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post #1936 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Because gear changes over time. Let's say I need to replace my cartridge, I would have to do this "test" all over again. There is no "guessing it" when it comes to calibration, therefore this test record is invaluable. Plus, I would advise against buying a used one, you really want a new one for yourself so you don't run the risk of having one that is scratched or worn out.

Sounds like a bad case of upgraditis :wink_face:  If I had a setup I enjoyed when the cart died (assuming I had the budget) I'd get the same one as a replacement, or better still a new stylus to fit the old shell.  Sadly I broke the stylus on a nearly new GL2500 and that's a $350+ repair I can't afford now, hence having to re-adjust everything (not that it was done well first time round :o

 

You make a good point about not wanting a worn out record, but who would use one enough to do that?  Surely we (or at least the Americans among us) could set up a ring to share one...  This said, I have no idea what would be on the disc or how it's used so I may be talking rubbish.  Would you recommend such a disc over a relatively budget mat upgrade, a clamp/weight or some better isolating feet?

post #1937 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by suicidal_orange View Post
 

Sounds like a bad case of upgraditis :wink_face:  If I had a setup I enjoyed when the cart died (assuming I had the budget) I'd get the same one as a replacement, or better still a new stylus to fit the old shell.  Sadly I broke the stylus on a nearly new GL2500 and that's a $350+ repair I can't afford now, hence having to re-adjust everything (not that it was done well first time round :o

 

You make a good point about not wanting a worn out record, but who would use one enough to do that?  Surely we (or at least the Americans among us) could set up a ring to share one...  This said, I have no idea what would be on the disc or how it's used so I may be talking rubbish.  Would you recommend such a disc over a relatively budget mat upgrade, a clamp/weight or some better isolating feet?

Haha no major upgraditis here! Except for when I eventually go DIY on a TT will I go for the gusto, but I can't justify the cost right now. There are instructions in the booklet how to operate the disc, and what each track is meant to address. If you find issues you are unable to adjust easily after running the test, there's plenty of forums around. I would personally buy a test LP before any of those things. mats and clamps is kind of a blind buy, you don't know what issue(s) those things attempt to address, and you may find them unnecessary. Heck, a mat might even require you to complete readjust your arm, then you really could use a test LP. The test LP will tell you exactly what needs to be worked on. Hope that helps.

 

Oh, and I can imagine these things do get worn out, as you must make several repeat plays to get everything dialed in 100%.


Edited by brunk - 12/11/13 at 3:22pm
post #1938 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Haha no major upgraditis here! Except for when I eventually go DIY on a TT will I go for the gusto, but I can't justify the cost right now. There are instructions in the booklet how to operate the disc, and what each track is meant to address. If you find issues you are unable to adjust easily after running the test, there's plenty of forums around. I would personally buy a test LP before any of those things. mats and clamps is kind of a blind buy, you don't know what issue(s) those things attempt to address, and you may find them unnecessary. Heck, a mat might even require you to complete readjust your arm, then you really could use a test LP. The test LP will tell you exactly what needs to be worked on. Hope that helps.

 

Oh, and I can imagine these things do get worn out, as you must make several repeat plays to get everything dialed in 100%.

 

Thanks, food for thought there.  I have some good vinyls coming in February so should probably go for the test disc so I'll get the most out of them, but I'd rather spend my music budget on something I can listen to now!

post #1939 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by suicidal_orange View Post
 

 

Thanks, food for thought there.  I have some good vinyls coming in February so should probably go for the test disc so I'll get the most out of them, but I'd rather spend my music budget on something I can listen to now!

Build one of these :)

http://hagtech.com/bugle.html

 

There's not much skill needed, it's cost-effective, and it's very rewarding knowing that you made it!

post #1940 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Build one of these :)

http://hagtech.com/bugle.html

 

There's not much skill needed, it's cost-effective, and it's very rewarding knowing that you made it!


But then I'd still have a poorly set up TT and no music to play on it - how does that help?!

post #1941 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by suicidal_orange View Post
 


But then I'd still have a poorly set up TT and no music to play on it - how does that help?!

