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How can one turntable sound better than another?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by dennis1077, Sep 6, 2021.

  1. Glmoneydawg

    Glmoneydawg Forum Resident

    Ontario Canada
    My apologies then....i shall run out and get rid of my Project asap.
  2. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Idaho, USA
    Probably a smart move. Meanwhile, see ya...
  3. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Forum Sciolist

    Tri-Cities TN
    This year I updated my turntable. I had a Rega RP6 with an Exact for a number of years and I was generally pleased with it. After upgrading my electronics I decided to also buy a new deck. After consultation I bought a VPI Premier Scout with an Otofon Bronze. My old records sound better, much better and cleaner, clearer. Yes the actual turn table matters. Perhaps there is a point of diminishing returns. I have yet to find it.
    GyroSE and Glmoneydawg like this.
  4. Glmoneydawg

    Glmoneydawg Forum Resident

    Ontario Canada
    Already apologized for disagreeing with you....not seeing the problem here....but ok see ya
  5. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Forum Sciolist

    Tri-Cities TN
    VPI offers upgrades to make my "Scout" a full "Premier", of course there is a cost.
    Glmoneydawg likes this.
  6. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    St.Louis Mo.
    I’ve not know Pro-Ject sells upgrades to their tables..for real?
  7. KT88

    KT88 Senior Member

    You can always buy their better arms to upgrade one of their decks. Like any brand, you get what you pay for. Probably the most notable and sought after upgrade is an acrylic platter to replace the stock steel platter on the entry level decks. While I am not a fan of the light weight acrylic, it does help remove resonance and allows the use of mc cartridges.
    There is also a motor speed controller. I have sold those as well.
    luckybaer and Slippers-on like this.
  8. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Forum Resident

    SF Peninsula
    It would be better learning from a lot of people and not just one persons opinion in a 30 minute video. Also the very best learning is you working with equipment on your own, hands on and listening is the only true way.

    Learning stuff on Youtube like how to change your spark plugs is great. Much can be leaned this way and give you an idea what it entails. Learning about "Subjective" things that relate to sound their is noting factual about it. There is too many variables with components, room, what you like, cost, room and on and on.
    GyroSE, nosliw and hi_watt like this.
  9. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Completely off base. A turntable and tone arm is basically like a seismic measuring device. It's mechanical, and it has to isolate a tiny microscopic squiggle of the stylus/cantilever in the groove wall from all kinds of other gross source of vibration, not least of which is the vibrations of the turntable motor itself, but of course as well structure and airborne mechanical breakthrough, bearing rumble too. Turntables and tone arms have very different self resonances based on design and materials, and handle outside sources of resonance very differently. In fact, there's considerably more difference between the "sound" of a turntable and the sound of two different CD players or DACs. I highly recommend the classic late '70s AES paper by Poul Ladegaard, "The Audible Effects of Mechanical Resonances in Turntables,"-- http://www.laudioexperience.fr/wp-c...-Resonances-in-Turntables-AN17-233-1977-1.pdf -- and also looking at some of the Korf Blog measurments of tonearm and headshell resonances (Blog Table of Contents ), if you want a sense of the kind of things that can make turntables and tonearms have very different sonic signatures from one another. There's so much going on mechanically in turntable playback that layers noise and ringing over the music itself, leading to one turntable sounding warm (or bloated to some), another sounding "exciting" or ringy to some, impacting tracking distortion, low level detail, ability to reveal microdynamic, ability to handle big tutti dynamic peaks without the sound collapsing into mush. I haven't watched the video, but the if it proposes what you summarize, it's completely wrong.
    Doctor Fine, Randoms, gakerty and 6 others like this.
  10. DrZhivago

    DrZhivago Hedonist

    Brisbane Australia
    Offtopic: Dat Sony TV in the photo. The best CRT I ever had, but it broke my back!
    ROFLnaked likes this.
  11. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    I’ve seen this guy’s videos before. Not only have I personally experienced things that disprove his whole “cheap crap is good enough” deal, but I won’t take any tips specific to vinyl records or playback from a guy whose record shelves look like that. Enjoy your warped records on your noisy turntable, buddy…
    popol_vuh, nosliw and hi_watt like this.
  12. All turntables will perform & sound different, just like all cars drive & perform differently. Especially if buying a budget T/T of under $1000, as you go up the ladder the T/T's sound more & more close to each other. Still differences but very subtle. I have just moved form a Lenco T/T (not their arm) to a Tech Sp15. I have compared the two T/T's using the same arm / cart / Phono amp & the difference was quite subtle, with the SP15 just having a smidgen better, beeper base line & obviously it is much quieter.

    gakerty likes this.
  13. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    I can convert my DIY arm from a conventional unipivot to a constrained and damped unipivot to an even more damped unipivot quite quickly.

