Just when you think someone has finally developed a plug and play piece of kit and along comes Mattcecil to shake it up. Who says Rega owners have to have all the fun. I also own the Project 1 Expression and until now loved it for its elegant simplicity and reasonable performance. I can say without hesitation that it performs well beyond its 550 Canadian dollar price point. My big step to move performace up a notch was the addition of the Project Speed Box (the deluxe version). The deck is much improved with this upgraded speed / power supply attached. However it cost 150 MORE than the Expression. Hard to justify if budget is your main concern. However, it can be used with other turntables that have AC motors.
I will be tweaking mine over the next little while and your observations will come in handy. First up will be the antiskating
removal. Nothing like starting with the controversial stuff first.
On second thought better check VTF VTA and overhang.....
Where did you find the Marigo VTS Tonearm Damping Kit? I looked on their web site and didn't see it. They seem to get an awful lot of money, though, for what looks like little sorbothane dots with adhesive. Is there more to them than that?
I own the Pro-ject 2.9 and was wondering if I should switch from the standard sandwich platter to the available glass platter with felt mat. Any sonic improvements. As far as the recommendations here, I think I'll start cautiously and do the feet first and see how it goes from there. Small steps.
Plug & play...is there such a thing?! VinylRowe thanks for your response. I totally forgot to say that I use the Speedbox, but just the regular $100 one, and that i think it is necessary. One weird little tweak to the Speedbox or any other tt speed controller is that there are nasty vibrations trapped inside speed controllers and if you release them into your rack your 'table will sound much more relaxed yet with bigger bass - I use an old 4 ounce brass weight from a brass weight set and put my speedbox ontop of it....Brass is the best for doing this but you can also use wood if need be. Stone, brick, and basically anything else but brass, iron or wood really degrade sound when trying to release internal vibrations from inside components...much more can be learned about this at www.mapleshaderecords.com The ideas to remove the feet and all ancillary screw-ons on the XPression came from that site, and i have no affiliation with them.
Also, recently ProJect introduced a new $100 Speedbox called the MKII...i'm gonna sell my Speedbox here soon to get the new improved version. My budget simply won't allow the SE Speedbox that VinylRowe has, but i'm sure its worth every penny especially once all the sound robbing accessories are removed from the table like the feet, dust cover posts and Anti-skating assembly. On that, if anyone can tell my why the anti-skating mech is needed on a well balanced tonearm please lemme know. So far i've spun over 50 records without it and have experienced no ill effects -and in fact enjoy my table much, much more. My guess is that any tonearm with the fishing line to lead weight setup can benefit by its removal....very odd no?
Unfortuneately, Marigo's site sais nothing about their tonearm specific kit...the dots are way difft than sorbathane dots though...hard and not soft. You can buy them with a a 30 day guarantee from www.musicdirect.com for $50 and check out audio asylum threads for user info. I'll swear by these things BUT i have no clue the sonic benefits unless you are removing your table's vibes with Mapleshade's brass feet. The VTS kit is 4 2mm dots, 3 3mm dots & 1 4mm dot. check out marigo's site for that info...intersting how you can use these on drivers...they definitely work.
As to Dreadhead, i'd bet a glass platter would be better than the stock, but i'm just guessing. My experience is that the thin felt mats are always the best..all others seem to improve one thing or another which means they are taking away in other areas. I hear acrylic is really the way to go. Anyone seen a replacement platter for the 5lb metal ringer on the XPression?
one thing i'd like to add that really perplexes me: Before i ever changed anything on my table you could audibly hear the music being played even when my amps volume was not engaged (but the stylus was engaged). i could stand 3-5 feet away in a quiet room and hear what tune was playing that is - and now i cannot. I swear i have to get within inches of the cartridge to hear anything and that even goes for albums recorded at high levels...even the cardas sweeper track isn't audible. This must have something to do with the fact that i'm taking the vibes and sending them into my rack. There really aren't anymore pops, ticks or crackle on any of my albums either...which is quite cool too. To say its CD clear would be a huge understatement which is great since i'm only using the Grado Gold cartridge...thinking about getting the $500 Dynavector DV-20XH. feel free to e-mail me for pictures of my setup.
@Mattcecil, thanks for these recommended tweaks!
I have already removed my anti-skate weight and plan on removing the string pin also. If I partially unscrew the armboard mount screw to undo the the anti-skate threat support, do I have to re-setup the cartridge? I also plan on ordering the Tuning Dot Kit and the Mapleshade HeavyFeet.
