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post #1261 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

 

That's a really helpful link with clear and simple explanations/definitions, thanks for posting it.

 

Do you have an opinion on the Grado longhorn mod?

No problem - it took a bit to choose one that is simple and clear.

 

Of course. "Longhorning" since the day I got Frank Van Alstine's Audio Basics newsletter ( those were the days, eagerly awaiting the postman each month - no internet back then ) in the mail back in early 80s. It works wonders with other carts too, not just Grado. I have commented on it in this and "post pic of your turntable" thread. There are extremely few tonearms out there that do not benefit greatly from the Longhorn - invariably the best and most expensive. Even those will still get that last n-th degree of improvement.

 

In any case, you have to observe the effective mass/compliance compatibility issue. If your combination is already at the lowest acceptable resonant frequency - adding Longhorn( more mass ) would be detrimental to the sound. In those cases of too high resonant frequency, it is the best possible "weight" you can use - FAR better than say a metal plate that goes between the headshell and cart to bring the mass to required value.

 

For those concerned regarding looks/aesthetics - remember Leonard Cohen's verse " we are ugly but we have the music" ? You can try applying it first in reversible way, using blue tack or similar - also recommended to try and see if it interferes with your record weight/clamp system.

 

Unfortunately, it usually does. Decisions, decisions....

post #1262 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLACKENEDPLAGUE View Post


Is there no rca on the interface?

 

No, just the two TRS for monitors.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

 

I'm certainly no expert, but yes you need a phono preamp to go into any line level input from a turntable.

 

I'm wondering how you connected your computer's USB output to your speaker's TRS input, do you have a DAC in between?

 


The USB interface (Scarlett 2i2).


Edited by matthewh133 - 3/28/13 at 5:18am
post #1263 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

 

Of course. "Longhorning" since the day I got Frank Van Alstine's Audio Basics newsletter ( those were the days, eagerly awaiting the postman each month - no internet back then ) in the mail back in early 80s. It works wonders with other carts too, not just Grado. I have commented on it in this and "post pic of your turntable" thread. There are extremely few tonearms out there that do not benefit greatly from the Longhorn - invariably the best and most expensive. Even those will still get that last n-th degree of improvement.

 

In any case, you have to observe the effective mass/compliance compatibility issue. If your combination is already at the lowest acceptable resonant frequency - adding Longhorn( more mass ) would be detrimental to the sound. In those cases of too high resonant frequency, it is the best possible "weight" you can use - FAR better than say a metal plate that goes between the headshell and cart to bring the mass to required value.

 

For those concerned regarding looks/aesthetics - remember Leonard Cohen's verse " we are ugly but we have the music" ? You can try applying it first in reversible way, using blue tack or similar - also recommended to try and see if it interferes with your record weight/clamp system.

 

 

Thanks for the reply. As far as looks, AVA Hifi's version isn't bad at all:

 

 

I haven't done the exact math yet but I've ballparked it from looking at the examples, and I'm pretty sure the standard Prestige series carts are in the sweet spot for the SL1200 MKII with the standard arm/headshell and no extra weight (details below). My plan at KAB is to have Kevin set it up with a Grado Silver after he does the mods to see if I like the Grado house sound with my system.

 

If I do, it seems the ideal would be to have KAB's upgraded "Paratrace Line Contact Diamond" stylus featured in his KAB Gold1 installed into one of AVA's Longhorn Gold carts, pictured above. The way AVA describes the Longhorn benefits:

 

The Longhorn Stabilizer acts to eliminate cartridge/tone arm interactions, reduce high frequency resonances from propagating to the tone arm bearings, lets unipiviot arms behave with better stability, and dramatically improve imaging and sound stage capabilities.

 

AVA also internally damps the coils of their Longhorn carts to "eliminate microphonics", and they damp the suspension to "eliminate mechanical resonances".

 

But I doubt that it will be possible to combine the two, as KAB doesn't mention anything about their stylus being user-replaceable, just "warranted". And evidently AVA does some stylus improvements of their own. As I have a wide variety of records from Grandma's classical albums and stepdad's Time/Life series to 70/80's pop/rock/jazz and half-speed masters/Japanese pressings to modern 180/200g audiophile pressings, do you think that I would I benefit more from the Longhorn mod or from a line contract stylus?

