Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in

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TheChairGuy

Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« on: 25 Feb 2009, 07:40 pm »
Dear Vinyl Newbies

We, the long-in-the-tooth vinyl fans understand and empathize with your frustration at dialing in your rig totally :(

We lose ourselves in our preferred medium and sometimes forget the beginnings of our (often) long journey into vinyl. It takes some level of knowledge to get the best from your rig...much moreso than line sources.

I/we want to invite you to enjoy your vinyl thoroughly, and invite you to pose any question in this topic that has been vexing you and that has not be answered adequately as yet (here or in any other forum).  There is no question 'too stupid' to ask here, no ridicule will be pointed and no hazing ritual allowed :wink: If you don't have a question, just pop in and say 'hi'.

If you don't have a turntable, but are thinking about it...feel free to flesh out your many ideas here if they have not been fully flexed otherwise

Ask away here in this topic if you have not the inclination to make a topic of your own here...and you will get many helping hands here to guide you at the Vinyl Circle.

Thank you,

John / TheChairGuy
Larry / lcrim
Co-Facilitators / The Vinyl Circle @ AudioCircle

(btw, anybody can post here in response to newbies...it's just mostly for newbies to chime in and post)

mattyturner

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #1 on: 25 Feb 2009, 08:25 pm »
I'll go first! I have no turntable yet but would like to get into vinyl this year.

Given that my record collection is less than 10 albums, do you feel it is better to get a 'starter' table around $500 to get a feel for it, or jump in around the 2k mark?

My current issue is, if I buy cheaper and not sure I like it, then I may not be sure if it's because I don't have a good enough setup.
If I jump in with both feet then I will have sunk a lot of money and not have much to listen to (at least initially). Plus then if I don't like it I will probably be out of pocket even more with resale values how they are.

Bob in St. Louis

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Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #2 on: 25 Feb 2009, 08:31 pm »
This is a two part question;
- If a fella wanted to venture into the world of vinyl (and had a TT already), what's a good cheap inexpensive DIY phono preamp project to start with (Bottlehead Seduction???). Preferably tubed. Something that's reasonably respected in the vinyl community, and could be considered a "keeper" for a long period of time. Meaning something that sounds good enough and won't HAVE TO be upgraded anytime soon due to "less than desirable" sound quality. But, that being said, modability to something nicer down the road would be a definite advantage.
- Next; What with this moving coil/moving magnet thing and how do you know what you've got. I've asked this question before, and was given good answers, but it apparently didn't sink in since I didn't remember it. Apparently, preamp choice depends on the type of cartridge you have?? I think.

Good thread Larry and John. You vinyl guys have managed to drag me (kicking and screaming) into wanting vinyl a few times but so far you haven't succeeded. I've been able to resist your dangling carrots.  :wink:
Although I am the proud owner of an AR-XA that sounded pretty impressive on a buddy's pair of Maggies.

Thanks guys!
Bob

woodsyi

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Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #3 on: 25 Feb 2009, 08:49 pm »
I'll go first! I have no turntable yet but would like to get into vinyl this year.

Given that my record collection is less than 10 albums, do you feel it is better to get a 'starter' table around $500 to get a feel for it, or jump in around the 2k mark?

My current issue is, if I buy cheaper and not sure I like it, then I may not be sure if it's because I don't have a good enough setup.
If I jump in with both feet then I will have sunk a lot of money and not have much to listen to (at least initially). Plus then if I don't like it I will probably be out of pocket even more with resale values how they are.


See if you can go listen to a decent analog system near you.  Compare CD and Vinyl of the same recording if you can.  Then you have to decide how much you are willing to spend and how much effort you are willing to exert on setting up an analog front end. 

TheChairGuy

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #4 on: 25 Feb 2009, 08:57 pm »
Allright, I'll try to answer first here (edit - ohhh, our own Father Theresa/aka woodsyi beat me to the punch :))

mattyturner
Go buy a Technics SL-1200 Mk. II for $450+ and get started.  I know of no cheaper (new) turntable that will bring you as much pleasure with as little pain.  Start there and move upward as you feel comfortable (or stop there, whatever brings you pleasure).

Buy as many LP's, new or used, as you can afford from there.  Down the line, budget in some kinda' cleaning system (many do well by hand washing with ultra-clean water and Dove dishwashing liquid) with good results.


Bob in St. Louis
Tubed DIY phono stage - Go for the Bottlehead or Hagerman's stuff or (my preferred) find a nice, used full function tubed preamp with built in phono stage.  Part of getting the best from vinyl is keeping it simple.

Moving Magnet or Moving Coil - what's going on inside the cartridge means little to you...it's how much you like what it does.  Without knowing what brand/color or seeing a pic of your cartridge it's impossible to guess what you have there.  Nonetheless, in general MM (moving magnets) are cheaper and MC (moving coils) are more costly and tend to be more 'tweeky' (less for newbies and more for experienced types)

That said, there are of course exceptions to nearly any steadfast rule in audio or vinyl, specifically.

