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  1. #1

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    Default Just Brought home my first Turntable

    I know it's nothing too special, but my grandmother-in-law just gave me her old BSR McDonald 2260AG turntable yesterday. It doesn't look like it's the most high-end table ever made (the base is cheap plastic) but it sounds pretty good for something that's sat in a basement for the last 10 years.

    I've never had any vinyl before so it's a pretty new experience for me. So far, I've picked up a few records at the 1/2 priced bookstore (some Bad Co, Boston, a Sinatra album, etc) and I'm listening away.

    One question that's come up so far: Would it do me any good to get a different cartridge? It has a QLM 30 MkIII currently. I was looking into an Audio-Technica AT440MLa, but I really don't know enough about turntables to know how of a difference it'll make.
    ~Matt
    -----------------My System------------------
    Front L/R: Definitive BP10Bs
    Surrounds -Polk Audio Monitor 4As
    Preamp: B&K Reference 20
    CD: Jolida JD100a
    L/R Amp: Carver TFM-24
    Turntable: Pioneer PL-516 W/ Shure M97xe
    TV: Sony 52" XBR9

  2. #2

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    If the cart is as old as the table then yes replace it. If it sounds good now it will sound even better with a decent new cart.

    Congrats for getting into vinyl. There are several DIY record cleaning links out there. I buy most my LPs from half priced books.
    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

  3. #3
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    A new cartridge will bring that turntable to real life!

  4. #4

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    Congrats Paden. Vinyl can be very rewarding. The AT-440MLa from what I've read is a fine cartridge. I had considered it before ultimately purchasing a Denon DL160. You could also consider a lower cost alternative with the Shure M97xE. There's excellent reviews on this cartridge. Amazon has the best price on it now with free shipping. Here's amazon's link and a good review posted on AudiogoN.

    http://www.amazon.com/Shure-M97xE-Hi.../dp/B00006I5SB

    http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...02094&read&3&4

    Cheers,

    Mike
    Last edited by Keiko; 07-14-2009 at 05:12 AM.

  5. #5
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    Great links Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    Great links Mike.
    You taught me everything I know. :D









    Almost! :p

  7. #7

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    Thanks to the help of Hearingimpared and Keiko I purchased the Shure M97 from Amazon at a great price. I have to tell you the sound is much better than my 30yr old Stanton. While I only have about 10 hours on the cartridge now, it seems to be getting better every time I listen to it.

    I've noticed an increase in the lower end and the midrange is much clearer than my old Stanton, but it's slightly lacking in the high range (could be it needs more break-in time. Also I hear alittle more surface noise (I think I have to clean my records better).

    I think for an older lower end turntable this would have to be at the top of your list..

    Thanks again to Mike & Joe your advice has been spot on...

    Jimmy

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    Give the cantilever suspension about 35 hours to loosin up or break in and I think your highs will sparkle.

  9. #9

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    might want to check your tracking force. cartridge location, and alignment
    although there may not be much available adjustment on the BSR.

    also isolation pads and a solid material (granite/ marble/composite) can
    provide an improved operating platform.

    upgrade the RCA connectors is another option.

    all fun things to do.

    I find it ironic that you mention it was your Grandmothers'
    make me feel that the world belongs to the younger generation now.....

  10. #10

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    I like the Shure better with the brush instead of down. Be sure to align the cart.

    If you decide to DIY record cleaning solution I have plenty of surfactant Triton X-114 if you need some.
    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

  11. #11

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    Jimmy, ScompRacer turned me onto this link for cleaning records. It's cheap and very effective. I use an all natural soap and a spot of 91% alcohol solution mixed with purified water in a spray bottle. I have a rather expensive water purifier on my tap. You should be able to get away with one of these Brita filters. They're relatively inexpensive. I also use a Euro Pro Shark Steam in my vinyl cleaning ritual.

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

    http://www.brita.com/us/products/fau...tration/basic/

    http://www.amazon.com/Euro-Pro-SC710...7575738&sr=8-7

    Also, for label savers I bought a pair of these from Napa auto parts. Cheap and they work perfectly. 4.99 each.

    http://www.napaonline.com/MasterPage...on=Suction+Cup

    It's a bit of a PITA, but this stuff works well until I get a VPI RCM.

