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Is this caused by stylus needing replacement?
pbiancardi
post Apr 16 2011, 16:19
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I just received my turntable (Sanyo Model 1010), it came with a Shure SP5 series four cartridge (instructions dated 1979) and everything seems to be working ok, I was able to set the speed perfectly so I assume the belt is ok for now. The sound is slightly distorted and I am guessing this is caused by a stylus that needs to be replaced?

Can anyone take a listen and confirm my thoughts? Thanks.

Sample .wav I am assuming it is ok to post a 10 second sample clip, this was taken from Guns N Roses Chinese Democracy brand new LP.

This post has been edited by pbiancardi: Apr 16 2011, 16:20
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 19 2011, 15:21
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QUOTE (pbiancardi @ Apr 16 2011, 11:19) *
I just received my turntable (Sanyo Model 1010), it came with a Shure SP5 series four cartridge (instructions dated 1979) and everything seems to be working ok, I was able to set the speed perfectly so I assume the belt is ok for now. The sound is slightly distorted and I am guessing this is caused by a stylus that needs to be replaced?

Can anyone take a listen and confirm my thoughts? Thanks.

Sample .wav I am assuming it is ok to post a 10 second sample clip, this was taken from Guns N Roses Chinese Democracy brand new LP.


Link won't work for me.

The 10 second clip should be fine legally speaking, if I could hear it! ;-)
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DVDdoug
post Apr 19 2011, 21:30
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This is one of the reasons why I don't listen to records... I was always fighting to minimize the mechanical-analog limitations... and always wanting to upgrade. I never achieved "perfection" 'till I got my 1st CD player. tongue.gif

I won't attempt to diagnose the problem... I'm not qualified because I don't listen to vinyl anymore... I just digitize it once in awhile when I can't get a CD or MP3...

I could hear the file, and I gave a quick-listen. The vocals sounds a little "harsh", but I'm really not sure if I'm hearing the distortion. (I'm at work right now... low volume & crappy speakers.) Do you have the CD and it sounds different?

Before you change the stylus, I'd try increasing the tracking force a bit. If you've got a tracking problem that should help, or at least make a difference. (Hopefully, you've got the specs for the cartridge and the tonearm has a force indicator.)

I assume that the elastomers used to support/suspend the stylus assembly can age and "dry-out" over time. If you replace the stylus, all the moving parts will be replaced too. (The cartridge will be good-as-new.) But, I hardly ever replaced a stylus... I always upgraded the whole cartridge.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Apr 19 2011, 21:32
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kraut
post Apr 24 2011, 20:12
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Your cartridge is quite ancient - so a few things could go wrong. Unfortunately - you almost need a good stereoscope to check the stylus. Cheaper by far to get a new cartridge, there are lots of options available for around 100$ or less (shure M series).

I found it very important to get the lateral tracking angle right, incorrectly adjusted it is likely to be audible. Also check the VTA, I found on some systems I could hear a difference.
Get an adjustment template (download one from the net).

Also make sure the cartridge is aligned with the headshell and also mounted firmly in the headshell.

Vinyl is not for the weak...

This post has been edited by kraut: Apr 24 2011, 20:19
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Axon
post May 20 2011, 21:59
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The age of the documentation is not meaningful -- the docs on the brand-new Technics SL-1210 I bought in 2007 were dated 1991. That sort of paperwork just doesn't need to be changed very often, and quite a few cartridges have not really been materially modified for two decades, or more....

That said, the SP5 is way, way out of production, and that plus the lack of information about is use patterns ought to be enough information for you to decide what to do. When I am asked to give advice about this sort of thing, my answer always is this: If you do not know the provenance of a stylus, or you are pretty sure it is heavily worn, always replace it. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Do not mess around with unknown variables like this.

Record wear is known to occur due to worn stylii well before it becomes audible. And you are very, very unlikely to find somebody who is actually qualified to evaluate stylus wear: It requires some truly serious microscope kit (stereoscopes with 400X mag with very particular lighting requirements were the gold standard back in the day IIRC). It is much easier to *not* detect wear than it is to detect wear. And if one does detect wear, interpreting when it is necessary to replace the cart is alone kind of hard...

As I also linked in another thread, I cannot recommend Conrad Hoffman's cartridge alignment generator highly enough.
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dc2bluelight
post Jun 23 2011, 16:06
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QUOTE (pbiancardi @ Apr 16 2011, 10:19) *
I just received my turntable (Sanyo Model 1010), it came with a Shure SP5 series four cartridge (instructions dated 1979) and everything seems to be working ok, I was able to set the speed perfectly so I assume the belt is ok for now. The sound is slightly distorted and I am guessing this is caused by a stylus that needs to be replaced?

Can anyone take a listen and confirm my thoughts? Thanks.

Sample .wav I am assuming it is ok to post a 10 second sample clip, this was taken from Guns N Roses Chinese Democracy brand new LP.



Listened to the clip. The distortion could be record wear, stylus wear, or misalignment, or all of the above. They all would sound roughly similar on that material, which isn't really the best for diagnosis. You probably already replaced your stylus/cartridge, which you should do as a matter of course. After careful alignment, try another record, if possible brand new, unplayed, solo piano. If everything is perfect, and you have a really good cartridge, it will sound clean for at least the first few plays. But keep in mind that record wear is a fact of life. On some sensitive material like solo piano, you'll only get pristine undistorted playback for the first dozen or so plays, then loud peaks will start to slightly distort. You say your record is brand new, but you obviously played it at least once to hear the distortion then played it again for your recorded clip. With a bad stylus, you'd hear distortion under those conditions, and it will have been made permanent on that disc if the stylus is bad enough.

I was in a record store recently and listened to the vinyl they were playing. It was so totally distorted that I would have thrown the record out and replaced the cartridge. The shop owner didn't recognize it was a problem. My comment was: this kind of sound is why we have CDs!

Welcome to vinyl. It's a constant up-hill battle to get good performance, and it's spun against you (sorry!). Those of us that started in vinyl and moved to CD got tired of that fight decades ago. Records can still sound sweet, but boy is it a task. Every part of the path can have a huge and clearly audible impact: record itself, turntable speed and rumble, cartridge, stylus condition, geometry, arm mass and resonance, cartridge loading, preamp with it's noise, headroom and RIAA curve tracking (did I miss any?). IMHO the two reasons to play vinyl are the fact that the material doesn't exist any other way, or that the digital version was horribly mangled during mastering. I'm not a vinyl-hater, I do play it. I just spent too many years trying to squeeze the last gram of performance out of it. And the rewards always were playback with the least non-musical artifact, but never no artifact. There was always surface noise, vertical groove distortion, tangency error mistracking, and the list goes on.

So I'd say, new cartridge and stylus, get the geometry right, ignore the distortion and enjoy the music.
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