Muttoninyourears

Question re flat sounding vinyl with rolled off treble

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Hi all,

Maybe someone could help me with a query re my vinyl setup.  I bought a 1Xpression turntable a few years back with Ortofon red cartridge, and I was never blown away with the sound.  I recently upgraded the rest of the setup to Roksan K3 and Dali Oberon 7s plus a sub, and thought I'd change the 2M red stylus to blue (I never knew how much wear the previous one had since I bought the TT 2nd hand, and had heard this might make a decent improvement to the sound.

I've worn it in for a few hrs, and still, not that impressed.  I'd say the rest of my setup now outranks the TT, but it, and the blue stylus get good reports, so I wondered if it was about setup.  The K3 preamp is meant to be decent.  I made sure it's flat, set the weight, and got one of those protractor things to ensure the cart was square (actually when the arm is at the middle of the platter it's out by maybe 5%, but I think this is probably about as good as you're gonna get?) The anti-skate is on in the middle ring.

I DID notice that if I put my eyeline to needle-level, the cartridge seems to lean out slightly (see pic).  Is this normal, or is something bent, or needing adjusting?

I compared a FLAC of 'Into the Mystic' with my brand new vinyl, and the digital was way better separated and much more clarity on the cymbals and highs.  Is it maybe just that this is the nature of vinyl ('warmer', = less crisp) - or maybe my TT just lags behind the rest of the setup a bit in terms of quality now?

Thanks all for looking.

asdas.png

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Super Wammer

Looking at that pic, your azimuth appears to be out and the stylus is leaning more to the right than it should. (possibly an optical illusion) 

For initial alignment with the protractor do not bother too much with the cart body lining up with the grid. You should be aiming for a perfectly straight line when you sight through the centre line  of the target cross and through and up along the cantalever. 

As for azimuth get yourself one of the clear Azimuth blocks sold on ebay, (photo) I know on my friends 2Xperience the tonearm has azimuth adjustment (small, screw to loosen of near pivot) not sure about the arm on your tt. 

It may also be worth moving the bias loop to the 1st position. Whilst the 2m blue isn't that special it should still be able to give a reasonable account of itself. 

Screenshot_20210220-143938.png

Edited by Lurch
Fat thimbs = too many spurious commas.
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My new vinyl of Into the Mystic isn't too good FWIW. Maybe a few more hours break in, get the azimuth right, and a few different lps?

Vinyl setup for me has always been a long old business, not a fit and forget medium, it requires a LOT of patience and perseverance. I don't know your t/t but the rest should make a decent enough sound for sure.

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I’ve just put a new AT VM95ML on my TD 125. Fitted it into an SME headshell, which has holes, not slots, so overhang has to be adjusted by moving the whole arm SME 3009 s2, which are supposed to sound a bit woolly). Left it as is, set the weight and used a small mirror to check cartridge azimuth.

Sounds marvellous, even after only around 10 hours. Now, I’m sure more could be had out of it, but I’d read stories about how crucial it was to set up a micro linear, blah blah and it doesn’t seem to be the case.  I can’t see that on a modern turntable that a slight azimuth problem would make the whole thing dull?🤔

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This set up should be good enough to compare well with digital files so something is amiss here. I would check the VTA as well as azimuth and tracking force. If the arm is too low at the bearing end this might explain the sound you are getting. 2M blue should be tracking at about 1.8g and the anti skate should be on the central groove as you have it.

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Thanks all!  Will check if there's a little screw on the arm and mess with the Azimuth.  It looks like its pretty square on the protractor but the Azimuth (hadnt even realised this was a thing) is definitely off a few degrees at least.  Hopefully this will give me the sparkle I dearly desire!  If not, might upgrade to Minidisc.

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14 minutes ago, Muttoninyourears said:

might upgrade to Minidisc.

If you get your turntable right, minidisc will not be an upgrade ;)

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Either something is wrong with your turntable set up and connection (and Phono stage settings) or the LPs you tested with were badly recorded.  IMO a well set up turntable with an Ortofon Red should be a good match for a digital system sound wise.  

