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I got some vinyl, but no turn table. Where to start & what to buy... - Page 2

post #16 of 34
Thread Starter 
OK, thanks for the advice....

However, is it just impossible to clean a record so that it's crackle/pop-free? I also noticed that on my stylus there's a little like line of thread that seems that got picked up from playing the record, however it's now stuck. May not be stuck, I just tried blowing it off & didn't come off. I just don't want to touch the stylus with my fingers & possible damage something. Will I damage the stylus just by the touching of it?

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post #17 of 34
Consider purchasing the Disc Doctor cleaning kit. I assume you probably won't want a record cleaning machine, since even the cheapest of these will be around $200.
Quote:
A pint of Cleaner and a pair of Brushes sized for LPs is $74.70 by Visa/MC, p/h included and cleans 300 average condition lps;
It sounds pricey, but this stuff works extremely well and really only needs to be used once (when you first purchase the record). Most people advise against using tap-water to clean records, but it can be used if you have very soft, good-quality water in your area; otherwise, distilled water is strongly recommended.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumone
OK, thanks for the advice....

However, is it just impossible to clean a record so that it's crackle/pop-free? I also noticed that on my stylus there's a little like line of thread that seems that got picked up from playing the record, however it's now stuck. May not be stuck, I just tried blowing it off & didn't come off. I just don't want to touch the stylus with my fingers & possible damage something. Will I damage the stylus just by the touching of it?
That line of thread is normal. Cartridges in the thousands-of-dollars price range have this same problem. It's an effect that will not cause any damage to the vinyl nor make an audible difference.

The Disc Doctor set may be a good idea. However, once again, the majority of time that you hear pops and ticks is when you have an incorrect turntable setup. Record cleaning will only solve the problems of floor noise and other small things. If you are hearing ticks and pops as loud, or louder than, the music itself, then this is no cleaning problem you're having.

The NUMER ONE essential vinyl tool is the VTA alignment gauge. Talk to Todd The Vinyl Junkie and get one from him. It's cheap, and it's REALLY effective. You MUST have one of these before you even think about getting cleaning utilities. Not only will a poor VTA sound like crap, but it will permanently damage your vinyl, your cartridge, your arm, and your stylus.
post #19 of 34
Thread Starter 
OK, I've emailed Todd about the VTA.

So you guys are saying, with a recently-cleansed record & correct turn-table setup, it is possible to get 100% crackle/pop-free sound?

Are there any cleaners out there that don't require you to have a vacuum?

I've uploaded a short 20 second computer rip of the new record that I bought here

The first second is me recording with the tone-arm still locked in place & not over the platter. The next seconds are when I put the stylus over the record & is playing. I guess this is establishing where my noise-floor is. Then the music comes in.

So can you guys evaluate what you hear?
#1 - clicks / pops - would you say it's the record or my setup?
#2 - noisefloor - high or low in comparison to the music?
#3 - overall sound - does it sound "right" or does it sound like I need more tracking force/anti-skating/sound-stage/etc.?

For reference, the audio hardware chain goes like this:

Turn table's LINE out (as opposed to phono out) -> turn table's 2 RCA cords (male) -> 2 female RCA, 1 male 1/8" radioshack adapter -> 1/8" female on both sides coupler -> 6 ft male on both sides 1/8" cord -> line in on Chaintech AV-710 sound card.

I recorded @ 16bit/ 44.1K samples per second.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumone
OK, I've emailed Todd about the VTA.

So you guys are saying, with a recently-cleansed record & correct turn-table setup, it is possible to get 100% crackle/pop-free sound?
Crackle-free, yes. You'll probably always hear small, occasional pops, unless the record is brand new (or during loud passages of the music). This takes a bit of getting used to, but eventually it's not hard to "listen past" these imperfections and simply ignore them. If you find it difficult to ignore even after listening to vinyl a long time, either (A) something about your setup sucks and you're not getting involved in the music, or (B) vinyl is just not for you.
post #21 of 34
Thread Starter 
OK I'm really confused. The table isn't working....what am I doing wrong?

1. I balanced the counterweight so that the tone arm & stylus almost touch the platter (with anti-skate @ 0).

2. I set the tracking force & anti-skate to 3.5 like the guide told me to.

3. Whenever I play a record, sometimes when I hit cue the first track, once the stylus touches the record, it bounces off and goes towards the outside of the record & off of it. Other times, the tone arm moves towards the outside of the record when the lever is lowering the tone arm (in other words, the tone arm doesn't stay in place horizontally when lowering from top->bottom).

4. Sometimes I hear distortion in the midrange area...for example certain horns & voices are distorted on the attack of the sound.

What am I doing wrong? I just spent $150 on all-new records but I'm not going to even play them if I'm not setup properly.

This all happened after I found out the tone-arm counterweight was too close to the tonearm (meaning the stylus & headshell would be pressing down on the record pretty hard). But when I do the readjustment, the tone arm & stylus don't stay in place, and when it does, it skips intermittently & distorts. Todd has not responded yet so I really am confused on how to set this up properly.
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumone
OK I'm really confused. The table isn't working....what am I doing wrong?