 

I am thinking that the AVA-improved stylus would be somehow in-between the KAB stylus and Grado's "specially designed elliptical diamond" stylus performance-wise, but I really have no idea at this point as I'm just going by the prices and descriptions from the makers. AVA does the Longhorn mod and internal damping, and adds their "specially treated user-replaceable stylus assemblies" to both of their Longhorn carts; the Longhorn Gold supposedly features additional "special musicality improvements".

 

KAB's sole improvement seems to be their super-duper line contact stylus. The only opinion I can find comparing the two seems to agree that I should try and put the KAB stylus on the AVA Longhorned cart for ultimate Gold1 performance.

 

I have no idea what AVA's actual stylus tip modifications are. But the fact that it's user-replaceable appeals to me, and they do want a pretty penny for it compared to their Longhorn Green replacement stylus so there must be some improvement over stock. Overall their modded Longhorn cart is $50 cheaper than KAB's Gold1 with their line contact diamond. That's why I'm just going with the Silver1 for now, so I can decide which Gold1 to upgrade to later if I so desire after I sell the Denon stuff off.

 

I suppose that if the added weight of the Longhorned cart throws the RF formula off too much, then it's a moot point? In that case would an added counterweight help to compensate for the heavier cart, or is it still all about the mass of the arm/headshell? I'll have to find out the added weight of the Longhorned cart and do the math. I'm pretty sure that the stock Technics arm/headshell is 12g, plus .5g for the hardware, and the stock Prestige carts weigh in at 6.5g. The compliance of the stock stylus is 20 but I don't know about the upgraded ones.

 

This is complicated! Do you think I'm on the right track? Please be gentle.

blink.gif

 

edit: I did the calculations and the RF for the stock cart should be 7.295 Hz if I did it right. I suppose it's already at the low end and the Longhorn mod would then be detrimental? I hope not because I'm kind of sold on it.

 

also: I guess all the Prestige series styli are user-replaceable after all:

 


Edited by grokit - 3/28/13 at 9:31pm
post #1264 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

 

 

Thanks for the reply. As far as looks, AVA Hifi's version isn't bad at all:

 

 

I haven't done the exact math yet but I've ballparked it from looking at the examples, and I'm pretty sure the standard Prestige series carts are in the sweet spot for the SL1200 MKII with the standard arm/headshell and no extra weight (details below). My plan at KAB is to have Kevin set it up with a Grado Silver after he does the mods to see if I like the Grado house sound with my system.

 

If I do, it seems the ideal would be to have KAB's upgraded "Paratrace Line Contact Diamond" stylus featured in his KAB Gold1 installed into one of AVA's Longhorn Gold carts, pictured above. The way AVA describes the Longhorn benefits:

 

The Longhorn Stabilizer acts to eliminate cartridge/tone arm interactions, reduce high frequency resonances from propagating to the tone arm bearings, lets unipiviot arms behave with better stability, and dramatically improve imaging and sound stage capabilities.

 

AVA also internally damps the coils of their Longhorn carts to "eliminate microphonics", and they damp the suspension to "eliminate mechanical resonances".

 

But I doubt that it will be possible to combine the two, as KAB doesn't mention anything about their stylus being user-replaceable, just "warranted". And evidently AVA does some stylus improvements of their own. As I have a wide variety of records from Grandma's classical albums and stepdad's Time/Life series to 70/80's pop/rock/jazz and half-speed masters/Japanese pressings to modern 180/200g audiophile pressings, do you think that I would I benefit more from the Longhorn mod or from a line contract stylus?

 

I am thinking that the AVA-improved stylus would be somehow in-between the KAB stylus and Grado's "specially designed elliptical diamond" stylus performance-wise, but I really have no idea at this point as I'm just going by the prices and descriptions from the makers. AVA does the Longhorn mod and internal damping, and adds their "specially treated user-replaceable stylus assemblies" to both of their Longhorn carts; the Longhorn Gold supposedly features additional "special musicality improvements".

