great vinyl sound cost as much as great cd sound


I have emmlabs dac and line preamp which is one of the best digital sources out there.

I was wondering if I wanted an analog vinyl source which rivals my digital system would it be equally costly.

At this point my vinyl budget would be limited to $2,500. Can I get a good phono preamp to connect to my line emmlabs preamp and a turntable for that amount and not find that my top of line cd source sounds far better.

If so what pairing of preamp phono and turntable would you recommend.

VPI scout and ? perhaps
Hi Jdaniel, Yep, I think we'll all agree about that! ;-)

To be honest, I have lusted for a good cleaning machine for years, and I'd be quite tickled owning either of the VPI's. Sadly, I've put it off, put it off, always making some sort of excuse 'naw, I can live wthout it a bit longer, but yet the LP collection continued to grow, usually in spurts.

I won't buy LP's for months, then the bug hits again, and here we go again, a Mo-Fi here, a re-issue there, and sometimes the obscure, but very cool oldie in an antique-record shop.

In fact, recently, I've got my eye on an old mint Louis Armstrong Box set that must be from the late '50's-early '60's. Asking price $30, but I might spring the dough for the heck of it before it disappears. If I recall, the Lps were purple vinyl Hmmm? Unusual.

To relate to the original poster again, I've heard great things about emmlabs gear, although never personally heard their digital. I'm sure it's a flooring experience hearing thr CD done well.
I have heard top of the line Levinson, and Krell though, so I can appreciate the capabilities of the high end, and the improvments heard with CD playback through state of the art.

Still, in some ways, I don't think you'd have to equal that high end digital price with vinyl to find a very satisfying sound, that will make you sit back, and smile.

Debates such as these can on on for years on end, the topic of LP vs CD, and truthfully, I feel both formats have their advantages-strengths, and their drawbacks-deficiencies.

For analog, there's certainly been many down this path in the know, and have learned (Usually the hard, and costly way) the synergistic combination of equipment that go well together (Turntable-Arm-Cartridge-Pre-Amp)
Great vinyl sound seems to cost more than great CD sound, but once you get to the high end, analog really can pull ahead. I've had the chance to compare the CDSD/DCC2 to a Brinkmann Balance/Brinkmann arm/Lyra Titan/Lamm LP2 setup. SACD vs LP was close. I preferred the LP in the comparisons, but someone could easily prefer the SACD. LP vs red book was no comparison on any of the three albums I had to compare (Radiohead - Amnesiac, Modest Mouse - The Moon Over Antartica, A Perfect Circle - Mer de Noms).

I'm seriously considering adding a high end analog setup to my system plan, but it is a lot of money. There are a lot of best-of-the-best digital solutions for less than the Brinkmann setup would cost me. As far as less expensive analog goes, I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. It has to be really good for me to be willing to deal with flipping over the first record, then putting on the second, then flipping it over to get the same music I get on one side of a CD.
I agree with jdaniel - after spending what you did on CD - you might not want to realize that you could have better sound for less.

I don’t agree with Fbhifi – an entry level TT’s, cart., and preamp can do amazing things at a fraction of the cost of the EEM labs Digital setup.

I have the VPI Scout and Dynavector Karat (whatever mkII), and Rogue Audio Stealth preamp - A somewhat modest vinyl rig. You won’t find digital that sounds this smooth anywhere. It’s just a different sound (more organic IMHO) - as you move up the scale it just gets better (while digital is as good as it’s gonna get with your setup).

Also, RCM’s are about the same. You put the liquid on then have a vacuum suck it off. Spending lots of money on that is for convenience only. I’ve tried my el cheapo Record Doctor II and the VPI – and there was no noticeable difference.

This is all IMHO! You won’t change my mind about any of this – I’ve compared, questioned, compared again, and have a decent ear – but you may convince yourself of anything you want to ;)
I have a highly customized battery-powered Sony SCD-1 that I believe rivals EMM, and a VPI TNT/Graham/Lyra/BAT vinyl combo that's up there. I believe that RBCD playback is absolutely unforgiving of even minor flaws in the digital front end & the labors of Hercules are necessary to get digital beyond the point of mere listenability. The CDP needs to get damned close to state-of-the-art for one to suspend critical judgment of the medium. Vinyl, on the other hand, is more forgiving to the ear of minor technical imperfections. It's possible to pay $5-$10,000 for a vinyl combo that satisfies short of state-of-the-art, but gets deep enough into the pleasure zone to forget about the horse race. From that point it's all about finding a good used record store where one can practice the art of collecting.

I had about 300 or so lps sitting in boxes in my closet. I have a decent digital rig and more than 1000 cds and sacds, but not the emm labs (I do lust over those).

I got a Scoutmasted here on Agon, along with a cart with "low hours" and in another Agon sale a Musical Fidelity A308 integrated with a phono stage. On clean, well cared for vinyl, there is no comparison between CD and vinyl. I have to say though that some of my cheapo used vinyls that look good at the record shop have some bad spots, even after cleaning. I do use a 2 step process with a VPI 17.5.

Now SACD vs LP is close, but I like SACD because it is invariably quiet, and I think SACD is as easy to listen to for long periods, like vinyl and unlike CD. When I get one of those Fantasy 45 reissues, it is ethereal to listen to vinyl. Quiet with warmth, dynamic range and just plain pleasing to the ear. But so is SACD. At that level, its all about the quality of the original recording. Good master tape (or DSD recording), good vinyl or SACD. Crap in crap out.

I have noticed that vinyl sounds so much better through my speakers rather than the headphones. I think the phones accentuate the surface noise. Even on the absolute best vinyl there is some surface noise. But it doesn't really bother you. What I hate are the buzzes I occasionally hear on the used vinyl, like a damaged groove. Am I right? or is it just the record isn't yet clean enough?

I have heard the emm stack and I think it would cost at least $10k to get there with vinyl, but the fun of discovering old recordings that are near mint or mint, unavailable on CD, much less SACD, is incredible.

I listen to classical and jazz, and there is a huge catalog that didn't get to cd/sacd. Like older artists, lesser known artists or albums from well known artists. And I find I like getting up and switching records after about one side. Its like its the right amount of music till its time for a change.

Now CD vs. upsampled cd is tough for me. Some cds its readily apparant, but I have A/B capabilities and some I just can't hear the difference, if I am honest.