Question TT / Cartridge Advice & Streaming Suggestions for Older System

NickWakes67

Novice Member
Hi I am new to this forum although I have been reading it for a short while to pick up advice from the very knowledgeable people that are on here. Forgive me if this post should be attached to a different / existing thread, but I was a little unsure of the best way to post so here is my situation (I have attached numerous photos to show the components of the subject system)...
For a number of years now i have simply relied on standard bluetooth music played mostly through small portable devices or when at home relaxing in my living room through my large Mission 'portable'! speaker also used for movies which provides a very capable music sound when compared to some other soundbars.
6 months ago my Father passed away & he was a very skilled craftsman with a big passion for wood so some years ago he made a matching pair of hi-fi & TV cabinets in very solid hardwood. Although somewhat dated in design by modern standards (he had a very classical taste in furniture & his music!) it is for obvious reasons that I wanted to keep & use them.
Housed in the hi-fi cabinet is his NEC P735E turntable connected through a Pro-Ject phone stage to a Marantz M-CR603 cd/tuner/amp (we gave away the old Mission bookcase speakers he had).
I remember when he got the NEC turntable new many years ago (I believe Nippon Electrical Co. Ltd may have been something to do with Panasonic?🤔). It is fully automatic & has quartz locking which I think was class-leading technology at that time!
The Marantz amp is about 10yrs old now & again I know it was an award winning system when released, but is a bit lacking in technology now. So I decided to make proper use of this system because like many other '50-somethings' reliving my youth I wanted to dust off the old record collection as well as listen to some of the many old classical vinyl I also inherited from Dad.
We have a medium sized snug/music room & I have set up the system in there with a pair of cheap, well looked after 2nd hand Wharfedale Evo 20's bi-wired with 2.5mm OFC cable.
As well as the DAB/FM tuner I have now managed to connect the M-CR603 to internet radio using an ethernet cable to a TP-Link wi-fi repeater & it works a treat. There are several things I wish to now consider ...
1. The amp is capable of connecting to a 'music server' via a network... would this work to my I-tunes library stored on my home PC?
2. Most of my listening has been done for a few years using Amazon Music (generally streamed from my Samsung mobile, Samsung tablet or Echo Dot) so I wish to make the M-CR603 bluetooth compatible...Instead of connecting a normal bluetooth receiver would I be better off going down the dedicated music streamer route that I have read a lot about recently & upgradingto Amazon HD? (bearing in mind the likelihood of upgrading the amp in future).
3. Is the turntable I have worth investing in a new/better cartridge?...the current one is an Audio Technica but I don't know any model reference so I don't know how good it is comparatively or how worn it is (though my Father was careful & didn't use the turntable much over the last 10 years...Does the current phono output of the turntable limit any upgrade anyway?
I have uploaded some images to assist with the above questions.
Thanks in anticipation of any advice.
Nick.
 

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NickWakes67

Novice Member
Apologies only 1 image seems to have uploaded so here are others...
 

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Apollo83

Active Member
Hi Nick,
I'm sorry for your loss.
Its wonderful to have the cabinets as a daily reminder of your dad and his skills.

3. The cartridge looks like an AT-71 which is low end but capable Audio Technica. It is probably a conical stylus but I believe that could be swapped out for an elliptical stylus (AT71E) fairly cheaply - a good refresh if you think the old stylus may be a little worn.
How much you spend on the Record player really should scale with how much you will listen to records. The NEC, AT and Project are fine for casual and enjoyable listening.
If you want more then there are plenty of upgrade options for a given budget.

2. Bluetooth has the advantage of being able to be connected to your phone or computer easily playing anything that your phone plays. However it consumes processing on your phone/computer and is usually worse sound quality than wi-fi.
Why are you considering Bluetooth given that you already have network streaming?
How are you playing your internet radio attached via ethernet?
How do you play your Amazon music (not currently played through your hi-fi)?
 

NickWakes67

Novice Member
Hi Nick,
I'm sorry for your loss.
Its wonderful to have the cabinets as a daily reminder of your dad and his skills.

3. The cartridge looks like an AT-71 which is low end but capable Audio Technica. It is probably a conical stylus but I believe that could be swapped out for an elliptical stylus (AT71E) fairly cheaply - a good refresh if you think the old stylus may be a little worn.
How much you spend on the Record player really should scale with how much you will listen to records. The NEC, AT and Project are fine for casual and enjoyable listening.
If you want more then there are plenty of upgrade options for a given budget.

2. Bluetooth has the advantage of being able to be connected to your phone or computer easily playing anything that your phone plays. However it consumes processing on your phone/computer and is usually worse sound quality than wi-fi.
Why are you considering Bluetooth given that you already have network streaming?
How are you playing your internet radio attached via ethernet?
How do you play your Amazon music (not currently played through your hi-fi)?
Thanks very much for the response Apollo83.
I will probably hang onto the NEC deck for a while to gauge how much vinyl playing my wife & I will do & I guess it is part of the nice reminder of my Dad, but I am a bit of a perfectionist & I don't want to compromise too much on sound quality if a reasonable outlay gets me a noticeable improvement. I appreciate the other components may limit what is worth upgrading & am acutely aware that the room devoted to this set up is far from ideal so whatever I do will be compromised, but in truth the only limit on budget is me being a Yorkshireman !😀
I am fortunate to be able to spend as much as I want, but I will only spend what I see as necessary to get a decent improvement in the sound.
Regards the streaming - I currently stream direct from Amazon music via bluetooth on my phone or tablet to either a portable speaker or to my Mission wireless speaker in the living room.
The Marantz receiver amp has the facility to be connected to a network via ethernet to play internet radio as well as 'stream' from a 'music server'. As it is in a different part of the house to my router & PC tower i have connected the M-CR603 via ethernet to a TP-link wifi repeater so it can access internet radio. However I am not sure how it can access a server (by server I am assuming it means something like I-tunes on my PC?!). I presume to stream music from my Amazon account I would need to connect a bluetooth receiver or streamer?... sorry for my lack of technical knowledge🙄
 