 

KAB's sole improvement seems to be their super-duper line contact stylus. The only opinion I can find comparing the two seems to agree that I should try and put the KAB stylus on the AVA Longhorned cart for ultimate Gold1 performance.

 

I have no idea what AVA's actual stylus tip modifications are. But the fact that it's user-replaceable appeals to me, and they do want a pretty penny for it compared to their Longhorn Green replacement stylus so there must be some improvement over stock. Overall their modded Longhorn cart is $50 cheaper than KAB's Gold1 with their line contact diamond. That's why I'm just going with the Silver1 for now, so I can decide which Gold1 to upgrade to later if I so desire after I sell the Denon stuff off.

 

I suppose that if the added weight of the Longhorned cart throws the RF formula off too much, then it's a moot point? In that case would an added counterweight help to compensate for the heavier cart, or is it still all about the mass of the arm/headshell? I'll have to find out the added weight of the Longhorned cart and do the math. I'm pretty sure that the stock Technics arm/headshell is 12g, plus .5g for the hardware, and the stock Prestige carts weigh in at 6.5g. The compliance of the stock stylus is 20 but I don't know about the upgraded ones.

 

This is complicated! Do you think I'm on the right track? Please be gentle.

blink.gif

 

edit: I did the calculations and the RF for the stock cart should be 7.295 Hz if I did it right. I suppose it's already at the low end and the Longhorn mod would then be detrimental? I hope not because I'm kind of sold on it.

 

also: I guess all the Prestige series styli are user-replaceable after all:

 

Imagine this is elementary school : Grokit , you get a 5 ( European system ) an A ( American system ) for your about as internet researched homework as it gets !

 

It is a little hard to be gentle with Grado, harder when any Grado mod is concerned, harder still when AVA Longhorn is concerned, and the hardest when you want to crisscross Expert Stylus' Paratrace stylus ( what KAB Gold 1 really is ) ( Paratrace is a Ven den Hul in all but name ) with AVA Longhorn - WITHOUT being familiar with the Grado house sound in the first place. Trouble with Grado, ANY Grado, is the fact that if you do not like the sound of the cheapest model you are not likely to find TOTL to your liking either.

 

Grado line with replaceable stylus can be viewed as either to have advantages or disadvantages compared to user nonreplaceable woodies - depends on how you use it. Fact is that for the ultimate super duper alignment of the stylus ( to be precise - part of the 4 pole pieces that are integrated in the stylus holder ) relative to the cartridge ( to be precise - the other 4 pole pieces with coils on them ). There is a certain amount of "free play" as just how precise you insert the stylus holder - it can be optimized (and fixed in position by some semi-permanent glue as by AVA ) using test record and an oscilloscope. You can not eyeball it with anything like the precision of test record method.

 

Above assumes that your tonearm is DEAD CENTER PERPENDICULAR/PARALLEL to the record surface as regards the azimuth. By fixing the stylus holder in this way, you have to make certain that your arm is indeed dead center perpendicular/parallel to the record for azimuth. Sl 1200 offers fine azimuth adjustment only if and when a headshell with azimuth adjustment is used. FORGET the two tiny screws that hold the headshell bayonet in the arm tube - the amount of adjustment is usually too tiny to be possible to make so small adjustment there without introducing a wacky mechanical joint - which is obviously a no go. The headshells that do allow for the azimuth adjustments tend to be rare, the ones that do not weigh a ton are rarer still - and vintage light ones with azimuth adjustment go for silly money on ebay.

 

II usually use Grados with replaceable styli with arms that do not allow for azimuth adjustment as follows : using a test record and an oscilloscope, I adjust the stylus in its "free play window" relative to cartridge body for the most symetrical output/channell separation possible - usually it is possible to get it spot on. In cases of no azimuth adjustment of your arm, a fixed stylus is a liability - but you have to know how to adjust it  in the first place to be able to use this feature that was not thought to be used at all for this or any other purpose.