    I was geared up to buy one until one of our TV's went out. Had to pick up another set for my mother-in-law. Hopefully in another month or so I can commit again. Gotta keep momma happy. ;)

  12. #12

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    There were BSRs and there were BSRs, but virtually none of the BSR record players were really very sophisticated nor particularly good performing. Some of them (the ubiquitous changers with ceramic cartridge from mid 1970s 'all in one' hifis) were pretty terrible. Most of them (at least the BSRs I recall) wouldn't be a good match for the high-compliance M97xe, I reckon.

    I am not familiar with the BSR model numbers. I'd suggest perusing mid-1970s catalog entries at www.radioshackcatalogs.com and see if you can find a lookalike. In those days, many of the less expensive Radio Shack record players (mostly changers) were BSR OEM.

    For example, see pages 30 and 31 at http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalogs/1977/
    The top two changers on p. 30 are Miracords, most of the rest (with the possible execption of the truly nasty "compact system changer" on the bottom of p. 30) are BSR OEM (EDIT: as is the bottom player on p. 32).

    EDIT^2: aha!

    Last edited by mhardy6647; 07-14-2009 at 09:03 AM.
    all the best,
    mrh

  13. #13

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    Sounds logical. Go with the advice of mrh for a replacement stylus/cartridge in this case. If you're serious about getting into vinyl, look into a better turntable.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Keiko; 07-14-2009 at 09:24 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmydep View Post
    Thanks to the help of Hearingimpared and Keiko I purchased the Shure M97 from Amazon at a great price. I have to tell you the sound is much better than my 30yr old Stanton. While I only have about 10 hours on the cartridge now, it seems to be getting better every time I listen to it.

    I've noticed an increase in the lower end and the midrange is much clearer than my old Stanton, but it's slightly lacking in the high range (could be it needs more break-in time. Also I hear alittle more surface noise (I think I have to clean my records better).
    I think for an older lower end turntable this would have to be at the top of your list..

    Thanks again to Mike & Joe your advice has been spot on...

    Jimmy
    You may also be experiencing a little more surface "sound" due to the fact that the Shure probably has a higher output voltage than the Stanton. See if you can lower the gain in you preamp if it has that feature.

  15. #15

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    I was probably too rough on this record player in my previous post :-(
    It's clear that the OP is enjoying it... which is all that counts!
    all the best,
    mrh

  16. #16

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    Also, it may be wise to hold off on more investments in your BSR turntable.

    Here's the supporting logic: If you enjoy LPs, you'll end up buying a newer turntable within five years. Instead of tweaking, save your cash and upgrade to a newer turntable down the road.

    I added a new cartridge to a free Philips GA312. It sounds fine. I play records. But, I can easily imagine how a number of tweaks might help. Then I add up the cost of the tweaks and the time investment and I think, I'll just buy a nicer turntable on Audiogon someday and skip all that effort.
    Marantz DV4001 CD and DVD
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    Polk Monitor 40s (Zone 2)

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keiko View Post
    Jimmy, ScompRacer turned me onto this link for cleaning records. It's cheap and very effective. I use an all natural soap and a spot of 91% alcohol solution mixed with purified water in a spray bottle. I have a rather expensive water purifier on my tap. You should be able to get away with one of these Brita filters. They're relatively inexpensive. I also use a Euro Pro Shark Steam in my vinyl cleaning ritual.

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

    http://www.brita.com/us/products/fau...tration/basic/

    http://www.amazon.com/Euro-Pro-SC710...7575738&sr=8-7

    Also, for label savers I bought a pair of these from Napa auto parts. Cheap and they work perfectly. 4.99 each.

    http://www.napaonline.com/MasterPage...on=Suction+Cup

    It's a bit of a PITA, but this stuff works well until I get a VPI RCM.

    I was geared up to buy one until one of our TV's went out. Had to pick up another set for my mother-in-law. Hopefully in another month or so I can commit again. Gotta keep momma happy. ;)
    Dude you are just too funny with all your links!!! How can you not love this guy.......anyway, I do have obscenely filtered water going thru no less than 9 different filters (I am a plumber you know) so water quality is no problem.

    How much alcohol would you add to a cup of soap solution?

    I have a NAPA Auto parts 3 minuets from me so I'll check out the suction cups.

