Can a cheap turntable damage records (MY 1ST POST!)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by dennis1077, Jan 5, 2010.

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  1. mrt2

    mrt2 Active Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    There is a lot of snake oil in the stands market, but a good solid stand that provides a solid foundation for your speakers and doesn't color the sound is what you are looking for. Here is an example of what, ideally, you should be looking for, not that I would suggest spending hundreds on speaker stands before getting speakers.

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Online-Store/Speaker-Stands

    Edit. Here are a pair of modestly priced wood stands that aren't too bad.
    http://www.speakerworks.com/sanus_16_inch_wood_style_speaker_stand_p/bf-16b.htm
     
  2. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Wow, that's a lot of money.
     
  3. Jay F

    Jay F New Member

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    There's been an ad in Stereophile for a couple of issues now for a brand of speaker stand made by Pangea, that sell at www.audioadvisor.com for $30 (24"), $35 (28"), and $40 (30") a pair. They're out of them now, but one of the guys there said they'd be available again at the end of March.
     
  4. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Nice, I'll keep that in mind!

    I came across another accessory that I'm going to order. For $22 I'll have piece of mind regarding tracking force.

    http://www.amazon.com/Shure-SFG-2-S...1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1267638035&sr=8-1
     
  5. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    Unfortunately, I can relate.... (and a friend of mine just asked if I'd be interested in joining a cover band with him....)
     
  6. rainspainplain

    rainspainplain Forum Resident

    I have a Sony record player like the one in the original post and I wonder if it will really damage records. This is a long thread and seems to go off topic. I guess the question is answered and then the thread moves on to other things. My question is that would it not be designed so the arm and cart wouldn't damage records? What variables does it not account for that will damage records? It's hard for me to believe that a turntable would be sold that will damage records. I guess it could be that the damage is minor enough that the companies that sell this turntable believe it's not a problem. I can wait until I can afford a nicer turntable but since I have this one I want to play records on it.
     
  7. erniebert

    erniebert Shoe-string audiophile

    Location:
    Toronto area
    If turntables didn't damage records, there would be no such thing as groove wear. :)
     
  8. Repeter13

    Repeter13 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto,ON, CA
    Some people who sell records tend to think of them as a disposable item ;)
     
  9. Kevin Bresnahan

    Kevin Bresnahan Forum Resident

    Location:
    York, Maine
    I don't believe any modern turntable from a reputable audio maker will damage your records during playback. It's not like Pioneer or Sony is going to put one of those old "close n play" ceramic cartridges on a table today. ION or that jukebox-looking player on the other hand... maybe. You couldn't pay me to use one of those fake jukebox things they sell for $50.

    That said, any entry-level turntable will have its weaknesses (and for some, strengths - like being fully automatic).

    One thing I have recommended to friends who have re-entered the vinyl realm with a cheap turntable is to check to see if the Needle Doctor offers an upgraded stylus for it. He offers them for a lot of these cheapie turntables and I found that his upgrade to an entry-level Denon deck made a big difference. In fact, just last night, my brother brought his older entry-level Audio Technica AT-PL50 on-line with an upgraded Needle Doctor cartridge and he's digging his old vinyl collection again. I haven't heard him playing music in his house for years. I was glad to hear it again,
     
  10. lugnut2099

    lugnut2099 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Missouri
    I'd agree, since I had a TEAC-branded version of what otherwise seems to be the same Pioneer table that the OP mentioned in the first post (three years ago, heh). I used it for almost 10 years and not once did I ever detect any damage being done, even on styrene 45s and even on albums that I'd played on it frequently. Obviously it had its other issues, but I could never tell that damage was one of them. (And those records still sound fine now when I play them on my AT LP120.)

    Also, I think even ION has stepped up its game and is offering tables with non-ceramic carts and even adjustable counterweights and VTF. Crosley (the usual maker of those jukebox things), I think is still using ceramic cartridges on most of their stuff.
     
  11. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Yes, many do damage records. Mistracking damages records. Ceramics tracking too heavy also wear records. No Stereo record should be played heavier than 4 grams absolute maximum. Crosley and similar often track heavier than that.
     
  12. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pleasantville, NY
    Andy, Nice to see someone from St. Louis on the forum, I was born and raised in St. Louis (still get homesick every now and then). Which Sony do you have? Check to see if it has a moving magnet cartridge (chances are it does). I think you and most people who use TT's made by a major audio manufacture (Sony, Pioneer, etc.) are OK as to record damage. As to how they sound, that is another story. :winkgrin:
     
  13. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    It's usually "operator error" that destroys LPs. If you keep your eyes open you can find some astoundingly good turntables for cheap, used. And a really good turntable can sound cheap if it's not set up right. First off, the 'table has to be level. Right on top of the receiver is usually not a good bet. My best sounding turntable is on a very rigid, level built-in cabinet in the garage. Use a spirit level to make sure the plinth [base] of the 'table is perfectly level. Find out how far you can max out the stylus. The turntable in the original post is a Pioneer PL-990. Those turntables are intended to be plug 'n' play, with minimal adjustments possible. There's a Mitsubishi turntable in the house that is of a similar level of quality of construction. Not a good sounding turntable but not a record eater either. The cartridge looks like the Audio Technica AT 3600 so the turntable should be tracking at around 2 grams, safe enough as long as you keep your records clean. With your 'table, make sure it's level and not too close to the speakers to avoid feedback. Replace the stylus and if you like what you're hearing, don't worry about it. If you don't like what you're hearing, don't be too surprised. LP playback can sound great, but plastic turntables never do.

