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Upgrading, Another newbie thread. Yay
SBelmont
post Jan 4 2014, 01:30
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Well, I've recently accumulated a large batch of records, mostly LPs and 78s. My brother used to be a big vinyl guy a couple years back, and he gave me his "dregs" (mostly mid-late 2000's pop 12" singles, and some old beat up albums). I also inherited about 60 or so 78s from 1905 to 1952, half classical and half jazz. All I have for playing them is a crummy old Crosley (which can only play 78s, as I lost the 33 needle a while ago when I was converting the 78s to CD-R's. Woops!). Yuck. IIRC, we also might have an old Philco radio with a record changer that kinda slides out from the middle (my grandfather had several old phonographs, none of them working, and we sold a couple to a collector after he passed away) in the storage room. I wouldn't really trust that thing to even turn on properly, let alone play records blink.gif Soooooo, I'm obviously on the hunt to upgrade.

Now, I'm quite aware of the factors affecting sound quality. I know that good tables have removable magnetic cartridges, a speed strobe, anti-skate, counterweight, S-shaped tonearm, height adjustment, and speed adjustment. Direct drives are more preferable to belt drives in terms of speed adjustments, except for high-end tables. Also, all good tables are heavy enough to kill you if dropped from a tall building. My brother once told me about some of these things, and I've read stuff online about it.

Preferably, I want a 3 speed turntable so I can play all of the records without having to clutter things up with 2 tables. I also really dislike the idea of 2-speed turntables. Every turntable I've used has 3 speeds. If it's just 2, that's just cheap no matter the price range. rolleyes.gif My brother actually has the Audio-Technica AT-120, which probably hasn't been used at all in this decade, and it's definitely a huge step up from the Crosley. It's got all the trimmings, and while there ARE better turntables out there (at a much higher price point), the jump between the AT120 and some $5000 table is probably not not going to be nearly as big as the jump from a Crosley to an AT120. There's a point of diminishing returns, and it's gotta be somewhere. Common sense. Unfortunately, he's very protective and possessive of his stuff, and since I'm the dumb little brother who couldn't possibly know how to operate such a delicate piece of equipment, I have a snowball's chance in hell of him actually giving it to me. Also, it's missing the headshell, cart, and needle.

Since I've got about $225 in Christmas money, I've been looking around to see what's out there. I'd also have to spend $60 at least for the headshell/cart/needle, so I guess my budget's actually $165 max. Also, whatever an amp costs, although I think my brother might let me have his old one. And wouldn't you know, everything in that price range is all crap. It's mostly the ones that are virtually identical to the one my dad had back in the late '90s (those automatic turntables, sold under Sony/Denon/Pioneer, maybe other names), and the crummy Crosley/Pyle/Electrohome "nostalgic" turntables (ie: what I have already). On the used market, it's just beat up old turntables from the 70s and 80s. There is a thrift shop around the corner, but it's probably full of everything but what I'm looking for and populated with hipsters and fat weirdos drooling at old microwaves or something blink.gif I am intrigued by the Crosley Advance, which surprisingly has an S-shaped tonearm, 3 speeds, removable cartridge, speed strobe, pitch control, and a full sized platter. It's only $140, which is the same range as the 2-speed automatics. However, I'm also quite suspicious, since it IS a Crosley after all. Does anyone have any advice?
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Apesbrain
post Jan 4 2014, 01:54
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You might like this:
http://uturnaudio.com/
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spiralinsana
post Jan 4 2014, 03:47
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QUOTE (SBelmont @ Jan 3 2014, 20:30) *
[...] I'm quite aware of the factors affecting sound quality. I know that good tables have removable magnetic cartridges, a speed strobe, anti-skate, counterweight, S-shaped tonearm, height adjustment, and speed adjustment. Direct drives are more preferable to belt drives in terms of speed adjustments, except for high-end tables. Also, all good tables are heavy enough to kill you if dropped from a tall building. My brother once told me about some of these things, and I've read stuff online about it. [...] Does anyone have any advice?


