41 responses Add your response
I have thought about a record flattening device. However, I don't have enough albums with warps to justify $1000+. Besides the VM160 and the Ortofon 2M Blue tracks the few that have a warp without a hitch.
If I could rent one, that would be a lot more interesting and I would probably go in that direction.
@daveyf1 - Yes, if you go here, https://www.musicdirect.com/phono-cartridges/Grado-Statement-Sonata-3-MI-Phono-Cartridge, and look at the Grado Sonata cartridge body, you can see the back side of the body is cut square at the bottom behind the stylus. When a warp comes along, it hits this square part and it bumped the cartridge off the surface.
Now look at the VM760 here, https://www.musicdirect.com/phono-cartridges/Audio-Technica-VM760SLC-Dual-MM-Phono-Cartridge, if you look at the back of the cartridge, you can see it is at an angle to the record. In addition, the stylus sets lower, too. That combination allows the warp to pass under the cartridge so the stylus can track it.
The same is true of the Ortofon 2M Blue body, shown here: https://www.musicdirect.com/phono-cartridges/ortofon-2m-blue-mm-phono-cartridge
I've got a Grado Sonata 3, and I agree with you on the difficulty setting it up! It's a nightmare - you just can't see the needle due to the large, flat wood body. I never know for sure if I've got it as well aligned as other cartridges. Nevertheless, I love the sound of the Grado, so it's worth the trouble, at least for me.
I read stuff like this, and love that my Aurender/Yggdrasil/Tidal combo just works and sounds better than my records ever did. I’ve done my share of similar fiddling...one thing that was great about the high compliance cartridge + low mass tone arms of yore is that they tracked like champs. Anyone remember the ADC XLM?
Why didn’t you just spare us all the BS and self-inflicted delays? I didn’t care a whip about that. Same with the ax throwing. Who cares?
i have 11 pivot arm tables, 90 cartridges. I never go into the song and dance of the 10 minutes to align. Why would anyone?
I like humor. But not incessant hand ringing.
The short of it is you like the AT for some music, the Grado for other genres. That sure irons it out! Not!
Thanks for the merlot and wasting my time.
@daveyf @lewm Actually, the cartridge body does have an impact when the stylus is set so deep in the body and the body of the cartridge is just above the surface of the record. Yes, the cartridge was aligned properly, I may have made humor out of setting it up, but it was set correctly. Actually, one nice thing about the Grado arm is the set up. Do the steps in order and correctly and it is spot on every time. If you have ever owned a Sonata 2 cartridge and set it up, you will understand. BTW, a couple of old albums are so long out of print, trashing them is a mistake as they are not replaceable. As smres13 pointed out, '...it is a nightmare to set up...'
@mijostyn Actually, my turntable does have vacuum and it pretty much flattens out all records except those with more aggressive warps. I have thought about a record flattening unit but they are not cheap and I have so few albums that the Sonata won't track. But, the other two cartridges do track them, so I will just use those.
@Wolfe62 You need to get a sense of humor. No one forced you to read it, rather you opted to read it, and then complained about it. Bad show, chap.
@jallan Actually, a few years ago, my digital stuff sounded plain and 2D compared to the LP's, so I upgraded and transformation to new SOA digital and the sound was amazing. So, this year I upgraded the LP system and now, it sounds more musical than digital. Perhaps in a few years I will upgrade digital again and perhaps it will leapfrog digital. Trying to make blanket statements about digital is better, LPs are better, etc. is pointless since technology is constantly changing and our own tolerance of distortions change over time as well.
@jperry Thanks for the tip. That place is in San Francisco, not far from my office. I could bring the warped ones over and have them flattened, and for $10 a pop, that is a LOT less than buying a LP flattener. That's a good suggestion, thank-you!
With my big collection of albums, I think I would rather buy a ultrasonic cleaner, and give the Nitty Gritty to my grandson as opposed to having them clean each album.
@orpheus10 Yes, that is what I have, 1.5g. I can watch the stylus track warps, it is only the larger ones that hits the back of the cartridge body. If it doesn't strike the body, the cartridge will track the warp without a problem. Literally, I can watch this happen.
I'll check out the Platinum and Master cartridges. Thanks for the info.
You should consider sending your cartridge to Grado Labs and have them confirm (or not) that the compliance of your sample is to spec. I think that your Grado’s compliance is too high; regardless of what Music Direct says. Notice Orpheus10’s comment. His Grado’s cantilever (suspension) “doesn’t even bend” when going over warps. A warp will approach the cartridge from behind due to the rotational direction of the spinning record. If the suspension is too compliant, as the stylus travels over the warp the cantilever will be pushed up and this will keep the bottom of the cartridge body from maintaining tangency with the record surface. The back of the cartridge will then not be able to clear the warp because by the time the highest spot on the warp reaches the back of the cartridge the cantilever has already flexed upward too much. As an experiment, try reducing the tracking force by 50% or so. Bet that while it may not track as intended, the back of the cartridge will clear the warp. My two cents and good luck.
Very nice cartridge the XTZ, chakster. Used it years ago. Should have kept it even though my pre at the time did not have enough gain. Having gone through just about every “Z” Grado at the time, I do remember that although their compliance specs were supposed to be the same, in practice they seemed to vary a bit. Perhaps the OP’s sample is not to spec. It happens.
spatialking, you should definitely call Grado, they're good people, and if you received a defective cartridge, I'm sure they'll replace it.
I received a brand new badly warped record that I didn't know was warped because I didn't play it for a long time, after which I decided was too long to request a refund.
My cartridge looked like it was riding a wagon down a bumpy trail as it rode over the record. The music was being recorded to a reel. When I played it back, the music was just fine, as if the record was flat. I think you should call Grado; your cartridge and mine should not be that much different.
Good story! I feel your pain - my Hana ML rides very close to the record so severely warped records can bottom out. I’ve mitigated this by buying a periphery weight ring - now the only time the ML bottoms is if there’s a severe step between the height of the periphery ring and the height of the lead-in groove. Once past the lead-in, I’ve yet to experience any cartridge-to-vinyl contact.
Or (as you’ve discovered) I can just use my AT-ART9XI and avoid the problem altogether. :)
Actually, I don't mind the hassle as long as the sound quality justifies the hassle. But, when it comes to convenience, CD's and especially streaming, beats everything by a margin measured in light years. :-)
You know, I just realized thinking about cartridge setup hassle -- I have had my TT and tonearms for a very, very long time and cartridges last a long time as well. But, I have gone through six CD players, a DVD player I used as a CD player using the SPDIF out, and four different streaming devices. They either died a sudden death, died a slow death, or were replaced because they sounded dead. I even had to rip one of them apart to get my CD out of it. Hmmmm....