What's the best/cheapest kind of amplifier to get for a simple turntable/record player?

 Also, I'm looking for speakers...what speakers are appropriate? Do I need to look at the turntable output? I'm asking this cause I don't have much space to put everything so I need to know what I'm looking out for. I don't know much about record players/turntables. :)

Not sure about the cartridge actually... How can I check that? As for the equipment...It's an iphono vinyl record player with a USB interface you can use to connect it to a computer to record music from vinyl records. It also has outputs for R/H and L/H for an amplifier, but I don't know anything more than that...

sort by: active | newest | oldest
orksecurity7 years ago
If you're looking for cheapest: Whatever stereo-system amp or tuneryou can find for free on Freecycle or from a friend. Older ones arefrequently available as folks upgrade and/or clean out their basements,and they work just fine.

Ditto speakers.

If you want best, forget cheap. (And probably forget this turntable, butthat's another matter.)

Since it's recent, it probably has a magnetic cartridge.

ch3m3ng08 (author)  orksecurity7 years ago
Thanks for replying, but I was wondering...scrapping cheap... doyou have any recommendations for turntables/amplifiers/speakers?
Personally, I'm a firm believer that most midrange stereo systems soundgood enough that most listeners can't tell the difference.  (Theyall sound better than MP3's, after all.)
ch3m3ng08 (author)  orksecurity7 years ago
I guess you have a point. :) But we do all have to start somewhere(so I started with a fairly simple turntable, since I don't know muchabout playing vinyl records.... I have a friend who is an acquaintanceof a DJ, so he might know some more stuff about that actually).
Let's put it this way: I started with a midrange Lafayette tuner and speakers, a midrange Girard turntable with a midrange Pickering cartridge, and a midrange JVC (reel to reel) tape deck. That lasted me a good 20 years. I added cassette and CD along the way, and mostly stopped using the reel-to-reel except for editing purposes. I only upgraded the tuner when I got a DVD player and needed something with more inputs (and wanted a remote control); I upgraded the tape deck when I started dubbing my tapes off to DVD; I upgraded the speakers when I was in an apartment where a satellite-and-subs system fit more easily than the old cabinets would. I still have most of the old equipment; it's perfectly usable and may wind up powering additional speakers in other rooms.

I don't believe in "hi-fi" for its own sake. A system should be good enough that it sounds good to you. Every brand has something that will meet your needs; go out and find one of the stores (becoming rare now, alas) which will let you listen to various combinations and look at the control and input/output options until you find something you're comfortable with.

And/or read references like Consumer Reports, who have spent the time to take measurements of some of the available models and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. You may not be able to find those particular models, but this will at least help you learn what to look/listen for.

And remember that almost anything made by Monster Cable is tremendously overpriced. Virtually nothing in a home stereo benefits from being gold-plated; heftier cables are not automatically better cables (I've always used lamp cord for speaker cables); expensive is not better just because it's expensive.
GASSYPOOTS5 years ago
a plastic ziplock bag works great :D
Some good to very good (and sometimes even valuable!) stereo gear is showing up at thrift stores and yard sales.  It helps to recognize real brands (as opposed to "mass market" junk).  With speakers,  you should always (if possible) remove the grille and make sure the surround (rubbery flexible ring around the cone) is OK.  Many woofers were made with a compressed foam surround which can become brittle; there may just be cracks, or it could have broken off completely, but either way, it's toast.  I would pass up speakers with bad surrounds, unless they were particularly good brands and models.  Replacement surrounds cost about $30 a pair, and can be installed by careful DIYers.

This is a golden age for cheap used stereo... $100 can get you a setup that would have cost $1000 or more in the '70s or '80s.
Looking at the specs for the Skytec iPhono USB Turntable (the onlyone matching your description for which I could find specs - apparentlythere are several manufacturers with an iPhono product), it appears thatyou can hook this directly into any receiver that accepts RCA line-levelor phono-level inputs.  I'm not certain what these letters on theswitches stand for, but the following advice may help you determine thisfrom the manual.

