Monday, November 21, 2011

Diary of a newcomer to the dark side

Day 1

Toying with the idea of buying a new turntable to complement my existing one (Bluenote Piccolo / Rega RB300 / Ortofon MC15II). The present turntable sits in my bedroom system and it would be nice to be able to spin my records in my main setup. The present setup is decent but not awe inspiring.

A frantic search on the internet ensues. A list of suspects is formed, Rega, Pro-ject, etc.

Day 4

A visit to the Pro-ject dealer, House of Turntables is made during lunch. The friendly duo at the House of Turntables  let me listen to the Pro-ject RPM 5.1 with Denon DL-160, as well as the Pro-ject 2 xperience Acryl with the Sumiko Blackbird. Both setups are mindblowing and definitely better than my Bluenote (I believe the MC15II is on its last legs). Payment is made for the 2 xperience as well as the Pro-ject Phono Box SE II and Speed Box II, and following that, is 5 excruciating days of waiting.

Day 8

An evening trip is made to Ikea to buy a chopping board to use as a base. The rack in the main room is full and the turntable will need to make do with a platform resting on the floor. I put some spare DH Cones and pads underneath the board. A small desk lamp is purchased too as the room is quite dark, and my eyesight is not the best.

Day 9

Kevin of House of Turntables shows up at my doorstep in the evening to deliver the deck and to help set it up. We spin a Jacintha record and we both proceed to pick up our jaws off the floor. Spent most of the night listening to records. 

Day 10

Bought some new records. Bought some record cleaning fluid and new LP sleeves. Spent most of the night listening to records.

Day 11

Bought some more records. Spent most of the night listening to records.

Day 12

Spent most of my waking hours (OK, I'm exaggerating a bit here) wondering whether I should have bought a better phono stage, and whether my loading is correct. Experimented with loading and left the Sumiko at MM settings (47 kOhm). The gain is a bit lower than usual, but the MC stage has a maximum resistance loading of 220 Ohms which is a bit too low for the Sumiko.

Day 15

Cleaned some of my dirty records. They sound great. I was almost ready to check them out.

Day 16

I start pondering on the benefits of upgrading my phono stage again.

I finally realised what the whole fuss was about. Good vinyl is good.... very good. It just needs a bit of work and effort to get it right.

Next step is to replace that ageing Ortofon cartridge for the Bluenote. I decided on the Dynavector 10x5. Unfortunately it was out of stock, so I have to wait until next month.

Never mind, good things come to those who wait.