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Turntables - help me understand the appeal?

What would be a quality setup that doesn't cost thousands of dollars and doesn't require frequent maintenance?

Are there test records used for measurements? If so, has anyone done measurements? With the so many variable elements in the chain, this would have to be quite an elaborate experimental setup.
There were lots of test records available, from Decca, JVC, Ortofon and others that could be used for 'proper' measurements using instruments, plus a load of others that could be used by amateurs without measuring instruments, like the Shure Audio Obstacle Course and the New HiFi Sound LP and the HFN LP. Most of these, both 'technical' and 'amateur' were issued in the 1970s and early 1980S, at the heyday of LP. Since then, I don't know of any serious test LP, except the Ultimate Analogue Test LP, from 2006, which isn't at all bad, and can be used both with test equipment and by ear.

The problem with all test LPs is that some, like the HiFiNews LP offer very poor accuracy when using instruments, and the classic test LPs like the Decca are now likely to be worn out, unless you can find one unplayed, as they have a limited life.

Getting LP playback right isn't easy, it's only marginally easier than tape!

S
 
I have a wonderful time listening to digital from 128 kbs compressed to Redbook standard. Just not so sure that 'hi rez' in digital matters so much any more. Somewhere in the improvement of DACs over the years, the brittle quality got left behind. The Yamaha enhancer mode for compressed music is surprisingly effective. It seems to expand dynamic range a bit in the midrange, beef up the lower midrange-upper bass, and add back high frequency details.

Still, my snuggle up experience is vinyl, nostalgia or whatever.
 
What would be a quality setup that doesn't cost thousands of dollars and doesn't require frequent maintenance?

Are there test records used for measurements? If so, has anyone done measurements? With the so many variable elements in the chain, this would have to be quite an elaborate experimental setup.

If you know what you are doing you can buy a very good used TT for $200 or less and add a new cartridge for the same and you can have a system that will get 98% of what vinyl has to offer. As far as reliability goes TT's from the 1970's were made to last indefinitely with a very minimum of maintenance (oil bearing every few years)... stylus replacement every 1,000 to 2,000 hours which is again every few years.

You can do testing with a test record and then hook your Oscilloscope / Distortion analyzer to pre-amp out. The performance is very lame compared to a DAC so you don't need super sensitive test equipment. From my limited testing I usually see about 0.8% THD (-42 db) @ 1 KHz (almost all second order) for a new cartridge and it will slowly go up as it wears out. Frequency response is usually pretty flat from 20 Hz to 10Khz and then there tends to be a "hump" above 10K... better MM cartridges move this hump further into the ultrasonic range, MC cartridges tend to be effected less by the "hump" because of lower inductance. Frequency response is actually much higher than Red Book CD .... the old Quad systems needed response up to 45 KHz so the "rolled off highs" as an argument against vinyl playback is a myth.
 
If you know what you are doing you can buy a very good used TT for $200 or less and add a new cartridge for the same and you can have a system that will get 98% of what vinyl has to offer. As far as reliability goes TT's from the 1970's were made to last indefinitely with a very minimum of maintenance (oil bearing every few years)... stylus replacement every 1,000 to 2,000 hours which is again every few years.

You can do testing with a test record and then hook your Oscilloscope / Distortion analyzer to pre-amp out. The performance is very lame compared to a DAC so you don't need super sensitive test equipment. From my limited testing I usually see about 0.8% THD (-42 db) @ 1 KHz (almost all second order) for a new cartridge and it will slowly go up as it wears out. Frequency response is usually pretty flat from 20 Hz to 10Khz and then there tends to be a "hump" above 10K... better MM cartridges move this hump further into the ultrasonic range, MC cartridges tend to be effected less by the "hump" because of lower inductance. Frequency response is actually much higher than Red Book CD .... the old Quad systems needed response up to 45 KHz so the "rolled off highs" as an argument against vinyl playback is a myth.

I think your are conflating vinyl capability with actual application. http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.ph...r_issues_at_the_frequencies_CDs_can_reproduce
 
Vinyl can sound good, period. CDs can add sound good (possibly better), period. Whether the lack of distortion of CD sounds better is subjective. CD measures better, meaning it adds less to the sound, period. Some people like the vinyl sound. It does indeed sound excellent. Do whatever you want. There is no right with our 5 senses.
 
