Vintage turntables vs. New Generation - Good value?

Discussion in 'TTVJ Premier Sponsor Forum' started by number9, Feb 1, 2004.
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  1. kwkarth
    That Denon is beautiful!
     
  2. Skylab Contributor
    Thanks, kwkarth. She's a beauty alright. Vintage TT's can look nice as well as sound good. Here is one more shot:

    [​IMG]

    And in a way it's funny to call this a "vintage" turntable, since it has some features like end-of-record arm lift, electronic anti-skate, etc. that current belt drive no-frills "modern" decks costing $50,000 don't have...
     
  3. Black Stuart
    My Kenwood KD 990
    has a S/N ratio of -90dB. Strange is'nt it that once the case for DDs is made, it appears that the smart money was already there.

    I just hope that the newbies read this thread and learn how to spend wisely.

    Apparently one of the reasons that Denons were'nt a good buy was their use of a magnetic tape that if broken was irreplaceable, well. apparently there is a company in Salisbury/UK that can repair or replace this, is good news indeed.

    Memepool states that DDs can sound 'slightly mechanical on some music' I have never found this to be the case and wonder if belt drives and idlers are mostly off the timing due to their design and that encountering a precisely rotating DD presents music far more accurately.

    What do I mean - well the drummer on King Crimson - Michael Giles is dismissed as an android metronome - not for me.

    Idlers have been described as 'too LP12 - ish, probably a very good description.

    As Skylab has said he uses contemporary MCs in his arm as indeed I can do on my Kenwood arm.

    I feel that the negatives trotted out against the tonearms on DDs can be dated to the same era of disinformation so prevalent in the USA/UK on the decks themselves - that's why the best place to look for top end DDs is in Germany, because they understood just how revolutionary the Japanese DDs were and jumped in with both feet.
     
  4. Skylab Contributor
    Black Stuart, I totally agree with all of that. I think actually that heavy-duty That Kenwood table you have is a fine, fine table. I had a KD770 for a while, and gave it to my brother, who said it sounded better than his Rega [​IMG]
     
  5. Black Stuart
    Skylab,
    'better than a Rega' - I should bl#~dy hope so. The ball bearing used in the old Rega 3 was totally crap. For all those that don't know - ball bearings come in different grades. It was inexcusable for Rega not to use grade 1 or 2 bearings. The first time I changed mine circa 1984 and put it on a piece of glass - it rolled around like a drunk. As a formerly keen cyclist I would'nt have let a piece of crap like that anywhere near my cycles.

    On another thread I mentioned the excellant feature of the Kenwood KD990 (same as the KD770) - end-of-record arm lift, glad to see that Skylab and I'll bet kwkarth as well really appreciate this function - this is'nt some fancy gimmick but a really worthwhile function. To be able to just sit back and wallow in the afterglow of a piece of music you really got off on is priceless. The fact that you may have had a glass or three of wine and don't have to risk naffing a cherished piece of vinyl or an expensive MC is cherry on the cake.

    Number 9 is spot on as well, some superb DDs never left Japan.

    As others have said - the Jap superdecks have never dated, they look as fresh now as they ever did.

    Our biggest problems for those that don't have Technics SP10s' is those motor run IC chips, all the caps and resistors can be replaced. However since DDs don't use high voltages (like amps) and run cool, I don't think the ICs will ever be a problem.

    I intend to measure all of the above and replace where nec.

    The alu spider chassis I feel is superior even to an SP10, since it can be bolted firmly to a piece of stone - slate or snake oil stone and the cavities within the spider can be filled with either lead shot or specially cast lead.

    Let the Idler crowd spend $$$ on double slate plinths, spend so much time and money getting the things to run at the correct speed - I'm happy for them but happier for us who bought into vintage DDs.
     
  6. Lazarus Short
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Black Stuart /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Skylab,
    'better than a Rega' - I should bl#~dy hope so. The ball bearing used in the old Rega 3 was totally crap. For all those that don't know - ball bearings come in different grades. It was inexcusable for Rega not to use grade 1 or 2 bearings. The first time I changed mine circa 1984 and put it on a piece of glass - it rolled around like a drunk. As a formerly keen cyclist I would'nt have let a piece of crap like that anywhere near my cycles.




    Speaking of cycling, I recently learned that you can get ceramic bearing balls for use on bicycles. They're said to run smoother. They might be a good alternative to the stock balls in the Rega bearings if they come in the right size. Are you listening Rega owners?

