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JIMV
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Christmas vinyl questions

I received a new cartridge today, an Ortophon Red. I installed it IAW all the instructions it came with (almost none). Some records now sound a tad bright and distorted. What is the most likely error on my part, too much stylus preasure or too little or something else?

In addition, I got a new vinyl pressing of Diana Krall's greatest hits on verve. My automatic turntable drops the needle about 20-30 seconds into the first track, not a problem I have with any other of my records. Am I correct in thinking this means the record might be mis-pressed and a smidgen off center??

dcstep
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

I don't know about your automatic TT problem, but the new cartridge may need 30 to 50 hours of break in to start sounding its best. You did rebalance the arm after putting on the new cartridge, didn't you? That's critical.

If you got that right, then wait a few weeks. BTW, what cartridge did you come from. The tonal balance of cartridges varies widely, so you may have come from a warm, rolled off cartridge, to a revealing clear cartridge. That could take a while for your ears to adjust.

Dave

mrlowry
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

How did you determine the cartridge left/right alignment? That can be vital!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

http://www.audiophilia.com/features/cartridge_setup.htm

Let the cartridge run in for about 50 hours of play.

JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions


Quote:
I don't know about your automatic TT problem, but the new cartridge may need 30 to 50 hours of break in to start sounding its best. You did rebalance the arm after putting on the new cartridge, didn't you? That's critical.

If you got that right, then wait a few weeks. BTW, what cartridge did you come from. The tonal balance of cartridges varies widely, so you may have come from a warm, rolled off cartridge, to a revealing clear cartridge. That could take a while for your ears to adjust.

Dave

By 'rebalance' what exactly do you mean?

The old cartridge was an Ortofon OM10. I bought the Thorens TT already set up by the dealer for that cartridge. I note when I read the instructions for the deck, that the stylus pressure setting should be the same as the anti skating setting but the TT was set with a lot greater anti skating setting than the tracking. I have since reset everything IAW the TT instructions but have not had time yet to determine any effect.

Thank you for the help.

JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions


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How did you determine the cartridge left/right alignment? That can be vital!

I simply set up the new cartridge in exactly the same place as the old. I am a novice with vinyl having left the media 30 years ago so assume I know nothing at all.

JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

That is one heck of a set of instructions...thanks

mrlowry
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions


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simply set up the new cartridge in exactly the same place as the old. I am a novice with vinyl having left the media 30 years ago so assume I know nothing at all.

YIKES! The chances that the proper position of one cartridge will be exactly the same as a different cartridge are minuscule! Setting up a cartridge properly is a game of absolutely tinny units of measurement. Not only will the sound of the 'table suffer but this could easily cause excessive wear on the records. I'd recommend either getting it to a dealer that can do that set up for you or purchase Michael Fremer's DVD and a cartridge alignment tool such as a this one by Project (http://www.sumikoaudio.net/project/products/cartridge.htm) or the Mobile Fidelity (http://www.mofi.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=11&idproduct=20 I've used both types and prefer the type offered by Project. They are fairly pricey for single use so that's why I recommended a trip to a qualified dealer, or borrowing from a friend if that's an option. Having a dealer tackle it will probably be the least expensive route, unless you enjoy the learning process and the hands on DIY project.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions
JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

OK, did my best at alignment, have set the tracking and anti skating and have ordered a tracking device, still, the sound is off and distorted...

I will keep fiddling but so far there is simply no comparison between my digital setup and my vinyl....for everything vinyl does well there are a host of problems and quirks that have to be overcome.

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Re: Christmas vinyl questions


Quote:
OK, did my best at alignment, have set the tracking and anti skating and have ordered a tracking device, still, the sound is off and distorted...

I hate to cast a dark cloud over your rediscovered interest in LP's but there's a nasty possibility your previous cartridge damaged your LP collection permanently.

Quote:
I will keep fiddling but so far there is simply no comparison between my digital setup and my vinyl....

My turn again to bring doom and gloom but to get anything like as good a sound out of vinyl as today's even budget CD players you'll have to spend lots of $$$$$$ to get there. That's not to say you won't enjoy your LP's on a lesser set-up but don't get your expectations too high.
Good luck and welcome to the heaven and hell of the vinyl world.

JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

Actually, I had considered the cartridge could have damaged stuff, but most of my records were bought used and have only been listened to by me a half dozen times. Where I have a problem is in brand new vinyl...My un-played Diane Krall distorts and my fiddling with the tracking and skating all have audible effect but I have not found the sweet spot of settings yet. I plan to try again after I get the tracking guage to insure I have an accurate reading.