1. I balanced the counterweight so that the tone arm & stylus almost touch the platter (with anti-skate @ 0).

2. I set the tracking force & anti-skate to 3.5 like the guide told me to.

3. Whenever I play a record, sometimes when I hit cue the first track, once the stylus touches the record, it bounces off and goes towards the outside of the record & off of it. Other times, the tone arm moves towards the outside of the record when the lever is lowering the tone arm (in other words, the tone arm doesn't stay in place horizontally when lowering from top->bottom).
Sounds like the tracking force is too light. Have you considered a stylus force gauge (the ones on turntables are often inaccurate):

http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.proc...afeed.SHU+SFG2

Remember, this stuff is a matter of relatively simple physics. If the tonearm is bouncing off the record, it probably means VTF is too light.
Quote:
This all happened after I found out the tone-arm counterweight was too close to the tonearm (meaning the stylus & headshell would be pressing down on the record pretty hard). But when I do the readjustment, the tone arm & stylus don't stay in place, and when it does, it skips intermittently & distorts. Todd has not responded yet so I really am confused on how to set this up properly.
You might want to ask here:
http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/bbs.html

Todd isn't paid for answering questions of course, so no surprise he's taking his time.

P.S. take your time too, setting up a turntable can be far from trivial (particularly the first time).
post #23 of 34
Thread Starter 
OK. I found out I didn't know how to set tracking force. Cause what I was doing was this:

1. balance tone arm so it's horizontal above the platter

2. turn the gauge on the counterweight (which doesn't move the counterweight) to 3.5

So I'm guessing that instead of just moving the gauge, I was supposed to set the gauage to 0, thenmove the whole counterweight until I got to 3.5?

I still have problems however when it first lowers the stylus over the record (first track) & since it's a lot of empty space, the needle "jumps" to about maybe 3-7 seconds in, in the track.

I love the sound of vinyl but I just am completely lost I really haven't found ONE good resource that tells me how to set up the table properly. And I've looked at vinyl asylum but I never can find what I'm looking for cause it seems everyone there (like everyone here) already knows what they're doing & is just fine-tuning their setup.

Again, if I purchased a liquid record cleaner solution, do I NEED a vacuum? Every product I've seen says you must follow-up the usage of the cleaner with a vacuum...which means i need a record cleaning vacuum machine, which a quick look goes for at least a couple of hundres of dollars. Also, I'm not willing to spend $74 on just the disc doctor cleaning solution if I'm gonna need some $300 vacuum. I'm just going to go with eBay for the alignment tool since I haven't heard anything from Todd.
post #24 of 34
Some of this will be applicable to your situation, some won't:

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

Another: http://www.kabusa.com/setup.htm

Try a google search on "setting up a turntable"

No, you don't need a vacuum with the Disc Doctor system. It helps, but isn't necessary. You can even dry records with a lint free cloth, like a bath towel (works better if you just dab 'em rather than rub). Watch out for potential damage to the label when cleaning records.

P.S. there's a lot to learn when you first get into vinyl, so take time on this stuff... if you're completely lost, you're probably trying to fix everything at once... slow down man.

Edit -- from the FAQs link at the top of the Vinyl Asylum page:

http://www.vandenhul.nl/artpap/turntabl.htm

http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vin...sages/819.html

The trick in reading these articles is to take what you need and leave the rest. Again, going through them slowly is really going to help here. I know the way you're feeling, I've been there... try setting up & tweaking a vintage table sometime .
post #25 of 34
Just having read only the first post here I'm going to reccomend you do what I did and buy a Stanton turntable.

They have built-in pre-amps and you won't have to worry about proper amplification and components in your system. If your using your computer for all your audio-purposes right now, and as well aren't looking for 'top quality' components, then by all means a Stanton would be a perfect choice.

Anything over the T60 model in their line will be a waste of your money, as they just come with options for DJ'ing that you won't need when playing your vinyls normally.
You can pick up one of these (T60) up for about $200 US brand new. If your not near any stores that sell them, try www.jr.com, excellent place, great price and great service, shipping is fast as well. Then just head to radio shack or circuit city and buy an RCA to 1/8" cable, this will allow you to connect the back of the turntable DIRECTLY into your soundcard, no pre-amp or anything needed!

