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Thread: Are records really better than CD's?

  1. #26
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    I've been listening to what you folks had to say with great interest and so I decided to give it a try. I bought a vintage Denon turntable (automatic, of course - sorry about that). It comes with a Shure V15 cartridge, but I don't know which version. It should be here this week.

    In addition, I moved my DIY stereo speakers to the living room and replaced the Magnepans (which were my mains) with them. That was a step in the right direction... However, when playing CD's, they sounded murky (hazy) running through my Yamaha receiver so I used the line out of the receiver to install my Trends TA 10.1 digital amp for the mains. It was a big jump in transparency. As it turns out, the Yamaha makes a pretty good preamp. I also needed to use the phono preamp in the receiver for the turntable so it all works out. The downside is that now I don't want to use the amp section of my receiver and so I am looking at outboard amps for that. Dang!

    Anyway, assuming that all goes well, I understand that there is an upgrade path, i.e. cartridge and/or stylus and preamp. I'll see which cartridge I get before going any further.

    I'll let you know how it works out.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    I have listened to lots of CD's as well as SACD's, and I have yet to hear either that has better musicality than a good vinyl pressing on a good rig.
    I have heard both and they exist on both.

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    I try not to clean my records but once and that's the problem. I live with two dogs, two cats and two birds where something's always floating in the air. Sadly there's no room in my rack for the dust cover.

    pets > audio

  4. #29
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob View Post
    For those who want an automatic turntable, I'd probably recommend...
    What's your take on the Denon DP-61F?

    Microprocessor controlled
    Contact less servo tonearm
    Q-damping method
    Low mass arm tube
    Thick, precision machined platter for superb acoustic characteristics

    Specifications
    Drive: servo controlled direct drive
    Wow and flutter: below 0.008% WRMS
    S/N ratio: over 82dB
    Platter: 300mm aluminium die-cast
    Motor: AC servo motor
    Brake: electronic
    Arm type: dynamic balance
    Weight: 11kg

    There's not much information on this, but here is one persons thoughts: AudiogoN Forums: Review: Denon DP-61F Turntable
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by StevenSurprenant; 09-10-2012 at 05:07 PM.

  5. #30
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenSurprenant View Post
    What's your take on the Denon DP-61F?
    The Denon direct-drive turntables were impressive and would be nice to have. If anything goes wrong with the electronics, I suspect it would be toast, but perhaps the risk of that is low. This reminds me I also like the JVC turntables, like the QL-Y7. Do you have an opportunity to buy a DP-61F?

  6. #31
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob View Post
    The Denon direct-drive turntables were impressive and would be nice to have. If anything goes wrong with the electronics, I suspect it would be toast, but perhaps the risk of that is low. This reminds me I also like the JVC turntables, like the QL-Y7. Do you have an opportunity to buy a DP-61F?

    I already have, it should be here Thursday.

    I understood about the electronics, but did it anyway. I kind of wanted another Accutrac like I had, but couldn't find one in the condition that I wanted. It spec'd out well too. I was considering the Denon DP-300F like you mentioned. It seems that it is a decent table for the money and close to the same performance as entry level offerings of several better brands. Spec wise it wasn't nearly as good as the DP-61F. In any case, I wanted at least a semi automatic and this fit the bill.

    I also figure, hopefully correctly, that I can improve the sound with perhaps a MC cartridge and a decent preamp.

    Any suggestions on a record cleaner?

  7. #32
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    How To Get The Most From Vinyl Records

    I just thought this might be of interest to someone...

    How To Get The Most From Vinyl Records - YouTube

  8. #33
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    I've played around lately with a couple of ancient AR TT ( remember those? ). Not the most sophisticated but indestructible. Any table is repairable. Speed controls on vintage tables are often the first thing to need attention but are easily fixed with contact cleaner.

    I visited a guy in Charlotte who collects Rek O Kut turntables. He must have a dozen or so. Some look like museum pieces and are evidently highly collectable.

  9. #34
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    sounds like a plug for direct drive turntables. Yet, every high end table i ever saw, read about in reviews is belt drive. I wonder why that is.

    I think the whole arguement of belt drive verses direct drive is moot and that the tone arm/cartridge is the most critical part. Some old school dinosaurs even poo poo the new tables from Rega, Music Hall, and ProJect without ever hearing them. I find it halarious becuase the carbon fibre tonearms on those newer turntables will blow the Technic stalk arm completely out of the water. Just sayin.

  10. #35
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    AR and Rek O Kut were belt drive tables.

  11. #36
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    I am probably putting my foot in my mouth, but I think 3dB is correct about belt versus direct drive.

    Technically and theoretically, anything you do to isolate the platter from noise and vibration can only improve the TT. Most belt drives still have the motor connected to the plinth and the platter is connected to the plinth so, even in this case, the concept is not perfect. Besides, many direct drive turn tables have a noise level of greater than 80dB, so I don't think direct versus belt is an issue.

    The tone arm is another matter and, not knowing better, I think which one is better is a matter of synergy with the cartridge compliance.

