Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Record Player: The Set-Up

Over a year ago I decided that I wanted vinyl to be my primary medium for purchasing music. I've never liked purchasing digital music as it feels like a waste of money and CDs are redundant these days. CD cases have always been unattractive - the cases crack and the disc itself gets scratched; overall they're just not very appealing. I can count on my hands the amount of times I've bought a CD over the last couple of years.

After researching some of my favourite artists and how they were putting out music, I knew vinyl records were the solution to my problem. I have always loved the size of vinyl records - getting to see the large, high quality artwork is such a treat and my favourite part is seeing how the disc itself looks; there's so many fun colours and interesting designs these days, but of course the classic black is gorgeous as well.

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The Cab - Whisper War | Blue Vinyl

The hardest thing when starting my vinyl addiction was trying to figure out which record player to get. I thought the first post on My Record Player should be the complete set up and the second post will be a video of my collection so you can look forward to that in the coming weeks.

Let me preface this by saying I am no audio expert. In fact, of all the electronics and media available, I have the most trouble with audio equipment. Like everybody else, I can tell what good sound quality is, but when it comes to the equipment itself I am useless. This is simply my set up and what worked for me. I highly suggest reading vinyl for beginners articles and doing your own research before purchasing a turntable. Without further ado...

My set up:

Turntable: Rega RP-1 (White) with Cork Mat 

Finding the right turntable is one of the biggest challenges of all. Originally, I was going to buy a Crosley as they are so cute, but after about 30 seconds of research I discovered that nearly everyone says they are terrible quality and ruin your records. If you're looking to get into vinyl but you know it's just going to be a fad for you, then I would recommend saving yourself some money by getting a Crosley. But if you picture yourself years from now still listening to records like I do, then I do think it's worth the extra splurge. You're going to pay a lot of money for your records, especially if you get into collecting them, and you should have a decent quality turntable to play them on to make sure you get the best quality sound possible.

The reason I chose the Rega RP-1, is that #1 - so many people recommended it as a great entry-level turntable with high quality sound and #2 - it was available in white. Most record players only come in black or silver, but most of my furniture is white and I knew that if I got a black record player that I wouldn't be as happy with it. Black is a classic colour, but a mood killer for me.

I found the Rega RP-1 fairly straightforward to set up, and had more of a problem with the speakers.

Cost: $514.00

Receiver: Marantz PM5005

This is an item that I don't have a lot to say about as I just don't have the audio knowledge. I've been very happy with it but I know that I am not using it to its full potential. The build quality is excellent and very high-quality. The Marantz PM5005 is available for purchase in both black and silver, but based on previous electronic experience I feel that silver looks much more dated as time goes on so I opted for the black as it matched the black features on my turntable.

Something I did read a lot about when researching receivers is how your receiver + speaker combination matters most, rather than each item by itself. I had seen quite a few people review the Marantz PM5005 with the Q Acoustics 2020i speakers and apparently it's a great combination. Based on the sound I get out of my system, I would agree. It's not life-changing sound, but it's very high quality and I've been very happy with it.

You can read more about the specifications of this receiver here.

Cost: $580.00

Speakers: Q Acoustics 2010i Bookshelf Speakers (Gloss White) with QED 79 Strand 3 Metre Cables

Speakers aren't something that I know too much about either if I'm being honest. I knew that I wanted them white to match the record player and they had to be relatively small so they would fit in my room. I've been very happy with the quality of sound that these produce in combination with the rest of the set-up. It's a very natural sound and sounds beautiful when I play rock albums and quieter acoustic singer-songwriters.

The cables are so great - I didn't want to fuss with speaker wire that you have to cut yourself because it's just too difficult and fiddly. I'm really happy with the QED cables and would recommend buying cables that are ready to go if you're a newbie, rather than trying to figure out how to do it yourself.

Cost: $309.00 speakers (Normally $419.00) + $99 for the cables


So that's my set-up! I know that it's a more than most people would want to pay, but I really do envision myself being a record collector for many, many years to come.

Let me know in the comments what your must-have albums are - I have quite a variation of both classics and new releases which I'll go over in a future post. ♥


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