Audio quality per source components' cost comparison

sbo6

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#41
I have been focusing on R2R tape for the last few years. Just about all of the pro level tape machines are used, so you need to have either great DIY skills or a really good tech. You can get the best level R2R sound for the same or less money than the high end DAC and TT. However, the real cost is in the tapes, not the playback. Lots of great stuff out there, both commercial and beyond. But unless you are comparing to rare collectable vinyl, it is the tape cost. But IMHO nothing is better than tape for music from the analogue era.

Larry
This is partially where I was leaning hence the reason to include R2R. If I wanted the best sound source my ears told me R2R was the way to go. I'm not sure how much you need to spend to get the upper echelon of sound - Studer? or would a Technics RS1700 do with a high quality head preamp?
 

sbo6

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#42
Also, IME I've heard quite a few 5 and 6 figure systems that had both vinyl and digital sources that sounded superb. I agree with Mike that (paraphrasing here) if you pursue neutrality in your system then the source unless significantly biased to analytical or overly warm will follow and will sound excellent. The good thing is there are enough variables in either source type that enable you to tailor to the sound of your liking should you stray from neutral.
 

Kingrex

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#43
IMO with a little bit of DIY you can spend circa $1k in vinyl that can’t be touched at any price digitally. The cost goes up some for having decent vinyl that isn’t really beat up and is clean - especially compared to Tidal or whatever. The hard part is having the knowledge to make the vinyl good.
Totally disagree. I lived it. Unless you consider a Rega RP6 and Allnic phono stage to be garbage. FWIW, My Rega was quite a bit better than the Uturn that was hear. My Allnic stomps on the Rega FONO preamp that keeps the Uturn setup at about $1400. Inexpensive vinyl sounds as such. It just can't do what expensive vinyl does correct. If it did, we would not have so many $10k plus TT.
 

sbo6

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#44
I agree with your disagreement Kingrex. :) I was also there a handful of years ago when I bought a ClearAudio Concept TT, Phonomena phono preamp and Clearaudio Maestro cartridge. It was competitive with my, at the time Bel Canto DAC but once I jumped to an Esoteric K-03 there simply was not contest. I got tired of getting up and down for so - so sounding vinyl. And the Aqua Formula handily trounced the Esoteric. With local a'philes and higher - end systems I've heard only a few where I liked their vinyl better than their digital and their analog setup was far more expensive than their digital. One has a six figure Caliburn Continuum setup vs. a DCS Scarlatti setup and another with a six figure Dobbins setup versus TotalDAC 12. And with the TotalDAC system the digital was damn good. Maybe tape is the way to go for ultimate sound per $? :)
 
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Folsom

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#45
Totally disagree. I lived it. Unless you consider a Rega RP6 and Allnic phono stage to be garbage. FWIW, My Rega was quite a bit better than the Uturn that was hear. My Allnic stomps on the Rega FONO preamp that keeps the Uturn setup at about $1400. Inexpensive vinyl sounds as such. It just can't do what expensive vinyl does correct. If it did, we would not have so many $10k plus TT.
I would most definitely call that garbage. Rega anything is fine for someone that just doesn't care at all, like a non-audiophile. There's no iteration of Rega/Pro-ject/MH that's worth using at their price point. The tiniest effort with several good vintage turntables will leave you entertained like you did spend tens of thousands. Granted there are tables that are exceptional in higher price points to, that stand out.

To be fair I don't know the Allnic phono, but a Salas simplistic Jfet phono would certainly fit quickly into very high end.
 
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Kingrex

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#46
I would most definitely call that garbage. Rega anything is fine for someone that just doesn't care at all, like a non-audiophile. There's no iteration of Rega/Pro-ject/MH that's worth using at their price point. The tiniest effort with several good vintage turntables will leave you entertained like you did spend tens of thousands. Granted there are tables that are exceptional in higher price points to, that stand out.

To be fair I don't know the Allnic phono, but a Salas simplistic Jfet phono would certainly fit quickly into very high end.
I just dont think you can get a TT, arm, cartridge, phono preamp and cables for $1k that perform all that well. $5k to $7k and now were crossing the threshold. If carefully sourced and rebuilt/tuned by a pro familiar with the brand. I don't see an old Gerrard or SP12 working to an optimum level without TLC from a knowing tech with tools to measure and bring back to optimum.
I see $3500 table, $950 cartridge, $350 cables, $2400 phono preamp. All used which introduces its own set of issues.
 
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Solypsa

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#47
If I was to imagine a $1k tt front end worth listening to it would be:

Lenco L70 at a garage sale, in great shape, and they don't know what it is:
$50 plus considerable time to find.

