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Stephen Scharf
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Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

I recently was given a Kenda 12" children's bicycle inner tube by a local dealer to try under my Rega turntable. I took it home, thinking at the time it was a lot of high-end audiophile dealer hoo-ha, but when I tried it, I found that was quite an improvement in the sound of my system. When placed directly under a turntable, the improvement is better transparency and inner detail, more defined bass, improved "air" and spaciousness, and overall, a more natural presentation of the music...more "musical" as it were. I've removed it from the Rega numerous times, and put it back, and every time I replace it, the sound of the sytem improves. It also works quite well under components e.g. amplifiers, preamps, phono stages, etc. The biggest difference I've observed is under the turntable, however. I suggest folks try it....these inner tubes only cost three or four dollars, and really can make an improvement to the quality of sound from yours system.

tom collins
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

thanks to the dealers suggestion, i used to use bubble wrap under mine.

JIMV
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

Exactly how do you have it set up? IE; board, tube, board?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

Inner tubes, hemorrhoid rings, tennis/squash balls have all been used for quite sometime under components when acoustic isolation is desired. Have you tried any other diy types of devices under your table?

As with all things audio, everything has its tradeoffs. One disadvantage with a lightweight table such as the Rega when placed on a floating, rubbery suspension is how to control the wobbly, side to side/up and down motion of the vibrating/resonating plinth relative to the stylus/groove interface. One of the better approaches to this situation would be to place the inner tube inside a shallow container and them pour sand around the inner tube to "fix" its motion more effectively. You would allow just enough of the inner tube sitting above the level of the sand to not have the sand interfere with the function of the table, possibly protecting the Rega motor in this case from contacting the sand itself though using the sand as a damper for the motor.

Securing the motor itself is another way to gain stability in a turntable system. The motor is the single most important source of vibration within the closed loop of a turntable and minimzing the motion of the motor relative to the plinth/platter and thereby the stylus/groove will be beneficial. Damping the movement of the motor with the sand or some sort of weight or a fixing point attached to a more stable platform not associated with the plinth itself would be beneficial to the Rega as it would to most belt drive tables.

These sorts of modifications should provide even further improvement in sound quality compared to allowing the inner tube's lossy nature control - or not control in this case - the stability of the table and thus the stylus in a secure space relative to the groove wall of the spinning LP.

Finally, have you tried listening to the Rega with the dustcover removed? The dustcover on most tables and particularly on the lightweight Rega is a large vibrating/resonating surface prone to picking up acoustic feedback and directing this immediately into the plinth. Almost everyone who has tried the Rega without a dustcover finds a new clairty in their favorite tunes.

linden518
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

Jan, you're on a roll these days. Excellent advice.

tom collins
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

i totally forgot about the dustcover - yes remove it for playing.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

I always remove the dustcover when playing records. All my comments regarding the inner tube are with respect to it being off.

Good ideas from Jan, but I don't want to get sand anywhere near my turntable.

Additionally, as I mentioned before, the Rega always sounds better with it sitting the inner tube than not. I don't have any stability issues with the plinth when it is playing records, in fact, it seems quite stable.

Mosty, it just sounds better.

Here is a photo:

You guys should try this under amps, preamps and phono stages...it makes the system sound better when it is under them as well.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better


Quote:
... I don't want to get sand anywhere near my turntable.

I understand. If that's the case with anyone else who might be intrested in this tweak, place a shelf between the inner tube and the sand and rest the table on the upper shelf. The sand will remain quite stable as long as you don't disturb it.