My advice is forget everything your brother's told you and head on over to vinylengine.com for further reading.
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SBelmont
post Jan 4 2014, 04:31
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QUOTE (Apesbrain @ Jan 3 2014, 19:54) *
You might like this:
http://uturnaudio.com/

Ooooooh, this IS a nice find. I'll have to look into this! biggrin.gif
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Glenn Gundlach
post Jan 4 2014, 05:25
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You mentioned S shaped arms twice. To bend the S shape requires the arm to be heavier (thicker) to not kink in the bending process. The first S arm I know of was the AR turntable from the '60s and it became the 'fashion' when the Japanese started making lots of turntables. There is no technical reason _for_ the S shape and the mass issue is against it.

You want the arm bearing friction to be zero and the mass to be extremely low. Carbon graphite and thinwall aluminum work well. Now for the bad news on old cartridges. The rubber components in the stylus will harden with age and make the stylus damage the disc rather than play it properly and makes no difference if the stylus has zero usage. This has happened to me.

Everyone should live with a turnable and vinyl for a while so that you appreciate just how good digital actually can be.

Happy New Year

G
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SBelmont
post Jan 4 2014, 19:42
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QUOTE (Glenn Gundlach @ Jan 3 2014, 23:25) *
You mentioned S shaped arms twice. To bend the S shape requires the arm to be heavier (thicker) to not kink in the bending process. The first S arm I know of was the AR turntable from the '60s and it became the 'fashion' when the Japanese started making lots of turntables. There is no technical reason _for_ the S shape and the mass issue is against it.

The main reason I've heard is that the S-Shape allows the needle to track the record at more or less the same angle throughout the record, which is supposed to improve sound quality. However, "straight" arms also angle the cartridge inwards. I don't think I've ever seen a truly straight arm where the needle is parallel to the arm, come to think of it.
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DVDdoug
post Jan 5 2014, 07:07
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QUOTE
S-shaped tonearm
You can make the tonearm any crazy shape you want and you still get the same-exact arc across the record. wink.gif The only things you can change are the distance from the pivot to the stylus, and the cartridge angle. Hopefully, every turntable manufacturer has the correct (or optimum) dimensions nailed.

QUOTE
Direct drives are more preferable to belt drives in terms of speed adjustments, except for high-end tables
You can make a good turntable either way. The nice thing about direct drive is that you don't have to worry about a belt wearing out. The theory of belt drive is that the belt isolates motor vibrations from the platter. DJs like direct drive because with the platter is not isolated form the platform so back-cueing and "scratching" is more stable.

QUOTE
Preferably, I want a 3 speed turntable so I can play all of the records without having to clutter things up with 2 tables. I also really dislike the idea of 2-speed turntables. Every turntable I've used has 3 speeds. If it's just 2, that's just cheap no matter the price range.
It's probably because 78's haven't been made for about 60 years and almost nobody has 78's. It takes a different cartridge (or stylus) to play them, and their low-fidelity makes them undesirable to audiophiles.

QUOTE
My brother actually has the Audio-Technica AT-120, which probably hasn't been used at all in this decade, and it's definitely a huge step up from the Crosley. It's got all the trimmings, and while there ARE better turntables out there (at a much higher price point), the jump between the AT120 and some $5000 table is probably not going to be nearly as big as the jump from a Crosley to an AT120.
Right! IMO, there is no point in spending even $1000, since vinyl is never going to sound as good* as a $50 CD player. It's been many years since I've purchased a turntable, but I feel like the "sweet spot" is about $200 - $300. Since you want 3-speeds, your choices are more limited and you may end-up spending more. Shure's best cartridge is less than $100, so I don't see any point in spending more than that on a cartridge. Of course, you'll also need a 78 cartridge or stylus and apparently you'll also need a phono preamp. You should be able to get a good phono preamp for less than $100 (with modern electronics, the parts are cheap) but I don't have any recommendations.






