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Old 10-06-2009, 07:41 PM   #1
brokenthumb brokenthumb is offline
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Default New to Vinyl, need a turntable...

Hey guys I was wanting to get myself started in the world of Vinyl!

I initially was looking for a player in the $50-$100 dollar range and quickly found out that the world of Vinyl requires a greater commitment.

After much research and a budget around $600 I've came up with these two items...

Music Hall - MMF-2.2LE (I like the Ferrari red finish to match my theater room!)
Music Hall - PA-1.2 - Phono Amplifier

Is this all I would need to purchase and is this a good start? Any other recommendations?

I just want to put on a record and listen to the music through my Onkyo 604 and Polk speakers.

Last edited by brokenthumb; 10-06-2009 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:23 PM   #2
richteer richteer is offline
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I'm not familiar with the phono stage, but the Music Hall MMF 2.2LE is a well-regarded budget turntable. I say go for it! BTW, you are right to reject the $50 to $100 turntables. By spending a bit more you'll be getting far more enjoyment out of your vinyl.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:00 PM   #3
Johnny Vinyl Johnny Vinyl is offline
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Hi brokenthumb!

You have just been given good advice by one of our resident vinyl "experts", and I'm glad to see you raised your budget. I agree with Rich (richteer) that the MusicHall is a fine entry-level TT and it's a good looker to boot.

You want to also consider setting aside a few dollars for some Stylus Cleaner and a good Record Brush.

Great to have another vinyl fan join the fold!

John
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:47 PM   #4
brokenthumb brokenthumb is offline
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Thanks for the replies! It seems there are three good budget turntables, and I'm crappy at making decisions.

Out of these three which would you suggest for a newcomer like me. I'm totally lost when it comes to vinyl.

Pro-Ject Debut III
Rega - P1 Turntable w/Ortofon OM5e Cartridge
Music Hall - MMF-2.2 or LE

As for the phono stage, I'm looking for one in the sub $200 range. I figured the Music Hall PA 1.2 would be good to go with the Music Hall turntable. Is there a phono stage that stands out above the others in my price range?

Thanks for any help. Maybe I can spin some black circles soon!

Last edited by brokenthumb; 10-06-2009 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:01 AM   #5
Johnny Vinyl Johnny Vinyl is offline
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Hi again brokenthumb!

You've already mentioned that you liked the MusicHall 2.2 and matching (?) Phono Pre-amp.....go with that! There isn't anything in that price range that stands head and shoulders above the rest. What you chose is a wonderful entry-level combination and will no doubt give you much pleasure.

Be more concerned about how you handle and care for your LP's to start with. Store them properly, buy a bundle of anti-static record sleeves and perhaps some plastic outer sleeves.

I think you made you a good choice...just do it!

John
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Old 10-07-2009, 03:02 AM   #6
joe1515 joe1515 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenthumb View Post
Hey guys I was wanting to get myself started in the world of Vinyl!

I initially was looking for a player in the $50-$100 dollar range and quickly found out that the world of Vinyl requires a greater commitment.

After much research and a budget around $600 I've came up with these two items...

Music Hall - MMF-2.2LE (I like the Ferrari red finish to match my theater room!)
Music Hall - PA-1.2 - Phono Amplifier

Is this all I would need to purchase and is this a good start? Any other recommendations?

I just want to put on a record and listen to the music through my Onkyo 604 and Polk speakers.
If your budget allows you might want to consider the Pro-Ject speedbox. If you need to change speeds from 33 1/3 to 45 r.p.m it might get annoying taking the platter of each time. I would look to buy a used one on audigon.

I started the same way as you about a year ago, i purchased a Pro-Ject Xpression III and I was hooked. Since then I sold all of my equipment on audiogon and upgraded to new equipment. I still need to upgrade my phono pre-amp and get a maple isolation platform. Those are my next upgrades.


Joe

Last edited by joe1515; 10-07-2009 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:57 PM   #7
DougMac DougMac is offline
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Default Here's a review

If you haven't read it:
http://www.soundadviceblog.com/?p=530#

This might be slightly over your TT/Pre-amp budget, but at least look at (TT purists cover your eyes) the Technics SL-1200. There are many who use them and feel they sound great. I'm using two forerunners, both nearly 40 years old, and they run and sound great.

One advantage of a unit like the SL-1200 is the ability to change headshells. I have different carts for different purposes. For instance, I use a different cart with a conical stylus for very early mono LP's and early 45's. I think there's enough sonic difference to make the swap worthwhile. Plus, my SP-15, is my transcription turntable and I use it mostly for 78's. If you plan to just play stereo LP's, swappable headshells may not be needed.