    I have cleaned a few records using the method in the link with pretty good results, I guess I'll try doing it with the steamer also.


    Thanks

    Jimmy

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    You may also be experiencing a little more surface "sound" due to the fact that the Shure probably has a higher output voltage than the Stanton. See if you can lower the gain in you preamp if it has that feature.
    My phono pre-amp does have a gain control which I've been messing with, but I still think it sounds best about 95% of full gain......it seems like I have to really turn the volume knob up if I keep it any lower.


    Thanks Joe,



    Jimmy

  19. #19

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    Congrats!
    Linn AV5140 fronts
    Linn AV5120 Center
    Linn AV5140 Rears
    M&K MX-70 Sub for Music
    Odyssey Mono-Blocs
    SVS Ultra-13 Gloss Black:D

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmydep View Post

    How much alcohol would you add to a cup of soap solution?
    1-3 ratio.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keiko View Post
    1-3 ratio.
    That's a good amount, I didn't add nearly enough last time I did it.

    Thanks Bro.

    Jimmy

  22. #22

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    Thanks all for the advice. I apologize that I've stepped away from this thread all day yesterday and now I'm way behind on my responses.

    @Keiko - Thanks for the review on the AT. I'm going to look into the Shure also before I make a decision.

    @JVC - There isn't a whole lot of adjustment on this lower-end table. I can adjust the tracking force from 1-6g and there's some adjustment on the arm height.
    You mentioned RCA connectors... the connectors on the table are attached to the bottom of the table assembly and look to be clipped in. I did replace the cheap old interconnect cable that came with it to a monster cable I had laying around.

    @mhardy - Yep. That's the table. And your review of it is pretty spot-on. It's definately a lower-end table and I wouldn't ever argue w/ that. I guess that where my question comes from is what can I do to liven this guy up w/o incurring a ton of cost? My understanding is that if I get a cart for it, I can just take the cart to any new table I get in the future also? (they're universal to some extent??)

    Beyond that I don't know what else I can do.

    Thanks all!
    ~Matt
    -----------------My System------------------
    Front L/R: Definitive BP10Bs
    Surrounds -Polk Audio Monitor 4As
    Preamp: B&K Reference 20
    CD: Jolida JD100a
    L/R Amp: Carver TFM-24
    Turntable: Pioneer PL-516 W/ Shure M97xe
    TV: Sony 52" XBR9

  23. #23

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    I decided to give the Shure M97xe cartridge. I ordered it from Beach Audio today. Hopefully it arrives either Friday or early next week. I'll be sure to provide a review after i break it in.
    ~Matt
    -----------------My System------------------
    Front L/R: Definitive BP10Bs
    Surrounds -Polk Audio Monitor 4As
    Preamp: B&K Reference 20
    CD: Jolida JD100a
    L/R Amp: Carver TFM-24
    Turntable: Pioneer PL-516 W/ Shure M97xe
    TV: Sony 52" XBR9

  24. #24

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    Ok my shure cart arrived today and so far I've had nothing but trouble.

    First, the cleaning kit that I ordered didn't show up so I get to call Beach Audio about that tomorrow morning.

    Next, while I was taking the old cartridge off of the tonearm, I pulled the lead off of the left channel ground wire. So I'll either be replacing all the wires (they are old) or buying a soldering iron tomorrow morning (I do need one anyway).

    My next disaster happened once I put the cart on the tone arm. My goal was to balance the arm, but I quickly realized that the arm didn't have a good counterweight system at all. The Shure cart. calls for 1.25-1.75g but the arm only has a 2g setting. Beyond that, the balance setting wasn't working at all.
    Sooooo I decided to fixt the problem by stacking quarters behind the pivot to get the balance right. 5 quarters ended up working out for me.

    So after all that, hopefully I can finally get to setting the calibration tomorrow and maybe listening to the new cart once I get the wires fixed.

    .....long day.
    ~Matt
    -----------------My System------------------
    Front L/R: Definitive BP10Bs
    Surrounds -Polk Audio Monitor 4As
    Preamp: B&K Reference 20
    CD: Jolida JD100a
    L/R Amp: Carver TFM-24
    Turntable: Pioneer PL-516 W/ Shure M97xe
    TV: Sony 52" XBR9

  25. #25

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    BTW, look under all the foam packing there is a cardboard cartridge alignment protractor, they make no mention of this in the instruction sheet.

