Who uses high end TT setup for vintage records ?

Many of us are into Vinyls because we listen to lots old vintage music along with the new ones. Digital sounded nasty with all those oldish recordings. Analog on the contrary is much more like music but as we move up the analog chain we start segregating vintage from modern recordings simply because our $$$ MC cartridge doesnt favour old records. It can sound noisy, lean, unforgiving. All that classic vintage warmth which is embedded in those old vinyls somehow do not get conveyed.

I always knew a lot of the turntables and cartridges are clearly voiced to favour a certain era of music/recordings. But it seems even tonearms have such favouritisms. Lot of these new age tonearms dont play old records with grace.

I am trying to meet members here who have successfully been able to use their high end TT/tonearm/cartridge combination to play any kind of music from any era with its desired grace, warmth and musicality. What combination did you arrive at ?

I understand one can always use a second tonearm/cartridge combination to play old records but that is not the point, cant we have a nice high end combination doing everything well ?
I have a 00s vintage turntable/tonearm/cartridge that plays LPs from the 1950s onward with equal ability. It's not a cutting edge setup, but it's more than respectable. I wasn't aware that newer tonearm/cartridges are so narrowly focused. IMO that would be a mistake. Could you volunteer a few specific products that you think have this fault?
I collect LPs from the mono era, and many were, how can I say this gracefully, over loved and under cared for by their previous owners.

I have owned many modern turntables, and currently own five vintage tables and I really can't think of any turntable that knows the difference between a modern reissue and an original pressing or somehow favors one over the other.

That said, I find that certain stylus cuts and tracking forces deal better with some older and compromised LPs than others. But even that is a bit of a crap shoot.

As far as modern tonearms, I have experience with the Triplanar VI, Morch UP-4 silver and Graham and when matched with an appropriate cartridge they seem to play older LPs just fine. If anyone wants to send over a Reed or Schick I will be only too happy to have a listen and get back with my impressions.
I agree with Viridian.
Examples are many. Turntables that could not play many of the classic/vintage rock/pop recordings well:

1. Scheu Premier
2. Oracle Delphi
3. Origin Live
4. Clearaudio (sorry dont remember the model)
There are many more.

Cartridges that clearly favour newer vinyls:
1. Lyra
2. ZYX
3. My Sonic Lab
These are among the few I have heard

Tonearms I have not tried many but none of them gets the feel of vintage-ness as good as the good old SME 3012. These are just my own experiences within my system.
My TT is vintage with a couple of upgrades, Mitsubishi LT-30 from 1979. A Grado Sonata 5mv is the cart. I tried a ZYX. I listen to everything from Sinatra-era to current Grace Potter rock. I've listened to classic rock forever. I'm almost 60. My collection of about 3500 and growing has many variations of vinyl, mono, audiophile, compressed, mostly clean and free of noticeable pops, but sometimes it's hard to get around less than sterling quality for some rarer LPs. My system plays it all well enough for me.
Pani, the whole subject is fraught with problems. Since we are dealing with a system, it is very hard to ascribe differences to arm, cartridge or turntable and not some interaction between them. Add to that the vagaries of setup and then the subjective aspect - what may be fine to you is not fine to me - and it explains the differences of opinion regarding the issue.
I always knew a lot of the turntables and cartridges are clearly voiced to favour a certain era of music/recordings. But it seems even tonearms have such favouritisms. Lot of these new age tonearms dont play old records with grace.

I don't buy this at all. Modern arms, if anything, play older LPs a lot better then older arms do. Tonearms, cartridges and turntables are not and never were 'voiced' for certain records.
I dont agree at all. I use a Sota Cosmos IV, Oracle Delphi V SE and Transrotor Fat Boy, all fairly new models, and see no difference playing 50 and 60s original albums from my latest re-issues of the same music. I also use Lyra, Ortofon and Dynavector cartridges. The sound is comparable, if not quite as detailed, on my Empire, Russco and Rekokut tables using similare SME 309 arms. Is there a particular album where you are experiencing this effect?
A well designed analog front end will play all vinyl just fine.

End of thread.

The other day I played a new LP and followed it with TIME FURTHER OUT ; an LP I have had since the mid 60s. The surfaces sounded quieter and the sound was comparable if not better. With new gear I hear things that I had no idea were there; I have a moderately large [3,000] LP collection and often play ones I have not heard in years. I am constantly surprised by the quality of some of the old records.
Hmm, I've always considered a good turntable setup to be agnostic in regards to source material vintage.

Whatever. My setup does great with all for modest cost. See my system page if interested.

Now off course most newer records do not sound like older records by nature in that modern production techniques are way different than those used in the past, digital versus analogue mastering being just one aspect of this. SInce they are usually different sounding by nature, each will have a preference regarding what sounds better, but that is largely a subjective judgement.

Vintage records represent a large % of the actual records out there, so I suspect that most TT setups including high end ones see way more "vintage" records than new ones.