I use a Systemdek IV with mission 774 and Decca Supergold cartridge and I wish my digital system sounded as good (although to be honest that is mainly to do with older CDs that are AAD or ADD where they never bothered to do conversions to digital carefully from good master tapes).  

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After all of the sage comments is the tracking weight set to light. 

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Don't know where you bought your turntable from but when I bought my 2Xperience with a pre fitted cartridge the azimuth was a good way out. 

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13 hours ago, John (big) said:

After all of the sage comments is the tracking weight set to light. 

I'm balancing the cartridge (recommended 1.6-2.0G) at 1.85 as I heard it sounds better a little heavier, but I could try adjusting this too I guess. I've tried the anti-skating weight in the 3 different positions with no real difference.  It isn't one LP though it's actually all of them where the high frequencies in particular seem poorly defined.  Seems the Azimuth may be to blame so I need to investigate how to adjust this on my TT.

It may be though that to my ears, vinyl, despite its trademark warm sound (which is no doubt nice and easy on the ear) lacks a bit of crispness compared to digital in general...will report back once I've had a play with the Azimuth.

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TBH if the Blue is not sounding crisp then something is up.

I ran mine at 1.7g iirc.

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I did adjust the Azimuth so it looks (to my naked eye) perfectly flat - no real change. maybe time to accept the difference in sound or upgrade...I know there are lots of small tweaks to try - its an evolving process...

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21 hours ago, Muttoninyourears said:

Hi all,

Maybe someone could help me with a query re my vinyl setup.  I bought a 1Xpression turntable a few years back with Ortofon red cartridge, and I was never blown away with the sound.  I recently upgraded the rest of the setup to Roksan K3 and Dali Oberon 7s plus a sub, and thought I'd change the 2M red stylus to blue (I never knew how much wear the previous one had since I bought the TT 2nd hand, and had heard this might make a decent improvement to the sound.

I've worn it in for a few hrs, and still, not that impressed.  I'd say the rest of my setup now outranks the TT, but it, and the blue stylus get good reports, so I wondered if it was about setup.  The K3 preamp is meant to be decent.  I made sure it's flat, set the weight, and got one of those protractor things to ensure the cart was square (actually when the arm is at the middle of the platter it's out by maybe 5%, but I think this is probably about as good as you're gonna get?) The anti-skate is on in the middle ring.

I DID notice that if I put my eyeline to needle-level, the cartridge seems to lean out slightly (see pic).  Is this normal, or is something bent, or needing adjusting?

I compared a FLAC of 'Into the Mystic' with my brand new vinyl, and the digital was way better separated and much more clarity on the cymbals and highs.  Is it maybe just that this is the nature of vinyl ('warmer', = less crisp) - or maybe my TT just lags behind the rest of the setup a bit in terms of quality now?

Thanks all for looking.

asdas.png

Just read your post carefully. Having owned the original Xpression 1 from new until a few years ago, I never experienced any roll off with presentation. Of course digital by it's nature will be different in terms of a little more detail, clarity etc etc. I immediately changed the original Ortofon cart with a ClearAudio Classic Wood Aurum cartridge, and that sounded great by comparison.

Looking at your set-up, and the Kandy K3 with Oberon speakers strikes me as being on the smooth side. In addition vinyl is naturally organic/smooth and budget/midrange Ortofons are inoffensive in nature. I think the presentation of your kit (as a whole) all points to innocuous soundstage.

How or what you change will largely depend on which format you use the most. If vinyl is your preferred format perhaps either speakers or amp will need to change, along with a more upbeat cart, or if digital is preferred then just stick with the fact vinyl may not be totally to your liking.

Hi-fi isn't an exact science, and with different formats giving various results, there isn't much you can do unless you have a bottomless wallet.  

If you want to experiement on the -relative- cheap budget, try Clear Audio Concept MM cart - I'm currently using one on my Classic and it's superb for the money.

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Did you try adjusting the VTA, specifically raising the arm? 

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