I've finally lost it

Dear Fellow Audiophiles,

(This greeting sounds so much like the one in Signal Cables’ ads)

I heave a heavy cry for help hoping sane audiophiles, if any exists at all, can come to my aid.

(Looking at recent threads such as the one by Rick Schultz, I fear there’s few out there)

In the past few months, I’ve been in a terrible turmoil: a sickness, a disease.

I don’t understand it at all. So, I beseech your guidance, knowledge and, most of all, a good ass kicking for I fear I am that far from adopting a new religion to save my damned shoe horn.

Until a few months ago, I casually avoided all things analog as I perused through the audio pages be it web or hardcopy. I was only interested in monitors, quaint looking amps and redbook non-os cd players and dacs. But, as of these few months, I can’t get analog out of my head.

I have purchased a total of THREE LPs in the past month. I have maybe 200-300 LPs in a box that I purchased before CDs became prevalent to me in 1989. And, I hardly and ever will hardly listen to any of them ever again. Yet, analog hardware are hopping around my head like Daffy Ducks swimming around Elmer Fudd’s head after he sufferes a great accident.

I can’t keep my eyes off my laptop’s screen as I search for more and more information on turntables. What makes them tick? How do you make them sound better? Which brands are good? How much should I spend? MC or MM?

I’ve leaned towards the VPI Scout or Aries at first. But, I have a dreaded pet peeve against MDF as one of my speakers is made completely of MDF which I thought sounded awkwardly unnatural. I looked to Michell Technodec and Gryo SE which I still think are worthy choices. However, lately I found a review of Positive Feedback’s review of Bluenote’s polyvinyl Bellavista package which includes the Bellavista turntable, the Borghese tonearm and the Boboli cartridge.

I read the review with complete concurrence with every paragraph. Usually, I think Positive Feedback is just that. They have positive feedback for every product they’ve reviewed. However, somehow I felt this review has more journalistic weight than usual. I started researching all things Bluenote.

This isn’t the first time I became hawkish on one particular brand. I did fall heads over heels for 47 Labs as their Gaincard demonstrated to me a new level of resolution through the application of simple materials and set up. I still have the urge to get a Pitracer once I hit the lotto. However, this Bluenote thing doesn’t make any sense at all.

I have a total of THREE LPs that I want to listen to.
I am planning to buy the Bellavista Signature table, the U3 Singature tonearm, an Ortofon Kontrapunkt A or B cart as I read the Bluenote’s arms like heavy carts, and I want Bluenote’s own Phono1 MC phono preamp. I haven’t started nickel and diming the dealers yet, but I think I will spend close to $4000 by the time I am done not including wires and accessories. This means, at current time and purpose, it will be costing me $1333 for me to to play ONE LP.

Atleast with the 300 or so CDs that I listen to and about 200 CDs that are boxed up, the marginal return on investment on a Pitracer will be about $500 per CD. Still INSANE but not as INANE as the turntable investment! Nevertheless, I want a turntable!! I don’t know WHY. Maybe they LOOK sexy. Maybe I just want a new toy. Maybe I have some shortcomings that I want to emotionally supplement. I can’t figure it out!!

Anyways, I am posting hoping for moral or analog support. Even if I do end up splurging on this stupid turntable, at least I hope I spend my money intelligently as stupid as this whole ordeal seems to me.

My GF says I just want to spend money. Either she is making sense, or she’s turning into one of those controlling wives that has problem with the hobby of HIFI which I will need to hit the dating scene again if that is the case.


You think your cost per lp is high now, just wait until you cannot play the cd's anymore, when you only want to play lp's, they just sound too damn good. Throw the cost of all those cd's, and all that digital equipment into the cost of those first 3 lp's. Then, you will begin to start hitting ebay, gemm, eil, and all the online retailers, buying more lp's. Then you learn that certain pressings of lp's are far superior to other, by miles. You find yourself with 7 or 8 pressings of the same lp, from the UK, Germany, Canada, Holland, Japan, Spain, Italy. Then there are the new remastered lp's. Then you discover Jazz, and the damn 45rpm pressings, 50 bucks per hit.