And, yes, the table appears stable but your eye cannot detect the minute shifts that occur at the stylus tip resulting from extremely short movements of the plinth and platter. This is what is improved by the newest generation of table designs. The interface between the stylus and the groove wall is dependent upon total stability of the closed loop system. This cannot occur when the table is resting on a lossy structure.

mrlowry
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

Have you tried different pressures in the inner tube? I'm being serious here. The higher the pressure the higher the resonant frequencies that the inner tube will allow to pass. Dropping the pressure will drop the resonant frequency. In general with regards to turntables the lower you can push resonances the better.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

Just to reiterate that everything has a tradeoff, the lower the pressure, the lower the resonant frequncy. Also the more lossy the suspension which contributes to loss of information at the stylus tip. The firmer the suspension, the higher the resonant frequency but the less motion in the suspension and the chance for greater information retrieval at the stylus. One works against the other. Man, this hifi stuff is tough!

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

This sounds like a set of conflicting set of functionalities....perfect for application of Grigory Altshuller's TRIZ approach to inventive problem solving.

If we could measure the effect of resonances and "lossiness" in music output quantitively, than we could do Taguchi Robust DOE's to determine noise factors and make the turntable robust to them by adjusting control factors. In this case, resonance would be a noise factor (statistically speaking) and air bladder pressure and platform stiffness would be control factors.

mrlowry
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

Yep, it's always about striking a balance.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

Or, you could buy a more expensive table where the manufacturer has aleady done all the Altshuller & Taguchi Robust DOE stuff and charges for it. That's the problem with most diy experiments, I just loaned out my last set of control factors.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

True enough, but I can't bring myself to spend more than maybe $1500 on a turntable, like a Rega P5. Having been out of the high end for a long time, I am astonished at how high the high end has gotten!

Plus, some of the DIY aspects can be fun because they are so instructive!

absolutepitch
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better


Quote:
This sounds like a set of conflicting set of functionalities....perfect for application of Grigory Altshuller's TRIZ approach to inventive problem solving.

If we could measure the effect of resonances and "lossiness" in music output quantitively, than we could do Taguchi Robust DOE's to determine noise factors and make the turntable robust to them by adjusting control factors. In this case, resonance would be a noise factor (statistically speaking) and air bladder pressure and platform stiffness would be control factors.

Stephen,

Before you get heavily into DOE, Taguchi, TRIZ, etc., I would suggest a preliminary analysis of the mechanics of the system you have created with the inner tube. The turntable already comes with feet and its own isolation system. If you add another spring (the inner tube), you could improve things or make things worse, depending upon the springs and masses that interrelate in resonance effects. What it appears to me is that you've got a mass (platter, tonearm, cartridge, ...) attached to a spring (the suspension) which is attached to a different mass (the turntable base). Adding an inner tube adds another spring between the entire turntable and the table it sits on. It's possible to vibrate the table in such a way that the turntable base remains relatively still and much of the motion is transmitted to the platter/arm/cartridge, at the right resonance combination.

After the analysis, that would tell you whether the system needs more spring stiffness or not, or whether you need to add mass or reduce mass. Once you zero into a good combination, you can then proceed with the DOEs etc., to further optimize the system accounting for the other factors that formerly were of lesser importance, if needed at all.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

Actually, my 1981 Rega Planar 3 has no suspension of it's own, at least not in the Thorens/Linn Sondek/Ariston/Systemdek sense. It's just a rigid plith that has the motor stuck to it with a strong tape, and a bearing for the platter. I do have a GrooveTracer subplatter for the Rega which is a big improvement, but basically, the isolation is provided by the feet and the composition of the plinth, plus the famous glass platter and felt mat.

The bottom of the Rega sits on the inner tube, which sits on a hard rock maple cutting board which sits on old 70's Audio-Technica isolator/leveler feet. Those feet sit on a Copenhagen record "credenza". Not the ideal table for the turntable, but I haven't gotten a proper rack for the Rega since yet I just started to listening to records again (for the first time in over 20 years) in the last six weeks or so.

And to be honest, I'm not going to get into all these sand-box filled tweaks, with straws, or DOEs varying air bladder pressure.

Instead, I'm going to spend my time instead listening to music.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better


Quote:
What it appears to me is that you've got a mass (platter, tonearm, cartridge, ...)


