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post #376 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post

Thanks for the link with the massive protractor library. I'll try printing some and apply the alignment to this tonearm. I also found videos on youtube showing how to use them as well. Will be useful in the future. As for now, I'm going to have to get some rest since it's really late.

 

Yeah one of the prominent distortion I face is the record sounding worse as it goes nearer to the center. I really hope things will turn for the better with the alignment done.

Thanks a lot analogsurviver, you've been a great teacher to us

 

Regarding inner groove distortion - there is only one cure for that, and it is called stylus profile that can do it. I will be posting some links regarding stylus tip profiles, but in view of the money involved you have one option only to get the best stylus tip profile at anything like reasonable price. Audio Technica AT440MLa cartridge. 

 

It has to be METICULOUSLY aligned/adjusted in order to get it right. I would require close ups of your arm to see if it can be adjusted well enough to accomodate this superb tip - if not, steer well clear, I will suggest the next best thing then.

 

It does not get better than Micro Line stylus tip profile as fitted on 440MLa. There are better/smaller/more precise etc variations on this tip at far higher prices, but you can not make the actual contact vinyl/diamond any better - because it would tend to re-cut the groove at each play. Micro Line (Ridge, Reach, etc - goes also under Jico's SAS Super Analogue Stylus name - for commercial reasons you will find for all practical purposes similar profiles will carry different names  in order not to breach patents etc ) tip also offers the longest service life of any stylus tip profile, because it will not "spread" with use as will any other stylus tip. Will post some real photos of my sample of 440MLa - but align your present cart right first, as any "oops" you will be doing along the learning curve are better to be done on as inexpensive gear as you possibly can - not on your latest, usually costliest acquisition.

Procedure is basically the same, regardless of cost.

 

A stylus tip like ML, IF and WHEN CORRECTLY ALIGNED, has besides almost complete freedom from inner groove distortion, one extremely useful characteristic - records that have been played with lesser tips and sound quite distorted ( read - pretty much any vinyl you can buy second hand ) , will come out sounding almost like playing new records. Why?

 

The contact along the groove wall is so large compared to lesser profiles that it actually creates a "bridge" across the demaged portion of the groove, where lesser tip rode and produced wear and demage - riding on the virgin untouched groove walls . It may take a few plays to remove all the "chamfer debris" around the places where the demaged and undemaged portions of the groove meet, resulting in some additional noise - but it will eventually subside. After that, I recommend another vacuum cleaning of such a record - it can be quite amazing/shocking for a previous record owner to hear his/hers now ex-record sounding THAT good. You would perhaps rather not want to spread that gospel too much - pretty soon, it may happen no one within your " striking range " will be willing to sell any " old crappy vinyl " anymore...or the prices will skyrocket. So, careful with that one. It is the ticket to superb sound on the cheap.

post #377 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

Tough question. Why? Because the quality of "vintage receiver" can vary - from quite poor to the level that is hard to top even with very good electronics today. Not familiar wit LP-120, but based on what money like that buys you today I tend to believe a phono input of decent vintage receiver might be better. If you can try before you buy that "vintage receiver" with your LP-120, all you will need is about couple of minutes - try LP-120 connected through its phono preamp to AUX input on receiver, then play the same music ( select your better/best sounding LPs for this test ) with the preamp in LP-120 bypassed and connected to PHONO input of the receiver under test. If the phono input of the receiver bests the one from the LP-120

and receiver does not cost an arm and a leg - what are you waiting for ?

 

One receiver that is tough to beat for quality, let alone price/performance, is http://www.google.si/imgres?imgurl=http://www.soundsgoodtomehouston.com/sansui/g5500/g5500_face.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.soundsgoodtomehouston.com/invrec.htm&h=506&w=1000&sz=81&tbnid=0RR0U-Zp3pmctM:&tbnh=61&tbnw=120&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsansui%2Breceiver%2Bg5500%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=sansui+receiver+g5500&usg=__t2wgw-Zv0p9FyER5K0Mo2vB9abA=&docid=CIUlbIk-jmIrtM&sa=X&ei=8eHrUMuLOIXMtAaQyICIBg&ved=0CD4Q9QEwAQ&dur=4670ž

 

The first hit from Google pictures search for "Sansui receiver" - no affiliation with anybody/anything. A friend has this one since new and apart from pilot lamp change(s) no issues - still sounds georgeous. It will co$$t you a great amount of $$$ to apreciably improve upon the SQ of this little giantThanks for you

Thanks for your reply, I think perhaps I should re word my question. Basically I am confused why I would need to by an old receiver with a PHONO jack when the TT has a built in preamp that enables me to just use AUX input of a modern receiver.

