought thousands of dollars worth of equipment for hundreds. Not bragging, just an example of what can be done there. If you have a Magnolia near you, this can be a lot harder to keep money in your wallet, but given you are starting with the Q3, I'll start more modestly as well.

 

At this point, for you, I would just recommend getting a nice Integraded amp with phono pre built in. It will allow you to kill two birds with one stone and will keep things a bit simpler. In fact, I wonder if you can get a hold of the new Pioneed Elite integrated that Micheal Fremer reviewed. The price on this is awesome, It looks killer, and sounds great too. Price will be even better with emp discount! Next try and find a great deal on some closeout speakers, if your finding nothing that you like, the Pioneer speakers that you guys sell onj the core floor are actually really good. Check these two things out. I'll try and find some links.

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Thanks for all your help guys. This has been awesome. Now I guess I just have to find out what to spend my money on!

 

Like I've said, I have some money set aside for some new speakers. I can usually find a good $400-500 5.1 system for $150-$200 if the timing's right for our employee accommodations (right @kannibal?! :D ). I guess I'll start checking out some amps. I work in Best Buy Mobile, but I've got a good friend from church who works back in HT. No Magnolia in our store, but definitely not ready to spend that kind of dough.

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Here is the Elite integrated. I didn't see it on the BB website, but check RSS and see if it can be special ordered.

 

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Audio-Components/Hi-Fi+Audio/A-20

 

Just went in and bought the Polk Audio 5.1 system (TL1900) which retails for $500. Got it for $175 on employee accommodations! They didn't end up having this Elite amp. Magnolia stores have the more expensive in the series, but not that one :(

 

Apparently we never have any amps available on accommodations, so I'll have to stick to in-store discounts. From what you can see on BestBuy.com, do you have any thoughts on amps/receivers that may put me below $200 with a discount?

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You do know the elite and other integrated amps being recommend are stereo amps (2 channel or basically 2 speakers) and you just purchased 5 speakers and a sub. You now need to look into a 5.1 surround sound receiver instead, but unfortunately I don't think best buy sells one with a built in phono pre amp. At least I don't know of one. You'll probably have to hit a magnolia store to check it out.  But you can stick with your behringer pre amp + a surround sound receiver. You should talk to one of the guys in home theater about stereo vs surround sound to get a better understanding of your options also

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I'm sort of confused as to whether you are looking for a stereo amp or a 5.1 receiver at this point.

 

However, I would like to point out that the Marantz PM5004 mentioned above can be had on Amazon (warehouse) for $185 shipped (prime).

 

Might be worth a gamble IF you are looking for a stereo setup.

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You do know the elite and other integrated amps being recommend are stereo amps (2 channel or basically 2 speakers) and you just purchased 5 speakers and a sub. You now need to look into a 5.1 surround sound receiver instead, but unfortunately I don't think best buy sells one with a built in phono pre amp. At least I don't know of one. You'll probably have to hit a magnolia store to check it out. But you can stick with your behringer pre amp + a surround sound receiver. You should talk to one of the guys in home theater about stereo vs surround sound to get a better understanding of your options also

Wow. I didn't even think about that. Okay so I will have to pick up a 5.1 receiver. Yowza. Hmm. So let's say I can get my hands on a decent receiver with discount here... using that with my Behringer preamp... is that an okay way to go? Or should I scratch this whole thing and go stereo? I could then either use my current receiver/pre-amp, or upgrade. Only problem is the deal I got on those speakers. I'm sure Polk Audio has a similar accommodation for towers, but will I even be able to get 2 towers and a center for around the same price? Keep in mind most discounts on there are around 60% off. Plus my apt is fairly small. Actively looking to buy a house though.

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I'm sort of confused as to whether you are looking for a stereo amp or a 5.1 receiver at this point.

However, I would like to point out that the Marantz PM5004 mentioned above can be had on Amazon (warehouse) for $185 shipped (prime).

Might be worth a gamble IF you are looking for a stereo setup.

See above. Replying on mobile Chrome. No multi quote.

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I'm up for it. So... It really depends where your priority is; is it for music, or for movies/TV shows? Listening to vinyl (which naturally is a two-channel or stereo source) out of five speakers is never going to be ideal. Your surround receiver can try to convert the signal to five channel but you will lose quality. It's always better to put the receiver on source direct or a similar option so it doesn't try to alter the sound from the original source, which is an option too. But then you would only have sound coming from your two front speakers and the sub. And with satellite-sized (small) speakers like those Polks I don't think anybody is going to say that it's going to be the ideal configuration, but there's nothing that's stopping you from doing it. Hey, it might even sound okay to you so there's that to. Audio, as you may know, is very subjective.

Another thing about surround sound vs stereo is speaker placement. The whole point of having 5 speakers is to put 3 in the front and 2 in the back of the room to give you a true "surround" sound experience. But keep in mind only movies/TV shows are actually mixed in 5.1 as a source so if vinyl and music is your priority, once again this will not be the ideal configuration.