Don't go there man, don't go there.

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Welcome to the analog club, be sure to read the many threads on analog playback here in this forum.
There are many worthwhile products in your price range to consider.
Good luck and happy listening Ed.
If the whole thing seems so "stupid" then why bother???

Besides, if you buy the $4000 (your approximation) turntable system you'll have to upgrade your speakers and some other components to actually hear all the performance you'd be paying for.

Instead of jumping in at the deep end, why not wet your feet first with a decent entry level tt system? Spend $2000 or $2500 instead of the $4000 you're thinking of, listen to a lot of music, and then see if you want to go to the next level. It doesn't need to be ALL or NOTHING...
Why not start with the Bluenote Piccolo at $1000.- (from Needledoctor) and the Kontrapunkt A (around $400 from Needledoctor). Might be better to start small. I heard the table just shortly, but my impression was certainly positive.

And then you can let me know how you like it...

By the way: I started like you just 10 years ago. Even 10 years ago people thought I was going crazy....

Enjoy and good luck!!


Follow your dreams, go for it!

Who cares, what others think, or what things cost.

Where else are you going to get that head rush.

GMC and TVAD, thanks for showing me the "real" darkside of this analog madness. As I am, so far, on the outside looking in, I feel like I am in a safer and warmer place.

And the rest of you, thank you for your support and suggestions.

However, I personally don't believe in starting low then gradually getting something better later on. Maybe I just want the instant satisfaction. However, I personally find that I grow out of the "starter kits" too fast for them to be worthwhile.

Perhaps, pretending I am speaking to a psycho-dynamic-ologist, this is because my mother bought me a shabby car when I turned 16 giving me the excuse that it's my first car, so I should drive a piece of junk until I am older. And, this left me with the uncorrectable impression that "starters" is just an "excuse".

I know my system looks pretty weak at the moment. I had some pricier stuff a few years ago, but, my system's musicality kept improving as I simplified/downgraded more and more with only the Gaincard as a constant. Perhaps it is this over simplification process in my system building philosophy during these pass few years is causing an ennui thus leading to the currently dreaded analog frenzy.

I have actually downsized my system by another $2000 retail dollars (actually $1000) in the past few months since my last virtual system entry.

There's definitely nothing practical about my "condition". If anything, maybe my problem is hyperpracticality. So, I don't expect a practical solution will suffice.

Rene, I've been looking hard at the Technodec too. It was sort of knocked out of my top choice by the Bluenote. However, I just found out a few hours ago that Bluenote is no longer represented in the US. I guess this means no more manufacturer warranty.

I am also looking hard at the Kuzma Stabi S.
I agree, starting small is not always a good thing. What about a Teres, start
with a 245 and you can always upgrade. No problem with factory warranty
either as long as Chris stays in business.
I am thinking about awarding myself a graduation gift for my Ph.D. in Form of
a Teres in half a year. Certainly makes me want to finish writing up that
dissertation faster.
A tough call indeed. I would first analyze whether or not you are at all excited about the titles available from yesteryear. Assuming you are, I'm with you, go whole hog on the TT. Perhaps I scared you off by using the word yesteryear. If so, maybe you should go whole hog on a new digital source instead.

In any case whole hog is the route to go because you have identified this quality within yourself. I am blessed with really good sources, analog and digital, and appreciate being setup well with both.

Speaking for myself, I am pretty sure that if I did not already own a record collection, I would go the ultimate whole hog route and put all my financial resources into bleeding edge digital.

I do think my vinyl setup sounds slightly more natural than my digital, but having been on a serious mission lately to optimise digital performance, the difference between the two formats is much less important to me now. Truly great performance is available in both formats when you get all of the details covered. I haven't even worked on superior power delivery to my digital components which many insist is a more vital requirement than with analog. Assuming this to be true, the gap will close that much further.

