Turntable buying tips - anyone and to help?

wizons

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I was going to buy a 2nd hand Michell Orbe SE and 2nd hand Icon Audio PS3 or Eastern Electric Minimax, but the Orbe has sold, as has the Easter Electric. Anyway, I have some credit with the dealer due to a part exchange deal on some kit a while ago and I'm seriously tempted to get a vinyl setup. My current thoughts are to get a new Orbe SE (a UK based company with good after sales service is a must), though I don't know about the phono stage. Which do you rate more, the Icon Audio or the Eastern Electrc?

As for tone arms, I'm certainly not going to spend the silly money needed for a SME, so the Michell Techno arm seems a sensible option.

And then there's the cartridge. I haven't used vinyl for about 30 years, so some advice for novices would be appreciated here. I know MC carts are considered better, but given that my vinyl is pretty old and worn, and in need of a clean, is there any advantage in splashing out here? Do they track as well as MM carts?

It might be that old vinyl is simply not able benefit from a really good set up and if this is so I'd really appreciate someone telling me this before I splash out.

One more question: given that MC carts have a much lower output than MM, aren't they susceptible to rfi on coaxial interconnects, as well as to vibrations being amplified?

:^

 

uncl_nigel

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FWIW I agree with the idea of a UK manufacturer with a good reputation for quality and after-sales backup.

Having both an SME V and a Technoarm a, I can safely say they are both great for the their respective prices but the SME IS better although whether that is commensurate with the price difference is another point.

No idea about the phono stage you mention - never listened to either.

I have not had any RFI issues with the MC carts I have used - Linn Troika, AT ATF5, Ortofon MC15 Super, DV20XL, Denon 103 into various phonstages (Linn Linto, Naim prefix/stageline, Sonneteer Sedley, EAR 834P, Aesthetix Rhea) to name those that comle to mind.

 

tkimages

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I was going to buy a 2nd hand Michell Orbe SE and 2nd hand Icon Audio PS3 or Eastern Electric Minimax, but the Orbe has sold, as has the Easter Electric. Anyway, I have some credit with the dealer due to a part exchange deal on some kit a while ago and I'm seriously tempted to get a vinyl setup. My current thoughts are to get a new Orbe SE (a UK based company with good after sales service is a must), though I don't know about the phono stage. Which do you rate more, the Icon Audio or the Eastern Electrc?As for tone arms, I'm certainly not going to spend the silly money needed for a SME, so the Michell Techno arm seems a sensible option.

And then there's the cartridge. I haven't used vinyl for about 30 years, so some advice for novices would be appreciated here. I know MC carts are considered better, but given that my vinyl is pretty old and worn, and in need of a clean, is there any advantage in splashing out here? Do they track as well as MM carts?

It might be that old vinyl is simply not able benefit from a really good set up and if this is so I'd really appreciate someone telling me this before I splash out.

One more question: given that MC carts have a much lower output than MM, aren't they susceptible to rfi on coaxial interconnects, as well as to vibrations being amplified?

:^
I think you'll find that lots of the people here play old vinyl on good systems.

Most of my vinyl is from the 60s, 70s and 80s and each time I upgrade/change equipment, the sound quality from vinyl changes with it.

If by 'old' you mean damaged vinyl, then I don't think improving the equipment will improve the sound quality, but a good clean of vinyl usually does improve matters.

 

vacdac

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If buying a brand new Orbe/Orbe s.e. I'd view speccing a Technoarm as perhaps a missed opportunity. The Jelco SA750D is easily a better arm, has far greater flexibility & is easier to match to a wider range of carts. All in with a decent cable + a *Shuggie collar* it can be had for similar money to the Technoarm & it is also available in an all black finish as well as the sexxxy Bronze w. chromed armtube:love: :love: (the armtube actually appears black from some angles)

You need to read this linky to AOS for the why's of needing the Shuggie collar>>> http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?7359-Custom-Arm-Mounting-Collar-for-Jelco-SA-750-essential-for-setting-correct-azimuth.