 

Grado uses "goo"

 http://www.lencoheaven.net/forum/index.php?topic=3645.15 

around and over its elastomer suspension - DO NOT REMOVE IT, untidy as it may appear, it is ESSENTIAL to the performance. By varying the amount of this "goo" it is possible to fine tune the cantilever damping. AVA takes advantage of this an will make certain that each and every cart performs to the max. You have to know that Frank Van Alstine is great tinkerer and has MANY aces up his sleeve - there are more mods to the stylus, I had a good laugh when seeing the first AVA stylus back in the early 80s - and as unruly and untidy it may have appeared to the "innocent bystander audiophile" - there IS a sound engineering reason behind it. In short - Frank took "each and every, fair and unfair method" ( remember the speech delivered by the officer to the cadets in An Officer and Gentlemen movie ? ) to bring the best out of Grado. 

 

Since you mentioned LPs "in less than pristine condition" - this makes things tougher still. Usual record wear, not to mention too light tracking, will leave permanent demage in the groove - and playing such LPs back with anything but a stylus with so large large scanning radius that it can "bridge" the demaged portion of the groove will result in unsatisfactory playback - simply too distorted. This means large scanning radius of 70 microns or larger - VdH II, VdH I, Micro Line/Ridge/Reach/SAS, Fritz Gyger II, I and S styli - and that VdH in disguise called Paratrace on KAB Gold 1.

 

If you can, try ANY Grado first on your table. If it proves to be basically to your liking - play "less than pristine LPs" with it. If they sound thumb down - try playing them on Audio Technica AT440MLa ( the least expensive Micro Line stylus at the moment ) - if that yields clean enough result and you like Grado family sound better than AT, I wish you luck. Because you will need it, to persuade KAB and AVA to cooperate ( or at least not fight each other ) to produce a FrankenGrado with the the best of both worlds united in a single cart. Without burning too deep a hole in your pocket.

 

Regarding the resonant frequency - yes, this below 8 Hz is too low already. Only way with SL1200 is by using lower mass headshell - wish you luck finding it on ebay in reasonable future - but it will not be cheap. DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE THE RESONANCE FREQUENCY TEST / MEASUREMENT WITH HFN TEST RECORD - as stated, compliance varies a bit sample to sample and can vary more with mods.

 

I believe you will not find this answer exactly gentle. BUT I have tried - the best I could possibly do after discovering yesterday a cart/preamp combo that finally seems to be THE answer to all my prayers regarding toothpick that will do justice to the signal recorded in the vinyl grooves. Trouble is, as usual, it looks expensive - at 12K, no way I can afford it in forseeable future ...

 

P.S: To all firms offering loans - FORGET keeping sending me spam with such offers, I had to learn to live within my finacial capabilities and will stick with this decision. A-men!


Edited by analogsurviver - 3/29/13 at 2:22am
post #1265 of 2591

So not really a question but a statement.  (and a photo)

I got my first record a little over a month ago I think, not a whole lot of room left in this "70" lp bin with more on the way L3000.gif

The main reason for this post though is to share a learning experience so maybe someone else will think "oh yeah I've heard of this" 

With all my new records a lot of it is music that is "new" to me.  I was listening to a new record (a single) today by a female artist and couldn't figure out why there was a dude singing instead, so when the song was almost over I pull the record off the table to see if there was credits or something and low and behold it's a 45RPM, now to some of you this probably seemed obvious when I first mentioned the tone problem but I made it through a whole Counting Crows album August and Everything After (full size album) thinking it sounded strange but everyone is into different kinds of music, I'd never heard the Counting Crows before that I know of so I never put two and two together. 

post #1266 of 2591

I've done this before with new music as well. The biggest problem is when you don't know what something sounds like AND they don't tell you what the proper speed is.

 

Baroness' Blue Record was like this for me, and honestly it sounds cool on either speed. :D The other one that kicked me in the pants recently was a Sunn O))) record...The first side is 33rpm and the second is 45rpm! What the f.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by awsanderson View Post

So not really a question but a statement.  (and a photo)

I got my first record a little over a month ago I think, not a whole lot of room left in this "70" lp bin with more on the way L3000.gif

The main reason for this post though is to share a learning experience so maybe someone else will think "oh yeah I've heard of this" 