    PHONO Cartridge Compliance, Tonearm Mass, System Resonance, Loading of MC and MM Capacitance, RIAA Characteristic

    A heavy object needs a strong spring. Likewise heavy arms are only suitable for cartridges with a sturdy cantilever. In other words: a cartridge with a low compliance figure needs a heavy arm in order to obtain a fundamental resonance in the region of 8 to 12 Hz.
    A lightweight arm needs to be matched with a supple spring, in other words a very compliant spring which is the cantilever of a high-compliance cartridge.


    After that, it's a matter of matching the correct preamp with the cartridge. This is also covered in the link above.

    As for manual versus automatic, I assume that an automatic has added mass to the tone arm assembly, so that is a compliance issue and can be adjusted for with the correct choice in cartridges.

    As for which "improvement matters the most, I'm guessing that it's the cartridge followed by the tone arm, but the best cartridge may not be the best if the tone arm compliance is incorrect for it. After that, I think the preamp is the next step and the same thing applies, like the tome arm/cartridge, the preamp has to be correct for the cartridge in use. I'm guessing here!

    All this sounds logical (to me), but as JohnMichael posted, changing his motor improved the sound of his belt driven table, which I wouldn't think would be that important. I have no reason to dispute him, so that leaves me wondering.

  12. #37
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    Interesting thread with a couple things popping up I don't always see when the whole CD vs. vinyl debate rears its head. First, as a fan of automatic turntables, glad to see I am not alone. Manual is fine if you sit in a chair and listen all the time. But if you;'re someone who plays records while doing 100 other things and when napping nearby or anything less focused sometimes, having something that at least shuts off at the end is really nice. Auto-start is also nice for other people to operate without being afraid they are going to drop the needle or whatever. Merits of sound quality aside, for me at least some automation is close to a must-have in a turntable.

    Also glad to see people being pretty level headed that yes, CD and digital will always measure better and some will prefer the sound. But, that doesn't mean vinyl can't sound great as well or that an individual won't prefer both the sound and the experience of vinyl while others may prefer the digital experience.

    And for me, that's key. I have tried a few different tables, even a couple manual belt-drive types and in the end I have come back to something that provides the experience I really want out of vinyl. I like the retro aesthetic of a vintage table, and I like the automation of some older tables, and I like the ability to play 78s, even stacking them from time to time. So for me, the choice was limited to vintage tables with Dual being the most common culprit as it was the only one that let me do all of the above. I've ended up with a 1009SK, completely refurbished and I'm quite happy and can't say I have any urge to try anything else right now.

    For me, what is best is about more than sound quality and when people pretend their decisions are all about sound and nothing else, I find it a bit disingenuous. We all have a variety of preferences that play into how we ultimately most enjoy music. Some people weigh other things more heavily than others. I think my feeling on this is why I found this thread interesting because while sound quality was discussed, people seem willing to admit there are other reasons as well as to why they choose what they choose to listen with.

    Are record better than CDs? For me yes, absolutely. But, it is because I enjoy the total experience and not because of any sort of absolutist position on the sound or one format over the other.

  13. #38
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    I thought my old SL-1300/Shure m97ex sounded pretty decent with the CJ PV but it improved by leaps and bounds when I replaced the CJ with a Jolida JD9, The JD9 tube phono preamp was such a giant upgrade it started me buying vinyl again. I'd rather have a great phono preamp with an average table than a great table with an average phono preamp.

    My next upgrade will be to replace the Shure m97xe with a Denon DL103D MC which is said to be a good match for the Technics medium mass arm.

  14. #39
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    nobody - I curious about the JICO SAS stylus you use on your Shure. Bottom line, does it improve the sound and is it worth the investment (in your estimation)?

    Thanks.

  15. #40
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    You can hear the difference from the old motor compared to the new. I recorded two records to cd to listen in the car and after the motor change I recorded some tracks from both to hear the difference.

    The old motor was loosely mounted with an O ring to minimize vibration transfer. Of course since the motor was able to move speed variations happened. The new rigid mounted motor was tuned electronically to reduce the motor's vibration. Now that Rega has minimized vibrations and speed stability the sound has improved. I took it a step further and bought the Rega power supply upgrade. I am not sure of this but it looks to me that the PSU is powered by a walwart that first converts the AC to DC. Then the unit converts back to AC for the motor and the speed control. I think the regenerated AC is much cleaner than straight from an outlet. Better speed stability, less vibrations and cleaner power have improved the sound of my table.

    Belt drive vs direct drive is an interesting debate. In a belt drive table the belt does not transfer vibrations to the platter. A direct drive has the platter sitting directly on the motor's shaft. I think it would be easier to design a low vibration belt ttable than a direct drive table.

    An interesting comment I read once is that a turntable's performance is more limited by internal vibration than external vibrations. The writer moved his table to another room and found little improvement. After reducing the vibrations and upgrading subplatter and bearing I am a believer in lower internal vibrations.
    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.
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  16. #41
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    John -

    Do you think that the new motor affects the tone arm or the platter more? I just wonder because they are all connected to the plinth and it seems to me that since the tone arm has less mass that it would be the one most affected.

