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My niece's first system for under $1000 USD - suggestions

Doodski

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Better forget about all of these percentages. When my expensive T+A amplifier had a technical issue and needed repair, I bought a cheap, but high power crown rack unit to temporarily replace it. The crown got measured here, performance is not stellar, but I guess you need serious training for picking up any of those issues by ear. For me, there was absolutely no audible difference.
I've handled many amps and receivers of varying sizes and costs and only a few stand out as really sounding different. For me now it's about having enough power and a quality piece of gear.
 

JRS

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Too late to vote agree, scrap the amp, buy the best active speakers for under 700. and (sigh) the remainder for turntable and preamp. She'll get tired of that soon enough. I would have suggested spending the 300 on a Topping DX3 pro + and a competent set of comfy headphones for those times when you can't play the stereo. Thats assuming she is an apt or dorm dweller.
 

Prana Ferox

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I would get an amp with a remote.

If it's a gift for a family member and they're not a hardcore audiophile, consider an Overnight Sensations or Classix II kit. They're both easy to assemble and a handbuilt custom finished set will have much more personal connection than something storebought. The OS is cheaper and the birch kit is super easy to make look nice, the Classix will get louder than an apartment ever needs.
 

Timcognito

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Go Craigslist for a nice vintage 1978-85 Yamaha or Technics turntable $100-150 and Ortofon Red cartridge $80 new. Many of these tables have manual start que and auto return arms, it was a fad then. People buy them and get bored or trade up and sell them. If you are in a major market there lots of TT to choose from. Agree with others on the Elac speakers; spend 60% of the budget on speakers.
 

Freeway

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My granddaughter has a turntable and uses it. Visited in November for a week. First thing we did was go to a record store. Her suggestion. She bought albums. I bought used CDs. Hit 3+ stores in all. Something her father and I have always done.
I was so thrilled.
Never discussed vinyl vs CD/hi res.
Did get both her and grandson a SMSL SU-9n and Kali LP6Wv2 (active) for their rooms for Christmas.
Must call her to make sure she can connect the TT. Hadn't thought about that.
 

AudioSQ

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I'm guessing she's not an audio snob and simply enjoys the experience of vinyl. She probably just wants something that a regular sensible person would deem pleasing. I doubt she's trying to be groomed into an 'audiophile', but wouldn't be the first time I'm wrong. I have friends who love vinyl and enjoy it on rather 'cheap' systems. I mean, they place their bookshelves right on top of entertainment centers near walls... Gasp!

I'd probably go with whatever Elacs or Wharfedales she can afford after purchasing the table. Some really like the Sony SSCS5s for super cheap. JBL 530s might be another good option.

I'm a diy guy so I like that suggestion, but unless you have good finishing skills.. they won't look as nice.
 

DanielT

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If it's gadgets / gear love it's about (which it absolutely can be when it comes to turntables) go all the way. Vintage from start to finish, turntable, amplifier / receiver / speakers.

You can like vinyl, turntables for different reason. My guess, however, is what she is looking for (in the video below) applies to many:
She likes the feeling of tinker with vinyl, the tactile feeling plus that: it sounds warmer (yes I know the sound quality of vinyl, I still write on ASR, but that attitude to vinyl is very common )

_____

More records and a couple of new speakers, which she loves because: the bass is an absolute killer
(speakers 12:45 into the video)


Edit:
Speaking of which, those speakers in the video. Can probably be obtained, within budget, too the Niece. Used in that case. :)
(If you are a little lucky when you look at the used Hifi market)


Resevation, I have not heard them and know nothing about them. Mostly to show an example that there are many speakers to choose from.:)
 

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ThatM1key

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I should've replied sooner but I had lots of people saying that it's okay to buy a budget amp that costs less than your speakers. Sometimes that's not the case. In late 2020, I bought the SMSL SA300 mainly for the good price, good power and technically cleaner than my Sansui 2000A. I hated that amp so much. When I hooked up my ELACs to it, the amp changed the sound too much. Huge lack of bass and the midrange stand out like a wart on an ass check, and even on direct mode. I sent back that hunk of junk and went to my old but gold Sansui 2000A. About half year ago the preamp in my Sansui 2000A said "How about we make everything mono". I initially used the Topping E30 as a preamp but it was terrible. It made the sound worse somehow and every hour it would make a loud pop (As loud as a gunshot), I nearly blew my hearing. Next I used the Topping L30 as a preamp, very clean but the problem was the channel imbalance at low volume. I used that setup for a few months and I got tired of how janky it was and my Sansui 2000A got more distorted with age. A few members around here said the Yamaha A-S301 was good choice. I bought that Yamaha just when amirm posted the review of the Topping PA5. I instantly had buyers remorse but I instantly fall in love with that Yamaha when it came. The dynamic range was enough for "CD Quality" and I am fine with that. I don't care about "Hi-res audio", ever since Qobuz served me with 192khz 24bit music that had dynamic range compression like a Green Day CD.
 