With all my new records a lot of it is music that is "new" to me.  I was listening to a new record (a single) today by a female artist and couldn't figure out why there was a dude singing instead, so when the song was almost over I pull the record off the table to see if there was credits or something and low and behold it's a 45RPM, now to some of you this probably seemed obvious when I first mentioned the tone problem but I made it through a whole Counting Crows album August and Everything After (full size album) thinking it sounded strange but everyone is into different kinds of music, I'd never heard the Counting Crows before that I know of so I never put two and two together. 

post #1267 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by awsanderson View Post

So not really a question but a statement.  (and a photo)

I got my first record a little over a month ago I think, not a whole lot of room left in this "70" lp bin with more on the way L3000.gif

The main reason for this post though is to share a learning experience so maybe someone else will think "oh yeah I've heard of this" 

With all my new records a lot of it is music that is "new" to me.  I was listening to a new record (a single) today by a female artist and couldn't figure out why there was a dude singing instead, so when the song was almost over I pull the record off the table to see if there was credits or something and low and behold it's a 45RPM, now to some of you this probably seemed obvious when I first mentioned the tone problem but I made it through a whole Counting Crows album August and Everything After (full size album) thinking it sounded strange but everyone is into different kinds of music, I'd never heard the Counting Crows before that I know of so I never put two and two together. 

 

ABSOLUTELY know that feel. The 7" that came along with one of my favorite records is completely blank. I put it on the table and figured "well it is 7" so it is 45rpm" but when I put the needle on..... what was supposed to be gothic death/doom was tina turner screaming about shadows

 

(for reference and name-dropping purposes)


Edited by BLACKENEDPLAGUE - 3/29/13 at 8:55pm
post #1268 of 2591
Last night I got to wondering, if anyone has ever pressed a record which started toward the middle (or spindle) and progressed toward the outer edge -- so that inner-groove distortion would be on the first songs of each side, and the last song each side would sound best.
post #1269 of 2591

IIRC Jack White actually talked about trying to do this in an interview I watched and said they weren't able to (though he was trying to do something a bit more fancy). It'd also be an awful idea because you'd run your stylus right off the table.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by solserenade View Post

Last night I got to wondering, if anyone has ever pressed a record which started toward the middle (or spindle) and progressed toward the outer edge -- so that inner-groove distortion would be on the first songs of each side, and the last song each side would sound best.
post #1270 of 2591
Quote:

Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

 

It is a little hard to be gentle with Grado, harder when any Grado mod is concerned, harder still when AVA Longhorn is concerned, and the hardest when you want to crisscross Expert Stylus' Paratrace stylus ( what KAB Gold 1 really is ) ( Paratrace is a Ven den Hul in all but name ) with AVA Longhorn - WITHOUT being familiar with the Grado house sound in the first place. Trouble with Grado, ANY Grado, is the fact that if you do not like the sound of the cheapest model you are not likely to find TOTL to your liking either.

 

Grado line with replaceable stylus can be viewed as either to have advantages or disadvantages compared to user nonreplaceable woodies - depends on how you use it. Fact is that for the ultimate super duper alignment of the stylus ( to be precise - part of the 4 pole pieces that are integrated in the stylus holder ) relative to the cartridge ( to be precise - the other 4 pole pieces with coils on them ). There is a certain amount of "free play" as just how precise you insert the stylus holder - it can be optimized (and fixed in position by some semi-permanent glue as by AVA ) using test record and an oscilloscope. You can not eyeball it with anything like the precision of test record method.

 

Above assumes that your tonearm is DEAD CENTER PERPENDICULAR/PARALLEL to the record surface as regards the azimuth. By fixing the stylus holder in this way, you have to make certain that your arm is indeed dead center perpendicular/parallel to the record for azimuth. Sl 1200 offers fine azimuth adjustment only if and when a headshell with azimuth adjustment is used. FORGET the two tiny screws that hold the headshell bayonet in the arm tube - the amount of adjustment is usually too tiny to be possible to make so small adjustment there without introducing a wacky mechanical joint - which is obviously a no go. The headshells that do allow for the azimuth adjustments tend to be rare, the ones that do not weigh a ton are rarer still - and vintage light ones with azimuth adjustment go for silly money on ebay.

