Newbie

simonBURROWS

Novice Member
Bit excited so want to get it right, I had a freebie Sonos play 1. from virgin media about 5 years ago and I thought oh, that sounds nice. I have been playing various genres on it ever since and have become interested in listening. I mean really listening, I've not really listened to music before, it's just been on so to speak. Anyway i've just splashed out on a Sonos five, chuffin Nora I didn't know that was possible. I have paired it with my play 1 and whilst I know it's not true stereo it is filling my room and head with a beautiful sonorous experience.
I have signed up to Apple Music and am currently streaming various genres, tonight I am listening to Apple Music Classical in spacial audio Dolby Atmos and the sound is idilic. Last night I tried Apple Music playlist " Audiophile tracks, Cambridge Audio" streamed at 24 bit lossless ALAC. I have been researching the best albums to play to get the richest sound out of my system, and I have found that the quality of sound varies a lot. I have also found that the best sound is coming from the Apple spatial audio soundtracks.
I have recently started thinking about buying a turntable and getting some vinyl, what made me think about this was the fact that my Sonos five has an audio socket that will allow me to connect a turntable. I do like researching this subject and have almost come to the decision to buy a Fluance RT 82 with a Schiit Mani preamp playing through the Sonos Five grouped with a pair of Sonos Play 1. So with that in mind the question to you experienced people is........am I going to gain anything in "Quality of Sound" through buying the turntable and hooking it up to my system?
I truly like the idea of taking a tactile object (vinyl) out of it's sleeve and enjoying the cover artwork and placing it on the turntable to play the music, BUT am I going to be disappointed at quality of music compared to the beautiful rich sound that I am currently getting through streaming, Saturday night I listened to Danny Boy (Arr. Bateman for Solo Violin, Harp and String Orchestra) Daniel Hope, Marie-Pierre Langlamet & Zürcher Kammerorchester on Apple spacial audio and it almost, no it did bring me to tears, I haven't heard it like that before. Is the answer to this question going to be "it depends on the quality of the vinyl or the pressing? if I am going down that route then how do I discover the best vinyl albums to play?, is this a minefield? should I just stick with my current streaming system or is Arcadia around the corner?
Hope someone can advise.

Many thanks,

Simon
 

Ascotbilly

Active Member
Hi Simon - You’ve made a few references to classical music, they may be difficult/ expensive to source on vinyl.

I bought a TT a few years back. Had 50+ LP’s from years back and have bought 60-70 more. The “collector” in me likes the physical product but tbh I can’t hear (or my kits not accurate enough) that “vinyl” sound and I’m not sure the kit you have selected will either.

The pecimist in me says stick with the streaming you have and maybe in future look to upgrade the Sonos.

Good Hunting…
 

phil t

Well-known Member
Hope someone can advise.

Many thanks,

Simon
Hello Simon,

Our hobby is very much about our personal preferences and you have to be guided by that.

As the poster above, if you don't already have a vast collection of vinyl, it could be very costly to go down that route. Last time i looked, a new vinyl was more expensive than a studio quality FLAC file.

Certainly streaming is a quick and easy way to find and listen to new music.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Perhaps the best way to listen to classical music is on SACD, either multi channel via an AV amp and UD player or a good stereo SACD player. SACD discs are well represented and can often be sourced for around the £10 mark. I would say that multi channel SACD is the ultimate for listening to the classics.

Just thought I'd tip my hat into the ring. ;)
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Hi,

@Ascotbilly has made some useful points for you to consider. My own experience is this: I grew up with vinyl as a child (my dad was a bit of an audiophile), but from the early 90s onward he (and I) ditched vinyl and went to CD. I added digital downloads and streaming as they arrived on the scene. I started becoming frustrated with the poor sound of some remastered CDs and digital files, as well as many new releases in the 90s and beyond, and decided to get a turntable so that I could buy the vinyl copies that had not been subject to "the loudness wars". For example, a song I enjoy "Gamesofluck" by the Parcels has a dynamic range of about 6 when downloaded as "hi res" 24/96 FLAC via Qobuz. Its compressed so much, it sounds awful. May as well have played it on Youtube or saved a few pennies and bought it on MP3. So, I then bought a vinyl copy from Germany, recorded it to FLAC, measured it with the same tool, and it has a dynamic range around 11. It sounds so much better subjectively too, with better clarity, instrument separation, dynamics, and so on. This isn't always the case, as I have bought vinyl copies that sound worse than the CD, despite the loudness of the CD mastering. Its a gamble, one that has sadly cost me a bit of money from time to time.

So, I use my turntable mostly for this purpose: to have the ability to play vinyl records if these are the best sounding copies I can get.

The issue you may have is that if you listen to mostly classical music, the "loudness wars" doesn't really affect those kinds of recordings. A well recorded, well mastered classical music CD or digital file usually sounds better to me than a vinyl copy.

What I'm trying to say is, if you have money to spare, and fancy the hobby, get a turntable. If you like certain types of music but can only find brick-walled, compressed non-sense CDs or downloads of these songs, but there are great pressings on vinyl and this is something you are after, then get a turntable. If neither apply to you, then my advice would be to leave it. Turntables can be a chore...but they can also be very rewarding. It depends what you are after.
 