Quote:
Actually, my 1981 Rega Planar 3 has no suspension of it's own,

WTL is correct when he states you have a suspension in the Rega. It's not in the hard rubber feet, which Rega admits offer no practical isolation, but in the springy suspension of the motor (a rubber band) and in the cantilever's suspension as it enters the cartridge body (another rubber compound). Both of these springs, if you wish to call them that, are working against the ideally rigid closed loop system. The spring effect of the inner tube bladder has an effect on the spring at the cantilever. The motor's ability to change position relative to the belt and platter has its effect both in speed consistency and at the stylus tip as the relationship of stylus/groove is constantly changing. The "spring" in both cases introduces random motion to what should be a non-random gathering of information. The result is higher groove noise and loss of information from the disc.

While not a spring, the entire information retrieval system is in constant motion and noise production by way of resonance, especially the older "S" arm with its detachable headshell and less secure bearings, along with the noise generated by the main bearing.

You can do all the intialled & "named for" calculations you can think of but if you haven't thought out what is happening within the system you are measuring, what are the results going to show you?

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

Actually, my Rega has the new motor upgrade which no longer has the motor rubber band isolation system; it is directly coupled with an automotive industry adhesive pad that couples the motor to the plinth. There is no O-ring that provides suspension any longer.

The new Rega motor upgrade consists of a new motor (the same as the Rega P3-24) with dramatically less vibration and this adhesive pad, so that it can be directly coupled to the base. Also, the headshell on my SME is not detachable, so that should be less of an issue.

Regarding the bearing noise addition to the motor upgrade, I also am using a GrooveTracer subplatter that has three Delrin pads that the platter rests on, so provide additional decoupling of the subplatter to the main platter.

In addition to that, the subplatter spindle has a sapphire jewel bearing at it's business end instead of steel, and it now rests on a zirconium oxide ball bearing instead of a steel ball bearing. The runout of the subplatter is also about 5 X less than the stock platter, as measured by a dial indicator. The GrooveTracer subplatter has markedly reduced the noise floor of the Rega, so that now, with a nice record, it is dead quiet on a lead-in track even with my Arcam 280's volume turned to 80 dB. It's an impressive improvement, and beautifully constructed.

So, you can see, this is not a stock Rega any longer. But it sure sounds good.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better

You've done some impressive upgrades for a basic table. But now you've stepped a bit out of the DIY area. What you've upgraded doesn't exactly eliminate the basic rules of how a table operates. Yes, you've improved on the stock, budget oriented components and I suspect the table sounds much improved over the original. Not to disparage your work but the essence of the Rega is its high quality at a budget price. You seem to have taken the table in the opposite direction and made a rather high priced table out of what was a budget product. All that's left of the original product is the plinth, a slab of MDF.

None the less, belts still react to the drag of a stylus and tonearms still resonate. The inner tube seems rather crude in comparison to what you've done to the table proper and still acts as a source for possible loss of information in such a "suspended" system.

With all you've done to the table proper, I wonder why you haven't pursued a more sophisticated suspension if that's how you wish to set up the Rega. And about how much are your table upgrades adding to the overall cost of the table? Why did you go this route rather than reaching the practical limits of the Rega and trading it for a higher quality table to begin with?

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better


Quote:
You've done some impressive upgrades for a basic table. But now you've stepped a bit out of the DIY area. What you've upgraded doesn't exactly eliminate the basic rules of how a table operates. Yes, you've improved on the stock, budget oriented components and I suspect the table sounds much improved over the original. Not to disparage your work but the essence of the Rega is its high quality at a budget price. You seem to have taken the table in the opposite direction and made a rather high priced table out of what was a budget product. All that's left of the original product is the plinth, a slab of MDF.

None the less, belts still react to the drag of a stylus and tonearms still resonate. The inner tube seems rather crude in comparison to what you've done to the table proper and still acts as a source for possible loss of information in such a "suspended" system.

