Am I assuming too Much?

I recently added my old Dual turntable with Stanton 500 cartridge and NAD phono preamp to my 2 channel system. Just wanted to play some old stuff I hadn't heard in a while and to transfer some to CD. However I was quite shocked that my TT sounds very near as good as my $2200 CDP. Tharefore my assumption is that if my old TT with a cheap cartridge sounds 98% as good than a table ie Music Hall MMF-7 should make my records sound even better than my cd's. Does this seem like a proper assumption
Yes, it is a proper assumption. I went through exactly the same process, expecting to use my tt only to copy lp to cd. Now I have a Linn LP12/Ekos/BenzMicro Glider. I still understand the benefits of CD, but I am so thrilled with the sound of vinyl that I haven't listened to my cd player (Linn Ikemi) for three months!
Yes...and no. Both analog and digital have their ups and downs. It's all a matter of priorities. What you mean by "better" may not mean much to someone who values silent backgrounds, no wow and flutter or rumble. It sounds to me like you have discovered the virtues of vinyl - good for you! Personally, I enjoy them both. If after a long night of spinning records I decide to pop in a CD it sounds plastic by comparison. Go for that Music Hall TT - I personally think your assumption is correct and proper. btw my CD player is an ARCAM FMJ CD23 and TT is a SOTA Star Sapphire/Premier MMT/Sumiko Blue Point.

Hi Artemus; Many that hang out on this site will totally agree with your assumption, but when I tried out the MMF-5(?) a couple years ago, I found that I was unable to listen past the inherent noise(s) of LPs-- a personal inadequacy I suppose. I'm sure I'll get roasted for saying that (and the following) but I've become spoiled by the silence and versatility of CDs and have chosen to stay with the best CD front end I can afford-- the Levinson 37 transport and 360S DAC combination is excellent, IMHO. Cheers and Bombs Away. Craig.

Sorry that just slipped out :^)
There are many out there that believe one cannot replicate music on a cd as well as an lp. I am not capapble of making the argument either way. There are times when I think my cd's sound good, and then I put an lp of the same album on and it totaly blasts the cd out of the water, the blankets come off the speakers. There are also numerous versions of the same lp's out there, many, many times more than any cd, yet another variable, some are amazing and some stink. For kicks check out the steve hoffman forums at . there are wild debates about this stuff. it could ruin you.
Artemus 5, I don't think that should be the assumption. In
the old CD vs LP story I think the most important thing that
will tip the balance towards analog is the quality and
condition of the LP recording. Secondly, even with a good
recording, analog front ends that you are describing can
be bested now by CDP at the same price (assuming CD was well-recorded). When you get into better analog (eg >$2000
used) setups with decent software then this will be pretty
hard to beat by digital at any price. My 2 cents.
All digital recordings deal only with finite numbers such as number of samples, start finish... i.e. all digital recordings have a "Floor" and a "Ceiling" meaning that nothing goes either bellow or above audiable freequencies in digital recording/reproduction. In analogue reproduction nothing is finite. Analogue record can contain even 5Hz or upto 42Khz of unaudiable information that will basically signify the image of original sound source and define the original tembre or "colour" of the sound.

If I'm speaking in front of you, you can clearly hear where the sound is comming from and you can literally difine the tembre of my voice because not only audiable freequencies are presend in audio signals. The same way it could be heard from the analogue record. There are even sounds that still nearly impossible to record with digital recorder such as bird songs in the forest.

To say for the conlcusion you can upgrade your digital setup untill you hit the "Floor" and/or the "Ceiling", but you can infinitely upgrade your analogue and maybe(certainly with proper speakers and room) you'll rich whatever record can deliver.
Marakanetz, please offer some clarification. Your point is clear regarding the fact that LP can contain higher frequency info than Red Book CD. However, what do you mean by "In analogue reproduction nothing is finite."?

From what I understand, at some point digital can store more information than actual physics will allow to be stored on an LP. The materials involved in the manufacture of an LP will dictate that there is always a finite limit to how much information can be stored. can certainly store subharmonic freequencies that you will transfer from other digital devices but is it live recording?
Craig above mentions the objectionable surface noises of LP's; certainly a valid concern. I shared this view for decades, until recently setting up my first high quality turntable. I went straight from mid-fi analog to digital years ago, & then only rarely played my old records.
The first time that I dropped a needle into the groove on this VPI TT, initially I thought that I had forgotten to plug in the interconnects because even with volume control turned up it was very very quiet, until the music began playing. And does it PLAY! I was, & I am still amazed at how good quality analog actually sounds. A couple of minor surface-dust pops were my only "analog complaint" but I'm told that if I only washed my records then even those will go away. I'm now buying records again; something that I haven't done in nearly 20 years!
In response to the "noise" aspect of vinyl, I have found that "clicks and pops" are reduced when you have a properly designed phono stage input section that does not overload on the wideband splash that the "pop" creates. This is a major step in vinyl noise reduction. You then hear only a minor "tick" on light scratches and the like. An excellent player/arm/cartridge combination also helps by remaining in control when it hits a "pop" and not careening out of control and sending all manner of oscillations into the phono stage. The best players and phono stages make vinyl listening a pleasure with minimal noise, but they can't compensate for the wear of used records that were played on some "vinyl lathe" that carved the high freq's off. Unfortuately, this is all too common on used records today.
Artemus 5,

