70’s rock pressings. Witch equipment deserve?


I have 3.000 LP, most of it 70’s prog rock. Some of them are “audiophile” pressings (Classic Records... etc). But just a few.

Is it worth it a expensive capsule/phonopreamp for that kind of recordings? 

I know that classical music, or jazz masterings were masterworks in their times, and deserves the best capsule/preamp you can buy.

But I dont’t know if Genesis, PF, King Crimson, Magma... 70’s pressings would get much better with a super capsule or it’s better to invest in other parts of the chain to achieve the best sound.

Thanks! Be safe!
ramon74
Ramon, rock pressings were more questionable. Some were great some were terrible but 3000 records is a lot of vinyl and history. Certainly worth getting equipment for. 
Yes, get the best TT, arm, cartridge and phono stage you can afford! Those rock LPs will benefit from it! Hint: shop the second-hand market!
Thank you! But i have to apologise, it’s 1.000 vinyls, not 3.000. 
Damn presbyopia.... 


Your cartridge, turntable or phono stage are irrelevant to the genre of music. Why do you think a rock vinyl pressing is different from soul vinyl pressing ?

If you want to improve playback of vintage vinyl from the 70’s buy yourself a nice vintage MM cartridge from the same era with Line Contact type stylus (avoid spherical/conical or elliptical).

The reason for advanced profile is very simple:
Most of those old vintage records are used, most of them have been used with cheap cartridges with very simple diamond profiles like conical or elliptical.

Line Contact, Micro Ridge, Stereohedron, Shibata... profiles can improve the sound quality because they have wider contact with the groove walls of the vinyl, there are previously untouched part of that grooves because simple/cheap stylus profile can’t reach that part of the groove due to very small contact area.

There are many great modern phono stages on the market, buy one of them for MM.

Regadring turntables you can always buy brand new Technics Direct Drive like SL1200GR for example.




chakster, There were major differences in quality between the genres. Motown made the worse pressings ever. Rock and Jazz are hit and miss. Classical was handily the best.  Fortunately, those us with turntables have become a lot more discriminating and are willing to pay for top notch pressings. Records are now better than ever. 
1000 records is still a whole lot. Buy the darn turntable and get to it. You have a lot of listening to do.  
"expensive capsule/phonopreamp"

Any record will always sound more convincing with a better cartridge. A cartridge will always sound nicer with a better phonostage. The price doesn't dictate what your ears will like. 
HI,
70 s pressings include a lot of masterworks, so get the best you can afford. All of the prog bands had many great recordings on Island, TFCL, Deram, Chrysalis, Manticore, Virgin, Harvest....

My vinyl collection is the same era of music and style as yours and the better the table, arm cartridge and phono stage, the better sound you will get.  I started off with an inexpensive Rega Planar 3 with a Linn K9 MM cartridge and moved up a few times and every time I got better and better sound.  It all boils down to how much you are willing to invest.  
chakster, There were major differences in quality between the genres. Motown made the worse pressings ever. Rock and Jazz are hit and miss.


It has nothing to do with the genre, it depends on the pressing pant, mastering of each release and country/region where it was pressed. It is also depends on the recording itself, because not every band can make a proper recording.

Japanese pressing from the 70s (from the original master tapes) is the best for all genres.

Classical was handily the best.

I don’t listen to classical music and i’m not into rock music.


Fortunately, those us with turntables have become a lot more discriminating and are willing to pay for top notch pressings. Records are now better than ever.


Reissues are not better at all, in 99% they are worst ever, because they are digitally remastered, if you’re lucky they are made from an old master tapes. But comparing to the best original (vintage) pressing those reissues are very bad (most of them).

I don’t care about new records, as the OP i collect vintage vinyl, mainly from the 70’s.

When someone looking for turntable, speaker, phono stage, cartridges it is for all genres of music. The rest is personal preferences and just speculations. 



You want something that can carry a rhythm but get that right and the it’s worth it. The recent Well Tempereds or Regas fit the bill, Linn as well if you don’t mind spending. I’m not as convinced by the Technics as some but I’ve only heard one (a limited edition something or other) with an SME V arm and that will suck the life out of any deck.
I found that about 20% of rock albums in the 70s can be considered quality recordings. I play those on my VPI classic with Lyra Kleos mc cart or zephyr mi cart on moon audio phono preamp. The rest of them I will play on pro-ject TT with ortofon cart and puffin phono preamp. Awesome little gadget to bring up whatever tonality is lacking in poor recordings. The puffin allows me to listen to albums I had given up on.
If I get a cart. w/ shibata, micro ridge, line contact etc and can't adjust for VTA is there still a difference between them and an eliptical/ conical?. Grace 707 arm.
...feed the output to a pair of Crown amps to JBLs'....

