Wow I just got the KAB strobe


What a difference a little fine tuning can do. I just got it today and set up was a snap. Just pointed the laser and the numbers popped out. Tweaked about 5 mins with my TT motor. I put on a record and it never sounded better. All the instruments in perfect pitch. I put on an old record. Bellamy Brothers Let your love flow. Well why that one you ask. The guitar can be heard out of pitch very easily. It sounded perfect.
blueranger
One of the best tools I own. Wouldn't be without it.
I agree! I thought my table was set up perfectly but the ease and accuracy of the KAB improved it further. It is well worth the cost and the sound improvement shocking; that little adjustment brought everything into focus and pitch perfect.
Glad you like the KAB but take it a step farther, you are not as perfect as you think you are.

You say you say you tweeked it and then played a record. A more accurate way, Put a record on the platter, then put the KAB strobe disk on the record, and your record weight/clamp also. Now your TT motor is pulling a bit more weight and running a bit slower, readjust strobe.

and a bit farther, also place the tonearm on the outer edge of the record, TT motor now has the added drag and weight of the tonearm which will also slow it down, readjust again.
All the exra weight and drag is there and should be considered when setting the TT speed.
PS, keep a spare battery on hand, Murphy`s Law: the battery will fail when you have guests and need to set TT speed.
Wouldn't the addition of the KAB to a record actually put the weight over the intended goal? How close is the strobe disc in weight to that of a basic thinner record? I haven't weighed the KAB so I am just curious as I have thought about doing this also.
Do as Lwerner suggests, specially if you have a VPI with outer ring clamp and spindle clamp - they both add a lot of weight.

I would like to add to this discussion by pointing out that the speed may drift after the TT is switched on and has allowed to warm up and settle in. Let the TT run for about 15 min before adjustments are made.

You can test all these techniques by setting the speed as you have done and with no warm-up. Then, add the record, weights, stylus in groove; and let it warm up. Now check the speed again. Surprise!
I agree with the recommendation of the KAB Strobe. This is a very accurate and easy to use tool.
When using the KAB disc on top of a record is contamination of the record a concern? Do you do this with a record you don't care much about?
Where did you get it ?
10-01-08: Seasoned
...The speed may drift after the TT is switched on and has allowed to warm up and settle in. Let the TT run for about 15 min before adjustments are made.

You can test all these techniques by setting the speed as you have done and with no warm-up. Then, add the record, weights, stylus in groove; and let it warm up. Now check the speed again. Surprise!
Or you can just get a Technics or Denon quartz-governed direct drive turntable, which makes all these adjustments for record weight, clamp weight, and stylus drag on the fly.
:-)
"Where did you get it ?"
Many of the online audio retailers sell the KAB strobe. Here are two:

Elusive Disc
Acoustic Sounds
.
Unless you have perfect pitch, this is a non issue. As long as the speed is close, the result is fine. The KAB strobe is as good as any other.
0-01-08: Stringreen
Unless you have perfect pitch, this is a non issue. As long as the speed is close, the result is fine.
Well, it's also about tempo as well as pitch. Although there are plenty of variations in tempo for any given musical piece, there have been a few geniuses (especially in jazz) who seem to have an uncanny ability to set a tempo that draws you into the music. I'm thinking particularly of Count Basie, his guitarist Freddie Green (whose nickname was "Father Time"), Quincy Jones, and Oscar Peterson. There is even an album Basie and Peterson did together called "The Timekeepers."

With my direct drive turntables with pitch control, I found that--compared to the tempos Basie set--even a 1% variation made a significant difference in how engaging his band's presentation was.
The KAB strobe is as good as any other.
But it seems to frequently show up as a go-to tool among analog hardware reviewers at Stereophile and Abso!ute Sound.

And of course you can always get the strobe from the source, KAB USA.

Hey Stringreen I'm going to see Lynn Harrell with the Seattle Symphony Friday. 9th row orchestra level, dead center. Woo-hoo!
Hey Johnny53... Next time get off of the orchestra level. The sound bounces off of the floor and is adversly affected. In addition, you will see only the front of the orchestra and not "into" the orchestra. You will not see what the reeds, brass, or percussion is doing..not even if you strain your neck. Next time, get seats in the balcony = right in the front, with no overhang of the second balcony above you. If you look down into the orchestra, dead center, you will see the recording microphones in line with your seats. Never the less, I know even with your seats, you will enjoy Lynn. If he signs autographs in the lobby, say hi from Stan. As far as the exact speed is concerned... all strobes will give you a very good reading. If the table is off slightly you will not hear a great deal of difference..pitch will be recognizable first when a/b'ing, but tempo... no one can tell the difference between mm120 and mm121.
[quote]10-01-08: Stringreen
Hey Johnny53... Next time get off of the orchestra level. The sound bounces
off of the floor and is adversly affected.[/quote]Well, I had to stop working a
couple years ago due to health, so I don't have a lot of spare change for the
best seats. I was able get this seat for $17, which is like student pricing. At
Seattle Symph's price for front row balcony (if it had been available), I
probably would have had to pass. Did you play for the New York Phil or the
Met? I know Lynn and Jim Levine are buddies going back to their Cleveland
days.

