How can one turntable sound better than another?

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

  1. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Availability is an issue as well. Retailers are listing these as "ship date unknown."
    BrentB likes this.
  2. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    This sounds like my ex-wife, so hold that 'keeper' thought.

    I used to dem equipment many years ago and always advised that the customer brought a friend along, as in my experience if you're under stress from potentially spending £2,000 the other person is more likely to hear even big differences.

    My ex was the cause of me spending £4,000 rather than £2K, on a turntable and whilst that was the biggest difference we always came away with something 'better'
    Randoms likes this.
  3. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Forum Resident

    SF Peninsula
    Since you're very new at this and I don't know if you already have a table this would be my suggestion.

    For starters, there is always something better, there is always a desire to upgrade. At some point we all should be able to find what works for us and is enough, good enough for us.

    Buy a older used table on the second hand market, something that is known and in demand.
    Something like spending $500- $1200 on it, you can then look for cartridges in a price point of $400-$800. This is plenty for a beginner, far far more than most start really learning with.

    Learn all aspects of setting up a table, all about record care and over coming obstacles in playback and system setup. Learn how to shop for good records and what make a record good, learn to listen, learn to hear the differences in different same titles by comparing them. Learn what sound qualities you like and how to get that with your system, table cartridge and phono staging.

    Once you'v got a very good grasp on setting up tables, systems and what is a quality record, then set your sights higher.

    The used in demand older table will sell for about the same price you paid, there isn't a loss in doing this. The cartridge or cartridges you started to use might be what you like and could be kept and still used on a new/different table.

    What makes a good table and vinyl frontend is us learning what is good in the first place. We can't do that without hands on and working with records and system components. Clicking a mouse and having some $2000 table setup with a cartridge land on our porch teaches nothing. Many older tables in the price point I stated above with a good cartridge as said above can be a far better table than something new in the $2000 price point.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
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  4. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I bought myself a Project Debut iii about 10 years ago. Besides some ultra-cheap $99 record player prior, the Project has been my only turntable.

    Much of what your saying makes sense. Still, buying used intimidates me.

    I wonder if jumping from a beginner table straight to an expensive unit is doing myself a disservice.
    dmcnelly likes this.
  5. dmcnelly

    dmcnelly Grammy Award Loser

    Checking out the rest of your system, I don't think you're doing yourself a disservice at all. If vinyl is your main squeeze, you should get yourself an upgraded table.
    dennis1077 likes this.
  6. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Victoria, B.C.
    A ten year old working Debut III has got to be some sort of milestone.

    When your state of shock wears off, you'll be wondering why you put up with the Debut III for so long.:winkgrin:

    luckybaer likes this.
  7. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    You'll probably get over it, unless it really clashes with your decor.
    Manhar Patel likes this.
  8. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Meat and Potatoes all day long

    Forget the resonance (which may well be a problem).
    The bigger problem is that a stiff stylus will not wiggle enough on a light tonearm because it will simply wiggle the arm instead of wiggling the stylus.
    You need a lot of mass on the headshell and at the rear of the arm to balance a lot of mass.
    A lot of mass and the stylus will move with vigor and make BASS!.

    I tried running the Denon (which is just as stiff as your cartridge) WITHOUT adding a lot of mass to my Technics.
    Guess what?
    No BASS!

    The good news is your tonearm headshell has the option of screwing +4gr headshell weights onto the headshell.
    I used two of them super glued together for 8gr plus headshell.
    I used an 11 gr headshell.
    I used BRASS mounting bolts for weight (2 grams extra weight---yay!).
    Then I went to Home Depot and got a screw that would thread up the rear of the arm tube which on my table seemed to have some kind of threads up in there.
    I drilled out some coins )or use washers if you like) and screwed enough weight on to balance the extra heavy headshell.

    All in all I probably increased the mass from the teens up into the high 20s which is ideal.
    I get terrific bass and wonderful tone.
    My resonance is great too.

