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Turntable upgrades worthwhile?


Headcoat
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3 hours ago, uzzy said:

Do not disagree and you make good points  - it is just for £500 second hand you can do so much better. 

As to suspended subchassis on a wooden floor they do not play any more havoc than a solid shelf jobby like a Rega .. and anyone with a wooden floor who does not isolate their turntable should do that before considering any upgrade at all, 

I am sorry I did not mention the direct drives in my list but the SP10 and the top end audio decks from Technics and others from the day are very good.  

As to tne minefield, we were all faced with that when we started out .. hence we learned from dem rooms and friends and reading lots.  I think the most valuable lesson in the journey is listening to other peoples' systems and finding out from them why they made their choices and what they compared what they bought against.

Am actually considering isolation i.e. dedicated wall mounted isolation. Currently:

- One deck is on a wall mounted shelving unit, Ikea job with thin mdf shelves.

- The other will be on a Hi Fi Racks solid wooden hi fi unit, spikes into carpet/floor

Both are on suspended wooden floors. Does either current setting above count as 'isolated' ?

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1 hour ago, Beobloke said:


Regarding the three points in the order above, I would say:

- A pretty noticeable difference
- A huge difference
- A modest difference.

You win the prize for exactly the kind of answer I was looking for! 

That said, all comments have been really helpful. 

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2 hours ago, Headcoat said:

Am actually considering isolation i.e. dedicated wall mounted isolation. Currently:

- One deck is on a wall mounted shelving unit, Ikea job with thin mdf shelves.

- The other will be on a Hi Fi Racks solid wooden hi fi unit, spikes into carpet/floor

Both are on suspended wooden floors. Does either current setting above count as 'isolated' ?

The ideal for any turntable is a solid wall mounted shelf .. If you are forced to spike a rack or support to a wooden floor (suspended on joists) then ideally try to site the legs on the joists.  A large paving slab over the boards with two or three joists underneath it with some Squash balls cut in half as legs should provide sufficient isolation to then spike mount your stand to the paving slab (or granite or marble slab) and stop the wobble as far as possible.  There are threads on speaker isolation on here and the principle applies to both.

As to the question of which would make the biggest improvement in purchase (on price) between turntable cartridge and Phono stage ., it is almost impossible to answer.   If the arm chosen does not match the cartridge then regardless of turntable and phono stage you will not get the best out of it.  Similarly some swear blind that certain arms do not work on certain turntables now I have no proof this is the case but it is a subjective view so is likely to cause as much argument as cables.

As to moving coil versus moving magnet I prefer moving coils but I have had customers in the past who preferred moving magnets .. simple case in point we compared a Linn SME with V15 3 against an SME with a Fidelity Research FR1 Mk2 and we switched to a Dynavector - The SME V15 3 was far better to our ears.  

As to that question there is also the Decca cartridges which are moving armature and put with the wrong arm the importance of arm matching is immediately apparent.

As to phono stages there are loads for sale - you have to wonder if high cost equals high performance or not and the only way to do that is to use your ears and find the one that works best with your chosen cartridge.  Some of us do not want to get caught up in that race so we bought preamps with superb phono stages and whilst their may be an off board that will deliver more, as long as our ears are totally happy with the sound we get there is no way we are going to go looking.

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I'm with @uzzy

How hard is it to fit a shelf to a wall? 

The myth of the turntable as the source of all happiness survives the lp12 being the ultimate source in it's day, but then keel making it work for £1500

Fit a 774 to a stock gl75, change the mat and see how much difference an arm makes 

Or perpetuate the tiefenbrun myth 

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1 hour ago, Pinkie said:

I'm with @uzzy

How hard is it to fit a shelf to a wall? 

The myth of the turntable as the source of all happiness survives the lp12 being the ultimate source in it's day, but then keel making it work for £1500

Fit a 774 to a stock gl75, change the mat and see how much difference an arm makes 

Or perpetuate the tiefenbrun myth 

As I said, I'm actually considering fitting a shelf to a wall!!! Actually two shelves to two walls.

I've no idea what a 774, a stock GL75 or the tiefenbrun myth are/is. 

Or Keel for that matter. I have heard of the lp12 though.

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Posted (edited)

Just for clarity the question never was which of these (cartridge, turntable or phono stage) makes the most difference. It was an open question looking for comments on how much improvement spending more (note: all things being equal i.e. matching cartridge to arm, isolation, other kit etc) would be expected to make in each if these areas.

A very general question. The purpose was to assist me in deciding to stick or move up. 

A decision has been made to stick for now, with the distinct possibility in future of moving up.

Inadvertently Uzzy has convinced me to proceed with my long stalled plans to add a couple of wall mounted shelves. That's useful - cheers Uzzy.

