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Thread: Memories of vinyl

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    Senior Member JAS's Avatar
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    When I moved to my new house (a little over a decade ago), I did not have a particularly good place to put my turntable, and I could not recall the last time I had actually used it, so it went up into the attic (where I presume that it still remains). My memory of vinyl is mostly all of the effort I expended trying to keep the record clean (dust and fingerprint free) and adjusting the turntable to try to avoid problems, often a source of much frustration and little positive outcome. (And don't even remind me of the terrible state of records that I borrowed from the library because I didn't have enough money to buy everything I wanted.) I know a few people who still revel in the precision and fussiness of LPs, but that was never my own experience. CDs have been an unmitigated blessing (except for how much I have spent accumulating them, and the space that they now occupy).
    Last edited by JAS; Apr-03-2017 at 17:58.

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    Another 50 years old one.

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    I'm playing a lot of vinyl these days, thanks to a new turntable purchase. A Numark TT1910, I got for $100 at a pawn shop. It's a nice, heavy unit, and is completely manual: it does not return the tone arm at the end of a record (great for playing those Beatles loops), nor does it automatically start the tonearm and set it down. It does have a lift, and a light, which helps. I can set down the arm by hand as well, as my hand is still steady. I actually prefer it this way. The lift does come in handy when lifting the arm at the end of a record, then it can be returned safely, without having to reach all the way in across the record and possibly dropping it.
    The existing Shure cartridge had a broken stylus (which can be replaced for $16.95), but I went ahead and replaced it with an Ortophon I got for $50. The Ortophon sounds good, and its stylus is also replaceable.

    I also found out about the different types of cartridges, moving coil and moving magnet. I had a Technics linear tracking turntable with a moving magnet cartridge, which sounded great; however, the down side is that the stylus is not replaceable on moving magnet cartridges, I guess due to their nature.

    I like to track at 1.5 grams, which is very light, and very sensitive. It's working good on this Numark. It has a good tonearm weight adjustment, and an anti-skating dial as well.

    If it's good virgin vinyl, in good condition, a record can sound as good as a good CD, and in some areas better. Voice reproduction in the midrange seems superior on LPs, and the highs, even when cranked up, are smoother sounding, and not as strident. Of course, this all depends on your record, its manufacture, your tonearm, your cartridge, and other mastering and disc-lathe cutting factors.

    I'm enjoying LPs again. I like the ritual, the care, the shorter time-spans, and the huge cover art.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Apr-07-2017 at 21:07.

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    I'm happy with my Denon DL103
    "Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes"

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    however, the down side is that the stylus is not replaceable on moving magnet cartridges, I guess due to their nature.
    I'm not sure what you mean by this. The styli on MM cartridges can be replaced. MM cartridges are very popular. Often times though it's just cheaper/almost as cheap to buy a new cartridge with a stylus included if you're using something pretty mainstream like an A-T cartridge.

    If it's good virgin vinyl, in good condition, a record can sound as good as a good CD, and in some areas better. Voice reproduction in the midrange seems superior on LPs, and the highs, even when cranked up, are smoother sounding, and not as strident. Of course, this all depends on your record, its manufacture, your tonearm, your cartridge, and other mastering and disc-lathe cutting factors.

    I'm enjoying LPs again. I like the ritual, the care, the shorter time-spans, and the huge cover art.
    With classical music, especially recordings of symphonies, the best you can ever hope for is CD-like sound. Even then with very narrow grooves from the label trying to fit ~30 minutes of music on one side, you're likely to get inner groove distortion right at the worst time. Ick. No thanks. I'd rather have a cassette in that case.

