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Jim Tavegia
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For piano, vinyl .....

I keep rereading the P3-24 review and a comment made by Peter McGrath keeps getting to me. "For piano, vinyl sucks!"

This has not always been my experience as I have some very fine sounding LPs of jazz and classical music that I find the piano sounds excellent. I pulled out an old London recording of Beethoven's Piano concerto No 1 C major Op 15 with Mehta and Vienna Philharmonic and Vladimir Ashkenazy that I find very enjoyable and full bodied. Album # 411 900-1 from 1984. This is not some 180 gram virgin vinyl disc, just a consumer grade pressing from London. The recording is digital from 1984, I will admit. If anything it should/could sound bright. I also have a vinyl release of David Benoit's This Side Up which is a great TT demo disc if there ever was one.

Yes, I do have some that are awful, but maybe Mr. McGrath did not mean to paint with such a broad brush...or maybe he did as MF pointed out. It may be that his speakers and systems are so revealing that all the possible sonic "warts" of vinyl piano recordings are thrown in his face, or ears, as it were, and just not his cup of tea.

I have had numerous very good TTs in my home from Rega P3s, Thorens 850 and an old 145, Music Hall 5s and 9s, various Duals from the old 1209, 1219, CS 5000 to a recently refurbished 502 I will use at school (it also plays a 1000 hz tone at 1007 and is very stable), Philips 212, and the venerable AR XA, and even older Technics SP 10s with SME arms, and I always found some vinyl that sounded great and, yes, some that was thin and lifeless. I have also heard thin and lifeless on CDs as well.

Maybe MF will throw a comment on this issue. If there are any great, or even good piano vinyl discs out there I am sure his old Simon Yorke or his Continuum would pull it out. the P3 pulled out some excellent sounding piano vinyl for my money.

Michael Fremer
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Joined: Jun 26 2006 - 9:49am
Re: For piano, vinyl .....


Quote:
I keep rereading the P3-24 review and a comment made by Peter McGrath keeps getting to me. "For piano, vinyl sucks!"

Peter is talking more about wow/flutter issues than tonality. Sustained notes don't do as well on vinyl, usually because of eccentric grooves due to how the hole is punched in the record, more than because of 'table speed issues. Some people are more sensitive to it than others. I found well recorded piano on vinyl sounds more like what I hear live than does well recorded piano on CD....

KBK
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Re: For piano, vinyl .....

That's part of the Rub, Michael...as I'm sure you know. I found out quickly..when I got deep into video design work..that the same 'groups' of biases that occur in audio..also occur in video.

In video, for some folks, color fidelity takes precedent over anything else. For some...contrast takes precedent over anything else. For some, edge distortion. For others... contrast RANGE. Others.....framing jitter. And so on.

We suffer from the same in audio..sometimes the flutter drives folks nuts..but they they think that CD sounds GREAT! No flutter! Or..no pops and ticks!

Too bad they lost the music..and all they gained is a loss of flutter. A poor trade if there ever was one.

Oh well. I'd like it if other folks were capable of taking in the 'whole picture' as a set piece, like I and others try to do, but sadly, it is an uncommon thing.

Glotz
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Re: For piano, vinyl .....

It's interesting that many high end turntable manufacturers, Rega, Project, etc. are now including speed controllers (for better stability on piano notes),and I wonder how much the controller improved the overall sound of the table (especially when it gets on in age!). I feel that warp and wow in a platter (acrylic especially- older VPI tables) really affects piano(sustained)notes quality.

SAS Audio
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Joined: Jun 6 2007 - 6:56am
Re: For piano, vinyl .....


Quote:

Quote:
I keep rereading the P3-24 review and a comment made by Peter McGrath keeps getting to me. "For piano, vinyl sucks!"

Peter is talking more about wow/flutter issues than tonality. Sustained notes don't do as well on vinyl, usually because of eccentric grooves due to how the hole is punched in the record, more than because of 'table speed issues. Some people are more sensitive to it than others. I found well recorded piano on vinyl sounds more like what I hear live than does well recorded piano on CD....

I agree Michael.

Jan Vigne
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Re: For piano, vinyl .....


Quote:
I wonder how much the controller improved the overall sound of the table (especially when it gets on in age!).

Obvbiously, that would depend on several factors. What type of motor is used and what qualities did the designer seek out for the motor of choice. Like everything else in audio not only do we all tend to hear different priorities but each pritority we hear brings with it its own subset of tradeoffs.

TT motors are unusual devices that like most things "turntable" require opposing needs and solutions. The basic desire for a motor that starts a platter spinning at the correct speed within a single revolution is contrasted against the desire for a motor that has low torque but good speed consistency at full rotational speed. The isolating benefits of a belt drive system also contribute to the failings of speed instability due to stylus drag or bearing wobble.

To your speicifc question, it is not a matter of how the table ages - assuming the owner performs regular maintenance on the table. An AC synchronous motor will only vary when the cycles of the incoming voltage deviate. A DC motor performs equally well on day one as the day before day zero. If everything is operating according to plan, the motor should do as it is told, nothing more and nothing less. What it is "told" is the problem here.

Yes, motor controllers do their job admirably well. Though as with any other "tweak" in audio whether you hear their specific benefits will depend on your own personal priorites. I would certainly tell you to listen for obvious speed problems on signals such as sustained piano chords but the real benefits of a tt speed controller are mostly of a more subtle variety than what that test would reveal.

Considering that IMO the largest failing of any turntable system is its ability to generate random noise within the cartridge's motor assembly, anything that minimizes that issue is worth the money paid - within reason of course.

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