Can you actually hear noise in your music from your direct drive turntable?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by radioalien, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. edwyun

    edwyun Well-Known Member

    Location:
    USA
    Actually, what gives the speed stability is the closed loop feedback system provided by the Phoenix Engineering eagle/roadrunner boxes now the SOTA condor/roadrunner boxes.
     
  2. edwyun

    edwyun Well-Known Member

    Location:
    USA
    The setup measures each revolution and the W&F figures back it up. But what it does show is that there are some table owners that only like DD or only belt or etc., at the exclusion all others. Sorry it most always devolves to this. Not just audio but everything these days it seems.
     
  3. BillyBuck

    BillyBuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    You're right that it's a very tired topic, but I think there's still room for discussion that doesn't devolve into "X is superior." X may very well be superior, but for the many of us who don't want to spend the price of a small car on an X, there's value in knowing what design compromises went into Y and Z so we can better choose the one that fits our particular circumstances.

    I tend to think that once you get below .06-ish percent of true measured wow & flutter, it's all academic, even for pitch-sensitives. But then there are other factors that have been brought up here, such as off-center pressings and cart compliance mismatches.
     
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  4. radioalien

    radioalien Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington
    alllrighty then
    That would be a great solution to noise isolation in a DD system, just as in belt drive the belt itself helps absorb any vibrations from the motor, the isolator in a DD is electromagnetism?!
     
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  5. Davey

    Davey I carry the moon inside a silver bag

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    No, there is no isolation, the platter rides on a bearing and is turned by the magnetic field interactions produced by the drive currents in the windings, same as almost all motors. The direct drive tables all work the same, the magnetic fields turn the rotor attached to the platter, doesn't really matter whether the rotor is contained inside a housing or is built into the platter, same result, the platter rotates in a bearing.
     
  6. edwyun

    edwyun Well-Known Member

    Location:
    USA

    Agreed. And even with published W&F specs, it is hard to compare apples to apples easily. For example, the Technics 1200 series lists W&F as follows:

    0.01% WRMS (table and platter, excluding effects of LP, cartridge, or tonearm)
    0.025% WRMS (JIS C5521)
    +/- 0.035% peak (IEC 98A weighted).

    Unfortunately, I can't replicate those test conditions. :unhunh:. But for the table in the video I linked above, I can use a test LP to measure W&F (potential off-center pressings and all) under a more current AES standard:

    +/- 0.0492% peak (AES 6-2008).
    Maybe if I adjust the belts, I can get it better LOL.
    [​IMG]


    So which is better? Hard to tell without the same measuring conditions. Suffice it to say, no difference IMHO.
     
  7. astro70

    astro70 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Carbondale, IL
    My Technics SL-1700 is absolutely silent besides when the platter switch clicks when I go to cue a record, or when the arm lifts up and returns at the end. I have put my ear right up against it and heard nothing. A big change from my Technics SL-B2 which I could actually hear across the room between tracks.
     
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  8. Nathan Z

    Nathan Z Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Canada
    Ironically my only experience with motor hum came from my first belt drive turntable. I had a Dual 704 and an SL-1200 MK7 and both had zero motor noise. Both were direct drive.
     
  9. violarules

    violarules Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    I'm surprised that you don't run across them that often. If you are that sensitive to pitch, I think you would notice even the slightest off-center pressing. Modern (post-2000) records seem to be the worst offenders.

    I, too, have had to fix numerous off-center pressings the same way.
     
  10. violarules

    violarules Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Okay, I can see that.
     
  11. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    The DD literally stands for direct. The motor is directly coupled to the spindle via the main bearing. The spindle is what the platter is directly coupled to, so there is way more interaction than just an E-M field.

    When people talk about noise in a TT, they are talking about breakthrough noise from the table into the record or tonearm. Those three items can form a loop and set-up some resonances that are a constant background noise. As a couple members have explained here (@Mister Pig and @chervokas mainly), the noise isn't something that they mean can be heard as an ambient noise coming from the table or even as a separate noise coming from the speakers (although it can be in some cases), rather the noise is superimposed upon the information being retrieved from the record. This is because the arm and stylus are just picking up vibration and converting it to an electrical signal for amplification, and the arm and stylus cannot distinguish vibration from the table or arm from vibration solely generated by the Lp groove. Thus the two become one when sent from the cartridge to the preamp. You don't hear it as a separate noise, so it's hard for people who haven't heard a lot of different tables to recognize and thus "hear". It sounds like a dulling or smearing of transients or dynamic range. Some tables also have more damping to try and control the noise, which may be effective in that regard but also has a similarly dulling or softening effect. I have had many different tables of different designs and makes. Some really, really nice ones, and some junk. The different drive technologies can have benefits and also disadvantages when compared to each other; none are perfect. My wife has come to really like the sound of some belt driven tables that I have had and when I replaced one with a quite nice DD unit, she stated that she liked the sound of the "other one" better. When I asked her what she meant by that, what was different, she said that the DD sounded dull to her and the BD more real. There are operational differences as well, so the user interface is a bit different and that may have some impact on the preference also. I like the sound of both, but I would agree with her general assessment of the difference in dynamics between them. The wow is certainly lower on the DD, so there is a trade-off there. If you get the higher end BD units, the gap closes quite a bit there. I think much of the drive system concerns are a bit overblown as I find the arm on a table much more important to the output as well as the cartridge chosen than I do the tables themselves, once they reach a certain level of performance that gets them farther out of the way.
    -Bill
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  12. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig I didn't Choose Farm Life It Chose Me

