The Mag CD player was $50 (brand new) at a Sears Surplus Store.
I have a lot of lp's that were never issued as CD's so I have ripped prefered songs with comp & audacity. I keep the records hidden away now.
I now have an Argosy media player dedicated to MP3's connected to the Kenwood. Vid out (so's I can navigate the dvd) is to a cheep 8" portable tv. After starting playback I turn tv off. My hearing is so bad, I cant tell the diff between a CD & an MP3, sad to say.
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Cranky Old Man
Edit: Nitpick. It's audiophile like videophile and foodophile. Oh wait, I don't think that last one's real!
Digital can sound every bit as good and even better than the best analog audio, but it all depends on the settings & the equipment & the era.
Original digital in the 80s wasn't even full 16 bit, was usually 14 bit. 16 bit could have been ok but the clocking wasn't stable enough then nor did people use enough dither to mask the quantization distortion. But it got better, unfortunately some of the bad rap was already upon it.
Here's the scoop:
If starting with a properly band-limited signal (20-20k Hz) using proper phase-linear filtering and oversampling, the freq. response of digital should be IDENTICAL to that of band-limited analog. Now, there usually isn't a 1:1 correlation in real life, because usually analog isn't sharply & strictly band-limited - it is "infinite" (though with a naturally fading bandpass). But usually ears cannot hear that difference.
In terms of bitdepth (dynamic range & distortion), that is where you see the biggest differences between analog & digital. Because rarely do you hear a straight digital recording simply replayed. If you did, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference much between it and the analog (except perhaps in the imaging - see my past posts about binaural & samplerate). But because bitdepth, which SHOULD be sufficient at 16bit, doesn't account for things like mixing & gain changing, that is where you end up with distortions which are more noticeable in digital than in analog because the distortions end up tracking the signal so seem more obvious and grating. Hence the need for both higher originating & intermediate bitdepth (20-24bit) and in dithering, both of which together will retain the fullness of the original dynamics while also allowing for mix/gain adjustment yet still retaining a natural air to the signal.
I have been around long enough to remember strictly analog record/playback chains, and can verify that the purist analog nostalgia is way overrated. Hearing a well-recorded, well-mixed, 24/192, or 24/96, or even a 16/44 ( but oversampled, bitmapped & dithered) signal compared to a live analog signal would be hard for the vast majority of people to differentiate. And then you have the added benefit in digital of robustness to storage or transmission or repetition of playback that is impossible in analog, well - - - digital can be, and usually is, better.
Try listening to the silky stark clarity of Ry Cooder's "Bop til You Drop" on a great clean system (all in digital) outputting to a generous Class A or Class D amp going to some Polk SDA"s and then you'll understand why digital took the world by storm, AND you'll catch all those great out-of-box imaging perspectives. And be WOWED.
For me, part (maybe a big part) of listening to my records was the setup/tweaking of everything to get it just right.
- Remove record from special anti-static sleeve
- Place record on the turntable
- Clean the record with DiscWasher
- Inspect the record for any dust you may have missed and clean again if necessary
- Wait for the record to dry
- Make sure the turntable is up to the exact speed
- Clean the stylus
- Place the stylus ever so gently in the groove of the track I want to play
- Sit down in my carefully placed chair (the only one the room)
- Listen to several seconds of the track
- Get up to tweak the receiver volume and the graphic equalizer (no remote anything back then)
- Hope you got the settings right and sit back down
- Listen to the track and sometimes get up and tweak the volume and graphic equalizer again for the next one
- Listen for max 22 minutes (as little as 15-17 minutes for an audiophile or direct to disc record)
- Never, ever let the stylus remain in the runout groove which may be dusty and will cause premature wear on the stylus
- Flip the record and repeat from Clean the record with DiscWasher
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
Forgot a few things.
- Inspect the groove of the record. Are they extra tight or extra loose?
- Decide whether to adjust the tracking force of the cartridge up or down to optimally track with the least force possible.
- Check the record for warps
- Decide whether to use the disc weight or not as it may make the cup warp worse if it's concave
- Check and adjust platter speed again
Has anyone been able to successfully play/track the cannon on this legendary record: Cincinatti Pops Orchestra: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien, Cossack Dances?