 

SQ wise, should I be looking to bypass the built in preamp or do they do a good enough job?

post #378 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiopunk View Post

Thanks for your reply, I think perhaps I should re word my question. Basically I am confused why I would need to by an old receiver with a PHONO jack when the TT has a built in preamp that enables me to just use AUX input of a modern receiver.

 

SQ wise, should I be looking to bypass the built in preamp or do they do a good enough job?

Same answer. You can not know until you try.

 

Let me present an example from the experience . About 10 years ago, I worked in CD/LP retail, and the company also carried audio equipment, including Project products. One gentleman decided to get RPM4 deck. The coleagues at the audio department automatically "assumed" that the "Yamaha receiver" gentleman said to posess was a new age phono input free device.

He ended up with basic Project phono box, connected to AUX on that Yamaha, being happy with the sound of his new analog.

 

That gentleman happens to be almost my neighbour - we bump each into another from time to time. About two months ago, he asked me if I could come around and check this TT after all these years. OK. When I saw that "new age phono input free receiver", I knew instantly there was absolutely no need for outboard MM only phono stage - but I did not have the heart to tell him the truth  - or even make the comparisons between onboard phono and outboard Project.

 

Because that Yamaha receiver was a TOTL or very near to TOTL design from ???? year - which I knew had a VERY respectable phono input.  Project phono box is a totally decent design for the money - nothing less but also nothing more. Phono in Yamaha, which must have been quite expensive when new, it most likely much better.

 

Phono input SQ aside, I think it is more important for you to learn how to master vinyl - please see the entire thread. Analog can quickly become bettomless pit regarding money - there are many good advices here, which should enable you to start well. After some experience, both with your TT and others; and if you ever get that lucky, that Caliburn thing from your neck of woods http://www.continuumaudiolabs.com/, you will be able to make an informed decision.

 

Because analog is different from digital; not only in sound, but in the insight/knowledge/commitment needed in order to bring out the best of it. No dealer will ever be either willing or capable of supporting the analog as well as an experienced enthusiast would support his own table. One can not "buy" analog; one must "live" analog.

post #379 of 2591

Hi all – I needed some advice/suggestion. I am in the process of deciding on some bookshelf speakers (Definitive Tech. SM55, B&W 685, or Wharfedale Diamond 10.1) and have a question about how to split my turntable signal. Right now I run my Rega RP1 to my Cambridge Azur 651P and then to my Little Dot MK IV SE headphone amp. I would also like to be able to run the turntable to my receiver without having to plug/unplug cables, but I had a few questions:

 

  1. Should I be looking for an audio switchbox or some other component?
     
  2. Is there a chance that this new component will affect the sound quality?

 

 

Thanks in advance – I’m curious how others handle this kind of issue in their setups.

post #380 of 2591

Hey, I come bearing more good news on my turntable.

 

So I googled around some more for some more solutions as to why I get distortion as the stylus moves into the center, and it had just occured that I haven't tried to adjust the tracking force of the stylus. It was rated at around 1.6 g or so. I decreased the VTA incrementally and the sibilance gets progressively worse, and the bass losing its punch. So I turned the VTF back up, and what do you know, the distortion reduced.

Though the middle of the record is still distorted a bit compared to the outer side, it sounds better. I've got it up to around 2.1 or 2.2 g. Sibilance is almost gone, reminded me of my digital audio files. I'm still going to realign the cart and tonearm later, right now I have so many assignments to do, and my internship is coming soon right before my final year project.

 

I got a used Metallica's black album 2 LP set among my vinyl records, but the pressing is bad. I love Nothing Else Matters most, but that song is the worst sounding one. I'm kinda bummed out by that.