It's possible to get the azimuth pretty spot on with the standard Jelco collar as the H/Shells are adjustable for azimuth. The main problem is that if you want to exploit the advantages of the Jellys removable H/Shell & run more than one cartridge. You soon find yourself each time you do a cart swap, needing to make fresh azimuth adjustments to the H/Shell due to the inaccuracies introduced by the standard collar when you move the arm pillar up/down & then relock it. This hampers the speed of cart swaps & is a real annoyance given the main advantages of a removable H/Shell arm. Using the Shuggie collar the Azimuth inaccuracies introduced when adjusting VTA are removed & any VTA adjustment is now repeatedly accurate. This is particularly important to me, as I have 5 lomc carts ready set up in their H/shells & I can now do a full swop in around 2mins, including adjusting VTA & VTF if needed, with no need to fanny around with H/Shell azimuth adjustments. :cool:

Hugo (Shuggie) now seems to have fresh batches available a few times each year. :^ AFAIK he currently has some available from his most recent batch & I believe MCRU are also carrying some stock when available.

I'd recommend Benjie over @ DuoPhonic who trade on e-bay to source the Jelco arm, as their prices are better than pretty much anywhere & in fact cheaper than Jelcos home market in Japan. I'd also recommend the ISOkinetik ISOtone arm cable which he sells for £120 which is £30 cheaper than buying from ISOkinetik directly. http://stores.ebay.co.uk/duo-phonic?_trksid=p2047675.l2563.

%21B9%21G+F%21BGk~%24%28KGrHqR,%21l0Ey+jCyMTVBM4krMQ2W%21~~0_12.JPG



ISOKINETIK ISOTONE TONEARM CABLE CARDAS LITZ CABLE HIFI, http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ISOKINETIK-ISOTONE-TONEARM-CABLE-CARDAS-LITZ-CABLE-HIFI-/171011833479?pt=UK_Computing_Sound_Vision_Audio_Cables_Adapters&hash=item27d1197e87.

ISOtone tone arm cable 5din scu 1 RRP £149This ISOkinetik tonearm cable is 1.2m long and is suitable for tonearms with the straight version of the 5 pin mini DIN connector for instance SME , Jelco, Linn, ETC

Extending the ISOtone range the 5din scu is an external tonearm cable using our popular ISOtone construction which has a psuedo balanced, Faraday cage, is shielded and has CARDAS GOLDEN SECTION LITZ high purity copper conductors this cable is terminated with a high quality Cardas straight 5pin mini din connector

The ISotone 5din scu 1 is suitable for most tone arms which utilise a straight 5 pin mini din connection at the tonearm end and is terminated with high qualitynon magnetic RCAs at the phono stage end

A GREAT UPGRADE!
A seriously good tonearm cable with very decent spec cardas golden cross Litz cable + Cardas mini-din connector & v well made. I have little doubt that with a more boutique label this would retail for a lot more. :roll: At this price its little more than Jelcos own premium offering & easily worth it IMV.

Benjie is well worth contacting to see if he'll do you a package price & he's prompt on delivery too.

Some other points to consider. :)

If you plan on getting a full plinth Orbe & not an s.e. then VTA adjustments using Michells excellent VTA adjuster supplied with the Technoarm becomes a little more fiddly. I recently made some setup changes/corrections on Pauls (Wallmans) Orbed Gyro & due to the plinths restricted access under the armboard I had to rotate his TT thru 90 degrees to have unfettered access. With any fixed H/Shell arm on a fully plinthed Michell deck you will also find access for allen keys/precision drivers more restricted when mounting carts, particularly if you favour inserting the bolt from underneath the cart as I do.

The allen key locking arrangement on Jelcos & othe Linn fit arms sidestep this becoming an issue as VTA adjustments can be made without access to the armboards underside being necessary. As mentioned though some of these collars can introduce Azimuth inaccuracies so a Shuggie could be worthwhile for some of these too.

