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Phono Amp and Speaker set up with limited budget help.

07bmullane

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Hi perhaps someone here can help me. I have recently purchased a Fluance RT83 as I am just getting into vinyl and I want to eventually build up to an audiophile set up but I'm starting off slowly. I initially had an additional €700 budget to get a Phono Amp, Receiver and Passive Speakers, with my eye on the 3030i.

However something came up and now my budget has been severely cut. Now I only have about €300 maybe €400 at a push to get a set up so I can actually use my RT83.

I was thinking of just getting a phono amp and active speakers within that budget to ride me over for a few months after which I can buy a better auto set up. Would anyone here have any recommendations?

I have seen those crap €20 phono amps online, but I doubt they sound any good. I'm thinking maybe €150 or less on a Phono Amp and €150-200 on active (powered with amp) speakers.



Tl;dr Any recommendations for a pre amp and active speakers with a budget under €400?

I am based in Ireland so anywhere in Europe or Amazon.Co.uk is fine.

Many thanks.
 
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07bmullane

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I will add this is for a somewhat small bedroom.

Another consideration would be to get a headphone phono amp set up until I save up for my proper system. But I really have no idea about what to look for with them.
 

Phorize

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I’m thinking one of these:


Into a pair of these:

 

Godataloss

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These sound decent for pretty cheap.

For amplified speakers in a bedroom at your price point, consider a sound bar. There are some pretty great deals out there for the holidays. You likely can get one with a sub, a dac, remote control- rather than be tied to the one input typical of the desktop speakers.
 
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07bmullane

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I’m thinking one of these:


Into a pair of these:

Hi appreciate the response however the XPS1 doesn't seem to be for sale in Europe, I only see American sellers when I Google it.

The rokit 5 g4 look pretty cool but they're €250 approximately by European sellers so they're probably out of my budget unless I compensate on my phono amp which probably isn't wise since there's no point have nice speakers if they don't have enough gain.

Thanks a lot for the reply though. If you've any other suggestions I'd appreciate it!
 

Godataloss

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I've tried a few super cheap $20 phono stages and they were pretty bad.

At your price point, I'd try to find a TT with a built-in phono stage.

They're not usually amazing, but they're usually adequate for MM purposes.
If you can return the RT83, this one is substantially similar. If your RT83 came with an Ortofon Red- this drop table will sound significantly better.
 
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07bmullane

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These sound decent for pretty cheap.

For amplified speakers in a bedroom at your price point, consider a sound bar. There are some pretty great deals out there for the holidays. You likely can get one with a sub, a dac, remote control- rather than be tied to the one input typical of the desktop speakers.
Hi! I was actually looking at that phono amp myself during my research. It does look good for the price and Pro-Ject are trustworthy.

As for the soundbar, are you sure that would be wise? Aren't sound bars usually supplementary to already having a stereo setup? I don't imagine they would lend well to music. But maybe you're right if perhaps you could elaborate maybe? Thanks in any case.
 
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07bmullane

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If you can return the RT83, this one is substantially similar. If your RT83 came with an Ortofon Red- this drop table will sound significantly better.
Hey thanks for the advice. However I am from Ireland. It would cost far too much to import that from the USA. It's not being sold on any European sites from what I can see. But judging from the price I'd say it would only be slightly less expensive than the RT83 and the difference would probably just be taken from the return fee anyhow. Plus I think the RT83 looks far nicer in my opinion. This situation is only for a few months until I save enough for a better speaker set up. Thanks though!
 

Phorize

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Hi appreciate the response however the XPS1 doesn't seem to be for sale in Europe, I only see American sellers when I Google it.

The rokit 5 g4 look pretty cool but they're €250 approximately by European sellers so they're probably out of my budget unless I compensate on my phono amp which probably isn't wise since there's no point have nice speakers if they don't have enough gain.

Thanks a lot for the reply though. If you've any other suggestions I'd appreciate it!
I think it’s worth putting most of your budget into some decent actives. The KRKs are very hard to beat performance wise if you can get them for 250. That leaves you a small budget for say one of the project phono stages. @amirm measured one with an adc-the analogue stage was fine but the adc was bad. I think you’d likely be ok with one of the basic analogue only ones and you’d be in budget. Just checked the xps 1 and they have gone up in price quite abit this side of the water.
 

Godataloss

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As for the soundbar, are you sure that would be wise? Aren't sound bars usually supplementary to already having a stereo setup? I don't imagine they would lend well to music. But maybe you're right if perhaps you could elaborate maybe? Thanks in any case.
Nope- they are just amplified speakers in a box with some sort of preamp for switching and dac. There are tons of ****** ones, but also some really decent ones for around your price point. You aren't going to get SOTA sound the way this board views it, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. Some are quite well designed. I got the Andrew Jones one he did for Pioneer with a wireless sub for less than $200 US a few years ago. My kid uses it now in her bedroom.
 
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07bmullane

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I think it’s worth putting most of your budget into some decent actives. The KRKs are very hard to beat performance wise if you can get them for 250. That leaves you a small budget for say one of the project phono stages. @amirm measured one with an adc-the analogue stage was fine but the adc was bad. I think you’d likely be ok with one of the basic analogue only ones and you’d be in budget. Just checked the xps 1 and they have gone up in price quite abit this side of the water.
Okay thanks so what would you recommend for a phono amp if I went down that route?
 
