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Rawshack

Turntable upgrade

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I'm currently running a Pioneer P-514x with an audio technica AT-95VMEN cartridge

 

Running through a marantz PM6006 amp into Wharfedale Denton anniversary speakers

 

Love the sound of this system. Great midrange and warmth. I feel though that I can squeeze more out of the turntable. Question is, do I get a better cart, or upgrade the table entirely?

 

Thoughts?

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looking at the quality of the amp and speakers, definitly a better quality turntable, i would start at the Rega planar 3 level as a minimum, Clearaudio, Pro-Ject, and maybe a Garrot P77i or Ortofon Bronze are other brands to consider, other may have different brands they are familuar with and would recommend, good luck

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Linn always recommended to upgrade the t/t first.

 

Of course that may be because they made t/ts😃 (but they also made arms and cartridges and amps and speakers).

 

I think they were correct in saying that once the quality contained in the recording was lost, then nothing downstream could ever get it back.

 

Warnings—the upgrade path is never-ending and don't fix what's not broken.

 

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49 minutes ago, wen said:

looking at the quality of the amp and speakers, definitly a better quality turntable, i would start at the Rega planar 3 level as a minimum, Clearaudio, Pro-Ject, and maybe a Garrot P77i or Ortofon Bronze are other brands to consider, other may have different brands they are familuar with and would recommend, good luck

I have never gotten on well with Rega. 

 

I did look at the Pro-ject Debut Carbon with a ortofon blue cart.... 

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Are you using the phono amp in your amp or does your turntable have an inbuilt phono amp?

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Just now, McCvinyl said:

Are you using the phono amp in your amp or does your turntable have an inbuilt phono amp?

I'm using the phono stage in the marantz

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A standalone phono amp will give you a nice step up from an inbuilt one and then upgrade turntable if you feel you want more after that. If you do your turntable first you might not get the full effect as the Marantz phono would be a bottleneck.

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The underlying issues here are.

1. The OP likes and is enjoying the current system.

2. If notable changes are to be made, then both TT and cart need a significant upgrade, which could easily cost $2K plus, otherwise it may be a step half up and half sideways and an inexpensive ($300-500) phono stage may not be better than that in the Marantz.

If this were my own situation , I would live with the current system unless and until, I would be prepared and able to spend a minimum of $2K on a TT/cart purchase.

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4 minutes ago, rantan said:

The underlying issues here are.

1. The OP likes and is enjoying the current system.

2. If notable changes are to be made, then both TT and cart need a significant upgrade, which could easily cost $2K plus, otherwise it may be a step half up and half sideways and an inexpensive ($300-500) phono stage may not be better than that in the Marantz.

If this were my own situation , I would live with the current system unless and until, I would be prepared and able to spend a minimum of $2K on a TT/cart purchase.

That's a significant outlay... What would you be looking at for $2000? 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Rawshack said:

That's a significant outlay... What would you be looking at for $2000? 

It certainly is, but such is the price of a significant upgrade.

 

 

Edited by rantan

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3 hours ago, Rawshack said:

I'm currently running a Pioneer P-514x with an audio technica AT-95VMEN cartridge

 

Running through a marantz PM6006 amp into Wharfedale Denton anniversary speakers

 

Love the sound of this system. Great midrange and warmth. I feel though that I can squeeze more out of the turntable. Question is, do I get a better cart, or upgrade the table entirely?

 

Thoughts?

 

Did you mean AT- VM95EN cart?    If so, I would be tempted to get the ML stylus for it, and upgrade to a separate phono preamp.

 

The assumption behind that path is that the Pioneer table is running nicely and quietly,  and you are otherwise basically happy with it.

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If you upgrade your turntable, I would suggest getting the best turntable you can afford (or waiting until you can afford something better than you can afford at present).  A good quality turntable will be a long-term investment.  And it will have future upgrade options (eg. cart or even upgrade the arm) if in the future you want something even better. 

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11 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

If you upgrade your turntable, I would suggest getting the best turntable you can afford (or waiting until you can afford something better than you can afford at present).  A good quality turntable will be a long-term investment.  And it will have future upgrade options (eg. cart or even upgrade the arm) if in the future you want something even better. 

 

And with this in mind, what many say is a bad thing about a Linn Sondek LP12 - "all the parts that can be upgraded is just Linn wanting more maney" etc. means you can buy a 2nd hand (stock) LP12 (still a good performer) and then upgrade parts as you read and learn more about them and can afford them.  It really depends if you are interested in fettling / DIY upgrading a turntable.

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5 hours ago, Rawshack said:

Love the sound of this system. Great midrange and warmth. I feel though that I can squeeze more out of the turntable. Question is, do I get a better cart, or upgrade the table entirely?

I agree with @rantan that to get a significant upgrade will cost you a lot of money. The other options mentioned may cost you money and may be a sideways move or worse. If you want to try something for the least cost I would upgrade the cart and see how that goes.

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29 minutes ago, hiya said:

If you want to try something for the least cost I would upgrade the cart and see how that goes.