Listen to it with what made it sound great 'then'. :)
Absolutely, it’s worth it. Gobs of amazing sounding masterpieces from that era. The MOFI / Nautilus / Half Speed / Direct to Disc / etc pressings aren’t necessary. Heck, I have lot of heavy metal 80’s - 2010’s on vinyl that sounds great! If a system only sounds great on Krall, Barber, Lyn Stanley etc (and I’d be suicidal after an hour of listening to that fare) - then it’s an unbalanced hot mess of a system, regardless of what the price tag and seller says.

There are many great things for you to discover, like how Dire Straits is FAR from the only rock band that sounds excellent on vinyl. 
but I’ve only heard one (a limited edition something or other) with an SME V arm and that will suck the life out of any deck.
Very interesting - that was my exact feeling about this much revered arm. I kept my opinions to myself lest I be outed as a cloth eared cretin. Peerless in some departments, but very boring, as it cannot convey rhythmic information with any conviction.
Pay Gentle Giant, et al the respect they deserve and get the best your budget can endure. Add some atmosphere -an open fire, big old chairs, a few crusty old friends and maybe a little Ganja. Its what prog rock was made for.
Had a really interesting experience way back when a friend brought over a MFSL half speed mastered pressing of Sticky Fingers. 
 
We waited with baited breath for the stylus to hit the vinyl to be finally rewarded by ...,
A very flat, bland and totally uninvolving sound.

Upon reaching for my well played early English pressing (complete with real zipper!) we were rewarded with a ballsy dynamic sound just bursting with life and energy. The difference was not subtle. 

The moral: not all vintage rock vinyl sucks.
And if you can, try before you buy.
Or maybe it was just the zipper?
If I get a cart. w/ shibata, micro ridge, line contact etc and can’t adjust for VTA is there still a difference between them and an eliptical/ conical?. Grace 707 arm.

First of all you have to check do you really need to adjust VTA, then (if you need) you can add cartridge spacer between headshell and cartrisdge, you can also change the mat (different thickness) so i think you can adjust more or less. I’m not familiar with Grace tonearms, you can swap it with excellent and inexpensive Denon DA-401 tonearm with adjustable VTA.

It is true that conical tip is less sensitive to errors in adjustment, but some people overestimate a problem with adjustment when it comes to advanced profiles.
As with any other genre it pays it have the original pressing; rock is no different!
The originals of King Crimson, Yes, Jimi Hendricks, Crosby Stills Nash; too many to mention, but yes, it pays to have good playback. There are some awesome recordings out there!!
Thank you guys, you helped me a lot.
1.- buy yourself a nice vintage MM cartridge from the same era with Line Contact type stylus (avoid spherical/conical or elliptical). 

2.-All of the prog bands had many great recordings on Island, TFCL, Deram, Chrysalis, Manticore, Virgin, Harvest....

3.-Regadring turntables you can always buy brand new Technics Direct Drive like SL1200GR for example. 

4.-The price doesn't dictate what your ears will like.
5.- Be careful with the new MFSL, Direct to Disc... new pressings!
6.- Technics DD + SME V arm can suck the life of any deck.
You're great! be safe!
@Baylinor 

 I’m about to take the plunge to LP’s too

I’m interested in the Puffin comment ?

Is the Puffin is as good as the Moon phono pre ?
Why don’t you play them all on the Lyra  set up?

sorry for all the questions ?   I’ve been temped by the Puffin , but all the anolog guys say to stay 100% analog if you’re going lp 

jeff


I have found that a second amp and preamp, of the same model as the main ones,  to drive the subs allows these old records to sound much batter than any device that costs much more than necessary for even a tiny improvement.
@ramon74

Technics are great turntables. Their tonearms are not nearly as good as the turntable is! The same goes for their platter pads.
1.- buy yourself a nice vintage MM cartridge from the same era with Line Contact type stylus (avoid spherical/conical or elliptical). 
I would regard this statement as entirely false! The cutting stylus used on any stereo LP is the same today as it was in 1958. Newer stylus used in brand-new cartridges work just fine if they are set up right. Vintage cartridges OTOH are risky and lower performance (cartridges have made improvements in the last 50 years...); but in particular they will need a new stylus to work properly!

