Well, it's nice that you are experiencing better analog. I do believe the bass and surface noise issues can be improved with minor adjustments but since I'm not familiar with your kit I'll leave that advice to others. Most certainly a thorough cleaning of your LP's will help the noise issues and a can of Gruv Glide would be a good investment, especially with winter around the corner. Also, a nice phono stage WILL make a big difference. Keep in mind that life is a leap of faith.
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Your results seem quite believeable for what you have done. Analog isn't perfect, and neither is digital. Get used to it! I agree with the former poster who said that a phono-stage upgrade would make an appreciable difference. It did for me. BTW, sometimes a VTA adjustment will decrease the ticks and pops and improve the sound. Are you sure you have it dialed in perfectly?
Yes, Pbb, I have to say that I applaud you for being open minded and trying things to get better sound. I think that it is a very good example to set for others here.
I'm very glad that you are enjoying your new turntable, and it is living up to what you hoped for.
And the phono stage is a very important device in the chain, and you can get quite impressive improvements by moving up in that area.
I won't mention anything about your previous skepticism, but I will try to be helpful to you if I can.
I tip my hat to you for at least trying, Pbb.
I will join the chorus of those suggesting a phono stage change. One with tubes would be my suggestion. I found a used EAR 834P a while back for around $600. I've had so much fun listening with this little black box that I fully modified mine with the "Thorsten" mods listed in the Asylum.
Hey, I might ask you for some advice when I get ready to upgrade my digital front end.
Pbb-Clean,clean,clean those LP's! Gruv-glide will help as well and allow the music to sound smoother and more transparent.
Im am a true believer in a good wet -vac machine.
I spent a good amount of change on a Japanese Sgt.Pepper.This LP was as new looking as if it had just come out of the wrap.It was rated mint minus.
Imagine my surprise when I played it and it was LOUD with surface noise! Not just the quiet passages but surface noise was audible within the music and the entire LP was like that.
I thought it must be a defective copy.
I had cleaned this LP before listening and figured it was a lost cause but decided to clean it again.I wet-vac'd and gruv-glided this LP 3 times more.I spent an hour cleaning it.
With my breath held I gave it another spin.
WOW!! I was shocked! This LP now was DEAD quiet and sounded stunning! It now was the quietest and best sounding LP I owned.
As I said,clean,clean,clean and treat your LP's
Even brand spanking new LP's need to be cleaned and treated to get rid of the mold and vinyl shavings in the grooves.
Its lots of work but well worth it.
p.s. if you cant get a LP to sound quiet IMO its defective from abuse from the previous owner,even if it looks good.Their stylus may have been damaged.
New Lp's are a different story,try to get a refund if it sounds like crap (slappy?)
Guys,when are we going to give Pbb the business for all his taunting in the past about analog? :~)
Pbb- dont give up!
Pbb, I am sincerely happy you are enjoying both LP and CD. You have more choices than ever and an opportunity to have fun and learn from your efforts.
If you resolve your (valid) complaints with your turntable playback noise, you may become satisfied with analog.
I hope you believe me when I say this. My turntable is totally silent, no noise, no pops and no ticks. This on almost 100% of my records. Certainly there are some records that are noisy to the point of being un- listenable. Some have one tick on side A or B, and I allow that in order to enjoy the other 45 minutes of bliss.
I would estimate that out of my (approx.) 6000 LPs, there are only a few with enough defect to keep me from enjoying the sound. Some of my records were bought in the mid 1960s when I was a kid. In spite of their age, a through cleaning and they are for the most part, noise free.
Turntable and tonearm quality, brand and set up of the cartridge, and quality of the phono stage all play a role in the end results. Cleaning any debris from (even new) LPs is necessary to obtain the silence I describe.
Maybe this is worth the effort to you and maybe not. At least youre making an effort, enjoying the music and experimenting, and for that, I admire you.
Pbb: I'd like to second, third and fourth the above comments. Kudo's to you for having the guts to give this a try. I know that it had to be "difficult" for you to do this given some of your past comments, but i'm glad to see that you were up to the task. Not only that, i'm proud of you in the fact that you were honest enough to make some of the statements that you did even though you have previously bashed those that "worship at the temple of analogue". It takes a big person to own up / correct themselves when all the world is watching.
Given that you had a hard time with cartridge set-up, my guess is that you may still have some work to do there based on your comments. This is not to say that you did something wrong but more that you probably can dial things in a little better as you get used to working with the gear a little more.