 

**edit:

Oh yeah I cleaned the tip of the stylus too with some very soft microsponges.


Edited by penmarker - 1/9/13 at 11:52am
post #381 of 2591

Oh hey, I found my cartridge model sold in Ebay.

http://www.ebay.com.my/itm/NEW-NUMARK-Groovetool-DJ-Phono-Adjustable-Cartridge-Needle-w-Stylus-Groove-Tool-/350583119089?pt=US_DJ_Turntable_Parts_Accs&hash=item51a061dcf1#ht_4391wt_1139

 

resource.ashx?guid=95adbc49f1af4f41b0bf19ec1366a5be

 

It's a Numark Groovetool DJ Phono. No wonder I need to increase the VTA on it up to 2.1 g. DJ phonos require high VTF to avoid it from skipping when the DJ is scratching on the vinyl.


Edited by penmarker - 1/9/13 at 11:25am
post #382 of 2591
Thread Starter 
Mrpink44, you can try splitting the signal, using a Y cable, from the output of your phono preamp, and see if it works OK. The signal from the TT itself if very low level and splitting it there will almost certainly induce hum/noise problems, although it never hurts to try. Also note that if you split after the CA phono pre you have to go into an AUX or TAPE input on the receiver, not phono.
post #383 of 2591

Skylab - thanks!! I wasn't sure how to handle this and didn't even think of using a Y cable. I'll try splitting it where you recommended - thanks again!!


Edited by mrpink44 - 1/9/13 at 6:47am
post #384 of 2591

I found out here that the cartridge I'm running on requires a 3-3.5 VTF. That sounds dangerously high to me, but the sibilance and distortion had subsided at a good amount. 

 

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=375041

 

Thoughts, anyone?

 

**edit

 

Updates.

 

So I downloaded the PDF for aligning the cartridge from here.

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/freestuff.htm

And proceeded with this method of using pencil lead to keep it straight

The Schon cartridge alignment template - [English]

 

I found out that the cartridge was aligned quite at an angle counter-clockwise. As I loosened the screws to turn it clockwise, it had struck me that it's not exactly that giving or allowing for me.

After loosening, the cartridge wouldn't turn because it has almost reached the maximum 'free-play'. So I had to apply a little force I'm not really comfortable putting on the otherwise fragile looking cart.

 

But in the end the cart got aligned perfectly the 3rd or 4th try, which to me would be super. I thought I'd take a few hours fiddling with this alone. And now coupled with the increased VTF the records are playing with less distortion especially towards the end of the record. Nonetheless distortion is still noticeable, my headphones are quite unforgiving in this regard. Oh yeah the noise is reduced too. I'm not sure whether it's this one clean record alone or the real effect.

 

Now I am trying to replay through my vinyl records to see whether other records are also sounding better.


Edited by penmarker - 1/9/13 at 11:41am
post #385 of 2591
Thread Starter 
Pen marker, in all honesty, I wouldn't want to use a DJ cartridge like that in the long run. I would strongly suggest moving to a cartridge designed for music listening, that has a more normal tracking force. I do think its actually generally best to track a bit heavy versus the very low VTF suggested by some audio cartridge makers, but not more than 2.5g.

One very popular super-cheap cartridge is the "Red Ed" - get the $27 elliptical one:

http://www.edsaunders.com/reded.htm
post #386 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

Pen marker, in all honesty, I wouldn't want to use a DJ cartridge like that in the long run. I would strongly suggest moving to a cartridge designed for music listening, that has a more normal tracking force. I do think its actually generally best to track a bit heavy versus the very low VTF suggested by some audio cartridge makers, but not more than 2.5g.
One very popular super-cheap cartridge is the "Red Ed" - get the $27 elliptical one:
http://www.edsaunders.com/reded.htm

I found the Red Ed when I was digging around for more information on Goldring Elektra and Elan. I wonder whether they do shipping to Malaysia. Thanks a lot for recommending it to me.
Other than that, I'm a little interested with Grado Black 

http://www.ebay.com.my/itm/ORIGINAL-Grado-Black1-Cartridge-incl-Black-stylus-NEW-/400332659670?pt=US_Record_Player_Turntable_Parts&hash=item5d35af9bd6#ht_2337wt_1139

 

Thanks for the heads up Skylab. Though if you read through the thread I've pasted the link of, someone mentioned about the VTF and the stylus tip

 

 

 

Click to expand (Click to show)

 

 

AK Member
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,697
 
I've also found that a cartridge tracking at higher vertical tracking force can help with less than pristine albums. I haven't tried the Groove Tool, but I have enjoyed the basic Stanton 500.V3 and the older 500AL cartridges equipped with .7 mil conical styli that track from 2-5 grams (on my arm, 3.25 grams proved optimal).