I don't agree with your assumption. I don't really believe, at least from my experiences, that you can get the LP to sound better than CD's without investing a substantial amount of money in a good LP playback system. However, your response surprised me because you seem to feel that your current turntable setup gets you 98% there. Maybe I sould re-examine my setup.

Please keep in mind that at this point this is just a theory I have based on my experiences. I may go out and invest more money in a Playback system and be disappointed with the results. One of the risks of being an audiophile.

If I were to compare my old system that is no longer operational to your setup, I would say that your phono stage is definitely better, but on the TT and cartridge I think we are even or I may have the edge. I have a DENON DP-45F table with old DENON cartridge. Its nothing special, but its a good Direct Drive TT. The cartrige needs to be replaced and I would have to go out and but a phono stage and record clamp for it to put it back in operation. After what you just said, I may do that.

I don't recommend the Music Hall MMF-7. From what I hear they have inconsistent build quality and their TT's don't have a suspension system. There not bad tables, but I hear its hit or miss whether you get one thats well built.

The REGA tables have been around much longer and have more consistent build quality. I would not consider them high end tables. The REGA's are more mid fi tables. They don't have a suspension system, but I would buy a REGA before a Music Hall at this time.

For the money the best buy would have to be a Michell Gyro SE version II. Its a very well made suspension table that offers exceptional bearing and motor quality for the money. You would have to spend twice what this table sells for to do better. The newer models are supposed to be much easier to properly set up. Thats another bonus.

From what I hear, the Linn tables are exceptional, but require serious knowledge of TT's to properly setup. I myself was scared away from this table as a result. Also, if you buy one used you never know if the bearing will need replacement. Maybe I am just paranoid. Its supposed to be an excellent table with a top recommendation from everyone I talked to about it. It requires knowledge and patience to set up and maintain.

I am currently looking to get a serious TT setup just like you. I would recommend that you invest as much as you can justify in the turntable. You can always upgrade tonearms and cartridges later down the road. It gets very expensive to replace TT's evertime you get the upgrade itch. If you by a real nice one now you won't have to worry about an upgrade a few months down the road.

Take you time making a decision. You may find that a few months of research can save you money down the road. In the long run you will end up spending less if you buy on value and not just on price.

Any questions, just ask. Perhaps we can help each other out.

Taz, if you want to get a Linn, don't let the setup scare you off. I have been trained in Linn setup at a dealer I used to work for and would be happy to assist you by e-mail. It is not that hard to do. I'm sure there are others here on the goN that also know how and would help you too.
Thanks so much for offering your asssistance. I am leaning towards Michell turntables at this time. I want to set one up, but funds have been delaying this. I figure that I will get the Denon table back up and slowly make the transition to a Michell table.

I do think the Linn is a great table but my research indicates that the Michell tables are easier to set up and keep tuned then the Linn tables. It's suppose to be somewhere in the middle in terms of setup difficulty. Some effort is required, but its not that difficult. The New Michell tables are suppose to be even easier to setup. Being a novice, I feel more comfortable with this approach.

I notice that Not many vinyl enthusiasts mention the Michell products. I hear a lot of people recommend Music Hall, Rega,Basis, VPI, and Linn tables. Not many mention the Michell tables. I think they are better then most of the tables mentioned above with the exception of the Linn. I think the Linn is on par with the Michell products. Although, I don't think its as good as the Orbe SE II. To be fair, the ORBE SE is more expensive.

I realize that I still have a lot to learn and everyone has a bias towards their favorite table manufacturer. Perhaps I am leaning towards the Michell products because I like the way they look. I don't feel this way since when I started my research I had never even heard of Rega, Basis, Michell, VPI, or Music Hall. I think that the Michell products offer the best performance value/dollar. I also believe that Michell's Motor/Power supply combination is better then the other manufacturers mentioned above.

Just my research results.