    The sound changes somewhat drastically with each change.

    Not subtle at all.
  14. Yes with most Uni-Pivots that is quite common, mine will work well under similar conditions, however for best S/Q & base impact I use 10K silicon oil.

  15. Jim0830

    Jim0830 Forum Resident

    Just some general comments abut this thread:
    YouTube is a great source of knowledge. The trick is knowing which people actually know what the hell they are talking about. This is very hard for a beginner to know. This guy may mean well, but he is just wrong and his argument can easily be disproven. I stopped watching his videos a long time ago along with a guy whose channel is called Vinyl Eyezz, who also means well but can but tries to dumb down everything. He is often just wrong and clueless. The best thing you can do is try to get info from many sources and ask questions in places like this. Also, it has been a few years since I last watched this guy's vids, but I seemed to recall he is a DJ sometimes. I don't remember if professionally or as an amateur, but either way he may listen to music differently that many others. Plus he is older and who knows his his age and possibly listening to overly loud music while DJ'ing have done to his hearing.

    A turntable is a very complex electro-mechanical piece of equipment. The seismograph analogy was a great one. It is a tricky task to magnify the tiny physical sound signal contained in the tiny groove, while rejecting all other sources of sound and vibration from the environment and the turntable itself. I find it wild that this technology dates from before the beginning of the 20th century and a microgroove is far thinner than a human hair. How did they do this with the technology of the time? The degree this signal must be magnified makes the problems of picking up extraneous signals even more difficult. There are so many design approaches to choose between, for motors, suspension, high mass vs. low mass. Every single component part can effect the sound in a positive or negative way.

    The YouTuber's argument can be easily disproven by listening to several turntables at an audio dealer. One at $250, one at $500 and one at $1,50o all played through the same equipment. What I would agree with is this: As the price goes into the stratosphere it may be harder for many people to hear the difference. Or if they do hear a difference it may not be worth the extra money to get it. Everyone is different. That guy is questioning belt upgrades having an audible difference while sitting in front of a direct drive turntable. You often see this TT in his vids, how much hands on experience does he have with belt drive? I have done this and you can often hear a difference with a square or flat belt just by changing sides. The belt material can make a difference. When I bought my first systems in high school they came straight out of the Radio Shack catalog. These systems often allowed you to mix and match to get a good, better, best BSR turntable for a particular system. I always paired the electronics with the best turntable and I put the best cartridge available I could use in the tonearm. The goal was protect my investment in records so that when I could afford a "real" system, my records wouldn't be trashed. I also upgraded the turntable in between electronics upgrades. In these cases I often got the new turntable and swapped out my the cartridge (if it had low hours of use) for use in the new one. So other than the new TT everything else remained the same in the system. People might say "Expectation Bias". Not necessarily. I was interested in protecting my records and I didn't necessarily expect to hear a difference right now. I just didn't want the sound to get worse over time as the TT wore down my records. I found I always could hear a difference. More accurate speed and less speed variations, the sound was smoother and less harsh, less inner groove distortion and less mis-tracking on demanding passages. I soon had a few torture test LPs I would trot out and in 10 or 15 minutes I could hear definite improvements.

    As for the topic of some manufacturers having accessories and upgrades in their product line. They are putting their product out at a certain base price point with these features. It is not a secret. Some people say they would never buy it, fine but others would. Anyone can compare the turntable at this price point with other turntables with everything included in the base price. If you can only spend X then you can simply compare all the models at that price, as shipped without upgrades and buy the one that makes sense and sounds best to you. If I was starting out again, I might like the idea that could get my foot in the door at base price and when my credit card had stopped smoking I could upgrade it. Meanwhile I have the use of the base model for 6 months or more. Choice is good.
    luckybaer, gakerty, nosliw and 2 others like this.
  16. popol_vuh

    popol_vuh Forum Resident

    Didn't watch the video and won't watch it because I've seen other videos from that guy already and he's a flat-earther, so I won't bother with that. I'll just briefly try to give a partial answer to the question, as far as I can, since I'm not a pro.

