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

Showing 1 response by tmcroy

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.