You pretty much stabbed another one of my irrationalities in the heart that I haven't exposed in this thread yet. The main reason I have stayed away, thus far, from analog is because of the lack of availability of the software of music I usually listen to. Most of what I listen to are small electronic pop bands which are not even available in most mainstream brick and mortar stores. Thus, most are not even made in vinyl.

If I do go analog, I'd pretty much buy what I already have on CD, whatever ones that are available in analog format, or explore new/old music such as the symphonies by broodish Russian composers, early big band swing and west coast jazz.

I am also keeping an eye on improving my digital set up. I don't want to get into hi rez as I really like the way non-os digital applications sound. However, right now I am using a NEC cd rom as my digital front. I got it from ebay for $20. It outplays all my previous dac/trans combos.

Thus, adding more to my irrationality. as I only have about $2000 in my system now (it was $8,000 a few years ago), yet I want a $4000 analog setup to play a virtually non-existent album collection.

Also, $4000 is actually already "starting small" as the tone arm and cartridges is purposely left for more room to improve relative to the table. I think I should atleast start with a table I can live with for awhile and upgrade the arm and cart later on. But, my budget is relative to what is available out there that I am interested in. As I don't see Bluenote as a viable option anymore, my budget is up in the air again.

Rene, what are you writing your dissertation on?
Well then I hope you have answered your own question. Rationality now says you should apply the $4,000 towards tweaks.

BTW, did the word yesteryear have any type of effect on you? I did for me as I replied to you. I guess it inspires some kind of Currier and Ives image within my mind, not that there's anything wrong with that, and I just never saw myself as a candidate to use that word in a real conversation.

No, yesteryear didn't present any stigma to me. Maybe it would have if we're talking about fashion. I never heard of Currier and Ives so maybe that's why. My first inclination is to think it is some kind of hand lotion if I didn't read it on an audio forum. (Googled) Now I know it's artwork similar to that of Norman Rockwell but with a poignant realism that I've seen from some more modern artists but can't recall their names. One of these artist specializes in painting cute babies and bunnies holding butcher knives while cutting human bodies open.

And, the $2000 in my system includes BDR cones, granite platforms, speaker cables and interconnects, and ac treatment. = X

Actually, modernism would actually present me with more stigma. I see a neighborhoods filled with track housing that look exactly alike and are few inches apart... globalization without integrated safetynet for the needy, cars (same can be said of stereos) that drive like feats of demography rather than engineering... not to mention health care with doctors treating only symptoms and not the person.
Rationality would have told me that I should have never started with vinyl ten years ago either, and rationality is something physicists are usually good at (I guess this almost answers the question about the topic of my dissertation as well).

However, ten years later I would be missing all the great and different music, I got into because of picking up the records that were available or that I found in a friends attic and used record stores. The music I listened to at the time was not available on LP either. I originally started with about 5 records and no leftovers of pre-CD times (too young), now I got something on the order of 400 records of great music around that I would have not listened to before.

Of course if you remind me now that I have to move those 400 records in about half a year to a new job that might even be overseas or at least in a different country...
then I'd be more than glad to hold on to your 400 records while you're galantly contributing to our country's GDP while away in a foriegn land.

I would think physicists are the least rational (in a good way) of all scientific and engineering people out there. Maybe I have no idea what I am spewing off about as I never really knew of any physicists, but I think it takes very unrational out of the box thinking to come up with quantam and electron fields theories and such. Then again, maybe I am speaking of the very small percentrage of physicists out there.

But I do see the rational irrationality of your progression from a vinyl adoptor to someone with a greater appreciation for music.

I shall keep your logic with me.

The main reason I have stayed away, thus far, from analog is because of the lack of availability of the software of music I usually listen to. Most of what I listen to are small electronic pop bands which are not even available in most mainstream brick and mortar stores. Thus, most are not even made in vinyl.