    - The sound of the turntable is that of the base, the motor and the tonearm. The rest is the cartridge and phono and I'm not talking about that.

    - TT's function is to enable stylus to be moved by the record's groove (relative to the cartridge) and by nothing else - meaning by no vibrations that come outside of the ones produced by the record groove. Any other vibration influencing the movement of the stylus relative to the cartridge is unwanted. The sound of the TT is nothing more or less than record producing vibrations by groove's moving the stylus relative to the cartridge.

    - With the above in mind, we need to think about unwanted vibrations and TTs. There's two sources of vibrations - one produced by the TT itself and the other is environmental vibrations. The ones that the TT produces again come from two sources - the motor and the bearing. The outside ones come from acoustic energy from the speakers and the energy that comes into the TT from the floor/wall/rack. Any TT design needs to deal with all those in a systematic manner. And every part of the TT and its design is important here.

    - There's also all kinds of stored vibrations in different parts of TT and resonant frequencies of materials matter as well as their energy-dissipating or energy draining as well as coupling and decoupling ways to deal with vibrations and all sorts of other problems. Also, the cartridge's cantilever is a spring which introduces vibrations into the tonearm, so there's various ways of dealing with that and questions of whether mechanically tonearm and TT base work well together etc.

    In other words, every part of TT design matters and the way it is systematically implemented matters. To not take notice of that is just completely ignorant. I see people saying stuff like "as long as it spins at exact and constant 33.33, it all sounds the same". That's just an incredibly flat-earthy statement. In conclusion - TT design is a serious thing and mechanical engineering is a serious thing and simplistic common-sense drivel should be held in check when saying stuff about TTs. Also, please listen to various TTs on a good enough system. Then nobody will say stuff like "all TTs that spin so and so and with these specs on paper sound the same".
    gakerty, hi_watt, Big Blue and 2 others like this.
  17. popol_vuh

    popol_vuh Forum Resident

    Of course. Plenty of good replies on this thread that'll explain to you why if you're willing to read and understand.

    HIRES_FAN Forum Resident

    Dude, i've been around a while and I sure do understand that there is enough inconsistency in these rigs to make any guy fully neurotic. I have had several TTs at different price points. The last one i recall having for a significant number of years was the Marantz TT15s, whatever the hell it was. I had some SME 20 (supposedly high end, but sure didn't cut it for me) on loan for a long time from a buddy of mine. All i can ever recall is tinkering with it all day long . Can these guys even maintain consistency between 2 serial#s on the same model (tolerance stackups n all, doubtful).

    Eitherway, I just gave up and sold everything. I got the off the vinyl coal train and boarded the hires bullet train 10 years ago now.

    I currently have one 500 dollar Yamaha these days (streamer+DAC+turntable all in one front end for 500 dollars, wow, i say!!) and i bought a VM760slc recently for it that i haven't installed yet. It should be good enough for a handful of records i still have for which i don't have a better sounding digital alternative yet. While you guys do some serious monitoring with some precision 9dof inertial sensors/accels/ and what not with your precision centrifuges...i mean turntables :)D), i am just gonna call it a night.
  19. mkane

    mkane Strictly Analog

    Cloverdale, CA
    Set-up/record care is key with a tt. If a person doesn't have the time, patience or skill-set for this move on.
    hi_watt likes this.
  20. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So....my new girlfriend thinks I should buy a $2000 turntable instead of compromising for a more modest purchase. She wants to tag along and audition turntables. I think this one's a keeper!
    goer, VinylPhool, clhboa and 7 others like this.
  21. Greg Carrier

    Greg Carrier Forum Resident

    Iowa City
    The problem with the guy in the clip in the first post is that he thinks he's answering this question by thinking about it, rather than listening. Kind of sad, actually.
    hi_watt likes this.
  22. JohnO

    JohnO Senior Member

    Washington, DC
    Yeeeeahhhh..... next, what does she want for $2000?
  23. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    Do you have good shops for auditioning turntables nearby?

    Whatcha gonna listen to first?
  24. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident


    ... now she knows you spend 2k on a TT ...

    Randoms, KT88 and dennis1077 like this.
  25. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    I doubt that’s a consideration with a new girlfriend…

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