Every time you up grade you hope at least your system  will sound better. BACK in the 70s I used a Technics SL1350 with a Shure V-15 cart. Now I have a Nad c588 with a orton blue.i still have vinyl to play and I love prog.It sounded great then and still does.
so tell me, from which witch did you buy this stuff?
1.- buy yourself a nice vintage MM cartridge from the same era with Line Contact type stylus (avoid spherical/conical or elliptical).

I would regard this statement as entirely false! The cutting stylus used on any stereo LP is the same today as it was in 1958. Newer stylus used in brand-new cartridges work just fine if they are set up right. Vintage cartridges OTOH are risky and lower performance (cartridges have made improvements in the last 50 years...); but in particular they will need a new stylus to work properly!

I did not said anything bad about new stylus made today, i just said that it must be advanced profile to improve the sound of vintage stereo records previously worn by conical/elliptical profiles in the 70’s if the previous owner of those records was not audiophile. The advanced stylus profile is important not only for MM (with user replaceable stylus) but more important for MC because the life-span is much longer with advanced stylus profile (up to 2000hrs compared to 300-500 hrs for conical/elliptical tip).

Cartridges have made improvements in the last 50 years, but NOT in the last 30 years and definitely not an MM. Marketing definitely improved to sell average sounding cartridges for $5k or even for $20k per unit. Asking $10k for an MI cartridge today is quite normal in this crazy high-end world.

If it’s risky to buy reasonably priced vintage MM in mint condition then please tell us why not only me but many more people on audiogon are so happy about their rare finds and about the sound (even if they have those modern high-end cartridges) ? Believe it or not but NOS stylus for the cartridges from the 70s and 80s are still available. Not everyone should use retippers or to buy jico or some other inferior styli for vintage cartridges to keep them alive.

Finally, you should tell us what is your favorite new MM cartridges and how many of those greatest vintage MM did you try and actually compared to the modern MM ? Also it would be nice to know which modern MM you could compare to some of your new LOMC @atmasphere



It depends.  You're asking audiophiles if you should buy audio equipment to enjoy your music.  Of course they are going to tell you to buy the best, most expensive gear you want to spend your money on.  The better the gear, the more revealing of poor recordings, vinyl damage, and just plain bad performances.

I have a friend that LOVES music.  He's also a musician, and he loves listening to the creative aspects of music - different beats, chord progressions, etc.  He also collects records and CDs and has probably made a very, very good return on his money (if he were to sell his collection).  What does he listen to his music on?  Mostly his laptop with cheap earbuds.  He enjoys the music every bit as most of us do, probably more.
I think it’s the biggest myth in audio that we will hear mode bad things with proper equipment and for this reason should stick to inferior cartridge, turntable, speaker, amp .... whatever.

We invest in equipment to get closer to the live performance as possible, sitting at home.

We can enjoy music even in mp3 listening to the cell phone. But musicians still record music in the studio with very expensive gear and instruments... for what ? No one can notice playing an mp3 on iPhone, but everyone can get much closer to the reference recording using improved audio equipment, this is why the reference is mastertape or high resolution digital. In both cases we can reproduce studio session only with proper audio equipment.

Digital is fine to discover music everyday online, it’s free, but people who collect records looking for physical media, not just music on background.

Musicians are not audiophiles, they are not even automatically a record collectors just because they are musicians. And they need a technical guy in the studio who can record them, mix them, master them to release a final product (analog or digital). Studio guys are not always perfect musicians, but they can be a perfect studio engineers. People who can’t play any instrument, can’t read the notes and does not have a perfect pitch, often know much more about music than musicians and often have much better taste in music (not always, there are an exception for sure).

But i'll tell you mow: some musicians not only listen to the laptops, they are often performing with a laptop instead of performing with full band live. Is it good? I don't think so. 


Finally, you should tell us what is your favorite new MM cartridges and how many of those greatest vintage MM did you try and actually compared to the modern MM ? Also it would be nice to know which modern MM you could compare to some of your new LOMC
I like the Grado cartridges. We use a Grado Gold mounted in our SL-1200 to play back tracks we've cut on our Scully  mastering lathe. Its a sort of standard- if it can play it back, we've not overcut it. And we've shown that it has bandwidth past 35KHz mounted in that arm.

