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Looking for a good turntable


Hi,
Could someone recommend a good turntable to use with Sonos please
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Best answer by pwt 29 June 2017, 22:48

I'm happy with my TEAC TN-300, but I've nothing to compare it with. It has the required built-in pre-amp. Line-Out levels seem a bit low (about the same as a mobile device rather than a hi-fi component), but boosting the Sonos Line-In amplification to '10' deals with that.

Having not had a turntable for decades, I was actually surprised how good it sounds connected to a pair of PLAY:5s and a SUB. Not as good as high quality 320kbps or lossless streams, but certainly quite pleasant to listen to.
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Userlevel 7
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I'm happy with my TEAC TN-300, but I've nothing to compare it with. It has the required built-in pre-amp. Line-Out levels seem a bit low (about the same as a mobile device rather than a hi-fi component), but boosting the Sonos Line-In amplification to '10' deals with that.

Having not had a turntable for decades, I was actually surprised how good it sounds connected to a pair of PLAY:5s and a SUB. Not as good as high quality 320kbps or lossless streams, but certainly quite pleasant to listen to.
It might be a good idea to also look for Turntables with Bluetooth capability; google search should help. A small bluetooth receiver attached to the line in jack of the Sonos unit will allow such a TT to be placed more flexibly without needing any wires to connect it to Sonos.
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I'd say go with a Pro-ject Debut Carbon DC. It's a perfect starter turntable and it just might be all you ever need. It's completely manual though (meaning you have to be there to take the stylus off the record when it ends). If you need an automatic, look at the Audio Technica LP120. Another good starter setup.

Keep in mind you may need to get a separate preamp depending on your setup. Personally I've got a Debut Carbon running through a Pro-ject Phonobox E preamp into a Sonos Connect. It works great.
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A few more things to consider... the stylus makes a huge difference in sound. I'd recommend looking for at minimum an Ortofon OM5E. Even better would be an Ortofon 2M Red. Even better than that is a 2M Blue. It depends on your budget but get the best you can afford. Preamps matter too, you can start cheap but you will want to upgrade at some point.

Setup is important too. Make sure your stylus is tracking correctly and the tracking weight is set properly. With a bad setup the stylus rides along the side of the groove missing parts of the recording.You want it done deep in the middle of the groove to maximize sound quality. YouTube has some great videos on turntable setup.

I'd recommend against using Bluetooth for sound quality reasons . BT to wifi to speakers leaves a lot of places where you can lose quality. Vinyl records, if done right will give you top quality sound. Might as well take advantage of it if you can.

One more thing is with Sonos is you'll likely need to use the "compressed" sound setting to avoid drop outs in signal from your turntable. Compression is another small hit to sound quality, but it beats having the sound cut out on you.
I understand the visible engineering appeal of TTs; I had one for just that reason. I also understand the reason for one where one has a lot of records that are rare with music not easily obtained in digital form.

But digital was invented in response to sound quality issues that TTs suffer from, even when perfectly set up and playing a new LP for the first time. Over time, TT meanders away from these levels that digital surpasses. I have not found any LP to sound better than the equivalent CD and now CD rips. Perhaps I don't prefer the distortion that vinyl brings to the table, just as I don't prefer the distortion that valve amps do.

I sold mine once the hassle of changing records on it eclipsed the cool of having one; since I never had an extensive collection of LPs.

YMMV.
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Obviously a turntable shouldn't be your only way to listen to music. It's inconvenient, it's labor intensive and it can be expensive. I have MP3s in my car, I use iTunes to keep my home music collection, I subscribe to Pandora and Amazon for streaming, but I still enjoy vinyl. Cigars are never going to replace cigarettes, but It's still nice to light up a nice Cuban on occasion.

There's something cool and satisfying to the hands on experience of vinyl. digital vs analog aside, they can sound great. Plus some of these turntables are works of art, nobody ever said that about a CD player. CD's are all but obsolete and there won't be a renascence in CDs anytime soon. CDs were invented because records weren't portable and digital surpassed the quality of cassette tapes. Plus you could quickly switch tracks.