Viggen, not to hijack your thread, but it often seems to me that "small electronic pop bands" are the only ones still releasing new recordings on vinyl. There may be a lot more out there than you realize. I listen to this music as well (among many other sorts), and buy new LPs (and 7"s and 10"s) nearly every week, in addition to used LPs. Let me know if you'd like any help tracking it down.
I'm glad you've reached out to others for support.

Clearly you were acting insanely to use your girlfriend's opinion as your benchmark.

Wife, possibly. Girlfriend, insanity!

Now that you've come to your senses, we can begin to work on the problem. Three records are your universe. Sounds like a solid ambition. Probably will wear them out within a month or two. Getting a VPI 17 will delay the inevitable.
I bet you'd like a couple of dozen nm+ copies of those treasures.

Start your search on EBAY right now. Never be lonely.

If all our lives had the simplicity of yours, we could dispense with rooms of LP's and CD's. Frankly, wine cellars, garages and libraries would be out also.

I'm certain there is serenity in your mania.

Please, don't change.

Bill E

I've been thru this and, after some hard work, believe to have worked it out.

First, buy two more LPs (you don;t have to really listen to them)and then the price drops to way less than a grand per LP. Who worries much about less than a grand?

More importantly, think of it in terms of songs played. You are analyzing incorrectly and this leads you to the wrong conclusion! If you listen to 200 tunes you have it down to $20 a tune. Who can't afford 20 bucks?

I wish I could say that I figured this out myself but I have to credit my wife who had to to explain it to me. She has a way with figures.

I remain,
I have been going through similar convulsions over the last couple of years. Major investments (relative to my finances)in a series of speaker and electronics upgrades.

One of the things I have not regretted in the least was springing for a decent turntable. However, I bought a Rega Planar 25, with a budget Benz Micro cartridge, so it is a more modest incursion to analog country than you have been contemplating.

I've been enjoying wonderful vintage vinyl, picked up for peanuts. Sounds great compared to much more expensive CD kit; some of the treasures cannot be found on CD. On the other hand, it will take some discipline not to completely fill the family home with vinyl I may never listen to. Teenagers may move out soon though.
People like this should not be allowed to spend money, without parental supervison.
Well Viggen,

You are speaking from the outside looking in -- and I am speaking as someone who has started with lower priced turntables (had many different models and combinations) and has worked his way up to pricier models... I know what you get as you climb that ladder.

In other words, I'm speaking from actual experience, and you're only guessing...
it does sound a little like you might be more into the process of shopping around and researching than actually needing the tool to do a job (a TT is a tool, right?)
that being said, being a vinyl over digital guy, I say go for it and open that Pandora's box.
one thing you might do: isn't there a friendly dealer in your area with good TTs who would actually let you bring in your front end and your 3 lps and let you listen? or what about using the Agon network to see if someone in your area (audio club?) who has a good TT would do the same?
last thought: don't forget that with high priced cartridges, every time you play an LP costs you parking meter change - not like digital!
Common sense dictates that you ought to get someone to copy the three LPs onto CDs. However, life would be dull if we always used common sense. Try to find some other irrational project that costs less.
You need to help others: mentoring, volunteer work, whatever! Your amiga is right.

If you wanted kick ass vinyl with maximum bang for the buck you would have contacted me privately. But then again, you sold your carbon power cords, belt drive transport, amp, etc. The devil's out there like a roaring lion...
Damn Ed, you've gone Koo-Kooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

It never occured to me during the last few weeks we've been talking how wildly those vinyl pie-eyes of yours must be spinning. I need to drop by soon, so you can take my car for a spin and take your mind off of the vinyl darkseid. Hardcore indeed.

I've since abandoned my vinyl quest until I can dedicate the proper room and set up that a good analogue rig deserves. I have no doubt I'd soon be on the same endless hamster wheel of collecting GMC alludes to, but my current state of mind luckily seems to be where Tvad is at.