Anecdotally I've run a Transfiguration Orpheus for some years. One time a channel failed so I had to send it back. While waiting for it (or a replacement), I was jones'n for tunes and realized that I had a Grado Green (at the time, retail of $35.00) sitting new in the box. Since my Triplanar is very adjustable, I set it up and took the time to do it right. It was at this point that I realized that the ability to track the cartridge correctly was far more important than the kind of cartridge you have; the Green tracked perfectly  although it sounded a bit 'up front'. Then I remembered that loading is critical on high output MM cartridges; once I get that right (using a 10K resistor) it was quite relaxed and other than having more output, was not significantly different from the Orpheus in any way I could discern. I threw some real torture tracks at it and it was effortless.

The main concern anyone should have using an older MM cartridge is that the suspension for the cantilever perishes over time; whether you are using the cartridge or not after 3-5 years it simply won't meet spec.  
I like the Grado cartridges. We use a Grado Gold mounted in our SL-1200 to play back tracks we’ve cut on our Scully mastering lathe. Its a sort of standard- if it can play it back, we’ve not overcut it. And we’ve shown that it has bandwidth past 35KHz mounted in that arm.


Grado GOLD is relatively cheap cartridge, i like Grado too, but by reference Grado is Signature model from Joseph Grado (model XTZ).

Anecdotally I’ve run a Transfiguration Orpheus for some years. One time a channel failed so I had to send it back. While waiting for it (or a replacement), I was jones’n for tunes and realized that I had a Grado Green (at the time, retail of $35.00) sitting new in the box. Since my Triplanar is very adjustable, I set it up and took the time to do it right. It was at this point that I realized that the ability to track the cartridge correctly was far more important than the kind of cartridge you have; the Green tracked perfectly although it sounded a bit ’up front’. Then I remembered that loading is critical on high output MM cartridges; once I get that right (using a 10K resistor) it was quite relaxed and other than having more output, was not significantly different from the Orpheus in any way I could discern. I threw some real torture tracks at it and it was effortless.

I did get the point using 10k resistor, i’m using 100k Vishay Naked Foil instead, all Grado are MI (not MM :))


The main concern anyone should have using an older MM cartridge is that the suspension for the cantilever perishes over time; whether you are using the cartridge or not after 3-5 years it simply won’t meet spec.

No one would buy all those expensive vintage cartridges if there could be any single problem with suspension or anything else, but we have a big group of people here on audiogon who’re hunting (or hunted) for vintage high-end cartridges (MM, MI or MC). People are not stupid, those who have less experience with vintage MM or MC always scare others. Those old cartridges are superior to many new cartridges, condition must be perfect. I bought over 50 of them and except for the Technics i can’t remember any vintage MM cartridge with softened rubber suspension. And my high compliance cartridge are still high (rubber damper is not stiffer). What is that ? A miracle ?

P.S. I have a good news even for the owners of Technics top of the line cartridges P100cmk4 and EPC-100cmk4 (they are the most problematic and this is where the suspension always fails): JICO REPAIR SERVICE in JAPAN can replace the old TTDD damper without replacing the original Technics cantilever and tip. I want to make it clear: this is not about new Jico stylus replacement, it’s about repair of the damper only (original technics boron pipe cantilever is intact). Probably it’s the best new repair service worldwide, because JICO is the manufacturer and their tech skills in microsurgery must be great. Anyone? I know you guys love to repair your cartridges. 

I don't know what kind of equipment you own  But I use a Shitt Mani phono pre.Its as good as Regas and others selling for $500 .I have lots of 70s Rock and Prog and Soundtracks ....ELP sounds great Now.
I agree with @chakster 

