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Kevin Wilson

Record Player Advice?

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The more I read suggestions on other forums the more I would caution against thinking you need to upgrade too much stuff. I just finished setting up a little system in my living room and people on those audiophile forums would laugh at it and throw garbage at me. But I'm old enough to tell you that it sounds as good as anything anyone had in their living room back in the "good old vintage days."

I hate when people apologize for their equipment with "I'm no audiophile but it's good enough." I'm here to tell you that I'm no rube. I know a few bits about music and recording and the history of interpretation and all that. So if this is enough to impress me, it's all almost anyone will ever need.


To give you an idea of how easy it is to get a great sounding LP setup, I now have the following:

Turntable: Technics SL-B100 (solid old table by a good brand but a lower end model. Probably can find used for $30-40 instead of the $600-800 people want for higher-end Technics tables like the SL1200 that forum types insist you must have for a tolerable listening experience. It's probably about comparable to an Audio Technica LP-120 in terms of sound.)

Cartridge: AT 122EP. (Probably about $40 originally and probably comparable to the cartridge that comes with the LP-120.)

CD Player: NEC CD-500 (also solid brand but lower end model. Got this for $6 at a Salvation Army. Probably goes about $40-$100 used)

Phono Preamp: Project Phono Box ($75)

Amp: SMSL SA-98. This little guy is powerful as fuck! ($100)

Speakers: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR. They sound amazing. ($130 new. These were $90 open box Amazon Warehouse).

At least in terms of sound quality listening to LPs/CDs, no one needs more than this! This is just to say don't feel bad about an "entry level" setup or go feeling like you're missing out on the real experience. "Entry level" today is pretty magnificent and a lot of the advice you find is being given by people who have gotten way obsessed with minutiae and chasing the next tiny sonic incremental high for $$$$$$$$$$$.

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That's another issue with me personally, and why I didn't even bother mentioning an amp or expensive quality speakers. I rent a basement apartment, and while it is quite roomy, I do have the landlord living over my head. So I can't really blare music anyway :) I figure if I get the basics now, once I get my own place I can upgrade as needed.

My records still haven't shipped. Grumble.

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My buddy just got Super Castlevania IV BTW

If you're living in a basement above the landlord... yeah, you don't need anything louder than a TV set haha

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In the sense that I found a good deal on Ebay, said to my wife "Can I have access to the credit card again? I swear this time will be different." and she said "Don't fuck around with me, boy." And I said "Pllleeeeeeese it will be my whole Crhistmas!" and she said "Okay, but watch your goddamn step this time when was the alst time you even touched those DDP Yoga dvds idiot?" and I said "I use em! Youre just not around then!" and I picked them up and sneezed at the dust that fell off them and qiuetly put them down with a shamed expression and she shook her head sadly and said "Fine. Here."


So for less than the cost of an Audio Technica AT120 I got this 1977 Technics model made exclusively for "the European market" (like French chics and their weird Italian boyfriends and shit!) in great working order with a nice cartridge now proudly next to a very arrogant Roswell Grey.






First up Earth Wind & Fire's "Raise" from 1981.


I always start with Earth Wind & Fire's "Raise" from 1981.

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