Vinyl can sound good, period. CDs can add sound good (possibly better), period. Whether the lack of distortion of CD sounds better is subjective. CD measures better, meaning it adds less to the sound, period. Some people like the vinyl sound. It does indeed sound excellent. Do whatever you want. There is no right with our 5 senses.
There is a right if the concept is High Fidelity. If you want to throw that concept away fine, but then you are on the wrong forum. This is a science based forum and the object here is to advance the State Of The Art in music Reproduction. There are plenty of other places that accept the idea of what sounds good to me is all that counts. That's not the way we roll here.
 
A big part of the appeal of vinyl to me is having the physical record collection. I love the cover art and having a cool physical object. I have every record that I ever bought starting in the early 70s on proud display in my house and I enjoy just browsing my collection.
Beyond that there is a ritual to playing a record that I don't get with CDs or streaming. Playing an LP is more of an event. Streaming my digitized CDs with Roon is super easy and cool and sounds much better but I always find myself reaching for the vinyl when I want to sit down and listen to music. Streaming is more for background music when I'm doing other things.
That being said, I think the only reason I love vinyl so much is because I grew up with it. Thank god we have streaming or I would not listen to nearly as much music as I do because records are a PIA. If I was a young person getting into music now I doubt that I'd see any appeal.
 
I was just pointing out that vinyl has plenty of HF response for audio use... It was mentioned earlier that vinyl "suffered from rolled off highs"

Yes, it does, but in application it doesn't work out that way. For one thing, the nature of the medium results in lower HF for inner grooves than outer grooves. Any way you cut it (pun intended), vinyl involves a mass of adjustments attempting to jigger reasonable fidelity. Despite that, as the LP plays, HF diminishes as you get closer to the center of the disc. HF also results in greater heat and, hence damage to the grooves, though this has been addressed. But in all these attempts to fix the inferiority of the medium, the farther one gets away from the original performance. Which is something many profess to want.

In the past, it started right in the analog tape recording process. Tape does have HF rolloff, so engineers goose the HF to compensate. Do they do this accurately? Please. They try, but, please.

Of course, LF rolloff has always been a problem for vinyl. The medium itself requires multiple compromises just to keep the thing playable, and each of these do little to enhance fidelity.

Then there's the noise floor...
 
I don't care what you think. I'd prefer if you weren't so condescending of what others thought. So it offends you that I enjoy vinyl? If so, you're as bad as the audiophools defending the horrid measured gear. Lighten up!
You love of vinyl is fine. It's comments like "Do whatever you want. There is no right with our 5 senses." that are misguided when applied to discussing the quest for SOTA. That part of the deal you need to understand.
 
A big part of the appeal of vinyl to me is having the physical record collection. I love the cover art and having a cool physical object. I have every record that I ever bought starting in the early 70s on proud display in my house and I enjoy just browsing my collection.
Beyond that there is a ritual to playing a record that I don't get with CDs or streaming. Playing an LP is more of an event. Streaming my digitized CDs with Roon is super easy and cool and sounds much better but I always find myself reaching for the vinyl when I want to sit down and listen to music. Streaming is more for background music when I'm doing other things.
That being said, I think the only reason I love vinyl so much is because I grew up with it. Thank god we have streaming or I would not listen to nearly as much music as I do because records are a PIA. If I was a young person getting into music now I doubt that I'd see any appeal.

You point about ritual is a big part of the mystique. I grew up with LPs, starting in the '50s. So vinyl was a huge part of my life, and I prided myself on my collection. But the ritual of Listening to Music (getting the LP, gently sliding it out of its sleeve, carefully setting the needle on the disc) isn't the same thing as listening to music. Reality trumps ritual for me. And digital gave me so much more transparency, so much more information, that I have no desire to go back. But that's just me.
 
You love of vinyl is fine. It's comments like "Do whatever you want. There is no right with our 5 senses." that are misguided when applied to discussing the quest for SOTA. That part of the deal you need to understand.
I never said vinyl was SOTA. I enjoy it. Music enjoyment is not necessarily proportional to pureness of the signal. I'm a measurements guy. I have three benchmark Dac1s and 3 Bryston amps with <0.005% distortion. They sound great. But so does my TT. All I'm saying is enjoyment is not always 1:1 with SOTA.
 