Did you get a chance to talk to anyone in home theater about stereo vs surround sound and speaker placement? That's going to be a crucial part of your decision of whether to do 5 speakers or 2, as well as if your priority is music or TV shows.  Here's a diagram showing proper speaker placement in a surround set up:

 

dolby1.jpg


If it was me I would return your 5.1 system and go for nice pair of bookshelf or floorstanding speakers and a stereo set up with a nice amp like the pm5004 as mentioned above. As an employee of BBY, you have a good accommodation for Bowers and Wilkins speakers (look into the 686, they sound amazing even without a sub or the CM series if you're really looking to invest) or energy speaker which is a decent value-brand owned by Klipsch. My best recommendation is to hit up a Magnolia on your day off and have them do a full speaker demo for you to show all your options. Chances are you'll love what you hear and want to save up a little more to get speakers that you'll get way more enjoyment out of. Or you could keep your 5.1 if you love movies/TV, want a more cinematic experience with your set up, and have enough room to place the speakers properly then you may love that, too.

 

To answer one of your questions more directly: yes you can stick to your behringer pre amp and use any of the line in inputs on a surround sound receiver and that will work fine. 


Hope all of this made sense, sorry if it didn't, I posted most of it on my phone on my break at work. I'd be curious what ajxd's opinion is also since I believe he's well versed in surround sound as well

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I'm up for it. So... It really depends where your priority is; is it for music, or for movies/TV shows? Listening to vinyl (which naturally is a two-channel or stereo source) out of five speakers is never going to be ideal. Your surround receiver can try to convert the signal to five channel but you will lose quality. It's always better to put the receiver on source direct or a similar option so it doesn't try to alter the sound from the original source, which is an option too. But then you would only have sound coming from your two front speakers and the sub. And with satellite-sized (small) speakers like those Polks I don't think anybody is going to say that it's going to be the ideal configuration, but there's nothing that's stopping you from doing it. Hey, it might even sound okay to you so there's that to. Audio, as you may know, is very subjective.

Another thing about surround sound vs stereo is speaker placement. The whole point of having 5 speakers is to put 3 in the front and 2 in the back of the room to give you a true "surround" sound experience. But keep in mind only movies/TV shows are actually mixed in 5.1 as a source so if vinyl and music is your priority, once again this will not be the ideal configuration.

Did you get a chance to talk to anyone in home theater about stereo vs surround sound and speaker placement? That's going to be a crucial part of your decision of whether to do 5 speakers or 2, as well as if your priority is music or TV shows. Here's a diagram showing proper speaker placement in a surround set up:

dolby1.jpg

If it was me I would return your 5.1 system and go for nice pair of bookshelf or floorstanding speakers and a stereo set up with a nice amp like the pm5004 as mentioned above. As an employee of BBY, you have a good accommodation for Bowers and Wilkins speakers (look into the 686, they sound amazing even without a sub or the CM series if you're really looking to invest) or energy speaker which is a decent value-brand owned by Klipsch. My best recommendation is to hit up a Magnolia on your day off and have them do a full speaker demo for you to show all your options. Chances are you'll love what you hear and want to save up a little more to get speakers that you'll get way more enjoyment out of. Or you could keep your 5.1 if you love movies/TV, want a more cinematic experience with your set up, and have enough room to place the speakers properly then you may love that, too.

To answer one of your questions more directly: yes you can stick to your behringer pre amp and use any of the line in inputs on a surround sound receiver and that will work fine.

Hope all of this made sense, sorry if it didn't, I posted most of it on my phone on my break at work. I'd be curious what ajxd's opinion is also since I believe he's well versed in surround sound as well

Awesome reply. So yeah I'm all music. Rarely movies but tons of TV, but I'd rather have sound oriented for music. I'm gonna return the Polk 5.1 system and grab some klipsch towers from accommodations. Looks like I can grab some solid ones for about 110 each because of the discount. I'll try it without a CM first but there's a super discounted one also available from klipsch (like $60ish after discount). I think I'll also try sticking to my Sony stereo receiver? It was definitely nice when I got it like 8 years ago. So if I can hold off on buying a new receiver, I can invest in a new preamp. What socks is best buy doesn't sell any preamps so I can't use a discount on one lol.

What do you think of that? I'll try to get the models of the klipsch towers/cm when I can.

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Sounds like a better idea. I like Klipsch speakers personally, we do get a good discount on them although they are sometimes looked down upon in the "audiophile" world. But IMO they will sound wayyy better than that Polk system for a similar price. You can definitely invest in a separate pre amp, although I was in basically the same situation as you with a ~10 year old Sony receiver and you would be surprised just how crappy they are. I switched mine out for an integrated amp (the PM5004) and it made such a world a difference. And it's not like that's even considered a world class amp, just a decent one. But now one of the next upgrades I'm looking into is a separate pre amp. So, yeah, sounds like you're heading in the right direction. Glad I could help out.

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