Sound depends a lot on what you're listening to and listening through. Digital quality depends on the source and the transfer. A Cd is what? 320 Kbps? Rip that into a standard 128 Kbps MP3 and you're losing some serious sound quality. Different formats have better quality, flac, mp4s are better but digital is already starting with a compressed signal. Vinyl is a lossless medium. Of course getting the best sound from the record to your speakers is the challenge. We could argue sound all day but basically both formats can sound great or they can sound terrible.

If you ever wear out a record, your setup is way off or you're using bad equipment. A good stylus will wear out before a record ever will. Plus, if you ever played a record enough times to wear it out, you should probably spring for another copy anyway.

Vinyl records are fragile and listening to them is takes effort, but it's still a great way to experience music.
Digital quality depends on the source and the transfer. A Cd is what? 320 Kbps? Rip that into a standard 128 Kbps MP3 and you're losing some serious sound quality. Different formats have better quality, flac, mp4s are better but digital is already starting with a compressed signal. Vinyl is a lossless medium.
You make points about vinyl that are well taken, but not all are accurate.
Vinyl quality cannot get away from the need for quality source and transfer; Garbage In Garbage Out cannot be escaped by any one.
CD streaming rates are 1411 Kbps, but few can reliably distinguish that from 320kbps in a blind test that eliminates every other variable.
That digital starts with a compressed signal is not true, but that admittedly is a common misconception about digital audio. Digital can be as lossless as Vinyl. Digital was invented to better the sound quality obtained from Vinyl and the best of digital does that quite easily.
I agree that CD players and CDs are obsolete and digital tech has moved on from needing CDs as a media. While there is no replacement for the "cool" of vinyl, so I expect TTs to be made long after CD players aren't anymore. But not because they deliver superior sound quality compared to digital audio, but because people will still want the "cool" thing. A bit like people still wanting and using valve amps. Or fountain pens. Or hand wound wrist watches.
PS: a good comment I read once about vinyl: "Is a CD-quality album going to sound more accurate on vinyl than a CD? Nope. But it will sound more vinyl-y, if that's your preference."
One could say the same about a quality valve amp which will cost a lot more than an equally good transistor amp.
"It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that just ain't so."

- Josh Billings, Humorist
Lol. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing?

I can understand the cool thing and also the pleasure in being able to see precision engineering at work - something totally lost in going digital. I can also understand the pleasure in the associated rituals and making listening to music more involving as a hobby. If one can't play a guitar, playing an LP and keeping the TT/LP in good working order can make up to an extent!

But there is a price to be paid for these pleasures apart from the higher cost of the kit compared to solid state kit if it is to perform well. And using vinyl with Sonos, unless it is to access a large LP collection not easily available, seems to be a contradiction in terms. But if it floats some boats...
I've had a couple dozen TOTL turntables, from Dual, ELAC, Thorens, Empire, JVC, Pioneer, Technics, among others. None will ever match the signal quality of a digital source, but they can sound great, and can be fun to spin when the mood strikes.

The only one I've kept is a Sony PS-X65. It's from the early 80s, just before CDs started to take over. One of Sony's efforts to show just how great their engineers were. The TOTL at the time was their PS-X75, which added a computer controlled arm to the same base. I can't think of a modern production table that can come anywhere near the build quality or performance of these old Sonys for under a few $grand.

Plenty of great tables out there on Craigslist and in the thrifts, waiting for some love.

waiting for some love.

Exactly, and romance of the kind seen in a needle visibly tracking a groove that is hard to see or find in streamer and NAS boxes with their invisible handling of bits and bytes. There are many valid reasons to use a TT but convenience and better sound quality aren't on the list.