Lol, just a suggestion :)

post #1942 of 2619

Guys & gal(s), there is NOTHING in analog turntable that is more indespensable and VALUABLE than a good and well preserved test record. No turntable pictured here or in the"post pic ..." thread can even approach, let alone exceed the true value of a single good test record - PERIOD. A very expensive turntable that has not been thoroughly adjusted by a good SET of test records is a piece of junk - high priced, but junk nonetheless.

 

The HFN test record seen a couple posts back and repeatedly recommended by me throughout this thread is about as good as it gets - of what is available today. Discs of this level are being looked at with distant disdain by anyone familiar with REALLY good test records from the golden era of analog. 

 

The problem is compounded by the fact that it is unfortunately perfectly possible to permanently damage the vinyl record with a single play. Even if you have thoroughly checked the stylus/cartridge under a good microscope beforehand. So, I can not stress enough recommendation to NEVER BUY A USED TEST RECORD. I do violate this rule of mine in case of a particularly hard to obtain test record - but it usually turns out only as an information of what signal from a new/mint record might have looked like. Specially vulnerable are the high frequencies, from about 10 kHz up, and super specially those above (nominally) audible 20 kHz. In the quad era, there was necessity for the stylus/cartridge to have reasonably good performance to at least 45 kHz - in order to read the 45 kHz carrier from which 4 channel sound can then be dedoded in a quad decoder - and it turned out that at least better quad models of cartridges were also superiour on stereo material. Quad might have failed in the marketplace, but it sure did more for improvement of cartridges than any other thing in the history of phonograph record to date.

 

The best cartridges from the golden era of analog meet or exceed the frequency response  of 100 kHz ...

Try that with ANYTHING available today - Mission Impossible. Needless to say, those Masters of The Past carts were also the least likely to damage any given vinyl record.

 

Good professional test records were never inexpensive - even back in their prime, about five time the price for the premium regular LP, the least expensive ones about the price of then available direct to disk music records. 

Today, IF you manage to track one ( new, sealed) down, be prepared to part with high two and lower three digit

sums of Euros/$/GBPs - all the way up to about 500 for a particularly rare but known to contain indespensable signal(s) test record. Needless to say - these are aimed at laboratory use, the very least you will need is an oscilloscope (and the ability to use the same ) .

 

One more fact: there is absolutely no such thing as two perfectly equal styli or cartridges. They all deviate from the ideal by a greater or lesser amount - so only trough very minor adjustments it is possible to approach similar - or in best cases -  even equal performance from two samples of nominally the same stylus or cart. This is what calibration truly stands for.

 

That is why I tend to use TWO cartridges with replaceable stylus (either MM - or even better, MC type ), mounted to both reference and prototype tonearm/turntable - with a SINGLE stylus - to evaluate both objective and subjective performance of two different tonearms/turntables. Otherwise, the difference(s) in two samples of the same type of stylus/cartridge may well cloud the evaluation of tonearms/turntables.

 

Good test records NEVER contain any music - but if used accordingly. will ultimately contribute to your musical enjoyment more than anything else.


Edited by analogsurviver - 12/11/13 at 10:36pm
post #1943 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

Guys & gal(s), there is NOTHING in analog turntable that is more indespensable and VALUABLE than a good and well preserved test record. No turntable pictured here or in the"post pic ..." thread can even approach, let alone exceed the true value of a single good test record - PERIOD. A very expensive turntable that has not been thoroughly adjusted by a good SET of test records is a piece of junk - high priced, but junk nonetheless.

 

The HFN test record seen a couple posts back and repeatedly recommended by me throughout this thread is about as good as it gets - of what is available today. Discs of this level are being looked at with distant disdain by anyone familiar with REALLY good test records from the golden era of analog. 

 

The problem is compounded by the fact that it is unfortunately perfectly possible to permanently damage the vinyl record with a single play. Even if you have thoroughly checked the stylus/cartridge under a good microscope beforehand. So, I can not stress enough recommendation to NEVER BUY A USED TEST RECORD. I do violate this rule of mine in case of a particularly hard to obtain test record - but it usually turns out only as an information of what signal from a new/mint record might have looked like. Specially vulnerable are the high frequencies, from about 10 kHz up, and super specially those above (nominally) audible 20 kHz. In the quad era, there was necessity for the stylus/cartridge to have reasonably good performance to at least 45 kHz - in order to read the 45 kHz carrier from which 4 channel sound can then be dedoded in a quad decoder - and it turned out that at least better quad models of cartridges were also superiour on stereo material. Quad might have failed in the marketplace, but it sure did more for improvement of cartridges than any other thing in the history of phonograph record to date.