TBH rapid setup due to the s.e.'s spider chassis never seems to get much mention but IMV it's one of the main advantages.

I also seem to recall you making some mention of wanting to explore 12" arms due to you having some concerns re end of side tracking errors. IMV with a well setup standard length arm + modern elliptical/line contact cart you shouldn't really encounter this as a problem. Any advantages of a 12" arm are likely to be miniscule when weighed against the disadvantages of significantly higher mass which could mean more limited choice re suitable carts & also some loss in structural rigidity compared to a shorter version of the same arm.

Something else to consider with 12" arms on a full plinthed deck with a hinged cover are that fitting an armboard with the correct geometry/pillar mounting distance may mean that the rear of the arm/counterweight may foul the lid. I have the s.e.Cure full cheese dome type cover for my Gyro s.e. & due to the offset outrigger nature of a 12" mount armboard I'm not sure this would fit either & IIRC its a little larger than a standard Gyro/Orbe cover.

I ran a Technoarm on my Gyro s.e for at least six/seven years & I can say that running a decent selection of lomc's that the Jelco is better with all of them. The Technoarm is actually a good arm for the money too but in use the Jelco is an altogether lovelier thing. It feels silkier & less clunky in your hand when manually cuing. :love: The quality of engineering on offer is easily apparent the bearings are much higher quality & better toleranced & the plastic shrouding on the arm rest element of the Technoarm & cheaper Rega arms do look cheap & cheerful in comparison too. The Adjustable oil damping on the Jelco is well worth having/experimenting with too & is v easy to dial in/out as needed. :geek:

Getting the custom geometry armboard ordered from Michell at the point of purchase shouldn't cost more than around £15/£20 & Michell make these to order as it is not quite the same as their 'off the peg' Linn fit armboard.

Here's mine>>>>
SDC10592.jpg
SDC10491.jpg


Personally I think the Jelly is much more of a visual treat on a Gyro than the Technoarm & to my eyes at least just looks right on a Michell deck. :love: :love: :love:

 

rockmeister

Wammer
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Jul 24, 2005
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HiFi Trade?
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agree about the quality of Jelco. Very good VFM.

Rega's are the tweakers arm of choice, so maybe look there also...an audiomods RB250 would be around £500, the Jelco about £100 less.

I haven't found MM's to track worn LP's better than an MC. If your budget for a cart is up to £400 I'd go MM for simplicity with phonostages and max bang for buck. If you have over that to spend then MC's are the definitive choice but remember to consider output voltage. Low output MC's are the way to go IMO, but then you need a phono stage with sufficient gain = more cash.

I would be thinking.

Orbe/Jelco/£500 MC + phono stage with MC ability + record cleaning machine.

 

vacdac

Wammer
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Jul 19, 2011
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Chris
HiFi Trade?
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Have you got many records?
If you check the Op's other recent thread he does already seem to have a decent amount of vinyl as a starting point. http://www.hifiwigwam.com/showthread.php?88794-Can-anyone-advise-me-on-buying-a-turntable.

I know very little about turntables and haven't played one since the mid 1980s (a Dual CS505), so what's a RCM? As I say the vinyl dates back to the early 70s (Led Zep, Deep Purple, ELP, Yes etc) and into the 80s and hasn't been played for years. I've checked it visually and most of it looks Ok. Is it likely to scrub up well? I Don't really ant to so this if the vinyl I've got is unplayable.The Orbe SE in question is fitted with a RB300. Is this OK to start with? Indeed, can the Orbe SE take a 12inch arm, which I gather is supposed to be better (one bad thing I remember about vinyl is end-of-side-distrortion, which alone could wreck many a classical recording)? I will need to buy a cartridge, so keep your suggestions coming.
RCM's etc have already been touched upon too.

 

vacdac

Wammer
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Chris
HiFi Trade?
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Cheers John.......as to costs you're not far off but for the SA750D + ISOtone cable & the Shuggie collar its more like £565 from Duophonic for the arm & cable delivered & buying the Shuggie collar direct from Hugo.