    BTW, I currently own two vintage TT's, a Dual CS 1268 [belt] and a Pioneer PL 580 [DD] to which I am adapting a DIY arm.

    Laz
     
  7. memepool
    Sorry I'd forgotten about this thread.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Black Stuart /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    What happens when unwanted energy encounters sorbothane, supposedly it is dissipated as heat within that soft structure but is it. does this energy not cause the sorbothane to wobble as it dissipates this energy. This equates as blurring to me - the very thing I want to avoid if I wish to retain detail in playback.

    Floor driven vibration is best handled I feel by siting the system on a massive structure as I intend to do using 30mm stone shelving - I don't think anyone disaggrees with that.




    Sorbothane disipates vibration by the way it's structured at an atomic level so it doesn't literally wobble. However I think your idea of using the highest mass support possible is ideal if your living space can accomodate it.

    For those of us who don't live in a concrete block or a Norman castle though and arn't going to be driving concrete piles through to the foundations to support our turntables other options are necessary.

    The work done by Sound Deadened Steel - Sound Deadening - Industrial Noise Control - Sound Dead Steel and Isonoe Audio Isolation System is an anti-vibration product that prevents feedback in turntables, improves the sound of CD players and is an industry standard in many of the worlds most respected nightclubs may therefore be of interest. This has been successful in nightclubs and I don't see that that makes it unsuited to domestic Hi-Fi at all. The main issues in a nightclub are feedback due to sound pressure levels and floor born vibration from dancing feet. If a product works at this level then it'll work just as well if not better with (slightly) lower SPL's and a bit less dancing.


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Black Stuart /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    What happens when a modern low mass arm encounters a warp - it's going to 'kick up' far more than my type of arm, simply because there is less mass at the fulcrum point - what goes up must come down - the heavier c/weight will re-act far more because there is not the mass at the fulcrum point to stop that energy travelling back down the arm to the stylus, if the headshell was de-coupled from the arm it could not then re-enter the cartridge and then onto the stylus, I wonder if any of those companies that make low mass arms have ever made an experimental model to test this point. The SME type skeleton headshell for me is a complete joke, that's why it used to be advocated to cut off the finger lift because it literally vibrates and where does that vibration go, thta's right straight back to the stylus.



    So you are saying a lower mass arm reacts more quickly to the groove which is surely the object of the exercise? The SME series IV and V don't have removable headshells so perhaps you're thinking of the old 3009? the "improved" version of which incidentally had a fixed headshell and was found on many classic direct drives like the Technics SL1100.


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Black Stuart /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    You mention a metronome effect with DDs again I can't relate to that at all. There is nothing mechanical about what I hear from my DD. I repeat that the function of any TT is to revolve the platter at a precise speed to enable the arm/cartridge to accurately resolve what is on the LP.

    World Audio Designs has been defunct for a couple of years memepool it's World Designs now and I feel that the relationship between Noel Keywood (HFW) and Peter Comeau (WD)effects what Hi-Fi World says about certain things. It shocked a lot of people when Noel did a complete demolition job on DDs against a Garrard 301. He had a couple of defunct DDs which I had never heard of. He got one working and set it up on a couple of pieces of 2 x 2 wood and then pitched it against a properly plinthed 301- that really was so stupid and he lost a lot of credibility in the process.




    As I have said I have good examples of direct drives, belt drives and idlers and enjoy listening to all of them so I have no axe to grind. However the best way I can think of to describe the influence of the drive and resulting differences in sound is that direct drives can sound a bit mechnical and it's particularly noticable on drumming.

    For instance a lightweight wobbly supsended subchassis deck like the older Linn LP12 or Thorens TD160, to my ear has an amazing ability to make drumming sound very dynamic and gives it a 'live feel' whether or not it is actually a live drummer playing. Although I marvel at it I find this colouration a little annoying when listening to programmed drum machines as they arn't meant to sound like this.
    A direct drive like a Technics SL150, which I've recently been listening to, has the exact opposite tendency. It makes live drummers sound like a Roland R8, perfectly timed to a midi click, with transients on the kick drums that punch you in the stomach. Again I marvel at the timing and resolution of it but the truth for me lies somewhere in between. Both of these decks capture something of the experience of listening to a good drummer but neither expresses the totality of it.

