I am hoping that some of you vinyl experts can help me please. I am going to begin collecting and listening to vinyl but my funds are quite limited. I have decided to begin with buying a Pioneer PL 990, it seems to be a good turntable for the price range, if anyone has any thoughts about the Pioneer or could recommend a good quality player in that price range then I would be very, very greatful. The big question I would like answering is this : Do I have to have an amplifier for my record player? As I said, funds are limited so I would like to purchase my player and speakers without having an amp to start with. I apoligise for my ignorance but I just don`t know if I need an amp from the start.
Also, if any of you good people have any advice that you could share with me about getting started with collecting vinyl then that would be great.
Many thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
To answer your first question regarding what type of turntable to purchase..........
I would probably start out with a Technics SL-1200 MK2. You could very well be mistaken for thinking that a turntable of this nature could cost between $400.00-$500.00, but if truth be told, you can usually go to an antique or pawn shop and pick one up sometimes for under $200.00.
To answer your second question..........
Yes, you do need a receiver! Without a receiver, you cannot hear the music. You can usually pick up a decent pair of used speakers, depending on what brand they are, for under $100.00 or less sometimes in a pawn or junk shop. For a decent receiver, you can also go to a pawn or junk shop, again dependent upon what brand they are, for under $100.00.
The truth of the matter is, even for a beginner, if you want a somewhat decent set-up, you can almost expect to pay at least $200.00-$400.00. Normally, when it comes to audio equipment, the hard fast rule that comes into play is: if you buy cheap, you will get back what you put into it, which is usually trash!
A word of note: be sure that if you choose to purchase something used, that you are actually able to test it out, prior to purchasing the gear. Also, it is usually good if you take someone along with you that knows what they are talking about, so they can help you make informative decisions. Go online, and do your homework on the internet. There is no better information than the kind you can get from the internet online. Usually, you can get informative ratings on products from the past & the present online, with just a simple Google search.......
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask, but this is just my take on the situation. When you purchase audio gear for the first time, no you don't want to spend a lot of money, but at the same time, you don't want to purchase something that takes a dump just after two days of owning it.........
My final piece of advise is: Do your research, be patient, wait, save up your money, and then purchase something worthwhile.........
In addition to VJ's great advice, I would add that you need a receiver with a phono input. That means that it will have a built-in preamp for turntables. If it does not have a phono input, don't worry - you will just have to buy an external preamp which adds to the cost. Also, if you buy a used turntable you want to be sure that the stylus (needle) is not worn. Otherwise, you will possibly ruin any of that nice vinyl that you are about to invest in. If I were to buy a nice used turntable I would either have an audio expert inspect the stylus or just buy a new one at the start.
As far as collecting vinyl, there are so many sub-topics that it could not be reasonably discussed in one response. In general, I shop at four local stores that specialize in used vinyl. When I am considering a purchase, I just take it out of the sleeve and hold it up to the light to make sure that it does not have a lot of dirt on it. If you tilt it back and forth you will be able to see if there are any hairline scratches. Don't touch the grooves! I stay away from dirty scratchy records. I go to one store that cleans their records and puts them in resealable poly outer sleeves. I usually don't open these without permission from one the sales people. If you buy online check the seller's rating and don't buy from them unless they have a very high rating for grading used vinyl and a good reputation with a lot of buyers. I usually don't buy records online unless they are graded Very Good Plus (VG+) or better, such as, Mint (M), Near Mint (NM), or Excellent (E). Then once I buy a used record I give it a good cleaning with my Mobile Fidelity cleaning system.
I encourage you to look through some of the older threads here for discussions on vinyl grading, sellers, and cleaning, as well as used and new equipment.
John mentioned not buying records graded worse than VG+. The sound is certainly better with records of these grades, but they also bring a large premium. So, if you're on a budget, I would recommend starting out buying an array of grades like G+, VG, VG+, and so on. This way you can see what each sounds like and decide from there what condition is acceptable to you.
Sorry Jordan, I will have to disagree with you on this method. The reason why is because when you spend your time,effort and money on low graded records, you can wind up wasting more time and money on poor condition vinyl that is full of pops and scratches, when you could have just purchased a one time VG+ or NM graded record. In this case, I think it should not only be just about the quantity of the records you purchase for the buck, but it should also be about the quality too as well, and not wasting money on unsatisfactory condition ones.
The more money you waste on multiple poor quality records, the more that money you just spent could have been used to purchase NM ones. Besides, there is a lot of NM grade records I have found at swap meets, flea markets, thrift/junk shops, or dollar bins in some used record stores.
In other words, deals can be found if they are willing to search outside of the internet, and you don't always have to go broke finding NM vinyl.......
My point was that not everyone needs NM vinyl to be happy. I know plenty of people who are happy with vinyl graded VG. Don't spend a lot of money to start out, but buy 1 or 2 records in each condition to decide what condition you want your records in. You might find you are plenty happy with VG graded records which typically cost about 1/2 as much as VG+ records.
With gradings, it is necessary to check each dealer's description as they vary from country to country and dealer to dealer. The UK record collector grading of Ex, for example, is similar to the United States' Goldmine grading of VG. You need to see what the grading means for each dealer. Also, VG records will often play quite well even if they have visible marks and frequently this is the only way to get rarer titles.
Thanks to all of you for your great advice. Most of my vinyl purchases will have to be on-line because we no longer have a single record shop here in Reading, the south east of England, You have given me much too think about so thank you.
As soon as the Christmas credit card bill is paid then I can finally get serious about purchasing the necessary equipment.
I have several collectors who love to buy my old scrached 60's records !
Honest they do!
The play them on old dansette players, and love the snap, crackle and pop that has embedded itself into the grooves to give what they consider an authentic sound.
You buy what you want, and get the best your pocket can afford... in time your collection will grow, find it's direction. The first aim is usually to find what aspect you are going for, are you interested in a particular group, sound, label, era... then build on that.
I started off life as a Frank Zappa collector, and I bought every record I could, given the choice I would buy the best condition, but sometimes I had to buy shoddy copies, just to make my collection more complete... One day I had every UK standard record, I started to upgrade my copies and also buy overseas copies.
Collecting vinyl is your own journey, the only rule is, there are no rules.
Really, if surface noise is that much of a bother, listen to the music on CD's. A few pops and crackles never hurt anybody - and if you're just starting out its better to realise that some dealers will sell you records that are nowhere near NM. I know digging through charity shops nevers seems to be the best idea but I've found scores of great stuff in bins and boxes shoved in the farthest corner of little junk shops and once you find something you'll keep going back. Watch out for collectors though, they can be a bit weird.
Reading has a record shop called The Sound Machine, according to my search engine. Looks like a great place to check out. http://www.thesoundmachine.uk.com/
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