Sound Advice: For converting LPs, you have options
August 11, 2013 4:00 AM
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB turntable is worth the investment.
By Don Lindich
Question: I need advice about equipment for converting LP records to digital. I really don't want to invest a lot of money on a turntable as I do not have an audio system. I have a PC with iTunes and an iPad 3.
Answer: Don't forget, the better the turntable, the better sounding your files will be. I think the $237 Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB would be worth the investment. Otherwise, check out the Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB for $125 or find a cheap turntable and get a $40 Griffen iMic to handle conversion.
Vintage equipment repair, Part 2: Much like my recent columns on home recording, the column on repairing vintage speakers generated a flood of email. There were a few common themes in most of them.
The first regards repair centers. If the gear is relatively recent (less than five to 10 years old), your best bet may be sending it to the manufacturer.
Certain equipment is probably not worth repairing because of the cost and obsolescence. A good example of this is audio/video receivers without HDMI. They may be useful as a stereo receiver in a music system, but without HDMI they don't belong in a modern home theater setup. The same goes for disc players. If your DVD player, CD player or Blu-ray player dies, you should pretty much plan on consigning it to the junk heap.
Vintage stereo receivers, preamplifiers and amplifiers are often worth repairing. A good deal of this equipment (especially from the 1980s and early 1990s) is much better than current stereo gear that populates the lower price ranges. Some of the best brands from this period are NAD, Adcom, Rotel and Harman/Kardon.
The first three are especially noteworthy as they provide much of the same performance as very high-end gear, while costing significantly less. Any competent audio repair shop should be able to fix them. Some good shops I know of are Atlas Audio Repair (www.atlasaudiorepair.com) and Galaxie Electronics (www.galaxieelectronics.com), both of which are in Western Pennsylvania but accept repairs from anywhere.
I had at least 20 emails about repairing speakers with rotting woofer surround foam. A common concern is the cost of shipping a speaker to the company I recommended, Speaker Exchange (speakerex.com) in Tampa, Fla. You do not have to ship the entire speaker. You can just remove the woofer, pack it up and send it. It's easy to remove as there are usually four screws attaching the woofer to the front of the speaker and the wires on the back are easily disconnected.
About a year ago, I came across a pair of high-end German Magnat speakers at a flea market. They sold for about $800 per pair back in the 1980s. I bought them for $15. I got them home, and one was perfect but the other had a rattling sound in the woofer. I took out the woofer, sent it to Speaker Exchange and less than two weeks -- and about $100 -- later I had a perfect-sounding pair of Magnats. I knew they would do it right, and they did.