With all you've done to the table proper, I wonder why you haven't pursued a more sophisticated suspension if that's how you wish to set up the Rega. And about how much are your table upgrades adding to the overall cost of the table? Why did you go this route rather than reaching the practical limits of the Rega and trading it for a higher quality table to begin with?

Well, I am not really concerned about the boundaries of DIY, either real or imagined. I'm just playing around. Because I am a scientist, and I just like to try things out. I'm just playing around with different things and seeing how they work out, doing experiments and gathering empirical data, so to speak. It amuses me to see what you can do with a budget table by thinking about the interactions. As for taking a budget component and going "higher-end" with it, well, back when I bought my Rega, it wasn't viewed as a budget component. And realistically, I don't really care if that's the direction I am taking. I tend to do those things, like I did way back when with my OLAs (Original Large Advents)...and am, in fact, doing now with another pair of Large Advents. In addition to being a scientist, I'm left-handed, which makes me a bit of a contrarian. I like the thought of improving every bit of the front end of a signal path to see how good you can get a pair of Advents to sound (pretty dang good, as it turns out...). Yeah, I've got another really nice pair of speakers, a pair of Era Design 4s that are awesome for what they are, which are currently a Class C Stereophile recommended component. But right now I am having more fun playing with tweakin' the Rega and the Advents and seeing what I can come up with...in some areas, the Advents flat smoke the Eras, like full-bodiedness and dimensionality, and high-level dynamic slam, not to mention bass. Wait until I disconnect them from the Arcam AVR280 and connect to my retro HK Citation 12! Right now, I am trying to determine what might be a suitable "vintage-design" preamp that would go well together with the Citation 12, Rega, and Advents. Maybe something tube-based, based on a "classic" design, like a beautiful little Cayin or JoLida preamp...but, I digress.

But mostly I am just doing this playing around because it amuses me.

As for the costs, I bought my Planar 3 back in '81 for $275. My SME III was around the same cost, maybe $295 or something like that. I haven't done anything to it for 27 years until a month ago when I bought the GrooveTracer subplatter for approx $250. I also bought a beautifully made acrylic platter for the Rega, but the glass platter/felt mat sound better. My Rega works great and sounds better; a testament to Roy Gandy's clear design thinking all those years ago. I will probably get a Rega P5 next year just so that I can have another cartridge to use for listening to records (my Grace F9E Ruby), but I have no plans to get a significantly more expensive turntable or get rid of my Rega.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better


Quote:
Right now, I am trying to determine what might be a suitable "vintage-design" preamp that would go well together with the Citation 12, Rega, and Advents. Maybe something tube-based, based on a "classic" design, like a beautiful little Cayin or JoLida preamp...but, I digress.

I ran my DLA's with a Citation 12 Deluxe (which I still own), at the time a Planar 3/Infinty Black Widow/ADC XLM III (sold it) and a Dayton Wright SPS mk.III (solid state) which I later sold for an Audible Illusions (tube). You might find a working APT pre amp or an Advent receiver (both solid state) or even a Superphon (ss) or a Counterpoint (tube).

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better


Quote:

Quote:
Right now, I am trying to determine what might be a suitable "vintage-design" preamp that would go well together with the Citation 12, Rega, and Advents. Maybe something tube-based, based on a "classic" design, like a beautiful little Cayin or JoLida preamp...but, I digress.

I ran my DLA's with a Citation 12 Deluxe (which I still own), at the time a Planar 3/Infinty Black Widow/ADC XLM III (sold it) and a Dayton Wright SPS mk.III (solid state) which I later sold for an Audible Illusions (tube). You might find a working APT pre amp or an Advent receiver (both solid state) or even a Superphon (ss) or a Counterpoint (tube).

