What a great experience for you and feedback for us. Enjoy!
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Weird for me-I had just reached out to him for the first time yesterday to do set-up on my two turntables.We traded a few emails and he seems like a great guy. I noticed him on a thread on another audio forum, "whats best". I tried to look up your profile but don't see one. What are the basics of your system? How proficient do you feel you are with cartridge set-up and to what extent would you say there was an improvement over your own best efforts? Nothing you tell me will change my mind though-I know I am average at best with cartridge set-up.
He has been setting up tables now for 10 years.
Stringreen, when you check , can you check to see your crosstalk between channels, frequencies while running test records supplied by Dr, Feickert . The software program does so much more.
I'd almost be willing to bet the service cost if a substantial difference wasn't heard by anyone who had Brian set up.
As good as you think you are at turntable setup, you'd be outdone by his service. Just saying ( with as much enthusiasm as I can ).
Thank you all for the kind words, especially you, Bill. I enjoy doing it, but most of all love seeing and hearing people’s reactions when it’s done.
I’m making a road trip through parts of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan soon to do some setups, so anyone else who is interested should contact me immediately. I expect I’ll be doing more of these, not just within the midwest.
Incidentally, I offer two levels of setup, basic and ultimate. The latter which most people choose includes optimizing azimuth, stylus rake angle, etc.
I'm also getting up to speed using the Analog Magik software and use their torque driver to correctly set cartridge mounting screw torque...LOL but it makes a difference.
Regional "tours" by ground and air in the future. Currently someone in Minneapolis is looking for someone to split travel expenses. Love the Twin Cities.
I bought my Kuzma TT from Brian at Axpona 2016. Setup was included. The table and all parameters of cartridge / tonearm adjustment have stayed rock solid to now. Brian also mounted my Lyra Kleos cartridge to my Triplanar tonearm in 2018. Both setups play wonderfully. I will probably have Brian over to check both setups in the coming year.
His service is well worth the cost. He was also recommended to me by Ralph (atmasphere) So, just add me to the list of satisfied customers.
My first arm was the Graham 2.0. For those who don't know, the Graham is designed with a removable arm wand and comes with a Graham-designed machined aluminum and acrylic alignment jig. The acrylic part is scribed with marks for overhang and tracking angle. With arm wand off and the cartridge mounted and the jig attached and the acrylic part flipped over you can use a magnifying glass to align the stylus to incredible precision. I mean like human hair precision.
The Graham also being uni-pivot and with its side weights has all kinds of azimuth adjustment.
VTF and VTA (SRA, I say to-may-to, you say to-mah-to) are fine-tunable by ear.
When I moved the same cartridge over to the completely different setup Origin Live Conqueror I heard all the same superbly palpable 3D imaging I'd been used to with the Graham, and then some. In other words, I have to believe it was set up at least as good, in spite of the lack of the jig and azimuth adjustability.
Not that this will probably ever matter, me being way outside the service area in Redmond, WA. And not like I doubt in any way shape or form the guys who have had this done believe they got their money's worth. But the one thing I asked about that hasn't been answered here or anywhere else I've seen is, how good was your table set up to begin with?
Are there any guys who like me totally know what they're doing, totally know their rig was set up really, really good to begin with, who then were astounded to hear it brought to a whole new level?
Because that I would pay to see. With pleasure.
Mornightstar.....why would you post that without knowing my abilities in this regard??? If you checked any of the tables that I worked on and found errors...then you can post. I say again....I too often have seen setups that were wrong... many setup people don't have the time/patience/ or even knowhow to do a really excellent job. Sure some do, but not all that I've seen
I was trying to be helpful to those who maybe aren't experts in this area of turntable setup. Wasn't trying to call you out stringreen, was just proclaiming Brian's expertise.
Although I consider myself more than your average audio lover, at 65 years , North American distributor for Eastern Electric, now retired , Have had a abundance of systems over the years which has led to some knowledge in regards to tube audio, my turntable skills are abundantly lacking.
I was just trying to tell others about the great service Brian at ttsetup provides.