My brother studied cello at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
(CCM) from 1968-1973. During that time opera singers Tom Fox and Kathy
Battle were there too (Tom Fox is also from our high school in Cincinnati),
along with actor Dorian Harewood. In the Fall of 1972 Harrell and Levine left
the Cleveland Symphony, Harrell for CCM and Levine to direct the New York
Met. Levine's originally from Cincinnati. So sometimes when he was back in
town he'd stop by CCM to visit Harrell and check out the local talent. Basically
I saw Levine discover Kathleen Battle. My brother studied with Harrell that one
year, and said he learned so much from him it felt like it invalidated all that
he'd studied up to that point.

I'm looking forward to seeing/hearing Harrell again, but I wish he'd still trot
out his Montagnana instead of the DuPre Strad, at least for some of it. The
DuPre has a broader tonality and a deeper bass, but I've never heard a cello
sing in the upper register like his Montagnana.
With my direct drive turntables with pitch control, I found that--compared to the tempos Basie set--even a 1% variation made a significant difference in how engaging his band's presentation was.

And this, good sir is why Regas typically measure fast - so that they're more "engaging". Louder and faster is an age old demo room trick. If you're liking "dead-on" 33.33, maybe you'll like 1% faster more, or even playing a 33 at 45.

I'm just kidding about playing at 45, but my main point is to try to ascribe the correct causality to what you're observing. We all fall into this trap from time to time.

The kind of speed stability that results in "better" sound isn't observable with a strobe disk. Having said that, the KAB is a very nice tool, as is the Hagerman UFO.

For those of us blessed with perfect pitch, I suggest we get out a tuning fork or a musical instrument strobe tuner and listen - to verify that playing at dead-on 33.33 actually reproduces music on pitch - that the disk was actually cut on speed (e.g. A=440 or thereabouts).

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
Thom, I agree with you about using a tuning fork if the test record has a 440 hz tone band on it. Like Stringreen, I am a violinist and as you know we tune the violin to A 440hz. I have a Stereo test record that must be 25 years old and it has a 440hz test band and I play that and adjust the speed until it matches the tuning fork. I have found that it works great.
Carter
10-02-08: Thom_mackris
JohnnyB53:
With my direct drive turntables with pitch control, I found that--compared to the tempos Basie set--even a 1% variation made a significant difference in how engaging his band's presentation was.
And this, good sir is why Regas typically measure fast - so that they're more "engaging". Louder and faster is an age old demo room trick. If you're liking "dead-on" 33.33, maybe you'll like 1% faster more, or even playing a 33 at 45.
Ah, but Mr. Mackris, notice I said "1% variation." I didn't specify if I meant fast or slow, and that is one of the keys to Basie and those who follow him such as Quincy Jones. Basie was the absolute master of swing, and swing has to have time to ... well ... swing! And that means knowing when to be languid as well as energetic. A 1% increase in his tempos will wreck the vibe as surely as a 1% decrease.

But overall your point is well taken, and also relates to raising the pitch slightly above A=440Hz. I am a percussionist, and both vibraphones I've owned were tuned to A=442, presumably to cut through the mix a little more. I have heard that Leonard Bernstein tuned his orchestras to A=442 also, to give them a little more snap and brilliance.

Rega's slightly-faster-than-standard is--as you said--a demo parlor trick, similar to having one system slightly louder than the other. When I was in audio retail in the mid-70s in SoCal, the Big Box stereo store down the road from us often set the tweeter controls of the national brand speakers to the -3dB position so their high-margin house brand speakers would sound "better" to buyers in a quick audition.
Thanks for the additional tips on using the KAB with a record and clamp attached; that would create additonal drag. I will try it today and see if I can get it even closer to the correct rotation speed.
Hifimaniac, my Shindo/Garrard 301 needs two different corrections for 33.3 and 45. Initially, I failed to mark them, but I could immediately hear that 33.3 set at the 45 speed adjustment was wrong. Depending on the mass of the platter, the music might affect the turn table's speed, but I prefer to keep it as set for the maximum benefit.

I doubt if the KAB is better than others, but it certainly is easy to use.
TBG, thanks for your note. I have the SDS speed stabilizer for my VPI and the good news is that I can set each speed separately for 33.3 and 45; which I did with a record and arm and cartridge playing and it did get the speed set more accurately. You learn something new everyday!