Want to add vinyl to my system.

Hello all, 

I have an all digital system with a Lumin x1 streamer, Oppo 203, B&W speakers, Classe Sigma SSP, and Mac 611’s.  I want to now add vinyl into my system abd need a new turntable and phono stage.  I have been considering the Rega 8 or 10.  What do you think of the Rega’s, and which phono stage would you recommend?


How many albums do you currently own? If not many I'd be telling you NOT to go down this rabbit hole. Yes vinyl sounds fantastic but will cost you more than a great digital system. Just my own 2 cents worth

Seriously. In fact, based on your budget you could start with a Rega 3 or a good Technics 1200 feeding into a $500 phono stage and absolutely love the sound. 

High end Rega’s are very highly regarded and would be a good choice. There are many other good choices, VPI, SME, Linn.


Just as a rule of thumb I would look to invest around the same amount in a phono stage as turntable so one is not holding back the other.


I would look at used Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, and VAC. Tubed phonostages tent to get the most music / natural sound from vinyl. 

I think its a dandy idea!  Best move I ever made, did it in 2006.

Started with a budget of around 6k and got a Basis 1400 table, rega.300 arm, Sumiko blackbird cart, Audio Research ph5, a VPI Cleaning machine, and record clamp.  These are the essentials you will need to get started - plenty of options out there.  Blew my digital away and I was off and running.

I've since upgraded everything and stayed in the Basis line.

Two ways to look at this imho

1) buy starter gear, all well known ( aka the stuff in the mags at the moment ), maybe used if quality is certain, and enjoy...knowing resale wont be a long process and upgrades are coming someday.

2) do a lot of research, more listening ( travel if need be ), decide what your top budget is and what you prefer, and then add 20% to the budget and go for a long term system :)

In any case do it! Spinning records is great fun.



You can't go wrong with the Rega. If you want a heavy platter: AVID or Pro-Ject (Signature 10 is gorgeous) 

Great for you to be taking the plunge into vinyl 👍

Lot’s of great recommendations and yes, a fully optioned out Rega 8 or 10 would be a game over solution if you keep it in the Rega ecosystem with premium cartridge & phono pre.

FWIW though, I’m amazed at what $2k worth of cartridge and phono preamp can deliver these days in the form of an Audio Technica AT33PTG/II into a Sutherland TZ Vibe when optimized with a suitable adjustable turntable/tonearm system. Just refrain from using any cheap coaxial hookup cable/wire that’s inductive - current delivery is the ticket here.

Examples of adjustable turntables could be Pro-Ject or Technics including a 1200G with a replacement tungsten polymer record mat 🎶

Game on instead game over 😉

Rabbit hole indeed. Love my over 2k vinyl collection and my vinyl system, however I would not go down that road if I was starting from scratch, specifically since discovering the marvelous world of streaming. Save your money and improve your streaming is my recommendation. Vinyl requires extreme

dedication, nothing like the digital you are used too. An average cost analog rig will never equal a digital one of half that cost. Food for thought.

Either Rega would be a great choice

Get a great mc cart  Lyra Delos Koetsu ect

Get a current /trans impedence phono stage

and never have to worry about cart loading. 

Like a Little Loco  and you got yourself a killer 




If you don’t own any records yet, I’d say the Rega 6-8 are great to start with, you may or may not find you want to get into records, and this level would be a good place to start, or end, without too much invested. 
If you have a large collection and want to get back into it, you’d have to go a bit higher in my view, the 10 or an even higher brand of table. I say it because I own a Rega 6 and a record collection going back years. So I agree with @baylinor 

@baylinor ​​​​@rsf507 have very valid points. Do you like doing your laundry? Vinyl can be just as bad if not worse. You have to get up every 20 minutes to flip the record or pick out a new one. You have to keep them clean. You get pissed when you get a warped one or worse, a noisy one. They take up a huge amount of space and weigh an awful lot. To improve on digital performance you have to spend at least $35,000. 

I play records because I've played them for 65 years and have untold thousands of them. It is a tradition that is glued to my neurons. I can not not play them and I am always amazed at how good they can sound. They are just as capable of sounding lousy, bad pressings being the usual culprit. Most younger people who have no records are better off sticking with digital and spending the money on music and concerts. 

My overriding point is you really have to WANT to do this because you love the medium. You REALLY have to love it to put up with it. If it is just to be hip and have a cool device you are wasting your money. 