As to the cost, I agree. My total vinyl rig (turntable, cartridge, and phono amp) cost under a grand. That said, I bought vinyl to get software not on CD's. The folk who spend the price of a car on their vinyl rig and are willing to spend a day tweaking and prodding their systems to play as well or better than digital have my respect, but I do not have their wallets.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

I'd have to disagree about what you'll need to spend to get decent quality reproduction from LP's. A baseline Rega with an Ortofon OM-5 cartridge is a respectable set up that should provide a large chunk of what "vinyl magic' is all about. At twice that price or just under $1k, there should be a reasonable expectation for LP's to sound quite good.

Is there any chance that in all your fiddling, you've either damaged the cantilever or possibly knocked off the stylus tip? An alternate cause for the distortion might be a stylus assembly not fully inserted into the cartridge body.

JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

No...the problem is that the vinyl world expects folk to have a host of tools and skills and language necessary to make such modest systems work properly. So far my Ortofon Red sounds a lot like my old OM10. The problem is...the cartridge has a tracking force but one needs a separate tool to set the force. The cartridge requires a certain anti skating force, but the labels on the arm may or may not be accurate, The cartridge needs aligning, but the alignment process is a pain in the butt and requires learning a new technical language. The cartridge requires specific height adjustments BUT provides no instructions as to how to do that as does the turntable.

Imagine buying a PC without any instructions. Each time you find a problem you need to buy some new accessory to make it work.... that is vinyl...one tweak after the other and none the end of the process.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

Almost every tonearm will have some reference scale for tracking force adjustment. You don't need a tool for that job, you just need to follow insttructions and balance the arm to zero then apply the tracking force. Anti-skate is an adjustment that is barely ever right so ballpark is close enough in this case and the tonearm should have an anti-skating scale on it. All you have to do is get the stylus in the right spot and adjust the cartridge to sit square in the headshell. It's no big deal. There's no technical language involved here. I've seen idiot service techs set up a turntable. You certainly can manage this.

What turntable do you own? A Thorens? What receiver/pre amp are you using?

A common problem with balancing tonearms is people forget to zero the counterweight scale.

Do this; set the anti-skating to "0" and lower the cueing lever.

It looks like your tonearm (if you're using a Thorens 170) has a tracking force scale on the front of the counterweight.

Hold the back of the counterweight and rotate just the front piece with the tracking force scale on it. The counterweight and the front piece should move separately when you hold the counterweight and together when you rotate just the counterweight.

At this point the tracking force scale means nothing, you need to zero balance the arm first.

Zero balance the tonearm so that it just floats evenly above the platter. When you touch the front of the arm lightly it should return to that same zero balance position after you gently push down or raise up. To get the arm to this zero balance position you rotate the counterweight on the back of the arm either toward or away from the main bearing of the tonearm. If the front of the arm sinks, you move the counterweight away from the bearing. If the front of the arm rises, you bring the weight toward the bearing.

After you have the arm at zero balance return the arm to its rest and lock it down.

Hold the back of the counterweight to make certain it doesn't move while you rotate only the tracking force scale on the front of the counterweight to "0".

Release the counterweight and make certain the arm is still at zero balance. If it is, lock it back down. If it has drifted from zero balance, repeat the above steps until you are comfortable the arm is as close to zero balance as you can get and then adjust only the tracking force scale to "0" as described above.

Once you have the arm zeroed out and the tracking force scale at "0", you then screw the entire counterweight in toward the bearings. The tracking force scale will rotate with the counterweight.

Rotate the counterweight toward the main bearing of the arm until the proper tracking force for your cartridge appears at the top of the arm and lines up with the center line of the tonearm (behind the main bearing). Your new Ortofon should track just a bit heavier than your old cartridge. Tracking force for the old Ortofon is in your owner's manual for the Thorens.

With that last adjustment the front of the tonearm should sink like a lead balloon when you release it.

Set the anti-skate to the same force adjustment as the tracking force and you should be ready to play records.

You don't have to worry about azimuth adjustment or tonearm height adjustment, just play records. If you've installed the cartridge even half way right, you should be hearing decent sound by now.

There is an alignment gauge in the owner's manual. Cut it out and punch out the large "+" and take a pin and punch a small hole in the small "+". The large "+" fits over your center spindle of the platter. With the tracking force adjusted properly, set the stylus down in the pin hole of the small "+". This sets the "overhang" and places the stylus in the correct point relative to the arm's main bearings. You might have to loosen the cartridge screws to move the cartridge forward or back until the stylus sits in that small hole.

