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What was the best value purchase you've made and why?


El Tel

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This is an expensive pastime. Most of us are seeking improvements and following upgrade paths and it's an endeavour seemingly without end.

 

Whilst I love seeing threads about $100k+ setups or seeing that someone got a great deal from a retailer and paid $15k for a $20k pair of speakers, some of the best value ("bang-for-buck") upgrades and purchases happen a lot further down the spend-spectrum.

 

What was the best value spend you have made? What gave you the most improvement at a price-point that didn't get you a weekend in the shed for upsetting your spouse? A stand-alone entry-level DAC? A set of interconnects? A new cartridge on your turntable? What was it, and what made it great value in your eyes?

 

Here's mine:

 

I bought a Pro-Ject VC-S2 vinyl record cleaner for about $850. The results have been way beyond my expectations. Whilst it can't repair scratches or other physical issues, I have resurrected records that I thought I would trade-out to the $5 bins at record fares. Records that had so much crackle and associated static caused by ingrained dust and dirt down in the groove that a simple spray-and-wipe product did nothing for them. After running them through a cycle on the VC-S2, I experienced results way beyond my expectations. I'm quite fussy with the quality of my vinyl, so I do trade-out anything that doesn't meet my standards; my trade-out rate has dropped by about 80-90% since I got the VC-S2.

 

 

Edited by El Tel
Idiocy. And spelling. Mostly idiocy.
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Nice idea for the thread.  Think for me in order of price paid:

1. ~$300 new SMSL M8 DAC; silly cheap for something that does a tremendous job - now delegated to the son's system which sounds way better than it oughta;

2. $350 second hand SSD MacBook Pro.  I know there are better servers and streamers and stuff out there; but it is just so easy to use as a music server and streamer.  Love the idea of an Antipodes setup but haven't got around to ditching the Jobs jobby yet.  Listening to the Vampires on Tidal now (cos Qobuz doesn't seem to have 'em.  Loverly.

3. $1600 second hand Consonance Cyber 800 monos.  My first valve power amps and likely to be around as long as I am.

Cheers - A

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Four Au-2900's and three Au-4900's all bought in one foul swoop on Gumtree for peanuts. They all sold for good bucks and they got me an LP12.

Au-7900 bought for $228 at a Tender centre just sold it for $1100 and it's helping finance either a new amp or a new cart.

 

And in keeping with the OP's original thoughts then I'd name the LP12 late model table for $1700 a bargain, with Cirkus and Ittok and Denon DL-304 LOMC. Still dining out on those Sansui's

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5 minutes ago, Luc said:

I'd name the LP12 late model table for $1700 a bargain

Yep. It is.

 

Whilst those a great acquisitions at low prices, and used in the most part to finance other spend, I was interested in intrinsic benefits as opposed to financial benefits.

 

One other revelation I had was how much benefit I got from a cork turntable mat that cost me less than 10 pounds back in the late 80s. That gave clear benefit for not much cost.

 

Keep 'em coming!

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I bought a DYNACO FM-3 valve tuner for $500 from Trevor Lees in Melbourne back in the day (1990s). It was modified to receive the proper FM signal here in Oz, and came with Telefunken 12AX7 output tubes and a complement of other excellent radio tubes. I connected it to my roof aerial and heard the most sublime sounding music  I had experienced from my system to date! This led to a deepening of my lifelong love affair with 2-MBS FM, and especially their live broadcasts; all this goodness was running into a Trevor Lees valve preamp and VTL stereo 75 amps driving the Martin Logan CLS speakers. 

 

I played it night and day for 25 years. Even now I miss it. It might have sounded a touch romantic and lush--but quite unforgettable on vocals, and with correct timbre of instruments.

 

[I have it in the garage but the tuning and sensitivity has 'drifted' and nobody can align it/fix it...several techs have tried] ?

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27 minutes ago, El Tel said:

One other revelation I had was how much benefit I got from a cork turntable mat that cost me less than 10 pounds back in the late 80s. That gave clear benefit for not much cost.

Look at 3mm cork/nitrile from a gasket supplier, works even better.

 

You see it sold at a mark up as mats on ebay.

 

Sometimes they have off cuts in their skip :D

 

Edit: While the cork/nitrile worked well on a Sonab 85s i had,  ultimately it depends on the TT, I went through different mats on my SR-838 and the original factory mat was best.

Edited by muon*
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6 minutes ago, muon* said:

Look at 3mm cork/nitrile from a gasket supplier, works even better.

 

You see it sold at a mark up as mats on ebay.

 

Sometimes they have off cuts in their skip :D

 

Edit: While the cork/nitrile worked well on a Sonab 85s i had,  ultimately it depends on the TT, I went through different mats on my SR-838 and the original factory mat was best.

 

This is a brilliant example of what I really want to hear. Great post.

 

TT mats are at the cheap end of the scale and one can experiment using a different medium (be it felt, cork, leather, neoprene etc) with little financial risk for high potential gain. I'm sure that many people new to the pastime would get great kicks out of cheap improvements like these ones.