In general, if you have a high end setup and vintage records do not sound right/good, then I'd say there is a problem there somewhere in that vintage recordings are where a lot of the vinyl magic exists.
Agree any weel set up TT will play any vinyl.
The only exception is if the owner of a pile of MONO Lps wants to invest in a MONO cartridge.

I play Lps made in the 1950s up to current production. No problem and never had any feeling of "this era is better than that"...)
Dear Pani,
I thing I almost got what your point is all about.
Viridian explains in his last post that is a matching or a flavor missing link. When I've had an all Goldmund set-up, the same issues about very selective recording quality makes me reject most of my favourite LPs. Whenever this particular behaviour explained as recording nasties that stripped - exposed by the speed related characteristics of the components, I usually disregard the circuit as been incorrect and unsuccessful to perform a believable recreation of the event. The commonly misleading artifact (that this is the essential studio reference monitoring necessity and the required absoluteness) derives from a vulgar arrogance that many manufacturers earned by the amount of investment in regular registration of press advertising and promotional tricks like new and exotic materials from another planet and of course the curves in every embodyment. The corruption comes naturally as the money flows. The soul of the performance that is capable from an Altec speaker (the std studio monitor of the 70's) is nowhere evident in recent modern speakers. The same with the complex overengineered circuits and artficial persona of many transistor based amps.
Regarding the analog source, the game is different. Shure there is much flavor to collect, but in no way can make the slicing job that the electronic components can do. I believe that the current production arm/cart of our times have lost a homogenity and get into speed and micro detail in a not insulting way. OK maybe the musical flow is not the same but at this part the matching of MC/tubes and MM/solid state comes into play.
All the things must paired with our personal criterion of what we are hunting for.
(ie): For my own taste, the Shindo Latour speaker is one of the best ever made and the Shindo TT/arm/cart is one of the worst that I ever heard.
We can blame the industry for easy money and lack of research where it counts, but in the field of our own personal gusto, there are many things to explore. A misconception about "musical" components need not to applied here. There is a world of difference between the stethoscope ability of a Lowther PM5A and the still life presented by the surgical sterile collection of fractured cohesion details that I'm hearing on some modern speakers paired with some modern amps. The question is about our ability to find the good examples of the past and present industry. The worst scenario is when some new manufactures try unsuccessfully to imitate the past (ie: Aspara, Tonian, Ocellia,) The desirable openness never comes but the harmonics lost their connection instead in the proccess if you try to redirect for more air, ambient and inner resolution. But enough with my own preferences. Some songs of interest on this theme are :
"TNK" (801) -Live-
"Anthem" (Deep Purple) -The Book of Taliesyn-
"Good night ladies" (Lou Reed) -Transformer-
"Search and destroy" (Iggy Pop) -Raw Power-
"Freedom" (Jimi Hendrix) -The cry of love-
There is indeed a challenge to find the right set-up for them which can manage to release their feeling and keep their soul intact but underexposed.

No, Pani. This is not a tonearm issue for sure, but mostly related with speakers and electronics ... and (in some very rare cases) to a lesser degree on some unacceptably draft made IC and speaker cables. (I am perfectly happy that I've discovered the 3T series of VDH).
Pani wrote:

Cartridges that clearly favour newer vinyls:
1. Lyra

I disagree.

I've owned a Lyra Helikon Mono for many years (mated to a Graham 2.2 arm), and it plays 50's mono records like you may never have heard: lots of punch and detail with lower surface noise.
No, Pani. This is not a tonearm issue for sure, but mostly related with speakers and electronics ... and (in some very rare cases) to a lesser degree on some unacceptably draft made IC and speaker cables. (I am perfectly happy that I've discovered the 3T series of VDH).

Geoch, nice to see that you understand where I am coming from. Right here on the forum we discuss certain stylus profile not suitable for certain records and then there is a big movement in the MM direction where many senior members here seem to go back to good MMs because they found more "real" life there compared to even very high end MCs. But then truly neutral systems should not be biased to any recording technique, it should just bring out whatever is there in the groove "in the right proportion". And that is exactly the aim of this thread, to understand what combinations people have arrived at to achieve this universal musicality regardless of recording type/quality/era etc.

As far as my system goes, I use a Tannoy Turnberry with Naim integrated, both are superb music making equipments which I am fortunate to have come across. In fact they are one of the examples where high-rez doesnt mean unforgiving.
But then truly neutral systems should not be biased to any recording technique, it should just bring out whatever is there in the groove "in the right proportion"
A TT system with good resolution will bring out what is in the groove --- only IF the playback is effected correctly.
Which means numerous things -- for example, playback speed!
Differences in the cutting process make older records play better at different playback speeds...

The TT is a mechanical device, so many parametres affect the result, and these parametres may vary with each record, albeit slightly.
I've always considered a good turntable setup to be agnostic in regards to source material vintage.

