Anyone know anything about setting up a turntable?

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ArmyOfQuad

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I don't have it yet - the Ortofon cartridge is being installed on it, and I should get a call during the week to pick it up.

I'll be sure to report back.

For now, I'm working on rearranging some things in my room, relocating the stereo rack, putting in a shelf mounted to the wall, adding an outlet where the rack is going, destroying the plaster wall in the process of attempting to put in the new outlet, repairing the wall, finishing the outlet installation....you know, the standard stuff to prepare for a new turntable. I hate plaster and lath. Absolute nightmare to deal with.
 

tonyE

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There are some used Thorens belt drive tables on eBay. In Audiogon they only have uber pricey Thorens right now.

Do you keep an eye on hifishark.com? Perhaps a nice Thorens -they come with their built in arm- would be a good candidate to build your CD4 only table.

Is that a dedicated home run for the power? It makes a big difference.
 

ArmyOfQuad

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I don't really buy into a lot of the power run power cord stuff. I watched a video of our good friend Steve Guttenberg, the Audiohiliac, talking about these specialized expensive power cords that are supposed to make a difference. With instructions not to just keep going back and forth between the stock power cord and special power cord, but to live with the special power cord for a while and see if with giving it time you prefer that experience to before, or something to that effect. All I could think of is - you got a standard power line running from your breaker box up to the outlet - but that last stretch of cord from the outlet to your equipment makes a difference? Come on - it's just copper wire carrying AC current, most likely to an AC to DC converter. The quality of the AC to DC converter in the equipment is what's going to really set the quality of power it has.

I suppose there is something to a dedicated run, to try and cut down on potential interference from other devices pulling power. I've learned some things along the way of rewiring this house. I started with the upstairs due to that being the area with the knob and tube wiring that needed to go, plus needing more outlets as each room only had 1. And also to get some light switches in since everything was on pull strings. I pulled 3 runs up to the Attic, to put each of the most used rooms on their own circuit, since they will each have a window AC unit in them in the summer, and the 2 lesser used rooms on the 3rd circuit. But then I read the suggestion that you might want to put lights on their own circuit, so you're less likely to get a flicker when powering something on. Sure enough, each morning when I power on my computer, I do get a slight flicker from the light. But that's about it. If I were to do it again, perhaps I'd run a 4th run up here for the lights, or perhaps I'd stick with 3, and put 2 rooms to a circuit, and still split the window units onto separate circuits, and put the lights on their own circuit. But....a daily flicker of the light when powering up the computer for the day is hardly a problem worth rewiring things over. I don't think I'll be turning my computer off and back on multiple times while listening to records.

I suppose the best argument for a separate circuit for the audio system would be to not share it with the window AC unit in the summer. But - I think the noise of an AC running will be more intrusive than any power noise. Not much I can do about that on days that I want to run AC.

Basically.....I don't feel like running another run of wire up the attic, and crawling around up there, for a dedicated run for my stereo, too much effort for too little payoff. But maybe another time - after enough time has passed for me to forget how much crawling around in the attic sucks.
 

tonyE

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Most of those fancy AC lines are filters, that's all: panaceas for the trouble beyond them, so the real fix is to take care of the wiring proper. And I guess they look fancy too, nice, but I'm not really willing to spend that kind of money for fancy looking wires.

Our code in SoCal has for a long time required the switched bedroom lamps to have a different circuit than the outlets proper. That handles the flickering (which btw would worry me a lot ).

As we have rebuilt the house from studs, and beyond, we changed ALL the wiring. We now have two panels with more than 300A capacity. The power company upgraded our land service as well. Our bedrooms all have on switch on the wall to a built in ceiling flood that shines on the closet. Those are on a different circuit than the bedroom... all bedroom lights and hallways are on their shared circuits. Master bedroom has three circuits by itself. Also, the current code now requires a GCI like device at the first outlet of the run. So, the code pretty much calls for distributed AC wiring.

Every room now has its own 20A circuit ( current code ).

For the stereo in the living room I have one dedicated home run with 30A Romex ( 20A breaker ) running to eight hospital grade outlets for the analog stuff - the digital stuff is on the 'regular' 20A line for the room. In the den I got two more such circuits, on the same side of the 220, for the HT and audio. Plus a regular 20A outlet for the HT PC.

I don't have 'fancy' AC cords either. Just sufficiently big cords that will nicely drive the required current.

The trick here is to wire your audio outlets in a home run: all circuits in phase, no GCI of any kind, 30A Romex, good quality outlets (hospital grade for me) and to keep out anything out of the line that makes noise: motors, blow dryers, etc... The only exception for me is the Linn LP12, but since I got a Lingo on it, the motor never sees the AC mains. In your case you might want to plug the NAD's DC wart in a digital circuit -not the audio homerun.