[Attachment 51350 - Click to enlarge]
I tried it with my Dynavector Ruby with the tracking set to the max. It literally jumped out of the groove and all I heard was a loud THUMP! on my speakers. I immediately jumped up an check my stylus, it was okay. But I seriously though I blew out my woofers because the thump was so loud. Thankfully no harm done. Supposedly the only under multi-thousand non MC cart that could track it correctly was the Shure V-15 III or IV with the tracking force pushed up past the recommended max.
Edit: Never tried with my Dynavector Diamond, though for fun I tried it with cheap cart on the Technics. The jump was even greater than the Dynavector and I put the record away for good.
Last edited by lingyi; 5th Jan 2020 at 20:12.
regarding the differences between Microilinear and Shibata , tolerance for surface noise , wear, warps etc..
what are the forces and weakness for each one ?
Last edited by smartel; 5th Jan 2020 at 20:49.
Pulling out memories of the past. As I stated above, a spherical stylus may be the best for worn and warped records because it rides higher in the groove and requires higher tracking force allowing it to ride out warps better.
Every time you play a record, since the diamond stylus is harder than the vinyl it wears and distorts the groove slightly. Some claimed that you should allow the record to rest between plays to allow the vinyl to rest because of heat and pressure generated by the stylus.
Shibata (a variation of an elliptical stylus) rides lower in the groove allowing better fidelity at the expense of potentially picking up noise caused by imperfections embedded there.
The Line Contact and Microline shapes came out after my audiophile days, but here's good comparison of the stylus types: https://blog.audio-technica.com/audio-solutions-question-week-question-week-can-explai...t-types-styli/
"The line contact stylus provides low distortion and low record wear. It should be noted, however, that due to its larger tracing footprint, the line contact stylus may produce more noise on heavily worn records. The line contact tip is used on our higher-end cartridges."
And logically, the same would be true for a Micro Line stylus. Bottom line, neither would be a good choice for worn or warped records.
Ironically the ideal stylus would be shaped exactly the same as the cutting stylus, but that would permanently distort the groove.
Rather than focusing on trying to tweak the playback of your records, unless they're extremely rare and expensive, you'd be better off finding a better copy. Ideally an early first pressing because as the stampers used to create the records wear out, the groove because less deep and sharp. This is why some audiophile records have a limited run to ensure the stamper doesn't wear out.
Many records have some type of message, run number, date or artist message in the space between the runout groove and the label. Some audiophile records had hand etched numbers (lower the better). I knew which stores got their records closest to the first release date (usually Weds where I lived) and would rush to buy from first batch put in the racks.
I sometimes used to purposely wait a few weeks or months to buy a second copy of my favorite records, because the artist's message may be different on the second or third run.
Edit: Here's an article about the messages: https://thevinylfactory.com/features/secret-history-messages-etched-runout-groove/
"But the history of the runout groove etching doesn’t begin and end with James Murphy’s subconscious. Practically since day one, the inside track or runout groove of a vinyl record or 78rpm disc has been the domain of the matrix number, an alphanumerical code either stamped or handwritten into the wax to help pressing plants assign the correct stamper and label to each side of the record. Extra digits often refer to the cut or take of a particular record, while some plants or cutting engineers will assign their own signatures to the space. Far from an exact science, matrix numbers will often be taken into consideration by collectors, either as proof of first pressings or sought-after alternate takes and re-cuts."
On one of Heart's records, I think Little Queen or Bebe Le Strange, the message was "Love from Hanna Lee". For years I wondered who Hanna Lee was until it finally dawned it me it's where Puff the Magic Dragon lived! The next pressing of the record had a a different message.
Last edited by lingyi; 6th Jan 2020 at 03:16.
i went to my local repair shop with my TT when he saw it, he said that he had the same one (good start)
the guy has been doing repairs for over 30 years (maybe more) and covers warranties for most of every major brand.
now the way i see things..i may update just the stylus and invest on a good carbon brush and somekind of stabilizer to put on the record .. and test the capture workflow on some records just to get things running .. and when i'm ready maybe, on another cartridge for my albums of choice and new ones .
i said to my repairman .. if my TT needs more than a good clean and a new belt give me a call before doing anything ..
and still searching for the ultimate record cleaning solution
records are pressed plastic. like cds/dvds/blu-rays. mild soap and warm water rinse to remove grease/embedded dirt. then microfiber cloths to remove dust. if not played for awhile do it over. you may lose the center paper label but what is the more important part to you?--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
While mild detergent and water (a drop or so of detergent to a gallon of water as I recall) can be used for really dirty records, it can dry out the plastic, especially on low grade plastics used on cheap records. Also, it may force surface dirt deeper in the grooves increasing clicks and pops (I forget which is which, but as I recall, one is deep in the grooves and the other is imperfections/debris on the surface). Finally, even if you dry the record immediately a a microfiber cloth, you're attracting airborne dust because of static.
