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Maintaining a phono preamp over time

Philbo King

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Another often overlooked item:
Dried out thermal paste on any devices using a heat sink or bolted to chassis for heat dissipation. Especially on voltage regulator ICs.
 

LTig

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It's a Technics SL-1200mk2, with Ortofon Pro S and a new-ish stylus. Everything balanced and set up properly (I hope)

Tracking force recommended is 4g, but that is with DJ use in mind. I wouldn't normally use this as I find ~1.8g works fine for listening and I presume causes less wear on the records. But if I'm testing or diagnosing anything, I use the recommended force to be sure.
It's not a good idea to use too low tracking force. In louder regions the needle looses the contact with the groove and jumps around. This does not only distort but it may also destroy the groove permanently.

To find the minimum tracking force you need a test record with calibrated tones in increasing excursion (I have one with 315 Hz from 10 to 100 µm). The needle should be able to play cleanly at least 50 µm, better is 60 µm.
 

thewas

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It's not a good idea to use too low tracking force. In louder regions the needle looses the contact with the groove and jumps around. This does not only distort but it may also destroy the groove permanently.

To find the minimum tracking force you need a test record with calibrated tones in increasing excursion (I have one with 315 Hz from 10 to 100 µm). The needle should be able to play cleanly at least 50 µm, better is 60 µm.
Correct, the recommended range for the Pro S ist 3 to 5 g and the listed tracking ability of 70 μm at 315 Hz is according to Ortofon reached at the recommended tracking force of 4 g.
 
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mk2

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It's not a good idea to use too low tracking force. In louder regions the needle looses the contact with the groove and jumps around. This does not only distort but it may also destroy the groove permanently.

To find the minimum tracking force you need a test record with calibrated tones in increasing excursion (I have one with 315 Hz from 10 to 100 µm). The needle should be able to play cleanly at least 50 µm, better is 60 µm.
It's all very reasonable and I agree.

But with these DJ oriented carts there's emphasis on ensuring it's skip-free when the record is being physically handled. And truly they are much more resilient when set up to the specified weight, nothing like the expectations of hifi.

I think that would incentivise manufactures to spec DJ stylii to the maximum force before unwanted side effects happen, rather than the minimum one as you do above.

Which I suppose does add more specifics to my conspiracy theory. That a manufacturer would release identical products marketed for different use just by varying the tracking weight and testing the impact on other key metrics (I'm not knocking this, it could make good business sense and is not unlike other businesses)

If that's the case it should be possible to measure or test scientifically rather than speculate. Hmmm....
 

computer-audiophile

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I have also used several of these Ortofon Club systems. With a contact force of 4g, I have achieved a trackability of about 80µ. It is worse for the record wear to use less.

I always use a test record with every new system to check this. So 4g is what I would recommend indeed unless you have a better hi-fi system with a higher needle compliance and perhaps an elliptical stylus.

4260141088589.jpg
 
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ban25

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It's all very reasonable and I agree.

But with these DJ oriented carts there's emphasis on ensuring it's skip-free when the record is being physically handled. And truly they are much more resilient when set up to the specified weight, nothing like the expectations of hifi.

I think that would incentivise manufactures to spec DJ stylii to the maximum force before unwanted side effects happen, rather than the minimum one as you do above.

Which I suppose does add more specifics to my conspiracy theory. That a manufacturer would release identical products marketed for different use just by varying the tracking weight and testing the impact on other key metrics (I'm not knocking this, it could make good business sense and is not unlike other businesses)

If that's the case it should be possible to measure or test scientifically rather than speculate. Hmmm....
Quite simply, you're using far too little tracking force for that cartridge. Even most audiophile moving coil cartridges recommend a tracking force of 2g.
 
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