Excellent conversation starters too, I have found.
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Digital quality depends on the source and the transfer. A Cd is what? 320 Kbps? Rip that into a standard 128 Kbps MP3 and you're losing some serious sound quality. Different formats have better quality, flac, mp4s are better but digital is already starting with a compressed signal. Vinyl is a lossless medium.
You make points about vinyl that are well taken, but not all are accurate.
Vinyl quality cannot get away from the need for quality source and transfer; Garbage In Garbage Out cannot be escaped by any one.
CD streaming rates are 1411 Kbps, but few can reliably distinguish that from 320kbps in a blind test that eliminates every other variable.
That digital starts with a compressed signal is not true, but that admittedly is a common misconception about digital audio. Digital can be as lossless as Vinyl. Digital was invented to better the sound quality obtained from Vinyl and the best of digital does that quite easily.
I agree that CD players and CDs are obsolete and digital tech has moved on from needing CDs as a media. While there is no replacement for the "cool" of vinyl, so I expect TTs to be made long after CD players aren't anymore. But not because they deliver superior sound quality compared to digital audio, but because people will still want the "cool" thing. A bit like people still wanting and using valve amps. Or fountain pens. Or hand wound wrist watches.
PS: a good comment I read once about vinyl: "Is a CD-quality album going to sound more accurate on vinyl than a CD? Nope. But it will sound more vinyl-y, if that's your preference."
One could say the same about a quality valve amp which will cost a lot more than an equally good transistor amp.


Like I said, we could argue sound all day. Vinyl has the potential to sound fantastic if you do it right. Every little part of the music is there in the groove if you can get it out. Does it sound better than digital? Yes, in some cases, no others. Like you said, GIGO definitely applies, but can most people actually hear the difference in good quality digital vs good quality vinyl? Probably not.

The highest quality digital might be the best way to reproduce sound but it's not what people are listening to. Digital music has to be compressed as a practical matter to deliver the files to consumers and to fit them onto whatever storage device they use. The higher the quality the larger the file. It's easy to hear the quality difference in a 128kbps file vs a 320kbps file. The 320kbps sounds much better but file will also be much larger (Pandora streams at 192kbps). It's only recently that hard drives have gotten larger and bandwidths have increased to where download speeds and storage aren't really an issue, but the standard 128kbps files people bought or ripped from cds are still the bulk of the music on people's hard drives. We're all listening to compressed, lossy, mediocre digital files and they still sound just fine. With developments in lossless compression digital will continue to get better, but I'm not ready to go re-rip all my CDs again just yet.

Which brings me back to my point, digital can sound fantastic and analog can sound fantastic... or the can sound like crap. It's doesn't really matter because the both sound good enough. Digital files are easier and you can have your entire music collection in your pocket at all times. Turntables have you chained to a corner of a room (the car turntable just never caught on). Digital is superior in pretty much every way, but there's still a place for vinyl.

I'm not a snob about records, I listen to digital 98% of the time and I love it. The vinyl thing is a fun hands on way to play music. Digital is mainstream, vinyl is a hobby. Part of it might be that I'm old enough to have lived through the LP era when I was a kid. It's a retro thing. I'd imagine that people born after CDs took over might not see the appeal.
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"It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that just ain't so."

- Josh Billings, Humorist


Is this you being helpful again?
"It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that just ain't so."

- Josh Billings, Humorist


Is this you being helpful again?


No, it is me being truthful. Before spreading nonsense about digital being "compressed", you should look up a little something called the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem, which states that for every frequency under 1/2 the sampling rate (44 KHz in the case of CD, which gives a frequency range well above the limits of human hearing), the output from a digital recording is exactly equal to the analog input. So for lossless codecs like CD or FLAC, there is no "compression" of audio quality at all, the reproduction signal is indistinguishable from the original. Even down to minute analysis on an oscilloscope, far beyond the tolerances of the human ear, the input signal is perfectly matched to output.

That's just one of the few corrections to your decidedly skewed (not to mention easily proven to be false) statements. If you wish, I can give you links to videos that show this matching of signals on an oscilloscope, done by one of the foremost authorities on digital audio. What do you say, are you willing to learn something today?