NickWakes67

Novice Member
The cartridge looks like an AT-71 which is low end but capable Audio Technica. It is probably a conical stylus but I believe that could be swapped out for an elliptical stylus (AT71E) fairly cheaply - a good refresh if you think the old stylus may be a little worn.
Thanks for this suggestion - I will consider it.
Would it make better sense though to spend a bit more for a complete cartridge upgrade?... & if so would it need to be AT or would a budget Rega etc be worth considering?
 

Apollo83

Active Member
Thanks for this suggestion - I will consider it.
Would it make better sense though to spend a bit more for a complete cartridge upgrade?... & if so would it need to be AT or would a budget Rega etc be worth considering?
Budget Rega = Carbon = rebadged AT95E :)
I think that would be a slight upgrade on your AT71 but not much more than just getting an elliptical stylus upgrade for what you have.

There are many options for a MM (moving magnet) upgrade for your current cartridge ranging from £40 up to (and over!) £300
However if it was me (or a canny Yorkshireman) I would settle down and listen to a few records on what you have.
Compare the sound to the same CD played through the same amp and speakers and ask yourself "Is it noticeably worse?".
If so report back here with what you heard (e.g. Less clarity, less bass, etc.) and we can offer some advice.
If not then consider your amp and speakers as the route to improved sonic bliss :)

If it all sounds great to you, then just sit back and enjoy the music...
 

NickWakes67

Novice Member
Budget Rega = Carbon = rebadged AT95E :)
I think that would be a slight upgrade on your AT71 but not much more than just getting an elliptical stylus upgrade for what you have.

There are many options for a MM (moving magnet) upgrade for your current cartridge ranging from £40 up to (and over!) £300
However if it was me (or a canny Yorkshireman) I would settle down and listen to a few records on what you have.
Compare the sound to the same CD played through the same amp and speakers and ask yourself "Is it noticeably worse?".
If so report back here with what you heard (e.g. Less clarity, less bass, etc.) and we can offer some advice.
If not then consider your amp and speakers as the route to improved sonic bliss :)

If it all sounds great to you, then just sit back and enjoy the music...
Thanks for that Apollo83 I will look into the stylus or cartridge upgrade initially.
Any suggestions for adding wireless streaming facility to the amp?
 

Apollo83

Active Member
Regards the streaming - I currently stream direct from Amazon music via bluetooth on my phone or tablet to either a portable speaker or to my Mission wireless speaker in the living room.
The Marantz receiver amp has the facility to be connected to a network via ethernet to play internet radio as well as 'stream' from a 'music server'. As it is in a different part of the house to my router & PC tower i have connected the M-CR603 via ethernet to a TP-link wifi repeater so it can access internet radio. However I am not sure how it can access a server (by server I am assuming it means something like I-tunes on my PC?!). I presume to stream music from my Amazon account I would need to connect a bluetooth receiver or streamer?... sorry for my lack of technical knowledge🙄


For streaming I use Spotify through a Chromecast Audio into my amp.
I can also aptx bluetooth Spotify through an Arcam miniBlink into my amp.
The Chromecast sounds a little better (maybe :) ) and doesn't tie up my phone with processing, so I rarely use the bluetooth.

For Amazon Music your equivalent is to use a similar aptx Bluetooth receiver (plenty to choose from) plugged into your amp or to use a network streamer that can handle Amazon.
I suspect a network streamer will always beat Bluetooth especially if you want to use Amazon Music HD.
I think the Echo Link is an example of such a streamer (that can be controlled by Alexa voice control).
However I don't use Amazon Music and have no experience of streamers that support it.
So I will defer a recommendation to the much more knowledgeable Amazon Music users on the forum.

Best of luck with it all Nick.
 

NickWakes67

Novice Member
For streaming I use Spotify through a Chromecast Audio into my amp.
I can also aptx bluetooth Spotify through an Arcam miniBlink into my amp.
The Chromecast sounds a little better (maybe :) ) and doesn't tie up my phone with processing, so I rarely use the bluetooth.

For Amazon Music your equivalent is to use a similar aptx Bluetooth receiver (plenty to choose from) plugged into your amp or to use a network streamer that can handle Amazon.
I suspect a network streamer will always beat Bluetooth especially if you want to use Amazon Music HD.
I think the Echo Link is an example of such a streamer (that can be controlled by Alexa voice control).
However I don't use Amazon Music and have no experience of streamers that support it.
So I will defer a recommendation to the much more knowledgeable Amazon Music users on the forum.

Best of luck with it all Nick.
👍👍...thanks again.
 

Apollo83

Active Member
One more suggestion Nick:
Try changing your title for this thread to something more specific, like:
"Cartridge upgrade and Amazon Streamer for an old system"
You might be more likely to get the right 'experts' taking a look :)
 

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