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sonnylistner



Posts : 9
Join date : 2013-02-22

PostSubject: Turntables   Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:57 am

Found this website and I am re-educating myself about high-end audio and great sound. I have a question about turntables-- Should I use an old Technics direct drive unit that is light with a low mass tonearm, or one of the newer decks that limit vibration and use a high mass arm? Also, what type of TT mat? I am getting back into vinyl after a 20+ year layoff and am enjoying music with my wife and kids. I have wasted a ton of money over the last 2 decades on this hobby without getting better sound until a few days ago when I started to remove the covers of my equipment, remove all the anti-vibration tweaks, and put up a couple of corner tunes. OMG! Dynamics, Harmonics, and Real Music! Goosebumps! Thanks in advance with any insight into the turntable questions.
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Sonic.beaver



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Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Turntables   Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:27 am



Hi sonnylistener

Welcome to the Tune!

You've asked some good questions and Sonic here has been listening to digital too long and I'm now getting back into records...and in my case early vinyl, shellacs -- the SPs and EPs.

Which Technics direct drive do you have and what cartridge do you intend to use or are using?

From the Tune, overly complex, over-built massive structures inhibit musick more than reproduce it right. So if your TT is light, there is a lot you can do with it. If it is a 1200, there are a lot of mods you can employ.

I am using an AudioTechnica AT LP120 (a Technics 1200 clone) with a Shure M78 and Stanton 500 for SPs. I have an AR XA (single motor, no cueing lever) which I am changing shortly to a Denon moving coil.

The arm is dependent on your cartridge mass and compliance. A high mass arm works best with higher mass, lower compliance cartridges like MCs. I like Denon 103s a lot. The Micro Seikis were excellent but that company is gone now. Decca Londons are great but only when they are working. If not, they chew up you records.

I use a rubber mat on the AT. It damps the platter better and doesn't slip. It sounds a lot better than a felt mat. The AR is used with a felt mat but I will test a few once the Denon is installed. There is a lot of hype around mats but something than damps too much is to be avoided. but don't go the other way with ceramic mats and strange stuff, they are expensive and the weight can stress a bearing. A centre clamp is a good thing but again nothing too heavy. I am looking for a narrow tall brass on of moderate weight to use on SPs when the arm swings further in than LPs.

Remember alignment of the cartridge makes a huge difference. If you are playing LPs, a Baerwald protractor is something you need. Don't just use those cards with two zero points. They are better than one zero point but you could set them to zero but have a high tracking distortion if the setting and cartridge angling doesn't take into account the overhang and tonearm pivot distance.

For SPs, I use an alignment method to ensure zero tracking distortion/error at the innermost grooves.

Sonic

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sonnylistner



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Join date : 2013-02-22

PostSubject: Turntables   Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:23 am

Hi Sonic--thanks for the reply. To answer your question, the Technics model is the 2000, which might be the cheapest TT that Technics made. Bought it in 1977 and the motor still works! The bottom is made of cardboard, and the unit is very light. Installed an Ortofon 2m red and the thing is making music. In a closet with loads of audio gear, is a Sota Saphire with SME V tonearm and Van den Hul cart. The unit has a custom power supply/motor and a custom phono stage for the cartridge that were prototypes for the stuff that became Walker Audio. The Sota always sounded lifeless but I need to give it another try. It needs a new belt. Was wondering if I should look into a direct drive table on the used market and try to tune it, or stay with the tables I have?
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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Turntables   Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:38 pm

Hi Sonny

Welcome to TuneLand

Many have traveled down that long road to killing the sound unfortunately, so it's great that you have found us. Let me know what I can do to help you on your journey back to music.

wonderful to have you here Exclamation

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Sonic.beaver



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Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Turntables   Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:51 am


Hi Sonny

What's the rest of your system like? Send a pix or two sending the JPEGs to Michael and he will post them up.

On paper the Sota is the superior machine and the SME V is a top arm. The deadness you report can come from many factors. But one thing stands out -- the Sota has a constrained layer platter to manage vibrations and the top layer is acrylic. Acrylic is a dead-sounding material, so that might be the cause. Is there viscous damping and lots of rubber grommets anywhere? All these cause deadness.

