Questions re Pioneer PLX-1000 set-up

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Nubben, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. Nubben

    Nubben Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi All,

    This post was originally started as a PM to Stefan but he suggested I'd post it here as well so that more people can benefit and more people potentially chime in.

    "Hi Stefan,

    Thank you again for taking your time to answer some of my questions!

    I have recently set up the PLX with an Ortofon SH-4 headshell and an AT150MLX cartridge. So far I have to say I am very impressed with the results especially compared to my Project Debut I have had previously. Not only is the PLX easier to handle (start/stop is so much quicker) but sound is beefier as well. I have managed to align the cartridge so it appears almost, almost as member Lymbo in the thread where you talked about having bought the PLX. (For some reason the system will not allow me to post the link to his post here, but his headshell was an Ortofon SH-4 with the AT cartridge but the headship was pink in colour.

    However, I have a couple of questions if you have some time?

    1. According to the PLX manual the overhang should be 54mm (from needle to base of cartridge) but the manual to the AT cartridge mentions an overhang of 15mm. Does this 15mm refer to 15mm from the centre of the platter? If that is the case how do I measure the 15mm - is it from the base of the spindle? How important is the “centre-spindle-overhang”?

    2. I have noticed that the tonearm is not level when the lift lever is in upright position - instead the cartridge is almost pointing upwards. I guess this should not impact the audio when the lever is pulled down and the needle is in the groove?

    3. Further on from question 2, I have tried to lower the arm lifter height by trying to press down the arm lifter while tightening the screw to the right (as shown in the manual) but I cannot move the screw - it’s simply too tightly fastened already. Have you experienced the same thing?

    4. This leads me in to my fourth question: The tonearm is slightly pointing downwards when playing the records even though the base adjustment setting is set at zero. I cannot lower the tonearm any further. The AT cartridge is comparatively small height-wise compared to say an Ortofon 2M cartridge for instance. Will this tonearm pointing downwards slightly effect sound quality?

    5. Re the arm lifter. I have noticed that when I lower the tonearm using the lifter lever the needle does a very “hard landing” on the record. Instead, every time I have to lower the lever about half way until it hits the record and then push the lever all the way down after the needle has hit the record. Have you experienced the same thing? If not, can this be rectified or is the lever/lifter broken in some way? Because it’s really a DJ TT maybe it SHOULD “crash-land” on the record?!

    6. Currently I am only using the rubber mat the comes with the PLX (but not the Pioneer branded slip-mat). Should I be using a slip-mat and if so do I use a slip-mat together with the rubber mat?

    Sorry for all the questions! Would really appreciate any help you can give me! I can always take a few pictures of the turntable if that would make it easier.

    Thanks in advance.

    All the best,
    Henrik
     
  2. Nubben

    Nubben Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    From Stefan:

    Hi Henrik,

    I'll answer each of your questions in order. Although I don't mind doing it by private message, it's usually a good idea to post such questions in the thread. That way, others who later search the forum who have similar questions will be able to see the answers.


    1. According to the PLX manual the overhang should be 54mm (from needle to base of cartridge) but the manual to the AT cartridge mentions an overhang of 15mm. Does this 15mm refer to 15mm from the centre of the platter? If that is the case how do I measure the 15mm - is it from the base of the spindle? How important is the “centre-spindle-overhang”?

    Overhang is the distance in mm past the center spindle of arc the stylus would track if it were extended all the way to the spindle. You can see a diagram showing all the typical terms, if you scroll down to the bottom of this page: http://www.vinylengine.com/tonearm_alignment_calculator_pro.php


    2. I have noticed that the tonearm is not level when the lift lever is in upright position - instead the cartridge is almost pointing upwards. I guess this should not impact the audio when the lever is pulled down and the needle is in the groove?

    No, the lifte lever should raise the arm upwards slightly.


    3. Further on from question 2, I have tried to lower the arm lifter height by trying to press down the arm lifter while tightening the screw to the right (as shown in the manual) but I cannot move the screw - it’s simply too tightly fastened already. Have you experienced the same thing?

    I haven't tried to adjust mine, no.


    4. This leads me in to my fourth question: The tonearm is slightly pointing downwards when playing the records even though the base adjustment setting is set at zero. I cannot lower the tonearm any further. The AT cartridge is comparatively small height-wise compared to say an Ortofon 2M cartridge for instance. Will this tonearm pointing downwards slightly effect sound quality?

