Turntable problem

Man of Honour
Man of Honour
Joined
23 Dec 2002
Posts
9,566
Location
London
I used to have a vinyl rig a couple of decades back. Being precise I had an LP12 with a valhalla drive, Basik tonearm and K9. Certainly not killer expensive.

Either way, I could see that digital was clearly the technology of the future (can't use a record in a car for one thing), so ditched my whole LP collection, the LP12 and moved to CD.
The last few years has resulted in my digital replay getting rather good. The Meridian processor I now use as a DAC means that it's definitely into the high end area and the majority of other digital sources are going to be "different" as against necessarily better.

So, onto my problem.
My uncle has asked me to sell on his deck, which is a 23 year old Walker CJ55. It's a good, but not amazing suspended deck using an entry level linn arm and cartridge. Having owned a CJ58 before moving onto the LP12, I'd put it as a budget LP12 in presentation. I'd guess that it would give a cheaper Rega a run for it's money, though maybe I'm selling the Walker short at that.
Just to make sure that I'm not selling a dud, I got it up and running today. Easier said that done when you don't have a phono stage. Or at least didn't until I realised that the Kenwood 3020se I use to power my rear effects speakers contains an MM phono stage. Couple of leads later and some vinyl from a local charity shop and we're up and running.

Sure enough, doesn't have the width or control of my digital setup, but the mid-range is simply lovely. I wouldn't mind but this is a deck that is 23 years old (cartridge is a lot newer) running via a budget level phono stage, before the signal is digitised by my Meridian processor. I was kind of expecting it to sound rubbish.
Not at all was the answer. I had a very enjoyable time listening to the cheapy vinyl that I'd bought.

Of course the real problem is that:
1. It's left me wanting to play some more
2. Whilst I don't have any genuine level of vinyl collection, I could buy my uncles from him and I know a couple of other people who'd unload there's, giving me a probably 300+ LPs for not a massive outlay
3. I know I'd end up buying a pretty good vinyl setup, and it probably wouldn't be cheap.
4. The missus has already said no.

Oh why couldn't it have simply sounded naff....
 
Associate
Joined
20 Oct 2008
Posts
586
Location
Cornwall
Thats not a problem, more like an exciting way to spend loads of money..., as I know only too well..
Vinyl can be found very cheaply, and a second hand record cleaner is a fantastic purchase, albeit so boring to use - I got one to clean my records and intended to sell it on once I had cleaned all my records, though have bought so many more records that it is still in use. As you get better and better components, you may well find that your digital stuff sounds less interesting, less involving and less fun.
My system was all Naim, with a 52/supercap/250 to give you some idea of the level of it, though has been upgraded to Avondale (a small company that mod naim gear to make it sound way better for way less...)
What a pleasant problem to have - try to find a hifi shop that will demonstrate a top-of-the-range turntable and start saving, or shift it all and forget about the pleasure music can give.. !
 
Man of Honour
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
23 Dec 2002
Posts
9,566
Location
London
I think I'll go have another listen later on today to get a better understanding of how the digital and analogue sources compare. Have to say that I had a quick look online at a VPI scout...

I've never heard Avondale kit, but have read about it enough times. As an ex-Naimee, I understand where you're coming from. My own system is now a bit "round" shall we say.
 
Associate
Joined
20 Oct 2008
Posts
586
Location
Cornwall
I too had an LP12 way back in the early '80's and now have an Orbe - it is so easy to set up, and never needs adjustment. Along with an SME1V and a stupidly pricey Te Kiatora Rua cart into a Tom Evans Groove, all purchased second hand it gives so much pleasure, especially with records bought from charity shops or clearance from people selling up. It (the Orbe) also looks stunning to my eyes !
As for Avondale, Les (the man behind it all) used to give 30 day home trials, which would only cost you the return postage, and I doubt many sent stuff back.
I never really understood all the round/flat stuff, rather like the Canon/Nikon 'wars' - all that matters is that you enjoy it.
If you want to experience some Avondale kit, there is a guy who lives in Harlow who often opens his house to strangers so they can have a listen - ho is not employed by Avondale, nor does he make anything from it - more just a really good guy. I can put you in touch with him if you like..
 
Soldato
Joined
5 Jan 2003
Posts
3,508
Location
Somewhere in the middle
Ah Mr_S, you have put a smile on my face this morning..... :)
Your findings raise a question in my mind, that is you perhaps don't have the correct digital source that suits your taste, agreeing with you that what you have is good, and other will be "different".....but perhaps more to your liking. No disrespect to the deck, it "shouldn't" be more enjoyable than you digital front end. I say that as a Vinyl owner, it's just that deck "shouldn't" be higher enough spec to achieve it......

OK moving on from that, yes I think Vinyl can give you more enjoyment than digital, BUT it ain't cheap...as you know.
Think I would suggest holding onto the deck for a while, get it serviced, and pick up a decent phono stage and some more records. Then see how it takes you, if you get the vinyl bug, and start saving ...not for the new deck, but for the holiday you will have to promise the misses ;)
 
Man of Honour
Man of Honour
OP
Joined
23 Dec 2002
Posts
9,566
Location
London
I had more of a play with the Walker over the last couple of days.
The mid-range really is very engaging. The good news (depending upon your point of view) is that the hash really is rather intrusive, the bass is all at sea and the overall result is nothing like as well balanced as my digital source. What I mean by that is that the mid-range is very projected, and the rest rather subdued.
Bearing in mind that to do this well that I was thinking of a good deck (e.g. s/h VPI scout), then the cost of a reasonable phono stage, followed by some albums, and you're looking at a good £1500, so I'm quite happy to be less than impressed with the overall performance of the Walker.
I think I'd rather spend the £1500 on improving what I already have. Was thinking of starting on the mains first with a dedicated spur, then try to borrow a PS Audio power supply.
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
5 Jan 2003
Posts
3,508
Location
Somewhere in the middle
Pleased to hear the Walker is now slotting into the correct pecking order. As you knew, this route is never going to be "cheap", or even affordable !!!.... Whether it's worth doing is down to the individual. For some digital will never deliver what they want, so Vinyl and Valves will only do. I guess you have to decide if you think you will eventually achieve everything you want with Digital.

I think the subject of mains spurs and conditioners should be a new thread ...LOL .... sure to run that one ;).
I'd rather refine the CDP/Streamer first rather than expensive bits of "twin and earth"... :p
 
Top Bottom