skipping problem with Pioneer PL-12D turntable
Nov 14, 2008 at 6:46 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26

steelglam

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Posts
213
Likes
15
A few weeks ago, I posted a thread about finding a used Pioneer PL-12D turntable for $25. Per the recommendation of folks on the board, I ended up picking it up, given the low price.

I finally got around to hooking it up this weekend, and it sounds great. The belt is in great shape, and it came with a barely used ADC Series II cartridge already attached.

Anyhow, I am having one signficant issue, that being a severe skipping problem. The skipping problem is vertical--the needle will jump out of the groove vertically and then come back down right inside the same groove. It does this excessively when there is even the slightest vibration. Basically, all I have to do is tap my foot lightly on the ground or tap my finger lightly (and I stress LIGHTLY) on the cabinet shelf system that the turntable sits on top of and it will skip. The needle does not skip laterally from groove to groove, but simply jumps up slightly from the groove it is in and comes right back down into the same groove.

My regular turntable is a Techincs 1200, and I've never had a problem with it skipping. When using the Technics, I can jump in the air (while playing air guitar of course!), land hard on the ground, and the needle continues to track perfectly. I placed the Pioneer in the same exact place that I had the Technics -- on top of the cabinet shelf system that contains my hi-fi.

I set and re-set and re-set once again the overhang, tracking force, anti-skate, and lateral balance weight according to the turntable's directions and cartridge's specifications. The problem continues to occur. I even placed the turntable on top of two really thick pillows, and the problem continues to occur.

So, I'd like to know what is causing the problem and how to resolve the issue. Am I doing something wrong with the setup? Or is it a mechanical flaw in the turntable? Or is this turntable naturally this sensitive to even the slightest vibration? How do I resolve the issue?
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 7:43 PM Post #2 of 26

Orcin

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 21, 2007
Posts
1,396
Likes
18
You need to double-check the tracking force. It sounds like it is set too light. ADC makes several cartridges so be sure you are using the correct specs for your model.

The turntable is not naturally that sensitive. Properly set, it should be no worse than your Technics.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 8:24 PM Post #3 of 26

StanleyB1

Banned - Shares IP addresses with DC Lee Herandu
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Posts
265
Likes
10
The platter suspension springs might have to be stretched as necessary to level the platter again. As time goes by, the left rear of the floating chassis tends not support the weight of the motor any more. This makes the TT very sensitive to vibrations.

I'll PM you some info and tuning tips for the PL12D.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 8:49 PM Post #4 of 26

steelglam

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Posts
213
Likes
15
OK, I tried the fix that Orcin suggested, and here were the results.

No matter how light or heavy I set the VTF with the headhsell/cartridge combo that the turntable came with--Pioneer headshell/ADC Series II cartridge--the same skipping problem occurred.

So, I replaced the Pioneer headshell/ADC cartridge combo with the combo that was on my Technics: Technics headshell/Audio Techinca AT-92E cartridge. According to the AT-92E's instructions, the suggested VTF is 1.0-1.5 grams. (FYI: I had it set at 1.5 grams on my Technics and it worked splendidly.) Back to the Pioneer: I re-balanced the arm and set the VTF. I started the VTF at 1.0 grams. Still exhibited the same skipping problems. I upped it to 1.25 grams, same result. 1.5 grams, same result. I decided to go above and beyond the suggested VTF for the AT-92E to see what would happend. It finally stopped skipping, but not until I got to 3.5 grams. Essentially, I had to more than double the upper range of the suggested VTF for the AT-92E in order for it to stop skipping.

This is not good, right? Also, does this provide any more evidence of what the actual problem is? Is it a poor arm, or incorrect counterweight system on the Pioneer turntable?

Stanley: thanks for the info. on the suspension springs and the PM of the threads discussing some fixes. I will check them out soon.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 9:09 PM Post #5 of 26

Orcin

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 21, 2007
Posts
1,396
Likes
18
If I recall correctly, the Pioneer PL12D had a screw-in weight on the back of the tonearm. If it is present, try taking that out and re-balancing.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 9:24 PM Post #6 of 26

steelglam

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Posts
213
Likes
15
Quote:

Originally Posted by Orcin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If I recall correctly, the Pioneer PL12D had a screw-in weight on the back of the tonearm. If it is present, try taking that out and re-balancing.


I made sure to not include the screw-in weight while doing the setup.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 9:59 PM Post #7 of 26

StanleyB1

Banned - Shares IP addresses with DC Lee Herandu
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Posts
265
Likes
10
It's a long shot, but didn't the PL12D have transport/shipping screws? Some of the Pioneer decks had them. They were done up so that the floating section wouldn't go wobbling about during transport. They need undoing before play. The screws are fitted underneath the platter. Have a look on yours and see.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 3:06 PM Post #8 of 26

memepool

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 24, 2004
Posts
2,689
Likes
13
I think perhaps there are a few factors at play here but one of them is that the carts you are using are probably mismatched in compliance for the arm on this deck.

It's a fairly high effective mass arm around 15g and the AT92 anyway is a high compliance cart so this will make it much more difficult for the arm to track it at low VTF as it's really not designed to.
I'd guess that this in conjunction with the supension perhaps not being optimised could be your problem.

So you can try getting a lower mass headshell like the ADC magnesium ones on ebay or else Stanton make one called the HS-4 which you should find in DJ pro audio shops. This will lower the mass of the arm by a few grams to make it slightly more compatible.