For instance if there are rubber grommets or doughnuts between the arm base and the turntable armboard, removing them improves the life, pace and timing of the musick. Viscous damping is not good except with unipivots and Decca cartridges. Are the suspension springs damped with sorbothane? Again another way musicality is damped away.

Michael has good products to support the tables. The AAB1x1 cones and the round tip cones he supplies are very good (I use them under all my gear). For things like turntables with a decoupling compliance, I won't suggest adding more compliance by sitting the table on Springs or Spring platforms. In my experience, all these compliances end up working against each other the the result is bad. So best is a TT placed on cones, then your rack and to ground. A lot of Michael's theories are around mechanical grounding which is hugely important with turntables, CD players and tape decks. Amps too but that's another story.

The Technics 2000 is one of their budget tables. If you had the 1200, that's something you can tune and go very far with. This one....looks dicey and the arm is strange.

Direct drives can be tuned and can sound good but belt drives have advantages too. Michael tuned an AR XB till it was super live.

You might want to revive the Sota, align the cartridge right and compare it with the Technics (not switching quickly but listening for a few days as they each settle) and make your choice. You may prefer the Sota and decide to tune it, you might like the 2000 or decide against both, keeping the SME V and getting another table.

Let's hear from Michael and your thoughts...

Sonic



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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Turntables   Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:53 am

I have a very healthy respect for springs and use them often but on a table you have to be careful to match a spring setup to your floor. Floors and springs are like brothers when it comes to tables and the amount of talking that goes on between the two is huge and you have to be ready and willing to do a pre listening setup every time you put a vinyl on then in most cases tiptoe back to your seat.

The materials a table is made of and the accessories are what make the sound of the record. When playing with tables it is easy and often the case that the table can come out way over dampened giving you spots (holes) in the stage. Surprisingly when you compare a table not done right against a CD done right you will hear a lot of information missing in the vinyl. At first it sounds cool and you think clean but if you pay attention it's actually missing. Once you start removing the dampening you are greeted with all these hidden movements in the music almost sounding like ghost in the ambiance. This again is something that I have had to live with in High End. Once you are use to the music missing you hear it every time and it sticks out at you.

For myself I would go with a simple table every time and spend a lot of time listening to what the table is made out of. This is what I do with everything. Audio signal is and sounds like the materials that host it. This is number one for me. Next I start thinking about grounding. Mechanical grounding is an art that must be mastered by the listener in their own home. I'm use to hearing if something is not right because I go to so many systems but if by myself the only way to hear the sound of a component is to break it down to the very operational parts only and see how they respond to the environment and each other. Honestly if I had a table again it would not be sitting on a stand but a platform stand. The device under a table is where you can make or break the sound of vinyl and all the attributes of it. If someone buys a table and stops at the feet of it they are missing out on what a table can do. Dampening a table too quickly on the way to ground will cause sonic holes that can not be recovered from any arm/motor/platter design. These parts are built to dissipate energy and you need to find how far out from the actual contact point you need to go before you start dampening the sound. Folks who do this right at the cartridge for me do it way too soon. There are many expensive front ends that the industry can keep as they suck the life out way before it ever gets started. For me I like to let energy develop and catch things in the dissipating stage so I can tailor a much bigger tonal response.

Grommets can a usually are disastrous to the sound, as they are throughout the audio chain and sooner or later serious listeners hear this and start thinking about why their systems sound like their own little world instead of the openness that music naturally has.

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sonnylistner



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Join date : 2013-02-22

PostSubject: Turntables   Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:59 am

Sonic- I will post pics as soon as I get a chance. In the system right now: Dynaudio speakers, Jeff Roland amp, custom preamp, Vincent phono, Nordost speaker cables, Virtual Mode interconnects, Benchmark Dac, Magnavox CD player, and Romex power cords. Yup, Romex! Other stuff that I use that still works when I want a different flavor: Jadis amp, Audio Research preamp, Theta transport and Dac, PS Audio Power Plants, REL sub, Reference Line Passive pre and interconnects, Nordost powercords, and many tweaks like Mpingo Disks etc. The small amount of tuning made a bigger positive difference than any component change!
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