If your stereo (like most nowadays) does not have jacks specificallylabeled "phono" (almost always accompanied by a groundterminal) then use the switch on the turntable to select"line" and connect it to any RCA line input on thestereo.  If you have a "phono" jack, select"phono" on the turntable and use this jack instead (rememberto ground the turntable or you will get horrific hum).

On higher-end receivers, there will be a switch labled MM and MC; thisrefers to the type of cartridge on the turntable (either moving magnetor moving coil designs).  Moving magnet cartridges are by far themost prevalent as they are reasonable quality, inexpensive, and producethe highest output.  Moving coils usually have superior fidelitybut have far less output and are significantly more expensive.  Itis a safe bet that this turntable uses a moving magnet cartridge and canbe verified by the existence of a replaceable stylus (moving coildesigns almost always require the entire cartridge to be replaced whenthe stylus wears down).

The topic of which speakers and amplifiers are best suited for vinyl ishotly debated, and one can spend literally infinite sums of money forthe perfectly-matched setup.  My advice to you is to rate yourcurrent system in terms of how it sounds to you.  If you like howit sounds for other things, you'll also like the quality for vinyl aswell.  If you're not happy with it, find a better rig - just keepin mind that you're about to embark on an expensive, never-ending questas it seems that just when you're satisfied with the sound you hearsomething better that you just have to have.

What might be more important for now is that your turntable is locatedon a sturdy shelf as far away from the speakers and other things thatvibrate as possible.  If it is too close to the speakers, or on ashelf that also holds speakers, you will experience feedback at moderatevolumes.  Also, a sturdy location will prevent rumble from theturntable which can at best be annoying and at worst damage your equipment.

Have fun, and enjoy your hi-fi experience.  Let me know if you haveanymore problems or questions.
keydogstony7 years ago
I would look for Self Amplified PC Speakers. Find ones thathave 3.5mm plug.<br />The Turntable most likely has RCA output. <br />You would need RCA Male to 3.5mm Female Adaptor.<br /><br />Search eBay for these items or your local electronics store.<br /><br />Examples:<br /><br />Speakers<br /><a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/WOOD-STEREO-SPEAKER-FOR-PC-LAPTOP-AMPLIFIED-ACTIVE-LOUD_W0QQitemZ180419994735QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAU_Computers_Speakers_Subwoofers?hash=item2a01dea46f">http://cgi.ebay.com/WOOD-STEREO-SPEAKER-FOR-PC-LAPTOP-AMPLIFIED-ACTIVE-LOUD_W0QQitemZ180419994735QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAU_Computers_Speakers_Subwoofers?hash=item2a01dea46f</a><br />or<br /><br /><a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/1200-Watt-Amplified-3-PC-2-1-Computer-Laptop-Speakers_W0QQitemZ200392555109QQcmdZViewItemQQptZPCA_Speakers?hash=item2ea853ba65">http://cgi.ebay.com/1200-Watt-Amplified-3-PC-2-1-Computer-Laptop-Speakers_W0QQitemZ200392555109QQcmdZViewItemQQptZPCA_Speakers?hash=item2ea853ba65</a><br /><br />Adaptor<br /><a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/3-5mm-1-8-stereo-female-mini-jack-to-2-male-RCA-adapter_W0QQitemZ250512995808QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3a53bcf5e0">http://cgi.ebay.com/3-5mm-1-8-stereo-female-mini-jack-to-2-male-RCA-adapter_W0QQitemZ250512995808QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item3a53bcf5e0</a>
Re-design7 years ago
Does it have a magnetic or ceramic cartrige?

If magnetic you'll need a preamp before the amp.
Or, an amplifier with a built-in turntable input (and integratedpreamp).  Kinda hard to find these days, but a used electronicsshop might have one!
acidbass7 years ago
Re-design is right but I recommend peavy amps