Maybe a Traveler upgrade is not in my near future? I hope these stabilize my table enough that I get no woofer pumping like I and others have stated in separate threads. Another woofer pumping solution seems to be upgrading to a Well Tempered Labs golf ball table (after reading a recent review of one) but that is out of my price range plus I really like my cuing lever...
A couple more things.
I have the Xpression III with the acrylic platter and the better feet. They are not as heavy as the brass footers and hope brass ones really anchor the table. Has anyone else done these upgrades on their Xpression or other table? Does the Xpression III and other Xpression tables use the M6 thread?
I do not have attached RCA cables like the Xpression I and use Mogami 2549 with Neutrik Pro-Fis for all my RCA cables. I hope to try the same Mogami 2549 cables with some all copper chassis gold plated RCAs (search for Q-911 RCA copper) since the Pro-Fis have a brass chassis.
Removed the anti-skate pin and loop last night and moved my speed box off the wall turntable shelf. Sounding more open and involving. Also ordered the dot tonearm kit. Not sure if I am going to try the heavier footers because the Xpression lll feet are female threaded to take a screw that is part of the plinth. Also removed the hinges for the dust cover.
The Pro-Ject Xpression and RM and RPM models are potentially excellent tables but are all affected by one major problem and that is rumble caused by the motor being coupled to the plinth.
These model Pro-jects have a floating motor that has a poorly designed attachment point. The owner needs to remove the four screws attaching the floating motor via a belt to the plinth and install two tiny rubber grommets around each screw. Then re-attach the belt that connects to the screws around the lip of the top grommet at each corner. That will decouple the motor vibration from the plinth and remove the vibration that bleeds into the needle. The important step is to attach the belt around the rubber grommet so it is not coupled directly around the screw.
The next important upgrade is to install THREADED brass weights. Either from Edensound or Mapleshade. This adds almost 12 pounds of mass to the turntable and continues to improve the sound. DO NOT purchase floating footers. To be completely effective they must be attached to the plinth.
If you want specific details look up "Pro-ject rumble" and you'll find further discussions on how to make your Pro-ject a keeper.
Does anyone know the feet thread size of the Xpression III? The feet are female threaded with the bolts coming out of the plinth. It looks like a M8 but wanted to make sure.
They are indeed M8. Dan from Edensound had me check before he sent a set
of Bearpaws for my Xpression III. I am expecting them hopefully later this week or early next week so we'll see what kind of an impact they make.
Whoever you are...you clearly have nailed it. Unclear to me how or why these suggested mods work - but they do. I can't believe it.
I think I understand the damping and rumble isolation tweaks as they are pretty straight-forward. Yet, I am baffled at why brass for feet is superior? Also, why removing the bias/anti-skate improves the sound when this seems counter-intuitive? In fact, removing the anti-skate weight causes my needle Dynavector 10x5 at 2.2gm to skip right over side 1 tracks 8 and 9 Hi-Fi News test lp. But for whatever reason, the soundstage is more precise, signals more balanced. Everything seems proper.
Still in shock,
If you have properly isolated the motor and installed the brass weights (mass = density = reduction in plinth resonance and transfer of vibration), then you have accomplished 95% of the potential improvements available to your turntable. The next step is to purchase a round turntable belt. The pro-ject belt is flat, and a round belt is thick and has less surface area to transfer vibration to the subplatter. Then purchase a heavier Pro-ject counterweight (120g) and a pair of Herbie's Audio PTFE tonearm damping instruments. The belt, counterweight and damping instruments will cost under $70. Then you need to buy some records and enjoy your system.
Any idea of what vendor (in US) carries a round belt that would work with the current pulley calibrated to 60hz? In other words, I would love to use a round belt - unless it impacts speed. But going for additional mass by getting a heavier counterweight - never considered that idea. Thx.
Turntableneedles.com The belt I use is the 19.5 inch medium round belt RBM19.5
I tried removing the cover posts and the anti skate, and see a clear improvement in better defined bass as well as more detailed attack, and better imaging. So far so good, but I keep wondering about the anti skate. Granted, the oem mechanism lowers the tables sq, but isnt antiskate in principle a good thing? Are there easily adaptable alternatives to the hanging weight? I know vpi avoids as and uses the cable dressing as an alternative, so was curious what others who have adopted this approach do re anti skate.
Also, other than mapleshade and edensounds, has anyone found a cheaper supplier of threaded bronze feet? Thanks.