Just in case anyone else is interested in why it is incorrect to say there is any loss of fidelity due "compression" during the lossless digitization of band limited signals within the range of human hearing.

but can most people actually hear the difference in good quality digital vs good quality vinyl? Probably not.
The highest quality digital might be the best way to reproduce sound but it's not what people are listening to. Digital music has to be compressed as a practical matter to deliver the files to consumers and to fit them onto whatever storage device they use.
Digital is superior in pretty much every way, but there's still a place for vinyl.
The vinyl thing is a fun hands on way to play music. Digital is mainstream, vinyl is a hobby... It's a retro thing.

All points there is little to argue over, so in reality there is little practical difference in what we are saying. What there is, is on account of some fundamental issues that can be read about for the sake of principle, if desired.

First, it is necessary to spend a lot more on TTs to get the same potential for sound quality as digital can deliver very cheaply now. The visible precision engineering isn't cheap to make and maintain; maintenance being more a matter of time and knowhow that may need a time investment to obtain. Part of the fun is in the maintenance, but those new to vinyl ought to know this before going down that road if they are not to suffer atrocious sound quality over time.

Compressed music is also application specific, initially developed to cater to a noisy listening environment, with inexpensive earphones, where it effectively delivers all the content in the track in an audible way to the listener in that environment. A quiet listening room is not the environment for it. And if music suitable for such a room is available on vinyl, I know of no examples where it is not also available in digital form of equivalent source/mastering quality and with adequate kbps for effective rendering. If people want to find such music because they don't like the 128 kbps compressed versions, there is no need to go to vinyl to obtain it. And storage capacity constraints for listening to quality digital music at home went away over ten years ago. I am referring to NAS delivered music; streaming services are a different matter and are to still get there in many cases; but many also do what is audibly a perfectly adequate job with 256/320kbps.

There are however well known sound quality issues with vinyl from the way the LP is produced to the way it has to be used to deliver sound at home. And there is no compensating advantage as claimed for it by virtue of the nonsensical claims that the soul of the music is completely captured only in the analog nature of the groove, while it is lost between the bits of digital audio.

Of course there is still place for vinyl; no one here said otherwise. Just as there is space for Morgan sports cars as well, both those made 50 years ago, and the exact same looking ones produced today by the same maker in the UK. And for fountain pens, and hand wound wrist watches and many other hobbies that do not usually make practical sense. Almost a definition of a hobby - that it should not make practical sense!
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Point 6 says it well: https://numeralnine.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/a-brief-guide-to-audio-for-the-skeptical-consumer/

Nostalgia is fun, and I enjoy playing vinyl -- but I don't for a moment think the audio quality is objectively or subjectively better then playing the same tracks from a 320kbps Spotify stream.
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but can most people actually hear the difference in good quality digital vs good quality vinyl? Probably not.
The highest quality digital might be the best way to reproduce sound but it's not what people are listening to. Digital music has to be compressed as a practical matter to deliver the files to consumers and to fit them onto whatever storage device they use.
Digital is superior in pretty much every way, but there's still a place for vinyl.
The vinyl thing is a fun hands on way to play music. Digital is mainstream, vinyl is a hobby... It's a retro thing.

All points there is little to argue over, so in reality there is little practical difference in what we are saying. What there is, is on account of some fundamental issues that can be read about for the sake of principle, if desired.

First, it is necessary to spend a lot more on TTs to get the same potential for sound quality as digital can deliver very cheaply now. The visible precision engineering isn't cheap to make and maintain; maintenance being more a matter of time and knowhow that may need a time investment to obtain. Part of the fun is in the maintenance, but those new to vinyl ought to know this before going down that road if they are not to suffer atrocious sound quality over time.

Compressed music is also application specific, initially developed to cater to a noisy listening environment, with inexpensive earphones, where it effectively delivers all the content in the track in an audible way to the listener in that environment. A quiet listening room is not the environment for it. And if music suitable for such a room is available on vinyl, I know of no examples where it is not also available in digital form of equivalent source/mastering quality and with adequate kbps for effective rendering. If people want to find such music because they don't like the 128 kbps compressed versions, there is no need to go to vinyl to obtain it. And storage capacity constraints for listening to quality digital music at home went away over ten years ago. I am referring to NAS delivered music; streaming services are a different matter and are to still get there in many cases; but many also do what is audibly a perfectly adequate job with 256/320kbps.