It'd be at least £90 more to source the bits elsewhere unless you struck a really good deal. If you don't cut corners they're not quite as cheap an option as many people seem to think. :nup: Although by any normal measure they really are a serious bargain.....even at full asking I'd add. :^

Duophonic are £60 cheaper than anywhere else & IMV are your best bet to source Jelco arms in the UK & IIRC are the main UK importer. Best price anywhere I've found for the tonearm cable I mentioned too.

agree about the quality of Jelco. Very good VFM.Rega's are the tweakers arm of choice, so maybe look there also...an audiomods RB250 would be around £500, the Jelco about £100 less.

I haven't found MM's to track worn LP's better than an MC. If your budget for a cart is up to £400 I'd go MM for simplicity with phonostages and max bang for buck. If you have over that to spend then MC's are the definitive choice but remember to consider output voltage. Low output MC's are the way to go IMO, but then you need a phono stage with sufficient gain = more cash.

I would be thinking.

Orbe/Jelco/£500 MC + phono stage with MC ability + record cleaning machine.
Just worth adding that if already owning a Michell deck then the custom order arm mounting board is more expensive than their standard 'off the peg' boards for Rega/Linn/SME arm mounts. Not by much at all mine cost £65 ordered direct from Michell & £10 more than this if ordered from a dealer. Also worth noting that Michells off the peg board for Linn geometry arms is not right for the SA750D. In fact if wanting to fit any Jelco arm I'd check directly with Michell & order directly from them to avoid any SNAFU's. IIRC though the Jelco 250ST (Straight tube/fixed headshell) may be a straight drop in on the standard Linn fit board.

Also a general tip if changing the armboard on a Michell deck I'd suggest buying/fitting the arm decoupling kit at the same time....kinda missed opportunity if you don't, particularly if making these sorta changes is not in your normal comfort zone as once done its fit & forget.

 

Tel

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It might be that old vinyl is simply not able benefit from a really good set up and if this is so I'd really appreciate someone telling me this before I splash out.
Nonsense, clean old vinyl is worth more than modern re-issues, especially first pressings. It invariably sounds better to.

Are you stuck with an Orbe because that is what the dealer you have the credit with sells, or is it a considered choice? If so what else have you listened to and with what arm/cart combos?

 

SergeAuckland

Certified Measurist
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May 6, 2008
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As to playing old worn records, these would most probably have been played with a spherical stylus, possibly an elliptical. A modern line-contact stylus will 'bridge' the worn parts of the groove, contacting higher and lower on the groove wall, so playing unworn vinyl. Cleanliness is probably more important with modern profiles, so I would say an RCM is essential, but you'll get the best out of old records with a modern MC cartridge.

S

 

wizons

Wammer
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Apr 19, 2009
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Paul
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
If buying a brand new Orbe/Orbe s.e. I'd view speccing a Technoarm as perhaps a missed opportunity. The Jelco SA750D is easily a better arm, has far greater flexibility & is easier to match to a wider range of carts. All in with a decent cable + a *Shuggie collar* it can be had for similar money to the Technoarm & it is also available in an all black finish as well as the sexxxy Bronze w. chromed armtube:love: :love: (the armtube actually appears black from some angles)You need to read this linky to AOS for the why's of needing the Shuggie collar>>> http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?7359-Custom-Arm-Mounting-Collar-for-Jelco-SA-750-essential-for-setting-correct-azimuth.

It's possible to get the azimuth pretty spot on with the standard Jelco collar as the H/Shells are adjustable for azimuth. The main problem is that if you want to exploit the advantages of the Jellys removable H/Shell & run more than one cartridge. You soon find yourself each time you do a cart swap, needing to make fresh azimuth adjustments to the H/Shell due to the inaccuracies introduced by the standard collar when you move the arm pillar up/down & then relock it. This hampers the speed of cart swaps & is a real annoyance given the main advantages of a removable H/Shell arm. Using the Shuggie collar the Azimuth inaccuracies introduced when adjusting VTA are removed & any VTA adjustment is now repeatedly accurate. This is particularly important to me, as I have 5 lomc carts ready set up in their H/shells & I can now do a full swop in around 2mins, including adjusting VTA & VTF if needed, with no need to fanny around with H/Shell azimuth adjustments. :cool:

Hugo (Shuggie) now seems to have fresh batches available a few times each year. :^ AFAIK he currently has some available from his most recent batch & I believe MCRU are also carrying some stock when available.