On top of this, cabling and phono stages can make a world of a difference. You have to remember that you are dealing with microscopic amounts of voltage here, so anything that ever could effect signal transfer in a system will be far more noticeable under these conditions. Finding a good phono stage is almost like a revelation. I am lucky in the fact that the line stages that i like also happen to have phenomenally good phono stages too.
Since my "record cleaning routine" is rather involved and pricy, i'll have to defer to some of the other folks as to what works well i.e. bang for the buck approach. I really do think that thoroughly cleaning a record makes a very noticeable difference in a beneficial way. As such, i would recommend that you investigate this for yourself and do so as soon as possible. Don't forget that your stylus will need cleaning on a regular basis, especially if you aren't "going gonzo" on the records with a VPI, Nitty Gritty, etc... type machine. Obviously, used records are bound to be much worse than brand new ones in terms of contaminants to both the grooves and the stylus.
Other than that, please do keep us posted. I love to hear about people "re-discovering" the joys of vinyl. As you may have seen me say before, you don't need to spend a lot of money to have an enjoyable analogue system. You just need to be willing to put in a little elbow grease and TLC : ) Sean
Always used a Discwasher brush with the Discwasher fluid. Always put the records back in their dust jacket and album jacket. Always tried to keep the stylus in ok shape by changing it regularly. These are the main reasons why I always assumed that my records were as clean as could be and, hence, as silent as could be. I knew one of the suggestions I would get would be to purchase a record cleaning machine. Right now, I went out last week and bought a carbon brush. The only one I could find locally is a Clearaudio. No complaints, except for the price; nearly $43.00 with taxes; this might give you some indication that how we choose to spend our hard earned cash up here requires a significant amount of deliberation. The new brush works fine. My fear was that it would simply push the dust along and leave it in a straight line across the record. I guess I was really influenced by Discwasher advertising way back when! One good thing about the Rega is the felt mat. Why you may ask. Simply because unlike the foam one of my previous tt it doesn't add a charge of static every time you move the record in it's vicinity. David, strangely enough, I have two Japanese pressings of Beatle's albums: Sgt Pepper's and Rubber Soul. Listened to Rubber Soul late last night and the pressing is remarkably quiet, not SACD or CD quiet, but quiet. Strange that Rega in its efforts to simplify vinyl playback seems to downplay the need for cleaning records by saying that the stylus will merely push the junk aside. Right now I will use what I have on hand to clean records, but I will probably be ordering Gruv'Glide. My one concern over this product is whether it is short term gain for long term pain: does it harm the vinyl? My main reason for not using the cleaning and treatment products way back when was that it was said that once you started using these products or playing them wet you had to keep to the same practice or the records would be even noisier. At any rate, I will find a noisy album to treat first and see what the results are. Good day.
Really, honest, please take the advice of cleaning your records. The Diskwasher system is NOT going to do it. You don't necessarily need to buy a RCM but a Nitty Gritty is so cheap I would recommend going that route. The secret to using the Gruv Glide is applying the smallest amount possible. I believe the can says it will treat 150 records. I get over 300 records out of each can I use. I'm no scientist and don't have any inside information on what is in Gruv Glide but I really don't think it is permanent. I've recleaned a treated record due to a click or pop and it's affects were gone. You probably won't believe the next statement but it is true. I almost NEVER have a click or pop unless the record is obviously scratched and scratched badly. Many visible defects are absolutely silent. Proper VTA will seriously reduce what is called surface noise. That is not an issue with my table at all. Search the threads on this subject: Several folks don't use a vacuum system and wash their records like dishes followed by a distilled water rinse. Also, search Google for a DIY record cleaning machine. These are every bit as good as the commercially available units for a fraction of the price and are easy to make. Trust us. We wouldn't mislead you. Enjoy!!!
OK, I heard it...
I echo the praise others have heaped on you Pbb. Whether you stay with it or not, at least you're giving it a fair chance. You've already heard alot of what we fanatics keep babbling about.
If you don't want to spend for a RCM just yet, at least buy a GroovMaster (available from an ebay seller for about $40). This handy device lets you wash and rinse records in the kitchen sink without ruining the label or touching the vinyl. I've only had mine for a month (thanks to 4yanx for the tip) and can't imagine living without it.
Albert Porter and others say they've eliminated ticks/pops on 90%+ of all records, even used ones. That has been my experience also. It takes a little effort but the results are worth it for me.