Once you get your turntable, if you plan to continue playing vinyl, then you'll need to start saving for a good (VPI) vacuum record cleaning machine, especially if you plan to buy used albums. There's just no substitute for a vacuum RCM.
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Old 10-07-2009, 02:56 PM   #8
brokenthumb brokenthumb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougMac View Post
If you haven't read it:
http://www.soundadviceblog.com/?p=530#

This might be slightly over your TT/Pre-amp budget, but at least look at (TT purists cover your eyes) the Technics SL-1200. There are many who use them and feel they sound great. I'm using two forerunners, both nearly 40 years old, and they run and sound great.

One advantage of a unit like the SL-1200 is the ability to change headshells. I have different carts for different purposes. For instance, I use a different cart with a conical stylus for very early mono LP's and early 45's. I think there's enough sonic difference to make the swap worthwhile. Plus, my SP-15, is my transcription turntable and I use it mostly for 78's. If you plan to just play stereo LP's, swappable headshells may not be needed.

Once you get your turntable, if you plan to continue playing vinyl, then you'll need to start saving for a good (VPI) vacuum record cleaning machine, especially if you plan to buy used albums. There's just no substitute for a vacuum RCM.
That was a good read, thanks.
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Old 10-07-2009, 03:11 PM   #9
DougMac DougMac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenthumb View Post
That was a good read, thanks.
I was about to remark about your two choices, but in the meantime you must have edited your post. Did you get your question answered? I think either of the choices you mentioned would be fine. I'm not sure I see the $110 difference.

I see you're just down the road from me. I bought my bees and hives in Moultrie at Rossman Apiaries. I also go through Moultrie when heading to Sweetgrass Dairy for their open houses.
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Old 10-07-2009, 03:30 PM   #10
brokenthumb brokenthumb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougMac View Post
I was about to remark about your two choices, but in the meantime you must have edited your post. Did you get your question answered? I think either of the choices you mentioned would be fine. I'm not sure I see the $110 difference.

I see you're just down the road from me. I bought my bees and hives in Moultrie at Rossman Apiaries. I also go through Moultrie when heading to Sweetgrass Dairy for their open houses.
Yeah, I found a conversation on another forum between those two.

"If you have any desire to try a different mat or cartridge (and I would recommend both), the ability to adjust VTA on the MMF-2.2 is a big plus over the other entry-level, belt-drive competitors (Pro-ject Debut III and Rega P1). IMO, this is what sets the Music Hall apart in this price range."

That's really all I could find different between the Pro-ject and Music Hall.

I'm starting to lean toward the Pro-ject now since its a bit easier on the wallet.
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:06 PM   #11
kefrank kefrank is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenthumb View Post
Yeah, I found a conversation on another forum between those two.

"If you have any desire to try a different mat or cartridge (and I would recommend both), the ability to adjust VTA on the MMF-2.2 is a big plus over the other entry-level, belt-drive competitors (Pro-ject Debut III and Rega P1). IMO, this is what sets the Music Hall apart in this price range."

That's really all I could find different between the Pro-ject and Music Hall.

I'm starting to lean toward the Pro-ject now since its a bit easier on the wallet.
I happen to be the same guy who wrote that over on vinylengine. Obviously, I own a Music Hall MMF-2.2 (non-LE). I believe the MMF-2.2 uses the Pro-ject 9 tonearm (based on the effective arm length - I can't find that actually documented anywhere), while the Pro-ject Debut III uses the Pro-ject 8.6, so that's another advantage for the Music Hall. The only other difference is the stock cartridge (Debut III has the OM5e while the MMF-2.2 has a rebadged Goldring Elektra that they call the Music Hall Tracker). You can get a full rundown of my thoughts on the MMF-2.2 from earlier this year if you search this forum.

I tried to research the Music Hall PA-1.2 phono stage awhile back, but info on the internet was pretty scarce at that time. I'm almost certain it's a rebadged Pro-ject Phonobox II though, so it's not a bad choice. That being said, many people swear by the Cambridge Audio 640p in the same price range.
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:57 PM   #12
brokenthumb brokenthumb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kefrank View Post
I happen to be the same guy who wrote that over on vinylengine. Obviously, I own a Music Hall MMF-2.2 (non-LE). I believe the MMF-2.2 uses the Pro-ject 9 tonearm (based on the effective arm length - I can't find that actually documented anywhere), while the Pro-ject Debut III uses the Pro-ject 8.6, so that's another advantage for the Music Hall. The only other difference is the stock cartridge (Debut III has the OM5e while the MMF-2.2 has a rebadged Goldring Elektra that they call the Music Hall Tracker). You can get a full rundown of my thoughts on the MMF-2.2 from earlier this year if you search this forum.

