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  1. #1
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Initiation to the world of Vinyl

    This is my first thread in the Analog section so please be gentle

    I managed to get a TT off a friend last year and I'm hoping to give it life in the near future. I believe it came part of a complete seperates system (Toshiba) in the late 80's. I also have the pre-amp and amp but gave those to another buddy. Anyway, the TT is a Toshiba SR-F330, and here are a couple pictures.
    Initiation to the world of Vinyl-tt.jpg

    Initiation to the world of Vinyl-tt2.jpg

    Does this look pretty bad or is it going to give me half decent sound? I don't have a phono stage so i'll need recommendations for a cheap one.
    I have never setup a TT so i haven't a clue how to do so. Can you stear me towards some good instructions for that? I know Im not the first one to ask and Im not expecting you guys to write it out for me. Also, Im not 100% familiar with the terms used concerning the different parts of a TT, so another guide on that would be good.
    Thanks!

    Oh. I got some tasty Vinly for Christmas, too!

    Initiation to the world of Vinyl-tmpphpjt6trr.jpg
    Initiation to the world of Vinyl-tony.jpg

  2. #2
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    AA, if you are willing to go the expense www.amusicdirect.com has the Michael Frehmer DVD about turntables. From the description he goes through setting up a couple different models and gives a host of TT info. Although I've had a turntable since childhood I can't really instruct how to set one up. I don't see well enough to use the little gizmos. I used to set up my Pioneer but with my Rega I have it done as to not mess anything up and I want it to be correct.

    What I did with the Pioneer once the cartridge was mounted I'd balance the tonearm, getting another opinion of course, then holding the weight still you turn the gauge/knob with numbers to zero. Then you turn both the gauge and weight to the suggested weight given by manufacturer. Balancing means the arm is perfectly horisontal with cart end and weight balancing the arm. Example, if the cart says it should be tracking at 1.25 grams, you turn from zero to 1.25, at that point the cartridge should be playing the LP at the correct force. There's other adjustments but I will leave that to the experts.

  3. #3
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I would suggest having a look at the FAQ section at Audio Asylum. If you have any doubt that the stylus is in good condition with minimal wear, get a replacement before you start. Something like the Audio Technica AT95E should be fine. You might also be able to find a replacement stylus for the current cartridge. AT also makes a decent inexpensive phono preamp called the AT-PEQ3.

    The hard part is aligning the cartridge and the tracking angle. The arm might have no adjustment for tracking angle, so you would often have to live with whatever you have in that regard. The top surface of the cartridge should be absolutely level if possible. Without arm adjustments, sometimes the tracking angle can be suitably corrected with a different mat thickness.

    For cartridge alignment, you should probably find a protractor, such as those available for download at Vinyl Engine. If you have reason to believe the original cartridge was installed correctly, with some degree of expertise, you could document the horizontal distance from the back of the headshell to the stylus and repeat that distance when you install the new cartridge. If you can't replicate the horizontal distance that the tonearm was designed to, you might have to angle the cartridge in the headshell to align the cartridge to a protractor. If that happens, it is acceptable and will sound fine.

    Regarding tracking force...set it to what the cartridge manufacturer recommends, but then adjust by ear to your liking. They often track better with a little extra force. The markings on the headshell are often not very accurate, so I'd say get a small scale to measure the force if you don't feel confident adjusting by ear but want it accurate. Possibly contrary to intuition, a little extra tracking force will not harm your records. Too little force will.

  4. #4
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    As for the initiation into the world known as vinyl, we (the world of vinyl) demand 15% of all records purchased within the next 12 months. Secondly, new cartridges for all of us PLUS back up stylii. After these terms have been met, you will be initiated.

    That table looks great! Similar to my Pioneer. Love the silver with wood trim. Looks like noob beat me here, he's given you a good starting point. I would second the cartridge topic. Try to assess it, if you can get away with a stylus (needle) swap, you're gold. How much money do you have to spend?

    BTW, that looks like a killer pressing of OK Computer. Love that album. As for the sticker with the official "audiophile" seal, that remains to be seen. Don't believe everything you read when it comes to those new pressings or reissues. Keep your eyes peeled on which companies press records to your liking, and go with those.

    Well welcome to the rest of your audio life.

  5. #5
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Chubbs makes a good point on new records. The old records are sometimes better pressings. Not always...but often. For example, the Blue Note re-issues get very mixed reviews for sound quality.

  6. #6
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    Thanks boys, it's great to have you at hand for this type of stuff.

    The problem is I don't have the TT here with me, it's back home so this thread is probably a litte too early but i though I should start gathering info no so that i can work on it right away when I'm on school break.

    Anyways, as I said i'm not 100% up on the TT jargon so i'm a little lost when you start mentionning anti-skating, tracking force etc.. That's why I need a brief explanation about each, which perhaps I will find in the Audio Asylum FAQ? I'll have a look.