DanielT

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...my ELACs ....... Yamaha A-S301 ....
Which model of ELAC?

Yamaha A-S301 has a phono input, may be worth mentioning.:)


Edit:
Aiyima A08 is probably a good amp. As long as you settle for one input. However, an external RIAA/Phono Preamp is needed if you are going to drive a turntable together with the Aiyima A08. Now maybe the niece will only use turntable, but if streamed music also is ever to be played, it can be smooth with several inputs so you can switch.:)

Suggestions for speaker models from ELAC (Elac DBR-62 would have been my personal choice) and Wharfedale in this thread are probably most consensus that they are good speakers, but only to get some speed on the thread. I put in a water divider when it comes to speakers. Loved as well as hated, I take a model from the brand:

KLIPSCH R-820F:

LD0005059942_2.jpg


Klipsch is not my cup of tea, but as I said, there are those who love them. Many Klipsch are sold.

Measurement, KLIPSCH R-820F:

 

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billyjoebob

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Using Amir's reviews, and given you already have an amp:

Speakers: Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 - $399.00 - https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...wharfedale-diamond-12-1-review-speaker.26780/

Phono Preamp: U-Turn Pluto 2 - $99 - https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/u-turn-pluto-2-review-phono-preamp.24451/

Turntable: Used Dual CS505 ~ $200.00 - https://www.vinylengine.com/library/dual/cs-505.shtml -

A few years ago you could pick a nice one of these on Ebay for under £50, but with the recent increase in the popularity of vinyl, they've gone up a bit. :oops:

View attachment 183683

The Dual CS505 isn't a fully automatic turntable but it's very simple to operate and unlike a lot of low cost turntables, it is also suspended, so it's less fussy about where you put it. There are several versions CS505-1 through to CS505-4, but I don't think there's a great deal of difference between them, so buy one in the nicest condition you can find and maybe budget for a new stylus and belt.

I had one many years ago, it's obviously a budget deck and doesn't have the heft and build quality of more expensive decks, but I liked it; I thought it had a fun sound.

Having said all that, they were quite popular in Europe, but I'm not sure how easy they are to find in the US, as you will need a 120v, 60Hz version.
You may be the only person with a reasonable response in this entire thread.
Most of these responses border on INSANE!!
 

ThatM1key

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Which model of ELAC?

Yamaha A-S301 has a phono input, may be worth mentioning.:)


Edit:
Aiyima A08 is probably a good amp. As long as you settle for one input. However, an external RIAA is needed if you are going to drive a turntable together with the Aiyima A08. Now maybe the niece will only use turntable, but if streamed music also is ever to be played, it can be smooth with several inputs so you can switch.:)
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2. Good bass output, roll off is about 38hz. I run analog with my Topping E30 because I am certain that the Yamaha's DAC is trash.
 

billyjoebob

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As far as helping OP out with his decisions here I can't offer much because the TT presents a significant "problem" really. Generally, I'd never suggest a TT as part of a budget system. For $1000USD you can get a fully audiophile set up with not much trouble at all really. assuming you already have a laptop or a phone for a source. Spend a hunny on a dac, a couple hunny on an amp and the rest on speakers (Elac DBR62 are a nice option as they sound great out of the box) and you're there. The TT complicates things...

And bluetooth (even SBC) is perfectly serviceable (and more "audiophile" than a turntable)
So how did any of this help the OP?
 

ThatM1key

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Klipsch is not my cup of tea, but as I said, there are those who love them. Many Klipsch are sold.
Klipsch is popular because its a "safe bet" brand.
 

billyjoebob

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Its ok, she wants a TT, give it to her.

Maybe(somehow iam sure) after a while she will prefer the BT. So its all good, just dont invest to much into the TT. Better look for the speakers.

