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How is this for a turntable?

 
Old 11-15-2012, 02:30 PM
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Hacker-Pschorr
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Default How is this for a turntable?

I finally dusted it off, taking it in to get checked out, balanced and a new stylus.

http://www.vinylengine.com/library/jvc/ql-f4.shtml

Any suggestions on a stylus? I don't need this to be the most valuable piece in my system Just something good for a casual listener.

In other news, I pick up a pair of Carver AL-III's on Saturday.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:51 PM
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Well first off its a record player not a turntable. Or what they call a "fully automatic" turntable, by which they mean, record player. The big difference being that record players are for people who just want to plop some vinyl down, push a button and hear sound, while turntable owners carefully lower the arm at the beginning and raise and return it at the end. Non-trivial distinction because the cartridge used in a record player needs to be rugged enough to endure the relatively rougher treatment of the automatic mechanism.

Actually your player is very similar to the Technics SL-1700 direct drive semi-auto I had back in college in 1976. Specifications were real big back then, with everyone shooting for low distortion amps and tightly regulated speed controls on turntables. Soon of course everyone noticed that while these things measure good, they sound bad. My roommates belt drive table easily outperformed my direct drive, essentially the same table you have here.

And yet, surprisingly, that same old Technics still sounds better than an awful lot of CD players! So I would not toss yours, just not spend much (if anything) on it. Its so inexpensive that virtually any amount of money you may be thinking of putting into it will buy you a much better sounding complete rig in belt drive.

But it sounds like maybe too late for this advice. Some shop has already charge you $50 to drip a few drops of oil in the well, wipe the dust off and twirl the counterweight into somewhere near the tracking ballpark. Oh well. As I said it still stands a fair chance of sounding better than CD, in other words it may not be your most valuable piece, but likely your best sounding piece!

Since you essentially have my old table then I have no problem recommending the same cartridge, Stanton 681EEE, which I believe they still make. (It may by now be the Stanton 681EEEEEEEEEE! LOL!) Stay away from anything the least bit analytical or bright sounding as that will only exacerbate the graininess inherent in the PLL DD design.

Get yourself a nice inexpensive Shure stylus guage and use it to set tracking force. Get a Discwasher or similar brush and use it to clean every record before playing. Ditto similar stylus cleaning brush. Take care to site your player on the most massive, secure stand you can muster. (Even a 1" or 2" thick board of MDF under the table will make a nice improvement.) And clean all electrical connections. Then I guess sit back and enjoy. With any luck you'll be impressed enough with the results to want to go out and get yourself a nice upgraded deck. But either way, enjoy!
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by chuck911 View Post
Well first off its a record player not a turntable.
I was expecting a bit more "ball busting" for posting this here
Thank you for the write-up.

It's not too late, I haven't done anything yet..... My plan is to pick up a good, reasonably priced turntable if I find myself actually using this one (once playable).

My goal of fixing this unit is to setup a good platform and see if I actually break out the vinyl......I've been collecting records for a long time and most have never been opened.

On that note, do most in the $400 - $500 range come with a good cartridge? If no, would it be worth it to buy a good cartridge now, anticipating a better turntable down the road? Sound quality aside, I've read that a higher end stylist will help the vinyl last longer. If this is true, I would gladly spend the money now for a better one, even if my player isn't anything special.......

The next decision, pick up a nice shiny new player:
http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/art...bles-under-500


or research a good vintage unit:
http://best-turntables.com/best-vintage-turntables/

http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/blo...bay-watch-list
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:34 PM
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A good cheap platform is easy, especially if you're okay with a little woodworking. Get yourself two pieces of 1" thick MDF, cut a few inches wider and deeper than your table. Glue them together to make a platform 2" thick. Sand edges and paint your choice. This alone will be a big improvement over just about anything you'll be able to buy with the kind of money you're talking about (not) spending. Vastly better, build a shallow (approx 2" deep) box just a little bigger than your platform, put about 1" of sand in it, and set the platform on that. Mixing a few ounces of oil into the sand helps cut down on stray grains. This setup will outperform even a lot of fairly costly vibration control accessories on the market. Not bad for maybe $30 total. A little thought in planning proportions, a little sanding and painting, and it will actually look pretty good too.

This is essentially what I have for my $10k rig, except the "box" is 4" thick concrete, the "platform" that sits on the sand is a 4" granite machinists plate, all of which merely serves as a stable rack for the Black Diamond Racing Shelf that the turntable itself is on.

Any of those tables you're looking at will vastly outperform what you have now. You have however only been talking about the table and cartridge. Equally important is the phono stage. Do you even have one? Back in the day a phono stage was included in every receiver and integrated amp. But that all ended years ago. Anything you have less than 15 years old may not even allow you to play your records! That by the way would be good news, since a stand alone unit is likely to be much better than anything built-in.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:18 AM
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A record player or phonograph is a self contained device that consists of a turntable, tone arm, needle and cartridge and a set of electronics which includes a preamp and power amp and possibly speakers integrated within.

This is an automatic turntable. Not a record player!

My sugestion on stylus is a moving coil setup, and depending on the preamp or integrated amp being used, you may need a phono preamp to bring the low output of the moving coil cartridge up to moving magnet levels.
I have always had great results with Denon cartridges, they are still available if you look hard enough. The 103R or if you can find it a 103D are great sounding cartridges. Look online you will find it!
Note: Some Denon MC cartridges are high output and do not need a MC premap.