Unlike Gusten, I've found line contact styli to generally emphasize groove damage. Stereophile included this footnote on page eight of an article on "Tweaking your Record-Player."

Footnote 12: Changing to a different cartridge can sometime work sonic wonders with old records, due to the new stylus riding on a different, relatively undamaged part of the groove wall. On the other hand, changing to a cartridge with a long-contact profile, Microridge or van den Hul, for example, can often increase surface noise and the reading of groove damage due to the stylus's being in contact with more of the groove wall.—JA

In their ads and sales literature, there was a time when Decca lauded the spherical stylus over the elliptical and recommended that tracking force be no lower than 3-4 grams. I'll be redundant and re-post what I wrote a few years back:

While perusing some back issues of audio magazines at the library recently, I ran across a review of the Decca Mk V. Without going into any details, the reviewer mentioned that Decca listed specific reasons why they eschewed light tracking forces and elliptical styli (of course, they later changed their minds about that). It's been a while since I've had any Decca cartridge literature around, but I seem to recall one argument in favor of a heavier-tracking spherical being its ability to "polish" or "burnish" the record grooves, actually resulting in better-than-new sound after a play or two. A couple of recent incidents got me thinking about that: 

1. Using an LP12/Ittok/Grado Green, a copy of Beecham Bon-Bons broke up and distorted badly on Saint-Saens's Samson et Dalila near the end of the record side, but it played marvelously on my Stanton STR8-80/500AL (spherical stylus tracking at 3.25 grams). Putting it back on the Linn a few days later, there was no trace of break-up on that same cut. 

2. A Time-Life set of the music of Robert Schumann had a variety of strange buurrpp and blaatting noises here and there on various album sides, as well as an overall noisy presentation. I played the entire set on the Stanton without hearing any of those anomolies, and, once again, they then played just fine with the Grado. 

If you're curious about the Groove Tool, or some other heavy-tracking conical, go ahead and try one. They're cheap enough. And record wear is not a problem, either. Studies I've read show that a .7 mil conical tracking at 3 grams wears a record at about the same rate as a .2 X .7 mil elliptical tracking at 1.5 grams. None of the records I own were damaged by the Stanton tracking at 3.25 grams; rather, they were improved!

 

 

 

 

 

I'll stop using this cartridge at 3 VTF anyway, just in case.

post #387 of 2591
Thread Starter 

That's an interesting opinion, and I cannot refute it, because I haven't tried.  Nonetheless, it would concern me personally to use a DJ cartridge which in theory at least would be designed with very different goals than a hi-fi cartridge.

post #388 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post

I found out here that the cartridge I'm running on requires a 3-3.5 VTF. That sounds dangerously high to me, but the sibilance and distortion had subsided at a good amount. 

 

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=375041

 

Thoughts, anyone?

 

**edit

 

Updates.

 

So I downloaded the PDF for aligning the cartridge from here.

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/freestuff.htm

And proceeded with this method of using pencil lead to keep it straight

The Schon cartridge alignment template - [English]

 

I found out that the cartridge was aligned quite at an angle counter-clockwise. As I loosened the screws to turn it clockwise, it had struck me that it's not exactly that giving or allowing for me.

After loosening, the cartridge wouldn't turn because it has almost reached the maximum 'free-play'. So I had to apply a little force I'm not really comfortable putting on the otherwise fragile looking cart.