Two of my more costly vintage MM cartridges I had checked by Soundsmith and were said to be operating as good as new. One was actually nos and the other had an estimated 150 hours. Or else I was just lucky. 
Very interesting - that was my exact feeling about this much revered arm. I kept my opinions to myself lest I be outed as a cloth eared cretin. Peerless in some departments, but very boring, as it cannot convey rhythmic information with any conviction.
I had an SME V on a VPI TNT 3 about 12 years ago.  I always thought it sounded lifeless too. I sold it and bought a Eminent Technology 2 tonearm and it brought my system back to life in a big way.  I miss that combo.
Grado GOLD is relatively cheap cartridge, i like Grado too, but by reference Grado is Signature model from Joseph Grado (model XTZ).
Yes, we’re running one of those in our shop turntable.
No one would buy all those expensive vintage cartridges if there could be any single problem with suspension or anything else,
What?? Of course they would- because they don’t have a good reference for knowing how the cartridge performed when new! The only way I would buy an older MM cartridge would be if it had a replaceable stylus and I knew i could get it. The cartridge body will last indefinitely and the stylus is very hard to wear out, but the cantilever suspension is the tricky bit and pretty vulnerable to the ravages of time. I’ve brought some back to life by applying a small bit of brake fluid to the suspension and letting it sit for a while positioned in such a way that the fluid didn’t contaminate the stylus. But that’s really a move of desperation (although it did buy me nearly a year before it was obvious the suspension was just gone). It doesn’t always work, depending on what happened to the suspension when it perished- did it get hard or go to goo? If hard, there’s a chance it will come around. If goo, you’ll need a new stylus.
Suspension on brand new LOMC cartridges collapse faster than stylus, those cartridges cost $3000-5000.

None of my MM/MI cartridges have such problem even if they are 30-40 y.o. Most of the vintage MM or MI are high compliance (30-50cu), even if you can imagine that the rubber is a bit stiffer it is not a problem at all, they are still fantastic in terms of sound quality. Simple test on Hi-Fi Test LP and anyone can check suspension condition, those cartridges easily pass all 4 tracks, the last track is an extreme high modulation groove, bad cartridges simply jump out of the groove, but all my vintage MM/MI do not skip on this track. Checked this Grace LEVEL II Ruby yesterday on Hi-Fi News Test LP, great tracker! No problem at all. Same with every vintage MM or MI in my collection.

Sometimes I just don’t understand why people have so much problems, i never had anything like that with vintage cartridges, except for Technics MM cartridges! This is where the rubber formula is so bad. But even in this situation the rubber is softened, not stiff.

I have never seen a Grace, Stanton, Pickering, Audio-Technica, Pioneer, Garrott ... with softened or stiff rubber damper in my life.

Apart from Technics that almost always have serious problem with damper I recall only one model of Victor with the same problem (the X1), but in the next X1II series this problem was solved by the manufacturer (tried many samples and all are fine). Always hunting for NOS styli for vintage MM and bought many of them.

I have never seen a Grace, Stanton, Pickering, Audio-Technica, Pioneer, Garrott ... with softened or stiff rubber damper in my life.
I have seen this multiple times with Shure, Pickering, Stanton, AudioTechnica, Empire, Grado but some of the others you've mentioned I've no experience. However the operating principle is the same so unless the manufacturer developed a very special suspension material my guess is that you have been very lucky or (more likely IMO) the cartridges might seem to be performing well but would sound smoother and more detailed with a stylus replacement.
Going back to the vinyl pressings, I am in the process of getting some records, mostly rock records and also some jazz, swing, blues etc.
Options are to get older pressings from Discog listed as Mint by sellers with positive reviews, budget is limited, however I see modern pressings, remasters at half speed 45 rpm of certain music I'm interested in.
1. Would it be best to get the newer pressings at double the cost of older used records? I get older records might have surface noise etc. but possibly the recording quality could be best as well?2. Labels like Mobile fidelity, Chasing the Dragon, Analogue Productions should I assume everything they do assuming using the original tape masters is better than in the old days? or should I still go with older pressings? Newer content obviously better to be purchased new
Thank you all

 I go for the original if I can find it- original press from the country where the recording was made. But if the title isn't that important to me I often pick up a reissue.
the cartridges might seem to be performing well but would sound smoother and more detailed with a stylus replacement.

Replacing a NOS stylus make no sense, vintage cartridges can be found with NOS or unused styli, sometimes a NOS can be purchased separately. 

If someone has been using a cartridge with advanced stylus profile even for 300 hours it is not a problem at all because the life span is over 1000 hrs anyway. 

Stylus replacement is necessary if the stylus is worn and exceeded it's life span stated by the manufacturer in the manual. Or if it was damaged. 

Also any stylus can be inspected by professionals for very little fee under $30.  

I go for the original if I can find it- original press from the country where the recording was made. But if the title isn't that important to me I often pick up a reissue.

Thank you