I have a Vintage silver direct drive Pioneer Quartz - PLL - Automatic (model PL - 560) turntable that my husband purchased around 1979.  It currently has a Shure M97xE phono cartridge and N97xE stylus.  At this time I don't have a phono stage.  I listen to Vinyl LP's by directly connecting the TT to our vintage Yamaha amp. I have about 4 dozen vinyl LP's.  Most of them I've recorded to my computer using Audacity at 192/24.  The computer versions have more micro details and clarity than the vinyls played on the turntable. Maybe that's the fault of the vintage Yamaha amp and MA-6 speakers the turntable is connected to, which is not my main system. In the past I purchased a $100 phono stage (to connect to a Harmon Kardon AVR)  and was not impressed with the results I heard.  Yes I know, AVR's stink when it comes to quality music listening.  Since the turntable was never a top-of-the-line model would it make any sense to purchase a phonostage that cost more than the turntable's original price and a better cartridge and stylus? Or should I just forget it?  I will not be investing in a new turntable based system.  I just want to know if it would be worth it to improve on what I already have. So I guess I'm asking (anyone familiar with this vintage TT) "Is my turntable "capable" of increased clarity and details?
addyson815May 22, 2017 13:14

for that turntable, there weren't a lot of options for different cartridges. so since you really dont plan on upgrading the turnable , just use it as is.

for the different sound from vinyl to what you are probably saving the files as FLAC or WAV files, which are a lot bigger than mp-3 files, and the FLAC or WAV files are going to sound better.

So you're saying a decent phono stage would not improve the TT's sound quality?  Because then I could connect it to my main system which sounds better than the vintage Yamaha system. I thought any MM cartridge could be connected to any MM armed turntable, no?  I read about ridge/micro line stylus'. Are you saying my turntable couldn't accept that either? I'd appreciate it if you could explain, why. 

PL560 is a true classic performer and doesn't need upgrades. It can be part of entry-level or more advanced audiophile system. The condition of deck needs to be examined and probably lubricated/serviced. They can have speed control issues and that can be resolved as well. In fact I was bringing PL560 to the original performance with all functions work mint. This deck is 100% serviceable and has superior built quality (check ebay prices to appreciate this unit and quit thinking about another one!)

M97xe is good cartridge as long as it bears original made in Japan stylus in good shape. You may also remove stylus and shoot some DeOxit spray inside, than let it dry and mount stylus back. Headshell can be unmounted from the arm to inspect stylus condition. I use pocket jeweler's magnifier to see wear. Bad stylus may be the reason why you're not satisfied. Check the original stylus availability -- you may check for good one.

AVR phonostages may/maynot be OK, but would suggest $100...$200 outboard units such as ProJekt phono box or Bellari

This turntable has may various cartridge options to choose from, but first make sure your stylus is lookin' sexy :-)

Basic rule of thumb in audio: any information lost at the source (turntable in your case) cannot be retrieved or "improved" upon further down the line. Iow, your turntable, as czarivey is saying, is doing a good job since your digital transfers sound good.

It is is not clear from your posts whether you are playing back your transfers on your main system or on the vintage system. Assuming that it is on your main (better) system, that is the reason that the transfers sound is a better system which is allowing the "details and clarity" in your transfers to be heard; as opposed to your vintage system which is not allowing it. In fact, everything else being equal, direct playback of your lp’s should sound even better than your digital transfers.

What I would do first is, since you DO have a phono stage presently (built into your Yamaha amp), is connect your Yamaha amplifier to your main system via its "TAPE OUT" connections to the amplifier in your main system and see what LP playback sounds like. I would bet that then having taken the possibly inferior line stage in the Yamaha and the presumably inferior speakers in your vintage system out of the playback chain you will get a much better sense of what your turntable is capable of. I have a feeling you will be surprised at how good it sounds. In short, YES your tt is capable of good sound; otherwise your transfers would not sound good. Don’t worry about type of cartridge yet and first make sure, as czarivey suggests, that the stylus is in good shape.  Your original post suggests that it is probably fairly new.  Keep us posted and good luck.

Okay, I've connected the TT to the Yamaha's phono-in and ground connections.  I plugged RCA cables from the Yamaha's TAPE REC OUT to the Power amps R & L channels, but don't get any sound from the speakers. Then I tried connecting the Yamaha to the Preamp input 2 and still heard nothing through the speakers. I did hear the LP through my headphones when I plugged them in to the Yamaha, but nothing through the!

1. make sure speakers are connected to AVR and not to Yamaha

2. engage TAPE MONITOR switch on your Yamaha front panel

:)  I got it!  Sounds great, detailed with amazing sound stage!  No buying a phono stage!  Thanks to all who contributed!!!  I guess my next purchase will be a vinyl cleaner!  Suggestions?
I assumed you meant you had an integrated amplifier in your main system since you had previously referred to the Yamaha as simply "amp".  So, you have a preamp (no phono section) and separate amplifier in your main system.   Correct?  Can I also assume that the Yamaha "amp" you refer to is an integrated amplifier (preamp/amp in one chassis)?  When connecting the Yamaha to the preamp in your main system make sure that the source selector is set to "Phono".  Then connect the Yamaha to one of the preamp's inputs as you would any component.  Should work.  Also, MAKE SURE YOU TURN OFF THE COMPONENTS BEFORE PLUGGING/UNPLUGGING CABLES.
Good to hear.

My few cents:

Go to AudioAdvisor, than go ebay to get same stuff a lot cheaper.

czarivey, thanks, ebay is a favorite online buying site. frogman, yes my Yamaha is an integrated, & I have a pre and power amp in the main system. Connected the Yamaha to a pre-amp input.  My mistake was trying to listen through the "tape out" instead of "phono" but I've got it now. Listening to vinyl the music leans a tad bit toward the warm side with less sibilance and sparkle. But I've never before heard my vinyl this detailed. Same as with CD's, some albums were better engineered than others. But I'm smiling! And surprisingly there's almost no crackle or pop.
For cleaning vinyl, I suggest Vinyl Stack, a US company. They provide products all the way from hand cleaning to ultrasonic. As the manufacturer, they can offer superior quality for bargain prices.
Thanks terry9, I'll check them out!
I am a big fan of the  DYNAVECTOR - 10x5 MC Phono Cartridge.  It is a high output MC and doesn't need a MC pre stage.  I have sold and installed 100+ of them in every turntable you can imagine.  Big improvement!  Put one in an AR turntable and your are 96.5% of your way to Nirvana.

  "Is my turntable "capable" of increased clarity and details?  Yes!  All the amps and speakers in the world can't make up for a bad cartridge.

I had manged to accomplish reasonable quality with Grado gold MM cartrige and Furutech GT40 phonostage. My equipment is:
1.Turntable Technics SLD2
2. DTC 9.8 as preamp
3. Cary audio SA-200.2 power amp
4. Monitor Audio PL 300 speakers

I think Grado gold can be a good inexpensive choice for this turntable, since I was using Shure M97xe before and Grado produces better sound.