The RP 10 is a great choice. Get a Lyra Delos and a Parasound JC3+ and you will have a fine record playing device. Stay away from VPI and Linn. IMHO both make junk. The Thorens TD 1600 is a fine turntable for the money. Up in the price range are Sota, SME, Kuzma, Basis and Dohmann. Cartridges from Lyra, Ortofon and My Sonic Lab are all first class with the RP10 tonearm. 

I put together my first analog system since my last system 20 years ago. I did so over eight months and learned a lot, but spent many times what I expected. I only had 150 albums when I set out to build a system. In the end I ended up with a fantastic analog and digital system, but to do so, I spent almost twice on the analog vs digital. If I include the next 150 albums, the difference is even greater.

Was it worth it? Would I do it the same if I were starting over today, one year later? I’m not sure. I started out with a belief that analog was a better, more musical reproduction. I discovered that digital reproduction could rival, or almost rival analog. So, the question that you might ask yourself is, what would your digital side sound like after putting that analog money into upgrading your digital.

You don't need to spend a fortune. Use LPs sound better than most audiophile reissues. Re: Turntable and Phono stage...just buy used.


Personally I prefer turntables that use a detachable headshells. It makes changing, aligning and handling cartridges so much easier. 

Get the best turntable and phono stage you can afford.

I’ll stay out of the gear recommendations part and make a few observations as a long time vinyl lover.

If you are committed to the format, your records will eventually exceed the value of the phono front end, which includes turntable/arm/cartridge and phono stage with associated wiring.

There are some pretty good deals on new vinyl being produced through Blue Note/Tone Poet and the Verve/uMe series from Analogue Productions/Acoustic Sounds. None of those are terribly expensive new and their QC is decent (though with vinyl, even the fancy audiophile stuff, QC is almost always an issue). These are jazz records, not necessarily "out there" stuff, but not "lite" either. 

Most new reissues of classic rock warhorses are going to be derived from a digital file which isn’t per se bad but you can hear differences between different pressings and once you dig into the "classic rock" field, you’ll see that there are multiple versions of some records that are highly regarded-- sometimes there is no "best" but different strengths and weaknesses. Older threads on the Hoffman forum where comparisons are made can be valuable (a post just saying "oh, I got this copy, it sounds great" is meaningless).

With used records or old copies (even if they purport to be sealed/dead inventory), you’ll have condition issues- these days grading is inflated as are prices on a lot of the more desirable records.

You will need a way to effectively clean the records. That does not have to be a huge investment, but takes some time to get an effective method that does not leave residue and doesn’t involve so much time or effort that it robs you of enjoyment.

Flattening is a hit or miss proposition- both old and new records can be warped.

I had enough records to justify the outlay for a substantial record flattener and it has been a lifesaver for me--since many of these records are long out of print, private label and very hard to find. Not cost-justified for most people- there are a few services that will do it for a fee.

Guess I’m just offering you a reality check on what "getting into vinyl" means.

I’m a believer in buying the best you can afford simply because, with care and maintenance, most of this stuff, except for the cartridges, can last a lifetime.

There’s lots of info on "bargain cartridges" that perform well. Trying to hear differences between turntables, arms and cartridges is practically impossible.

We did a comparison at @Albert Porter’s last month between two top dog cartridges- each mounted on an identical arm on the same table. Albert was able to switch between them, compensating for gain differences. The differences were discernible.

There’s a lot to dig into, some basic skills you’ll probably want to acquire in terms of set up and despite the fact that you probably can’t do meaningful comparisons in a shop, it might pay to get a little seat time and hands-on experience with what you are considering. Welcome to the rabbit hole. It is deep (though it doesn’t have to be), has some twists (beware of marketing hype and reviews disguised as advertorials) and can involve the study of history, how records are made, lots of minutiae, like decoding deadwax to understand which pressing you have to hand and other stuff that may seem like heavy nerdsville or an opportunity for exploration, depending on your interest.

Good luck- one of the best things about vinyl for me is chasing down old obscure records that I like listening to- not for collectability but for enjoyment. And the "hunt" is part of the process, once you know what you are looking for.

Bill Hart





He brings up a very valid point. At this point in time without a huge collection of albums (I have 2,000 mostly in pristine condition and many of audiophile pressings) you have to put a high value on nostalgia or just putting the funds into high end streaming is a way better way to get to really high end sound… and it really is the future… and it will only get better.