 

The best cartridges from the golden era of analog meet or exceed the frequency response  of 100 kHz ...

Try that with ANYTHING available today - Mission Impossible. Needless to say, those Masters of The Past carts were also the least likely to damage any given vinyl record.

 

Good professional test records were never inexpensive - even back in their prime, about five time the price for the premium regular LP, the least expensive ones about the price of then available direct to disk music records. 

Today, IF you manage to track one ( new, sealed) down, be prepared to part with high two and lower three digit

sums of Euros/$/GBPs - all the way up to about 500 for a particularly rare but known to contain indespensable signal(s) test record. Needless to say - these are aimed at laboratory use, the very least you will need is an oscilloscope (and the ability to use the same ) .

 

One more fact: there is absolutely no such thing as two perfectly equal styli or cartridges. They all deviate from the ideal by a greater or lesser amount - so only trough very minor adjustments it is possible to approach similar - or in best cases -  even equal performance from two samples of nominally the same stylus or cart. This is what calibration truly stands for.

 

That is why I tend to use TWO cartridges with replaceable stylus (either MM - or even better, MC type ), mounted to both reference and prototype tonearm/turntable - with a SINGLE stylus - to evaluate both objective and subjective performance of two different tonearms/turntables. Otherwise, the difference(s) in two samples of the same type of stylus/cartridge may well cloud the evaluation of tonearms/turntables.

 

Good test records NEVER contain any music - but if used accordingly. will ultimately contribute to your musical enjoyment more than anything else.

Interesting rant, thanks :)

 

I think you're saying the new test discs are crap compared to old ones, but unless us newbies have hundreds to burn we should buy them anyway because they're much better than nothing.  Then we'd best hope we got pretty close in our initial setup or we could damage the expensive disc?  I'm begining to see why the world moved to CDs :ph34r:

post #1944 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by suicidal_orange View Post
 

Interesting rant, thanks :)

 

I think you're saying the new test discs are crap compared to old ones, but unless us newbies have hundreds to burn we should buy them anyway because they're much better than nothing.  Then we'd best hope we got pretty close in our initial setup or we could damage the expensive disc?  I'm begining to see why the world moved to CDs :ph34r:

Basically, what you say is about correct. There is one new test record I have not tried yet and which consistently scores high marks, the one from Analogue Productions.

 

Analog, and analog vynil record in particular, is very demanding and tolerates ZERO sloppiness. Trouble is, people as species are always trying to go the path of the least resistance and highest profit, better still if both go hand in hand. And are VERY seldom as conscious what even the slightest sloppiness causes as they should have been.

 

There ARE facts most current manufacturers would like you to never learn about, which were order of the day back when analog was the only game on the planet and there were test records available that go beyond the mere bone basics of records like HFN. These tend to be swept under the rug ASAP - because these FACTS are slap in the face of the current trend of high mass/low compliance cartridges AND 12" tonearms - both of which are about the best prescription for excessive and premature record wear (and less pure and more distorted sound) than ultimately possible.

 

It IS very simple why. Low compliance stylus assemblies are far less critical to produce consistently than high compliance designs, they require far less sophisticated (but more rigid ) tonearms - in short, they allow far more sloppiness, from manufacturer to the end user, and still manage to produce some kind of result. I do not want to wash dirty analog vinyl record loundry in public - but a well made and well adjusted cartridge with compliance high enough to be able to track at say 1 gram in an appropriate tonearm will run rings around lower compliance design tracking at two or more grams in a heavy arm - even with the best stylus tip profile on both. On first listen - and more importantly, on many more subsequent replays. Ask yourself one single thing : how many objective tests of the same cartridge tracking the same signal(s) at the outer and inner diameter of the record have you seen ? How extensive the reports were? I never saw published anything beyond frequency response(s) for outer and inner diameter recording(s) of the same signal(s) ... - what about the distortion(s) ?

 

Now you begin to get the huntch as to - WHY !

post #1945 of 2619

As much as I value analogsurviver's input, he can be discouraging/intimdating to the relatively new LP fan wannabe.