But reallly for an arm like this you need a Denon DL110/160 or similar low compliance cart. I think the AT440MLA will also work.

You don't mention the exact model of the ADC cart but they also did make a lot of high compliance carts in the late '70s.

The manual is here
Pioneer PL-12D | Manual Free Download, Turntable owners,service,schematics,brochure | Vinyl Engine
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 7:36 PM Post #9 of 26

bigshot

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Posts
22,927
Likes
4,657
Location
Hollywood USA
My guess is that there might be somthing with the cuing mechanism that could be lifting the tonearm a bit.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 3:30 AM Post #10 of 26

steelglam

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Posts
213
Likes
15
Quote:

Originally Posted by bigshot /img/forum/go_quote.gif
My guess is that there might be somthing with the cuing mechanism that could be lifting the tonearm a bit.


Nah, I checked that out, and it's fine.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 3:31 AM Post #11 of 26

steelglam

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Posts
213
Likes
15
Quote:

Originally Posted by StanleyB1 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It's a long shot, but didn't the PL12D have transport/shipping screws? Some of the Pioneer decks had them. They were done up so that the floating section wouldn't go wobbling about during transport. They need undoing before play. The screws are fitted underneath the platter. Have a look on yours and see.


I assume the suspension is unlocked because the base that the platter sits on bounces/floats around in the wooden box that holds the player. Is this what you're referring to?
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 3:49 AM Post #12 of 26

steelglam

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Posts
213
Likes
15
Quote:

Originally Posted by memepool /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I think perhaps there are a few factors at play here but one of them is that the carts you are using are probably mismatched in compliance for the arm on this deck.

It's a fairly high effective mass arm around 15g and the AT92 anyway is a high compliance cart so this will make it much more difficult for the arm to track it at low VTF as it's really not designed to.
I'd guess that this in conjunction with the supension perhaps not being optimised could be your problem.

So you can try getting a lower mass headshell like the ADC magnesium ones on ebay or else Stanton make one called the HS-4 which you should find in DJ pro audio shops. This will lower the mass of the arm by a few grams to make it slightly more compatible.

But reallly for an arm like this you need a Denon DL110/160 or similar low compliance cart. I think the AT440MLA will also work.

You don't mention the exact model of the ADC cart but they also did make a lot of high compliance carts in the late '70s.



The ADC cartridge is a Series II. It's attached to the factory Pioneer headshell that came with the turntable. When I use this combo on the Pioneer table, no matter how heavy I set the VTF (I literally screwed the counterweight on as far as it would go), the needle jumps out of the groove in a direct vertical fashion at even the slightest tap of my foot on the floor or tap of my finger on the shelf that the table sits on.

When I use the Technics headshell/Audio Technica cartridge combo on the Pioneer table, I can get it to stop skipping but I have to set the VTF to more than double the upper end of the recommended tracking force.

So, do you think the situation I describe is "extreme," or will it likely correct itself if I use one of the low mass headshells or low compliance cartridges that you mention?
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 11:51 AM Post #13 of 26

memepool

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 24, 2004
Posts
2,689
Likes
13
Quote:

Originally Posted by steelglam /img/forum/go_quote.gif
So, do you think the situation I describe is "extreme," or will it likely correct itself if I use one of the low mass headshells or low compliance cartridges that you mention?


Just because the ADC came with the turntable doesn't necessarily follow that it's the correctly matched cart. The AT-92E is a P-Mount so thats' definitely pretty high compliance. The Pioneer arm is designed to work with the a low compliance cart like one pf the Denons. More on this here Tonearm/Cartridge Capability

Without knowing the exact compliance of the carts you have it's difficult to say but the fact the the arm jumps in and out of the same groove seems to indicate that it's well set up on a level surface anyway otherwise it wouldn't be this accurate.

You will just need to experiment, if you think it's worthwhile seeing as how you already have a Technics. An ADC magnesium headshell and Denon cart will be good upgrades for both these tables though.
 
Nov 17, 2008 at 2:37 PM Post #14 of 26

steelglam

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Posts
213
Likes
15
Quote:

Originally Posted by memepool /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Just because the ADC came with the turntable doesn't necessarily follow that it's the correctly matched cart. The AT-92E is a P-Mount so thats' definitely pretty high compliance. The Pioneer arm is designed to work with the a low compliance cart like one pf the Denons. More on this here Tonearm/Cartridge Capability

Without knowing the exact compliance of the carts you have it's difficult to say but the fact the the arm jumps in and out of the same groove seems to indicate that it's well set up on a level surface anyway otherwise it wouldn't be this accurate.

You will just need to experiment, if you think it's worthwhile seeing as how you already have a Technics. An ADC magnesium headshell and Denon cart will be good upgrades for both these tables though.



Thanks, memepool. That makes sense. My only reservation with getting a Denon cartridge, though, is that just prior to picking up the Pioneer turntable late last week, I ordered an Audio Technica AT440MLA. I was planning on integrating it with my Technics as an upgrade from the AT92E. The point is, having just spent the money on the 440MLA, I don't have a lot of dough to drop on another cartridge right now. Do you think I could use the 440MLA on the Pioneer table (with the stock headshell that came with the Pioneer table)? Or is there a cheap-but-decent (under $50) low compliance cartridge that I could integrate with the Pioneer, thereby allowing me to use the 440MLA with the Technics?
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top