As much as vinyl may be a superior way to listen to music, the internet is a fabulous medium for initial research. My web research, on modern hi-fi, was buoyed by the Audiophiliac on Cnet. I found his articles entertaining and full of genuine voice as well as a passion for his subject matter. This article, in particular, was my jumping off point.
From that article the Pro-Ject Carbon Debut caught my attention; of course, I knew NAD amplifiers, but I didn’t like the idea of preamps, one for digital and another for analogue records cluttering up my already cluttered media centre. The Magnepan speakers weren’t going to work in my space as I needed something that could be close to the wall but not mounted on the wall and thereby competing with the TV for wall space. Bookshelf speakers were the thing. Though I have a lot of respect for Klipsch components, I would be replacing a set of powered Klipsch 2.1 computer speakers after 15+ years – I was looking for something different.
I learned about ELAC and their newer higher end Uni-fi series. I was enamoured with the story of Andrew Jones, a Robin Hood / Johnny Ives of speaker design taking his high end experience and making affordable hi-fi speakers.
SoundHounds has been around longer than me. My parents bought their Harmon Kardon and Boston Acoustics hi-fi system there more than 30 years ago. I headed down to the spot they’d been situated at for the shop’s whole existence and looked around. ELAC – check, Rotel – check, Pro-Ject check… no prices on anything but I had an idea of MSRP and as I talked to one of the gentlemen working there, the prices seemed in line. The service was friendly, encouraging a try before you buy, listen to various components, bring your own pieces if you like mentality. However, nervous of the mounting price of my bundle I started to wonder if there might not be a more affordable turntable with a staged roll-out, rather than a big bang. I left the store without making any purchases or having them hook anything up for me to listen to.
Back home and online, after looking at more reviews, I settled on the Audio Technica LP3. I could get that as a first purchase, use the built-in phono amp to use it with my powered speakers, as an interim setup, and get to listening to my brother’s records sooner rather than later, or at least with a smaller initial price tag.
Ordered from Amazon the turnable arrived super quick, and as I went about setting it up and connecting to my powered speakers, all sorts of static and issues ensued while trying to get it working. It was time to open up the wallet and re-visit SoundHounds, and this time I would bring the turntable and records with me…