It turns out that paying attention to the quality of the AC line is important. Also, since I live in suburbia I don't have a lot of RF energy floating around nor noisy AC lines. If anything, I might invest in a used laboratory grade AC noise filter. I've used those at work and it's amazing how well they work. IMHO, they would work well in the head end components but for the amps, with their much heftier power supplies and rectification I don't think they would make much of a difference... unless you were on a factory floor, I guess.

Fancy AC cords? Hmm, I have thought about putting fancy covers on my black AC cords and call them my "signature" wires.

Now, how about that used Thorens? Get a nice phono preamp with enough gain and bandwidth.. It sure would look pretty to have two working turntables side by side.

Now, when you play those CD4 records and roll out the groovy shag run.. make sure to plug the light organ and lava lamps in a different circuit, OK? ;-)

I just suddenly realized I need a color organ.... my lava lamps stopped working when I put LED lamps in them. :p

Oh... I got back the Maggie 12s.... So, now I got two pairs of Maggies: 1.7s and 12s. If I get the center channel, I could do that in my living room.... I got sufficient amps around.. Should I use the Marantz or the Akai quads to decode? I could use the preamp outputs.

Hmm... I really do need a room for the stereo. A BIG room.
 
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ArmyOfQuad

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Yeah, given that the room my system will be in has it's own dedicated circuit, that gives me a good start for this. Only things I have to worry about is the computer, and the window AC in the summer - which if I'm using AC, I have room noise anyways. I might do something about a light circuit on the 2nd floor at some point, but for now I don't find it all that alarming that the powering up of my powerful desktop machine makes the light flicker once as it makes that initial start up. What worried me was when turning on the computer had a 50/50 chance of tripping the circuit, that I later found out was knob and tube hidden under attic insulation - once I found that out, I ran an extension cord down the hallway to the outlet at the top of the stairs (as a temporary measure until I got the new 2nd floor circuits in), which I saw was on it's own circuit and using modern wiring, but was in a location that the only use I could figure it ever had was for a nightlight to see the stairs at night.

Anyways - had to tear up the wall a bit more. Previous work on this house I'm finding to have been done rather half assed - but then again I'm sure I have my own half assed things I"m doing as I try to figure out how to do things I don't usually do. The wall is part plaster, part drywall, as it had been fixed up at some point, and was fixed up by keeping some of the original and patching portions with drywall, with very poorly done work that shows the seams, with a pretty new coat of paint on top, and with multiple supports added into the wall that block me from easily running wire from the attic to the floor. With a fake wall put into the closet over the old wall, with enough of a gap for a rod to get trapped in when fishing for a path from the attic to the hole for the new outlet. This one was the worst wall yet, and required a bit of digging. Of course, once you start digging in, seams crack, plaster cracks more, things start falling.....and now I gotta piece in half assed drywall patches to blend in with the remaining plaster and previous half assed drywall patches, and then put a pretty coat of new paint on top of it all. My work will blend right in with the quality of the previous work.

I hate plaster walls.

Anyways - the new outlet is in, the supports for the shelf are in, and I still need to put in a few more small patches of drywall and do a bit of adding joint compound and sanding to make everything look alright and get some paint on it, before I move the rack over and wire everything up. I didn't quite expect buying a new turntable to turn into this much of a project.
 

MidiMagic

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I had a cartridge that cut out like that. I applied a soldering iron to each of the 4 pins and it stopped acting up. One of the leads was not fully soldered into the pin.

It may be that your tonearm wiring and turntable cables might almost do CD-4 instead of the cartridge.

Also, if the tonearm is improperly mounted, you could get tracking error in the inner grooves.

The lava lamps need the heat from the original bulb.
 
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tonyE

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I had a cartridge that cut out like that. I applied a soldering iron to each of the 4 pins and it stopped acting up. One of the leads was not fully soldered into the pin.

It may be that your tonearm wiring and turntable cables might almost do CD-4 instead of the cartridge.

Also, if the tonearm is improperly mounted, you could get tracking error in the inner grooves.

The lava lamps need the heat from the original bulb.
Really? The Lava lamps need heat from the incandescent light bulbs?

Why... WHO would have thought it?

I wonder if I can get away with candles for my DIY color organ.
 
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MidiMagic

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There are many who do not understand the science behind such products.

I have seen people looking for LED replacements for bulbs from E-Z Bake ovens and Himalayan salt lamps too.
 

AXington

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I'll be honest, I read most of this but got ADHD'd there towards the end and couldn't finish it because I just don't have the attention span today. But a couple of things because I went down the new Turntable and modding rabbit hole last year about this time.