 

But in the end the cart got aligned perfectly the 3rd or 4th try, which to me would be super. I thought I'd take a few hours fiddling with this alone. And now coupled with the increased VTF the records are playing with less distortion especially towards the end of the record. Nonetheless distortion is still noticeable, my headphones are quite unforgiving in this regard. Oh yeah the noise is reduced too. I'm not sure whether it's this one clean record alone or the real effect.

 

Now I am trying to replay through my vinyl records to see whether other records are also sounding better.

OK. Use this cart to learn alignment procedure - THEN PLEASE REMOVE IT - in the long run it WILL destroy any records meant to be used as HI FI.

 

Let's make it simple: how much can you afford for the new cartridge ? I know that I have recommended Audio Technica AT440MLa - that might be too expensive for you - but I stress it again, it is one of the best values in cartridge and the sound you can get out of normally used records. 

 

I know this might be tough for you - simply answer the sum you are willing to pay and please send a close up photos of the tonearm. If the tonearm can be adjusted properly - and you CAN think of the money required for 440MLa - I think it is the best long term solution. Anything else would be an interim stopgap solution - but ANYTHING tracking below 2 g or so would represent enormous improvement over the present cart.

post #389 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post

I found the Red Ed when I was digging around for more information on Goldring Elektra and Elan. I wonder whether they do shipping to Malaysia. Thanks a lot for recommending it to me.
Other than that, I'm a little interested with Grado Black 

http://www.ebay.com.my/itm/ORIGINAL-Grado-Black1-Cartridge-incl-Black-stylus-NEW-/400332659670?pt=US_Record_Player_Turntable_Parts&hash=item5d35af9bd6#ht_2337wt_1139

 

Thanks for the heads up Skylab. Though if you read through the thread I've pasted the link of, someone mentioned about the VTF and the stylus tip

 

 

 

Click to expand (Click to show)

 

 

AK Member
subscriber.gif
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,697
 
I've also found that a cartridge tracking at higher vertical tracking force can help with less than pristine albums. I haven't tried the Groove Tool, but I have enjoyed the basic Stanton 500.V3 and the older 500AL cartridges equipped with .7 mil conical styli that track from 2-5 grams (on my arm, 3.25 grams proved optimal).

Unlike Gusten, I've found line contact styli to generally emphasize groove damage. Stereophile included this footnote on page eight of an article on "Tweaking your Record-Player."

Footnote 12: Changing to a different cartridge can sometime work sonic wonders with old records, due to the new stylus riding on a different, relatively undamaged part of the groove wall. On the other hand, changing to a cartridge with a long-contact profile, Microridge or van den Hul, for example, can often increase surface noise and the reading of groove damage due to the stylus's being in contact with more of the groove wall.—JA

In their ads and sales literature, there was a time when Decca lauded the spherical stylus over the elliptical and recommended that tracking force be no lower than 3-4 grams. I'll be redundant and re-post what I wrote a few years back:

While perusing some back issues of audio magazines at the library recently, I ran across a review of the Decca Mk V. Without going into any details, the reviewer mentioned that Decca listed specific reasons why they eschewed light tracking forces and elliptical styli (of course, they later changed their minds about that). It's been a while since I've had any Decca cartridge literature around, but I seem to recall one argument in favor of a heavier-tracking spherical being its ability to "polish" or "burnish" the record grooves, actually resulting in better-than-new sound after a play or two. A couple of recent incidents got me thinking about that: 

1. Using an LP12/Ittok/Grado Green, a copy of Beecham Bon-Bons broke up and distorted badly on Saint-Saens's Samson et Dalila near the end of the record side, but it played marvelously on my Stanton STR8-80/500AL (spherical stylus tracking at 3.25 grams). Putting it back on the Linn a few days later, there was no trace of break-up on that same cut. 

2. A Time-Life set of the music of Robert Schumann had a variety of strange buurrpp and blaatting noises here and there on various album sides, as well as an overall noisy presentation. I played the entire set on the Stanton without hearing any of those anomolies, and, once again, they then played just fine with the Grado. 

If you're curious about the Groove Tool, or some other heavy-tracking conical, go ahead and try one. They're cheap enough. And record wear is not a problem, either. Studies I've read show that a .7 mil conical tracking at 3 grams wears a record at about the same rate as a .2 X .7 mil elliptical tracking at 1.5 grams. None of the records I own were damaged by the Stanton tracking at 3.25 grams; rather, they were improved!

