Helpful info for newbies to vinyl


Active Member
We all know it takes time and money to build an analog system and starting out can be daunting. Thought I'd share my Youtube video here just to open up the discussion to those looking for advice. I simply recorded my system for a couple of minutes.

Keeping in mind the advice is for budget/entry level

I want to show the progression of my setup and explain how to achieve sonic improvements once you are happy operating your turntable. Firstly, to cover the basics...

Choosing a turntable well regarded by audio and hi fi hobbyists is the smartest way to get started with vinyl. Basic indicators of quality are 1 - build quality (heavy) and 2 - "features" Typically a turntable should at least feature adjustable tracking force (for balancing the arm) and ability to replace the cartridge. In other words, avoid very lightweight turntables and avoid fixed tonearms without moveable parts. If you are unsure about balancing a tonearm and setting tracking force, there are tutorials available on YouTube for almost all new turntables. Further help, including how to replace a cartridge or stylus is available from YouTube and AV Forums.

Buying used from charity shops, Ebay or a friend is cost effective however collect as much information as possible about the unit before buying. It's working order, brand and model number and anything else (perhaps it needs a belt replacement?) Take pictures and gather opinions online before making a decision. When buying new, look at the options within your set budget taking into account the total cost including amplifier and speakers. Read reviews online. Are there any known issues with the turntable? Is it often included in "best on a budget" lists made by reputable hifi sites? Does it display the basic indicators 1 and 2 for an entry level turntable? (Build quality and features)

It is very important to keep a turntable on a level surface. I have a sideboard but any flat surface is fine. I checked mine with a spirit level (I've personally seen styli bent and broken off due to people leaving their turntables on uneven surfaces!) Let's assume you already have a turntable you're happy with but you know there's room for improvement. This could mean anything from a cartridge/stylus upgrade to a higher grade slip mat to a new pre amp. There is a wealth of knowledge on AK and AV Forums to benefit from when considering upgrades. This is how I arrived at buying a vintage amplifier, the NAD 3020 after starting a thread. It's a long renowned high performer in the budget range for under £100. Watchers of my original video may notice the significant improvement this upgrade has offered over my previous entry level cambridge. However note there is always potential risk in buying vintage and units may need serviced for restoring to original performance. The NAD features a quality built in phone stage eliminating the need to add a pre amp.

Fow now my set up looks like this;

Pro Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable
Goldring 2200 Cartridge
NAD 3020i amplifier
Mission 732 speakers

Vinyl Eyezz is an excellent YouTube channel and will very likely cover any questions you have about buying and setting up your equipment.

Other things I would like to explore are speaker selection and recording vinyl to digital (in case the laptop in the video made anyone curious) Please send me your thoughts and questions.

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