Plinth diy'd from free leftovers of a kitchen remodel:
$75 plus considerable time

used ptp: hard to find..
maybe $100?

Tonearm- this is hard since good vintage arms trade well as they are easy to ship. If a deal cant be found on say a MS MA505, better Grace or similar maybe that Karmadon Ukraine Grey tribute?
$400

Cart- Maybe a nos decent MM ?
$400

Hit a grand and still no phono...but it shows if you have lots of hours to donate and a little skill something half decent can be had.

Still wont beat the good stuff...
...
 

sbo6

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#48
If I was to imagine a $1k tt front end worth listening to it would be:

Lenco L70 at a garage sale, in great shape, and they don't know what it is:
$50 plus considerable time to find.

Plinth diy'd from free leftovers of a kitchen remodel:
$75 plus considerable time

used ptp: hard to find..
maybe $100?

Tonearm- this is hard since good vintage arms trade well as they are easy to ship. If a deal cant be found on say a MS MA505, better Grace or similar maybe that Karmadon Ukraine Grey tribute?
$400

Cart- Maybe a nos decent MM ?
$400

Hit a grand and still no phono...but it shows if you have lots of hours to donate and a little skill something half decent can be had.

Still wont beat the good stuff...
...
You're scraping the barrel and requiring DIY, that's not apples to apples IMO. MSRP - $1K digital destroys $1K analog. What can you buy new for $1K analog? Now, $15K or more like $20K MSRP, now it's a competition. :)
 
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Folsom

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#49
I don’t see the point to rule out DIY. If you can’t afford, build. Learning is somewhat inexpensive. And realistically with tight budgets it’s your only hope.
 

Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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#50
I don’t see the point to rule out DIY. If you can’t afford, build. Learning is somewhat inexpensive. And realistically with tight budgets it’s your only hope.
For all intents my Rega Rp6 was home made. It started as a Rega RP6. Then it got a Groove tracer Delrin subplatter and platter. Then it got the weights and so on. Then it had the motor remote mounted (hugh gain). Then all the parts were removed and it got a custom plinth from Acrylic, then Acrylic and Delrin bonded together. Then it got a Vertere SG1 arm. And still it sounded like crap when compared to the STST in my system. It was only when the STST Motus went in that my vinyl surpassed my digital. Until then my digital had the edge in most all way. It was just more musical. More natural. More tangible and real. Digital is darn good today if you get the right stuff, and set it up well.

That may be a different type of DIY than you are talking about. If your thinking your getting a burned out Sp12 and going to home job it and make it sing. I just don't see it. Not unless you have serious skills, tools and purchase new parts such as caps, bearings, wires etc. I was quoted something like $1200 to $2400 to have a SP12 rebuilt proper. On top of the purchase price of the base unit.
 

Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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#51
If I was to imagine a $1k tt front end worth listening to it would be:

Lenco L70 at a garage sale, in great shape, and they don't know what it is:
$50 plus considerable time to find.

Plinth diy'd from free leftovers of a kitchen remodel:
$75 plus considerable time

used ptp: hard to find..
maybe $100?

Tonearm- this is hard since good vintage arms trade well as they are easy to ship. If a deal cant be found on say a MS MA505, better Grace or similar maybe that Karmadon Ukraine Grey tribute?
$400

Cart- Maybe a nos decent MM ?
$400

Hit a grand and still no phono...but it shows if you have lots of hours to donate and a little skill something half decent can be had.

Still wont beat the good stuff...
...
I agree but it is so unlikely to find a prized TT that Ethel is letting go for nothing after Herbert died. It does happen.

But I one time bitched about fairly well to do Audiophile bragging about taking advantage of Ethel after Herbert died and giving her nothing for his cherished album collection that could be worth $40K to $60K. Skipping home all happy you got it for $500. That type of predatory purchasing is wrong in my mind. I would rather stop the old lady from making the mistake and offer to help her unload it for some amount of fair gain for my time. NO Eric, I am not picking on you and saying your that type of person. What is unfortunate is that I feel way to many people on these forums would sleep like a baby after making a score as such. It would never cross their minds they screwed another person who probably needed the money to just keep their house and survive.
 
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Folsom

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#52
I just dont think you can get a TT, arm, cartridge, phono preamp and cables for $1k that perform all that well. $5k to $7k and now were crossing the threshold. If carefully sourced and rebuilt/tuned by a pro familiar with the brand. I don't see an old Gerrard or SP12 working to an optimum level without TLC from a knowing tech with tools to measure and bring back to optimum.
I see $3500 table, $950 cartridge, $350 cables, $2400 phono preamp. All used which introduces its own set of issues.
You can think all you want. I can recommend actual things. I certainly wouldn't try to put a Gerrard into that affordability range.
 