I'd recommend Benjie over @ DuoPhonic who trade on e-bay to source the Jelco arm, as their prices are better than pretty much anywhere & in fact cheaper than Jelcos home market in Japan. I'd also recommend the ISOkinetik ISOtone arm cable which he sells for £120 which is £30 cheaper than buying from ISOkinetik directly. http://stores.ebay.co.uk/duo-phonic?_trksid=p2047675.l2563.

%21B9%21G+F%21BGk~%24%28KGrHqR,%21l0Ey+jCyMTVBM4krMQ2W%21~~0_12.JPG



ISOKINETIK ISOTONE TONEARM CABLE CARDAS LITZ CABLE HIFI, http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ISOKINETIK-ISOTONE-TONEARM-CABLE-CARDAS-LITZ-CABLE-HIFI-/171011833479?pt=UK_Computing_Sound_Vision_Audio_Cables_Adapters&hash=item27d1197e87.

A seriously good tonearm cable with very decent spec cardas golden cross Litz cable + Cardas mini-din connector & v well made. I have little doubt that with a more boutique label this would retail for a lot more. :roll: At this price its little more than Jelcos own premium offering & easily worth it IMV.

Benjie is well worth contacting to see if he'll do you a package price & he's prompt on delivery too.

Some other points to consider. :)

If you plan on getting a full plinth Orbe & not an s.e. then VTA adjustments using Michells excellent VTA adjuster supplied with the Technoarm becomes a little more fiddly. I recently made some setup changes/corrections on Pauls (Wallmans) Orbed Gyro & due to the plinths restricted access under the armboard I had to rotate his TT thru 90 degrees to have unfettered access. With any fixed H/Shell arm on a fully plinthed Michell deck you will also find access for allen keys/precision drivers more restricted when mounting carts, particularly if you favour inserting the bolt from underneath the cart as I do.

The allen key locking arrangement on Jelcos & othe Linn fit arms sidestep this becoming an issue as VTA adjustments can be made without access to the armboards underside being necessary. As mentioned though some of these collars can introduce Azimuth inaccuracies so a Shuggie could be worthwhile for some of these too.

TBH rapid setup due to the s.e.'s spider chassis never seems to get much mention but IMV it's one of the main advantages.

I also seem to recall you making some mention of wanting to explore 12" arms due to you having some concerns re end of side tracking errors. IMV with a well setup standard length arm + modern elliptical/line contact cart you shouldn't really encounter this as a problem. Any advantages of a 12" arm are likely to be miniscule when weighed against the disadvantages of significantly higher mass which could mean more limited choice re suitable carts & also some loss in structural rigidity compared to a shorter version of the same arm.

Something else to consider with 12" arms on a full plinthed deck with a hinged cover are that fitting an armboard with the correct geometry/pillar mounting distance may mean that the rear of the arm/counterweight may foul the lid. I have the s.e.Cure full cheese dome type cover for my Gyro s.e. & due to the offset outrigger nature of a 12" mount armboard I'm not sure this would fit either & IIRC its a little larger than a standard Gyro/Orbe cover.

I ran a Technoarm on my Gyro s.e for at least six/seven years & I can say that running a decent selection of lomc's that the Jelco is better with all of them. The Technoarm is actually a good arm for the money too but in use the Jelco is an altogether lovelier thing. It feels silkier & less clunky in your hand when manually cuing. :love: The quality of engineering on offer is easily apparent the bearings are much higher quality & better toleranced & the plastic shrouding on the arm rest element of the Technoarm & cheaper Rega arms do look cheap & cheerful in comparison too. The Adjustable oil damping on the Jelco is well worth having/experimenting with too & is v easy to dial in/out as needed. :geek:

Getting the custom geometry armboard ordered from Michell at the point of purchase shouldn't cost more than around £15/£20 & Michell make these to order as it is not quite the same as their 'off the peg' Linn fit armboard.