I tried to research the Music Hall PA-1.2 phono stage awhile back, but info on the internet was pretty scarce at that time. I'm almost certain it's a rebadged Pro-ject Phonobox II though, so it's not a bad choice. That being said, many people swear by the Cambridge Audio 640p in the same price range.
I almost pulled the trigger on the Pro-ject over my lunch break. I will probably wait until the beginning of next week to purchase so I can do more research. $500 - $600 is a nice lump of cash for me, so I don't want to jump right in.

I will take a look at your rundown of the MMF 2.2 and look into the Cambridge also. Thank you for the info kefrank.
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Old 10-07-2009, 07:46 PM   #13
Chizzap30 Chizzap30 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenthumb View Post
I almost pulled the trigger on the Pro-ject over my lunch break. I will probably wait until the beginning of next week to purchase so I can do more research. $500 - $600 is a nice lump of cash for me, so I don't want to jump right in.

I will take a look at your rundown of the MMF 2.2 and look into the Cambridge also. Thank you for the info kefrank.
As working for a dealer of both the Rega and the Project. I would recommend the Rega P-1. The tone arm on the Rega tends to be a little more advances with the anti-skating set up. Also as I mentioned in another post that the platter of the Rega is made of MDF where the Projects is made of steel. The issue with the steel platter is that it resonates somewhat. This can lead to vibrations traveling from the platter to the vinyl and back through the cartridge. It's not something extremely noticeable, but it does tend to be there.

Where have you been looking for the table? Have you had a chance to audition any of these tables?
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:36 PM   #14
kefrank kefrank is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chizzap30 View Post
As working for a dealer of both the Rega and the Project. I would recommend the Rega P-1. The tone arm on the Rega tends to be a little more advances with the anti-skating set up. Also as I mentioned in another post that the platter of the Rega is made of MDF where the Projects is made of steel. The issue with the steel platter is that it resonates somewhat. This can lead to vibrations traveling from the platter to the vinyl and back through the cartridge. It's not something extremely noticeable, but it does tend to be there.

Where have you been looking for the table? Have you had a chance to audition any of these tables?
When I was considering the same tables, these are the main reasons I opted for the Music Hall over the Rega:
-- While Rega tonearms are generally very well-revered, the RB100 model on the P1 makes some compromises that the Music Hall arm does not
-- VTA adjustment available only on the Music Hall
-- Personally preferred the substantial coated metal alloy platter to the Rega's lightweight MDF (no resonance noticed with mine)
-- Preferred the aesthetics of the Music Hall

Additional considerations:
-- Rega's TTPSU is considerably more expensive than the Pro-ject Speedbox, but offers the same functional upgrade
-- Pro-ject Acryl-it platter is easy upgrade for the Music Hall if any negative effect of the stock platter is noticed

All that being said, in this price range I'm sure the OP would be content with the Pro-ject, Rega, or Music Hall as the differences are minimal. My choice of the Music Hall came down to it being the best combo of initial quality, upgradeability, and aesthetic preferences for me.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:06 PM   #15
FreddieFerric FreddieFerric is offline
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Hi BrokenThumb!

Glad to see that you're interested in making an investment into enjoying vinyl. If you like the Ferrari Red TT, check out this phono stage. It's powder coat red is very nice. I use this preamp in my system and have been very impressed with its musicality. It's actually a Stereophile B rated component. Add a 1950's vintage tube at around $45 and you're in for some really good sound.

I bought from these guys and can recommend them without reservation. (BTW, there price is waayy lower than most other outlets for this preamp).

http://www.performanceaudio.com/cgi/...oducts_id=4787
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:17 PM   #16
CasualKiller CasualKiller is offline
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I would go with the Technics SL-1200 mentioned above. A solid performer and no need for a speed controller. This should be your number 1 table to audition.

The Pro-Ject tables are very detailed and clean, but that is also their biggest flaw, it leaves a lot to be desired in the low end and a speedbox is pretty much mandatory.

Many people don't realize it but the lower end Music Hall tables are manufactured by Pro-Ject and use much of the same parts so there is really no difference between them.