* I'm talking about the technical aspects of sound quality - Noise, distortion, frequency response. Some people prefer vinyl, and to them it may sound "better".
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4season
post Jan 5 2014, 17:37
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It sounds to me like the OP's brother was basically recommending something along the lines of a Technics SL1200 Mk II, and I think that'd be a swell choice, although finding one that's not too battered for $200 may be a challenge, and support for 78s requires a 3rd party modification from KABUSA.

Yes it's a 1970s design, but what's wrong with that? Large companies were investing major R&D money into turntable technology at the time, and with the SL1200 Mk II, you have a nearly bulletproof product with great wow and flutter specs, high torque motor (with brake!) which reaches full speed in a fraction of a revolution--and they even published specs for tonearm pivot friction! Happily, the DJ crowd kept the SL1200 flames burning for years, and production ended only within the last couple of years, so there's lots of these things floating around.

Simply getting a turntable platter to spin at a steady speed is easy; getting it to do so under a continuously varying load created by stylus drag isn't. But Technics seems to have solved that brilliantly with their quartz-locked drives: You can lightly drag your finger on the edge of the platter without causing any audible pitch variance. Try doing that with a precious audiophile-approved belt-drive turntable!

But you could be shopping for a long while before finding a clean SL1200 for $200, and we still haven't addressed your 78 issue, have we. Used Lenco or Thorens turntables may also work, and some are FOUR-speed devices. But they're vintage and likely to need at least some cleanup.

So how's about this?
Stanton T.92 USB Turntable
Wow & flutter specs are an order of magnitude worse than the SL1200, but at least they still publish the spec. With most audiophile turntables these days, who knows what they deliver? Beware of DJ tables with straight arms, because those may be designed to prevent skipping while back-cueing, not for tracking accuracy (which is what I think your brother was suggesting).
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SBelmont
post Jan 8 2014, 02:26
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QUOTE (4season @ Jan 5 2014, 11:37) *
It sounds to me like the OP's brother was basically recommending something along the lines of a Technics SL1200 Mk II, and I think that'd be a swell choice, although finding one that's not too battered for $200 may be a challenge, and support for 78s requires a 3rd party modification from KABUSA.

Considering he already has an AT-LP120, that would be like my dad telling me to buy a BMW 7 series when he owns a 3 series (not that I have that kind of money for a car anyway tongue.gif). Yes, one is better and more expensive than the other, but it seems a tad silly to recommend the highest-end version when they own the 'lesser' version. he want really recommending anything, he was just telling me what made his new TT better than his old one (which is my Crosley). That was a couple years ago.

TBH, the AT would probably fit my needs better than a battered Technics. Although I don't plan on listening (ie: day to day for pleasure), I do wish to convert them in the highest quality for sentimental and preservational reasons. Plus, I like to do things in real time so I don't have to waste time and disk space with longer files. And both sound good enough for me at 33 RPM, especially since I don't have a reference quality setup (a pair of bookshelf speakers and a surprisingly good little Bose radio). God knows I don't need to get sucked down THAT route >_>
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SBelmont
post Jan 16 2014, 23:28
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With the Stantons, is it possible to switch the tonearm/headshell out so that the cartridge is properly offset? It seems like a fairly simple solution. Is it more complicated than that?
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Apesbrain
post Jan 17 2014, 01:08
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At the price point you're considering the best you can hope for is a manufacturer who has put their expertise and experience into assembling a package that balances the trade-offs and delivers reasonably good performance. The last thing you want to get involved with is swapping tonearms; it's not easy and not likely to be an improvement. Why do you believe the offset on the Stanton is not "proper"?* (If you're concerned about the arm design, some of the most respected tonearms ever made have been curved designs, e.g. Shure 3009 Series II.) That Stanton T.92 turntable is a fine solution if you want 78RPM and built-in USB:
http://www.needledoctor.com/Online-Store/U...NECUSTOMERPRICE