The Rega tonearm's lack of VTA adjustment is a serious problem when using cartridges other than Rega's own. It takes me a week or two of listening and several iterations to get VTA right. VTA is *crucial* for getting good sound and low noise. It's not impossible to set VTA optimally with a Rega arm, but it takes a hell of a lot of work and commitment to change those washers in and out. If I owned a Rega arm, I'd buy an after-market VTA adjuster.
As you've identified, an MC's low output demands a higher-quality phono stage. A Phono Box is not up to it. I heard a rumour (from UHF magazine) that the new Rega MC phono stage is very good for not much money.
I wondered also if your Ortofon is brand new. Cartridges take 40-100 hours to break in, and some are quite compromised straight out of the box.
Welcome Grasshopper, you are now on the path of enlightenment, as are we all. Origin live makes a VTA adjuster for Rega arms. This path is a lot more work but we all feel (most times anyway) its worth the effort for the added fidelity analog provides. Keep asking questions and the analog Gurus here will guide you.
Bass is the hardest for the cartridge to trace, you will need a better arm for that. You will however hear an improvement in this region by upgrading your phonostage.
Pbb. I salute you. A lot of great advise here. Regarding the rega phono stage rumour.... Although it is very inexpensive,It is pathetic and a total waste of money...low resolution,one dimensional sound with zero dynamics. The perfect device to discourage any music lover away from the real beauty of vinyl.Best of luck
Hello Pbb.While I have no experience with the cartridge you are using,every catridge needs some run in time as well as well as a precision set up to extract the best performance.Proper alignment,verical tracking angle and azimuth can have a major impact regarding surface noise.I have an original Denisson protractor that you are more than welcome to borrow for aligning your catridge.Where in Canada are you? I am in the Burlington Ontario area.Shouldn't cost you more than $10.00 return for postage. Cheers.
Well, latest developments: I got a new phono section yesterday (actually it's not been new in a while, it's only new for me). An Audio Research PH3, got fed-up waiting for a used SE version to show up for sale. Sounds very nice when the record is good. The set-up still sounds terrible on any record with the slightest bit of edge warp. A raspy sound (more pronounced in the right channel) can be heard at the beginning of these records (about the first half-inch) and the woofers pump nervously. I read all the pronouncements that these warps normally produce no audible ill effects. Believe me in my case it is very audible. I realize that the edge of the record is the toughest territory, but this is ridiculous. Any help would be appreciated, lest I go straight back to CD/SACD running and screaming! Thanks. BTW vinyl pressings are still pretty bad on the new records available locally.
Congats on the new phono stage. I suppose a SE version will show up someday.
Raspy noises may be warp-related in that warped spots are harder to clean and rinse effectively. I've heard warp-protected groove grunge many times. Wash and rinse the record thoroughly. Twice. :)
I have a recording of Beethoven's 9th that looks like a potato chip. Had to wash it four times, but now it's as silent as any other LP. Cueing is scary but that's another story.
Humans simply cannot hear warps directly, and if we could no one would describe the sound as "raspy". Do the math. 33.333/60 = .555 Hz for a single warp. A record would have to have 36 warps to reach 20Hz. Unless your woofers are pumping 20+ times/second only whales and elephants can hear them. Be careful if you live near the zoo!
BTW, if surface noise is more pronounced in the right channel near the outer edge, your antiskating may be too high. Rega arms are famous for inaccurate antiskate scales. Try reducing it a bit.
Are your speakers vented? Is it the fault of the turntable outputting warp wow or the phono preamp without a steep high pass filter that amplifies the LF garbage, or is it the fault of the designer who uses vented woofers which are necessarily undamped below their primary resonant frequency. Or is it a problem of compatibility between components?
The right channel raspy sound clearly indicates you have a setup or defective cartridge issue, Pbb. Regarding ever so slight edge warp and the associated problem with the first 1/2 inch of the recording being noisy, I have never had such a complaint in well over 30 years even with edge warp that is of questionable playable quality. The woofers pumping nervously indicate that you may have a low frequency feedback issue which requires proper isolation of the turntable. I realize that the tweaking that remains may tax your patience but stay with it to reap the rewards. It's worth repeating again that cleaning your records properly one time will remove most of your noise complaints. Honest. Good luck. You've obviously come a long way.