The Rega P1 leaves a lot to be desired, a lack of adjustments, weak entry level cartridge and noisy motor make it a table for the very beginner that isn't looking for a serious commitment to vinyl.

And before I get jumped on I have owned Pro-Jects RPM 5, the Rega P1, a Pioneer PL-550 (amazing table) a Technics SL-D2 and my recent aquisition a Yamaha YP-511.

My firm opinion is that there is no shortage of modern/vintage Japanese direct drives that will give many of these big names "entry level" tables a serious run for their money.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:32 PM   #17
FreddieFerric FreddieFerric is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CasualKiller View Post
I would go with the Technics SL-1200 mentioned above. A solid performer and no need for a speed controller. This should be your number 1 table to audition.

The Pro-Ject tables are very detailed and clean, but that is also their biggest flaw, it leaves a lot to be desired in the low end and a speedbox is pretty much mandatory.

Many people don't realize it but the lower end Music Hall tables are manufactured by Pro-Ject and use much of the same parts so there is really no difference between them.

The Rega P1 leaves a lot to be desired, a lack of adjustments, weak entry level cartridge and noisy motor make it a table for the very beginner that isn't looking for a serious commitment to vinyl.

And before I get jumped on I have owned Pro-Jects RPM 5, the Rega P1, a Pioneer PL-550 (amazing table) a Technics SL-D2 and my recent aquisition a Yamaha YP-511.

My firm opinion is that there is no shortage of modern/vintage Japanese direct drives that will give many of these big names "entry level" tables a serious run for their money.

Now I REALLY love you CK! as I just happen to own the Technics SL 1210 Mk V. Naturally I love my TT despite the fact that it's the Rodney Dangerfield of TT's in certain audiophile circles. What I'll say about it? Dead quiet operation - NO rumble or wow and flutter. Runs dead on speed at all times all the time - no freakin' exceptions. Detachable headshell supports just about every conceivable type of cartridge (p-mounts excluded); and to all those who try to demean this TT by criticizing its arm - to that I say balderdash! It has a very good arm.

So to BrokenThumb I would most enthusiastically recommend any of the current Technics tables, I just didn't want to be the one to suggest it for obvious reasons.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:34 PM   #18
Johnny Vinyl Johnny Vinyl is offline
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Here's my 2 cents.

At the price point being discussed there are little to no audible differences between tables, unless you happen to catch a lemon. These tables are produced to bring new vinylphiles into the fold as a starting rig, nothing more. To debate in-depth their characteristics is IMO almost a waste of time. They all do the job and their features and materials are different, but hey are all still only entry-level tables. You better have a really well-trained ear to tell the difference between them, which I doubt most people have.

John
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:36 PM   #19
FreddieFerric FreddieFerric is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougMac View Post
If you haven't read it:
http://www.soundadviceblog.com/?p=530#

This might be slightly over your TT/Pre-amp budget, but at least look at (TT purists cover your eyes) the Technics SL-1200. There are many who use them and feel they sound great. I'm using two forerunners, both nearly 40 years old, and they run and sound great.

One advantage of a unit like the SL-1200 is the ability to change headshells. I have different carts for different purposes. For instance, I use a different cart with a conical stylus for very early mono LP's and early 45's. I think there's enough sonic difference to make the swap worthwhile. Plus, my SP-15, is my transcription turntable and I use it mostly for 78's. If you plan to just play stereo LP's, swappable headshells may not be needed.

Once you get your turntable, if you plan to continue playing vinyl, then you'll need to start saving for a good (VPI) vacuum record cleaning machine, especially if you plan to buy used albums. There's just no substitute for a vacuum RCM.

I managed to skip over your post. Sorry! No question in my mind that he would be extremely happy with any of the Technics tables for the money. Any judicious internet searching will yield some very good prices on those TT's. Plus they are eminently moddable should he ever chose to go that route...as I am about to with my 1210 mkV.
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:38 AM   #20
zedd_117 zedd_117 is offline
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so happy to have found this thread. It's been very informative, thanks John and Rich for the beginning advice. I've been throwing around getting a Pro-ject Debut III since I read the article in Sound and Vision months ago.
I've kind of put the cart before the horse though, I've been buying some fairly expensive limited editons out of Steven Wilson's VAST catalogue (Most recently the limited edition of Porcupine Tree's "The Incident", which is, in a word, incredible) but I have a relatively cheap turntable from the 70's. I'm anxiously awaiting purchasing a better one to re-experience the small amout of vinyl i have.

Thanks again guys and gals.
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