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07bmullane

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Nope- they are just amplified speakers in a box with some sort of preamp for switching and dac. There are tons of ****** ones, but also some really decent ones for around your price point. You aren't going to get SOTA sound the way this board views it, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. Some are quite well designed. I got the Andrew Jones one he did for Pioneer with a wireless sub for less than $200 US a few years ago. My kid uses it now in her bedroom.
This is a newbie question but from a quick Google on using soundbars with turntables. It seems like most of them have phono input. Would this mean I wouldn't need a phono amp at all since it's integrated into the soundbar? That seemed to be what the guides were suggesting anyhow. Not that all of them have it but it was saying most do.

I know integrated phono amps aren't the best but as a temporary solution?
 

Godataloss

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I would say that's not correct. Most don't have a phono input. Hell most home integrateds don't have them anymore either.

What made you purchase the turntable before you had a way to use it anyway? Not criticizing, just curious. I'm a firm believer in collecting records.
 

DVDdoug

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You'll need some kind of volume control. The volume control on the back of active monitors isn't very convenient, especially if each speaker has its own control...

build up to an audiophile set up
Then why would you include analog vinyl? :p

I have seen those crap €20 phono amps online, but I doubt they sound any good. I'm thinking maybe €150 or less on a Phono Amp
€20 is probably "too cheap" but IMO the preamp is not too critical as long as you don't get "excessive" noise. All active electronics generate some noise, but preamps are "the worst" because you're dealing with small signals and lots of gain so it's tough to get a good signal-to-noise ratio.

Actually, the record itself is usually the worst source of noise. But the noise characteristics are different so you might hear hum or hiss from the preamp in addition to record noise.

The same goes for frequency response (which is actually RIAA equalization). The EQ/frequency balance on records varies a lot* and is usually worse than the preamp.

There is rarely audible distortion from the preamp but you can have distortion on the record and/or tracking distortion which can be a combination of a "difficult" recording and cartridge limitations.




* Modern records may be better and more consistent. I have only heard records from the vinyl days and most were mediocre.
 

DVDdoug

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This is a newbie question but from a quick Google on using soundbars with turntables. It seems like most of them have phono input.
Many turntables now have a built-in preamp but yours doesn't.

All USB turntables have built-in preamp because the analog-to-digital converter needs a line-level signal. Sometimes there are switchable RCA outputs so you can bypass the internal preamp and use your own. (The USB port is for digitizing, it's not really intended for everyday listening.)
 
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07bmullane

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I would say that's not correct. Most don't have a phono input. Hell most home integrateds don't have them anymore either.

What made you purchase the turntable before you had a way to use it anyway? Not criticizing, just curious. I'm a firm believer in collecting records.
No it's a fair question. It was going to sell out and after much research it was the one I was going to get. I had a more substantial budget planned. But something I didn't expect got in the way and now my budget it cut. I could just hold off and wait until I've saved up more and then buy what I need however especially around the Christmas period I want to be able to use it and I don't see the point in it just gathering dust for a few months for me to save. I really want a set up that will sound "passable" until I can get a proper set it. It doesn't have to sound audiophile. But I just don't want it to sound unbearable to listen to. I had a really crappy turntable that was only about €100 with integrated speakers and I stopped using it since it doesn't even have a weight on the tone arm and I don't want to damage my records. That turntable got me interested in collecting though and I already have about 100 records. If I can get a set up for now that would at least sound superior to the integrated speaker system I'd be happy. After that I can upgrade afterwards. The new turntable gives me the building blocks to upgrade as I i go.
 

DanielT

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I post this idea BUT if it works I do not know because I do not have the experience of that combination: Turntable, integrated amplifier with phono input and pre out, active speakers.

I hereby hand over to you who know more if it can be a solution.:)
 
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07bmullane

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You'll need some kind of volume control. The volume control on the back of active monitors isn't very convenient, especially if each speaker has its own control...

Then why would you include analog vinyl? :p

€20 is probably "too cheap" but IMO the preamp is not too critical as long as you don't get "excessive" noise. All active electronics generate some noise, but preamps are "the worst" because you're dealing with small signals and lots of gain so it's tough to get a good signal-to-noise ratio.

Actually, the record itself is usually the worst source of noise. But the noise characteristics are different so you might hear hum or hiss from the preamp in addition to record noise.

The same goes for frequency response (which is actually RIAA equalization). The EQ/frequency balance on records varies a lot* and is usually worse than the preamp.

There is rarely audible distortion from the preamp but you can have distortion on the record and/or tracking distortion which can be a combination of a "difficult" recording and cartridge limitations.




* Modern records may be better and more consistent. I have only heard records from the vinyl days and most were mediocre.
You clearly know your stuff but I presume you're a fan of digital formats like CDs? Vinyl has a warmer quality to its sound. Plus I find it's way more fun to collect as you get lovely art on the sleeve, usually a booklet with lyrics and sometimes other extras. CDs are much smaller and their boxes are tiny. Just a preference really. Also once I get a good audio set up there's nothing stopping me from also collecting some CDs, you know?
 
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07bmullane

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I post this idea BUT if it works I do not know because I do not have the experience of that combination: Turntable, integrated amplifier with phono input and pre out, active speakers.

I hereby hand over to you who know more if it can be a solution.:)
That's a fair configuration and something I've considered but like you I'm not too knowledgable on integrated receivers (I think that's the term) and would need advice on what to get. Plus I do not think I'd afford such a receiver AND speakers. But maybe it's possible. I mean this would probably be ideal if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks for your input!
 
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