Don't over think this, there is only one point where the arm sits in the small pin hole. Rotate the platter and swing the arm over until you can place the stylus in the small hole.

Once the stylus is in the proper alignment point (the small pin hole) adjust the cartridge body to be square with the alignment marks on the gauge.

Holding the cartridge and headshell steady gently tighten the cartridge screws until they are snug. Recheck the alignment.

If everything fits together nicely, that finishes your cartridge alignment.

If you've moved the cartridge from its original location, you'll have to rebalance the arm and reset tracking force. Check the arm balance before you go forward and adjust as needed.

To adjust the set down position of the arm read your owner's manual. There is a screw hole between the tonearm and the platter. This is where you adjust for proper set down point.

JSBach
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions


Quote:
I'd have to disagree about what you'll need to spend to get decent quality reproduction from LP's.

I knew someone would! It depends on what you mean by 'decent'. It's just that my standard of 'decent' is probably higher than most. Having a very low tolerance for pitch variations may have something to do with that.

Quote:
A baseline Rega with an Ortofon OM-5 cartridge is a respectable set up that should provide a large chunk of what "vinyl magic' is all about. At twice that price or just under $1k, there should be a reasonable expectation for LP's to sound quite good.

Yes, they can sound 'quite' good under certain conditions but to my ears such rigs are consistently bettered by most of today's mid range, and some cheap, CD players.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

"As for most other LPs I tried, the Rega P1 didn't just do an adequate job with musical basics

JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

Thank you so much for the info...I have a shure tracking gauge on order and will do exactly as you suggest when it arrives next week. Very god and useful info.

Again, thanks

Jan Vigne
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

No need to thank me, just vote Democratic.

JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

Cannot do that. If I did my taxes would be such that I could not afford to indulge my hobby

Jan Vigne
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

LOL!

What do you think the Republicans have done to your money?

JSBach
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions


Quote:
"As for most other LPs I tried, the Rega P1 didn't just do an adequate job with musical basics
JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions


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LOL!

What do you think the Republicans have done to your money?

Collected less of it

Jan Vigne
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

LOL!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions


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Make of that what you will.

OK, I will.

JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

An update...I got in the Shure stylus gauge today and spent an hour setting things up IAW that things instructions and the advice you provided with some success. The system sound s much better and tolerant of the records quirks (fewer skips and lower noise).

My Digital system still sounds way better but I don't have Jo Stafford's 'Something to Remember' on CD

Thanks.

tom collins
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

jimv: setup makes a lot of difference. when i received a new cart several months ago, i replaced the old one and simply put the new one in the same position as to where the needle contacted the surface. i adjusted vta by sight. it sounded good. this past sat, i took it to the dealer and he spent about 30 min with his tools realigning everything. when i got it home, things were more locked in and the lower end was better defined. a worthwhile investment.
glad you can do it yourself. i think i could now do a decent job having watched the proceedure.

JIMV
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions

The Shure tracking gauge made a big difference...I am sure the force is right which also means the anti skating is also good. Despite the excellent advice many have provided, the tracking I was using before the device was off, making the anti skating off and resulting in distortion in one channel or the other. Now that distortion is gone and the other advice I got all seemed to fall into place.

absolutepitch
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Re: Christmas vinyl questions


Quote:
The Shure tracking gauge made a big difference...I am sure the force is right which also means the anti skating is also good. Despite the excellent advice many have provided, the tracking I was using before the device was off, making the anti skating off and resulting in distortion in one channel or the other. Now that distortion is gone and the other advice I got all seemed to fall into place.

JIMV,

I have had the Shure gauge for a long time. I found it quite sensitive. The exact force adjusted to within 0.02 g or so may matter.

I found that on either side of 'best' by 0.125 g was clearly audible as loss of focus or coherency. My arm counterweight is claimed to be 0.25 g per revolution marked in 1/10 of revolution marks, which implies 0.0125 g divisions. I can hear differences in 1/2 of the division rotation, or 0.006 g! Because the screw thread on which the counterweight is turning is not high precision, there is no way to be sure that I'm really getting the force resolution I worte about.

Yet, clearly, there is differences in half revolution on either side of optimum, and much less than half revolution too. And the sound is different depending on which side of the force optimum you're on.

This is a long-winded way to say: try adjusting your force in finer steps and listen carefully, and take notes on the setting. I hope you will be amazed when the sound finally locks into focus and reaches out to touch you. That was my experience. The final force may not be in the middle of the force range specified by the manufacturer.

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