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1 hour ago, doogie44 said:

I bought a DYNACO FM-3 valve tuner for $500 from Trevor Lees in Melbourne back in the day (1990s). It was modified to receive the proper FM signal here in Oz, and came with Telefunken 12AX7 output tubes and a complement of other excellent radio tubes. I connected it to my roof aerial and heard the most sublime sounding music  I had experienced from my system to date! This led to a deepening of my lifelong love affair with 2-MBS FM, and especially their live broadcasts; all this goodness was running into a Trevor Lees valve preamp and VTL stereo 75 amps driving the Martin Logan CLS speakers. 

 

I played it night and day for 25 years. Even now I miss it. It might have sounded a touch romantic and lush--but quite unforgettable on vocals, and with correct timbre of instruments.

 

[I have it in the garage but the tuning and sensitivity has 'drifted' and nobody can align it/fix it...several techs have tried] ?

I went into Soundcraftsman in Caulfield back in the 1980s to buy a cheap tuner and walked out with a Tandberg for about x5 what I had budgeted for. 2021 and I still use it nearly every day.

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Bang for buck, two items:

An LPS for my Mac Mini from @Gieseler Audio

and the Incognito silver tonearm rewire loom I recently fitted to my RB303. 
 

in both cases, the outlay was between $400 and $600 but the return was on par with changing whole components at far higher cost. 

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51 minutes ago, proftournesol said:

I went into Soundcraftsman in Caulfield back in the 1980s to buy a cheap tuner and walked out with a Tandberg for about x5 what I had budgeted for. 2021 and I still use it nearly every day.

 

The Tandberg was the top tuner at that time!  :thumb:

 

Graeme Rodwell let me listen to that after the Yamaha T2 ... but I walked out with the T2 - as I couldn't afford the Tandberg.  :(

 

Subsequently, I traded in the T2 for a T1.  Still would like to own a Tandberg.  :)

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr
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When I was a kid,  saw these paper cone speakers that Tandy was discounting to some ridiculous price that only a 10yr old could afford,  bought 2 for what pocket money I had left,  stripped a 3.5mm broken  headphone jack and wired it with these speakers with 240VAC mains cable from a building site, plugged it into a clock radio and hung the speaker on the end of curtain rods on either side.....  turn on the clock radio and I was blown away by the sound stage.......  best money I’d ever spent ever.....

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15 hours ago, andyr said:

 

The Tandberg was the top tuner at that time!  :thumb:

 

Graeme Rodwell let me listen to that after the Yamaha T2 ... but I walked out with the T2 - as I couldn't afford the Tandberg.  :(

 

Subsequently, I traded in the T2 for a T1.  Still would like to own a Tandberg.  :)

 

Andy

 

I listened to the same 2 tuners, and, like you, couldn't afford the Tandberg.

I walked out with the Tandberg?

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Great thread topic!

 

The best value change I ever made was upgrading my digital front end in 2014 - of which the best value 'component' was the bit-perfect renderer RuneAudio which cost ...$0

The Raspberry Pi, DigiPro hat, LKS reclocker and chinese LPS units were also amazing value aspects of that change.

 

 

 

Edited by tripitaka
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A pair of perfectly preserved Proac SuperTablettes, bought from a s/h furniture store in Adelaide several months ago. Apparently they had only just been dropped off and were sitting atop sundry other furniture items on the footpath outside the shop. When I made an enquiry, the owner asked me what I thought they were worth and I cheekily suggested $120, which he promptly accepted!! Best value purchase ever!

Edited by Bisguittin
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Best value?

 

How about a cheap piece of plastic? 🤔 

 

Like the clearaudio little plastic clamp?

 

Record clamps are necessary to reduce time-based jitter...

 

 

...due to slippages over the surface of the platter.

But heavy weights made of metallic materials is not the answer - they create another problem, another more insidious problem - that of magnetic field interference.

The solution is a cheap pieces of plastic like the one sold by clearaudio - the souther clamp which grips onto the spindle and platter and prevents record slippage while at the same time, imposes no magnetic field interference onto the cartridge.

 

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2 hours ago, jeromelang said:

Best value?

 

How about a cheap piece of plastic? 🤔 

 

Like the clearaudio little plastic clamp?

 

Record clamps are necessary to reduce time-based jitter...

 

 

...due to slippages over the surface of the platter.

But heavy weights made of metallic materials is not the answer - they create another problem, another more insidious problem - that of magnetic field interference.

The solution is a cheap pieces of plastic like the one sold by clearaudio - the souther clamp which grips onto the spindle and platter and prevents record slippage while at the same time, imposes no magnetic field interference onto the cartridge.

 

Great product, but not so cheap nowadays in my view. 3-D printers are a wonderful thing🙂.

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My DEQX HDP3 purchased in 2010 with the Earth Works measurement mic - cost was between $3-4K...I can't remember exactly.

 

As a pre-amp/3 way active crossover/speaker correction/room correction single box solution it's hard to beat....

 

...after that - layers of Tontine Acoustisorb3 for room treatment.

 

Mike

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Without a doubt the Earstudio ES100 bluetooth/USB dac/amp dongle thingy. The most important piece of gear is the one you use most, that makes you able to listen to music more. I use mine daily. I lost it, and bought it again. 

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