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Pioneer PL-50 Turntable - Page 4

post #46 of 67
Thread Starter 
This cart comes with a "weight balancing plate", but says nothing about it. the figure shows it to be used when attaching the cart to the head. Is this optional? they dont make it clear. I dont want to add weight if I dont need to.

is also says to set the overhang according to what arm your using. I dont know what to set it at.. there seems to be a mark at 50mm, and 38mm. the figure implies that you set it at 50mm? what would you do? lol
post #47 of 67
This weight balancing plate is used to:
1. Balance the tonearm if the cartridge is too light to do so on its own.
2. Add mass to the cartridge to raise the resonance frequency of the arm so as not to be affected by footfalls, vibrations, etc.

At a rough calculation, the resonance frequency is probably close to the lower limit, but should be o.k. If after mounting you notice that the cartridge jumps or mistracks from vibrations, or reproduces a rumbling sound, you may want to remount it using the balancing plate.
If the 38mm and 50mm are in the Denon's instructions, it's probably meant to apply to Denon tonearms. If the 38mm and 50mm are indicated on the Pioneer headshell, then that definitely applies to the Pioneer cartridges that came with the turntable originally.

Since I don't know the effective length or mounting distance of your tonearm, I would use a protractor with Baerwald geometry and align the two null points.
post #48 of 67
Thread Starter 
I am using the baerwald null points protractor where you move the protractor between measurements. It seems to me that because you can move the protractor as well as the stylus, that you can always match up the points. I've read countless things on this. am I missing something?

also, the new cart is incredibly detailed, but seems bass light? any ideas or possible setup problems?
post #49 of 67
It's not just aligning to the points, you also have to have the sides of the cartridge parallel to the lines on either side.

There can be a few reasons for the cartridge seeming bass-light.

The cartridge has to break in for at least 50 hours to loosen the cartridge suspension.

Is the cartridge firmly attached to the headshell but not overtightened enough to cause the plastic mounting slots to distort?

Did you connect the cartridge leads in the headshell to the correct channels on the cartridge? Switching channels can cause a seeming absence of bass.

The above can also apply to the connectors at the phono input. Are the L & R connectors going to the right inputs?

Tracking at 2g would improve the bass. Once you start getting to the upper limit of a cartridge's recommended VTF, it's time to invest in a tracking force gauge to accurately set the VTF.

The stylus rake could be off. Is the needle straight at a 90 degree angle to the record?

It could be a couple of other things, but check these first

Edit: I just dowloaded and read the manual for your table. You have an overhang index built-in to the table. Read page 6 of your manual. You can use this to help verify your cartridge alignment.
post #50 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightOwl View Post
It's not just aligning to the points, you also have to have the sides of the cartridge parallel to the lines on either side.

There can be a few reasons for the cartridge seeming bass-light.

The cartridge has to break in for at least 50 hours to loosen the cartridge suspension.

Is the cartridge firmly attached to the headshell but not overtightened enough to cause the plastic mounting slots to distort?

Did you connect the cartridge leads in the headshell to the correct channels on the cartridge? Switching channels can cause a seeming absence of bass.

The above can also apply to the connectors at the phono input. Are the L & R connectors going to the right inputs?

Tracking at 2g would improve the bass. Once you start getting to the upper limit of a cartridge's recommended VTF, it's time to invest in a tracking force gauge to accurately set the VTF.

The stylus rake could be off. Is the needle straight at a 90 degree angle to the record?

It could be a couple of other things, but check these first

Edit: I just dowloaded and read the manual for your table. You have an overhang index built-in to the table. Read page 6 of your manual. You can use this to help verify your cartridge alignment.
you know, last night, I was so tired, that I completely forgot about the break in period. I recall now that I read about the cart sounding wiry, stiff, and grating when factory fresh. thats about right. I'll break it in before I go into much more descriptions. thats totally my fault for being brain dead. I believe all other things are set up pretty well. I'm going to double check the null points today with fresh eyes and good lighting. although I think its pretty solid.
I also remembered the overhang gauge this morning from the manual. I'll set it up there, then check the null points as well to see how much it changes, if any.
I got a tracking force gauge with the cart. I've been using it. I REALLY dont like setting the needle on things other then records!! every time I put it down, I fear I'm damaging it. I'm trying to be as careful as possible, but I'm a guy, with guy hands. so I pray I havent done anything damaging.
As always, thanks again, I'm going to check these settings, then just play some wax for a while to break that bad boy in. how exciting.
post #51 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keithpgdrb View Post
As always, thanks again, I'm going to check these settings, then just play some wax for a while to break that bad boy in. how exciting.
Here's some useless trivia for you. Only 78's were made out of a parafin composition (hence wax). These were very brittle so 45's and 33 1/3's were made out of PVC (hence vinyl). Some LP's even sound like they were made from recycled drain pipe.
post #52 of 67
One other possible reason I can think of for why bass is off is VTA. The bass on Denon carts is usually phenomenal, it's the first thing you notice even before they are run in.

So as well as all the things Nightowl suggested, if the arm height (rake angle) is not adjustable which I'm not sure it is as the manual doesn't seem to mention it, then you can either raise the height of the record with a thicker mat, or else fit that ballast onto the headshell to raise the height of the cart.

Don't worry about putting more weight into the headshell as you are going to balance it out with the counterweight remember. A lot of Denon afficionados actually recommend lead fishing weights for this purpose ! What you are doing is raising the effective mass and static mass which is no bad thing with the Denon carts.

Basically when you look at the arm on the record side on it should be more or less level. If it's sloping forwards towards the cart too much then this can cause an uneven balance towards upper frequencies and also defocus the soundstage.