Solypsa

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#53
I was only illustrating that it is possible to do a decent budget tt but that it takes research, quite a lot of time, and effort. Not scraping the barrel its just the reality. Of course I believe in better tables. I even sell one ;)
 
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Solypsa

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#54
I agree but it is so unlikely to find a prized TT that Ethel is letting go for nothing after Herbert died. It does happen.

But I one time bitched about fairly well to do Audiophile bragging about taking advantage of Ethel after Herbert died and giving her nothing for his cherished album collection that could be worth $40K to $60K. Skipping home all happy you got it for $500. That type of predatory purchasing is wrong in my mind. I would rather stop the old lady from making the mistake and offer to help her unload it for some amount of fair gain for my time. NO Eric, I am not picking on you and saying your that type of person. What is unfortunate is that I feel way to many people on these forums would sleep like a baby after making a score as such. It would never cross their minds they screwed another person who probably needed the money to just keep their house and survive.
No offense taken, I see myself as pretty fair.

( the Lenco isnt worth more than a few hundred in any case. Now if I had said Technics SP10MK3 for $50 that would be another thing ;) )
 

Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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#55
You can think all you want. I can recommend actual things. I certainly wouldn't try to put a Gerrard into that affordability range.
Ok, I will bite, what do you see as a $1k soup to nuts vinyl setup you consider having extreme performance. How much good fortune and or work will it take to make work.
 

Folsom

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#56
Ok well you can usually pick up a JVC QL 5/7 on eBay for $300-500 (there are some currently on there)

Turntable $300-500
Cork piece to put on top of the rubber mat $8-12
Sumiko Pearl with shim mod and a tiny piece of clay in the stylus gap $120
Non-hardening clay 4.5lbs $25
Screws $5
Belden 8402 IC's $80~ eBay (only necessary if we need a phono preamp to preamp IC for this to be complete list)
That leaves $263-463~ to build a Salas phono preamp. ($60 for PCB, $64 mini kit, $10 matched transistors, $8 PRP resistors, $30 PSU boards, C7 $24, $100 enclosure, $50 for chassis stuff)

$838-1088 depending on a little this and that, price of TT.

You put screws into the bottom side of the TT and pack it with clay to add some mass. This setup will blow away most people if setup well. (knowing how to setup a cart, and knowing when to add a little extra overhang for example, like necessary on some cart/arm combos)

If you want to upgrade later a new plinth for the TT is a nice idea. Some people prefer this TT over ones they've had for huge sums of money, once it's in a heavy plinth. I think it's better if you plug it into a little bit of a filter and change the power cable ($100).
 

Solypsa

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#57
Based on my experience with the tt81 I believe you.

Based on my experience with the tt81 I hope the pcb / electrical construction quality is a bit better ;)
 

Folsom

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#58
Based on my experience with the tt81 I believe you.

Based on my experience with the tt81 I hope the pcb / electrical construction quality is a bit better ;)
A recap might be necessary on any of them. Luckily with shipping maybe $35. If for some reason they went out of spec an O-scope can fix that in a couple minutes.

One might argue a Thorens is more bullet proof for use but sound comparable? Hmm.
 
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#59
I don’t see the point to rule out DIY. If you can’t afford, build. Learning is somewhat inexpensive. And realistically with tight budgets it’s your only hope.
OK, we can also apply DIY to digital - you can get great kits to assemble at less than $1k, fit a few exotic components costing about the same, some silver wire and you immediately have a DAC that "kills" all the competition. :)

DIY products are unique, listened mainly by their creators/builders, and can not be compared with commonly available products. But I really appreciate diyaudio.com and lencoheaven.com and I think that audio DIY is a great hobby - I have considered going this way several times in the last years, as I have built a lot of equipment in my twenties, but lack of free time kept me away of it.
 
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Lagonda

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#60
OK, we can also apply DIY to digital - you can get great kits to assemble at less than $1k, fit a few exotic components costing about the same, some silver wire and you immediately have a DAC that "kills" all the competition. :)

DIY products are unique, listened mainly by their creators/builders, and can not be compared with commonly available products. But I really appreciate diyaudio.com and lencoheaven.com and I think that audio DIY is a great hobby - I have considered going this way several times in the last years, as I have built a lot of equipment in my twenties, but lack of free time kept me away of it.
And your love of owning and trying all that exotic and expensive equipment Francisco ;)
 

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