 

II usually use Grados with replaceable styli with arms that do not allow for azimuth adjustment as follows : using a test record and an oscilloscope, I adjust the stylus in its "free play window" relative to cartridge body for the most symetrical output/channell separation possible - usually it is possible to get it spot on. In cases of no azimuth adjustment of your arm, a fixed stylus is a liability - but you have to know how to adjust it  in the first place to be able to use this feature that was not thought to be used at all for this or any other purpose.

 

Grado uses "goo"

 http://www.lencoheaven.net/forum/index.php?topic=3645.15 

around and over its elastomer suspension - DO NOT REMOVE IT, untidy as it may appear, it is ESSENTIAL to the performance. By varying the amount of this "goo" it is possible to fine tune the cantilever damping. AVA takes advantage of this an will make certain that each and every cart performs to the max. You have to know that Frank Van Alstine is great tinkerer and has MANY aces up his sleeve - there are more mods to the stylus, I had a good laugh when seeing the first AVA stylus back in the early 80s - and as unruly and untidy it may have appeared to the "innocent bystander audiophile" - there IS a sound engineering reason behind it. In short - Frank took "each and every, fair and unfair method" ( remember the speech delivered by the officer to the cadets in An Officer and Gentlemen movie ? ) to bring the best out of Grado. 

 

Since you mentioned LPs "in less than pristine condition" - this makes things tougher still. Usual record wear, not to mention too light tracking, will leave permanent demage in the groove - and playing such LPs back with anything but a stylus with so large large scanning radius that it can "bridge" the demaged portion of the groove will result in unsatisfactory playback - simply too distorted. This means large scanning radius of 70 microns or larger - VdH II, VdH I, Micro Line/Ridge/Reach/SAS, Fritz Gyger II, I and S styli - and that VdH in disguise called Paratrace on KAB Gold 1.

 

If you can, try ANY Grado first on your table. If it proves to be basically to your liking - play "less than pristine LPs" with it. If they sound thumb down - try playing them on Audio Technica AT440MLa ( the least expensive Micro Line stylus at the moment ) - if that yields clean enough result and you like Grado family sound better than AT, I wish you luck. Because you will need it, to persuade KAB and AVA to cooperate ( or at least not fight each other ) to produce a FrankenGrado with the the best of both worlds united in a single cart. Without burning too deep a hole in your pocket.

 

Regarding the resonant frequency - yes, this below 8 Hz is too low already. Only way with SL1200 is by using lower mass headshell - wish you luck finding it on ebay in reasonable future - but it will not be cheap. DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE THE RESONANCE FREQUENCY TEST / MEASUREMENT WITH HFN TEST RECORD - as stated, compliance varies a bit sample to sample and can vary more with mods.

 

I believe you will not find this answer exactly gentle. BUT I have tried - the best I could possibly do after discovering yesterday a cart/preamp combo that finally seems to be THE answer to all my prayers regarding toothpick that will do justice to the signal recorded in the vinyl grooves. Trouble is, as usual, it looks expensive - at 12K, no way I can afford it in forseeable future ...

 

P.S: To all firms offering loans - FORGET keeping sending me spam with such offers, I had to learn to live within my finacial capabilities and will stick with this decision. A-men!

 

 

Thanks for the reply (could have been worse). I think I'm on the right track then to let KAB set me up with the Silver1 for now, to see if I like the Grado sound which definitely seems to be a love it or hate it kind of thing like with their headphones. I do think the Silver1 looks cool on the SL1200 MKII, which also matches the rest of my all black & silver equipment rack or I would get the Gold. I must admit though that KAB's Ortofon Concorde has also caught my eye in a kind of set-it-and-forget-it kind of way. Supposedly "the advantage of the integrated design is that the arm wand, cartridge coils and cantilever are in alignment. This creates a better path for vibration dispersion. The result is great midrange transparency and powerful punchy bass. These are custom assembled by KAB." There is a nice variety of styli for it, maybe I could use an elliptical for damaged records and a fineline for the better pressings. I may even have some good styli for it already if they are the same as the OM styli. Any thoughts on this one?

