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Trying to understand the turntable/vinyl world...

deweydm

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Bought a very inexpensive copy of Mark Knopfler’s soundtrack to Local Hero this afternoon. Thirty eight year old record. Rinsed in the sink with lukewarm tap water. Spin clean. Another rinse in the sink with cold water to remove any residue from the spin-clean fluid. Dried immediately with micro fiber clothes.

Kind of quiet, delicate recording that would be easily wrecked by pops or crackle, but it sounds lovely. Grades B+ with a Parks Audio Puffin phono DSP.

Pretty good record cleaning doesn’t have to involve a lot of effort or expense. Though I‘d guess some people would argue against tap water. ;)
 

dlaloum

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Actually, my TT lacks VTA... So I guess Im very limited as to which carts I can try... (Probably will need to play with mats...)

The tags used to close bread bags, can be carved /cut into perfectly shaped shims to adjust VTA... they are nicely thin, and you can add as many as needed to result in the needed VTA adjustment.... dead easy, dirt cheap, works great!
 

atsmusic

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Content that isn’t available on another format or a preference for the mastering for specific pieces/albums.
a lot of the best masters are on records. This is very true. Seems no one here cares about mastering which makes a huge difference in sound quality.
 

dlaloum

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a lot of the best masters are on records. This is very true. Seems no one here cares about mastering which makes a huge difference in sound quality.

Not so - I totally agree that some of the best Masters are on records.... ie: Vinyl - but this is an area which flies "under the radar" for most people.

And it is one of the best reasons for digitising LP's - because later digital versions, just don't "cut the mustard" (even some of the "remasters" - or often especially the "remasters")
 

atsmusic

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Not so - I totally agree that some of the best Masters are on records.... ie: Vinyl - but this is an area which flies "under the radar" for most people.

And it is one of the best reasons for digitising LP's - because later digital versions, just don't "cut the mustard" (even some of the "remasters" - or often especially the "remasters")

Right most of the remasters aren't even as good as the original mastering
 

JP

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a lot of the best masters are on records. This is very true. Seems no one here cares about mastering which makes a huge difference in sound quality.


Not so - I totally agree that some of the best Masters are on records.... ie: Vinyl - but this is an area which flies "under the radar" for most people.

And it is one of the best reasons for digitising LP's - because later digital versions, just don't "cut the mustard" (even some of the "remasters" - or often especially the "remasters")

Rip I did of one of my favorite masterings of KoB. Not entirely sure it was worth the hours of manual de-clicking though - I've had six copies of this and the pressing quality is atrocious.

 

dlaloum

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Rip I did of one of my favorite masterings of KoB. Not entirely sure it was worth the hours of manual de-clicking though - I've had six copies of this and the pressing quality is atrocious.

The time and effort in de-clicking, in addition to the fear of loosing some of the precious audio information, made me start exploring the processes involved in cleaning the mechanical substrate...

Above and beyond a vac RCM, you have ultrasonic cleaning - which can be achieved relatively cheaply with a DIY machine.... this can have a substantial impact on clicks/pops - if they are a mechanical object in the groove - if on the other hand they are caused by something that has damaged the groove.... nothing you can do.

An Ultrasonic cleaner will pick up 80% of your pops and clicks... and if the record is subsequently kept in a good quality sleeve, and basic hygiene is maintained after that, the performance can be maintained.

More esoteric treatments (last, gruvglide, or home made concoction - such as armorall use) - can take it a notch further - but we are talking about improving the last 10% to 20% maybe...
 

JP

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The time and effort in de-clicking, in addition to the fear of loosing some of the precious audio information, made me start exploring the processes involved in cleaning the mechanical substrate...

Above and beyond a vac RCM, you have ultrasonic cleaning - which can be achieved relatively cheaply with a DIY machine.... this can have a substantial impact on clicks/pops - if they are a mechanical object in the groove - if on the other hand they are caused by something that has damaged the groove.... nothing you can do.

An Ultrasonic cleaner will pick up 80% of your pops and clicks... and if the record is subsequently kept in a good quality sleeve, and basic hygiene is maintained after that, the performance can be maintained.