There are however well known sound quality issues with vinyl from the way the LP is produced to the way it has to be used to deliver sound at home. And there is no compensating advantage as claimed for it by virtue of the nonsensical claims that the soul of the music is completely captured only in the analog nature of the groove, while it is lost between the bits of digital audio.

Of course there is still place for vinyl; no one here said otherwise. Just as there is space for Morgan sports cars as well, both those made 50 years ago, and the exact same looking ones produced today by the same maker in the UK. And for fountain pens, and hand wound wrist watches and many other hobbies that do not usually make practical sense. Almost a definition of a hobby - that it should not make practical sense!



This has gone way off the tracks.

Nobody here said anything about vinyl having a soul, nobody said vinyl being the way to replace MP3's and the question was never about reproducing perfect sound. Hobbies are done for personal enjoyment. Some people can even get enjoyment out of playing a scratchy old warped record sometimes. It's not about perfection or efficiency or even the cost. Turntables are inefficient, expensive and high maintenance but some people enjoy buying records and playing them the old fashioned way. You can't just go A.D.D. and skip twenty songs, you actually listen to the same artist playing music in the order they chose to present it in. If you watch the movie, "It Might Get Loud" (great movie btw) you can see Jimmy Page in his music room full of LP's and CDs listening and showing off some of his favorite tracks. What does he do? He pulls out and old Link Ray 45 single of "Rumble", puts it on a crappy looking turntable and he gets this giant smile on his face. If it's good enough for Jimmy....

You know what's even less efficient and more expensive than vinyl records? Playing an instrument. It's difficult, time consuming and you need to find others with the same stupid hobby to play with you. Why play music yourself when you can find a cheap digital copy of any song you want to hear? For that matter why would people go to concerts? They're crowded, loud, expensive and the sound quality is usually pretty awful compared to digital or even studio recorded tracks. Why see a live show when you can go to iTunes and download any song they sing? I'm being facetious, of course. Music itself is a hobby, it's not a necessity, and people choose to experience it in different forms. Each form has its virtues. Nobody is really doing it right or wrong.

All I'm really saying is when somebody asks which turntable to buy, he's probably looking for information on turntables.

This has gone way off the tracks.

All I'm really saying is when somebody asks which turntable to buy, he's probably looking for information on turntables.

I agree. And probably not needing to be told about Ortofon cartridges. Or other things that affect the great vinyl sound quality! In any case, OP is long gone from here.
Userlevel 4
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"It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that just ain't so."

- Josh Billings, Humorist


Is this you being helpful again?


No, it is me being truthful. Before spreading nonsense about digital being "compressed", you should look up a little something called the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem, which states that for every frequency under 1/2 the sampling rate (44 KHz in the case of CD, which gives a frequency range well above the limits of human hearing), the output from a digital recording is exactly equal to the analog input. So for lossless codecs like CD or FLAC, there is no "compression" of audio quality at all, the reproduction signal is indistinguishable from the original. Even down to minute analysis on an oscilloscope, far beyond the tolerances of the human ear, the input signal is perfectly matched to output.

That's just one of the few corrections to your decidedly skewed (not to mention easily proven to be false) statements. If you wish, I can give you links to videos that show this matching of signals on an oscilloscope, done by one of the foremost authorities on digital audio. What do you say, are you willing to learn something today?




MP3's are compressed and I mentioned flac's in my comments.

Whatever your problem is with me, let it go.
You said "A Cd is what? 320 Kbps?"

100% wrong.

You said "Different formats have better quality, flac, mp4s are better but digital is already starting with a compressed signal."

100% wrong. FLAC is not a "starting with a compressed signal" in fidelity at all. Neither is CD. Not all digital is compressed.

You said "Vinyl is a lossless medium.", implying digital is not.

First of all, vinyl is not lossless. Its dynamic range is far below that of CD and struggles to reproduce the entire range of human hearing. Second, for all ranges of human hearing up to the threshold of pain, CD, WAV, FLAC, ALAC and other formats are truly lossless, for the reasons I described.