Ascotbilly

Active Member
@FootHealer - I’ve 5-6 Vinyls from album releases released mid to late 00’s when very few of any albums were on vinyl.

All sound much quieter than the CD I bought at time of release. Not saying it is bad but lends me to think that the vinyl has been copied from the CD in which case I may have paid 4-5 times the CD price for the “exact” item. Even the collector in me struggles with this.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
@FootHealer - I’ve 5-6 Vinyls from album releases released mid to late 00’s when very few of any albums were on vinyl.

All sound much quieter than the CD I bought at time of release. Not saying it is bad but lends me to think that the vinyl has been copied from the CD in which case I may have paid 4-5 times the CD price for the “exact” item. Even the collector in me struggles with this.
@Ascottbilly...I agree. I have had the same experience. I bought a copy of Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Dirt and the Stars" both on CD and vinyl. Frankly, the vinyl copy is worse than the CD. I swear they literally took the same master file, snipped the top end and the bottom end off the dynamic range to make it fit the vinyl's limitations in this area, and sent it to the pressers. Followed by a cheap, bad pressing, and it sounds muffled, flat, rubbish. But its on pretty, clear 180g vinyl, so it looks the part, right? The CD is still "badly mastered" (in my opinion), with plenty of clipping and "loudness" added to make it better for listening on a mobile phone or a bluetooth speaker or something like that, but way better than the vinyl in terms of clarity and dynamics. I have several other examples of this, but an equal number of cases that are directly opposite. Its a lottery. An expensive one. In many cases, I may as well have stuck with the CD, as I often own both.
 

Ascotbilly

Active Member
@FootHealer - Good to know it’s not just me, we’ve gone off tangent to the OP’s original question but we have perhaps highlighted some of the potential negatives of owning a TT.

I’ve been building up a slush fund for an RP3 + Exact Cart but this is making me rethink and perhaps I’m better upgrading elsewhere?

I feel a new thread coming, watch this space 🤦🏻
 
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FootHealer

Active Member
@FootHealer - Good to know it’s not just me, we’ve gone off tangent to the OP’s original question but we have perhaps highlighted some of the potential negatives of owning a TT.

I’ve been building up a slush fund for an RP3 + Exact Cart but this is making me rethink and perhaps I’m better upgrading elsewhere.

I feel a new thread coming, watch this space 🤦🏻
I don't think we've gone too far off the original question. For some, owning a turntable is a mixed bag. I enjoy my setup, but it isn't, at least to me, the "audiophile's holy grail" that a lot of online audio pundits describe it as. I still listen mostly to CDs. If the OP likes mostly classical, I would probably stick with CDs and downloads myself. Our little discussion has highlighted some potential issues. I hope the OP finds it helpful.

Yes, getting into vinyl is fraut with expense and disappointment (at least for me). You can buy 10 used CDs for the price of 1 record. And that record might not even sound as good as the CD, it may even sound awful. It is a minefield indeed...but every now and then, I put a record on, and it just hits the spot, and its beautiful in a way streaming or CDs never got close to.
 
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simonBURROWS

Novice Member
Thank you all very much for giving me some insight of your experiences, I posted the same question to the forum on "What HIFI" and the general consensus was don't bother with the vinyl if you are happy with the current system. I was really disappointed with this response as I had almost made up my mind to go down the vinyl route and was looking forward to getting all set up. I think FootHealer summed it up for me
It is a minefield indeed...but every now and then, I put a record on, and it just hits the spot, and its beautiful in a way streaming or CDs never got close to.

I don't predominantly listen to classical but enjoy a variety of genres but what I do enjoy is the sound quality that the 24bit lossless ALAC system I am currently using gives, and I just don't want to be disappointed. Seems the jury is still out.
 
D

Deleted member 824153

Guest
I’m going to offer a different perspective, based solely on my experience. I was a latecomer to vinyl, being predominantly a cd listener. I love listening to vinyl: the physical process, the artwork, the collection and the sound. I take the point about the price of vinyl, but you can pick up anything used and in mint/near mint condition if eBay, Discogs etc. It’s a different medium which gives me pleasure, so it stays alongside my streamer. Streaming is a great way to access enormous amounts of new music but sometimes only vinyl will do. But that’s just me. There are plenty of very good entry turntables to explore.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Thank you all very much for giving me some insight of your experiences, I posted the same question to the forum on "What HIFI" and the general consensus was don't bother with the vinyl if you are happy with the current system. I was really disappointed with this response as I had almost made up my mind to go down the vinyl route and was looking forward to getting all set up. I think FootHealer summed it up for me


I don't predominantly listen to classical but enjoy a variety of genres but what I do enjoy is the sound quality that the 24bit lossless ALAC system I am currently using gives, and I just don't want to be disappointed. Seems the jury is still out.
I wouldn't say "don't bother with vinyl", in the same way a person who loves live music won't say, don't bother with HiFi. The sound of vinyl, the touch, feel, even smell of vinyl is an experience in itself. There is a certain joy in finding an old record in a charity shop, taking it home, and finding out its pretty darn good! It can sometimes be disappointing, but then such is life. Vinyl has its own sound, a bit different to digital formats like CD or ALAC. But I can enjoy them all for their own sound. If digital music formats are like a high definition 4K TV, then vinyl is your reel-to-reel projector. There is something warm and comforting about playing old movies on a projector, watching them flicker away. Sure, its not a razor sharp image, but sometimes it nice to see things in a different light. Music, like movies, is first and foremost, at least for me, an emotional experience.