My speakers are indeed vented and I experimented by putting my hand over the vent and, lo and behold, the woofers mostly stop their pumping. What I hear appears to be the sound made when the very compliant woofers extend in and out to about their maximum. It is quite audible on soft passages and very annoying. Why did this not happen with my former tt (AR ETL/RB 300/Shure V15Vmr? Is it the lack of suspension in the Rega? Are there speakers or speaker types to be avoided with analogue or at least with Regas? Any thoughts would be appreciated. BTW I have some old Nak in- line filters that I could put between the phono section and line stage that would maybe cure or alleviate the problem, but would there be a downside. Thanks..
Try the filters as they will probably work fine. As far as the tables with suspension go, that is what I have and it's mostly immune to those problems. Alas, suspension tables have their issues too which is mostly periodic tweaking and severe sensitivity to footfalls on wooden floors. Ultimately you need a massive (heavy) dedicated stand and proper points or such to transfer energy to earth. You can probably relocate your table and make things much better. For sure, the table needs to be away from the corners. Between and behind the speakers would be a good place to start with a suspension table. Maybe yours would like to be more inline with the speakers but still between them. Minimize the woofer excursion by table placement first, and then insert the filters. Your getting there.
I don't think that it is a suspension issue at all, but the frequency of the warp wow amplified by a phono preamp with no high-pass filter being fed to vented speakers that, by definition are undamped below their primary resonance. Remove any of the factors and the problem goes away. There is a little test that you can do to determine if the problem relates to acoustic feedback. Without the motor on, lower the cartridge onto the groove, advance the volume to the maximum level you listen at and, with your hand on the volume, gently tap the plinth and the surface that the table sits on. Begin tapping harder if the sound of the taps seems well damped. Acoustic feedback, breakthrough if you will, will cause the table to begin feeding back. That's why you need to keep one hand on the volume control - you will need to turn it down quickly if howling begins. If this problem shows itself it is indeed acoustic feedback and is related to the suspension/support/proximity to loudspeakers. Report back as it is possible to fix it. My question is did you have this problem with your current table but with your former phono preamp?
I have put in the Nak SF-10 filters and the woofers are, indeed, better behaved. I think the problem existed with the Sumiko Phono Box also, although I didn't, at the time, realise it was the vented speakers' wild woofer excursion that I was hearing. There was a used Target tt wall shelf available a few weeks ago at a local used equipment dealer, do these shelves do anything insofar as aiding is reducing feedback (assuming that is the culprit, I have not done the suggested test yet) is concerned? In closing: why do they build a turntable at that price level without adjustable feet to level the turntable? I believed I had the stand on which the tt rests nice and level, but upon checking by putting the level on the platter itself it turns out the table was not exactly level. I have now corrected this with shims under the feet, but why oh why simply not have adjustable feet?
The wall shelf is a great answer, both to the question of eliminating floor borne acoustic feedback and to leveling the turntable, as the upturned spikes that support the shelf can be screwed up or down. The only tables left without adjustable feet seem to be from Britain, just more idiosyncracy from across the pond. I would also point out that many modern tables also include clamps, which can ameliorate the severity of the warps in many records.
One more test, if you can bear with me any longer. Observe the cantilever as it tracks the warps. The entire arm should go up and down with the warps, if instead, the cantilever is deflecting, then the low freqency of the mechanical system may be off. This would be caused by a mismatch in the moving mass of the arm and the compliance of the cartridge. The result would be increased output below the resonant point of the moving system.
Thanks so much for your generous comments Clueless. It is interesting that PBB had no problems when using the Shure V15 type V. And I am glad that he asked why. This cartridge has a viscous damping mechanism right at the stylus, the point of greatest moving mass. Many think it is just a brush, and it is. But it's greatest contribution is to viscously damp the primary resonance of the moving system. This is one reason why, though the cartridge is sensitive to VTA, it is very insensitive to arm mass and rigidity. Many arms have damping at the pivot point but few at the stylus. The Townsend has this type of damping and Discwasher used to make a little aftermarket gadget as well. But the Shure will not cause any LF garbage with even the worst warps in almost any setup. It is really the best cartridge available in this performance parameter. So it is really no wonder that it did not cause the effect that is causing PBB tsuris.
Viridian: The Stanton 881S also uses a "brush" or "dynamic stabilizer". Not only is it more linear than the Shure in terms of frequency response when properly loaded, it will out-track it with less distortion. Shure's typically have a problem with high amplitude recordings i.e. the louder the recordings, the more distortion they produce. If one listens to chamber music, the Shure will work quite well for them. If one listens to music with big amplitude changes, they will notice the sound getting grungier as the passages become more intense in amplitude. This is a non-linear distortion since it does not appear until the cantilever is required to make larger vertical excursions.
