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Pro-Ject Acryl It impressions... Not good

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So I bought the Pro-Ject Acryl It and cork mat for my non-carbon model Debut III with Ortofon 2M Red cartridge today. I decided this would be a good opportunity to do a really pure A/B where only one variable is altered to listen to what this new platter is about. Also I must admit, this was all done on stereo speakers (Wharfedale Diamond 9.3).


I ran Diamond Rings "I'm Just Me" once all the way through on my old stock platter, and then switched out for the Acryl-It and played through again. Immediately the sound was quieter, but I didn't adjust the volume. Then I found the highs to be much more rolled off, the physical space the soundstage took up diminished greatly, as did the perceived size of the sound sources. Voices were most obviously affected and sounded muffled and duller. I AB'd back and fourth quite a few times until I was entirely convinced. I enjoy the stock platter way more. The sound is much bigger, much punchier, sound sources take up more space and have great clarity. But it's true that the edges of the sound sources a just a little fuzzier than with the Acryl It. The Acrylit did have more definition and focus, but it just sounded wimpy and rolled off and flat. The bass was more heavily layered with the stock platter, and I had much more urge to dance (important parameter).


So then I figured, this is a big fun synth pop song, of course it's going to sound better with all this extra in your face-ness and punch, but what about something simpler and more carefully (expensively) produced. I put on Wilco's Art of Almost, and I drew the exact same conclusion. This to me proved that the slight increase in definition wasn't worth giving up the richly textured tones even in situations where definition could be most beneficial.


I couldn't be absolutely sure until I listened to Bjork's Jóga on 200 gram for one last test, this time with a slight volume change to adjust for the level drop. I figured if there was one thing in the world that benefits from maximum realism, it would be Bjorks voice. And it did sound really nice in it's very dry state. But again, the soundstage collapsed in and everything got smaller, all the highs rolled off, all the subharmonics sadly left, and it lost all of its life.


Finally I AB'd the cork against the felt mats. The cork muffled some of the edgier edges of the felt on the stock platter, took away a bit of the perceived size of the sound sources, and tighter up the harmonics. A little extra definition isn't unwelcome here, and I'll be keeping it especially for this staticky time of year. I wouldn't exactly call it better though. 


The Acryl It is going back. It greatly reduces how pleasurable my turntable is to listen to it totally killed the music flat (small exaggeration), but I guess the stock platter's resonance is causing the bigness/punchyness/brightness/funness. That resonance happens to totally work for me, and I feel this kind of distortion should be welcome if it's pleasing. Distortion is the spice of the analogue realm. Besides, it's in all the vintage mixing consoles/gear that were used to create the music in the first place.


So it was a kind of false start to my quest to upgrade my modest Debut III. Has anyone gone on an upgrade path with/from this turntable before? Had other experiences with the Acryl It?

Edited by TheMuffinMan_01 - 1/7/14 at 7:46pm
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

Let's call those thoughts up there first impressions.


The accordion sounding sound (synth?) in the right channel in Bjork's Hunter has convinced me that the extra definition can be beneficial. It was clear and moved silkily. Compared to the stock platter where this little delicate sound gets quite lost and certainly lacks the definition and smoothness of the Acryl It. The perceived loudness difference is all in the harmonics, and the Acryl It platter does perform more pleasantly at higher volumes, but certainly lacking the immediate emotional rush that the harmonic laden original platter possesses. I'll give the platter a week or so, see if it can get me dancing, and then switch back to the stock platter to see how the ear shock works in the other direction.


Still interested to hear thoughts.

post #3 of 8

Hey hey,...Its not the platter ..its your ears...and that's not a bad thing.


One of the things about tables is there can be some resonance. They give a table a lively musical feel (even though audiophiles insist its bad). Now take that same table and damp it down..significantly. Your immediate impression is "rolled off, dead, smaller stage". What you are hearing is an inert table with no resonance which, you are not used to.


A friend of mine described it as sucking the LIFE out of a table. How do I know this? I have done it. I built a beautiful table from scratch and it sounded incredible. But the box itself was hollow. Never an issue but I convinced myself (and from others) I should fill the space with modeling clay. So I did. even though my arm was anti-resonant, fluid damped, I got it in my head, deaden it. HATED IT. DEAD TABLE. Just literally sucked the life out of it. I removed it immediately.


So in some cases the second sound for you may be correct, but if its not enjoyable, then its not correct for you.


BTW - I am SURE people are going to disagree with me but that's okay. You know what your ears heard.


Pictures - Clay fiasco


post #4 of 8
Originally Posted by TheMuffinMan_01 View Post

So it was a kind of false start to my quest to upgrade my modest Debut III. Has anyone gone on an upgrade path with/from this turntable before? Had other experiences with the Acryl It?


I put a layer of dynamat like material under the stock platter of my Xpression1. Made it sound dead so I ended up removing it.

post #5 of 8

You know, I thought about this some more last night (yeah. I think about these things). First, I have never heard anyone say that their acrylic platter deadened their table that badly. SO I thought to myself, did your arm VTA change >? That is, is the new platter a different thickness than the stock platter, even a little bit ? Plus you would not need a cork mat and acrylic...that for sure would change your VTA.


So check your arm. With the stylus ON an LP, is it tail up or tail down ? If it is level or ever so slightly tail up you should be good but check. Also check how was your arm with the stock platter. If they are different, that may just be your problem.


VTA adjustment

post #6 of 8
If I may, a ~9" arm needs a ~4mm change in VTA to equal a 1 degree change in SRA. So, if the OP sets the SRA at 92*, his VTA should be fairly consistent over a relatively wide range of adjustments. SRA is key.


Edit: typo
Edited by Shaffer - 1/8/14 at 2:39pm
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I think it's more likely that I'm blowing my results out of proportion than the slight height difference of the platters is making a huge difference I feel. While certainly a massive difference for me, I do do a lot of critical listening and have owned this TT for quite some time.


It's entirely possible that the harmonic resonance is making up for some of the shortcomings in my system that are being more clearly resolved by the acrylic platter, but whatever the reason, the new platter is inappropriate in my system because it greatly diminishes the musicality. The cork mat with the stock platter is a great compromise. The cork gives a little bit more control to the sound, while leaving the punch and harmonic sweetness of the platter pretty untouched. I was on the fence because the acrylic platter was revealing flaws in my system that were masked before (maybe) and for this reason, I'm going to upgrade other parts of the path. The turntable itself really is an instrument, and I like the timbre of this one.


Also, sometimes I move around my place and clean and such while listening to records, and my noise floor is variable at best. If I ever get access to an environment that supports real critical listening (low noise floor, acoustically treated) then I could see pursuing the driest possible representation of the sound. But I'm nowhere near that, so I'm going to keep enjoying the hell out of this stock platter. For what it's worth, what I have now is my favourite signal path since I have got into hi-fi.

post #8 of 8

If you are enjoy the sound you have (had) with the original platter, don't feel like you need to comply with some optimal damped scheme. Focus on what you like, If you want to improve, maybe an MC cart and phono stage (that REALLY makes a difference)


Bottom line, you tried something, it didn't give you what you thought but that is not your fault. :wink_face:

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