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post #196 of 2538

Hi all! 

 

So I want some help/advice for upgrading my setup, and have had difficulty really finding appropriate answers to my questions.

 

I'm a student so I have never had very much money to put into this stuff - all my stuff is pretty low end.  As such, my setup is pretty damn crappy/ghetto (although I use it all the time).  I just have the Audio-Technica LP60(usb) going to the cd/phono in on my bass guitar amp (!) going to dell A525 speaker system that I commandeered from my mother's computer system a few years ago (they are actually pretty decent sounding).  Anyways, this is clearly not doing my records any justice...

 

I spend almost all the money I earn on records, but I've finally saved up about 200 dollars over the past year to put into audio gear.  On top of that, I was just given the Aiaiai TMA-1s for my birthday (the Audio Technica M50s might have been wiser since I'm not a professional DJ, but regardless, they are awesome!).

 

My question is: how best can I distribute my cash to upgrade my setup?  To me, the thing that seems most obvious to do is switch out the bass amp for a real receiver of some sort, but I really have no idea what to look for in a receiver, what sort of extra stuff I don't need, what would be right for my needs, etc.  Right now, my ideal set up (I don't know if this is plausible or not?) would be: turntable-->small, dedicated receiver/amplifier of some sort-->headphones.

 

The reason I say headphones at the end of the chain is because I figure instead of buying new speakers, now that I have a pair of killer cans, they could be my primary listening tool.  I don't know if this is stupid or not though, maybe it is better to look into investing in good speakers.

 

The other major factor is that I will be moving to other side of the country next September.  That's why I put "small, dedicated" in that middle link of the chain.  All I want for that middle link is something that's sole purpose is to bring my turntable up to headphone capabilities.  I'm not going to have much space, but  my dad offered to get me the same turntable I currently have.  As such, I want to minimize the size of stuff where I can, so having something dedicated to doing what I am describing would be great.

 

In writing this, I just realized that my turntable has the ability to switch from phono to line level... I guess I could just go get an RCA female --> 1/8th inch female and just plug my headphones into that.  I feel like this would compromise quality though... I guess the only way would be to test it out.  The problem is, without something to bring the phono source up to the headphones, I'd have nothing to test the line source against, so I don't really know how this would affect quality.  If I did this, since I'd be spending almost no money, do you think it would be wise then to get a headphone amp to insert in there?

 

I know it sounds like my situation for playing records isn't the smartest, but I'd really appreciate your help/advice as to what to do.  Thanks a lot.


Edited by hofstadter - 11/29/12 at 5:57pm
post #197 of 2538

Also, sorry if I sound like a newbie, it's because I am... it's difficult to impossible to be a head-fier when you are 17 (because of that thing called money... it takes a lot of it...)
 

One last thing: since I have such a low end turntable, does this even matter?  Do you think I should go for a better turntable instead?


Edited by hofstadter - 11/29/12 at 6:13pm
post #198 of 2538

WOW I JUST seem to have realized that what my amp is doing is actually acting as the preamp... wow I feel really stupid right now.  So what I am just looking for for that "middle slot" is a good preamp right?  because of the name preamp/the fact that my turntable has one built in, I thought it was always using it - now I realize that it only uses the preamp when I switch it to "line"... is this understanding correct?  So theoretically all I need is a good preamp right?  Now I feel like an even bigger noob than before.  Kruger-duning effect... incompetent people don't realize just how incompetent they are and think they are totally competent... sorry guys, just looking for some help, sorry for so many posts.

post #199 of 2538
Hello

I just recently installed a new cartridge on this direct drive Pioneer PL-7 and while I do not hear any crackle or anything out f the ordinary, I do notice through that the background sound is out of tune. I look at the cartridge and it seems align enough and the counterweight has been adjusted properly... I also tried to put some oil on the holes under the platter but no use. What is going on with it?
post #200 of 2538

@hofstadter -- If I had $200 to get my system going I'd be heading to this thread --> http://www.head-fi.org/t/537704/calling-all-vintage-integrated-receiver-owners and talking to the guys there about tracking down a super cheap, but super awesome receiver/amplifier.  They can offer suggestions for receivers that will have good phono-pre amps, be great for your headphones, and drive speakers too.  You can find this stuff on the Flea-bay, Craigs List, or at garage sales.  They can also answer a lot of questions about set up and your turn table, at least whatever you don't get answered here.

post #201 of 2538
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jjacq View Post

Hello
I just recently installed a new cartridge on this direct drive Pioneer PL-7 and while I do not hear any crackle or anything out f the ordinary, I do notice through that the background sound is out of tune. I look at the cartridge and it seems align enough and the counterweight has been adjusted properly... I also tried to put some oil on the holes under the platter but no use. What is going on with it?

When you say the sound is "out of tune", do you mean that it sounds too fast or slow?

The PL-7 is a direct drive turntable, and so it should not have speed problems unless the motor is bad. But I'd there a speed control or "pitch control" adjustment on it? Sometimes those controls will get dirty, and that will cause the problem. If there is one of those, try moving it back and forth rapidly a dozen or so times and then set it in the middle and see if that helps.