    Having the tonearm pointing downwards results in brighter sound and less bass. Having it pointing upwards means less treble and more bass. Most people recommend having it parallel. I also have an AT150MLX on mine. However, I bought a thicker 6mm Technics mat from KAB USA. I found that I use that sitting over the 1mm Pioneer slip mat and it gives me just enough height to run my AT cartridge at about 0.5 height adjustment for thin LPs and 1.5 for 180g or 200g pressings. Unfortunately the mat at Kab is sold out but if you look around eBay you can probably find the thicker Technics mat. Alternatively, you could buy another mat or even make one. This height issue is one deficiency I've found with the PLx-1000. Most cartridges are 18mm or lower so the tonearm height range is mostly unusable unless one puts thicker mats on the turntable.


    5. Re the arm lifter. I have noticed that when I lower the tonearm using the lifter lever the needle does a very “hard landing” on the record. Instead, every time I have to lower the lever about half way until it hits the record and then push the lever all the way down after the needle has hit the record. Have you experienced the same thing? If not, can this be rectified or is the lever/lifter broken in some way? Because it’s really a DJ TT maybe it SHOULD “crash-land” on the record?!

    Mine doesn't "crash land" exactly but it's not overly damped either. I find it to be about the same as my old Pro-Jects were.


    6. Currently I am only using the rubber mat the comes with the PLX (but not the Pioneer branded slip-mat). Should I be using a slip-mat and if so do I use a slip-mat together with the rubber mat?

    As I mentioned above, the mats that come with the PLX are not thick enough. Even combining them with the slip-mat underneath the rubber one isn't quite thick enough for the ATs (I also have a couple of Shure cartridges that are only 16mm high (the AT is 17.5mm). To get the best sound, you really need a thicker mat. You might try getting a sheet of thin 1/8"/3mm cork from a hardware store and cutting a circle out of it then punching a hole in the middle. Then place the rubber mat on top of it. That would give you enough height to run our AT150MLX like mine, as 0.5 for thin LPs and 1.5 for thick ones. You could go thicker with 1/4"/6mm cork and then run the AT at 2.5 and 3.5. Any thicker than that and you won't be able to play thick LPs because the spindle is too short.

    Good luck!
     
    Madlove likes this.
  3. Nubben

    Nubben Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi Stefan!
    Many thanks for replying. If ok with you I shall post this conversation in the forum so that everyone can benefit from it.

    Have a couple of follow-up questions if I may:

    1. How important is the overhang and should I go by Pioneer or AT's measurements - they're quite far apart. What does your headshell/cartridge assembly look like?

    2. I will post a Y*oT*be video tomorrow so that you can see how my needle lands on the record - maybe I am over-exaggerating...

    3. On (albeit) very few tracks I can hear slight distortion on the high-end vocals. Since it's not on all the tracks does that mean it's the actual mastering of the record itself and not the TT set-up?

    Thanks again for your help!

    Regards,
    Henrik
     
  4. Nubben

    Nubben Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi Lymbo,

    I see that we have almost the exact same set-up in terms of headshell and cartridge. How much of overhang do you have on yours?

    I have also asked a further couple of questions in the previous post.

    Many thanks!
     
  5. Budysr

    Budysr Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Pensacola, FL.
    Nubben, I have the exact same setup as you. I feel like I have mine setup very well. I'll try to look over your questions and answer what I can to the best of my knowledge soon. I will start off by saying that I am using a rubber mat from an old Sony TT that is thicker than the pioneer mat. Don't use the slip mat
     
  6. Dougr33

    Dougr33 Well-Known Member

    Hi Henrik.. it would be more helpful if you posted Stefan's initial answers. :) (I'm getting mine on Saturday btw!)
     
  7. Nubben

    Nubben Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    Budysr: That's awesome, thank you so much for doing that!

    Dougr33: Thanks for your reply Doug, if you look in post 2 above you will find Stefan's answers. :) (Above the upward arrows.)
     
  8. Nubben

    Nubben Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi All - apologies for asking again (appreciate any input of course), please let me know your thoughts whenever you have a moment.

    Have been listening to a lot of vinyl recently and one thing I have noticed (with my current set-up) is that there is distortion in the higher frequencies (ie when there is an increase in the volume of a track, be it bass or treble); sound seems frazzled (lack of a better word). More noticeable when listening through headphones so am not sure it has something to do with those rather than the turntable. However I can't say I have experienced the same distortion with my project TT. Could it be that the needle has been damaged or does the frazzled sound indicate some other problem?

    Many thanks!

    Nubben
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  9. acceler8

    acceler8 New Member

    Location:
    South East, USA
    I've heard 'frazzled' sound like that exactly twice. The first time, I thought a tube was going bad and I spent hours chasing ghosts. By pure chance (and luck) during the process, I noticed a tiny near transparent hair (cat? person? mice?) attached to my stylus. Pulled it off, and all was well. The second time I heard it, that was the first thing I checked (and it was a piece of hair or fuzz or something).
     
  10. robertzombie

    robertzombie Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Either the stylus needs cleaning or its mistracking.
     