Definitely.

 

Something like a Garrot K3 or (maybe a P77i ) would work well for minimal outlay and could be retained for a future TT upgrade.

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I can tell you personal experience that the AT95 cartridge can perform extremely well and in my case I preferred it to a $2500 MC.

 

The upgrade path is a slippery slope, each component in the chain is important. So the result will only be as good as the weakest link.

 

IME the cartridge is the LAST thing to upgrade as most other components in the chain need to allow cartridge to perform optimally.

 

TT/ tonearm - Technics are a great performer especially if you can stretch to an SL1200, mk3's are still reasonably priced, or equivalent Denon Yamaha, Sony etc would be as good. These vintage TT's are extremely good and from experience will outperform Rega. My SP10 absolutely smashed my RP8 at half the cost.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Warren Jones said:

I can tell you personal experience that the AT95 cartridge can perform extremely well and in my case I preferred it to a $2500 MC.

 

 

I usually avoid comparing the AT95 or as it is now known the VM95 cart to expensive carts.  Too easy to get people's noses out of joint.   BUT, I have done a similar comparison, and I did like the $2000 cart better, but only just.  Nothing I heard made me even consider changing.

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Interesting article on a Pioneer PL-514 restoration/service

 

https://liquidaudio.com.au/pioneer-pl-514-turntable-service-2/

 

I agree re the musicality delivered by the AT95 cartridges and i have them on a number of vintage Japanese turntables from the 1970-80's i own (pioneer, onkyo, hitachi, yamaha & denon) as the price/quality value ratio is hard to beat. If the OP wants to experience a different sound with his system, trying a different cartridge is still the easiest option.

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18 hours ago, hiya said:

Interesting article on a Pioneer PL-514 restoration/service

 

https://liquidaudio.com.au/pioneer-pl-514-turntable-service-2/

 

I agree re the musicality delivered by the AT95 cartridges and i have them on a number of vintage Japanese turntables from the 1970-80's i own (pioneer, onkyo, hitachi, yamaha & denon) as the price/quality value ratio is hard to beat. If the OP wants to experience a different sound with his system, trying a different cartridge is still the easiest option.

The 514x is a fine turntable. Really solid and considering it's age, it's a stellar little table. The AT cart that's on there was a couple of hundred bucks and is nice enough, but it's not quite as good as something like the 2M blue

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On 25/05/2020 at 10:55 AM, Rawshack said:

I have never gotten on well with Rega. 

 

I did look at the Pro-ject Debut Carbon with a ortofon blue cart.... 

A Planar 3 would blow that away.

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On 25/05/2020 at 9:44 AM, Rawshack said:

I'm currently running a Pioneer P-514x with an audio technica AT-95VMEN cartridge

 

Running through a marantz PM6006 amp into Wharfedale Denton anniversary speakers

 

Love the sound of this system. Great midrange and warmth. I feel though that I can squeeze more out of the turntable. Question is, do I get a better cart, or upgrade the table entirely?

 

Thoughts?

If you like brand matching then keep an eye out for a Marantz TT-15S1 turntable in the classifieds. Great bang for buck new and obviously even better 2nd hand. I bought 1 of these as an upgrade from a Project Xperience SB and feel it was money well spent.

 

If wanting to try out a different cart I have a couple of quite affordable carts I could let go cheap. Ortofon 2M Grey is unused and a AT440MLb

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1 hour ago, Rawshack said:

The 514x is a fine turntable. Really solid and considering it's age, it's a stellar little table. The AT cart that's on there was a couple of hundred bucks and is nice enough, but it's not quite as good as something like the 2M blue

I agree.

Given that major  improvements are costly a cart change is easy and convenient.

 

If you buy a mid range Cart like the Garrott K3 or a Shelter 201 or an Ortofon 2M Bronze, you will hear an improvement now and if you decide to upgrade the TT later on, these carts can be transferred over and will work well with a better TT and tonearm.

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Posted (edited)
On 25/05/2020 at 2:58 PM, tesla13BMW said:

 

And with this in mind, what many say is a bad thing about a Linn Sondek LP12 - "all the parts that can be upgraded is just Linn wanting more maney" etc. means you can buy a 2nd hand (stock) LP12 (still a good performer) and then upgrade parts as you read and learn more about them and can afford them.  It really depends if you are interested in fettling / DIY upgrading a turntable.

Some of the Ariston tables are fantastic value and a number of the Linn mods work on them. Possibly the best sounding table I ever owned was an Ariston RD110 SL with Fidelity Research FR-24 Mk2 tonearm mounted.

 

Font International can be good value too. Easily the best value table with amazing performance I've purchased though is the Victor QL-Y5. I'll need to get it recapped though it is incredibly transparent revealing and will get the best from almost any cart.

Edited by MattyW

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I've decided that I think the table is good enough for an upgrade, and should it not be, I'll update the table sans cart

 

Any opinions on the 2M Bronze or Sumiko Moonstone?

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