Turntable Questions

Harry

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Yeah, I seem to recall some "extra parts" that have come with some of my P-mount cartridges that were listed as universal mounts.

Harry
 

Rudy

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I remember when P-Mount was the "new thing" in turntables. It came around only a few years before the CD era. The idea was that a cartridge should just plug in and be usable--no worrying about alignment, tracking force or anti-skating. With a standard cartridge, it does take some work to set it up. It is not difficult, but requires some precision. And good eyes!

I've been at war with my one turntable since I bought it new in 1983. It is a belt drive turntable, imported from the UK, and it always gave me issues with speed. (A Walker CJ55.) Not only did it run slightly fast, it could waver all over the place. Piano sounded horrible. I got them to send me a second belt, which somewhat helped...but not much. In the mid 90s I finally found a used Denon turntable and moved my tonearm (Grace G707-II) over to it. Within the past three years, I have gone from the Denon, back to the Walker (with a borrowed belt), back to the Denon and as of this past Thursday, back to the Walker one last time. I finally landed a new belt for it from a UK Amazon seller at about the third the price of what some local companies wanted. The pitch is very steady now (have not yet tried with piano music), and for some odd reason, the speed now seems to be correct also. This is going to hold me over for a few months until I order in turntable and cartridge I've been looking at. Cartridge first, as mine is worn out (stylus is shot).

Anyway, moving the tonearm back and forth between turntables is a bit of work and requires a handful of adjustments. I plan on doing a turntable setup guide in the near future for another site, but this is a quick list of the steps I go through to mount the arm and cartridge, and the adjustments.
  1. Mount tonearm so center of pivot point is 222mm from center of spindle.
  2. Check top of headshell so it is parallel to record surface (not tilted, aka azimuth).
  3. Mount cartridge, shimming if necessary (for #2 above). Screws slightly snug.
  4. Align cartridge with a cartridge protractor. Tighten screws.
  5. Set VTA (vertical tracking angle) by making sure arm is parallel to record surface.
  6. Set counterweight to zero; dial in recommended tracking force with counterweight. Check with stylus gauge for accuracy and tweak.
  7. Set anti-skating force using disc with no grooves--arm should not drift inward or outward while rotating. (Insures stylus applies same pressure to left and right sides of groove.)
  8. Check with a test disc (usually the Shure Audio Obstacle Course).
  9. Do some additional listening with known records and tweak anything as needed.
After hearing how good it sounds, the work is well worth it. :D
 

Rudy

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Wow, I can't believe the Ortofon 320 is so expensive now. I guess I did get it at a great price, now I'm tempted to get another at the $54.00 price but I hesitate because what if my turntable goes out then I'm left with a cartridge that may not fit another table. I've had my Technics Quartz Direct Drive table for so long and I got it used from a record store and has been working perfectly, I'm just afraid of one day it not working. I don't want to think about that day....

Actually, I was re-reading the blurb on the lpgear.com site, and your 320 should have shipped with a 1/2" mount adapter. So, you're all set for the future!

The Ortofon 300 series of cartridges offer superb craftsmanship, excellent performance, exemplary value, natural tone and musical expression in a single extraordinary package. Designed for broad application, they are primarily fitted for P-mount or T4P tonearms and, with the supplied half-inch adapter, they can be easily mounted on Standard (Half-inch) tonearms. As in other series within the Ortofon magnetic phono cartridge range, your investment in an entry level cartridge does not become obsolete. When your appreciation of music detail develops and your demands for sophisticated electronics grow, you can quickly upgrade performance by simply installing a better stylus within the series.

I highlighted that last bit, as anyone could "Frankenstein" their own 320 cartridge by buying a 305 cartridge for $40 (if you can find one--it is discontinued but there is still a little stock out there), and the 320 stylus upgrade for $54. Cost of the 320 cartridge outright is $249! For the $155 savings, you could buy another 320 stylus or two as spares and still have money left over for records. :D
 

KentTeffeteller

Well-Known Member
I was never a P mount fan. No flexibility. I am biased, I like broadcast tonearms. 12" especially so. I can mount cartridges fast and align them easily.
 

AM Matt

Forum Undertaker
I bought an Ortofon needle with the DENON DP300F for my birthday back on May 5!! It is the top of the line!! :):cool::goodie::exactly: Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

Captain Bacardi

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Moderator
I finally did some splurging on a new turntable. I actually saved some money from selling my house (and despite getting married! :laugh:). So I found a really nice turntable at Music Direct. It's a Rega RP3 with a ELYS MK2 MM cartridge that's factory fitted. This wasn't cheap but I figured it's the last turntable I would really need. It's gotten great reviews and is pretty much a plug and play thing. I saw other turntables that you'd have to assemble and I didn't want to go through all of that. It shipped today so I should have it next week sometime.