The ultimate record cleaning solution is a record vaccum: https://www.amazon.com/Record-Doctor-Cleaning-Machine/dp/B00BEIC3DO/ref=sr_1_2?keyword...8368940&sr=8-2. Which for the cost of even the cheapest one you could replace a lot of records.
Related to the overall poor quality of your tonearm, before you begin looking at premium carts, make sure you tonearm (which is probably the same as the one I had on my Technics) is capable of working with them. A memory came back that when I upgraded my Dynavector Ruby for the Diamond, for fun I installed it on my Technics tonearm. The cart was so light (a feature of premium carts) that even with the counterweight cranked as low as it could could got, the cart was still floating in the air. I also remembered that I had to add tiny lead weight strips to my mid range Grado for extra weight!
The Black Widow and SME arms were legends indeed, and judging by current eBay prices, their legend endured. I remember when the SME II was THE premium separate tonearm everyone bought for their armless tables. Black Widow was something else again: among the first exotic featherweight straight arms to achieve significant market share. IIRC, the SME was a bit more versatile, Black Widow required more careful setup and was optimized for a particular range of cartridge specs.
Agree about the arm of the SL220: its in keeping with the original entry-level retail price of the entire table. There is nothing wrong with "entry level" if its made well, and the SL220 is a very decent package. It even has arguable advantages over more respected traditional belt drive TTs, esp for vinyl beginners. For one thing, its much easier to set up and maintain: the chassis is not suspended, and the motor is servo controlled so you avoid the pitfalls of mechanical 33/45 pulley slips and synchronous motor rumble. But overall, it wasn't engineered with exotic cartridges in mind: typically it would be bundled with the kind of midweight budget Audio Technica or Shure elliptical cartridge the tonearm was designed for. If you're even aware of the term "Shibata", much less actually know what the word means: the SL220 is not the turntable for you. Stick an over-the-top expensive cartridge in the SL220, and you'll get nowhere fast. Don't try to make a silk purse out of a sows ear: it doesn't do justice to either the SL220 or the cartridge. Stay within its wheelhouse, with appropriate expectations, and an SL220 will perform really well for the modest amount you spend on it (its a very very nice sows ear).
Re clicks, pops and other surface noise: this is also an area where vinyl newcomers need to take their expectations down a notch. Noise comes with the territory, esp in USA/Canada where many pressings were made on recycled or low grade vinyl. Those of us who were hypersensitive to clicks and pops would spend a small fortune on "audiophile" pressings from the likes of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, or on Japanese imports, and even those would still exhibit the occasional noise after the first few plays. Short of using a lossy software or hardware filter between the RIAA preamp and your amp or digital capture device, theres no surefire way to eliminate surface noise. For casual use, a Discwasher kit is all you need. The truly obsessed bought a professional record washing machine, which did greatly help, but then created dependency: once a record was washed once, it tended to need a re-wash before every play thereafter. Other better options may be available today, but they'll cost you a hell of a lot more than you probably want to spend.
Last edited by orsetto; 7th Jan 2020 at 12:40.
To be clear, I wasn't criticizing Thorens tonearms, which as you say were great, especially when paired the table and were often sold for nearly the value it added to the table when people upgraded . Also, I probably didn't make it clear that the tables were sold armless because they were so good.
If forget the percentages, but it was something like 40/30/30 when planning your complete turntable budget. Spend 40% on the cart, 35% on the tonearm and 25% on the table. The logic being it's easy to spin the record, but much more difficult to get a cart and arm to track it accurately. When I got my ADC table, I ask the audio dealer I got it from if it would be worthwhile to upgrade the tonearm in the future and he flat out said no since the tonearm was already way better than the table.
Speaking of tonearms. My dealer would let me listen to a Koestu, I think Rosewood (that was just below the Black, right?) on a Black Widow arm. Ahhh...I long for the days when I could actually hear the beauty of the combo. I don't remember what the table was, but as I said above, it was the lowest factor in the quality equation. I trying not to cheat and look it up, but I believe to further the exclusivity of owning a Black Widow was that it was slightly longer than normal and couldn't be installed on just any turntable.
