opinions on linear tracking turntables, and record cleaners
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redshifter

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i've had a nice old denon tt for a few years, and it has served me well. despite all my tinkering with cart mounting i still notice on inner tracks there is a bit more edge to the sound, which i'm assuming is a byproduct of the standard tonearm misaligning the stylus. one solution i have heard of is using a linear tracking tonearm.

what do you think of linear tracking tt's? are there any good models?

also, what is the best deal on record cleaners like the nitty gritty line? i have a brush and fluid, but it never gets the most stubborn grit out, and since i use headphones mostly it is a big distraction. even fairly new records which i take care of get surface noise pretty quickly. to the cleaning machines do a decent job of cleaning gritty vinyl?

tia.
 
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Tuberoller

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Quote:

Originally posted by redshifter
i've had a nice old denon tt for a few years, and it has served me well. despite all my tinkering with cart mounting i still notice on inner tracks there is a bit more edge to the sound, which i'm assuming is a byproduct of the standard tonearm misaligning the stylus. one solution i have heard of is using a linear tracking tonearm.

what do you think of linear tracking tt's? are there any good models?

also, what is the best deal on record cleaners like the nitty gritty line? i have a brush and fluid, but it never gets the most stubborn grit out, and since i use headphones mostly it is a big distraction. even fairly new records which i take care of get surface noise pretty quickly. to the cleaning machines do a decent job of cleaning gritty vinyl?

tia.


I have only seen a few true linear tracking tables.The idea is noble and works OK when it is executed properly.I prefer a standard tonearm type table.There are some who swear by tracking tables and prefer the sound.They tend to be expensive and difficult tp repair and set-up.

I forgot about the cleaning question,

I highly recommend the Orbitrac 2.I have owned Nitty Gritty Machines and they work very well.I now own two VPI machines and a Sota which work as well.I think the Orbitrac 2 offers 80% of the cleaning abilties of the best vacuum machines.It will clean all but the dirtiest records.Actually mulitple cleanings will clean records as well as most vaccum machines but this is incredibly time consuming.
 
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redshifter

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thanks tuberoller, i had a feeling you would answer.


i just read a review of the orbitrac 2 and it sounds like it would fit the bill. plus the price is right!

well, i am a little discouraged to hear how expensive the l.t. t.t.'s are. perhaps i just need to get better at aligning the cart

surface noise and inner groove distortion are the two issues that have eroded my vinyl enjoyment, esp. using headphones. maybe it is also time to retire the old denon and get new gear. thanks again for the tips.
 
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jopi

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My two cents.

Unless you'd like to spend big bucks, stay away from linear tonearms. I also second Tuberoller's assessment of being difficult to setup and maintain over time.

You may want to consider a differently shaped stylus tip. Some shapes like nude are good for limiting inner groove distortions, but are more prone for differences in VTA.
 
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Tuberoller

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Quote:

Originally posted by jopi
My two cents.

Unless you'd like to spend big bucks, stay away from linear tonearms. I also second Tuberoller's assessment of being difficult to setup and maintain over time.

You may want to consider a differently shaped stylus tip. Some shapes like nude are good for limiting inner groove distortions, but are more prone for differences in VTA.


This is an excellent point and one that applies to most stylus/cartridge considerations.I have been experimenting with many different cartridges and stylus tips recently and have found some major sonic differences.I have also found some cartridges that will play records that have suffered from some major groove damage very well.I have come across some cartridges that will track nearly anything with very few sonic penalties.


I will offer the opinion that in most cases linear tracking tables are little more than a novelty.Cartridge and stylus technology has lessened the benefits of the tracking arm.I am sure that the initial selling points of the linear arm were superior groove reading and tracking.I think the standard pivot arm has improved greatly in the last ten years and offers a far more consistent performance from record to record.
 
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Old Pa

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These questions are also really interesting to me. Got a top-of-the-line Sony turntable (PL800, I think) with linear tracking over twenty years ago and only replaced it last year when the arm developed Parkinson's Disease and the table was a Sony orphan. Got it because the physics made sense and all record mastering lathes employ linear arms. I try to set up all my turntables carefully, and for the life of me I did not notice any particular change in record wear patterns with the linear arm. I think with a correctly designed and set up pivoting tonearm and cartridge such wear may exist more in theory than in practice. I went with a Rega Planar 25 as having the most bang-for-the-buck and because the linear-armed units I looked at were exorbitantly overpriced IMO.

My previous phono cartridges include Shure, G.A.S. Sleeping Beauty, a couple of moving coil Ortofons, and the present Micro-Benz Glider L2. While all phono components have made great steps in the last ten or twenty years, cartridges seem to have improved the most to me. The Glider handles LP noise much better than its predecessors. The Glider goes through the MC section of a Bryston B25MC which avoids additional cables, mechanical connections, power supplies, etc. The Glider and the B25's MC section seem to like each other.