Now to visit my local gun store since the federal ban on assault weapons will be ending at midnight tonight, heheh.
I think your GF is correct. 3 LPs and a $4000 playback system. That's like the old joke about the guy with the $10000 hifi and 5 CDs .... different versions of the 1812 overture.
Okay, so you've been bitten by the vinyl bug. It happens to us all at one point or another, and there ARE worse things in life that could happen....

If you are serious about spinning records, I would suggest a modest start. I know of several people who commited to vinyl in a BIG way, and found out after about two months use that they could stand it no longer (using records really is not for everyone). Problem was, of course, they had brand new expensive gear that they had a hard time selling, and only regained partial cost.

My suggestion FWIW, is to start with something simple, effective, and relatively inexpensive to see whether you like both the sound, and inconvenience of vinyl playback, and then move up to a more substantial rig if and when you decide to make the "big commitment". Finding a few more records to play might not be a bad idea either.

If you dig around carefully, you should be able to come up with a more than adequate vinyl system for under $1500. I would try to choose some common and popular components so that resale would not be an issue when/if the time comes. Some of the possible component choices:

Rega RB 250 or 300 arm - not a wallet buster, commonly used on a wide variety of turntables, and readily available for purchase; hell I think I have one in good shape if you want to haggle :)

Basis 1400 turntable - two available this week with Rega arm for less than $1000.

VPI Scout turntable - available used with arm for less than $1500.

NAD PP2 phono stage - gets you going for about $100 or so...

Blue Circle BC27 phono stage - a real winner for about $500.

All sorts of good cartridges available - my choice would be an inexpensive Dynavector, or an Ortofon Kontrapunkt A. Check the Needle Doctor, he usually has a few dandy specials on.

Add your choice of interconnect (simply too many to mention) and you should be good to go, without incurring a small motgage.
I got my immunization booster shot so I don't have to worry about such things. You know they inject you with a little bit of some of the virus in order to build up your immunity. A few hours after getting the shot I went out and scavenged garage sales and flea markets buying about $600 worth of used LP's before it wore off a few days later. Now I have all these old musty LP's and no turntable to play em' on, and no desire to hear'em either. Oh well, better than dropping 4 grand on a rig I guess. It may not be too late for you either. See your physician.

Hi Ed,

Dump GF, buy VPI!

“There are no ‘repeat signs’ in our journey. Play all the notes the first time.”

(I think it was Confucius that made that remark, or maybe it was Arthur Rubinstein. Without doubt, both of them analog fans.)

Best wishes,
Wow, I didn't think my ludicrous endeavor will illicit so many responses. I do feel a lot better since lastnight when I wrote these dialogues. Ofcourse, when I finally went to bed at 2am, I took my laptop with me and continued researching analog stuff until 5am. I seem to have a flavor of the day everyday. And, lastnight about 1am, I discovered Origin Aurora and Graham Slee...

No doubt a lot of you have been through this and thanks for sharing your own experiences. I think this is exactly what I needed. To get some senses knocked into me and to hear other people's horror stories to make me feel better about my own problems. Please keep them coming. I still haven't heard from anyone who dumped their spouse or significant others for their analogue though. Anyone come close atleast? Anyone?

I think Lakefront, Sean and Eso touched on something regarding actual application of analog... I day trade for a living at the moment, so I sit in front of the laptop all day long in my stereo room while blaring some CD. I listen to the same CD 3-4 times in a row because I am too lazy to get up to change the CD. I just put it on repeat. Now, if I am using a turntable I'd have to get up once every 20-30 minutes to flip that sucker over. Something to think about...