1). Congratz on the new turntable though it sucks you had to buy a new one and that the SME arm that you spent so much money on didn't work. However, from what I understand, and for future reference, you typically need some sort of adapter plate as I understand it. I'm more familiar with Technics turntables, as that's the route I went, and I've seen a lot of custom plates made for those, but you basically have to find somebody with a machine shop and decent skill who just happens to make them and sell them or can work from a template. SME arms are also notoriously hard to do because of the moving base thing...

2). In terms of general setup, even if you're paying for setup now, some tables need to be regularly checked for maintenance and stuff. I recommend just some inexpensive tools (relatively inexpensive):

  • Amazon.com: ONZOW ZeroDust - Stylus Cleaner - Best solution ever to cleaning your stylus and you will get much less noise and pops while your stylus will last much longer as opposed to not cleaning, and will sound just as good but last longer as opposed to using the brush that Ortofon carts come with. It's also a lot less nerve-racking than trying to gently brush the delicate (and expensive) stylus, well delicate canitlever if we're being pedantic, but whatever... I have heard stories about people breaking their cantilever/stylus with those brushes or knocking them loose and out of alignment. With the Onzow, just tap it and go.
  • https://www.amazon.com/Viborg-Record-Weight-Stabilizer-Turntable/dp/B017EX6FTA/ref=sr_1_20?dchild=1&keywords=record+weight&qid=1620745689&sr=8-20 - Not the best weight in the world and I'm not actually even recommending it as a weight, but what it's great for is leveling. You just put it on the spindle and you have a single level that you don't have to keep turning the platter and adjusting for, which is less accurate than having one on the spindle anyways. Ignore the stroboscope it comes with, it's not accurate, and there are better ways to measure speed than strobes.
  • Any well reviewed stylus force gauge. They come in a few different styles that you could say have pros and cons to each, but it mostly comes down to personal preference once you know you have an accurate and well calibrated one.
  • VTA/Azimuth/Cartidge alignment gauges. There are some all in ones, or separates. A lot of people prefer the separate tools because you can be more precise, but honestly, as long as it's pretty darn close, it's not going to make an audible difference. Some are a little easier to use than others though. I have one that's a platter style from Hudson HiFi (though I don't use the platter as my tonearm doesn't have adjustable VTA and it raises it up too much if I put it on top of the rubber mat it came with or lowers it too much if I do it without it), and another that's an acrylic block for azimuth.
  • Turntable RPM app for your phone. If possible, a second phone with the same app. I've noticed slight difference in them, but they're usually pretty damn close. I've put the app on my phone, my wife's phone, my work phone, and an old phone before, stuck all 4 on the platter at different positions, then rigged up an opto-interruptor and my TT has a strobe built in... what I found: literally only the opto-interruptor was accurate, but they were all within a VERY small margin of error. Well, the strobe was accurate, but it was also harder to use it to accurately adjust the speed. The phones were better overall and I found they work better the closer they are to the center of the platter with the center of the long side of the phone as close to tangential as you can to the spindle. The opto-interruptor was temporary for a test and not a practical solution long-term. It was pretty freaking awesome to watch it run for exactly 3 minutes after first interrupt and see it hit exactly 100 revolutions. Unfortunately, my turntable is old and the speed circuit is analog/servo based so I have to adjust it every once in a while.
3). For CD-4, I'm pretty sure what you want is a Shibata style stylus, but I'm not an expert on quadraphonic vinyl, but that's probably why the Ortofon isn't great for it. I believe yours is a "nude fine line". It's a great cart and a great stylus, just not for quads.

4). For the power cord thing... it helps the turntable to have less electrical noise and hum if the motor power supply is well separated from the tonearm/stylus. I don't buy into better power cords at all though, unless what they give you is some super cheap wall-wart, and this isn't just for turntables, in fact, it's not even about turntables. The only thing that matters with turntables is if the transformer generates emf that can cause static too close to the tonearm and stylus. So, a separate power supply if your turntable can use one, isn't a bad idea, though often not necessary, especially if your noise floor is overall not REALLY quiet. Because it wont generally exceed the noise floor unless all your equipment and your room are super quiet.

But going back to power cords for other things... If the cord has a built in power supply, you just want that to be well made and decent quality. In fact, same for the power cord itself, but it matters just a bit more for the "wall warts" with built in power supplies as really bad ones can introduce a non-trivial amount of noise in certain circuits and can also increase failure rate and fire hazard. You also don't have to go overboard though.

In terms of the power coming from the wall through non-specialized wiring/cables etc. You're right there too, but you can do things about dirty power, which can and WILL cause significant noise and potentially electrical issues, particularly with older equipment with sensitive analog parts. But power filters can be had without breaking the bank.
 

tonyE

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There are many who do not understand the science behind such products.

I have seen people looking for LED replacements for bulbs from E-Z Bake ovens and Himalayan salt lamps too.
Hmm... my formal education is in physics.