I stream 95+ % of the time. My vinyl and digital playback has the same sound quality and cost (~$45K for each vinyl and digital ends)… if I vinyl was not ingrained in the last 60+ years of my life listening to music, then a $90K digital end would be better sounding than my analog rig or my digital end. So, if I didn’t have my record collection, I would not waste my time on it.

One word.  Masochist.



(in general use) a person who enjoys an activity that appears to be painful or tedious:

An Audiophile who can't get enough and in search of more.



@mijostyn You posted something I’ve never heard before….VPI and Linn are junk. Obviously I find this surprising considering their overwhelming market success and my own experience. Care to explain your rationale for such a statement?

How many albums do you currently own? 

This is a very good question.

The best turntable/arm/cartridge/phono stage is the one having many Lp's. 

 If you just want to add a turntable for the fun of it do not spend that much, there is no apparent reason, decide which source would be more important to you. If you decide that vinyl is your choice, then prepare for it. Otherwise improve your digital one. 

Thank you for all the responses, you all have given me things to consider.  As many of you have asked, is it wiser to spend my money to continue improving my digital system, or venture into vinyl. I guess I want the best of both worlds. I have several hundred albums from the 70-80’s, but I would also want to start purchasing many of the classic remastered vinyl albums out there. So do I simply dip my toe and start with a more modest vinyl set up? I have a feeling if I do that, I will find a modest vinyl up will be inferior to my digital system, and will lose interest. If however, I go in with higher end vinyl equipment, I may even get more enthused. I have to think both style of systems always need improvements (better cables etc).

I was just about to pull the trigger for a Rega P6 with an Ortofon 2MM Black a few years ago but then opted for a MoFi Ultradeck+M at the last minute, instead.  Don't regret it for a second!  Many of the reviewers I read prior to making this move said it was the best you could get for under 5K at the time. Actually they said you could get diffferent sound from several TT in its price point, at the time, but not better, just different. I haven't heard as many TT as they have, of course, but I think they are right. That Mastertracker rivals a lot of moving coil carts. Unfortunately, the Mofi has gone up in price since its introduction, probably because of all of the awards & recommendations it's gotten. Rega is a proponent of low mass design. If you go with a Rega, make extra certain you have something absolutely rock steady to put it on. Actually, that's good advice for any TT. Also, consider all the other stuff you'll need to "do it right", so to speak (e.g.  good record brush or air blower type thing, if you're into that; stylus cleaner; record cleaner; etc.). Yes, vinyl does require more dedication & work than digital but the pay-off, if you're willing to devote yourself to it, is in the fidelity. Enjoy!

I’m in a similar situation, with roughly 400 late 70’s thru early 90’s vinyl and a Grado gold MM on a decent turntable / tonearm set-up but as much as I want to love it, I switch to Tidal and stream the same music and it’s just better…much better. 
I consider going down the rabbit hole to upgrade my phono aspect of my system, but just don’t think the investment, which obviously would be several grand, is something I can justify….for what, to get it to sound “as good” as my digital setup?

unless I think it’d be better…..not sure I’m down with that. 

I’ve had the Rega 2.3 and 6. I like the $2500 MoFi better.

I like the Mofi because I am a "clear" guy. I like clear and concise sound without the rounded off highs and lows Rega stuff tends to hand out. That sound is not to everyones liking however.

That being said and perhaps going after a "blend" of clarity and heft, In truth, the Rega 3 is a superb table for the money and with the correct cartridge, it can come to life. I like the Benz Micro stuff from the Silver on up.

The Rega 3 of today is equivalent to the Rega 6 of yesteryear in my opinion.

If I can be contrary to what some here have stated, I do not find it a "labor" to play vinyl and do not agree with those saying you have to spend uber amounts of money to get equivalent or a sound pleasing to you.

What I have found that many of those who complain of vinyl playback being inferior, have always have had a poor cartridge match to their TT’s. The Benz stuff is superlative carts for not crazy money either. I have never liked any of the Rega carts even on their own tables.

Heck, my old Rega 2 was better than a lot of $3000-$5000 cd players with a Benz cart..

All of this is thru ProAc monitors which are neutral in presentation.

I don't recommend anything from Pro-Ject's upper end. The build quality is simply not good enough for the money. 