If you have your heart set on picking a nice entry level turntable, then don't let anyone put you off. Go for it!

My advice would be not to compare it to 24bit digital files. Some days I enjoy chocolate, some days I enjoy vanilla. But they're both ice cream. Sometimes I combine it with cake, sometimes I drop it in a glass of fizzy drink. Mix it up and just enjoy the music. Play, and have fun. That's my approach. HiFi can sometimes get too serious for its own good with all this talk of "what is better". What is best is what you enjoy. Let the music take you :)
 
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Ascotbilly

Active Member
@simonBURROWS - Loved my Sonos 3, only got rid of it as I wanted a TT and it didn't have connections. If it had I reckon I'd be happily listening to records via the Sonos and never set sight of this place :D:D

What you may find though is when compared to your digital source the Sonos and TT doesn't cut it, so you then buy a separate Amp Speakers, Separate Phono Stage, cables...and then you've contracted upgraditis 🤬
 

simonBURROWS

Novice Member
Update:
Well I went ahead and did it, I bought the Fluance RT84 coupled with a Cambridge Audio Alva Solo Moving Magnet Phono Preamplifier hooked up to a Sonos five paired with a Sonos Play 1 (another coming tomorrow). I have been comparing sound quality with Apple streaming at 24 bit lossless ALAC and........the turntable is my choice, I take the vinyl from the sleeve and clean it, I then clean the stylus, I place the record on the plater and slowly and carefully move the arm to the beginning of the record, I move the lever and it gently to it's own accord it lowers itself to the groove and plays. I have the tactile cover artwork and removable insert (Daft Punk, Random Access Memories) to handle and read. The whole experience of playing and listening to vinyl for me has beaten the wonderful experience of streaming. Yes cost has to be considered but this experience is something I did in the seventies with a cheap record player and the process for me is both nostalgic and also it gives me a sense of achievement because I can now afford to do something I couldn't in the seventies. The beauty of streaming though, is it means I can play as many albums as I want before I go ahead and invest in the vinyl. Maybe this is a familiar story and could depend on personality types but I still have my Nikon slr 35mm Film camera from 1981 and am still using it so I guess I'm in to the audiophile scene for the long haul.
 

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FootHealer

Active Member
That's great :) I am glad you are enjoying the vinyl experience again. I had a similar experience to you, in that I used my Dad's turntable during my childhood in the 80s, but was unable to own one myself until a few years ago. I have fond, nostalgic memories of playing vinyl records. To me, it is a special experience, and one that actually helped my sense of wellbeing and connection to my family and my own past. Enjoy the music...and the rest it brings :)
 
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andycc72

Active Member
I don't think we've gone too far off the original question. For some, owning a turntable is a mixed bag. I enjoy my setup, but it isn't, at least to me, the "audiophile's holy grail" that a lot of online audio pundits describe it as
That's my experience to. I definitely prefer some stuff on Vinyl and having grown up with it, like the whole experience. It's frustrating at times, time consuming and expensive but I like having it in my 'arsenal' so to speak and enjoy collecting the records.

On the rare occasion I get some peace in my house I like to have a few drinks and get the records on, streaming doesn't offer me the same sense of ceremony and nostalgia in that circumstance that a middle aged git like me enjoys.

A lot of stuff (in my set up) sounds better streamed and it's a lot more convenient.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
That's my experience to. I definitely prefer some stuff on Vinyl and having grown up with it, like the whole experience. It's frustrating at times, time consuming and expensive but I like having it in my 'arsenal' so to speak and enjoy collecting the records.

On the rare occasion I get some peace in my house I like to have a few drinks and get the records on, streaming doesn't offer me the same sense of ceremony and nostalgia in that circumstance that a middle aged git like me enjoys.

A lot of stuff (in my set up) sounds better streamed and it's a lot more convenient.
Cheers!... and a toast to all us "middle-aged gits".
 

Ascotbilly

Active Member
No mither, peace and quiet, beer in hand, LP on, Priceless !!!!
 

andycc72

Active Member
No mither, peace and quiet, beer in hand, LP on, Priceless !!!!
Definitely and a rare occurrence in this house.

I was going to covert my garage to man cave/listening Room but we’re now moving instead but the house we’re hoping to buy has a superb man cave just waiting for me to move the stereo in to; so if all goes to plan I should have the long dreamed of bolt hole … I just need someone to buy my house rather sharpish.
 

Ascotbilly

Active Member
@simonBURROWS
Update to your update - how’s the vinyl listening, how much have you spent on the last couple of weeks then 🤣🤣
 

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