    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Nicely written, and informative. Thanks for taking the time to write this, as it gets past the basic concept of "I hear no noise, so it must be right." Its funny how the execution of the table itself can reach similar overall quality levels but have variations within that context. My system is only capable of a certain level of resolution, so performance of source components has to be judged within the context of the system. JBL 4365 speakers/Halcro DM8 pre/AVM Audio Essential Mono amps.

    Anyways I find the Brinkmann Bardo to be a nicely executed direct drive table, in many areas its close to the sound I get from a SOTA Cosmos Eclipse, however the overall presentation is a bit more compact. From a tonal presentation I find the combination with an Audiomods Series 6 arm and Ortofon A90 is quite even and balanced, and its impressive in its own right. Now I also got excellent sound quality from a Denon DP75 in a VPI plinth and Acos GST 801 arm, but I think it was a step behind the Brinkmann. But its certainly an affordable option, and one I could enjoy.

    As you mention the conversation should move past the level of noise/no noise and what the effects of unwanted resonance and the pathways in a turntable are.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
    KT88 likes this.
  13. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    [​IMG]
    Now that's what I'm talking about. A lot of people would sell their car for one of those. :eek:
    -Bill
     
  14. BillyBuck

    BillyBuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    I do find them more often in modern releases. Small-label reggae reissues are particularly bad in this regard. I also recently bought 5 of the Columbia/Sony Miles Davis reissues and 2 were waaaay off-center and another was dished to the point that even my Denon’s servo tonearm couldn’t track it.

    Still, that’s a relatively small percentage of what I’ve been buying in the last few years. From a manufacturing view, I don’t see how off-center records are even possible in the numbers we’re seeing. You’re pushing a puck of molten plastic down with equal, distributed force into a mold that is (in theory) tightly centered on a spindle. Seems like you’d really have to work at it for the thing NOT to be centered.
     
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  15. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Peninsula
    This^^, and the type of system one has can revile it more than others.

    And what the system does in the amplification of the pickup.
    I always say sound quality starts where the stylus meets the groove, so start with the best records and go from there.

    Drive systems are irrelevant in a lot of systems and for most users, it's just a way to spin a disc, pick one and play your records.

    Some people look for more, and it's reflected in their whole concept of the system and media they choose. Here is where one starts to really define what sound quality can be, and the system provides it for good or bad.

    The same goes for specs, if it's beyond human hearing or system capability to reveal it, it really doesn't matter if the specs are better and better and go past that. Conversely if the system is very good it may amplify flaws within it or on the media.
     
  16. Davey

    Davey I carry the moon inside a silver bag

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Long before that vinyl puck is pressed, the guy below has to judge where the hole should be punched in the center of the stamper used to press the vinyl records, the accuracy is dependent on the machine operator and the methodology, and both sides of the vinyl record are made from different stampers, so each side will be different with regards to how off-center the final record is when pressed...

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Peninsula
    A lacquer is cut at a mastering lab, that cut on the lacquer disc has it's own spindle hole. They then plate that lacquer with silver and then copper to make a negative, then plate the negative to make a mother, then plat the mother to make a stamper.

    The stamper is then machined to go into the presses. This machine tracks the grooves to hopefully locate the original spindle hole, operator and equipment error can happen at this point. The center of the stamper is then punched out to around a 1 & 1/2 inch hole, and the outside edge is trimmed. The stamper can then be mounted in the press on a hub that fits the big hole in it.

    There is many combined, within tolerances at each step that can yelled a off centered spindle hole in the final record from where it started out at the mastering lab on the lacquer cut.
     
  18. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig I didn't Choose Farm Life It Chose Me

    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Over the years I seem to be stuck with 3 turntables in the system, although I would like to get to 2 of them, I never can seem to get there. I also kept anywhere between 5 and 6 cartridges on hand. But I have been able to get down to 3 cartridges now. I tend to buy from the pre-owned market and with high quality cartridges that can be dicey, so I use dealers who take trade ins that they verify, and I have inspected at the retipper I use.

    The A90 came from a dealer in Canada, and I had a mishap earlier this year where the stylus separated from the cantilever. I had Steve Leung at VAS retip and he made sure the cartridge up to spec which it is. This is my daily driver cartridge as its the easiest of the 3 I have to service.