 

 

I do wish I knew more about all of the stylus tip varieties that you mentioned. I think I have a feel for the difference between fineline and elliptical, and it seems to me like everything is a variation on one of those two. But I am sure that I'm oversimplifying, I do need to read up on these tip geometries.

 

As far as the Silver1 goes, if I don't like it I could try the AT440MLa you suggested, but from what I have read the ATs are bass shy in general and that wouldn't do. Another reason I want to try Grado is that my ears have gotten somewhat trained to a digital sound signature, and I want to see if it has the kind of lively musicality that seems to appeal to me. Also I seem determined to go with an MC cart for some reason. If you care to, how would you compare the house sound of Ortofon, Grado, AT? You could throw in Shure if you want ;)


Edited by grokit - 3/29/13 at 11:52pm
post #1271 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

 

 

Thanks for the reply (could have been worse). I think I'm on the right track then to let KAB set me up with the Silver1 for now, to see if I like the Grado sound which definitely seems to be a love it or hate it kind of thing like with their headphones. I do think the Silver1 looks cool on the SL1200 MKII, which also matches the rest of my all black & silver equipment rack or I would get the Gold. I must admit though that KAB's Ortofon Concorde has also caught my eye in a kind of set-it-and-forget-it kind of way. Supposedly "the advantage of the integrated design is that the arm wand, cartridge coils and cantilever are in alignment. This creates a better path for vibration dispersion. The result is great midrange transparency and powerful punchy bass. These are custom assembled by KAB." There is a nice variety of styli for it, maybe I could use an elliptical for damaged records and a fineline for the better pressings. I may even have some good styli for it already if they are the same as the OM styli. Any thoughts on this one?

 

 

I do wish I knew more about all of the stylus tip varieties that you mentioned. I think I have a feel for the difference between fineline and elliptical, and it seems to me like everything is a variation on one of those two. But I am sure that I'm oversimplifying, I do need to read up on these tip geometries.

 

As far as the Silver1 goes, if I don't like it I could try the AT440MLa you suggested, but from what I have read the ATs are bass shy in general and that wouldn't do. Another reason I want to try Grado is that my ears have gotten somewhat trained to a digital sound signature, and I want to see if it has the kind of lively musicality that seems to appeal to me. Also I seem determined to go with an MC cart for some reason. If you care to, how would you compare the house sound of Ortofon, Grado, AT? You could throw in Shure if you want ;)

Well, I will try to answer all the above. Just to tell you ( and everybody else ) who have heard AT or read about it as being bass shy - it is just not true.

It DOES and WILL sound that way on an inferiour table ( SL 1200 included ). I made a brekthrough with my Sleeping Beauty mod to the Technics SL DL 1 - and will probably decide to make available a few recordings of it fitted with AT 440MLa stylus. In this combination, it is ANYTHING but bass shy.

It is still work in the progress, there are things I would still like to improve before starting offering it on the market, but very few people have ever heard

LP reproduced at its present quality, let alone better - regardless of price. It requires maniacal attention to the minutest detail of each and every part of the SL DL 1 ( if you dissasemble the damn thing to the last nut and bolt, you will arrive at approx 1000 pieces ... ) in order to get it right, so do not expect this to be inexpensive in the end. But it will then actually do what original brochure was promising.

 

You have mentioned one crucial fact. That of our ears getting trained to digital sound signature, more specifically to that of the dominant digital, that is CD or 44.1 kHz/16 bit. This IS a problem - and I decided not to listen to CD while working on my TT at all. It took me about 2 months before I aclimatized myself again to the ability to differentiate among analog and digital recording while playing vinyl that has one song recorded in digital, another in analog etc ( Frank Zappa : Guitar http://www.discogs.com/Frank-Zappa-Guitar/release/868922 ) - so much does one get accustomed to digital. It is also true that CD digital done right is not that bad as it was at the introduction and banning CD listening altogether would be foolish as it is about music and not technicalities after all. But I think no one reading this thread is likely to doubt which medium sounds better.

 

MCs are good - from a certain level up. About a grand - below that, they generally do not sound better than good MMs. And remember - the best cart ever, the Technics EPC P100CMK4, was/is a MM. Nowadays, about the closest real life approximation to Unobtainium as it gets.