They have some pretty heavy duty stuff there. I saw one turntable that priced just under $38,000!!!! A little out of my budget...... :eek:



Capt. Bacardi
 

Rudy

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I forgot about this thread. :laugh:

So I found a really nice turntable at Music Direct. It's a Rega RP3 with a ELYS MK2 MM cartridge that's factory fitted.

You'll be amazed at how much better vinyl will sound now. :agree: One thing you might need to do is get an isolation platform, or make sure it is resting on something with a lot of mass. A friend of mine in Chicago had a Rega Planar 3 (which goes waaaay back) and in his house (which is a wood floor suspended over a basement), he even noticed he could hear his dog walking across the wood floor. He bought a shelf to mount to the wall, and no more problem with noise from moving around the house. He ended up selling it and going with a VPI Classic 2 (he lives in Chicago, so MusicDirect is unfortunately a local temptation :laugh: ). His only issue with the Rega was that it occasionally made a "thump" while playing--it was used quite heavily, and a couple of decades old, so it was just a matter of age and wear. Otherwise he always enjoyed the sound of it!

There are two schools of thought in turntable design--one is mass-loading, where your platter and plinth are heavy, to dissipate the energy into the unit itself. Rega and others use a lightweight (low mass) plinth, and the idea is to dissipate the energy out of the turntable through the feet, and into what it is mounted on. Aside from wall shelves and isolation platforms, I've heard of some users putting it on a table or stand that has a maple "butcher block" or even a granite top to it. Either way, the idea is to get all that resonance away from the record/cartridge interface so you are hearing what is in the grooves, uncolored by any resonances in the system.

RP3:

upload_2014-10-31_11-21-33.png


Here's your $37,900 option:

upload_2014-10-31_11-19-40.png

:D
 

Rudy

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Just an update here--I did upgrade my TT also, in early February, so the old Walker/Grace combo has been retired for now.

My last post in January, though, sort of makes me laugh--once that cartridge got broken in, and I started playing more and more vinyl, and tweaking it time and again, it amazed me at what a poor tracker it was. For what it cost, it just had me stewing the longer I used it. It got to the point where, towards the end of the summer, I didn't even play much of anything. It also had a "forward" sound characteristic that became annoying. I should admit that the only other Ortofon I owned was one of those in the now-obsolete OM series, and it was quite nasty.

All in the past now. I finally got everything in place and have a Dynavector 17D3 as a replacement. The Shure V15VMR was very hard to beat in terms of tracking (yet discontinued), and as this new one has broken in, it is proving to track as good, if not slightly better, than the V15. I did need to get a pre-preamp to give it proper loading and raise its low output (it's a moving coil). But now I'm back to spinning vinyl way more than I should be. :D

The Shure's stylus is heading over to Soundsmith early next year for the middle level retip, as I want to use this on a second turntable. I could get the Jico/SAS but they are quite nasty sounding very bright, gritty and unmusical IMHO. Peter's retip includes a ruby cantilever and "contact line" stylus.
 
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Captain Bacardi

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Moderator
The turntable arrived today. My wife was just about to leave the house when the FedEx guy arrived. It took me a little while to get everything set up (not to mention get the old turntable out of its tight space). What's a little weird is that this Rega has its' own on/off switch. I'm so used to the disc moving as soon as I move the tonearm so this will be a bit of an adjustment. But it sounds great. The first LP I put on was the MFSL Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 and man it sounded great! It's like listening to my vinyl for the first time again. I'm off on Monday so I'll really crank this thing up while the wife is at work! :righton:



Capt. Bacardi
 

Rudy

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Wait until you find some good 180g vinyl. I've really liked the Led Zep reissues, and the Beatles mono box is a definite keeper (as it was cut from the analog masters).
 

JeffM

Well-Known Member
Come on now, let's not be plebeian here. If you have about $150,000 you can get one of these.

expensive-stereo-system.jpg


I still think it looks like a Klingon sex toy...
 

Rudy

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The Clearaudio Statement. Honestly can't say I know anyone who owns that one. Michael Fremer owns the Continuum Caliburn turntable/Cobra tonearm combo he reviewed, which costs not quite $90,000. http://www.stereophile.com/turntables/106con/index.html Can't say I've ever heard that one either. :wink: More power to 'em if anyone wants to spend this much There are many out there who are deeper into vinyl playback than most of us are!