    When buying my SOTA and SME I was fortunate to find a dealer who wa selling a Transfiguration Audio Proteus with minimal hours, my retipper confirmed cartridge condition, so its my reference analog combo.

    Late last year a friend of mine texted me a Well Tempered Reference table was on our local CL. It came with an Ikeda cartride of some sort on it. A WTR was always a dream table when I was young so I made a deal to buy it, but I was intrigued y the cartridge. Turned out to be a gold Ikeda 9 with the kanji character on the side. These are from the masters direct scanning line, and this one was one of the upper tier offerings, I do believe its the Kawami, but its hard to pull together information on these cartridges as few were sold in the US. Now this cartridge is a bastard to set up as you cannot see the stylus when over a protractor, it rides very low so it doesnt like edge warps, in practical terms there is no suspension, and it wants a high mass arm. The WTR arm is really not meant for this cartridge, but I can make it work. This combo sounds within spitting distance of the SOTA, and I have maybe 1/8th of the cash outlay. But since hours are unknown on this cartridge, and finding someone to service it is incredibly hard, I save it for special listening sessions while I do my research. I probably should sell it and put a VDH on the table, but it sounds soooo good and is so rare that I can't bring myself to do it.

    When I was in my direct drive exploration I had two SP10 MK II tables, one bought from Japan with the obsidian plinth and an SAEC 308N arm. The second was in a massive composite plinth with a Riggle 12" Woody arm. A friend needed a good table so I sold him the Japanese SP 10 MK II as I did not need two of them. I then found the Denon DP75 in VPI plinth with Acos arm locally, and that was a fine tt in its own right. I had bought a SOTA Star Sapphire Series III as a proof of concept, as I wanted to own a SOTA when I was young. I liked it so much that I went for a Cosmos as my reference table. I had to sell the second SP 10 MK II and eventually another reason came along to send off the Denon. But I enjoyed both of those tables, and have no regrets owning them. I would buy the Denon again, and was thinking of it when I came across the Brinkmann. Now in my current collection of tables the SOTA is the best, but the Well Tempered Reference is embarrassingly close and the least expensive table I own, and the Brinkmann is fine but might benefit from a better arm. The Audiomods is no joke, but its possible more performance could be squeaked out. But since its my table I use to spin my Wang Chung and Culture Club albums, I am not sure its worth the additional expense.

    Ideally I should consolidate the WTR and the Brinkmann into one table with two arms reclaim real estate on my audio rack, but I can't bring myself to part with them at this time.
     
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  19. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Peninsula
    LOL, faster poster than I:righton:
     
  20. BillyBuck

    BillyBuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    Thanks for that! I guess that makes the case that if we get an off-center press and can return it, we’re better off opting for a refund instead of an exchange. The problem will exist in every LP until a new stamper is used.
     
    Davey likes this.
  21. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Well said and worth the read for anyone interested in how motor vibration impacta what we hear. I also note, it's often much easier to perceive the audible effects of these differences when you start with a certain amout of motor vibration breakthrough and then reduce it. Suddenly there's low level detail you didn't hear before, transients are cleaner, you can hear deeper into soundstages, there're less tracking distortion, the imaging stays cleaner and more distinct on tutti crescendos, the recording space is more audible as coherent whole, not just dots of separate instruments (of course a lot of this too depends on the nature of the recordings you're listeing to. It is going to jump out at you with certain jazz and classical recordings a lot more obviously that with multi mono pan potted close mic'ed iso booth recordings particularly if the music is all forte or louder), reverb tails and cymbal crash decay suddenly seem to go on longer. These are all the differences you can hear as you reduce motor vibration breakthrough noise in a turntable design.
     
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  22. Don't the lacquers come manufactured with the hole already in them? I think the off center issue occurs when the operator of the press installs one stamper -- or both -- slightly off, which is why a record can be centered on one side and not the other.

    Here's a photo of an unused lacquer:
    [​IMG]
     
  23. Davey

    Davey I carry the moon inside a silver bag

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    The lacquer has a hole but it isn't preserved in the following operations, check the post from @4-2-7 below mine.
     
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  24. Yeah, but it's ultimately in the control of the press operator. The stamper has to be centered in the press, and if they don't do that it is purely down to operator error at that stage. That is where the rubber meets the road.

    EDIT: @Steve Hoffman has addressed this issue in this thread: Off center vinyl pressing
     
  25. BillyBuck

    BillyBuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    Thinking about the above, the fact that the off-center error occurs at the stamper phase, that would also explain why in many cases the file hole you create to correct one off-center side doesn’t apply to the other LP side. I use a small piece of chopped-up cassette label (I’m dating myself there) to mark the spot to push against the spindle.

    But sometimes it does, I guess meaning the error occurred at some other stage (or maybe we just got incredibly lucky wielding the file)?
     

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