Also went from a Discwasher system to a VPI 16.5 with LAST's record preservative last year and am most pleased. Mix my own juice and it continues to amaze me how much better a really clean surface sounds (or doesn't sound). The combined effect has got me rediscovering my vinyl and finding it better than ever. It's not important for me to like vinyl as vinyl is just part of my musical cultural heritage. It just can't be replaced.

Hope some of this helps.
 
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redshifter

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this info really helps.

my concern, which may be in error, was that i somehow have not mounted my cart correctly and the angle of the stylus was off for the inner grooves. i know there are only about 2 points on a record where the stylus is perfectly aligned to the groove. i was less concerned about record wear, but now i am.
 
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Hirsch

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Linear tracking tables are far more than a novelty, but good ones have always been expensive. The high-end Goldmunds were all linear trackers, and they remain among the best turntables ever made. The Emininent Techology linear tracking arm remains a classic. The logic behind a linear arm is that a record is cut in a linear manner. As was noted in an earlier post, traditional Baerwald alignment of a pivoting arm has the stylus tangent to the LP at two points only, while a linear arm is tangent across the entire LP, as was the cutting head.

That said, low end implementation is difficult. The arm assembly has to move across the bearing with as little friction as possible. ET's solution was to use an air bearing, with the arm floating on compressed air. Whatever solution was used to reduce friction, the enemy is dust. Anything that interferes with the motion of the arm across the bearing can affect the sound. Pivoted arms don't have the bearing exposed in most cases, and are much easier to maintain. In theory, a linear tracking arm should be truer to the way the vinyl was cut than a pivoting arm. In practice, it's expensive and high maintenance.

Go to www.enjoythemusic.com and browse about until you find an area called free stuff. I posted a link in another recent thread. You can send one of the people helping them a self-addressed stamped envelope, and get a free alignment protractor for pivoted arms (Baerwald alignment).
 
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daycart1

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I have the vpi 16.5 for cleaning. It does a nice job and is easy to use, but is rather expensive unless you have a LOT of lps (to lower the cost per record).

A partial compromise solution for tracking the inner grooves is a LONG tonearm. The vpi JMW-12 for instance is 12 inches long! this means that its path across the record is much closer to radial. But these are expensive too.....
 
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redshifter

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thanks hirsch and daycart1.

everything involved with tt's is expensive. except this alignment protractor. that page actually has an acrobat version, which i just printed out and is very exact, as usual with acrobat.

have you ever noticed how a circular magnet will float around a rod magnet if the charges are reversed? i know there is some sideways stress, but i wonder if a frictionless lt arm could be mounted this way? how about a superconductor lt arm? now only 50 grand.

why aren't record cutters using pivoting arms to cut records? wouldn't that match up better with the majority of tt's out there? is inner groove distortion caused by damage to the grooves caused by misaligned carts, or is it just the physics of the format?
 
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daycart1

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Quote:

Originally posted by redshifter
thanks hirsch and daycart1.

have you ever noticed how a circular magnet will float around a rod magnet if the charges are reversed? i know there is some sideways stress, but i wonder if a frictionless lt arm could be mounted this way?


I read a review of an arm built on this principle..the Schroeder, I believe it is called. ONly about 3 grand for the basic version
 
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perhaps "novelty" was a bit harsh.My experiences with linear tables have been less than ideal but I have found much to be desired with the various linear tables and arms I have heard/owned.My first such experience was with a Phase Linear(which was manufactured by Pioneer)Model 8000.This was a true linear tracking table that I still own and still functions well.It never moved me musically in any way and I found the playback lifeless.It also was a real MF to adjust and wore stylus' out very quickly.My Dad has one as well and loves it.A few months ago,my self and the guys over at Decibel Audio were a Clearaudio linear table and arm combo( can't remember the model) that was taken on trade.We never could get that thing to offer anything close to great sound and it finally sold for big bucks to some guy who liked the way it looked(it was very pretty).I think the benefits of linear tables are based more on theory than actual performance and firmly believe that a well designed pivot arm will perform better on a more consistent basis.My father concurs but still prefers his linear armed tables.Cartridge technology has advanced to the point that the arm has become far less critical(although still very important) to the overall performance of the analog front end.I have been more involved in listening and enjoying my current system recently but have been experimenting with some interesting set-ups for other people's tables.I will post some of my findings when I get time.I have had some of my own pre-concieved notions debunked and have learned much.
 
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redshifter

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daycart1,
STARTS at $3k? ouch.

tuberoller,
i am less interested in looks than performance and sound quality. if i were to audition some new pivot style tt's is there a big difference in sound quality between types of arms used, or is the bigger difference found in the cart? yes, please post your findings.

i'll be gone this weekend but i'll check back monday. thanks again everyone for the info.
 
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