Research, research and more research
Did I mention research? So you want to make your records sing and join the cool team of vinyl? Hey, not a problem, come on in, but first can I just check, what turntable do you want? How much can you spend on an amp? Will you be upgrading your cartridge? You probably should. Speakers? That’s the last thing you should worry about….
As I’ve mentioned on a previous blog I’m not new to vinyl or even playing records for that matter. However, when I began to research the options for a new record player to replace my current ‘out of the box’ model, well I felt very new to vinyl and it’s obvious to say that I didn’t have a clue.
My first record player
When I was younger I asked for a stereo to play my tapes, records and also to listen to the radio on, then at Christmas I was given a decent record/tape/radio player. One unit, decent volume, did what it needed to.
I was therefore expecting something similar when I started browsing a few months ago, granted no longer with the cassette deck. I did think that I would be able to pick a record player and buy it and it would be delivered ready to go, out of the box, plug attached, especially for the money involved. Nope.
What do I actually need?
For a minimum of £150 (though apparently I should be spending more) I’d be lucky to get a turntable, and that’s about it. Ok, well if I can get some speakers cheap it’s not too bad I thought….
Wrong again, I’d also need an amp (to transfer the music signal to the speakers). Possibly a pre-amp (to convert the signal from the turntable to the amp). Then, once the turntable has been connected I could consider speakers. But before that, I should also consider upgrading the stylus (needle). Though it’s probably just as cheap to get a whole new cartridge (the bit that holds the needle). It’s fair to say that the options are immense, and also expensive!
So, with a lot of research, and I mean a lot. So much in fact that if my wife asked what I was looking at on my phone my go to response was ‘porn’. That’s how annoyed she was getting with my constant ‘record research’ my findings were this:
To get a decent record player, i.e. one that won’t eat my vinyl, I was going to be lucky to spend less than £200. That’s for just a bog standard entry level table. My initial thought was that I could live with £200, or even less if I bought wisely via eBay or online second hand. However, that £200 only buys you a table. I soon learned that as well as a table I’ll likely need a pre-amp, possibly an amp, an upgraded needle if I’m buying second hand (apparently it’s not worth the risk) and a set of decent speakers.
This can easily increase your estimated £200 into a more likely £500 or more depending on your desire to hear your vinyl as perfect as they were made. Now I can’t justify spending £500 on a new version of what my wife would say I already own, especially with a new child on the way and a recent house purchase that needs a little tlc. To be honest I’d be lucky to justify £100.
Therefore my challenge is to get a full system, table, pre-amp (if needed) amp, speakers and needle including cartridge (apparently the cost is the same for the cartridge (I believe this holds the needle) as it is for just the needle) for less than £100.
Which means, the hours of research are going to finally come in useful as I’ll be trawling eBay for a suitable second hand unit that is both recommended but cheap enough not to blow the budget.