Try below:
http://www.lptunes.com/Denon-phono-cartridges-s/173.htm
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:57 AM
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Great sounding, no doubt. Also complete budget-buster. With a $400-500 budget for the whole rig a $300+ cartridge is a bit much. Not to mention the 0.25mV output will be a lot harder to match with a budget phono stage. A medium to high output MC, or probably even better MM, will be the better way to go at this price point.
The record player part though, right on.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:46 PM
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Not all Denons are low output! You can get a phono preamp for $40. Dennon 103 R is $199. In my mind MM don't provide the quality soundstage or channel seperation like MC.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevinmacd View Post
depending on the preamp or integrated amp being used
Pre-amp, right now using one of these:
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...vers/VSX-82TXS

Amp:
http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?cl...lifier&m=M-504

Speakers:
http://www.carversound.com/carver-speakers/al-iii/

The Pioneer will eventually move to my theater (once I build it) and I'll go back to using the pre-amp that was paired with this amp:
http://app.audiogon.com/listings/onk...-amp-amplifier

Somewhere in a box I have the matching EQ......

Originally Posted by chuck911 View Post
With a $400-500 budget for the whole rig a $300+ cartridge is a bit much.
My thought process is a bit sideways.......

I would have no problem spending $200 - $300 now on a cartridge for the JVC to be used in a better $400 - $500 turntable down the road. Does that make any sense?
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:53 PM
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Thanks for the link, it shows your Pioneer having a phono input. There are budget phono stages that will be a big improvement but at least you have something to use now. I'd say get your JVC running with whatever cartridge you already have. Pick up a few essential accessories- Discwasher record cleaning brush, stylus cleaning brush, and stylus cleaning fluid, and a Shure VTF gauge. There are better versions of all these, get whatever fits your budget, but most of all use them religiously. VTF only needs to be set once, but within the acceptable range you will notice a difference in the sound. There is no right or wrong so use what sounds best to you within the given range. Same goes for cartridge loading- if your phono stage even gives you that option. Getting the most from vinyl playback is all about these kinds of tweaking and listening experiments. Maybe you find its all just not worth it- you just saved the cost of a cartridge. If you're still intrigued though, well now you have a baseline. You know how your current cartridge sounds, which gives you some idea which direction to go when you're ready to upgrade. You also have a lot to learn. Getting the most from LP playback is a fine art where often times using a lot of knowledge and skill is far more important than using a lot of money. So read up and GO LISTEN as much as possible. That's what I did about a dozen years ago when I was in very similar situation to yours. Thought I'd just clean up my old deck just for kicks and nostalgia. Maybe someday upgrade a bit. Wound up with a custom made Teres Audio http://www.teresaudio.com carbon fiber turntable with Origin Live arm http://www.originlive.com in an all-tube system that really gets you there. But first step is to just get that vinyl spinning....
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:32 PM
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Any truth behind a better stylus not doing as much long term damage versus a cheaper one to the record itself? That alone (above any sound quality) would be worth it to me.
At what point is this overkill just from the perspective of trying to protect the vinyl?

Originally Posted by chuck911 View Post
A good cheap platform is easy, especially if you're okay with a little woodworking. Get yourself two pieces of 1" thick MDF, cut a few inches wider and deeper than your table. Glue them together to make a platform 2" thick. Sand edges and paint your choice.
I plan on making a wall mount using a piece of butchers block. Not sure where I want it yet.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:00 PM
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I am letting go of a GYRO DEC turntable complete with tone arm and cartridge due to financial problems. I parked near you at Road America 2-3 years ago. This is more of what you want for top vinyl listening. You can put this on the hood of your Porsche and rev the motor and it will not skip. All of this with the tone arm set to the body weight of 3 mosquitos.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:33 PM
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Hack, you should go for the Gyro Dec!
Yes records will wear less with a good tracking cartridge. But the biggest wear factor by far is dirt. So keep everything clean! Clean stylus after every side. Another thing, the better cartridges tend to use stylus geometries that operate much deeper in the record groove. So often times damage done by a cheap stylus will hardly be noticed when upgrading. Last thing, the really good rigs (not just the cartridge, every component) have a strong tendency to separate the music from the noise. So while the noise may still be there, its in a shall we say different plane from the music.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:41 AM
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I had to google it - WOW nice turntable!!! Bad timing though.

Back to Road America, what weekend?


As for keeping my records clean, I recently picked up the following:
http://www.musichallaudio.com/detail.php?p=49
http://www.thelastfactory.com/index....chk=1&Itemid=1

Somewhere buried in a box is something like this:
http://www.adorama.com/DWRD1006.html...FckWMgodxWEAdg

I need to dig that out.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:55 AM
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Never used any of the carbon fiber brushes. With any of the dry brushes, static charges are often strong enough to re-attract dust. I know my Zero-stat works great at nullifying that. The Discwasher is fine. Last stylus cleaner I use to clean after every side. Ultimately what you want to do is wash your records in a multi-step process using cleaner, rinses with pure water and finally vacuum dry. After that I still like to rinse and vacuum just before playing. Used to think this degree of care obsessive and unnecessary. Not after hearing the difference a record vacuum makes though. Hard as this may be to believe, but there are high-quality pressings out there which when handled like this are just stunningly, jaw-droppingly dead quiet - at least when new. Even with fastidious care they will gradually get a few ticks here and there. But most people, they either fall in love with the palpably "you are there" magic of vinyl and experience ticks as a charming sideshow, or never "get it" and find any noise intolerably irritating. For now, budget care, fill a small bottle with pure reverse-osmosis filtered water. Clean each record once with the Discwasher solution and then for subsequent plays just use the water. Always clean the stylus after every side.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:38 PM
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[QUOTE=Hacker-Pschorr;10030701]I had to google it - WOW nice turntable!!! Bad timing though.

Back to Road America, what weekend?

With Chicago PCA, Memorial day or Labor day. I cannot remember which. I think your car broke and you miss some sessions. You were parked behind St Johns Food stand.
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