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  1. #1

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    Default Vinyl, Not happy with my set-up where do I go from here?

    Been running a Pro-ject Debut III, stock Ortofon cart with an OM-10 stylus & a Cambridge 640P phono pre. Something's got to change because I've gotten to the point where I'm not spinning vinyl at all. The question is, cart upgrade, or entirely new rig? At this point I've amassed about a 100 LPs most of which is 70's & 80's rock/pop consisting of a couple dozen LPs left from my teenage years & used recordings I've picked up since I got back into records 2 years ago or so. My main complaint, horrible inner grove distortion on a large percentage of my collection. The cart has been aligned by me using a mirrored protractor & is spot on as far as I can tell. I will say that on the handful of recordings that sound truly excellent all the way through, I'm mostly happy with the sound. It's not blowing me away, but I could live with it given the limited use the TT was getting before I got fed up with the IGD.

    So, where to go from here? Upgrade the cart? Been thinking of trying the Audio Technica AT440mla. Start over with a new rig? Not really interested in used or vintage. Would rather jump full in & go with something in the 1-2K range if I go down that path. Traveler? Scout? Music Hall mmf7.1? Something else?

    -Dave
    Last edited by DaveHo; 01-28-2013 at 06:23 PM.

  2. #2

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    Your table and phono pre are decent, your OM10 is entry level with elliptical stylus. IIRC you can upgrade the stylus to OM20 (nude elliptical) or the OM30 (nude fineLine stylus) but it would be pricey. A Sumiko Blue Point No 2 works well with the Projects, runs ~ $400.

    The fact that you have problems with many and not just one record makes me question setup or damaged stylus/bent cantilever? Is the cantilever parallel with sides of cartridge? When you say mirror, is it a Mint LP protractor made for the table or a generic mirror protractor? You could get another protractor and check your setup to it. IF you download and print a protractor (like from vinylengine), the better ones have a scale you measure to make sure they printed to the correct size.
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 01-28-2013 at 06:51 PM. Reason: 'spellin
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  3. #3

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    I have similar issue to you. My system is no where near the level of yours though. I am a newbie into vinyl. I tend to find its certain bands/labels that have the worst inner groove distortion. For example I have a decent Billy Joel Collection and every single album has horrible distortion. Visualy these albums look mint. Very clean very shiny. In comparison my Pink Floyd records look equally as good with the exception of one and the have almost no noticeable Distortion.

    I use to fret over it and was constantly realigning the cartridge. In the end I never really gained anything. From what I read vinyl was junk in the late 70's early 80's. They also said some cartridge stylus combos will be more finicky with distortion and surface noise.

    Now I just deal with it. 85% of the LP is good, if I want perfection I will look for a needle drop Flac recording.
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  4. #4

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    sounds like your setup is not correct. You sound confident is alignment, what about anti skate, VTA and weight?

    Setup correctly you should not have this problem, as long as EVERYTHING checks out.
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  5. #5

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    So much is still about adjustment. Recently purchased a new Rega TT based on others recommendation. One of the reasons I picked the specific model was its factory-installed MM cartridge. While I have installed many different cart's on my old Dual CS5000 over the years (including an OM-10), I wanted a factory-perfect match. While ultimately I am very happy with its performance, I initially had to make several readjustments to factory bias and tracking force to correct ample audible distortion.

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  6. #6

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    ^^^what he said^^^
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  7. #7

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    I have many, many '70's and '80's records and also had pivoted arm turntables (I'm linear now). Yeah, there was a time oil was scarce and they used all that recycled vinyl. You could get surface noise, distortion, warps, but "horrible inner grove distortion on a large percentage of my collection" screams setup issue to me.
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  8. #8

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    I should have added TT being level.
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  9. #9

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    I have a linear tracking Revox B790 with a Shure V15 IV cartridge. There is no inner groove distortion at all with my setup. If there is groove distortion, it is the whole album, damaged grooves.

  10. #10

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    ^^Exactly^^^

    I have albums I have bought used from half priced books that after a good cleaning are as quiet as some CDs I own.