Another Advent and Citation 12 user! A classic combination.

absolutepitch
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better


Quote:
Well, I am not really concerned about the boundaries of DIY, either real or imagined. I'm just playing around. Because I am a scientist, and I just like to try things out. I'm just playing around with different things and seeing how they work out, doing experiments and gathering empirical data, so to speak. It amuses me to see what you can do with a budget table by thinking about the interactions. ... In addition to being a scientist, I'm left-handed, which makes me a bit of a contrarian. I like the thought of improving every bit of the front end of a signal path to see how good you can get a pair of Advents to sound (pretty dang good, as it turns out...). ...

I too am a scientist/engineer, and may have been left-handed too before the school insist that we all write with the right hand. And I like experimenting too, as you seem to. By the way, I read somewhere that left-handers and ambidextrous people have a 10% larger corpus callosum (the interconnection between the two brain hemispheres) than right-handed people. What effect that has was not detailed in the article I read.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better


Quote:

Quote:
Well, I am not really concerned about the boundaries of DIY, either real or imagined. I'm just playing around. Because I am a scientist, and I just like to try things out. I'm just playing around with different things and seeing how they work out, doing experiments and gathering empirical data, so to speak. It amuses me to see what you can do with a budget table by thinking about the interactions. ... In addition to being a scientist, I'm left-handed, which makes me a bit of a contrarian. I like the thought of improving every bit of the front end of a signal path to see how good you can get a pair of Advents to sound (pretty dang good, as it turns out...). ...

I too am a scientist/engineer, and may have been left-handed too before the school insist that we all write with the right hand. And I like experimenting too, as you seem to. By the way, I read somewhere that left-handers and ambidextrous people have a 10% larger corpus callosum (the interconnection between the two brain hemispheres) than right-handed people. What effect that has was not detailed in the article I read.

I've had a theory for a while that the percentage of left-handed people in the sciences is higher than in the general population. Wouldn't surprise me about the corpus callosum. I've also read that left-handed people have better ambidextrous skills than right-handed people.

absolutepitch
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better


Quote:
I've had a theory for a while that the percentage of left-handed people in the sciences is higher than in the general population. Wouldn't surprise me about the corpus callosum. I've also read that left-handed people have better ambidextrous skills than right-handed people.

Maybe so. I seem to remember hearing something like that too.

Any more info regarding the inner tube effectiveness?

On a similar note, I tinkered a lot with speaker building. One such example is the use of foam isolation between the enclosure that contains the high/mid frequency drivers and the bass driver. I could easily have used an inner tube instead of foam, but the foam gives me less "rocking" and good stability, with fairly good isolation. I didn't feel vibration transmitted from the bass enclosure to the high freq enclosure. Don't have an accelerometer, but a phono cartridge can sort-of act like one.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Inner Tube really helps my system sound better


Quote:

Quote:
I've had a theory for a while that the percentage of left-handed people in the sciences is higher than in the general population. Wouldn't surprise me about the corpus callosum. I've also read that left-handed people have better ambidextrous skills than right-handed people.

Maybe so. I seem to remember hearing something like that too.

Any more info regarding the inner tube effectiveness?

On a similar note, I tinkered a lot with speaker building. One such example is the use of foam isolation between the enclosure that contains the high/mid frequency drivers and the bass driver. I could easily have used an inner tube instead of foam, but the foam gives me less "rocking" and good stability, with fairly good isolation. I didn't feel vibration transmitted from the bass enclosure to the high freq enclosure. Don't have an accelerometer, but a phono cartridge can sort-of act like one.

The inner tube works really, really well. I place it directly underneath the Rega and it always sounds better with the inner tube underneath than it does without it. I've removed it several times and listened to it without the inner tube with a variety of platforms, or just with the Audio-Technica feet, etc. and it always sounds better sitting on the inner tube, so I always go back to using it. I have one under my Arcam AVR280, and it made the system sound better when I put it under that at, as well. IMHO, anyone using a solid plinth-style TT like a Rega, Music Hall, Clearaudio, Pro-Ject, etc. that doesn't at least try this is not getting the performace from their table that they can be getting.

I particularly recommend that Stephen Mejias try it, given that he is a newly-born Rega/vinyl lover.

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