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Thread: Wanting a Turntable Again

  1. #1
    Advanced Member Lurch's Avatar
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    Wanting a Turntable Again

    After having up to 650 records and a few turntables over the last 45 years, I got rid of most of them but a handful of ones I couldn't part with.
    Now I want to get that nice vinyl sound back again.

    I think I've got a nice Philips 777 lined up for about $25 with a Shure cartridge
    I'm also interested in a USB TT. With a USB TT I'm wondering what I could do with that.
    Transfer records to MP3 and then possibly play the MP3 player instead of the TT? Would that make sense?

    I have a bunch of albums on a 16 GB USB flash drive and today I plugged that into my audio / USB port in my 2014 Hyundai Elantra and was amazed at the sound quality. But they say you need to remove the drive when you start the car or turn it off or possibly damage the flash drive.. I mostly do around town driving so perhaps I won't play many MP3s in the car.

    Do you know of a good way to play MPs albums over my vintage audio system?
    I guess I could get a Sandisk MP3 player for about $30 and then just get a "Y" connector cord to turn it into 2 channel.

    If the old Philips TT works out I might be all set with that, or maybe I'll also get a USB TT also.
    Audio Technica makes one for about $100 with an AT cartridge.

  2. #2
    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    In a way I guess it all depends on how you want to listen to your LPs. But first of all, congrats on saving and still having 650 records.

    Digitizing those records would have to be done in real time which is going to be incredibly time consuming. It would also consume a lot of disk space depending on what format you want to save them in. When I transferred my CD collection to HDD i saved everything as high resolution .wav files and that consumed a lot of space. But, it gives me the option of copying those wave files to various bit depths as .mp3 files. So, depending on how picky my ears feels like being that day will determine if I'm listening to .wav or .mp3 files.

    If your computer sound system is one you enjoy, I would find a nice USB turntable and go for it. If you mainly listen to your music on a dedicated system I would buy a nice turntable and proper phono preamp and enjoy that way. Regardless, I would invest in a new cartridge and a good album cleaner. It would be a shame to go to any of this trouble whether you use a computer or dedicated system to listen to your collection and listen to dirty or compromised albums.

    What you mentioned about listening to them in your car is exactly what I do with my CD collection. I load up a bunch of MP3 songs onto a 32gig flash drive and head to Vegas. I can put enough songs on it and not even hear the same song twice both going and coming back. I'm not really sure I would worry about what the car manufacturer is saying about damaging the flash drive. I think that's more of a "lawyer clause" to protect them. I've left mine in while driving back and forth to work and never experienced any bad effects. Even if you do, just reformat the flash drive and copy the .mp3 files from your computer back onto the drive. In the worst case scenario what does a cheap flash drive cost, $15?

    My (newer) home receiver has a USB port on the front face and I can also plug that flash drive into it rather than lugging a bunch of CDs into the TV room.

  3. #3
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    I imagine the USB turntable would just allow you to plug it into a computer, so that you can record/digitize the audio. If you are not interested in that, you don't need the USB. Instead of transferring them yourself, it may be cheaper/better quality to find the mp3s online that were digitized professionally.

    Some older record players have great cartridges and sound quality, the new cheap ones on Amazon are just crappy. Bought my daughter one as apparently records are coming back, and it is utterly ridiculously bad, I would gladly trow it out the door, I would mail it to you for free but I don't want to give you a crappy product that may also ruin your records, and I don't think it has a USB port, it does have some small speakers. I hope the $100 Audio Technica is better, their higher-end turntables are amazing.

    That said, a couple of years back I also bought an old Pioneer TT from Craigslist for $10, it has adjustable weight arm and auto-return. Had to change the belt on it as time played its toll, bought a good new cartridge for ~$30 and hooked it up to the phono input on my audio system (had to also ground it)... Found some old Dire Straits / Floyd /etc. albums for like $1-2/ea at the Flea market and enjoying those tremendously.


    As to the car - I also use an USB stick, I've never unplugged it for over a year and it never had any issues. I would imagine the constant unplugging/plugging would be a bigger risk than the USB port zapping your drive. Those drives are so cheap these days that I'd just get another spare if you are worried about it, and of course have another copy of your files at home.

  4. #4
    Advanced Member Lurch's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I sold most of my 650 records. I kept about 8 of them from the early 60s that had sentimental value. I picked up about a dozen more records this week for about $10 and in nice condition. Roberta Flack, Chet Atkins, etc. Can't wait to see them spin!! I'll probably have 100-200 records by the end of the year from garage sales, etc. That's about all the records I want.

    The Philips supposedly does not work and the Salvation Army wouldn't lift a finger to help me acquire that even tho I've donated dozens of things to them over the last few years. So I gave up on that and bought a new one.

    I also bought a little 8 GB MP3 player that amazes me. It's so tiny, yet it sounds better than my Onkyo C7030 CD player. I hook it up in the bedroom or living room systems. I've been listening to "Keats" which was an 80s band engineered by Alan Parsons. Also Alan Parsons' "Time Machine" album. I really love this music.

    First I was thinking of getting a cheap Audio Technica TT, then got reading some reviews on amazon, and then was thinking of buying a Pioneer TT for about the same price. No counterweight, USB, or anti skate but people really like them and they sound good. Then I got interested in a TT made by Pyle which is all plastic, with USB, strobe, etc., but they seem to sound OK and they hold up well. I also was considering a Fluance TT for about $150, all manual but with counterweight and anti skate, and I think a strobe but no USB.
    Then I was reading about the Music Hall USB1 with Audio Technica AT3600 cartridge, strobe, anti skate, "S" shaped tone arm, aluminum platter etc., that retails for $185 to $375 new. I got one for about $150 that's brand new, a customer return. It supposedly was never played. So it's more TT than I was going to get but I'll bet it sounds nice. Some reviewers seem to be very pleased with it. I think Music Hall makes TTs that cost up to about $6000 each.

    http://musichallaudio.com/usb-1-turntable/

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  5. #5
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Looks sweet!

  6. #6
    Advanced Member Lurch's Avatar
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    I bought a Sandisk 8 GB MP3 player for $30 at Best Buy. The walmart 4 GB MP3 player only seems to play for 1-2 hours, then the battery dies and needs recharging.

    The Sandisk is supposed to last up to 18 hours on one charge.
    I still can't get over the sound quality of some of the converted youtube videos to MP3.

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