More esoteric treatments (last, gruvglide, or home made concoction - such as armorall use) - can take it a notch further - but we are talking about improving the last 10% to 20% maybe...
Nothing cleans a bad pressing though, and AP has significant issues with this one.
 

dlaloum

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I have had a few, that I was sure were bad pressings... only to be surprised at the improvement after thorough URCM cleaning and armorall treatment. some specks of dust, will be embedded / pushed down into the vinyl... once the record surface is treated with a lubricant, it will over a period of days (sometimes hours) migrate around those dust "boulders" (from a needle perspective) - loosening them and releasing them from the vinyl surface... a subsequent URCM cleaning will often then release those last few pernicious nasties.

Sometimes I think these pernicious worst case examples are due to poor hygiene in the pressing plant - hence their getting pressed into the surface. Getting them out reduces the pop/click - but still leaves behind a depression in the vinyl... so it leaves behind an audible effect - but it is a huge improvement on de-clicking - and whatever digital filtering is then done to improve it, can be "milder" (always a good thing).

WARNING THIS IS STRICTLY OCD TERRITORY: I have experimented with this, but the sheer amount of time it takes, would make it unviable in most cases unless you were doing it as a full time paid job!
 

JP

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And sometimes it just it was it is.
 
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Thanks, you know, AT LP120x comes with an elliptical stylus.
Just tried a conical one. The thing is conical stylus seems to work better for records that are in poor shape. Elliptical is more revealing. I gues Microlinear is even more revealing but then you need to have your records in prefect condition...
Will consider microlinear, seems like a good try...
Sorry, but your guess could not possibly be more wrong.

I have many records - some bought from new, some used, some being gifted from the customers back in my CD retail days. And they cover pretty much every possible condition an analog record can possibly have - frooo NOS never played ( some still in their original shrink wrapper ) all the way down to the ones usable only as a clock on the wall.

Please check https://www.vinylengine.com/turntab...&t=22894&sid=f9eaeb2edb62af8619a1515df28f1269

Since I have been gifted a VERY well selected library of some 2-300 LPs of classical music in a VERY derelict condition ( soiled, dirty, you name it ... ), I have been of course interested in getting some decent sound out of these records. And actually did a test using every possible stylus shape in existence - from conical to Micro Line ( Micro Ridge, Micro whatever and SAS are just different commercial name for the Namiki produced Micro Ridge stylus ( which did evolve and get even more refined in the course of the 4 decades it is in existence )). Using the same cartridge - Audio Technica 1X0/1X2 family, the current production models belonging to this group is VM540ML, for example.

Aaaaand ... - what were the findings ? After the thourough cleaning, the collection has obviously been played with an elliptical stylus, at too low a tracking force, without or with very poorly adjusted antiskating. Unfortunately, the worst possible combination - and one even more unfortunately many times encountered inthe field.

An elliptical stylus - even NOS totally immaculate one - produced horrible, unlistenable distortion. A conical improved a bit over it, but still unlistenable. Using a line type of stylus ( Fine Line, Linear Contact, Shibata ) showed some possible light at the end of the tunnel; still only marginally acceptable for listening - but surely not good enough for digitizing such records.

Enter the best stylus tip profiles - the ones with a very small smaller rasdius and very large larger radius of the tip. Historically, Van Den Hul first came up with such a stylus in mid 70s - the VdH I. As VdH I is both quite expensive to produce and absolutely demands to be adjusted PERFECTLY in all 3D, a somewhat "relaxed" VdH II followed - which helped both in reducing the cost and allowing more users to use it given their ability to adjust it correctly on their hardware.

And, it took at least VdH II ( in reality, a Fritz Gyger II - the very same thing, which I had it retipped once the original AT diamond wore out - in any case produced by Fritz Gyger ) in order for these records mistracked by an elliptical stylus to come back to life once more. The reason is that the large scanning radius of VdH II and above is sufficient to form a "bridge" over the destroyed portion of the groove left by the mistracking elliptical stylus.

It rides on the portions of the groove never touched by the lesser stylus tip profiles before. In effect, almost like a new record - with only slightly more noise and distortion.

It takes a few playbacks for the large scanning stylus tip to deburr/clean the debris left by the mistracking elliptical - during which some noise and distortion may still be appearent. I recommend cleaning the stylus every song on pop music and at least every movement in classical while "deburring". After these few playbacks are over, it is recommended to wash the record again - using the best method at your disposal.

The results using VdH I, Fritz Gyger S or Micro Line offer a subtle, but audible rafinement over Vdh /FG II . The main point is that using any of these advanced stylus tip profiles allows elliptical mistracked records again.