That is a very good way of putting it!

FWIW, the cutting needles used in cutter heads to make LPs have not changed particularly since the late 1950s.
I am with Audiofeil to make the story short.
Design done right counts and not everything we can buy today will do a real
good job.
Differences in Arm Design, Material, Bearing, Energy Transfer and a proper
Geometry will show you very different listening results, carts are not so critical
overall, some diamond cuts can do a better job than others and this is probably
the reason why you can hear that some sound better with older vinyl.
The older records have sometimes a very high dynamics, mainly from the
middle to the last tracks, some Arms can't track them well, they produce
distortions, not in a way that you can hear it clearly, but the musical flow is
different. VTF is also a chapter, 1.6gr and a soft cantilever will give you total
different results than a Cartridge which was designed for 2.5gr...
Reissues have normally a lower, pale high frequency area, needles which
compensate that can sound very different with Originals( 1960+) ... there are
indeed differences, but there are technical reasons for it.
Btw. I tried a few mono carts and my choice was Lyra Helikon with a modified
Diamond, good tracking, super silent, no hum...there is worse out there... :-)
I am always taken back by the sound those older LP's have hidden in them. I found that better equipment doesn't emphasis those ticks, pops, and noises that lesser equipment seems to bring out, yet does bring out those audiphile traits that make us smile. And too....someone on these posts said that digital LP's are no good....I completely disagree. Some of my best sounding records were done digitally
One nice thing about LPs from the 50s and early 60s is that they have an all-tube recording chain! The better your playback the more you get the benefit of that.

But I've got a lot of good LPs with a digital master tape as well. Most people don't realize that the biggest area of degradation between the digital master and the CD is the process of making the CD itself. If the LP is mastered from the master tape it stands a good chance of being better than the CD.
Yes, I believe the all analogue nature of early vintage vinyl recordings is the key to their often uniquely lovely sound.

Digital vinyl certainly can be better than CD, but the question is how often and what is the cost to enable.

Personally, I am have no preference for digitally mastered vinyl over good CD home digital, but that is just me.

I have recorded many vintage vinyl recordings to CD quality digital to play from my music server and find that much if not all of the original charm is preserved along the way. That tells me playback format is less important than how the recording is made.

Also, FWIW, I find vintage Mercury Living Presence recordings on CD to share a lot of similarities to more modern Mapleshade recordings. These are two of my favorite CD labels. Both are purely analog recordings on CD. The MLPs from the 50's and 60's and the Mapleshades current.
What are the best recent Jazz releases. Looking for the best sound and performance. Hopefully its analog. For the most part my modest jazz collection was recorded 50 years ago. I would like some new stuff to compare it with.
Worth looking for recordings on the Venus label including Chano Dominguez, Bill Charlap, Eric Alexander, etc.
I have another theory as to why records pressed in the 50s and 60s sound as good as they do. In addition to the fact that the recording, mastering and pressing were all done with tube gear, we shouldn't overlook the fact that all of this electronic processing was done in a cleaner environment than exists anywhere today. In the modern world, every piece of electronic gear that is plugged into the power grid is affected by the nasty spikes and high-frequency noise from computers, appliances and the like. Moreover, every piece of electronic gear today, whether connected to the power grid or not, operates in a polluted soup of high-frequency noise---microwaves, cell phones, wi-fi and all sorts of unwanted digital transmissions are simply part of our environment. There is no escape from these forms of interference. Every LP pressed in 2012 has this noisy environment embedded into the vinyl grooves to some degree, whereas no record pressed in the 60s or earlier suffers from it.

Of course, the above is just speculation and there is no way to prove how much of an effect it has. Plus I am aware we can use power line filters and equipment can be shielded to minimize the effects. Nevertheless, the interference can only be reduced, not eliminated. Just some food for thought.

That's an interesting theory.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the hifi industry was still new and a novelty back then and leading studios invested to be on the cutting edge. There was a greater attention to technical details along the lines of modern Mapleshade recordings, which is an anomaly these days. I suspect most studios use tried and true "proven" technical gear and approaches in teh interest of cost efficiencies these days in that it is not as hard to deliver a decent quality recording though delivering the best of anything is always a challenge.
I wonder if some of the new/old LP sound comes down to the expertise of mastering engineers and new vs old methods. In the 50's,60's and 70's I suspect that there were large numbers of mastering engineers all of whom were mastering for vinyl. Between the advent of the CD and the near loss of the LP as a viable format, I suspect that we lost many of the engineers that had developed mastering stereo vinyl to/for lp's (some of whom I understand would make adjustments "on-the-fly" to compensate for frequency/dynamic changes at the beginning /end of a side.
some of whom I understand would make adjustments "on-the-fly" to compensate for frequency/dynamic changes at the beginning /end of a side.

If they did, it must be an unusual thing to do- there is nothing about that showing up in RCA's studio manual or any of the manuals on the cutterheads of the day.