I haven't used my tapedeck in a long time, but, when I did, I used to dub a lot of songs off LPs and CDs onto TDK or Denon metal tapes via Luxman tape deck with Dolby C. I always found that listening to the dubbed tape with Dolby C on during play back sounded better than the original source. Am I assuming too much?
I am old enough to have been into hi-fi before the CD came around. The early stuff was dreadfull, but now for serous money digital can sound quite satisfying.

I think it costs as the worst digital problems involve time domain behaviour, where hearing is sensitive to the order of milliseconds. Such accuracy costs.

We locate the height of a sound by the delay caused to high frequency when it is channeled around the folds in our ears, compared to the sound going directly into the ear.
We are not really conciously aware of digital being wrong in this way - that is we do not percieve it as vertical immage shift, but part of our brain is working overtime trying to unscramble the mess, so we don't relax.
Given seriously good sample to sample accuracy this doesn't occur and then we are only left with the lack of very high frequency content, which has been shown to change our brain chemistry even when it is too high to be heard.

Vinyl on the other hand, given a half decent turntable, has much slower and progressive errors in time that the brain is able to cope with more easily.
As previous posts have commented, a decent turntable/arm doesn't get upset over tics and pops. Yes, it may take a while to get used to the manyfold weaknesses of vinyl, but they all relate to the less critical areas of our hearing.

For example, we are not particularly sensitive to distortion, believe it or not. However, we are quite sensitive to the type of distortion. A lot (2%) of harmonically related distortion is certainly not desirable, but not disasterous. Non-harmonically related distortion is much worse.
What I am trying to get to is that our hearing is baisically analogue, so analogue recordings have a more natural "fit".
Yes, technically turntables are not good - but unlike CD their specs do not deteriorate during very quiet music, whereas with CD this does happen. With turntables, the music just heads towards the noise floor, without problems. The loud passages challange vinyl more, where the problems are less audible, not more.

You are not immagining things.

I agree with the comments about Mitchel, but my choice was an old VPI Jr purchased cheaply, second hand as there is a substantial upgrade path available a bit at a time.
If money is tight, I have seen good upgrade parts (to mk3, with 4 being the top) going at a quite reasonable price. My one is nearly a Mk 4 now and a friend of mine who has a $10,000 CD player has stopped giving me a hard time about my ludite flat black thing preferences.

This is with a humble Audioquest arm and a Benz Glider II medium output, which managed to work into my moving magnet phono stage.
The glider seems to be very undemanding of arms so is I think, a good cartridge to aim for.
The only real criticism I have of it is that it never really wants to get nasty when the music requires it, other than that I believe it is about the best I have heard for the price and where diminishing returns seriously kick in.

Yes, compared to what you are talking about, this is much more expensive, but the table cost me $250 to begin with and it has taken several years to upgrade it.
Even if I were to become much wealthier I would stick with it - good enough is good enough.
Dogs don't have a vested interest in analog or digital. I once read a letter to the editor in TAS that described how the author's dog did not show much interest when the dog's owner played a recording on CD of nature sounds like birds and such. The dog sort of stirred, but went back to sleep. But the same dog got up, barked, and walked around and around the speakers for quite some time when his owner played the same recording on LP.

The letter writer made it a point to say that he had invested equally in both formats and owned--at the time--pretty much the best equipment available for both formats. Perhaps digital has improved since then, and the best Linn, mbl, Levinson, Burmester, Spectral, Theta, (or whatever) CD front ends would interest that dog now.

Some red book CD's are produced very well and offer some great musical satisfaction (RR, Chesky, etc.). If you really want music to have a therapeutic effect though, a well set up TT of decent quality with good recordings that are in good condition still does the trick better than a CDP in my experience. The bonus is that this therapy method is cheaper via the analog route. You have to spend so much more on CD playback to get something like the ease-on-the-mind effect that you get from a TT setup as qualified above. I do not have any experience with SACD or DVD-A in my own system. That could be a whole other ball game….

All the hassles of a TT are worth it: Siting the TT on a stable, isolated platform, DIN phono cables, phono section or stage, cleaning the records, acquiring them, etc. All worth it.

My 3 cents…..
Careful Artemus...your Dual might be better than the Music Hall. If you post this in Zero Distortion I am confident you will get a straight answer from an expert on Dual TTs (Dejan Veselinovic).
Psychic> What is the url for Zero Distortion?
I think what you've noticed, Artemus, is that LPs and CDs sound *different*. And, as these posts indicate, everyone has different preferences/tolerances/etc. So predicting how you would like a better TT, as compared to your CDP, is impossible. But if you like the sound of vinyl, it's certainly worth trying out a better rig.
For all those interested, Zero Distortion is a Yugoslav audio e-zine. It started a couple of months ago and I was invited to join. It's got a few but really good audio guys from Europe, USA and Canada (including yours truly). Most of us are ex TNT-Audio people...
More to discover