Svelte Entry-Level Vinyl


Svelte Systems for Spinning Vinyl
by JESSE WILL (view original article here)

image credit Music Hall

EVEN IF YOU haven’t purchased a physical CD in years and your main audio system is a smartphone and a Bluetooth speaker, chances are you’ve heard the news: Vinyl is making a comeback. Every year for the last six, record sales have risen. Over 6 million new LPs were sold in 2013, an iTunes-era peak and an increase of 33% over the previous year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Vinyl buffs tout the warmth and nuance that the 12- and 7-inch formats bring to albums—especially compared with ultra-crisp digital audio files. But for many music lovers who want to ride vinyl’s new wave, there’s just one hitch: all the equipment. Who wants a big, boxy system anymore?

Thankfully, the gear required to immerse yourself in analog—and all of its charming imperfections—has gotten considerably more compact. While a record player will never be as convenient or tiny as an iPod, you can minimize the components and cables required without compromising sound quality.

For this mix-and-match guide, we steered clear of all-in-one systems—record players with tinny speakers built in. Instead, we looked at entry- to mid-level equipment that delivers superlative audio for its price and tested various combinations to be sure they play together nicely and, just as important, discreetly.

Audiogoners, to sum up the author’s guide linked above, he suggests two steps: Getting a USB record player, like the Music Hall USB-1, and playing it back. (Keep in mind that Will is writing this for beginners.)

For playback options, he suggests choosing a simple ready-to-go device that works best for the space you’ll be in most often.
– Full sound in a small package: powered bookshelf speakers, like Audioengine’s A5+F
– Whole in-house listening: Sonos Play: 5
– Private listening: NuForce HA-200 and Grado Prestige Series 325is

Did Jesse Will get it right – is this a good first step above earbuds?  What would you suggest for a starter system?

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