And I'm a pretty good writer as well.... with humor.

I supposed you failed to get the sarcasm?
 

tonyE

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(1) I use an Onzow stylus cleaner. It's a gel pad into which you drop the stylus a few times and that's it.


(2) I thought line contact stylii are by definition Shibata. I figure the rest of the cartridge will make a difference as well since you need about 30Khz bandwidth. I think the turntable cables also have to be low capacitance otherwise they act as a filter.

(3) I own a Linn with a Lingo. I don't need no stroboscope. I just sit down and listen to the pace of the music.

(4) The NAD has a 15VDC power input. Perhaps a high quality analog power supply would be better than the wall wart. Use a long cable and ensure it doesn't have any digital PWM circuits in it. IE: no switching power supply.

(5) AC filters are a panacea. It's best not to produce the nasties to begin with. Filters do strange things to current flow capacity, phase shifts, etc. I suppose one of them power regenerators might make sense but at that point you are looking at pretty high costs.

(6) I've been in projects where the power supply design consumed fully 40% of the total R&D cost, including the firmware! Power Supplies are very hard to do correctly.
 

AXington

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(1) I use an Onzow stylus cleaner. It's a gel pad into which you drop the stylus a few times and that's it.


(2) I thought line contact stylii are by definition Shibata. I figure the rest of the cartridge will make a difference as well since you need about 30Khz bandwidth. I think the turntable cables also have to be low capacitance otherwise they act as a filter.

(3) I own a Linn with a Lingo. I don't need no stroboscope. I just sit down and listen to the pace of the music.

(4) The NAD has a 15VDC power input. Perhaps a high quality analog power supply would be better than the wall wart. Use a long cable and ensure it doesn't have any digital PWM circuits in it. IE: no switching power supply.

(5) AC filters are a panacea. It's best not to produce the nasties to begin with. Filters do strange things to current flow capacity, phase shifts, etc. I suppose one of them power regenerators might make sense but at that point you are looking at pretty high costs.

(6) I've been in projects where the power supply design consumed fully 40% of the total R&D cost, including the firmware! Power Supplies are very hard to do correctly.
1. Literally what I was recommending. LOL. We're on the exact same page there. Best $45 dollars I ever spent on my TT setup.

2. You may be right about line contact being Shibata... in fact now that you mention it, I am pretty sure you're right. I don't know why that didn't click when I said that. I'm not sure about the low capacitance phono cables, I've not heard that, but it does make some sense and I would guess that the phono stage and decoder would be built to compensate for that.

3. Awesome. I am not familiar, but if it's got super accurate timing without having to adjust it, that's badass.

4. I don't buy it for the turntable power as long as it's well isolated and away from the tonearm and stylus. I know a lot of people put a lot of money into external power supplies, but the tonearm wiring should be completely separate from the motor which is the only thing the AC line should power. Tonearms and styli are passive circuits, the problem with noisy power is that it tends to create EMF fields that can cause static-y noise interference. And usually that's only noticeable if your noise floor is extremely low. I still would rather it be separated and away. Wall warts do exactly that as they are doing your AC/DC conversion. Yes, they can be noisy, but that's really only a problem in amps, pres, and other active circuits.

5. Just to be pedantic... I think you're using Panacea wrong. Panacea literally means "cure all". And AC filters going into your turntable aren't going to make a huge difference, only your amps and other sources. Also power filters are usually pretty benign with a lot of upside. You wanna know when they become a huge freaking deal? Tube amps and guitar pedals. Holy crap! I have taken my guitar rig to bars and stuff that had super crappy power and the difference was incredible with them. And I don't just mean the quality of the audio, a dirty power signal causes incredibly audible, well well well above noise floor hums and hisses. With a power filter or a clean AC line, same circuits are DEAD quiet. I used to rent a practice space with one of my bands and it had notoriously bad power. The hiss coming off and otherwise silent amplifier (when not being played obviously but still on) was so bad I had to put my amp on standby whenever I wasn't playing and put a noise filter around my entire effects loop AND a kill switch so that parts where I sang and didn't play, didn't have this awful hiss throwing everybody off and yes, it was so loud you could hear it over drums and extremely heavy riffing.

And while it's better to not generate them in the first place, and I will not disagree with you there, not everybody has the ability to separate their audio power onto separate lines. Also, even with a direct line from your breaker with nothing else on it, it's still technically possible to get "dirty" power from your electrical provider, and if your box isn't up to modern standards, things in your house on separate circuits can still dirty up your AC because they're all coming from the same source.

6. Sure, and 1000% agreed, for everything that isn't a turntable. ;) Actually, even then they're not easy if you don't have some other circuit to control the speed regardless of power input, but I'm pretty sure that NAD is probably better engineered than that. That's something I'd worry more about on lower end turntables.
 
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