    As to the last point, I do think the pride that record enthusiasts have in the efforts it takes to make a record play back at optimal quality for the format is huge part of the appeal to the fans of the format. I don't want to have to put up with all that hassle when I want to play music. I do put a lot of pride into recordings when I record to tape though (not something I do much these days, but it's still fun to play around with a good quality tape deck). I enjoy putting in the hours of effort to make a recording sound great, but for playback it's all about the music. CD gives me that. What a great innovation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EddieRUKiddingVarese View Post
    I'm happy with my Denon DL103
    Modest as always

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klassik View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by this. The styli on MM cartridges can be replaced. MM cartridges are very popular. Often times though it's just cheaper/almost as cheap to buy a new cartridge with a stylus included if you're using something pretty mainstream like an A-T cartridge.



    With classical music, especially recordings of symphonies, the best you can ever hope for is CD-like sound. Even then with very narrow grooves from the label trying to fit ~30 minutes of music on one side, you're likely to get inner groove distortion right at the worst time. Ick. No thanks. I'd rather have a cassette in that case.

    As to the last point, I do think the pride that record enthusiasts have in the efforts it takes to make a record play back at optimal quality for the format is huge part of the appeal to the fans of the format. I don't want to have to put up with all that hassle when I want to play music. I do put a lot of pride into recordings when I record to tape though (not something I do much these days, but it's still fun to play around with a good quality tape deck). I enjoy putting in the hours of effort to make a recording sound great, but for playback it's all about the music. CD gives me that. What a great innovation.
    I think Millionrainbows meant MC's that have no replacable stylus.
    You can have them retipped by specialists, with exotic metals for cantilevers and special stylusprofiles (superelliptical and many others).
    Expensive and only for audiophiles who want to squeeze the last bit of info from the grooves. Also a need for step up trafos
    I have a high output MC (sumiko blackbird) that is downright scary to use. It is "nude" and fragile and if you break it,say byebye to 3 to 4 hundred euros to get it repaired.
    I don't get the comments by many about the hassle involved. Set up turntable once; stick with the cartridge you like, replace stylus every now and then.
    My daily driver has a humble Shure with replacable stylus. I change it every now and then, maybe twice every year, and I play a lot of records. Overhang remains the same, VTA is the same, VTF is the same. The deck is in good nick so it is super stable with regards to speed. What's the fuss ??
    (Okay, one needs to avoid those wafferthin records with a full violinconcerto on each side, and I'm not talking Glazunov here)

    @millionrainbows; I don't know what weight is recommended for the carts that you are using but too low trackingweight can be more harmful than too much. The needle bounces through the groovewalls due to not enough downward pressure. Bad sound and damage to record. Sorry if I'm teaching to suck eggs.
    Last edited by Jos; Apr-08-2017 at 16:35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jos View Post
    I don't get the comments by many about the hassle involved. Set up turntable once; stick with the cartridge you like, replace stylus every now and then.
    That in itself is more maintenance than what my CD player needs! I have a CD player from 1989 and I've never had to do anything to it in the almost 30 years that I've had it. Not one thing. Perhaps I should relube the mechanism and clean the laser at some point, but that won't take long and will only cost a few cents in lube and isopropyl alcohol. Cartridges/styli, even fairly inexpensive ones, still cost money that could be spent buying more music even if they aren't replaced all that often.

    The turntable itself usually isn't where the hassle is with a good turntable. The hassle is with preparing the records. There's the cleaning and all of that. Sure, good quality records stored well may not need much attention, but it'll still take a little bit of time to get them clean enough to get CD-like clean reproduction. With disks that aren't in good shape, or disks that have been stored for a long time, well those can take a lot of time to get up to snuff and the end result still may not be good. This compares to a CD where all you have to do is drop it in and hit play.

    Back to table maintenance for a second, my DD Realistic really does not need much adjustment. Even if it does, it's pretty easy to do with the right tools and knowledge (then again, you generally don't need tools at all for a CD player). My belt drive Pioneer, however, does suffer from speed drift over the course of a few months. It does not drift a lot, and with pop music you may not even notice it at all, but with classical music it's easy to tell when it's not where it needs to be. It doesn't have a strobe or easily accessible speed controls so it's a real chore to adjust it and get it as close to perfect as possible. Why even worry about this when my CD player plays at the exact speed with no W&F every time?