    SOmetime they look shiney and bright but no matter what they are worn out.

    You never really know until you listen to then, after being cleaned.
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  11. #11

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    Take one of your distorted LP's and demo the Music Hall 5 or 7! If possible,will be able to determine if it's your gear or not. These are fine tables,I have both,and all my old vinyl sounds superb on this gear,especially the 7!

  12. #12

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    besides whats been said about setup, how clean are the LP's?

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    Hopefully this doesn't turn into a novel. I bought the table used. The first owner bent the daylights out of the original OM5e stylus hence the reason the OM10 is on there. When I bought it, the table supposedly had less than 40 hrs on it. I've put probably another 100-150 on it. Most of the LP's left over from my teen years sound OK. I really started noticing the IGD when I began buying used.

    Thinking maybe I damaged the stylus somehow, I had the table checked out by a small local shop. He viewed the stylus under a scope & everything looked OK. While I was there I had him align the cart for me. His alignment resulted in no improvement in the IGD & an overall worse sound quality. At that point I aligned the cart myself. I would say the rig now sounds like it did when it had the factory alignment, assuming the previous owner didn't touch anything, which I don't think he did.

    To answer some of the questions posed.

    The cantiliver does not look bent to me.
    I have not played with VTA, but the stylus tip looks parallel to the record while playing near as I can tell.
    This is the protractor I used: http://www.turntablebasics.com/align.html
    Tracking force is set to 1.7g using a Shure sf-2.
    The little antiskate weight is positioned where it should be for the above tracking weight, in the 2nd notch.
    Table is level.

    I started out using a Audio Technica AT6012 brush to clean LPs. Since then I've picked up a Spin Clean & all used material I've picked up since then has been run through it. Prior to playing I'm using an AudioQuest carbon fiber brush. Stylus gets dry cleaned every couple of sides with a Last stylus brush. At the end of a session I use the Last brush & the fluid that came with it.

    Used material has been purchased from a couple of sources but mostly from a local shop dealing in such. At any rate, it is all nm to mint in apperance. I have played one of the worse sounding LPs on the store's Debut III table which has a Grado Red. Incidentally, this is the same shop which did the alignment for me. Sounded like crap on that rig too.

    There's the background, & probably a few things that don't matter. So, is my alignment crap? Stylus or cart damaged? Records damaged? Do I need a microline stylus which will dig deeper? Taking LPs to a shop which has a better rig to demo on would take some travel.

    -Dave

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    Dave, You might try the antiskate weight in 1st and 3rd position to see if it has any effect.

    If you are willing to send a couple of albums I would test them for you.

    DO you have any albums that do not have IGD?
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    To piggyback on Tracy's comments about the anti-skate weight, don't trust the adjustment knob. Get a scale, it's the only way I was able to even come close to setting the force when I had my Debut.
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  16. #16

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    Just wondering, have you cleaned all this noisy vinyl? I can tell you that I have vintage 70's and early 80's Billy Joel on vinyl, and it does not distort at all. I'm not saying something else isn't wrong, but don't ever expect to be wow'ed by vinyl that's not clean.
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    Since then I've picked up a Spin Clean
    I bought one of those too. It made my records sound worse. There was lots of crackling and distortion after I used it. You can tell if the record is clean by checking the stylus after playing a cleaned used record. If there is any build up of crud on the tip, the record is not clean. At SH Forums there is a lot of info on how to get records really clean.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim 249 View Post
    I bought one of those too. It made my records sound worse. There was lots of crackling and distortion after I used it. You can tell if the record is clean by checking the stylus after playing a cleaned used record. If there is any build up of crud on the tip, the record is not clean. At SH Forums there is a lot of info on how to get records really clean.
    My spin clean has done nothing but good things for my vinyl...

    However, cleaning can lead to static. Do you do anything for static?
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by thsmith View Post
    Dave, You might try the antiskate weight in 1st and 3rd position to see if it has any effect.
    +1 to that.