Are there any guys who like me totally know what they’re doing, totally know their rig was set up really, really good to begin with, who then were astounded to hear it brought to a whole new level?Millercarbon; you are one confident dude. I wish I could come over to ta maison to hear your system for myself and see if you truly walk the walk. Here is how I look at the issue fwiw; industry veterans largely agree that James Smith of "Get Better Sound" fame is capable of making a system sound better irrespective of adverse conditions and limitations-to an extent that few if any can match regardless of experience. Without exception, his clients who have paid to fly him in and set up their systems over two days time (we’re talking $3000-$5,000 IIRC) have said the results were remarkable and worth every penny. I have talked to James Smith and exchanged quite a few email with him. I was seriously considering the investment. I firmly believe that 98.5% of us with systems that cost above say $30,000 (mine is closer to 100K) are getting less than 80% of the potential sound quality due to compromised set-up. If the set-up is not 100% spot on, the deficit is huge. The old adage about "close only counting with horse shoes and hand grenades" applies. Despite all of his expertise, Jim Smith will not work on a client’s system based on vinyl playback. He uses digital sources only and then leaves it to his client to incorporate the vinyl playback into the system once he gets the system set-up complete. Why? Because he says vinyl injects too may additional variables into the system and he needs to use digital-his digital-as a reference point. First and foremost, any vinyl rig that is in the same room as the speakers is subject to too much acoustic vibration/disturbance for reliable reference, he says.
Why is all of this relevant here you might ask? Two reasons. Just because you get what you call "3D palpable sound" does not mean that you have achieved your vinyl rig’s true potential. Like I said, you may be damned close to perfect, but the difference between close and perfect is huge IMHO. Everything here is just my humble opinion btw. Second, the variables of vinyl playback that Jim Smith won’t touch with a ten foot pole is exactly why having an expert like Brian Walsh so valuable. Go to Brian Walsh’s website-if you wish-and under "Blog" you will see his link to an article Peter Qvortrup co-wrote. Hell, here is a link http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/viewpoint/0601/audiohell.htm . Read the article and think about it-if you wish. How many of us have our turntables set up such that they accurately and pleasantly render all the variables of music as they are recorded on a well recorded record? Are you certain that yours does? How do you know? Have you set up thousands of vinyl rigs in expensive systems and reached a status of being acclaimed for your expertise? I AM NOT DOUBTING you! I am asking you.
Yes of course I am confident. Just not in the way you seem to think. Like the guy who tapped on a plain old aluminum foil ball till it looks like a ball bearing there’s always the chance someone’s gone and done it crazy better than I ever thought possible. When I said I would pay to see it, with pleasure, that was not my way of saying no way, that’s my way of saying I would pay to see it, with pleasure!
Just because you get what you call "3D palpable sound" does not mean that you have achieved your vinyl rig’s true potential. Like I said, you may be damned close to perfect, but the difference between close and perfect is huge IMHO.
Well, its not "what you call". If that were the case I’d be an arrogant fool. Its what everyone who has sat and listened has called it. Its what even the most jaded audiophile I ever met called, "Swimming in it." Its what other audiophiles wives have said, "I could listen to this all night!" Audiophiles themselves, it turns out, are their own worst enemies. Their wives on the other hand....
The last part though, totally agree. Which is why I am so serious about I would pay to see it.
You know how you sometimes read about the type of guys who painstakingly tweak VTA for every record? I am that guy. Did it for years. In no time flat got so good its very rare a record came along I couldn’t set while playing the first side. Wrote it down on the sleeve.
So when I read about how great it is this guy sets SRA, which probably sounds just unbelievably impressive to a lot of guys I think, yeah, okay, what else? And keep looking for something I haven’t done. And, with a very few exceptions, coming up empty. Not that those few exceptions might not be what makes all the difference. In a world where raising cables up off the floor with telephone pole insulators makes a big difference anything is possible.
What I still have not heard though and still very much am interested in hearing is from someone like me who has been building and tweaking and thoroughly understands and has done everything he can and then has this guy come over and even that guy is impressed. Instead all I’ve seen is expensive systems. I don’t care about the expensive systems. Or how impressed the expensive system owners are. I care about extensive skills. And how impressed the extensively skilled are.