    [​IMG]


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    The Audio-Technica AT3600L is our lowest cost, high-quality, standard-mount moving magnet cartridge. It features an alloy tube cantilever with a 0.6 mil conical diamond tip for extended frequency response. Output is 4.2 mV at 5 cm/sec. Channel balance is within 1.5 dB. Tracking force is 1.5 to 3.0 grams grams. A good match for the Gemini CN-15. It is used on many big box store phonographs, such as Denon, Sony, TEAC, Pioneer, Panasonic, Realistic,AIWA, JVC, others. A good general-purpose cartridge. This is a real bargain. Compare it anywhere.
    AT3600L (cartridge with LP stylus)......................$17.00
    ATN3600-78 (standard 78/transcription stylus)......$26.00
    Cartridge with LP & 78 stylus.........................$40.00


    http://www.esotericsound.com/CartStyli.htm
     
  14. rainspainplain

    rainspainplain Forum Resident

    Thanks all. The turntable I have is a Sony PS-LX250H. I haven't listened to records in a long time and it's been really interesting listening to them again. I bought a well-worn copy of an album so I'm not too worried about damaging it. I also bought a new album that I'm more concerned with damaging. Do I check to see if the needle is crooked and that's about it? I would think the weight of the tonearm would be fine for the average album but maybe not not some others. For players where you can adjust the weight of the arm, how often are you adjusting the weight and why? I read the manual for a Rega RP1 and it talks about how record cleaning is overdone. It says that if there is dust on the records the needle will catch it and you can just blow the dust off the needle. It says using the dust cover and storing records in sleeves is all the record care you need. Reading this made me think that people also maybe are overreacting and my Sony player may not sound great but it's not ruining my records.
     
  15. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pleasantville, NY
    Andy, You should be good to go. Start with the worn record and check that the needle is perpendicular to the record surface when it is lowered onto the record. You should be looking head on at the front of the cartridge to check that the needle is perpendicular. Most people only adjust the vertical tracking force (VTF) when they setup their TT with a given cartridge and then only change the VTF if they get a new cartridge.

    Take the stuff you read in the Rega manual with a big grain of salt. The guy who designed Rega TT's has had some great ideas and he also has had some eccentric ideas. I strongly recommend that you do NOT push dust around with the stylus (needle). Get yourself a carbon fiber brush that is designed for removing dust from records before they are played. Keeping the records in good sleeves (watch out for paper sleeves, some of them shed paper dust like crazy) is a very good idea.

    Here is a link to the carbon fiber brush that I use, there are others out there that also work well:

    http://www.amazon.com/Hunt-Carbon-Fiber-Record-Brush/dp/B001A9ST2G
     
  16. rainspainplain

    rainspainplain Forum Resident

    Thanks again. It's not a really big deal. I don't plan to buy any more records until after I've bought a better turntable. It's just that sometimes I get the urge to play the record I've already bought on the Sony table. I also bought a new album with a gift card and I'm still not sure I will play it on my Sony.

    I think the dust brush makes sense either way. I'd rather have the record dust free when I'm playing it because I'm sure the dust would be audible.
     
  17. krlpuretone

    krlpuretone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Grantham, NH
    Just chiming in to remind everyone that vinyl is supposed to be fun!

    Don't let the learning curve intimidate, and don't feel pressured into upgrading everything at once...
     
    Mazzy likes this.
  18. lugnut2099

    lugnut2099 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Missouri
    I know a lot of people would disagree, but I honestly think that even if you had a table that was much worse than your Sony, and even if your Sony isn't 100% as perfectly set-up as it could be, you could still safely play those records you're worried about once or twice without doing any kind of damage. I feel like some people do make vinyl seem a little more fragile than it really is - what you've got is leagues ahead of what most people were playing records on throughout the 50s/60s/70s, but somehow plenty of those records still survived all this time just fine. I'm not saying you shouldn't upgrade if you want to, but I don't think you have anything to worry about with those new LPs and might as well go ahead and enjoy 'em.
     
  19. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Hey—your 'table has to be better for records than this, and most of Aunt Vi's 78's and LPs are still playable so . . .

    [​IMG]
     
  20. MacGyver

    MacGyver Forum Resident

    Location:
    IRRIGON, OR. U.S.
    i got my TT, a 1975 PIONEER PL-112D for around $80 shipped. i highly recommend it for excellent bang for the buck;

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  21. MacGyver

    MacGyver Forum Resident

    Location:
    IRRIGON, OR. U.S.
    i also got these step-up headshell leads for $30shipped, an excellent little upgrade, IMO;

    [​IMG]

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  22. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tryon, NC, USA
    I think Radio Shack still has a battery operated one for around $30.00.
     
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