On the sane side, I did tell Dean that I WILL NOT buy anything until December. December really has no significance. It's just a date. A date I hope my will power can reach. In the mean time I will keep on researching until I've perfected my system in my mind then actually try to acquire it for real. Sort of like my Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science... But I do feel much better already.
Santiago, I just started playing piano a few weeks ago. When I played a piece for the first time, everything seems to go smoothly. Then I try to perfect it. This is when my fingers sort of lose coordination and start to stutter. I don't know if Confuscius had the same problem, but he was supposedly a master swordsman.

Francisco, I know you have an excellent turntable, but the Kab doesn't do it for me aesthetically = X.

Marco, I am actually in the same situation as you or have been in it for a long time as I sit on a few boxes of LPs and have never had the urge to play them.

So many people on Audiogon with their first names ending with "O". Has anyone noticed?

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming...

"wow, what a trip!"
What Eldartford said sums it all up:

"I too have quit the endless search for perfection, several times".

With this hobby, it stops when you die. Then your poor wife- who probably has no idea what all that crap's worth, gives it to her new boyfriend.

Life just isn't fair.
Amen, Jeff!

...But as long as you haven't spent your whole life skidding so violently that your ass is all road-rashed.

Slide in Tom Cruise style from Risky Business.
I've been thinking alot about what's been said in this thread. I did quite a bit of reflecting and lots of things are starting to make sense to me. I will spare you the boring details.

Bill, thanks for seeing the "serenity" that I wasn't able to see. I am starting to find it again.
I don't remember who said it but "To travel hopefully is better than to arrive".
I heard Spock say something like that once. Was it after he choked out Jim Kirk?
No, Spock said something like, "It is easier to apologize later than ask for permission now." :-)
Viggen, please share your findings and insight to “serenity”.

Most hobbies, as practiced with passion, remains illogical and irrational considering the costs involved. But, the journey or pursuit exists until our particular destinations are met in one way or another. When you're done and after you've downsized for the final time, you can add your thoughts to the thread “How does one get off the merry-go-round?”. Until then, the path is calling and demands to be traveled.

Enjoy the ride and best wishes to you!
Hi Rny,

My answer will be a terrible let down to you and the rest of the audiophiles here. Nevertheless...

I am afraid my answer is not an audio one because my problem is not audio related. It just so happen to manifest itself in the form of a turntable.

Many of you placated my turntable musings by telling me to follow my desires and go for it even if the proposition seems totally rediculous. Thanks for the support.

You can say this has helped me to find the reason for my turntable insanity and am now trying to cure the obsession at its source.

Now for many of you who are still lost lambs feeding the audio slaughter. I am telling you that I have seen the light. I will share with you this revelation. It has something to do with magnets.= X
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=X is an emoticon.

You know... = ) happy face =D very happy face =( sad face...
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I hope Ed posts in here again soon, because as of yesterday he definitely lost...er "found" it. :•)
After 26 years today I bought a turntable.
I was going through similar agony. Said the he11 with it, you only live once and might well enjoy life.
Without going overboard I bought what I feel to be a fairly priced unit of good quality.
Bought a Clearaudio Emotion and am going to use a Garrott Bros. P77 mm cartridge feeding a Musical Fidelity X-LPS.
I can't wait. Myself, I've only a handful of leftover LP's but have been promised to be allowed to "store" a friends 500+ LP collection. They've been in closet storage for over twenty years. He used to have the best sound system around so the albums are in premo shape.
I've the upsampled version of the AH! 4000 cd player so A/B comparisons are going to be a blast
Ahhh.. I don't have much to fess up except I got a good deal on a table, and RNY has a system to die for ... I believe it's the same one showcased on sakurasystems.com.
We have similar tastes and I confess, I suffered through the obsession for each and every component in my system. In hindsight, the agony built into the pursuit went as an unappreciated reward. Sometimes, serenity can hide inside a tortured shell. Sometimes, serenity can be achieved only after the journey has been taken. If you end up like me, I found a bit of sadness when I was done. Congratulations on your table acquisition. Again, best wishes to you and enjoy the ride! If your audio dollars are disposable income after responsible savings/investing, I say go find your nirvana!