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  16. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jos View Post
    I think Millionrainbows meant MC's that have no replacable stylus.
    You can have them retipped by specialists, with exotic metals for cantilevers and special stylusprofiles (superelliptical and many others).
    Expensive and only for audiophiles who want to squeeze the last bit of info from the grooves. Also a need for step up trafos
    I have a high output MC (sumiko blackbird) that is downright scary to use. It is "nude" and fragile and if you break it,say byebye to 3 to 4 hundred euros to get it repaired.
    I don't get the comments by many about the hassle involved. Set up turntable once; stick with the cartridge you like, replace stylus every now and then.
    My daily driver has a humble Shure with replacable stylus. I change it every now and then, maybe twice every year, and I play a lot of records. Overhang remains the same, VTA is the same, VTF is the same. The deck is in good nick so it is super stable with regards to speed. What's the fuss ??
    (Okay, one needs to avoid those wafferthin records with a full violinconcerto on each side, and I'm not talking Glazunov here)

    @millionrainbows; I don't know what weight is recommended for the carts that you are using but too low trackingweight can be more harmful than too much. The needle bounces through the groovewalls due to not enough downward pressure. Bad sound and damage to record. Sorry if I'm teaching to suck eggs.
    Sorry for the confusion, Klassic, and thanks to Jos for the correction. I get those two types of cartridges mixed up. I've never heard of too light being bad; it seems as if there was "bouncing," it would be horrendously audible. I'm sticking to light weight, as my records still sound pristine to me. What tracking weight do you suggest? And talk about anti-skating if you have some advice, tips, experience...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klassik View Post
    That in itself is more maintenance than what my CD player needs! I have a CD player from 1989 and I've never had to do anything to it in the almost 30 years that I've had it. Not one thing. Perhaps I should relube the mechanism and clean the laser at some point, but that won't take long and will only cost a few cents in lube and isopropyl alcohol. Cartridges/styli, even fairly inexpensive ones, still cost money that could be spent buying more music even if they aren't replaced all that often.

    The turntable itself usually isn't where the hassle is with a good turntable. The hassle is with preparing the records. There's the cleaning and all of that. Sure, good quality records stored well may not need much attention, but it'll still take a little bit of time to get them clean enough to get CD-like clean reproduction. With disks that aren't in good shape, or disks that have been stored for a long time, well those can take a lot of time to get up to snuff and the end result still may not be good. This compares to a CD where all you have to do is drop it in and hit play.

    Back to table maintenance for a second, my DD Realistic really does not need much adjustment. Even if it does, it's pretty easy to do with the right tools and knowledge (then again, you generally don't need tools at all for a CD player). My belt drive Pioneer, however, does suffer from speed drift over the course of a few months. It does not drift a lot, and with pop music you may not even notice it at all, but with classical music it's easy to tell when it's not where it needs to be. It doesn't have a strobe or easily accessible speed controls so it's a real chore to adjust it and get it as close to perfect as possible. Why even worry about this when my CD player plays at the exact speed with no W&F every time?

    I've preferred CDs for many years, but in my experience for maintenance (CD players versus turntable), my Technics turntable outlasted four CD players which ranged in retail price from $400 to $1000.

    Funny thing, it wasn't until I started using Sony Blu-rays for playback, that I realized what I was missing in sound as well as durability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I've never heard of too light being bad; it seems as if there was "bouncing," it would be horrendously audible.
    No, he is right and it isn't necessarily audible. It isn't literal bouncing up and down. It's a shimmy in the needle that follows the vibration in the grooves. After a big modulation, the needle skates the opposite direction and chews into the opposite groove wall. As the loud sound continues, it bounces back and forth taking chips out of both sides. If you've ever gotten a used record where loud passages of blaring brass distort, that is most likely what caused it. If you track at the proper weight, or even a little heavier the downward force makes the needle ride the V shaped groove more accurately. The modulation is on the sides of the grooves, not the bottom, so downward pressure doesn't damage as much as side to side.