 

 

 

 

 

I'll stop using this cartridge at 3 VTF anyway, just in case.

I have heard good things about Red Ed. No experience. Grado Black is a very decent cartridge for the money. Grado in general might  produce some hum with DD tables when approahing inner grooves - try to check for this if there are any reports of Grado hum problems with Akai/YOUR table.

 

Regarding conical styli tracked at high force - yes, they will make your records less noisy - by erasing all high frequencies in the process, especially where it matters most, at inner grooves. An VdH or Micro Line CAN demage a record - but only IF incorrectly aligned. A little safer, regarding your novice status, would be a Shibata stylus. Throughout the history, there was/is always this dilemma - better stylus tip profile that will sound better but only if aligned right - or some lesser design that ultimately will not achieve so good reproduction when properly aligned, but is more tolerant of misalignment. Once you get accustomed to VdH/Micro Line level reproduction, it is MIGHTY hard to accept anything less.

 

Since I do not want to squeeze everything that happened in analog in more than 100 years in basically advice to get your first turntable up ( it is too much to write on my part and too much to digest on yours ) - I am trying to simply pass my best bang for the buck advice here.

post #390 of 2591
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

That's an interesting opinion, and I cannot refute it, because I haven't tried.  Nonetheless, it would concern me personally to use a DJ cartridge which in theory at least would be designed with very different goals than a hi-fi cartridge.

I did try this. It is my last ditch attempt, when record has been so demaged that it does not matter any more and all one wants is to get the noise lower.

 

Here, we get to the really slippery topic - elastic and plastic deformation of the vinyl groove wall containing recorded information. Why slippery ? Because current vogue is for low(er) compliance designs that require high tracking force. Van den Hul USED TO publish his design criteria for the VdH  I tip in the brochures in the past - VTF NOT EXCEEDING 1,5 gram / 15 mN, Because, even with its enormous footprint area of contact, that is at the upper end of the elastic deformation of vinyl - in other words, there is no permanent demage to vinyl. Go above that  -  you are entering plastic deformation, that is to say you are permanently demaging the groove. Elliptical stylus has much lower contact surface - therefore much lower VTF that is still safe to use. Conical is even worse, If I had unlimited supply of new free test records, I would sacrifice one just to show you all what demage is done to the high frequency signal at the inner groove with a conical stylus tracked at 3,5 gram. The record is  ruined as hifi in a single play - you can play the same record with a stylus that remains within elastic deformation limits a couple hundred times without causing any major demage. Since GOOD test records are long out of print and only sporadically pop up at astronomical prices ( like $ 300 or so for a sealed copy 20 years ago, today ?????? $ ), I have no intention of demaging a record I value above ANY cartridge/stylus. 

 

Audiophiles certainly owe DJs a BIG THANKS for getting us all through with analog, specially in the darkest days of say 1985-1995, when analog vinyl survived in the marketplace almost exclusively because of DJs, However, a catalog of Shure Styli - and Shure Needlz ( ! really -check their brochures in recent years ), let alone the products themselves, could hardly be more apart. DJ Needlz are perishable consumables to the max - records just slightly less so. An audiophille record might have more than half a century years behind it - and yet it can still be in pristine shape,  Because an audiophile stylus will always at least try to retrieve all the info from the groove at the least tracking weight/pressure required - NO  back-cueing, scratching and other DJ stunts. Two entirely different worlds, with only vinyl ( and perhaps SL 1200/1210 ) in common.

 

DJ hit record has a life span incomparably shorter than say a Beethoven piano concerto with a good pianist acoompanied by a good orchestra conducted by a good conductor .Please remember that vinyl is much less susceptible to deterioration with time than analog tape - the first pressing of the said concerto will not sound better than the subsequent made from the same master tapes years later because that first pressing used some magic cutter or molding process - but because tape deteriorated with age. You can not make a better sounding LP with an old archive master tape  using no matter how advanced vynil mastering process today - because that first pressing , regardless of vynil mastering that was inferiour back in the day, will always have the advantage of fresh undeteriorated master tape.

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