Edited by Headcoat
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Sorry. I was a bit fatigued by ground hog day comments. Not just here 

The shelf is a great idea. It was job1 before I bothered trying to use the record player here. And I have successfully used that turntable playing on a chest of drawers with 2 keesonic kubs (bookshelf speakers) also on it

A bit of a saga. The wall appears from the outside to be concrete block. Then when you start drilling pilot holes it appears to be stud partition lined. Only you can't find the studs. Actually it's lined with 100mm thick foam glued to the plasterboard and the concrete blocks. We had to cut a 300mm square hole in it, clear the foam and then put 100x50 joists in to fix the shelf to, before new plasterboard and a skim

Well worth it

The turntable and arm I quoted are both easy to Google. My point was, at those price points the arm was likely to have a much greater influence assuming a competent turntable. You wouldn't take the arm from a GL75 and put it on an Lp12. Tiefenbrun was/is the owner of linn. His myth said you would put any arm on the lp12. The lv-v he sold for the purpose was little better than the gl75 arm. Most of the ground hog day stuff clings to this myth 

I would look seriously at the phono stage, but in the context of the total amplification, as important for the results.. I have had great results with a mm goldring 1042 and my pip phono stage. Much less satisfactory with inferior amplification. 

If you think that the arm effect is significant there is another possibility for skinning the cat. But I want to try it before repeating it. 

You won't regret the shelf. Happy listening 

IMG_20210409_200248-02.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

To echo some sentiments here...

I've run with a Goldring 1042 MM for over 20 years now, and have no real ambition to switch away from it.

I've also used a Target TT shelf for the last 25 years, and this has provided a stable platform throughout.

My own experience of phono stages, with the 1042 mounted on a Thorens TD 166 with an RB250 arm, is that my Edwards Audio MC1 was much better than the inbuilt phono stage in my old NAD 1000 pre, but that the Croft RIAA phono stage in my Croft Micro 25 preamp blew them both away.

However, switching from the Thorens to a Nottingham Analogue ACE Spacedeck with an RB330 arm has taken everything up another very significant notch. The NA TT is, of itself, a very stable platform, so I now have a stable platform on a stable platform, and it really works well.

(I auditioned the NA TT with the 1042 but with the cheaper RB202 arm, and that was also a massive improvement over the Thorens. The RB330 is just some very nice icing on the cake.)

Not saying that anyone should adopt my personal choices, but a cartridge like the 1042 and an arm like an RB220 or similar will take you a long way.

Also, the better the deck, the more that the cartridge and arm will deliver.

Similarly, a good phono stage will enable you to get the best from your TT, arm and cartridge.

A poor platform will, however, b*gger things up a bit and, in that context, a good spirit level will vastly improve sound quality.

Edited by Sotosound
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14 hours ago, Headcoat said:

As I said, I'm actually considering fitting a shelf to a wall!!! Actually two shelves to two walls.

I've no idea what a 774, a stock GL75 or the tiefenbrun myth are/is. 

Or Keel for that matter. I have heard of the lp12 though.

My heavily customised Lenco was the best t/t that I ever heard at a cost of £1600. Better than my current £6k Luxman and £15k Raven/Phantom. But this is because I like funk music and the Lenco had grunt. But plenty of t/t did more detail if that’s your thing. 

Both @uzzy and @radiant red make excellent points and only you will know which camp you are in. 

I have grown out of suspended decks due to comparative faff factor but Heybrook TT can be had at a reasonable price but I would go for a non-suspended t/t. I have used a few and never had problems not using a wall shelf. 

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1 hour ago, Sotosound said:

However, switching from the Thorens to a Nottingham Analogue ACE Spacedeck with an RB330 arm has taken everything up another very significant notch. The NA TT is, of itself, a very stable platform, so I now have a stable platform on a stable platform, and it really works well.

Also, the better the deck, the more that the cartridge and arm will deliver.

The Ace Spacedeck is a great sounding deck. It’s very neutral. I had it on home demo and should have bought it. I preferred it over an Orbe and also over the NA Dais at three times the price.  

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5 minutes ago, DomT said:

The Ace Spacedeck is a great sounding deck. It’s very neutral. I had it on home demo and should have bought it. I preferred it over an Orbe and also over the NA Dais at three times the price.  

I have heard the Orbe and seems it needs a lively cartridge to tease out the sound somewhat. Never heard Nottingham but the Spacedeck does seem good value and has a popular following.

I am interested in what area you found it to be preferable over the Dias though.

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4 minutes ago, hiesteem said:

I have heard the Orbe and seems it needs a lively cartridge to tease out the sound somewhat. Never heard Nottingham but the Spacedeck does seem good value and has a popular following.

I am interested in what area you found it to be preferable over the Dias though.

Dais was very controlled sounding and the Ace more ‘free’. That was enough to put me off as nothing else mattered. 

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12 minutes ago, hiesteem said:

:^ :^

Much high end hifi is about detail and control and for me it often equates to a lack of musicality. The natural ebb and flow of music is important to me; the way that notes are tied together. 

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Posted (edited)

I would really like to reiterate my comment on cartridges. The question was £150 MM to £550 MC. The £150 MM is mid price, the £550 MC is low end so even if MC is better than MM (another debate) the budget does not allow the MC to show its pace. 
 

Spending £500 MM and you are looking at a top end cartridge, to get such a MC and it’s (again debate) superiority you would pay £4K (ish) there are bargains in both category so I am generalising 

To start getting improvements going to MC from a mid MM expect to pay £800 plus

i use a ART9xa (£1300) and a Linn K18 (MM about £200 in the 90’s) the art wins but the linn gives a good fight

Jessica xx

Edited by Jessica_k
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