For me it would be a matter of diminishing returns--I already took a large jump upward to what I have now, so would I have to spend 20x as much to get a noticeable difference in sound quality? To be honest I'd probably hear little difference. I have other upgrades I need first...power amp and preamp, speakers, a car or two, etc. :laugh:

I'm OK with just about anything except those Crosley record shredders and their competitors, where I wouldn't play anything on one of those but beaten records from garage sales, flea markets, thrift shops or the dollar bin at the used record shops (which are the records closest to the dumpster--you know, dozens of copies of albums by The Eagles and REO Speedwagon :laugh: ). Even the mass market turntables (from the major consumer brands) are crap these days--a lot of plastic, flimsy platters, plasticky tonearms that have no sort of precision feel to them. I'll get an old Pioneer, Technics, Kenwood, Dual, etc. from the 70s, built sturdy and still running strong. There are plenty of others that anyone could buy for a similar price to the record shredders, and tack a decent cartridge onto, which would be easier on the records and sound worlds better. I cringe whenever I play an LP I once played on my $69 G.E. stereo, and hear the damage the cartridge did to the vinyl.

Funny though, I picture Klingon sex toys being a bit more...barbaric, perhaps? :D
 

Captain Bacardi

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Wait until you find some good 180g vinyl. I've really liked the Led Zep reissues, and the Beatles mono box is a definite keeper (as it was cut from the analog masters).

I already have the Beatles mono box set on CD so I'm not about to buy yet another version of that. I did see some Miles and Coltrane 180g vinyl so I'll probably go in that direction. Our local Fry's has quite a few vinyl LPs.


Capt. Bacardi
 

Rudy

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The Beatles mono box is unique in that it is cut directly from the mono analog masters, unlike the stereo which was cut from a digital master. I already have the stereo vinyl box (UK pressing, since EMI blew it in the U.S. and the pressings are crap). If I didn't have other expenses right now, I'd grab one. If it is as limited as they say, it'll be worth quite a bit once it goes out of print. I'll wish I could have hoarded a few. :D

There are some dodgy imports on vinyl to be aware of. I tend to stick to well known labels these days. And you can count on Universal screwing up vinyl. My last Dire Straits purchase shows they are still clueless....
 

KentTeffeteller

Well-Known Member
I prefer broadcast grade, I maintain them at work, I like em reliable and dependable and fine sounding when I get home and spin my own music. Technics SP-25 with an Audio-Technica ATP 16-T and a Stanton 681 EEE-S II cartridge. In a custom plinth. Low maintenance and great performing. Pitch control when I need it. Consistent all the time. Like Colt 45 malt liquor, it works every time.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

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Thread Starter
DAVE,

I had to take a 2nd look at your photo above because at first I said wait that is my turntable ha....but mine # is SL-Q350 mine has a light in the left corner....I got it from a local record shop many yrs ago (his shop is gone now) I love it and at the recommendation of those here I replaced the stylus with a Ortofon 320.....it's the best investment I made and it made all my records sound 100 X better.
 

KentTeffeteller

Well-Known Member
And in spite of my bias for things broadcast, I do still love better belt drives. I adopted a nice Thorens TD 165 in need of love. And the experience is musical. Which means I have 3 turntables now.
 

Rudy

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Update: the Ortofon 320 is getting more pricey--the cartridge line is discontinued, but they still have the 320 stylus replacement available for $55. Give that is still a bargain for a "fine line" type of stylus tip, I wouldn't hesitate to order a spare or two when anyone gets a chance. The 305 and 310 cartridges are out of stock in most places, although if you could land just the body cheap on eBay, adding the new $55 stylus would be a no-brainer. And again, the 1/2" adapter will save you when you upgrade turntables, as you can still use the cartridge on a standard mount.
 

KentTeffeteller

Well-Known Member
Rabco= Drama queen. Very tweaky. Unreliable. Get a 12" Pivoted transcription tonearm which tracks with the same or better accuracy than 99.9 percent of so called tangentials and is simple with few moving parts. Rabco is not mountable on a AR.
 

Rudy

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Update: the Ortofon 320 is getting more pricey--the cartridge line is discontinued, but they still have the 320 stylus replacement available for $55. Give that is still a bargain for a "fine line" type of stylus tip, I wouldn't hesitate to order a spare or two when anyone gets a chance. The 305 and 310 cartridges are out of stock in most places, although if you could land just the body cheap on eBay, adding the new $55 stylus would be a no-brainer. And again, the 1/2" adapter will save you when you upgrade turntables, as you can still use the cartridge on a standard mount.

Another update. I remember a couple of 320s floating around this forum, and LP Gear still has the replacement stylus available for $50.


As above, anyone with a 305 or 310 body can improve tracking by replacing it with a 320 stylus, which is the fine line cut (narrower than an elliptical).
 
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