You know you won't be able to properly play 78s unless you get a 78 stylus. If you talk to Needle Doctor, they should be able to recommend a brand/model of cartridge that can fit both a modern stereo stylus and a 78 stylus. For instance, here is the Stanton 78 stylus that fits their 500-series cartridge:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/78-rpm-stylus-need...=p2054897.l4275

*Further reading: http://shop.mapleshadestore.com/products.asp?dept=201

This post has been edited by Apesbrain: Jan 17 2014, 01:11
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SBelmont
post Jan 18 2014, 16:57
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Well, I was referring to the lower end Stantons which have a perfectly straight arm.

I'm willing to omit 78 if the turntable is good enough (I'm not listening, just converting), and USB out just seems redundant when I can just plug the amp output into the line-in on my Mac tongue.gif

Also, the T92 is just way over my budget, folks :/

This post has been edited by SBelmont: Jan 18 2014, 16:57
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jan 20 2014, 18:50
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QUOTE (Glenn Gundlach @ Jan 3 2014, 23:25) *
You mentioned S shaped arms twice. To bend the S shape requires the arm to be heavier (thicker) to not kink in the bending process. The first S arm I know of was the AR turntable from the '60s and it became the 'fashion' when the Japanese started making lots of turntables. There is no technical reason _for_ the S shape and the mass issue is against it.


S-shaped arms start out at least a decade earlier with the ESL arm. The AR was arguably a cheap knock off of it. If memory serves the ESL even had ball bearings instead of the cheap sleeve bearings of the AR.

http://www.vinylengine.com/library/esl/s-1000.shtml

The ESL Gyro Balance 1000 was a late 1950s product and there may have even been a mono version of it.
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SBelmont
post Feb 2 2014, 21:11
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Well, I got a new turntable. Here's some sound clips from some LP's I recorded:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/guglxzuxisrk90w/turntable.zip
Any guesses as to what the turntable is? wink.gif
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Apesbrain
post Feb 3 2014, 00:06
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Congrats. Wait, you're expecting us to name the turntable from your needledrop samples? That would be quite a feat.

Why don't you just tell me the name of the movie you've selected?
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SBelmont
post Feb 3 2014, 04:49
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QUOTE (Apesbrain @ Feb 2 2014, 18:06) *
Congrats. Wait, you're expecting us to name the turntable from your needledrop samples? That would be quite a feat.

Why don't you just tell me the name of the movie you've selected?

C'mon, it's only a (pulls out calculator) 1 in 2 million chance you'll be right laugh.gif emot-sherlock.gif

Hint: It's belt-drive and is from the '90s

This post has been edited by SBelmont: Feb 3 2014, 04:51
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4season
post Feb 4 2014, 00:22
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QUOTE (SBelmont @ Feb 2 2014, 20:49) *
C'mon, it's only a (pulls out calculator) 1 in 2 million chance you'll be right laugh.gif emot-sherlock.gif

Hint: It's belt-drive and is from the '90s


Rega Planar 78.
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SBelmont
post Feb 4 2014, 05:28
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QUOTE (4season @ Feb 3 2014, 18:22) *
QUOTE (SBelmont @ Feb 2 2014, 20:49) *
C'mon, it's only a (pulls out calculator) 1 in 2 million chance you'll be right laugh.gif emot-sherlock.gif

Hint: It's belt-drive and is from the '90s


Rega Planar 78.

Keep guessin' wink.gif
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Feb 18 2014, 01:29
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QUOTE (Apesbrain @ Feb 2 2014, 18:06) *
Congrats. Wait, you're expecting us to name the turntable from your needledrop samples? That would be quite a feat.

Why don't you just tell me the name of the movie you've selected?



I don't know what's going on, but Audition (which has been opening AIF files for years) can't make sense out of them..
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