    As for the stylus (is that the needle that's connected to the cartidge and touches the vinyl?) I have no clue how to assess its condition. I'm thinking I should probably get a new and cheap cartidge, just to make things easier. If I do swap just the stylus, are there compatibility issues I need to look out for? Are they hard to change?
    Mu budget is I want to spend as little as possible My guess I'd be better off investing in a better TT.

    The OK computer album feels very heavy. I'm guessing it's a good pressing.

  7. #7
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Being heavy can be an advantage for an LP but it's far from a guarantee of quality. Remastering is often spotty. Quality control can be problematic at times.

    The stylus is the contact point on the record and it will ordinarily include the diamond, a slender metal cantilever and a rigid grip area. It isn't possible to accurately assess the condition of a stylus without a microscope. A trained ear should be able to pick up on some distortion when the time comes, but with a cartridge of unknown condition I don't think I would risk my new records on it.

    Styli have to be an exact fit by the cartridge manufacturer or designed to replicate that, like they do at lpgear.com. Once you're familiar with how a particular cartridge is fitted with a stylus, it takes only a few seconds to replace one and it ordinarily requires no tools. A problem with just replacing the stylus, though...some just aren't very good and don't have an upgrade path. Often, the only replacement is the cheap original.

    Buying a cartridge like the AT95E could be a better investment than a stylus in that you could simply move the AT95E to a better turntable when you get one. And by the way...this seems to be a belt-drive turntable. You might have a need for a replacement belt if the current one is the original.

  8. #8
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Do you have anything like Craigslist available to you?

  9. #9
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Do you have anything like Craigslist available to you?
    Not that I know of. I'm not 100% sure how craigslist works by I think i get the idea. We do have Ebay though.

  10. #10
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Craigslist is just a free, online market. Buyers and sellers can meet locally. It's set up alot like Ebay, you search for what you want and away you go.

    I was just thinking about options for your phono stage. You definitely need one I take it? What else do you have in your system?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Craigslist is just a free, online market. Buyers and sellers can meet locally. It's set up alot like Ebay, you search for what you want and away you go.

    I was just thinking about options for your phono stage. You definitely need one I take it? What else do you have in your system?
    Concerning the phono stage, I'm guessing ebay will do the trick. If you have a few budget recommendations, fire away But yeah i definitely need one, none of my amps have any integrated phono stages.
    I will likely be mating the TT to my HT, which consists of a Technics SA-DX750 A/V amp + my Bowers & Wilkins front speakers which I will bring home when I graduate. Another option would be with my parents' 2 channel in the living room by I don't think they'll be crazy about having a big obnoxious TT in there.

    Oh, and sorry to keep pestering you but if you could get back to me about those interconnects, I'm quite eager to know

  12. #12
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey AA,

    Welcome to the Roller coaster ride!!!
    I think you'll find it surprisingly involving & rewarding, but at the same time it is very inconvenient and frustrating. Vinyl can certainly offer what digital cannot touch and vice versa.

    Before you start spinning those expensive wax, be sure to check your stylus and cantilever. Is your cantilever straight?



    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody

    What I did with the Pioneer once the cartridge was mounted I'd balance the tonearm, getting another opinion of course, then holding the weight still you turn the gauge/knob with numbers to zero. Then you turn both the gauge and weight to the suggested weight given by manufacturer. Balancing means the arm is perfectly horisontal with cart end and weight balancing the arm. Example, if the cart says it should be tracking at 1.25 grams, you turn from zero to 1.25, at that point the cartridge should be playing the LP at the correct force. There's other adjustments but I will leave that to the experts.

    That procedure is an "OK" place to start before lowering your stylus onto a VTF gauge. Chances are you will be way off by 95% of the time. The variance in headshell and cartridge weight will always result to wrong tracking force than what the counter-weight grid claims.

    Vertical Tracking Force:
    I would go get the Shure stylus force gauge, or Digital Stylus Force Gauge: Jennings Mini 300.
    The price of the SHURE unit has gone up about 2 years ago to $36 so check with your local distributor and see what'll be the cheapest option for you.

    Cartridge(stylus) alignment:
    anyone got some pink noise for free?

    TT Level:
    Get a basic 15-20cm Carpentor's Level. Anti-skate setting is useless if your TT is not leveled.

    LP Surface:
    You can experiment with different cleaning option, but a carbon fibre brush is a must.
    If you only buy new LP, this tool will be the only item you will need for awhile.
    I sometimes use this is clean the tip of my stylus as well.

    The most important part:
    Ignore its limitation and just enjoy what it has to offer.

    JRA

  13. #13
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    Hi JRA

    thanks for the helpful comments. I am fully aware that the process of using a TT in one's everyday system is very different of that using CD. More complex/time consuming, but as you say in the end more rewarding.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Before you start spinning those expensive wax, be sure to check your stylus and cantilever. Is your cantilever straight?
    How do I go about knowing if this is the case or not?
    Quote Originally Posted by JRA
    Vertical Tracking Force:
    I would go get the Shure stylus force gauge, or Digital Stylus Force Gauge: Jennings Mini 300.
    The price of the SHURE unit has gone up about 2 years ago to $36 so check with your local distributor and see what'll be the cheapest option for you.
    Thanks
    Quote Originally Posted by JRA
    Cartridge(stylus) alignment:
    anyone got some pink noise for free?
    I belive the link you posted here isn't the right one.