  17. #42
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    One of the audio mags used to publish a great graph where you could look up your tonearm's effective mass and the weight of your cartridge. Next you would look for the compliance rating of your cartridge and you could see the frequency of the combination. I would use that scale whenever I was shopping for a new cartridge.

    The arms geometry is also important. As I have posted before my Grado tracks really well in the Rega RB 250 after I switched to a lowered counterweight. This was when I had a Grado Red and when I heard the improvements I realized I finally heard the Grado magic. Of course the Sonata Statement is tracking well but even more magic to the sound.
    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.
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  18. #43
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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  19. #44
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenSurprenant View Post
    John -

    Do you think that the new motor affects the tone arm or the platter more? I just wonder because they are all connected to the plinth and it seems to me that since the tone arm has less mass that it would be the one most affected.

    The Rega uses a light composite plinth that disperses energy quickly so I do not know if vibrations influence the tonearm. The platter is glass on top of a machined metal subplatter which sits on top of a ceramic bearing. The combined mass of the glass platter and the machined metal subplatter should be resilient to any remaining vibrations from the motor.
    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
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  20. #45
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    No. It was a simple graph that had, if I remember correctly, vertical axis for tonearm mass, horizontal axis for cartridge mass and the diagonal would show suggested compliance for the ideal range. You first had to know the tonearms mass and the guide you posted would help with that but the graph I am thinking of is so simple. I think it might have appeared in Hi Fidelity. I will try to find it when I am home with my computer.
    Last edited by JohnMichael; 09-11-2012 at 11:38 AM.
    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
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    Monitor Audio RS6
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  21. #46
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    Bottom line is I think the stylus is worth it, especially if you already have a cart in good shape. That statement assumes that the cart is a good match in the first place for your table. I think for under $200 if you've already got a body, you're getting a really good mm cart.

    I bought the Shure V15xMR with its original stylus when they were still readily available at or below list price and used it until I had my one and only stylus accident one night. I should say if anyone is looking to replicate that original sound, I don't think the Jico does that. It has a sound of it's own. It is bolder and brighter than the original. The bass of the original is what I liked about that sound and the Jico retains a solid foundation, but it is not of the same character exactly as what I recall with the original. I think the Jico has a more detailed midrange that is more spacious and the high end is not rolled off like on the original. Now, it has been many years since I directly listened to the original and memory is a funny thing. But I do still have CDs burned when I was using the original and I believe this assessment holds up, at least in my setup.

    So the Jico stylus to me is a bit of a mixed bag, but I enjoy it in the end. It does not sound like the orioginal so if you want that sound you're out of luck. However, it does really pull out a lot of midrange detail while having a flatter response up top. Bass is still strong and good, just seems to loose a bit of the character the original had for me, but I don't see it as necessarily a weakness of the cart, it is just a difference. And this could really be as much a factor of the bass being more prominent with the original due to a rolled off top end. Hard to say. But I think the cart with the Jico stylus provides a great balance of being detailed up top while still having a good relatively smooth overall balance and strong bass.

    Tracking wise, I am remembering back a way, and I was using it on another table (which really colors all these comments). But I'd say they were in the same ballpark. I'm having good luck tracking without a lot of stylus force. I would say the brushes are very different with the old sure brush affecting tracking force much more than the Jico brush.

    I think that's about all I can think of on it.

  22. #47
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    This is similar to what I am trying to find. Total mass is the tonearm's effective mass plus the weight of the cartridge.

    The below diagram illustrates the relationship between cartridge compliance, tonearm mass and the resulting resonance frequency:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are records really better than CD's?-tonearmsresonans%252002%2520web.jpg  
    Last edited by JohnMichael; 09-11-2012 at 04:54 PM.
    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
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  23. #48
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael View Post
    This is similar to what I am trying to find. Total mass is the tonearm's effective mass plus the weight of the cartridge.

    The below diagram illustrates the relationship between cartridge compliance, tonearm mass and the resulting resonance frequency:
    Perhaps this?

    Resonance Frequency

  24. #49
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenSurprenant View Post
    Perhaps this?

    Resonance Frequency


    What I liked about the graph I am looking for is the visual range of the frequncies involved. You have a band of acceptable range which gives you some wiggle room in choosing a cartridge. Similar to the one I posted you can have good tracking if the tonearm/cartridge and compliance fall within the dotted space.
    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

  25. #50
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenSurprenant View Post
    I already have, it should be here Thursday.

    I understood about the electronics, but did it anyway. I kind of wanted another Accutrac like I had, but couldn't find one in the condition that I wanted. It spec'd out well too. I was considering the Denon DP-300F like you mentioned. It seems that it is a decent table for the money and close to the same performance as entry level offerings of several better brands. Spec wise it wasn't nearly as good as the DP-61F. In any case, I wanted at least a semi automatic and this fit the bill.

    I also figure, hopefully correctly, that I can improve the sound with perhaps a MC cartridge and a decent preamp.

    Any suggestions on a record cleaner?
    The VPI 16.5 is one of the best values in record cleaning machines, if that's what you're after. I clean my records with a mini shop vac.

    Bob cleans a record - YouTube

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