    Tracking too light is much worse than tracking too heavy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaneyes View Post
    I've preferred CDs for many years, but in my experience for maintenance (CD players versus turntable), my Technics turntable outlasted four CD players which ranged in retail price from $400 to $1000.

    Funny thing, it wasn't until I started using Sony Blu-rays for playback, that I realized what I was missing in sound as well as durability.
    Wow, your CD players must have been really unreliable if something modern from Sony is more reliable than them!

    I've found that mid-priced mainstream electronic brands tend to be more reliable than the fancy audiophile brands (this is probably true with turntables too). It's not always true, and there are some mid-priced brands which made some real stinkers since the 1990s (Sony would definitely be one of those), but it generally seems to be true to me.

    The 5 disc carousel and perhaps other type of multi-disc CD players tend to be the most unreliable. I'm not sure how reliable those megastore ~100 disc CD players were. I'd probably avoid those, but my 1989 Teac, which uses a 6 disc magazine, is still plugging away just fine. One of the biggest issues I've seen with single disc CD/DVD players is that the disc drawer does not work properly. This can usually be fixed by cleaning the microswitch in the mechanism or by replacing a belt. Since timing isn't that important there, a rubber band will probably work in a pinch, but I don't know how long it would last compared to a proper belt.

    If the player breaks because the laser goes bad, well, that might be it for the player. A lot of companies don't provide replacement lasers and sometimes they're very expensive if they do. Grabbing a $40 Blu-Ray player like you say is a cheap fix that may yield even better sound quality. The thing I don't like about Blu-Ray players and most modern DVD players is that they don't have displays on the unit which displays track number and timing information and they don't have buttons on the machine for rewinding/FFing within a track (some may not even have track transport controls). I suppose this can be done on a remote, but I like having the old school buttons on the machine. As for the display, well, that's a major problem because I wouldn't have my player hooked up to a TV to see what track I'm on. Even if I did, I wouldn't want to run the TV just to get track info. I have a ~2007 Pioneer DVD player which I use as a CD player sometimes. It does not have Rew/FF on the machine, but it does have a good enough display.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klassik View Post
    Wow, your CD players must have been really unreliable if something modern from Sony is more reliable than them!

    I've found that mid-priced mainstream electronic brands tend to be more reliable than the fancy audiophile brands (this is probably true with turntables too). It's not always true, and there are some mid-priced brands which made some real stinkers since the 1990s (Sony would definitely be one of those), but it generally seems to be true to me.

    The 5 disc carousel and perhaps other type of multi-disc CD players tend to be the most unreliable. I'm not sure how reliable those megastore ~100 disc CD players were. I'd probably avoid those, but my 1989 Teac, which uses a 6 disc magazine, is still plugging away just fine. One of the biggest issues I've seen with single disc CD/DVD players is that the disc drawer does not work properly. This can usually be fixed by cleaning the microswitch in the mechanism or by replacing a belt. Since timing isn't that important there, a rubber band will probably work in a pinch, but I don't know how long it would last compared to a proper belt.

    If the player breaks because the laser goes bad, well, that might be it for the player. A lot of companies don't provide replacement lasers and sometimes they're very expensive if they do. Grabbing a $40 Blu-Ray player like you say is a cheap fix that may yield even better sound quality. The thing I don't like about Blu-Ray players and most modern DVD players is that they don't have displays on the unit which displays track number and timing information and they don't have buttons on the machine for rewinding/FFing within a track (some may not even have track transport controls). I suppose this can be done on a remote, but I like having the old school buttons on the machine. As for the display, well, that's a major problem because I wouldn't have my player hooked up to a TV to see what track I'm on. Even if I did, I wouldn't want to run the TV just to get track info. I have a ~2007 Pioneer DVD player which I use as a CD player sometimes. It does not have Rew/FF on the machine, but it does have a good enough display.