  14. #14
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    What do the two controls in the front left corner do?

  15. #15
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Oops...

    There you go.
    Free Stuff. No Ipod/promotion related please.

    Just check to see whether the cantilever is pointng straight.
    This will be easier to see if you cartridge body is a simple square type.
    The easiest way to inspect is to take your cartridge off of the headshell, then look at it from the bottom.

    Kinda like this view...ouch.


    It might be best to go ahead and replace the cartridge to be on the safe side, but it still may be good. The only way to determine that is to take it to your local hifi shop, and have them examine it under a microscope.

    JRA

  16. #16
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    We could recommend stages all day long, but this is a great closeout at Needle Doctor. For this price, if you cared for it, you could probably get your money back at resale.

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Needle-D...&category=-112

  17. #17
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    What do the two controls in the front left corner do?
    Not sure And I can't check until I head back home during break...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Just check to see whether the cantilever is pointng straight.
    This will be easier to see if you cartridge body is a simple square type.
    The easiest way to inspect is to take your cartridge off of the headshell, then look at it from the bottom.

    Kinda like this view...ouch.

    It might be best to go ahead and replace the cartridge to be on the safe side, but it still may be good. The only way to determine that is to take it to your local hifi shop, and have them examine it under a microscope.
    Lol, that 'underside' view doesn't look right
    I think i may be at a loss concenring what the cantilever actually is. Could you expand? Also, I'm not sure what you mean by straight. With respect to what exactly?

    To be safe I might just pick up a new entry level cartridge.

    Given that I'm living in Europe, this link is a little moot for me no? I'm sure i can find a second hand one on Ebay here.

  19. #19
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Lol, that 'underside' view doesn't look right
    I think i may be at a loss concenring what the cantilever actually is. Could you expand? Also, I'm not sure what you mean by straight. With respect to what exactly?

    To be safe I might just pick up a new entry level cartridge.


    Given that I'm living in Europe, this link is a little moot for me no? I'm sure i can find a second hand one on Ebay here.
    Why? How much could shipping possibly be for such a small item? You saw that the savings are over 50%?

  20. #20
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    This is a nice link from Audio Technica which shows the components of a phono cartridge.

    http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/re...cartridges.pdf


    The drawings will help show the different parts of a phono cartridge. Once you have decided on a cartridge there are some good links for cartridge alignment.

    http://www.tnt-audio.com/accessories/schon_e.html

    Mounting and setting up a phono cartridge can be a little daunting at first but once done all you have to do is enjoy the music.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  21. #21
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Concerning the phono stage, I'm guessing ebay will do the trick. If you have a few budget recommendations, fire away But yeah i definitely need one, none of my amps have any integrated phono stages.
    I will likely be mating the TT to my HT, which consists of a Technics SA-DX750 A/V amp + my Bowers & Wilkins front speakers which I will bring home when I graduate. Another option would be with my parents' 2 channel in the living room by I don't think they'll be crazy about having a big obnoxious TT in there.

    Oh, and sorry to keep pestering you but if you could get back to me about those interconnects, I'm quite eager to know


    The Cambridge Audio 540P is available for less than $100 in the US. It is for moving magnet or high output moving coil cartridges. On the used market it should be very affordable.

    http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/summary.php?PID=28
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  22. #22
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Why? How much could shipping possibly be for such a small item? You saw that the savings are over 50%?
    Well, true but it seems to me like most of them don't ship outside the US. Another problem might be voltage, although phono stages usually have an external power supply which means I could always have it changed.

  23. #23
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    Great info JM, thanks for the links. I'll keep on the lookout for the Cambridge unit, they should be readily available here me thinks.

  24. #24
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Here you go.
    http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/ttadjust.html

    This link offers tons of setup information. I hate to say it, but it's a good read. If you read up on it too much, you will find yourself fiddling around constantly and not enjoy the music. Be careful

    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Also, I'm not sure what you mean by straight. With respect to what exactly?

    T
    I think that is a loaded question, so I'll be lazy and let the below link answer your question.
    http://www.tnt-audio.com/accessories/schon_e.html

    Here is what I did. I now use a 0.5mm pencil lead. I utilize this setup routine every time I swap a cartridge.
    Cheapest Analog Tweak

    JRA

  25. #25
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Here is what I did. I now use a 0.5mm pencil lead. I utilize this setup routine every time I swap a cartridge.
    Cheapest Analog Tweak

    JRA


    AA I must say the pencil lead tweak that JRA found has made accurate cartridge set up so much easier. I think of him fondly every time I install a cartridge.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    Monitor Audio RS6
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

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