 

I have mid-fi stuff.  When I play records, I pretty much never hear distortion.  I have records that I bought forty years ago that still play just fine.  I do not hear wear.  These forty year old records have been played many times on "good" cartridges that do not track more that two grams, Shure V15s, ADC XLM-1, B&O 4000/6000, Koetsu Onyx, among others and now an Ortofon 2M Black set up with the Mo-Fi disc by a dealer who has many years of experience setting up turntables/arms/cartridges.

 

This can be a tweaky site where the nitty gritty (ahem) can sometimes get the better of the non-tweakers who do not have the necessary expertise or equipment to go down the rat hole of perfection. 

 

I say, do the best you can and then, just enjoy the music.

 

And, thanks again to analogsurviver for all the expert advice.  It can be very useful but I refuse to be discouraged when I am unable to "go there."

 

:regular_smile :

post #1946 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbophead View Post
 

As much as I value analogsurviver's input, he can be discouraging/intimdating to the relatively new LP fan wannabe.

 

I have mid-fi stuff.  When I play records, I pretty much never hear distortion.  I have records that I bought forty years ago that still play just fine.  I do not hear wear.  These forty year old records have been played many times on "good" cartridges that do not track more that two grams, Shure V15s, ADC XLM-1, B&O 4000/6000, Koetsu Onyx, among others and now an Ortofon 2M Black set up with the Mo-Fi disc by a dealer who has many years of experience setting up turntables/arms/cartridges.

 

This can be a tweaky site where the nitty gritty (ahem) can sometimes get the better of the non-tweakers who do not have the necessary expertise or equipment to go down the rat hole of perfection. 

 

I say, do the best you can and then, just enjoy the music.

 

And, thanks again to analogsurviver for all the expert advice.  It can be very useful but I refuse to be discouraged when I am unable to "go there."

 

:regular_smile :

Agreed with the above.

 

BUT - you mention ADC XLM ( I , officially it was simply called XLM, followed by II, II Imp, III, all of which had stiffer but still relatively high compliance - ALL of them great carts ) , one of the highest compliance carts in history, second only to ADC's own predecessor to the XLM, ADC 25. These things could, in the right arm, track below 0.5 gram ...

 

Then there are V15s, B&Os - ALL of them high compliance carts. The only "stiff" from the group you mention is the Koetsu - and it takes a budget at least "visible" to Bill Gates alikes to call that "mid stuff". 

post #1947 of 2619
Thread Starter 
It's not very hard to get good vinyl playback. It's only really hard to get truly outstanding vinyl playback. Analogsurviver is always passionate about the latter. Which is great. I'm passionate about that too, but I am also a big believer that it's good for lots of people to enjoy just plain old "good" vinyl playback biggrin.gif And that was why I started this thread originally.
Edited by Skylab - 12/12/13 at 11:15am
post #1948 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

It's not very hard to get good vinyl playback. It's only really hard to get truly outstanding vinyl playback. Analogsurviver is always passionate about the latter. Which is great. I'm passionate about that too, but I am also a big believer that it's good for lots of people to enjoy just plain old "good" vinyl playback biggrin.gif And that was why I started this thread originally.

True.

 

But the art of playing and preserving records really well and for a really long enough time is disappearing. Once one realizes what is being done and what could have been done - AND the victim are always records - it is hard to keep quiet about it.

 

It also does not absolutely have to cost an arm and a leg either...

post #1949 of 2619
Thread Starter 
True enough, although I think a careful basic TT setup with a known good cartridge / stylus, a protractor, and a scale, is sufficient to prevent record damage in 99% of the cases.
post #1950 of 2619

Haha, I'm definitely someone who could (and perhaps should, given my tendency to perfectionism) be intimidated by analogsurvivor's comments as I know literally nothing about arm length, "stiff" cartridges or what tracking weight is considered low, and to top it off I've read nothing by way of reviews before buying my TT blind five years ago. 

 

After a quick search it seems I got lucky - my arm is sold as a 9" (it measures 12", including the counterweight) and my cart tracks at 1.8 grams so not a killer 2+ but still quite high.  Though I'm not seeing any close to my budget below 1.5...

 

So what is the threshold for a "high mass" cartridge, and which specification is stiffness?  And what is this "compliance" you speak of, analogsurvivor, is there a tablet with the ideal carved in it lost in the annals of time? :D 

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