Selecting Analog Gear Based on Music Preference?


I’m just getting into turntables and vinyl after building a fairly high-end digital system over the past few years. One thing I consciously did as I put together this system was “voice” it for synergy with the kind of music I like to listen to, which is fairly well-produced classic rock like Rick Rubin’s work with Tom Petty, Sting and the Police, Tears for Fears, etc. And I also like to listen to pop music like Sam Smith, Maroon 5, and George Michael. So I’ve built this system with a Naim NDX2/ND555PS and tube preamp/Luxman M900u power amp combo with high efficiency Volti horn speakers. 

I picked up a Technics SL-1200Mk2 with an Ortofon 2M Blue just to get things started, and I have a Parasound JC3 Jr which all seem to be a great first step. But before I do any upgrades to the turntable and cartridge I’m wondering if there are better tables and cartridges for different kinds of music and listening? I don’t want to fall in love with some high end table and find out it really only sounds best when listening to renaissance lute music or acoustic guitar singer/songwriters, etc. I’m looking to get groove and resolution similar to what I’ve found with the NDX2/ND555PS combo. 

I’m looking toward the $2.5-5K range, and at the top of the range I find the Dr Fieckert Volare and possibly the SOTA Sapphire very interesting, and I have a soft spot for Technics, so the 1200G is a possibility too. 

Is there a direction I should be heading in if I’m looking for the best rig to reproduce a certain genre of music?

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I have a Dr. Fieckert Volare with an Origin Live Silver tonearm and Hana SL cartridge. This runs through a tube pre-amp and tube amps to horn speakers. I also listen to everything from hard rock to electronic to renaissance flute music. To my ears that turntable tonearm cartridge combination is fantastic. It sounds great listening to Thelonious Monk and then Porcupine Tree. However, take my opinion with a grain of salt because it's only the second turntable I have ever owned. I cannot provide a detailed comparison against other brands and versions. I would recommend auditioning one if you can. I took the risk and bought it without a direct audition and it worked out fantastic for me. I don't recommend that strategy for anyone else since it isn't my money.

@jsqt The main thing to keep in mind is that the idea that there's no way to design audio equipment to favor a certain genre! If someone can find a way they'd be a millionaire overnight. Put another way, what's good for classical or jazz is also good for rock. Anyone telling you otherwise needs to get out there and demonstrate such by making a product that really does do this. There won't be any takers 😀

@atmasphere  yes, agreed and thanks for the advice. I wasn't literally thinking in terms of "woah, that's a turntable built for chamber music!" but more along the lines of, "Hey, if I listen to a lot of music with heavy bass in it, maybe I should go with something like a Technics SL-1200G that is less likely to have problems reproducing deep bass and dealing with vibrations, than say, XYZ table which is much more refined and delicate but won't be as aggressive as you like if you're listening to Tool." Hope that explains my thought process better!

@jsqt It does, but bass is very much a thing in classical music too. The Saint Saens Organ Symphony has pedal tones that are 16Hz which can really shake the place up. Bass drum whacks occur in all sorts of classical music. So the turntable needs acoustically dead rigidity regardless of the music.

If we're talking about a turntable, you'll find the platter pad has an effect on the bass- it should be as hard as the vinyl to really do its job right. The SL1200 is very speed stable and has a variety of anti-vibration systems running in it. I think its a very good choice for putting together a musical system. I prefer the platter pad made by Oracle to the stock one.