For sake of clarity, I have both a Stanton 881S, 881S MK II and a Shure V15VxMR. I recently sold two V15 Type IV's with spare styli. After doing direct comparisons, both my Brother and my Father chose Stanton's over the VxMR, so that's what i set them up with in their TT's. As such, i'm well familiar with the products that i'm commenting on.
As mentioned, the Shure's are not "bad" cartridges and are quite universal in tonearm matching, but they can be bettered if one is willing to puth forth the effort in dialing in the arm / cartridge / phono stage loading. This is exactly why Kevin at KAB Electroacoustics is working with Stanton rather than Shure in developing the "ultimate" cartridge for his highly modified 1200's. Not only are the Stanton's less money, they are better, more consistent performers. Sean
Thanks Sean, I appreciate the info. Elmuncy, I don't really agree. Sean didn't say my observation was wrong; he simply recommends a product that works better for him. I never recommended the Shure, nor said that it was good or "bad" as Sean implies, merely pointed out that it is probably why Pbb didn't have problems with warped records in his old set-up, which was the question that he asked. I have never used the Stanton and welcome the education.
The modded Groovemaster II KAB sells for the 1200 has the midrange of a $1,500 moving coil cartridge. It has absolutely NO midrange edge and the deep, solid bass and tracking of an integrated headshell DJ cartridge The performance is simply stunning. The problem is that it requires 75K Ohm resistance and precise capacitance matching. Now I'm beginning to understand. The Groovemaster is a MM design. A quartz locked DD motor like the Technics will be able to plow through transients and still have the torque and speed stabilty to maintain trackability. The result? Clean musical definition while delivering high output. Awesome.
Pbb, if you had a chance to hear the Creature...it would get you MUCH closer to the precise CD sound you like!
When Sean gets to hear my Creature on Steroids he'll end up getting an old SP-10, making a custom plinth and removing the linear tracking arm from the SOTA. My understanding of analog reproduction has changed a lot since I had the outboard power supply installed a little over a week ago. How can I get this performace from a DJ cartridge with a line contact Stereohedron stylus grafted to it? The other day I talked to TWL and he was telling me that when Kevin does something he already knows it's going to work--that he does not make blind moves to find out if it 'might' work. TWL is right.
My 2 cents include.... Look into the less expensive VPI record cleaner, it's a tank and does a fantastic job (and you can make your own fluid). After you've used a good record cleaner for a while you'll find that you can look at a record in a shop and "see" what it will look like after cleaning. Which leads me to my other cent: the real pleasure of vinyl for me is in the hours spent combing through junk shope, antique malls, thrift shops, dollar boxes under tables at record conventions, etc. Every drive in the country on a pretty summer or spring day holds the possibility of a flea market or tiny book shop with one box of LPs in the back. The variety of music available for next to nothing, and the occasional find of a truly rare LP, is what makes vinyl so much fun. Surface noise on a new audiophile $40 LP is depressing, but, in general, one of the strengths of vinyl as a long-term storage medium is those graduations of condition. CDs are either perfect or they're useless. A VG+ copy of a $500 LP allows those of us with limited funds to experience the sound of the original object with only the slightest of distractions.
The only thing I have to add would be in the area of ticks and pops. I currently own a P3 from REGA. I know it's not in the same range as the P9, but thought my experience could help. I have since found that changing the platter mat has greatly reduced the surface noise on my REGA. On setting VTA, a little trick I learned one night was to use a string level. I had bought one for my photography studio, and it made it's way into the living room. Wouldn't you know the thing balances nicely on that REGA tonearm. So when I set VTA, I place the stylus guard on, take off the platter mat(b/c the height roughly matches the height of a record) and place the level on the tonearm. The kind of level that has attachments for string on ether end of the level. This really helps when you are dialing in your VTA.
The resonant frequency of your Ortofon Kontrapunkt B is about 9.8hz with the 11g Rega arm.This is too low.You must accept 10hz as a basic minimum on a table of this quality because you are going to hear it.This has been discussed in the thread on cartridge resonance and comes from a Danish paper published in the '70's.Today you should be trying to optimise at around 12hz.A Lyra Helikon might be a better choice,for example, with a 11hz+ resonance.stefanl