    I think you are being unfair to Hi-Fi world here as they constanty champion direct drives. The last issue compared 3 budget systems built around vinyl, cd and an ipod as souces and which do you think they said sounded the best? The Technics SL1200 system.

    I have a Lenco L75 idler drive rather than a Garrard but I see no reason, if given a modern plinth and tonearm why it couldn't sound better than a direct drive and it certainly sounds absolutely nothing like an LP12. Whoever gave you that idea?
     
  8. Clarkp
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fewtch /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    It depends greatly both on the specific model of the vintage table, and the condition it's in (or can be restored to).

    The typical vintage table doesn't stack up well to the really higher end modern stuff (there are exceptions) but will oftentimes stack up well to entry-level-to-mid-level modern stuff.

    Anyway... it can vary drastically depending on factors too numerous to mention. I'd recommend not even considering a vintage table unless you're willing to learn about restoration and you consider that sort of stuff to be an adventure rather than a chore. Or unless you're really poor like myself and come across an offer you can't refuse [​IMG]. Otherwise, I think most people who care about SQ would be better off getting a modern table and avoiding the numerous potential pitfalls of vintage tables.

    But it really depends on you! You could end up having a lot of fun, or wishing to god you'd just gone the easier, softer way.




    As a matter of interest I recently started playing records again on my Linn,Ittok, Troika using stax headphones and was astonished at how good it was. Even with records I would play quite often. For many years the linn has just sat there but now I think it is as good or better than cd. Of course with records there was some surface noise but I still enjoyed the music. Some baroque and Delius. I have yet to play any rock stuff
     
  9. DC Lee
    Sound wise the modern turntables are no where as good as the vintage ones that were considered to be good. The new ones are mainly built to be nice looking. A VPI can't outperform the Technics SL1200 if you fit the same arm and cartridge on both of them.
    The often quoted Rega is in fact a budget make. That includes the deck and the arm. In the days of their popularity when vinyl was king, the Rega was an entry level system. It is not high end, and should never be looked at in those terms.
     
  10. Audiofiler
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DC Lee /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Sound wise the modern turntables are no where as good as the vintage ones that were considered to be good. The new ones are mainly built to be nice looking. A VPI can't outperform the Technics SL1200 if you fit the same arm and cartridge on both of them.
    The often quoted Rega is in fact a budget make.




    Although excellent sound can be had by the vintage TT's, companies like Transrotor, VPI, and Clear Audio offer superlative instruments for faithrul reproduction of the vinyl medium. I have owned a Thorens 124s and recently compared it to my Aries 3 w/ 10.5i tonearm and there was little doubt that the VPI bests the Thorens by more than a fair margin. I sold the 124s, (which is one of Thorens' best made) and kept the Thorens 160 Super I have for a second TT. I too have owned 3 1200's before and one with a highend SME tonearm utilizing a Benz reference P cart for A/B'g, this is a nice DJ TT although not on par with a properly setup VPI TT in my opinion.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DC Lee /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    In the days of their popularity when vinyl was king...



    Vinyl still is king, many maintain[​IMG]
     
  11. memepool
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Audiofiler /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I have owned a Thorens 124s and recently compared it to my Aries 3 w/ 10.5i tonearm and there was little doubt that the VPI bests the Thorens by more than a fair margin. I sold the 124s, (which is one of Thorens' best made) and kept the Thorens 160 Super I have for a second TT. I too have owned 3 1200's before and one with a highend SME tonearm utilizing a Benz reference P cart for A/B'g, this is a nice DJ TT although not on par with a properly setup VPI TT in my opinion.



    You don't say though whether you tried the same tonearm and cart on these TT's which is really the only fair way to do it.

    I agree that there are big differences between the sound of the Technics SL1200 motorboard, and decent comparable idler or modern belt drives but they are not of the order that one is comprehensively better than the other given the same arm and cart and proper set-up. Rather they offer different perspectives on the sound.

    I suspect the manifold differences you are describing are mostly attributable to the sound of the various different tonearms. For instance you mention the SME arm on the Technics which I'd imagine was a 3009 S2? well this is a pretty dated design although it has lots of fans and it sounds really good on some types of music it's pretty poor on others. Certainly it sounds completely different to any unipivot arm which is what you find on most VPI decks or indeed a more recent SME.
     