    There are different alignment methods, like Loefgren, Baerwald, Stevenson. They all strive to reduce inner groove distortion. IIRC the Turntable Basics is Baerwald (I have one of them too). You need to find out what method Project uses for alignment to see if the proper alignment method is being used.

    Vinyl cleaning, aside from different brews of commercial/home grown solutions, vacuum, dish and micofiber towels is pretty simple. Remove everything but the label, vinyl and grooves.
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  20. #20

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    You need to check tracking force at the level of the record which is impossible to do with the Shure gauge. All of the components of setup are critical to achieving good sound. Vinyl is very complex, tedious and time consuming. Many factors play into having a system that sounds good. Perhaps your cartridge and tonearm are not compatible, clean records are important as well. There is some good advice given above, but I would start with a level TT, properly aligned cartridge and clean records. You also need to find out if your cart is compatible with your arm. Let us know how it turns out.
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    Dave if it all seems too much why not cruise it down to Reading and see the guy at CDExchange.He can check that stuff and i'm sure he can set you straight.
    You can get some more vinyl while you're there too.

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    If your confident with your turntable setup, it's seems reasonable to assume it's either worn out vinyl or a worn stylus. I noticed your post about the Spin Clean, could be it's just inadequate to do a proper job on cleaning. Do you have a hand held steamer you can try and add to your cleaning regiment?

    Before I invested in my VPI RCM, I'd hand wash my records in the sink using Dawn dish washing liquid, a paintbrush and micro fiber towels, along with a Shark Steamer. I still use my Shark on used records with the VPI. Sometimes the gunk buildup in the grooves is so bad, it takes a little extra effort to clean. Maybe you could invest in a brand new record and see if there's a difference. I recommend cleaning brand new vinyl also. If not, try a new cartridge.

    Here's the link that Rich (Scomp) turned me onto that I used to clean my records before getting my RCM. It's more effort than a vacuum type cleaning machine, but the results weren't to bad really. I used a carbon filter on the faucet to help remove impurities from the tap. Using the paintbrush and steam would get my records fairly clean, but a vacuum type RCM is really the best way to go when cleaning records.

    http://www.gallagher.com/clean_records.htm

  23. #23

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    Clean your stylus regularly and avoid liquid solvents when cleaning. A really cheap tweak that works really well is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. You want to use the type that has no chemical cleaner in it. Cut out a small square and place it on the platter, and que the stylus into it several times. Don't get all crazy and try scrubbing with a back and forth motion, just dip the needle a few times into the Magic Eraser and let it do the work. I use it after playing each side of my records and it works very well at keeping the stylus clean.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by brgman View Post
    Dave if it all seems too much why not cruise it down to Reading and see the guy at CDExchange.He can check that stuff and i'm sure he can set you straight.
    You can get some more vinyl while you're there too.
    I did. Steve is who I went to see to have the stylus scoped & the cart aligned. I can't complain as he did it all gratis, but I did not like the results after he was done.

    I won't swear to it, but around the time I picked up the Spin Clean is about the time I really noticed the IGD. The problem with pin pointing if it is to blame is this. All the used stuff I picked up has been Spin Cleaned & all the older stuff has not, so it's hard to determine if the Spin Clean is to blame or the used records are worn/damaged. Plus I do have IGD on some of my teenage year Lps, but not as large a percentage. Then again, I bought all of those new so I know they have been treated well. What are peoples thoughts on using the Spin Clean with only distilled water, no Spin Clean solution, to try to scub off anything left behind by previous cleaning? I will look into other methods to clean my vinyl. Interestingly enough we have one of those clothes steamers. Is that what I should use if I want to steam them clean?

    Already tried the magic eraser. No change.

    Can't be a cart incompatibility issue. It's the one Pro-ject ships with the Debut III.

    I have tried different tracking forces. More seems better, but doesn't reduced the IGD to a level I can live with.

    I'll do some more tinkering & see what shakes out.

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    Not sure about the clothes steamer. I use one similar to this.

    http://www.amazon.com/Multi-Purpose-...ndheld+steamer

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveHo View Post
    I did. Steve is who I went to see to have the stylus scoped & the cart aligned. I can't complain as he did it all gratis, but I did not like the results after he was done.