Keep 'em coming  :thumb:

John

MaxCast

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #5 on: 25 Feb 2009, 09:11 pm »

- Next; What with this moving coil/moving magnet thing and how do you know what you've got. I've asked this question before, and was given good answers, but it apparently didn't sink in since I didn't remember it. Apparently, preamp choice depends on the type of cartridge you have?? I think.



That is my question as well.
  Can all tables accept either type of cart?



I have an old Hitachi linear tracking table from the 80's.  My preamp does not have a phono input.  I guess I need a phono pre to hook it up correct???

Bob in St. Louis

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Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #6 on: 25 Feb 2009, 09:30 pm »
Moving Magnet or Moving Coil - what's going on inside the cartridge means little to you...it's how much you like what it does.  Without knowing what brand/color or seeing a pic of your cartridge it's impossible to guess what you have there.  Nonetheless, in general MM (moving magnets) are cheaper and MC (moving coils) are more costly and tend to be more 'tweeky' (less for newbies and more for experienced types)
Regarding the type I've got; Apparently the factory arm on a AR-XA is non-changable. So whatever normally comes in the gray plastic headshell O.E. is what's in there.

Thanks guys!
Bob

lcrim

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #7 on: 25 Feb 2009, 09:47 pm »
MM or MC
The issue for a newcomer has more to do with output than whether its a Moving Magnet or Moving Coil.  Cartridges put out a very tiny amount of current that must be amplified before going to a preamp or integrated amp.  Moving magnet and high output Moving coils produce a high enough current output that a phono stage described as being for a MM cartridge can be used.  Any magnetic cartridge (as opposed to a ceramic cartridge) produces a tiny current by moving a magnet through a stationary coil inducing a current.  Moving coils as the name suggests, moves a coil through a magnetic field inducing a small current.  There is a cantilever that has the stylus at one end and either the coil or magnet at the other end (Inside the cartridge body.)  As the stylus tracks the groove, it moves side to side or up and down and inside the cartridge the coil or the magnet is sending out a small current.  The Low output moving coil uses very few coils of wire and the stylus is very light so that a very tiny current is induced, but because of the small masses it is able to react very quickly.  Thus more amplification is necessary to get this current up to a usable point. A CD player generally puts out a 2 volt signal.   A very sturdy output from a MM cartridge is around 5 mV.  so a great deal of amplification is necessary to get this signal up to a usable range.  Unfortunately when this much gain is employed, noise can result.

twitch54

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #8 on: 25 Feb 2009, 10:01 pm »

That is my question as well.
  Can all tables accept either type of cart?



I have an old Hitachi linear tracking table from the 80's.  My preamp does not have a phono input.  I guess I need a phono pre to hook it up correct???


Adding to Larry's excellent answer....that cartridge 'acceptance' is primarily a factor of arm ( compliance matching) and phono-pre ( the lower the output of the cartridge the more gain required by the phono-pre, thus noise issues Larry mentioned)

John's thought relative MM or MC cartridges make sense as said along with the serviceability issue, one does not 'just replace stylus on an MC' (factory repairs are norm)

So max.....yes you will need a 'phono-pre' , and while I'm not familiar with your arm / table hopefully someone else is that can give you a good recomendation for cart / phono-pre match.

lcrim

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #9 on: 25 Feb 2009, 10:12 pm »
Compliance
Another concept you should become familiar with is compliance.  By design, that cantilever is like a leaf spring in an older car. A cartridge is designed to track the groove in the record and depending on the effective mass of the tonearm, and the vertical tracking force set according to the manufacturers spec, it is trying to keep the stylus in the correct position.  There is a concept known as the Resonant Frequency which describes the frequency at which the cartridge, reacting to the forces it encounters will continue its up and or sidewise motions like a car with bad shocks.  The idea is to adjust the parameters so that the Resonant Frequency is around 9 -10 HZ maybe a bit more each way, so that you get bass reproduction w/o normal household noise getting involved.   Moving magnets tend to have relatively higher compliance and therefore work best w/ lighter mass tonearms.  Low output moving coils are generally low compliance as well and hence work better w/ higher mass tone arms to absorb some of that resonance .  Damping applied to the tone arm is a great help in this area.

Wayner

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #10 on: 25 Feb 2009, 10:55 pm »
Moving Magnet or Moving Coil - what's going on inside the cartridge means little to you...it's how much you like what it does.  Without knowing what brand/color or seeing a pic of your cartridge it's impossible to guess what you have there.  Nonetheless, in general MM (moving magnets) are cheaper and MC (moving coils) are more costly and tend to be more 'tweeky' (less for newbies and more for experienced types)
Regarding the type I've got; Apparently the factory arm on a AR-XA is non-changable. So whatever normally comes in the gray plastic headshell O.E. is what's in there.