    Jimmy

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    Jimmy you just made my day!

    This entire process has been really frustrating though... not because it's inheritly frustrating so much as because I feel like this table lacks adjustment features. I'm starting to feel like this table's only going to last long enough for me to find a nicer one used on craigslist.
    ~Matt
    -----------------My System------------------
    Front L/R: Definitive BP10Bs
    Surrounds -Polk Audio Monitor 4As
    Preamp: B&K Reference 20
    CD: Jolida JD100a
    L/R Amp: Carver TFM-24
    Turntable: Pioneer PL-516 W/ Shure M97xe
    TV: Sony 52" XBR9

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paden501 View Post
    Jimmy you just made my day!

    This entire process has been really frustrating though... not because it's inheritly frustrating so much as because I feel like this table lacks adjustment features. I'm starting to feel like this table's only going to last long enough for me to find a nicer one used on craigslist.
    And it begins......
    SDA-1C (full mods)
    Eico ST-70 Integrated Tube Amp fully rebuilt and modded
    Rega Planar 3 TT/Shelter 501 MkII
    Nitty Gritty 1.5FI RCM
    The Clamp
    Revox A77 Mk IV Dolby
    Thorens TD160/Mission 774 arm/Stanton 881S Shibata
    Nakamichi CR7 Cassette Deck
    Rotel RCD-855 with tube output stage
    Cambridge Audio DACmagic Plus
    DBX 3BX-DS
    DBX 224-DS
    ADC Soundshaper 3 EQ
    Ben's IC's

  28. #28

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    I'm sorry I couldn't resist. Been there done that. Anyway. The counterweight scale on any table needs to be set to zero when the arm floats (not up not down on the record). Find the adjust for the counterweight (different then the one that moves the scale). When the arm floats freely set the scale to zero. You may have to go back and forth until this is achieved. Once the arm floats freely and the scale is set to zero you can now dial up the scale to get your desired tracking force. All this must be done after you have properly aligned the cartridge. If you could find a manual you'd be laughing. I've broken a few cartridge leads myself. Your first table can be frustrating but the eventual rewards are worth it. Good luck.
    SDA-1C (full mods)
    Eico ST-70 Integrated Tube Amp fully rebuilt and modded
    Rega Planar 3 TT/Shelter 501 MkII
    Nitty Gritty 1.5FI RCM
    The Clamp
    Revox A77 Mk IV Dolby
    Thorens TD160/Mission 774 arm/Stanton 881S Shibata
    Nakamichi CR7 Cassette Deck
    Rotel RCD-855 with tube output stage
    Cambridge Audio DACmagic Plus
    DBX 3BX-DS
    DBX 224-DS
    ADC Soundshaper 3 EQ
    Ben's IC's

  29. #29

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    Edit to my above post. First set the scale using the screw to zero then turn the counterweight screw and move the weight up or down the arm until the arm floats (balances in air). The turn the scale screw until you have the desired tracking force on the scale. The set the anti skating screw to the same (aprox) as the track force. Sorry for any misunderstanding.
    SDA-1C (full mods)
    Eico ST-70 Integrated Tube Amp fully rebuilt and modded
    Rega Planar 3 TT/Shelter 501 MkII
    Nitty Gritty 1.5FI RCM
    The Clamp
    Revox A77 Mk IV Dolby
    Thorens TD160/Mission 774 arm/Stanton 881S Shibata
    Nakamichi CR7 Cassette Deck
    Rotel RCD-855 with tube output stage
    Cambridge Audio DACmagic Plus
    DBX 3BX-DS
    DBX 224-DS
    ADC Soundshaper 3 EQ
    Ben's IC's

  30. #30

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    Yeah see this is where my trouble begins. The table has neither a useful tracking force scale (2-8g only) nor an anti skate scale (none whatsoever).
    ~Matt
    -----------------My System------------------
    Front L/R: Definitive BP10Bs
    Surrounds -Polk Audio Monitor 4As
    Preamp: B&K Reference 20
    CD: Jolida JD100a
    L/R Amp: Carver TFM-24
    Turntable: Pioneer PL-516 W/ Shure M97xe
    TV: Sony 52" XBR9

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