CAVEAT : These advanced stylus tip profiles absolutely require perfect alignment. Unless you do posess hardware offering VTA and Azimuth adjustment and the ability to use these adjustments correctly, I do NOT recommend using these advanced stylus tip profiles - as even slightly "off" alignment can begin to re-cut the grooves - game over ...

So, a tip for the people buying used records on record swaps/meetings; carry a portable TT with an elliptical stylus.
If the seller wants to sell you a rare superbly washed cleaned record in superb new inner and outer sleeve at a premium price - and it distorts like there is no tomorrow when played back by an elliptical stylus - the investment in this portable TT might pay for itself in the very first instance ...
 

Leiker535

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Sorry, but your guess could not possibly be more wrong.

I have many records - some bought from new, some used, some being gifted from the customers back in my CD retail days. And they cover pretty much every possible condition an analog record can possibly have - frooo NOS never played ( some still in their original shrink wrapper ) all the way down to the ones usable only as a clock on the wall.

Please check https://www.vinylengine.com/turntab...&t=22894&sid=f9eaeb2edb62af8619a1515df28f1269

Since I have been gifted a VERY well selected library of some 2-300 LPs of classical music in a VERY derelict condition ( soiled, dirty, you name it ... ), I have been of course interested in getting some decent sound out of these records. And actually did a test using every possible stylus shape in existence - from conical to Micro Line ( Micro Ridge, Micro whatever and SAS are just different commercial name for the Namiki produced Micro Ridge stylus ( which did evolve and get even more refined in the course of the 4 decades it is in existence )). Using the same cartridge - Audio Technica 1X0/1X2 family, the current production models belonging to this group is VM540ML, for example.

Aaaaand ... - what were the findings ? After the thourough cleaning, the collection has obviously been played with an elliptical stylus, at too low a tracking force, without or with very poorly adjusted antiskating. Unfortunately, the worst possible combination - and one even more unfortunately many times encountered inthe field.

An elliptical stylus - even NOS totally immaculate one - produced horrible, unlistenable distortion. A conical improved a bit over it, but still unlistenable. Using a line type of stylus ( Fine Line, Linear Contact, Shibata ) showed some possible light at the end of the tunnel; still only marginally acceptable for listening - but surely not good enough for digitizing such records.

Enter the best stylus tip profiles - the ones with a very small smaller rasdius and very large larger radius of the tip. Historically, Van Den Hul first came up with such a stylus in mid 70s - the VdH I. As VdH I is both quite expensive to produce and absolutely demands to be adjusted PERFECTLY in all 3D, a somewhat "relaxed" VdH II followed - which helped both in reducing the cost and allowing more users to use it given their ability to adjust it correctly on their hardware.

And, it took at least VdH II ( in reality, a Fritz Gyger II - the very same thing, which I had it retipped once the original AT diamond wore out - in any case produced by Fritz Gyger ) in order for these records mistracked by an elliptical stylus to come back to life once more. The reason is that the large scanning radius of VdH II and above is sufficient to form a "bridge" over the destroyed portion of the groove left by the mistracking elliptical stylus.

It rides on the portions of the groove never touched by the lesser stylus tip profiles before. In effect, almost like a new record - with only slightly more noise and distortion.

It takes a few playbacks for the large scanning stylus tip to deburr/clean the debris left by the mistracking elliptical - during which some noise and distortion may still be appearent. I recommend cleaning the stylus every song on pop music and at least every movement in classical while "deburring". After these few playbacks are over, it is recommended to wash the record again - using the best method at your disposal.

The results using VdH I, Fritz Gyger S or Micro Line offer a subtle, but audible rafinement over Vdh /FG II . The main point is that using any of these advanced stylus tip profiles allows elliptical mistracked records again.

CAVEAT : These advanced stylus tip profiles absolutely require perfect alignment. Unless you do posess hardware offering VTA and Azimuth adjustment and the ability to use these adjustments correctly, I do NOT recommend using these advanced stylus tip profiles - as even slightly "off" alignment can begin to re-cut the grooves - game over ...