Thanks guys!
Bob

Bob, you can put any cartridge in your AR headshell, it just has to fit into the space of the headshell. You should have a collection of various screw lengths and washers to secure your cartridge. Don't bottom out the screws in the AR headshell or you'll crack off the plastic bushings. If you are unable to do this, send the headshell and cartridge to me and I will install it.

Wayner

Bob in St. Louis

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Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #11 on: 25 Feb 2009, 11:08 pm »
Thank you Larry for the explanation. Good Stuff!
And Thank You Wayner, not just for the advise, but for the headshell you sold me a while back. I did get it installed (without breaking it......well, actually, Scott F. installed it).
The table was set-up and adjusted, then tested on a pair of Maggies. Very good sound.
But alas, I still haven't had a preamp fall in my lap. Honestly, it'll be aways off before I (finally) get one.
But I am still (very) interested.

Thanks again for your words and time gentleman. I'll be a vinyl spinner eventually.  :thumb:
Bob

Thebiker

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #12 on: 26 Feb 2009, 12:25 am »
OK, I'm an old dude that just starting spinning vinyl again.  Due to an indulging spouse (got it right the second time  :wink:), I am now the proud owner of a Music Hall MMF 7.1 with a Goldring 2400 MM cartridge and a Jolida JD-9A phono pre.  These were placed in my hands and system today and are currently running in.  Since I am a tube roller, I pulled the EH 12AX7's and replaced them with a pair of Tungsol 12AX7's...had 'em in stock :dunno: so how could I resist.

Sounds a little closed in, but that should pass as things settle.  I never did hear any pre sound as good as it can fresh out of the box.

No real questions at the moment, but I'll stop by to pick the "collective brain" when I'm on line.

Walt
« Last Edit: 26 Feb 2009, 11:17 pm by Thebiker »

TheChairGuy

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #13 on: 26 Feb 2009, 02:14 am »
Ok, I'll try to answer a couple things not picked up by others:

MaxCastRich
A MM or MC cartridge may be used on any (well, nearly any) tonearm.  The type of cartridge is only an operating principal...how it fits on your arm is the same.

You may be confusing the issue of compliance....moving coils tend to 'like' heavier arms and moving magnets tend to like lighter arms.  See Larry Crim's excellent post regarding compliance (made only better if his 3rd grade teacher had taught him about paragraphs :lol:)

Your linear tracking arm might have an oddity of a mounting system called a 'P' mount.  This was devised in the waning days when vinyl was king in the 80's to make fitting a cartridge easier.  It's simply a plug-in and much easier to fit a cartridge to.  What model is it....and if that's not enough for us to tell you, take a pic of the end of your arm and we'll be able to guide you thru it.

Bob in St. Louis & MaxCastRich
Indeed, one needs either a phono stage in your preamp or buy an external one.  Two very inexpensive ones to recommend to get started are the ART DeeJay II (under $50) and the TCC TC-750 ($43.50).  You'll likely have to spend 3x as much to get better phono preamps.

These are both moving magnet only models (meaning only moving magnets and high output moving coils can be used)...but for another $25-$60 you can get models from these or other makers that will also amplify tinier low output moving coil signals

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DeeJayPre/
http://www.phonopreamps.com/tc750pp.html

Walt/thebiker
Welcome back to vinyl...and kudo's for learning from prior mistakes  :wink:

John
 

twitch54

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #14 on: 26 Feb 2009, 03:06 am »
Walt, welcome back and congrats on the new rig. I'll be interested to hear your listening impressions with your new set-up once you have some time with it, for I had a similar set-up with the mmf 9.1. I could not get the Goldring to work for me, but once I switched to a Benz Micro 'Ace' all was happy again.

Hope it works out better for you !

lcrim

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #15 on: 26 Feb 2009, 03:46 am »
I'm afraid that we disagree.  Using a high compliance cartridge on a high mass arm, or conversely a low compliance cartridge on a low mass arm can move the Resonant Frequency into the audible range.  This is the accepted wisdom.  Damping, hydraulic or otherwise can blur this line.
« Last Edit: 27 Feb 2009, 08:08 pm by lcrim »

TheChairGuy

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #16 on: 26 Feb 2009, 06:38 am »
Damping, as my erstwhile co-conspirator :wink: has indicated...is a method of flattening resonant peaks that occur in the audio hearing range due to 'compliance' relative mis-match of cartridge & arm.  It can be fluid (generally silicone), hydraulic, magnetic...and it can work on horizontal or vertical planes (or both at once).

It is also a great aid to warp-induced 'wow' from one's records and can also serve as a mechanical subsonic filter to lower overall noise being amplified thru the chain.

