How can one turntable sound better than another?

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

  1. dmcnelly

    dmcnelly Grammy Award Loser

    That's how my wife was when we first started dating, tagging along to the different record and hi-fi stores with me, gradually falling down the rabbit hole and building her own little (admittedly impressive for her limited budget) system. Eventually, she had the better record collection, I had the better stereo, and getting hitched seemed like the logical decision to make. :D
  2. Musicphil

    Musicphil Well-Known Member

    West mids uk
  3. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    There's a few that are a bit of a drive but manageable. Honestly, I probably wouldn't make the drive alone but it makes a pretty cool date.

    I'm thinking of a Rega Planar 6. Possibly considering a Clear Audio.
  4. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The thing is.....she KNOWS I'm poor. This is only possible because I got a "surprise" tax refund.
  5. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    If any component can show large differences it is the turntable. Bearing quality, platter damping and isolation are important to extracting information from the groove and involve precision engineering which doesn't come cheap. If you spend more you get better sound is a pretty firm rule with turntables unlike almost every other hi-fi component. Garbage in garbage out does work in hi-fi.
    Sterling1, GyroSE, Randoms and 3 others like this.
  6. KT88

    KT88 Senior Member

    Or a gold digger. ;) !
    I'm sure she's a keeper if she is easy to get along with and just happy to be there. When I met my wife, she was living in a little apartment with a small, but nice (100 or so) record collection. She had a Thorens turntable, a Nakamichi receiver, and a pair of KEF speakers. All I needed to do then was to raise her shirt, and then take in the view of the overall situation. Yep, she was a keeper. Oh yeah, and we got along well verbally before we launched into each other's 4 point inspection process.
  7. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    If I put my Nagaoka MP200 on my current table, it does not sound as good as when I have my AT OC9/MLII installed, but the turntable sounds amazing with my Lyra Delos installed. The installed cartridge has such a dramatic effect on your turntable. That being said, I have liked the sound of each one of my carts on my table.
    I am sure if I get a $3,000 turntable it should give me a more revealing sound as the bearing will be better than what I have now.
  8. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    In that price tag also you must consider the Technics 1200GR. Spectacular TT and forget about stretched belts.
    dennis1077 and Sterling1 like this.
  9. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Meat and Potatoes all day long

    I'm tuning up and hotrodding my turntables (I own three).
    I find it incredibly useful to have all three plugged into the same amp/setup for comparison.
    Whichever one sounds the best then I try to get the other two to sound even BETTER.

    So my Fluance RT82 ($300 table---$1545 with cables, phono section and LOMC cartridge) sounded terrible compared to my Pioneer PLX1000 and Technics SL1210M5g.

    The Pioneer is a $700 table---$1600 with cables, phono section and ATVM750SH cartridge.
    The Technics is basically a $1200 table---$2465 with cables, phono section and LOMC.

    All three tables using identical SimAudio Moon 110LPV2 phono sections as I find this to be the best performing phono pre under a grand so far.
    Used the ones I own on all three tables to make comparisons as equal as possible.

    Problem was that the top end on the Fluance was shrill and confused with a ton of resonances interfering with clarity.
    Not much bass or treble either!
    Turns out the entire table was a vibrator due to the lousy feet---and the vibration prone body which was undamped---and the armtube which was tinny, cheap and "shouty" sounding.

    So I removed the feet entirely and sat the table directly on some gushy silicone footers.
    Shrink wrapped some sleeve material tightly around the armtube to get it to shut up and stop ringing.
    The body was also then dampened by all that silicone and the body stopped ringing.
    Now the Fluance sounded magnificent.
    It was really "singing" with a LOMC (Denon DL103r with F/L stylus).
    Using the identical phono section as the others it now was as good or better than any of them!

    So I went to work on the Technics table.
    It sounded "dead".
    I had installed a KAB tonearm dampener filled with gooey oil to kill vibration.
    Turns out it was killing my top end.
    Took out the goo and there was my top end again!

    The Technics armtube also liked shrink wrapping it with a cover.
    That armtube was also ringing just like the Fluance!
    And dampening the feet with silicone footers under the table stand tightened up the bottom end by stopping the bass from draining out of the plinth.
    Now it sounded BETTER than the Fluance.
    More bottom, more power, less shrill.

    The third table is a Pioneer PLX1000.
    It is a hummer.
    Nothing I can do will stop the electric motor/transformer from putting hum in my cables.
    It is a flaw with the design.

    I have got it working very very well using an MM cartridge instead of LOMC.
    It just won't stop humming with a moving coil as these pick up magnetic/electrical interference very easily.
    But otherwise it sounds powerful, clean and clear.
    You get a very up-front presentation using the Audio Technica VM750SH.
    But it does not sing like a moving coil of course.
    I put silicone footers on it tightened up its armtube bearings and it seems to work very well---in the class of the other two for sure.