Thinking about it Denon carts are quite low profile so this could well be an issue with some arms.
post #53 of 67
Thread Starter 
Nice trivia!!

I'll take a look at the vertical setting. I thought it looked alright, but i'll double check.
post #54 of 67
Thread Starter 
so here is another question. I was examining the cart looking for things that were off. I think the cart might be sitting forward in the headshell. I didnt really think this was possible, but it just might be. The tonearm looks fine, straight as an arrow, but when looking at the body of the cart, it seems like it is leaning forward just slightly. what would be the audible affect in this? I did add the plate under the cart because I felt i wanted more weight. I may take it off again and try it without. I would like to see if it sits more straight without. not sure. I could be looking for trouble. and I really didnt want to have to balance everything again. boo. I've included the best pic I could to illustrate my point. none of them are great, but maybe you will see something obvious. tell me if I am imagining it.
LL
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post #55 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keithpgdrb View Post
so here is another question. I was examining the cart looking for things that were off. I think the cart might be sitting forward in the headshell. I didnt really think this was possible, but it just might be. The tonearm looks fine, straight as an arrow, but when looking at the body of the cart, it seems like it is leaning forward just slightly. what would be the audible affect in this? I did add the plate under the cart because I felt i wanted more weight. I may take it off again and try it without. I would like to see if it sits more straight without. not sure. I could be looking for trouble. and I really didnt want to have to balance everything again. boo. I've included the best pic I could to illustrate my point. none of them are great, but maybe you will see something obvious. tell me if I am imagining it.
I can't tell from the pictures. Look at the bottom of the cartridge body. If it is parallel to the record, you're o.k.
If the rear of the cartridge body is closer to the record, then you could probably correct it by removing the cartridge balancing plate. If the front of the cartridge body is closer to the record there's nothing you can do about it since your tonearm has no height adjustment. Fortunately the Denon's stylus profile is elliptical and won't be affected that much.
post #56 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightOwl View Post
I can't tell from the pictures. Look at the bottom of the cartridge body. If it is parallel to the record, you're o.k.
If the rear of the cartridge body is closer to the record, then you could probably correct it by removing the cartridge balancing plate. If the front of the cartridge body is closer to the record there's nothing you can do about it since your tonearm has no height adjustment. Fortunately the Denon's stylus profile is elliptical and won't be affected that much.
I figured the pics wouldnt be as helpful, but I tried. if anything, the front is closer to the record. so, I suppose it could be evened out a bit by raising the record with a thicker mat. but then the tonearm might be slightly high, with a straight cart. if this setting wont make a difference because of the elliptical stylus, I wont bother with it. I'll experiment though with the mat maybe.

Is this the obsessive behavior people always make fun of vinyl people for? lol
post #57 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keithpgdrb View Post
I figured the pics wouldnt be as helpful, but I tried. if anything, the front is closer to the record. so, I suppose it could be evened out a bit by raising the record with a thicker mat. but then the tonearm might be slightly high, with a straight cart. if this setting wont make a difference because of the elliptical stylus, I wont bother with it. I'll experiment though with the mat maybe.

Is this the obsessive behavior people always make fun of vinyl people for? lol
I don't think it's obsessive. You just want to get it right. It's a problem only if you lie awake at night worrying about it.

The stylus rake is the angle that the needle tracks the groove. You're trying to duplicate the angle at which the groove was cut originally by the cutter head. Since it's impossible to align properly without a microscope, most cartridge manufacturers design so that if the cartridge body/headshell is parallel to the record and the correct VTF is used, then the angle will be correct +/- 5%.
This becomes more important the closer the stylus shape is to the cutter head, since these profiles come in contact with more of the groove. For example from least critical to most critcal:

spherical/conical
elliptical
hyper elliptical/line contact
micro line/shibata

You can also be fooled by the naked eye. All the Audio-Technica moving coils I've used always look to me the way your Denon looks to you, but they're aligned correctly. Let your cartridge burn in first. If after that it still seems shrill, bass light, or too bright then replace the mat with a thicker one. If the cartridge seems too bassy, then remove the balancing weight.

In the meantime, to quote those famous philosophers The Doobie Brothers, "Listen to the music".
post #58 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keithpgdrb View Post
Is this the obsessive behavior people always make fun of vinyl people for? lol
Nowhere near obsessive yet, you've quite way to go.

There is actually a modular mat called the Ringmat which enables you to vary the height for different records, which are of course slightly different weights of vinyl, by stacking different layers. That's obessive.

These mats are good Herbie's Turntable Mats I use one on my Logic. Not cheap though.

Getting the VTA right means the difference between a harsh sound with no bass and little soundstage, if the cart is too steeply leaning forward, to a bassy sluggish sound with no soundstage if it's leaning too far back. Hit the sweetspot and you're rewarded with a well balanced presentation and the expansive soundstage that vinyl is famous for.

Getting it absolutely right is difficult and really the preserve of high end arms like the SME V where you can vary it whilst playing a record without damage. But getting it in the ballpark with a mat or by adding spacers to the headshell is good enough to preserve your sanity.

If I were you I'd get a cheap cork mat either off ebay or cut up a few thin cork tiles yourself with a craft knife and work out the optimum height that way. We are talking milimetres here though.
post #59 of 67

I have a beautiful PL-50 but it seems to be running FAST??? When I play guitar along with it (in tune) the music is a half step higher in pitch??? So it's running a little fast :(

Anyway to fix this? I couldn't find a speed adjustment or anything anywhere inside???

Thanks!

post #60 of 67
Thread Starter 

One thing you can do it to make sure that the area that the belt follows on the platter is REALLY clean.  if there is pitting or other gunk on the platter, it will cause the table to be fast.  I'd try that as step one.  It may help.

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