  11. Nubben

    Nubben Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    Many thanks Robert. Will check if it needs cleaning but re the mistracking. How do I check that and if it is how do I correct it? (Sorry new to the modern era of TTs.)
     
  12. Darren L

    Darren L Member

    Hello All

    Informative thread this for PLX-1000 owners.

    On the subject of mats, I use a GEM Dandy on my turntable...Unfortunately it is slightly too large in diameter (it overlaps the platter lip at the edge) - Anyone else using this mat experiencing this problem (did you just trim the excess off the mat to fit flush with the lip??).
     
  13. Nubben

    Nubben Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    I have just ordered the Funk Firm mat: Achromat »

    The SL1200 version. Will check and report back how well this works.
     
    robertzombie likes this.
  14. Darren L

    Darren L Member

    Hello Nubben - I was considering the 1200 Achromat myself, did you order the 5mm version?

    I will be interested to see how you get on with it as I think I need something that increases the thickness so that I can get the arm perfectly parallel (plus have the option of being able to lower the back/raise the front of the tonearm to give me more bass).
     
  15. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Well-Known Member

    Location:
    SW Washington, USA
    Yes, the GEM Dandy hangs over the lip on my PLX-1000 too. I considered trimming it, but I'm pretty sure that I would have trouble doing it without messing it up.

    I've been looking at thicker mats also. I've been using headshell spacers to help achieve proper VTA/SRA. It works, but it looks a bit wonky. I think a thicker mat would be a more elegant solution. Herbies Audio Labs has his mats available in many different thicknesses. I really like the GEM Dandy, I just wish it was thicker with a slightly smaller diameter.
     
  16. Darren L

    Darren L Member

    I haven't tried it but what about using the GEM Dandy on top of the standard Pioneer mat?
     
  17. Nubben

    Nubben Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi Darren - the SL1200 is only 4mm - no thinner/thicker option for that one. Am due to receive the mat today so shall try out tonight and report back.

    If successful I may even consider ordering a second one to replace the orig Pioneer rubber mat that came with the PLX. Only problem here is I can see two mats being too thick - potential problem playing 180/200g vinyl.

    But will check this one out first.
     
  18. Darren L

    Darren L Member

    Hello Nubben

    Yes will be interested to hear how you get on with the 4mm Achromat.

    When I bought my GEM Dandy it was an either/or situation between that or the Achromat...If I had known that the GEM had been a little too large in diameter for the platter, I probably would have gone for the Achromat.

    I'm currently using an Ortofon 2M Blue on a Jelco HS-25 headshell, sound is excellent although I would like the facility of being able to lower the tonearm at the back to add a little more bass (and a little less treble) - This means a thicker mat of course.
     
  19. Stefan

    Stefan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    I have a 6mm mat as well as the 4mm one that came with my PLX. The combination of the two is about as high as you can go and still play the thickest 200g pressings with a turntable weight on the spindle and even then the weight is not securely sitting on the spindle if it's chamfered inside. so actually 2 x 4mm would work well. As mentioned in my reply to you that you quoted above, I currently use the 1mm slipmat under my 6mm mat for a total of 7mm and that works fine except for my 16mm high Shure cartridges, for which I added a 1mm spacer/weight between the cartridge and headshell. with 2x4mm mats, I wouldn't need the spacer.
     
  20. Darren L

    Darren L Member

    Stefan...I know it's a case of suck it and see but to your mind there wouldn't be a problem putting the PLX stock rubber mat directly onto the platter and then my GEM Dandy (4mm) on top of that without any apparent problems?

    One thing is for certain, I wouldn't have any further trouble with my GEM Dandy overlapping the platter lip....I'll give this a go on the weekend I think!
     
  21. Stefan

    Stefan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    It shouldn't be a problem. I was running mine with my 6mm mat on top of the PLX stock rubber mat without problems. In fact, I may switch back to that sincemy current setup is a bit too low for one of my cartridges. I've also thought about trying a homemade cork mat under my 6mm mat as well.
     
  22. Darren L

    Darren L Member

    Stefan - In your icon picture, what mats are you using (and what tonearm height setting) are you at?

    I use a similar headshell (Jelco HS-25 the one with the fixed fingerlift) and an Ortofon 2m cartridge like yourself albeit a Blue.

    Stupid thing to say but everything in your picture looks so 'right' with the set up....It looks the part!
     
  23. Stefan

    Stefan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    That was the first week I owned the PLX. I was using both the stock 4mm mat and the 6mm mat on top with the tonearm at 4.5mm.
     
  24. Darren L

    Darren L Member

    Thanks Stefan, it looks great!
     
  25. robertzombie

    robertzombie Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi, sorry for not replying sooner. Check out the Hi-Fi News Test LP, it has anti-skate test tracks which help you accurately set anti-skate to avoid miss-tracking.
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.

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