Clearaudio makes some really nice 'tables which is what I ended up with.

I've got about $14K in my analogue front end including cables and isolation platform. I didn't by anything used. Full details in my virtual system. The Aidas cart is phenomenal. 

My local dealer who I trust implicitly is also a REGA dealer and he steered me towards the Clearaudio Performance DC over the P10.  


@chocaholic , there is no accounting for taste. The LP12 is a cheesy construction with a poorly thought out suspension. I aught to know. I owned two of them. The problem was back in the late 70's it was the best relatively inexpensive turntable out there. Now It is so bad they have to update it continually. VPI? Makes one of the worst tonearms ever foisted on an unsuspecting public. They even tried to sell it without an antiskating mechanism for years. The turntables are a perfect example of form over function. The more expensive they get the more stupid is the design. It is a perfect example of someone who thinks they can make a satisfactory record playing device without any engineering expertise. To put it in perspective, Basis makes turntables designed by someone with a lot of engineering expertise as does SME and Kuzma although Mr Kuzma has this thing going were he has to make the best of anything even if it is a bad idea to begin with. The Rega RP10 is better than any turntable VPI ever made. 

Vinyl is fun for some people. They love the fussing, the cleaning, the hunting through bins of records.....the ritual. If that’s what you want out of vinyl, go for it.

However, consider buying used so if it doesn’t meet your expectations, you can sell it with little to no loss. Rega RP10...don’t expect it to get close to what your current digital source is. I see comments on this thread suggesting you upgrade your digital front end. Jezz, they must be unaware of how good your Lumin X1 is. That is one fantastic piece of digital kit. You will need to spend a similar amount of money or more ( $20,000) on a vinyl front end to avoid disappointment. Several years ago, I sold off my vinyl front end worth well over $12,000 because it didn’t improve on what my Lumin player could provide. If you are looking for that analog warmth, well most current records, sound a lot like their digital files because they have undergone some digital  conversion already. Now if you can find pristine old pressings that are all analog, that is a different story, but they are pretty rare.

I have a 4K vinyl rig and a 4K digital rig. I would say they are very comparable with the winner going either way depending on the recording. I still enjoy vinyl more and wil say I think it sounds more natural more often that not. Just seems more special. Vinyl is absolutely a job though! Cleaning records and changing an album or flipping a record every 10 damn min since most of this new stuff is on double 180g with 2 records for a 40 minute album. That’s comparing a very descent R2R dac against the vinyl. Any DS dac I’ve had in the under 2k range vinyl hands down.

im with others. Have both.

whart 👍

I'm not an audiophile but I am on that road, I have learned that the basics do make a difference.

NM, VG+ records only (not always as described through internet)

First pressings, etc. for best sound quality.

Proper set up and maintenance of turntable. I check over the turntable every month or so and recently found that the cartridge was off a little. Previous install of cartridge was off, so I adjusted and noticed a difference.

A good record cleaning system.


Thanks for the nod, @1jafa. In my experience, depending on the record, a first pressing isn't always the best sounding, though is often the most desirable from a collector's standpoint. Leaving aside third party reissues, I've found later pressings from a label on specific records that sound better than the first pressing. For example, on the first Lynyrd Skynyrd record, I have several copies including an early Sounds of the South. There is some "nothing special" MCA reissue from around 1980 that sounds better. Why? Have no idea.

A lot of what I've been chasing are records that never had more than a first pressing and sometimes those were small quantities, typically offbeat jazz. So your choices are limited to the OG or some questionable reissue (if reissued at all). I've been banging the drum on Bobby Hamilton's Dream Queen, an unobtainium private label jazz record that is easily in the 4 figures. Reissued from the tape, cut by Bernie G. 30 bucks. The OG may still be better sounding, but at what cost?

Otherwise, thanks for the kudos. Yeah, cartridge set up is super critical. When I lived in NY, I used Mike Trei, the maestro. Here in Austin, no such critter exists so I had to revive my long dormant set up skills. I can do it- it takes time. Mike can do it in a flash. 

Welcome to the forum, btw. 

Thanks everyone!  If I would go with a Rega 8 or 10. What phono preamp would you recommend?

Audio Research PH8 (used) or higher.

I finally found Audio Research phono stages in about 1990. Since then I have been completely dedicated to them. This was a PH2. I then upgraded to a 2SE, 3, 3SE, then.a PH8, and finally a Reference 3… which I will upgrade to a Reference 3SE soon.