    So there you have it.
    Three tables.
    All using common sense observational comparisons were able to be improved enormously using simple remedies that cost only a few bucks and a little time.
    George Blair likes this.
  10. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Louisville, KY
    What MC and headshell for the Technics? Where is the cart's resonance?
  11. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I actually really like the idea of a direct drive turntable but just don't like the sliders and DJ aesthetic.
  12. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    Same issue when I had a PLX 1000. Hum with MC but fine with MM. There is an unshielded transformer that is causing this. You can't easily remove it and place it off board as with the old Technics 1200 models. Unfortunately this rather limits an otherwise quite excellent TT.
    Doctor Fine likes this.
  13. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Meat and Potatoes all day long

    Modified Denon DL103r with fine line stylus and ruby cantilever upgrades.
    Stock Technics headshell with DOUBLE 4+ gram screw on headshell weights (the top one is super glued to the bottom one).
    Obviously had to add more weight to the other end of the tonearm to make it balance.
    Turns out that end is sort of threaded ---at least I got a screw and some washers and added a ton of extra weight back there very easily.

    Mass of the arm is now in the 20s which is wonderful.
    Resonance agrees!---it is right at 10hZ!
    Maybe not the best this cartridge can sound but I'm pleased how far up the ladder the modified Technics sounds quality wise for the money.
  14. KT88

    KT88 Senior Member

    That's why I have one of these:
    GyroSE, nosliw, dennis1077 and 2 others like this.
  15. hifisoup

    hifisoup @hearmoremusic on Instagram

    This subject has been beaten to death countless thousands of times. I was going to respond to it.

    But, why bother.
  16. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    well, then you have the 1500C or the new 100C ... anyway, see a GR in person and then tell me if you dislike ... quality explodes in front of your eyes.
    dennis1077 likes this.
  17. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    Or, maybe it allows cash-flow challenged to pick up a good TT and add improvements as their pocketbooks allow. That may be preferable to buying a $799 turntable and having to buy a completely new turntable at $1,699 to get a discernable improvement in overall quality - engineering, parts, sound, etc.
    dennis1077 likes this.
  18. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    At least it is just a gf, so no strings or shackles. Now, had he disclosed so much sensitive info to a wyfe... that would be a very, very bad move. There's just some stuff that wives are better of not knowing.
  19. Just Walking

    Just Walking Forum Resident

    This is the regular long and winding thread. So here is a story

    Aged 16 I worked on a Saturday as a schoolboy sales assistant at a hifi store in the North of England. 1972. That was in the very early days of Linn, and a very young Ivor Tieffenbrun was doing the circuit of hifi stores with his first product - the very original Sondek.

    Basically he said that the turntable/arm/cartridge are absolutely the most important part. Because if the sound is screwed up there, it can never be made any better no matter how high the quality of the rest of the system.

    Now this was heresy. The opinion at that time was that the deck/arm had no influence on the sound quality. This was in the days that the hifi press did not even listen to stuff. They measured it only, and wrote that review on that basis.

    So Tieffenbrun said - OK - set up your best system and lets listen. Then he said - OK, plug mine in instead. Jaws dropped - he made his point big time, started manufacturing Sondeks. Now Tieff has retired, and Son of Tieff is running Linn. And their flagship product is still the Sondek, and multiple very expensive upgrades.
    Randoms and Musicphil like this.
  20. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I was seriously considering the 1500C but the built in preamp just irks me. I know you can bypass it, but the fact that I'm paying for something I don't want bothers me.

    Is the 100C available in the US?

    I'll 100% take a look at the GR if they have a demo table available. Judging from online retailers, pretty much all Technics tables have been backordered for months.
  21. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    ... and i think that means "success" ... from the 1200G to the mk7
    dennis1077 likes this.
  22. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Louisville, KY
    I have an AT-OC9XML on order. It will be mounted to an 11 ounce AT-LH11H Headshell and then onto my Tcchnics SL-1210GR. I have been advised that this system will produce resonance in the 6 Hz arena so I am wondering if that will be problematic. I have a Shure V15 type III/Jico SAS-B fitted to stock Technics headshell and it produces very controlled resonance peak in the 6 Hz arena and I hear no sign of distortion from that arrangement, making me sense I will not have an issue with the OC9XML but I am still somewhat anxious.
  23. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    Here's how I look at the built-in amp, provided there is a true bypass.

    1. I'd compare it to my external preamp just to make myself feel good about spending the $$ on an external. :)
    2. Heaven forbid, if your external preamp needed servicing or replacement (mine currently had to go into the shop after 40 months of being on all the time), at least you'd have a serviceable option to hold you over until your preamp came back or you found an adequate replacement.

    FWIW, I'm a SL-1210GR owner, and I enjoy it. If I were to upgrade in the future, I'd move up the Technics line.
  24. BrentB

    BrentB Urban Angler

    Midwestern US
    Aesthetics should be considered a moot point when one gains maximum control and involvement in their music.
  25. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    I just acquired a Rega P10 and already had a VPI. Using the same cart and the optimal setup, the differences are quite obvious. This guy can be skeptical but if he won't put it to the test and/or actually use his ears, his comments are irrelevant.
    Echoes Myron and Randoms like this.

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