It is a handy thing to have indeed...and I employ it nearly 100% of the time (it's defeatable on my top two tables I own).  However, moving coils as part of their design, tend to be well damped internally...so if one adds fluid/mechanical damping to it on the higher mass arms that they generally crave, the result may be dry/dark/overdamped/cramped sonics in the end.

Despite my erstwhile co-conspirators assertion, it is not universally loved or needed for turntables.  Getting compliance match is not critical for newbies if you buy a relatively inexpensive MM cartridge to begin...and play on an average/inexpensive turntable, it should be good enough. 

Some cartridges, like Grado's, run relatively underdamped internal to their design (that is, there is little or no rubber or other damping on the transmission like of 5-125' of wound wire within) and always benefit from fluid/hydraulic/magnetic damping on cartridges - no matter if the tonearm compliance matches the cartridge. I generally recommend to newbies to stay away from Grado's as they tend to be very tweeky even tho they have some very inexpensive models in their line.

Excess energy can never be truly absorbed by the concept of damping...it can only be deflected or changed into another form (like heat).  So damping must be judiciously used and tuned a bit by ear...not something that is easy for a newbie to often set-up and do.

Did any of you newbies just leave us now? :lol: Don't sweat the issue of damping...it's usually a luxury or nuance to the overall sound.  'Compliance' is slightly more important in the pecking order of things, but not usually a deal breaker to enjoy vinyl sonics

Ciao, John 

MaxCast

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #17 on: 26 Feb 2009, 12:50 pm »
Thanks guys.
I'm also getting an old Garrard table for free.  We'll see what she has in her as well.  And yes, John, I do remember the four prong connector.  p mount on the Hitachi.

MaxCast

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #18 on: 26 Feb 2009, 01:01 pm »
How to gauge good vinyl?  When looking a used records how does one "know" it will play alright?  Is it a crap shoot?  Obviously, perpendicular scratches are not good   :)

TheChairGuy

Re: Vinyl Newbies - this is in your topic to chime in
« Reply #19 on: 26 Feb 2009, 03:11 pm »
How to gauge good vinyl?  When looking a used records how does one "know" it will play alright?  Is it a crap shoot?  Obviously, perpendicular scratches are not good   :)

It is really mostly a crap shoot...unless you are going to Thrift shops with a 10x magnifying loupe to examine every crevice (you certainly will be looked at curiously over the record stacks if you do :roll:)

Here's are tip(s) to put the odds in your favor a bit:

1.  Don't buy a STEREO made prior to the late 60's.  You are nearly guaranteed to find a record that was used on an abusive record changer (an old stacker where many records sat on top of one another) and it will likely have had a cartridge that had a large spherical/conical tip at heavy tracking forces...nearly guaranteeing groove damage when you receive it in 2009 that is impossible to ignore.

Of course, that takes away lotsa' titles, so you may want to ignore this if there is something you want regardless...but be advised it'll sound very worn most times.

2.  MONOPHONIC albums abound and sound best (least scratchy) with a cartridge designed to play them.  The groove walls are cut differently and your stereo cartridge will pick up extraneous information that won't be pleasant to hear.

3.  If you buy a <60's era album that was originally a MONOPHONIC album now adapted to play STEREOPHONIC...it generally sounds best if you have a 'mono' switch on your preamp (not found widely now, unfortunately)

4.  Find a cleaning ritual that works for you and is in your budget.  An album cleaned removes gunk that your delicate modern needle must otherwise pass thru.  A lot of us vinyl-heads use a record cleaning machine (US$159 - $2500 or so) and chemicals (US$0.05 - $2.00 an ounce) and they all work (nuanced differences only).  Many just wash their records in the sink with Dawn detergent or something....and are happy with that, too.  No matter what you choose, the benefit of cleaning a record cannot be overlooked for enjoyment.

Less noise and better tracking are the by-products of cleaning.

5.  Lotsa' perpendicular or swirling hairline scratches generally mean the record was not handled with care.  Tho it's not 100% predictive of issues, it's usually a clue to pass on that record purchase.

6.  If an album jacket is worn, the inner sleeve missing or badly torn, copious notes written on the jacket or it smells like marijuana...stay away from it :nono:  Somehow in that mess of cues it's telling you the record has led an abused life :(   

There's probably more 'tricks' others can tell that'll up the odds of getting good playback from used records....but those are what I have used successfully for 30+ years now.

P-mounts require a P-mount cartridge for your Hitachi.  There are few P-mount cartridges today, so you're selection will be morelimited...but the fitting of your cartridge much easier as the mounting method, weight of the cartridge and even compliance was much more standardized to make for easier fitting of cartridge to your table.  A fair tradeoff as a cartridge may be only 10% of the critical basis of enjoying vinyl.  Here's a bunch to choose from:

http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=T4P

John