Each upgrade, I did lots of research to verify this was the best possible step. It has always been so. I can’t more highly recommend a phono stage. The PH8, was the first one that did not hold back my turntable. While later models are better… to me, the PH8 this sets the bar for outstanding phonostages. Outstanding sound quality, natural, musical, detailed, and Incredibly cost effective for the money.

I would think the Rega's own amps must be good.

From what I have, Musical Fidelity has great phono stages

Of course, I'm biased, and without extensive experience, but I played my Rega P8 with various cartridges through a Manley Steelhead phono stage / buffer pre-amplifier, which I ran directly into my amplifiers.  It sounded very good to my ears, but I'm sure many other combinations would be very good aslo. 

If you finally decide to go with Rega (TT/cartridge) check their Aura MC.

Plenty of gain and fully adjustable.

Going all the way Rega front end would be a really good choice.


I can only but agree with mijostyn.

I am a record collector from the 70s, have reduced my collection to around 1200 or so now.

I would not bother with vinyl now if strarting from scratch. I had a superb vinyl setup, kuzma XLDC, 4pt, Atlas, Ypsilon phono. Eventually my digital caught up with the vinyl, unless playing mint analogue albums or some audiophile recordings (still marginal gains) digital was as good sometimes better. Most new LPs are from digital recordings, it also seems a lot of the recent  MoFi productions are from DSD files!

I have a Technics SL1200G now which produces terrific results when I am inclined to play a disc.

The digital is from locally stored files, I found this better than streaming roon etc.

Clearly you have money to burn.  Lots of it.

Rega is a great choice as a "plug-n-play" deck, especially if you get a Rega cartrdige.  Their arms are engineered to work with their cartridges.  Anyone else's cartridge may take some serious work to get right on a Rega arm.  The Rega arm has no vertical adjustment, so to raise it up, you have to pull the arm off the table and use shims.  OK for your dealer, but you sure don't want to go there yourself. 

Installing a cartridge on my tables is something of a pain anyway.  Rega cartridges have a unique 3 point mount, which along with the fact that the Rega arms and cartridges are engineered to work together, makes installing a Rega cartridge on a Rega arm the easiest thing there is. 

Just plan on using a Rega cartridge on that Rega table.

Thought I'd add this ditty, for what it's worth.

After several hours of serious seat-time with a Rega P3 equipped with a modest Ortofon 2M Blue + MacIntosh MA5300 + alternately, the MAC's Luxman integrated amp competitor (can't remember the model number) + a pair of Focal Aria 936 + good, clean vinyl disks, I was truly impressed. As a result, I almost pulled the trigger for a Rega P6 with Ortofon 2M Black. One need not spend exorbitant amounts on a TT & cart to get truly impressive fidelity.

As for those who continue to proselytize the virtues of digital over vinyl, all I can say is I guess I have yet to hear a digital set-up that bests a comparably priced vinyl set-up and I've heard digital set-ups in the high 5 figure range, including amp, speakers, DAC and all that stuff. This includes CD players, transports, DACs, servers, streaming in the highest sound quality over Tidal, Qobuz etc. I tend to listen to my digital set-up when I'm entertaining guests, tooling around the house and stuff like that. However, when I'm in the mood or have time sit down with a good single malt, grape of some other fine beverage and can just sit back, relax and listen to my tunes, vinyl is where I go. So far, based upon everything I've read on this grand debate, it seems one has to spend a heck of a lot of money on a high-end digital set-up in order to achieve the same or, reportedly, better fidelity than vinyl. No question digital is quicker, easier, less fuss, more convenient, allows access to oodles of music out there in the great ether when you subscribe, of course, to a or a number of services and all that jazz. However, one needs to consider the cost(s) of those subscriptions which, to me, is just like tethering yourself to cable or satellite.

Vinyl is alot of work but if It's a hobby as well as a love of music then go for it. Rega should be great at the level you are talking. Phono stage for a couple grand and you are good. Cleaning records is a must for full enjoyment.


i couldn't care less about scientific arguments for and against vinyl. It's simply  magical (even with a P3), nothing like digital

I have an old Empire 598, so I replaced the tonearm with a higher quality one and gave it a Nagaoka cartridge, the sound is spectacular, that platter weights 25 pounds, smoothest spin you can get, really brings the old vinyl to life.