  12. DC Lee
    The SME 3009S2 lived off the aura of the SME name but was the sick child in the family. A mere 18 months ago one could acquire one for less than £100 through eBay. I can imagine the grin on the faces of all those S2 owners who for so long have been searching for an outlet to dispose of so truly a poorly performing piece of bent metal.
    The S2 on a 1200 would perform no better than the original Technics arm. Even the budget Rega 200 or 250 would be a major upgrade.
    The VPI falls well short in performance when subjected to air and floor borne vibrations. Discolouration of complex musical passages are very obvious without much concentration. The VPI requires something close to a granite base and not too bass heavy speakers in order to remain in control of the music.
     
  13. memepool
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DC Lee /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    The SME 3009S2 lived off the aura of the SME name but was the sick child in the family. A mere 18 months ago one could acquire one for less than £100 through eBay. I can imagine the grin on the faces of all those S2 owners who for so long have been searching for an outlet to dispose of so truly a poorly performing piece of bent metal.
    The S2 on a 1200 would perform no better than the original Technics arm. Even the budget Rega 200 or 250 would be a major upgrade.




    They do sound nice on classical music for some reason but poor on most everything else in my experience. I had the S2 "improved" which many regard as the worst of all the SMEs and I've also had the Series III which I thought wasn't all that amazing either, far too laid back for my tastes although I can see it working in some set-ups. The Series IV and V are a different kettle of fish altogether though and the earlier higher mass 3009 is pretty nice especially the 3012 version.

    The Rega RB200 was an OEM Acos arm which wouldn't be that away far from the 3009S2 or indeed stock Technics, although better built than the latter, but the RB250/300 is much better than any of them especially the various OL and Michell modified versions. Still they can all be a bit flat and unengaging especially in the midrange which is where the SME3009S2 really shines funnily enough.

    I agree that Rega's are overpriced and certainly seem pretty overated in the USA though and decks like the VPI Scout are much better value. They are great buget decks but you can do so much better with an old 2nd hand A&R or Thorens or indeed a new modified SL1200.

    You really need to spend a lot more on a new tonearm these days though to find something which is head and shoulders above the Rega RB250, even 10 times more.
     
  14. Audiofiler
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by memepool /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    You don't say though whether you tried the same tonearm and cart on these TT's which is really the only fair way to do it.
    For instance you mention the SME arm on the Technics which I'd imagine was a 3009 S2? well this is a pretty dated design although it has lots of fans and it sounds really good on some types of music it's pretty poor on others. Certainly it sounds completely different to any unipivot arm which is what you find on most VPI decks or indeed a more recent SME.




    SME V was utilized..

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by memepool /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    For instance a lightweight wobbly supsended subchassis deck like the older Linn LP12 or Thorens TD160, to my ear has an amazing ability to make drumming sound very dynamic and gives it a 'live feel' whether or not it is actually a live drummer playing. Although I marvel at it I find this colouration a little annoying when listening to programmed drum machines as they arn't meant to sound like this.



    well put


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DC Lee /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    The SME 3009S2 lived off the aura of the SME name but was the sick child in the family. A mere 18 months ago one could acquire one for less than £100 through eBay. I can imagine the grin on the faces of all those S2 owners who for so long have been searching for an outlet to dispose of so truly a poorly performing piece of bent metal.
    The S2 on a 1200 would perform no better than the original Technics arm. .




    Never stated this, was presumed by another member, but agree with you on this matter nonetheless[​IMG]
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DC Lee /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    The VPI falls well short in performance when subjected to air and floor borne vibrations. Discolouration of complex musical passages are very obvious without much concentration. The VPI requires something close to a granite base and not too bass heavy speakers in order to remain in control of the music.



    Most TT's are privy to this very shortcoming, no? I do agree that the unipivot arm is impacted by this effect as well, and maybe more than other arms I suppose.
    I am using two solid Maple slabs atop one another currently and having very fine results with my Aries 3 and JMW 10.5i memorial tonearm. Also worthy of mention is the importance of leveling the platter on a VPI deck(also not unlike with other TT's); this is extremely pertinent in this units' proper operability. It is marginally more rewarding in similar fashion if one addresses friction and playing level in conjunction with the VPI I expect. (from a certain preference or degree of course) [​IMG]
     
  15. memepool
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Audiofiler /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    SME V was utilized



    So you put an SME V with the same cart on the Aries and the SL1200 and compared them side by side? I'd love to have been there to hear that [​IMG]
     
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