Another memory of the past and adding to the OP's misguided quest to pair a premium cart with a mid-range range at best turntable/tonearm is that the damper wouldn't work on cheaper tonearms because the headshell/cart combo was too heavy, causing the damper to be crushed. The highest level Shure cart recommended for low to midrange arms was a step or two below, 95E? sticks it my mind. Were there any other V series carts other than the V15 series?
I was going to get a V15 III or IV (whichever it was in the late 70's), but when I found out my cousin could get a Dynavector Ruby fr $275, decided to go that way. With the MC preamp it was nearly twice the cost of getting a V15, but it was assuring to know that it wasn't the weak link my setup.
Edit: It was the V15 IV. The III was still available at a lower price. I think the II may still have been available new, no eBay back then.
Last edited by lingyi; 8th Jan 2020 at 00:11.
Anyone remember those punch-out records you'd get from the back of cereal boxes or from Mad Magazine? You had to put a penny (or dime) on the cart so it could could play the flimsy plastic.
Now glib hipsters are rediscovering them.
An off the wall possibility popped it my head. I seem to recall that a linear tracking turntable/tonearm (eBay has them cheap: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1313.TR5.TRC2.A0.H0.X...table&_sacat=0 may handle warped records better because the stylus doesn't have to compensate for the outward force of following the groove with antiskating. The drawback is that the tracking force has to be greater, though that's a good thing for warped records.
Another memory of my beloved system. Because my Dynavectors were capable of far greater performance than my tonearm, I had to turn up the tracking force up to near the upper recommended limit. For those who don't remember the glory days of analog audio, you would take a test record and set your tracking force near the max limit and turn it down until your stylus couldn't stay in the groove. You'd then turn it back a couple notches.. I had a force gauge (which is necessary because the dial on the back of the tonearm bay not be accurate), but it was fun to try and do it by eye and ear!
The highest level Shure cart recommended for low to midrange arms was a step or two below, 95E? sticks it my mind. Were there any other V series carts other than the V15 series?
Another memory from the past that I remembered on the way home then forgot. Another thing to do to clean your records is to zap it with a Zerostat, available for on Amazon for $80!, though I think it was close to that in the 70's if you got it as a set with the Dishwasher. Check out the cool wooden holder!
[Attachment 51373 - Click to enlarge]
I would also use the Zerostat on my Discwasher because it made it easier to remove the dust from it. Oh, and don't forget to use the stylus cleaner, that two toned rectangle next to the fluid (up to D4 last I remember). It had a dime sized fine brush on one side and a magnifying mirror on the other. Seriously, if you're playing dirty records clean your stylus after each one. Every bit of cleaning helps.
The Zerostat sounds like a joke but it really worked! You point and fire the "gun" a record to reduce the static charge on it before cleaning, adding one or two more steps to my record playing ritual.
- Zap the record with Zerostat
- Clean with Discwasher
- If there seems to be any trace of dust left, sometime using a flashlight to check if it's not brand new
- Zap the record again with Zerostat
- Clean with Discwasher again!
When I first got it, I didn't really believe it worked, so I purposely threw some house dust on an old record. You could see the dust particle move around and some fall off. The catch with the Zerostat was that if you too close or too far, or pulled the trigger too fast or too slow, you could add a bigger static charge to the record than when you started! You had to be the right distance away and slowly pull the trigger until you hear the click, then slowly move the gun away.
life expectancy of an elliptical stylus is only 300 hours (500 for a cone) according to audio-technica (30 hours to set it in ) .. isn't it a good argument to aim higher ? the advanced line-contact stylus range from 800 to 1000 hours ...
but the advanced model require also proper fine-tuning.. i may not have the tools to do it properly ..
maybe i really should get a real good cone .. the more a search for info ..the more i'm lost
but the "Nude stylus models" are said to last longer ..
Last edited by smartel; 8th Jan 2020 at 17:09.
B) Almost every expert opinion re every aspect of vinyl playback can be argued. There are very few absolutes, which is why audiophiles delightedly spent decades debating and tweaking and upgrading their stereo systems. A lot of the hostility that was directed towards CD was pent up rage that it took all the "fun" out of the hobby.