Here's mine>>>>
SDC10592.jpg
SDC10491.jpg


Personally I think the Jelly is much more of a visual treat on a Gyro than the Technoarm & to my eyes at least just looks right on a Michell deck. :love: :love: :love:
Hi Chris

Thanks very much for your remarkable reply - well beyond the call of duty! This is what makes the WaM such a fantastic forum. I need to study your reply in some detail as it's so long since I've used a TT that I'm out of touch with many of the technicalities. I'm interested in your comments about tone arms and have never heard of the Jelco, so that's something that I will look into.

In the meantime, I'll give your suggestions careful consideration. There's a lot here to think about!

:^

Thanks

Paul

 

wizons

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Paul
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  1. No
Have you got many records?
I've got about 200 LPs and my wife has about 100. It dates from the early 70s to the mid 80s. There's a fair bit of classic stuff, eg, early/first pressings of Led Zep, Yes, ELP, etc (my wife also has some Osmonds albums she'd like to play, but the less said about that, the better).

It has been in less than ideal storage for a long time, and while I've thrown quite a few LPs that were obviously badly scratched, I don't know to what extent the remaining LPs are warped. So, I'll look into flattening any warped records (is there a way to do this?).

This is largely a trip down memory lane. Mind you, I have an early set of the complete Beethoven Symphonies on DG performed by Karl Bohm and the Vienna Phil that has hardly been played.

My gut instinct is that this will be great fun.

 

wizons

Wammer
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Apr 19, 2009
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Paul
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Nonsense, clean old vinyl is worth more than modern re-issues, especially first pressings. It invariably sounds better to.Are you stuck with an Orbe because that is what the dealer you have the credit with sells, or is it a considered choice? If so what else have you listened to and with what arm/cart combos?
The interest in the Orbe SE started when the dealer on question had a second hand Orbe SE for a reasonable price. The dealer (Audio Emotion) can supply the Orbe SE new, and given that I have a 'credit note' with them for part exchanged equipment and that there aren't other turntables on their stock list in the same price range that appeal, not least of all because of the long established reputation of Michell and their fine record of after sales service, I've decided on the Orbe SE. I haven't heard any of these TTs and am buying on spec.

 

FiftyPlus

Wammer
Wammer
Oct 5, 2007
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, , United Kingdom
agree about the quality of Jelco. Very good VFM.Rega's are the tweakers arm of choice, so maybe look there also...an audiomods RB250 would be around £500, the Jelco about £100 less.

I haven't found MM's to track worn LP's better than an MC. If your budget for a cart is up to £400 I'd go MM for simplicity with phonostages and max bang for buck. If you have over that to spend then MC's are the definitive choice but remember to consider output voltage. Low output MC's are the way to go IMO, but then you need a phono stage with sufficient gain = more cash.

I would be thinking.

Orbe/Jelco/£500 MC + phono stage with MC ability + record cleaning machine.
With my Michell Focus One & Linn Basik Plus arm (used to also use Basik LVV with it too) the high output MC - Dynavector 10x5 has proved an excellent choice on new and old vinyl. It is very forgiving of wear compared to most of the MMs I've used in the past, and I'm still on the original stylus after 9 years (though I do not exclusively play vinyl). This cartridge retails at around £300, with the next one up (the DV10X) retailing at around £400, with both high and low output versions of it. Having not had any issues with the high output MCs I've used (also used Denon DL110 & 160s in the past) I haven't felt the need to go for the extra expense of a pre-amp or transformer. The Dynavector is supposed to work well with the Rega arms too. Worth considering as an option as I believe the Techno Arm is a modified Rega.

 

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