Beyond that, it may require service if the speed is off.
post #202 of 2538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post


When you say the sound is "out of tune", do you mean that it sounds too fast or slow?
The PL-7 is a direct drive turntable, and so it should not have speed problems unless the motor is bad. But I'd there a speed control or "pitch control" adjustment on it? Sometimes those controls will get dirty, and that will cause the problem. If there is one of those, try moving it back and forth rapidly a dozen or so times and then set it in the middle and see if that helps.
Beyond that, it may require service if the speed is off.

It definitely does not sound too fast or slow it's just that the prolonged notes and background piano tunes sound out of tune. I will try to see if maybe I can pry them open and perhaps clean it.

post #203 of 2538

It could also be that your cartridge is not properly aligned.  Do you hear and shifts in channel balance as the needle moves from the edge to the center of the record?

post #204 of 2538
I have a really basic question. Quick background: I have a Technics SL-1301 that I'm bringing out of storage. I love the table but the cartridge needs to be replaced - the stylus is out of production. So as I'm waiting for my new cartridge to arrive, I'm experimenting with how to set up/adjust the table. Long story short, I can achieve tonearm balance pretty easily, but the numbered counterbalance used for setting stylus pressure doesn't seem to be working. No matter how I set it, the tonearm just floats away from the record instead of lowering properly at start.

So here's the basic question - is the idea behind setting stylus pressure pretty much to use the lowest possible pressure while still achieving a quality result in terms of the audio? The reason I ask is that I can make tiny adjustments with the counterbalance to get the tonearm to behave properly, but I'm not sure of the exact pressure I'm getting. At this stage of the game I'm loathe to invest in a scale, so am I relatively safe if I just try to get the lowest stylus pressure possible while making the table operational? I certainly don't want to damage my records, but I'm also trying to find the line where I can stop buying new equipment (e.g., a scale, which I had never heard of until a couple days ago) just to get my gear up and running.
post #205 of 2538
Thread Starter 
Sounds to me like you are not doing it right. I bet when you are "setting the tracking force" after you balance the arm, that you are ONLY moving the plastic numbered part. You balance the arm, set the plastic piece to zero, and then rotate the WHOLE counterbalance forward to the right number (I'd start with 2).

From my first post:

For many older turntables, the tonearm was actually designed such that the tracking force could be set in a simpler way. If your turntable has a counterbalance that has numbers on it, than the simpler, albeit less accurate, method is to turn the counterbalance such that the arm basically "floats" like a balanced see-saw. Be VERY careful when doing this to have the cueing UP so you do not damage the stylus! Once balanced, first rotate the small plastic piece with the numbers (NOT the whole counterbalance) so that it is set to zero. THEN rotate the counterbalance to the number corresponding to the recommended tracking force per your TT's manufacturer. Note that if you do not have a tonearm designed for this type of adjustment, you MUST have a stylus force gauge to set VTF, and you CANNOT just "guess" at this.
post #206 of 2538
Holy cow, you're right, because I have to rotate the whole counterbalance to about 2 to make it work. I think I just misinterpreted the owners manual, because I was thinking that only the plastic ring needed to be turned. D'oh. Thanks!
post #207 of 2538

How much will I need to get a decent low-budget turntable setup going?  And what are my options?  As you can see, I really don't have much money to go into turntables right now, so anything that's cheap but doesn't sound horrid and gets the job done will work for me until I have a better source of income.

post #208 of 2538

If you are patient and do a lot of searching you can find bargains out there... a really good turntable for $50 or so... sometimes less, but it's not easy.  Yard sales, crags list, and thrift stores are your friends.  If you've got "old" relatives and friends it never hurts to ask them what they've got hidden in the basement either, you could score free. The same would hold true for an amp with decent phono-pre and you'd pretty much be up and running with something that sounds just fine.  

 

I think others would agree that half the fun of the vintage stuff is searching for it and finding little treasures.  

 

My most recent find below ... It's in fabulous condition, but I plan to refurbish it anyway.

 

 

700

post #209 of 2538
Quote:
Originally Posted by shipsupt View Post

If you are patient and do a lot of searching you can find bargains out there... a really good turntable for $50 or so... sometimes less, but it's not easy.  Yard sales, crags list, and thrift stores are your friends.  If you've got "old" relatives and friends it never hurts to ask them what they've got hidden in the basement either, you could score free. The same would hold true for an amp with decent phono-pre and you'd pretty much be up and running with something that sounds just fine.  

 

I think others would agree that half the fun of the vintage stuff is searching for it and finding little treasures.  

 

My most recent find below ... It's in fabulous condition, but I plan to refurbish it anyway.

 

 

I understand you found it recently and was trying to secure it. Does this post (above) mean you now own it or is your plan to separate the owner from the table still in progress?

popcorn.gif

post #210 of 2538
It is safely in my work,shop. smily_headphones1.gif. I picked it up last night. I had to drive 3 hours each way, well worth it. Unfortunately I have to leave for Brussels for a few days so I can't get fully acquainted, but it will be waiting for me when I return.

Original everything on the table, so the belt, fluids, cartridge and stylus all need a look and almost certain replacement. Mitchell engineering is still in business so I may go ahead and drop it with them for a once over.

These things were always about looks, see Clockwork Orange, but they can sound pretty good with some careful set up.
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