Personally I think for what you want, buying a proper table, amplifier and interconnects is spending more money than you need to. What I've suggested will cost you no more than $250 US with taxes and shipping final, and you won't need to buy any additional equipment after that, your computer is all you will need.
post #26 of 34
Another thing which is really important is that your turntable is on a surface which isolates it from vibration (from people walking around, speakers etc) and feedback (resonances from the table itself and other adjacent equipment being amplified during playback).
The best thing to do is to put it on it's own wall mounted shelf away from other equipment and speakers. Also take off the lid when you use it. You can buy pads made of a cool absorbent gel called sorbothane which will isolate it further. Get a big chopping board from Ikea made of marble and put these pads underneath then put your table on top of this.
Remeber this is an almost totally mechanical device so the better your arm is allowed to track the playing surface the quieter the noisefloor will be. If you tap the top of the table while a record is in the run-out groove you want the sound to be as dead as possible. Any type of echoey sound is going to be there under all of your music.
On a deck at this level you are never going to be able to get it completely acoustically dead because of the inherent resonances of the materials your deck is made of. Other compromises are made in the tolerances of the manufacture of things like the tonearm, which will mean it won't be able to track as well as is possible resulting in more noise.
There really is no substiute for serious engineering when it comes to turntables and that is always going to cost. Now more than ever as it's a niche market. This is why so many people opt for vintage decks as on the better quality ones build quality was much better than what you will find today for reasonable money (sub 2000USD).
A really well set up high end turntable with a good new pressing will be almost totally quiet between tracks.
Nevertheless at a basic level taking measures to isolate your deck as effectively as is possible will yield very obvious results.
post #27 of 34

set up

Without the right kit - stylus gauge, protractor, test disc etc - getting a perfect set-up is tricky.

One the other hand, setting a turntable up by ear will get you most of the way.

Set the arm way too heavy, listen, way too light, listen and then find the balance. Just use your ears. It takes time and gets a little boring jumping up to change the set-up all the time..

For all they look delicate and breakable, cartridges are fairly robust, so don't worry too much about running too heavy a tracking force for a track or two.

In my experience way too heavy will give you a closed in muddy sort of sound, way too light will give you un-coordinated bass, no soundstage and of course the needle will hop all over the place at the slightest breath of wind.

If the arm is falling to the left or right when you drop it on the record, it probably means your tracking force is wrong. Play with it till the arm drops straight. I struggle to hear much difference when I change the tracking force on my deck unless I have a test disk on, but a cheap and cheerful way of testing this is to put a blank peice of hard plastic on instead of a record and drop the needle on (or if your platter is glass just drop the needle onto that). It shouldn't move inwards or outwards. This method will cause purists to faint. I now have a blank record for this.

The place you'll hear most of the tracking problems will be on the last track of the disk. I don't worry hugely about tracking force but that's a personal thing.

Finally, get a stable set-up, so you can hear what's going on. Make sure you listen in the same seat, try and isolate the deck from vibration (blu-tack is a cheap and cheerful method). You could isolate the speakers with blu-tack too - listen and see.

All this advice is sort of cheap and cheerful get you going stuff, sort of rule of thumb. It's certainly not the best way to do things but it'll do the job and won't end up with you damaging your vinyl.
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumone
Is vinyl even better than digital (CD?). Does a vinyl record by itself contain better quality than a CD?
No. CDs actually have better sound quality, but vinyl introduces dithering(which computer plugins can simulate though I can't vouch for the quality).
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=522436
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashgromnies
No. CDs actually have better sound quality, but vinyl introduces dithering(which computer plugins can simulate though I can't vouch for the quality).
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=522436
Sorry can't find any mention of "dithering" in your link and I don't think it has anything to do with analogue recordings as it's a digital process in the context I think you are referring to.
Good analogue recordings are theoretically much higher quality than digital recordings because they have a much wider frequency range.
That is not to say that this information can/will reach your ears from an average record player or tape deck but there is no PCM brickwall filter in the 15-20khz region of the recording, as there is with most digital recording technology so if any of the information beyond those frequencies is important to the music whether psychoacoustically or otherwise it won't exist on the digital recording.
There isn't much agreement on this but given the opportunity to choose between high-end analogue or digital playback most people in my experience will prefer the analogue.
post #30 of 34
It seems there have been a lot of folks lately claiming CD is better than vinyl. I was never a militant in either camp but after having heard some clean vinyl on a meager $300 setup...I was BLOWN away. My $5k cd player was unable to do some of the things the little Thorens could with a nice Grado cart. So I went all out and acquired a tt that would rival my cd player if not surpass it by a large margin.

What I have found is that CD's are more consistant. One is privy to a quiet background for nearly every disc. The noise floor is much much lower. There is no "tinkering" to get the sound to work (save for, in my case, tube rolling). It just works. Plop a CD down and push play...now off you go!

With lp's, I find it is much more difficult to get the same level of performance as one gets from CD's (and I presume SACD and DVD-A). However, once the TT is properly setup, the phonostage matches the cart well and the vinyl is clean, given two equally well recorded discs (one lp one CD), there is simply no competition for me anyway. LP's win every single time. I have the luxury of making my cd sound pretty syrupy and warm because of the tube buffer stage before the outputs. I usually have very linear tubes in there, but if I need to curb any digital hash, I can thankfully. That said, there is never this need with vinyl. Even with the very must cd's, there is now to my ears, always a sense of digital presence. Blind tests are hard to set up to prove this, but with what I have been able to do, I have always been able to tell the cd from the lp. There is simply something more organic, natural, humane even, in listening to vinyl as opposed to anything digital. A good means of checking this is using ACDC's Back in Black remaster on CD and the same on vinyl. These remasters are very equal and some say that the cd is actually a better recording. I've also tried this with the Dark Side of the Moon, Kind of Blue, Monk and Coltrane, among others.
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