Don't overthink the cartridge question. Get a good modern elliptical matched to the SL220 arm, like Audio Technica AT95E, and get on with it. Stylus lifespan specs, like everything vinyl-related, consists of two parts voodoo and one part OCD. Very few people I've ever known changed their stylus out every 300 hours (and I've known some pretty deranged audiophiles in my day). Some who purchased exotic moving coil cartridges with non-removable stylus simply kept using the things for years, others compulsively changed out entire cartridges long before the odometer hit 300 hours. The line contact might theoretically be much more durable, but it might also be a terrible match for your turntable. Throw in warped and dirty records, and all bets are off. Unless you're planning to spend $300 or more on a cartridge (in which case you seriously need a better host for it than the SL220), don't sweat the cartridge and stylus specs too much.
lingyi made an excellent point about warped records that I somehow overlooked earlier: consider a linear tracking tonearm P-mount turntable from Technics, Sony etc. Nobody wants these today because they look chintzy, aren't "retro hipster" cool, and have some ultimate audio quality compromises. But, they can often track warped vinyl better than standard turntables with pivoting tonearms. These TTs sell fairly cheap, cartridges for them are cheap, setup couldn't possibly be easier (because there isn't any setup at all): you might want to try one before investing heavily in a new cart for your SL220. At best, one could solve your warp dilemma, at worst, you have a cheap small backup turntable for casual full-auto playback.
Last edited by orsetto; 8th Jan 2020 at 18:20.
well i also have a panasonic SL-N15 and has it's own line out switch
and the 300 hrs is maybe also some sort of marketing to sell more stylus i guess
use what you have. unless you have an end to end analog (tube amp) system with at least a $1000 worth of speakers, you'll not hear a difference.--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
The hours usage figures for styli is and estimate of how long it will last before audible changes are heard, typically duller highs and lows. It may last YOU 2-3-10x as long depending on how critical your ears are. I upgraded my Ruby to a Diamond when I did because I THOUGHT the quality was going down, but it may as have just as well have been the records were just worn after repeated playing. As I stated earlier, the cost of re-tipping it (replacing the stylus only), was ~$200 because the retail price of the cart was ~$375-400.* If the Diamond MKII hadn't dropped to $400 vs the $1000 for the original, I would have waited longer to replace my Ruby.
The reason lower end carts typically have lower hour usage figures is that the stylus has a bigger contact area at higher downward force causing quicker wear and more noticeable audible degradation as the surface area increases.
*Trivia. As I recall, Dynavector actually gave you a new cart in exchange. This is fairly common since by the time your stylus is truly worn, the other components in the cart, particularly the damper for the cantilever is worn and needs replacement also. The only cart I know is actually rebuilt are Koetsu, last I read by the son of the legendary founder who hand built each one.
As for putting anything more than a mid-range cart on a entry level turntable, think of it as putting Beluga caviar on a McDonalds hamburger patty and eating it together. Edible, but far from the ideal match.
Orsetto's mention of the M91E being bundled brought back my 40+ year old memories! I did have a SL-220 and a Shure M91E packed in with it. I didn't have two extra carts, but a wider conical replacement stylus for the Shure. I had two headshells, one with the Grade and the other with the M91E on it. When I needed to play old records, I had a bunch of badly cared for 45's and some 78's, I switched out the stylus on the Shure.
Which leads to another thing I remembered. No cart/stylus combo is ideal for every record. The Shure cart having different types of user replaceable styli made it great of playing different types of troublesome, dirty, warped, worn, etc. records. The only reason I had and used the Grado on my SL-220 was because I upgraded to my Ruby as the Grado was never intended to [be] my main cart.
Another reason not to use a high end or premium cart on warped or worn records is that you could actually damage the cantilever or cart itself when it jumps out the groove. The warning on the 1812 Overture record wasn't just marketing, I remember seeing pics of bent cantilevers and the guts of MC cantilevers pulled out of housing. When I tested my Ruby, it was only because I had my Diamond and [was] prepared for it to possibly die. I never tried playing the record with my Diamond!
Also, if your cart bottoms out on a badly warped record and you're listening to it on your speakers, there will be loud thump like when I tried to play the 1812 Overture record that can blow out your speaker AND amp(s). I blew the fuse on my receiver a few times just by playing an audiophile record too loud.
Some audiophiles won't even [play] a slightly warped record because of this.
Bottom line, stay in your lane with with what you have regardless of how much you're wiling to spend on a cart, especially if you're playing less then perfectly maintained records. If you like what you hear, follow the percentage rule. Excellent cart/Very Good tonearm/Good+ turntable.
Last edited by lingyi; 9th Jan 2020 at 01:40.