So, a tip for the people buying used records on record swaps/meetings; carry a portable TT with an elliptical stylus.
If the seller wants to sell you a rare superbly washed cleaned record in superb new inner and outer sleeve at a premium price - and it distorts like there is no tomorrow when played back by an elliptical stylus - the investment in this portable TT might pay for itself in the very first instance ...
Supposing perfect alignment, wouldn't you say conical stay on the groove better on worn records then? I ask out of curiosity, as my fine line iwas bent from the get-go (my fault), but it still sounds better then my Ortofon 3E and my Stanton trackmaster conical, with the only caveat that it skips.

ALso, my poor attempt of VTA alignment and a close pic of my (very) dirty ML

1636816291760.png


1636816317885.png
 

MattHooper

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Vinyl is one of those things that people are into because they like it, I don't think there's any rational case for it in today's world.

I see variations of that proposition stated often.

"Because they like it" IS the basis for a rational case for buying vinyl and turntables.
 

MattHooper

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There's a spectrum of reasons why many people find music listening on vinyl a fulfilling endeavour. Obviously it's going to vary among people.

But certainly one reason is, at least among audiophiles, the "fiddly" "tweaking" "hands on" nature. It's playing with gear.

But of course because this is so endemic among audiophiles it doesn't go away once digital comes along. Many have just switched that behavior to the digital world. Even if you put aside some of the anti-scientific tomfoolery about digital tweaking found on some computer audio based sites, you still find audiophiles devoting more mental and physical time to playing with digital gear than any "normal" people :)
I mean all this measuring, chasing vanishingly subtle to inaudible levels of jitter, distortion etc, comparing gear. It's just the propensity for "playing with gear and gee what can we achieve in pushing this technology forward?" transferred on to digital.


Not that there's anything wrong with that :)

Any technology can be as fiddly or immersive as the individual wants to make it. Tons of people buy a relatively cheap turntable and don't think twice about it after that. They just spin their records. Others immerse themselves in the technology. Likewise, most people just buy some form of digital music player and that's that. But plenty of audiophiles will immerse themselves in the technology. Different zebra, same stripes.
 

mhardy6647

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rekkid playa pro tip: Go with a dynamically-balanced (using a spring) tonearm. Way more fun that a static balanced (using a counterweight) arm!



 

dlaloum

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There's a spectrum of reasons why many people find music listening on vinyl a fulfilling endeavour. Obviously it's going to vary among people.

But certainly one reason is, at least among audiophiles, the "fiddly" "tweaking" "hands on" nature. It's playing with gear.

But of course because this is so endemic among audiophiles it doesn't go away once digital comes along. Many have just switched that behavior to the digital world. Even if you put aside some of the anti-scientific tomfoolery about digital tweaking found on some computer audio based sites, you still find audiophiles devoting more mental and physical time to playing with digital gear than any "normal" people :)
I mean all this measuring, chasing vanishingly subtle to inaudible levels of jitter, distortion etc, comparing gear. It's just the propensity for "playing with gear and gee what can we achieve in pushing this technology forward?" transferred on to digital.


Not that there's anything wrong with that :)

Any technology can be as fiddly or immersive as the individual wants to make it. Tons of people buy a relatively cheap turntable and don't think twice about it after that. They just spin their records. Others immerse themselves in the technology. Likewise, most people just buy some form of digital music player and that's that. But plenty of audiophiles will immerse themselves in the technology. Different zebra, same stripes.
Not that I disagree with you for a second... but fiddling and twiddling with vinyl has noticeable audible impact.... often quite dramatic impacts.... digital on the other hand, you are fiddling at the margins - there are unlikely to be any "order of magnitude" improvements.

That makes vinyl quite rewarding - and that is in addition to having access to recordings that were either never issued in digital, or for which the remasters are worse than the earlier original masters (something which is often subjective).
 

rdenney

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Not that I disagree with you for a second... but fiddling and twiddling with vinyl has noticeable audible impact.... often quite dramatic impacts.... digital on the other hand, you are fiddling at the margins - there are unlikely to be any "order of magnitude" improvements.

That makes vinyl quite rewarding - and that is in addition to having access to recordings that were either never issued in digital, or for which the remasters are worse than the earlier original masters (something which is often subjective).

This is quite a good point. If the objective is to be rewarded by messing with equipment, vinyl records provide a lot of that. Tape, too, but with more skills required.

“I traded a DAC with a SINAD of 112 for one with 119” just doesn’t have the same sense of satisfaction.

Rick “it’s a hobby” Denney
 
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