Unlike you I actually am doubting. Well my grandmother, she was born in Missouri. The Show Me state.
Fair enough. Why not ask Brian? E.g; "Mr. Walsh-have you ever gone to client’s home and determined that there was no improvement to be made?" or "Have you ever done your work only to have a customer say it sounded as good or better before?". And then there is this; do a search and see if Brian has one dissatisfied customer that has shared the discontent on this thing we have called the ’net. I suppose you will counter that people like yourself are far less likely to hire Brian in the first place. Good point actually.
I suppose it stands to reason that there are a good number of vinyl enthusiasts who have turntable set-up down to an art/science leading edge level of competence. I mostly lack the patience. I get my cartridge aligned as best I can using a two grid protractor or the Feickert gauge and I adjust VTA and azimuth by ear and I of course double check VTF with two digital guages and then I pretty much call it a day. I have a Fozgometer which I calibrated but I think it is a pain in the ass to use and I have grown to distrust it. I am not anal enough to mark every record for VTA/SRA and even if I was, I would never bother to adjust it for every single record despite the fact that adjusting VTA on Reed arms is as easy as it can get (azimuth as well).
I don’t know enough to have my opinions count. YET. Wait til two weeks from now and I will report back. But as you have noted, by experience won’t count for much because I can tell you have much better skills than I do.
Now I am really going to digress. I attended my first audio show recently-Axpona. I don’t think I will ever go again. It is almost depressing. Nope-it is absolutely depressing. So much fanfare, effort, expense, and all for so little. I didn’t see very much smiling by attendees or by exhibitors. It is not fun. It is work for both the exhibitors under impossible conditions and guests to manage the crowded elevators, hallways, and rooms. No wonder the better adjusted hosts had alcoholic beverages on hand. I would guess that roughly one fourth of the better rooms featured a vinyl rig. I would further guess that the exhibitors in these rooms did not sweat the turntable set up too much. Spending four hours to set up a deck that will only be disassembled in two days when an hour will get the deck close is the approach I suspect most took. Being a vinyl fan, I hate to admit this but in virtually every room that had both vinyl and digital at Axpona, I thought the digital sounded better. To the extent that there is any point here, the point would be that there is so much devil in the details with vinyl.
@millercarbon Are there any guys who like me totally know what they're doing, totally know their rig was set up really, really good to begin with, who then were astounded to hear it brought to a whole new level?I would highly doubt that people like you are his target audience. There are many in this hobby who enjoy excellent performance but do not have the time, patience, knowledge, or ability, therefore, they contract this work out.
Nobody's set up is so good someone can't find a way to make it better. Especially if that someone has had a hundred or more different situations to learn from first. This is after all an area where sometimes simply moving one lead a few inches further from another one can make a difference. Like the man said, even cartridge fastener torque matters.
But then in that case, my Show Me side says, the answer will be the ear, not the torque wrench. Mikey Fremer, instructed to trust the torque wrench and not his lyin' eyes crushed a cartridge when it turned out the wrench was bad.
Real curious to know when he gets done with your tables how it went- what he did - and how it sounds.
Lots of comments here. fsonicsmith, good questions, especially whether anyone said it sounded better before than after I did my work. No. Not one. Never. Of course you don't have my client info, so to some extent it's a leap of faith. But I also stand behind what I do. Don't like it, don't pay the standard fee, at which point I undo it. I have a long list of satisfied clients, a few of which are on the website, and I have worked hard for years to earn my reputation. There are a handful of us who do this, and we share the passion and dedication.
Brian came to my house Friday and spent the better part of five hours setting up my TD124 with a Cadenza Bronze and my Garrard 301 with a VdH Crimson.
I am blown away by the improvement. If you go to Brian's site (I think it is against forum rules to link to another audio commercial site but if you google Brian Walsh and "ttsetup" you will find it) and scroll down to the bottom of the home page and hit the facebook link you will see my two turntables and Brian's flattering comments.
Though my VdH was set close to optimum already, Brian's small corrections transformed the sound. The best way I can describe the difference is that everything "sounds of a whole cloth" now.
On top of everything else, Brian is an utter joy to talk to. I feel like I made a friend. I can not recommend him highly enough.