    I'd say CD player convenience outweighs sound quality for most people. Especially so, if they're running units long-in-the-tooth.

    At the time of my CD player purchases, $400 to $1000 was not insignificant outlay. I only bought single-CD players that were well reviewed. The first was a 3rd generation Philips, and the last was a Mission Cyrus PCM II (circa 1990).

    I ran two systems then with a lot of use, as I do today with Sony BDP-S6500, Sony DVP-SR510H. I'll be injecting a Panasonic 4K or Sony 4K player soon.
    Cheers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    No, he is right and it isn't necessarily audible. It isn't literal bouncing up and down. It's a shimmy in the needle that follows the vibration in the grooves. After a big modulation, the needle skates the opposite direction and chews into the opposite groove wall. As the loud sound continues, it bounces back and forth taking chips out of both sides. If you've ever gotten a used record where loud passages of blaring brass distort, that is most likely what caused it. If you track at the proper weight, or even a little heavier the downward force makes the needle ride the V shaped groove more accurately. The modulation is on the sides of the grooves, not the bottom, so downward pressure doesn't damage as much as side to side.

    Tracking too light is much worse than tracking too heavy.
    Heavy needle damage is easily understandable, and is self-explanatory.

    I have doubts about this "too light" theory.

    Firstly, each cartridge has a different suggested tracking force. How can you say 1.5 grams is "too light" unless you know the cartridge.

    Secondly, this theory seems to be based on the groove characteristics; i.e., how big the grooves are, how and when it was cut, if it's an old record, or newer, with smaller grooves. We all know that 45's have bigger grooves for radio play; American & European standards are different as to how much volume is necessary, which directly relates to groove size & how it's cut. Todd Rundgren's "A Wizard/A True Star" had smaller grooves and more music per side, but less volume and more delicate.

    Until you can properly answer these concerns, I think the "too light tracking damage" is hogwash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klassik View Post
    Wow, your CD players must have been really unreliable if something modern from Sony is more reliable than them!

    I've found that mid-priced mainstream electronic brands tend to be more reliable than the fancy audiophile brands (this is probably true with turntables too). It's not always true, and there are some mid-priced brands which made some real stinkers since the 1990s (Sony would definitely be one of those), but it generally seems to be true to me.

    The 5 disc carousel and perhaps other type of multi-disc CD players tend to be the most unreliable. I'm not sure how reliable those megastore ~100 disc CD players were. I'd probably avoid those, but my 1989 Teac, which uses a 6 disc magazine, is still plugging away just fine. One of the biggest issues I've seen with single disc CD/DVD players is that the disc drawer does not work properly. This can usually be fixed by cleaning the microswitch in the mechanism or by replacing a belt. Since timing isn't that important there, a rubber band will probably work in a pinch, but I don't know how long it would last compared to a proper belt.

    If the player breaks because the laser goes bad, well, that might be it for the player. A lot of companies don't provide replacement lasers and sometimes they're very expensive if they do. Grabbing a $40 Blu-Ray player like you say is a cheap fix that may yield even better sound quality. The thing I don't like about Blu-Ray players and most modern DVD players is that they don't have displays on the unit which displays track number and timing information and they don't have buttons on the machine for rewinding/FFing within a track (some may not even have track transport controls). I suppose this can be done on a remote, but I like having the old school buttons on the machine. As for the display, well, that's a major problem because I wouldn't have my player hooked up to a TV to see what track I'm on. Even if I did, I wouldn't want to run the TV just to get track info. I have a ~2007 Pioneer DVD player which I use as a CD player sometimes. It does not have Rew/FF on the machine, but it does have a good enough display.
    My CD players have been extremely durable. Perhaps those who have problems should change their dealers.

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