As I said, "It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that just ain't so." That is the only problem I have in this thread.
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You said "A Cd is what? 320 Kbps?"

100% wrong.

You said "Different formats have better quality, flac, mp4s are better but digital is already starting with a compressed signal."

100% wrong. FLAC is not a "starting with a compressed signal" in fidelity at all. Neither is CD. Not all digital is compressed.

You said "Vinyl is a lossless medium.", implying digital is not.

First of all, vinyl is not lossless. Its dynamic range is far below that of CD and struggles to reproduce the entire range of human hearing. Second, for all ranges of human hearing up to the threshold of pain, CD, WAV, FLAC, ALAC and other formats are truly lossless, for the reasons I described.

As I said, "It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that just ain't so." That is the only problem I have in this thread.




Yeah, I've noticed you act like a condescending know-it-all to just about everyone who dares come here with a comment or question. I won't take it personally.

Anyway, Cd's are an approximation of the original sound, if you're ripping music into a FLAC file it's still only a digital approximation of the source. The digital music files you listen to are all compressed. MP3s are lossy, FLACs are lossless. Either way, again, they still can only attempt to replicate the source. A lossless FLAC file made from a crappy source will still sound crappy. Screw it, my head hurts, your points are so convoluted it's hard to tell what you're even arguing anymore. I'l just cut and paste take it from here. I'd say read it but you already know everything so there's not much point to it.


"A digital recording takes snapshots of the analog signal at a certain rate (for CDs it is 44,100 times per second) and measures each snapshot with a certain accuracy (for CDs it is 16-bit, which means the value must be one of 65,536 possible values).

This means that, by definition, a digital recording is not capturing the complete sound wave. It is approximating it with a series of steps. Some sounds that have very quick transitions, such as a drum beat or a trumpet's tone, will be distorted because they change too quickly for the sample rate.

In your home stereo the CD or DVD player takes this digital recording and converts it to an analog signal, which is fed to your amplifier. The amplifier then raises the voltage of the signal to a level powerful enough to drive your speaker.

A vinyl record has a groove carved into it that mirrors the original sound's waveform. This means that no information is lost. The output of a record player is analog. It can be fed directly to your amplifier with no conversion.

This means that the waveforms from a vinyl recording can be much more accurate, and that can be heard in the richness of the sound. But there is a downside, any specks of dust or damage to the disc can be heard as noise or static. During quiet spots in songs this noise may be heard over the music. Digital recordings don't degrade over time, and if the digital recording contains silence, then there will be no noise.

From the graph you can see that CD quality audio does not do a very good job of replicating the original signal. The main ways to improve the quality of a digital recording are to increase the sampling rate and to increase the accuracy of the sampling."

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/question487.htm
Someone needs to go read up on Nyquist-Shannon. Sigh.
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This has gone way off the tracks.

All I'm really saying is when somebody asks which turntable to buy, he's probably looking for information on turntables.


I agree. And probably not needing to be told about Ortofon cartridges. Or other things that affect the great vinyl sound quality! In any case, OP is long gone from here.



The cartridge is a huge part of the crappy, inferior sound you get from your turntable. It's very relevant to the question. But you're right, he's long gone. Seems sombody hijacked his thread with a bunch of digital talk.

I'm guessing you must have had one of those Crosley turntables that look like a suitcase. Those do sound really bad.

This has gone way off the tracks.

All I'm really saying is when somebody asks which turntable to buy, he's probably looking for information on turntables.


I agree. And probably not needing to be told about Ortofon cartridges. Or other things that affect the great vinyl sound quality! In any case, OP is long gone from here.



The cartridge is a huge part of the crappy, inferior sound you get from your turntable. It's very relevant to the question. But you're right, he's long gone. Seems sombody hijacked his thread with a bunch of digital talk.

I'm guessing you must have had one of those Crosley turntables that look like a suitcase. Those do sound really bad.


My, you are presumptive! Kumar is a reformed audiophool, who no doubt spent quite a bit on cartridges, including Ortofons. You really need to stop making a fool of yourself...