 

Regarding Ortofon Concorde - depends on which table/arm you are going to use it. Advantage is lightness compared to combo of usual headshell + normal (OM) cartridge ( resonance blues from previous post ). Problem is LATERAL GEOMETRY. There are many alignments as to lateral geometry, and SL1200 is Stevenson IIRC. If you want to align as per Baerwald, you will find the cart will have to be pushed all the way from the tonearm bearing and slightly crooked towards the turntable main bearing for the proper alignment at both innear and outer radii. Unless you have the powers of Uri Geller, this is impossible with Ortofon Concorde that has no possibility to correct for the offset angle. You will not be able to get alignment right at both inner and outer null radii ( with Concorde on SL 1200 ) - inner is more important, so get that right first. Ortofon styli are very good, but lean towards expensive side. Definitely justified by the quality. Ortofon did have a few prototypes ( incl Concorde ) with Longhorn - but they never made them available commercially. Too conservative I guess.

 

You also got the use of elliptical and "better" tip geometries wrong - you can have good sound ( not the best possible ) with an elliptical on records in good condition - but it takes at least VdH II ( Ortofon Stylus 40 ) if you want to have good reproduction off used/tracked lightly records - fine line, hyperlliptical, Shibata etc NOT enough. I certainly do suggest playing any used/tracked lightly record with an elliptical ( good one, not cheapo trash ) first

in order to establish there is no "boobytrap" ( bad scratches, skipping points and other unmentionables ) capable of wrecking a stylus - and to do such "scouting" with a relatively inexpensive stylus that still is good enough to not add further undue wear to the record. If that goes well, your premium tip profile has finally green light - you will find that best tips will sound a bit noisy for a couple of plays and that noise will subdue with each consecutive play. You should find there is incomparably less distortion than when using an elliptical tip. DO NOT FORGET to clean the stylus thoroughly after each such play - there will be vinyl debris these styli will remove from the demaged portion of the groove ( and this causes noise etc ) . It is also advisable to wet vacuum clean the records before the first play - and again after say 5 plays, when most of the demaged vinyl debris will be removed by the stylus with big enough large scannng radius.

 

You can forget Shure unless you want to go $$$ way for NOS or $$ way with Jico SAS - current 97x is a Shure only in looks and name and is far removed from the greatness Shure was in its prime. AT vs Ortofon vs Grado - there are links I have posted with recordings of these carts, please find them, download the recordings and listen for yourself. Not the same thing as doing it by yourself, but it will give you the general idea before splashing the cash.


Edited by analogsurviver - 3/30/13 at 2:36am
post #1272 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by solserenade View Post

Last night I got to wondering, if anyone has ever pressed a record which started toward the middle (or spindle) and progressed toward the outer edge -- so that inner-groove distortion would be on the first songs of each side, and the last song each side would sound best.

It would be better for the inner groove distortion ( you can always make a run out groove on the rim, so it in theory should not skid off the platter ) - but worse regarding warp induced garbage. You would have a "rodeo"  going on in the symphonic climaxes - not a good thing and not much you can really do about unless going for the vacuum hold down sytem turntable.

 

Good that Digital Propellerheads ( copyrighted, patented, trademarked,  etc by Chris J ) do not read this - as they would have probably laughed us out of head-fi entirely ...

post #1273 of 2591
Thread Starter 

My first spin of Mastodon's "The Hunter" on LP was interesting. I was enjoying the hell out of the track "Black Tongue", and then the vocals started, and I knew it was wrong. Sure enough, "The Hunter" was done at 45rpm.  The sad part - I liked it better at 33rpm! No diss on Mastodon - I love 'em.  But Black Tongue was better slower tongue_smile.gif

post #1274 of 2591

Mea culpa with RPM **** ups : http://www.discogs.com/Gruppo-Folk-Internazionale-Le-Mille-E-Una-Note/release/3585347 

 

ANYTHING but run of the mill music, it takes a while to realize it is a maxi 45 ...

post #1275 of 2591

@MorbidToaster, I think the Sunn discs have it marked somewhere but not sure at the moment was it on the labels or the sleeves. It is unique in that sensebiggrin.gif

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