    I won't swear to it, but around the time I picked up the Spin Clean is about the time I really noticed the IGD. The problem with pin pointing if it is to blame is this. All the used stuff I picked up has been Spin Cleaned & all the older stuff has not, so it's hard to determine if the Spin Clean is to blame or the used records are worn/damaged. Plus I do have IGD on some of my teenage year Lps, but not as large a percentage. Then again, I bought all of those new so I know they have been treated well. What are peoples thoughts on using the Spin Clean with only distilled water, no Spin Clean solution, to try to scub off anything left behind by previous cleaning? I will look into other methods to clean my vinyl. Interestingly enough we have one of those clothes steamers. Is that what I should use if I want to steam them clean?

    Already tried the magic eraser. No change.

    Can't be a cart incompatibility issue. It's the one Pro-ject ships with the Debut III.

    I have tried different tracking forces. More seems better, but doesn't reduced the IGD to a level I can live with.

    I'll do some more tinkering & see what shakes out.
    When i had a spin clean i used their stuff but didn't have anything to compare it to.Maybe try a different solution?
    You did mix with distilled water each time correct?
    If you want to send a few to me i can clean them on the VPI and send them back and you can try 'em and see if you hear difference.

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    Try the paintbrush method. It's cheap and effective. I thought about a Spin Clean before pulling the trigger on my VPI. One thing that turned me off about the Spin Clean, is that the record baths in a dirty solution. With the RCM, it's clean solution every time. I've experimented with a lot of stuff, something else you can try is an enzyme type cleaner. They make some specifically for records, but I've used stuff from Petco with decent results. You want to get one that's all natural, no alcohol and scent free. Try this as a pre-wash to break down organic gunk inside the grooves and followup with a good cleaning and rinse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveHo View Post
    I did. Steve is who I went to see to have the stylus scoped & the cart aligned. I can't complain as he did it all gratis, but I did not like the results after he was done.

    I won't swear to it, but around the time I picked up the Spin Clean is about the time I really noticed the IGD. The problem with pin pointing if it is to blame is this. All the used stuff I picked up has been Spin Cleaned & all the older stuff has not, so it's hard to determine if the Spin Clean is to blame or the used records are worn/damaged. Plus I do have IGD on some of my teenage year Lps, but not as large a percentage. Then again, I bought all of those new so I know they have been treated well. What are peoples thoughts on using the Spin Clean with only distilled water, no Spin Clean solution, to try to scub off anything left behind by previous cleaning? I will look into other methods to clean my vinyl. Interestingly enough we have one of those clothes steamers. Is that what I should use if I want to steam them clean?

    Already tried the magic eraser. No change.

    Can't be a cart incompatibility issue. It's the one Pro-ject ships with the Debut III.

    I have tried different tracking forces. More seems better, but doesn't reduced the IGD to a level I can live with.

    I'll do some more tinkering & see what shakes out.
    David, if what you say in bold is true then it sounds like you have a lot of worn out albums.

    I would be glad to test some for you and I can also share my DIY method to cleaning albums and send you some surfactant.

    I have no residue on my cart and most of my albums are as quiet as a CD, ok almost as quiet.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  29. #29

    Member Sales Rating: (1)

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    SE PA
    Posts
    744

    Default

    Thought I'd follow up on this. After dragging my feet some more, I ended up getting an Audio Technica AT440mla cart along with the heavier Pro-ject counter weight needed to run it. Problem solved. This cart tracks like a dream. Even the worst of the worst sound good. Only complaint I have relates to the 440mla being a bit bright, but that is supposed to settle down with 40-50 hours of play time. Currently have around 10 hours on it & can sort of sense it starting to mellow out some. At this point I could kick myself for wating so long to do something about it.

    -Dave

  30. #30

    Member Sales Rating: (12)

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Plainfield, Illinois
    Posts
    5,384

    Default

    I had an AT440MLa on a Yamaha YP-D10 in my retro system (all Yamaha/Polk 7C's with Peerless). Great cartridge choice.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

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