    Go ahead and try it without any mods first---but I'm guessing a trip to Home Depot is in your future.
    And don't sweat it---you will get this done right and get wonderful sound and a lot better tone than the boys that don't know what they are doing with the OC9.
    Sterling1 likes this.
  9. Davey

    Davey NP: Carmen Villain ~ Sketch for Winter IX: Perlita

    SF Bay Area, USA
    The AT-OC9XML isn't stiff, the compliance is around 25cu, so opposite your 103, you don't want to load it down with too much mass or it will get sloppy sounding.
    Sterling1 likes this.
  10. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Meat and Potatoes all day long

    I don't own one.

    I mistakenly thought Sterling1 was having a problem with a too stiff LOMC. WRONG!
    Apparently Audio Technica has made the AT-OC9XML a lot more compliant than I expected.

    Surely some one else on here is running an AT-OC9XML and can chime in on real world experience with resonance figures.
    I shall now shut up and return to my regularly scheduled performance...
    C.Ludwig likes this.
  11. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    And Linn still sell by demonstration.

    One of his demonstrations was to sit the LP12 on top of Linn Isobarik speakers


    Apart from producing prodigious and tight bass from the Isobaric principle loaded bass units, the 'bricks had an upwards facing midrange unit, he played the music loud and the carefully tuned suspension did a fine job of isolating the turntable from the environment.

    Some other popular turntables didn't do such a great job.....
    Like many, for several years I demonstrated different quality turntables fitted with the same arm and cartridge. Differences are there, how significant those improvements are to one individual to another is another matter all together.

    A turntable has to allow a cartridge mounted in an arm, mounted on a turntable to extract information from the groove in microns. As the above story about Ivor demonstrating the LP12 shows, a turntable needs not to pass on internal mechanical noise present in both DD and BD designs whilst not being affected by environmental noise.

    To turn your question round, how can one turntable not sound better (or worse!) than another?

    I would suggest that not auditioning better turntables, and your choices of both Rega and Technics are both excellent, is doing yourself and your amp and speakers a disservice!! Relax, listen to the music, trust your ears and see which you prefer.

    The drive to your dealer is in my opinion very worthwhile - let them demonstrate why a better engineered and finer toleranced turntable allows the same arm and cartridge to extract more information from the groove whilst being coloured less from both internal and external vibrations. Unfortunately it doesn't take much to lose that vital musical information right at the beginning of the chain and no amp or speakers can ever bring it back.
    dennis1077 and Musicphil like this.
  12. Doghouse Riley

    Doghouse Riley Forum Resident

    North West England
    Far too much aesthetics in the choice of turntables.
    It's possible to convince yourself that one turntable is better than another, just because you prefer the look of it.
  13. popol_vuh

    popol_vuh Forum Resident

    Just as many other non-sound-related stuff can influence and convince us. Where the part is made, how much it costs, various prejudices about design choices etc. That's why it's of the utmost importance to listen and compare in a well known system.
    GyroSE likes this.
  14. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    Only if one cares about such things. Since I don't, I let my ears make the decision. Simple, really.
    Doghouse Riley and Randoms like this.
  15. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    The premise of the video is incorrect. A TT is a mechanical system, and every part of the system can make a difference in sound. Quality TTs are highly engineered machines. At a certain price point you can bet that every material and part down to the tiniest screw has been evaluated by the engineers for impact on sound.

    The expense of that research and design will show up in the retail price. If you are in the market, set your budget as high as you can, even stretching that if possible, then research the offerings in that bracket.

    Auditioning is great if that is an option, but when researching online, i would definitely look for more credible reviewers.
    Randoms likes this.
  16. Doghouse Riley

    Doghouse Riley Forum Resident

    North West England
    Something to consider with older turntables.

    I've two vintage vinyl jukeboxes. I've replaced the turntable motor support posts grommets. These can harden over time and the subsequent vibration noise can be picked up by the cartridge and lead to a faint background noise when playing a record. Though you can't hear it any other way.
  17. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    How many professional reviewers don't have some long term lone equipment? Having met a few well known UK reviewers back in the eighties, the idea of trusting their opinion is truly frightening.

    Personally I would travel several hundred miles to find an excellent dealer with a good range of equipment to audition - a good dealer can save you a lot of money and you can live with those buying decisions for many years.

    We are very fortunate that the UK is both a smaller country and we have several excellent dealers.

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