Yes, it does, but in application it doesn't work out that way. For one thing, the nature of the medium results in lower HF for inner grooves than outer grooves. Any way you cut it (pun intended), vinyl involves a mass of adjustments attempting to jigger reasonable fidelity.
Exactly, there are a number of reasons why the top end is usually tweaked before vinyl mastering, read below.
Also often the CD4 multich discs are brought up to support the high freq capabilities of LP's. Again the reality is that it was a format that never would have survived if something like optical playback hadn't become possible. The dirty truth is that depending on the cartidrige used, the high freq carrier signal usually didn't survive more than a dozen plays. A lot of work was done to improve cartridge tracking ability, etc to make it even possible but in the end it was a destined to failure..
https://music.tutsplus.com/tutorials/mastering-for-vinyl--cms-29480
https://www.gottagrooverecords.com/vinyl-mastering/
 
When I needle drop vinyl to digital, the digital playback is such I can not tell the difference, thus digital is plenty good at being a source medium.

However,

less frequency response at both extremes can sound better, although there can be a lot of HF "noise" but it does not sound "bad"
room pressurization due to the LF pulsing energy of vinyl can make the room sound bigger
you can pick the tone of the cartridge that you prefer and so follows that you will like that sound whenever you hear it
the distortion mechanisms of vinyl in the mids and highs can simply sound better over two channel stereo for many, including me
and as others mentioned more dynamics actually recorded in those days vs heavily compressed stuff now
the soundstage is better to me as well
 
What would be a quality setup that doesn't cost thousands of dollars and doesn't require frequent maintenance?

Are there test records used for measurements? If so, has anyone done measurements? With the so many variable elements in the chain, this would have to be quite an elaborate experimental setup.

What would be a quality setup that doesn't cost thousands of dollars and doesn't require frequent maintenance?

Are there test records used for measurements? If so, has anyone done measurements? With the so many variable elements in the chain, this would have to be quite an elaborate experimental setup.

As mentioned, you'll have to look on the vintage market, and be willing to do the initial maintenance to it running properly. I prefer the direct drive models, they seem to be more robust, and lower maintenance. I usually recommend a Technics linear tracking model for people that just want to try out vinyl for cheap. They're practically worthless because they're so undesirable, easy to find for under $100. They'll probably need new belts, and lube in the linear arm mechanism. You'll probably need to DIY a way to close access to it back, since they're held on by one time use rivets. Get an AT92e cart, and a Art DJ II, and you're probably still under the cost of most new TTs at your local best buy, and it shouldn't give up anything compared to whats available at best buy.
 
For those who like listening to turntables on their main systems, why should I consider putting money into this? Can you help me understand why you like listening to records better than HQ streaming?

Thanks in advance for sharing your opinions.

If you don't already have records, don't bother. The only reason to get a turntable is if you have records you want to play. Otherwise you're just spending money to buy stuff that will require you to buy more stuff to make it useful.

The other reason to get a turntable is because it's a tribal signifier. When we have people over, we usually spin records for background music because people think they're cool.
 
What would be a quality setup that doesn't cost thousands of dollars and doesn't require frequent maintenance?
A year subscription to Spotify? ;)
 
Heh, Heh, haven't you noticed in the media, the 'heroes' often have some kind of turntable now. The hero/heroine stumble in, turns on the light, splashes a massive drink to guzzle, maybe lights up a ciggie, then drops the needle for an ecstatic listening session. Also, turntables that have run off the platter and keep scratching and bumping at the center are a sure sign that something is wrong in the apt.: somebody got beaten, knocked out, killed or kidnapped. Just as bad as being a status symbol, turntables have become the retro signifier of the truly hip, slick and cool. Also, idolatry of particular jazz records is another plus.

Unfortunately, my turntable has never had that effect on people.
 
Just as bad as being a status symbol, turntables have become the retro signifier of the truly hip, slick and cool.
Yep, you see them everywhere now, in the TV commercials and primetime shows. Can't remember what I was watching just the other night and in the background at someones house was a Marantz 22X0 receiver with what looked to be a AR turntable, took me back to my 1974 rig.
 
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