And the speakers? Who knows how hard your flower likes to rock?
Maybe she would enjoy more a https://bicamerica.com/ 8 inch over a european 5 inch for the same price?


Sry could not resist ;)
BT?
Really?
And your gonna stick with that?
 

tomtoo

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BT?
Really?
And your gonna stick with that?

I dont hear a difference between BT and a CD. You?
BT over LDAC is the only cabel i need. And its so comfortabel.
A modern system has for me the smartphone or a tablet as source.
For 1000$ you get a serious system with that aproach. If you not count the smartphone itself. But who has none this times? Sure better put it directly besides the receiver.
I mean iam not she, i sold my Thorens 35 years ago, happy.

That amp is not bad. Get some good floorstander for it. Use your phone over BT, get Neutron player for EQ. If you like to get more Audiophile then first get listen experience, test your self honest.
And if you are absolutly sure about the benefit, you can get a dac, add a sub or two. Another 1000$.

To make this than much better if you made good decisions with your speakers? Not easy, and not that cheap.

But at the end she has to decide what she likes and if she wants a TT she should get one. Even the probability that it will be in 1-2 years a dustcollector is high.
 
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ROOSKIE

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Thank you. It's her money and she wants a turntable and speakers.

Not everyone is looking for a system with subs, room correction, room treatment and additional complexity.
Totally understand that.
I have all of those things implemented in my system yet I doubt most folks want all that.
I helped a vinyl loving friend buy some gear and I only considered his tastes not mine.

By the way a have had several friends with massive vinyl collections and they never get tired of adding to the collection, going vinyl shopping and buying special sets online. In fact often the value of the albums goes up. One friend even started a small business buying and selling to support his hobby and socialize as well. In any case even if it doesn't increase in $ some folks just love it.
I am not sure why all people here chime in over and over again with vinyl hate - totally pointless, useless whining(sorry folks just stop). They just don't get it.(Though personally I only have Spotify, YouTube and Tidal - I don't own even one file.)

Back to the job.
I don't see anything wrong with your amp choice. Keep the amp or optionally exchange it for something a bit more versatile like one of these. That way she can connect the turntable and her phone maybe another device or two (tv?)and use the radio waves. They also have remote controls. Really though your current amp choice is fine.
Just in case to change amps... I have used the Yamaha, It has real power and is really nice for the money
$130 https://www.accessories4less.com/ma...00-watts-natural-sound-stereo-receiver/1.html
The Sony is well regarded for low cash
$200 or less https://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-2...-with-bluetooth-black/6187501.p?skuId=6187501

By a turntable with built in phono pre-amp, like a very, very decent Audio Technica Lp120Xusb
$350 https://www.audioadvice.com/audio-t...dzO97cdOQYbfZ8sarer6fZVzjJ0y-uwYaApu5EALw_wcB

Speakers that is easy if the look works. My GF loves ours looks wise, some won't.
JBL studio 530's, on sale for
$240 direct. Phenomenal sound and pretty good bass for the form factor.

Another couple options if the JBL's aren't quite right. (Though I hope they are as man those 530's are very good and sorta 80's retro looking like the Audio Technica turntable I linked)

These White KEF Q350's might be cool looking to a young person and will sound great.
$500 https://www.accessories4less.com/ma...6.5-2-way-bookshelf-speaker-white-pair/1.html

Klipsch Rp-160m. Klipsch is not well liked on ASR. I like this pair. They can ROCK and they have very full powerful bass. The highs are bit much sometimes but man that is what a tone control is for.
On clearance for $350 @ newegg

Finally these are beautiful REAL wood veneer (walnut or mahigany)and they have a warm sound, I would anticipate many vinyl lovers loving these.
I though they sounded very fine. Very easy to listen to.
$450 open box/500 new

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VMAT4

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My niece is putting together her first audio system and has a budget of about $1000 USD. We've already decided on the Aiyima A08 amplifier and I have it in hand, cost $160.

That leaves $840 for turntable and speakers.

Turntable should be semi-automatic or automatic. Probably bookshelf speakers would be best for apartment life.

What would you get for $840???
For Speakers I would get the Vanatoo Transparent One Encore, AKA T1E. As the speakers are powered, no amp is necessary. That leaves $400 for a turntable and phono amp. Possibilities include the Pro-Ject T1 Phono SB or the Pro-Ject A1. Those would put you at about $1100.
 
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