Is vinyl too underwhelming? My system

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by mclayton, Sep 21, 2022.

  1. mclayton

    mclayton Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    uptown
    Hi,

    I am desperate to solve this issue. I *want* to enjoy my vinyl. I listened to vinyl as a kid up until CD's. I want to enjoy vinyl the way everyone else seems to on the forum.

    My System:
    Cambridge Audio CXA61 amp
    Cambridge Audio Alva Solo preamp
    Fluance RT-85 w/ Ortofon 2M Blue
    Klipsch RP-600M speakers

    When I listen to vinyl is is "undefined" and underwhelming. CD's sound FANTASTIC. Bluetooth streaming even sounds GOOD.

    Blue Note Jack McDuff Moon Rappin' is the only vinyl that sounds okay. Prince Sign of the Times (for example) is supposed to be good vinyl and sounds sad. a little muffled and uninteresting. Same with ZZ Top Raw. Kiss Alive. etc.

    Is the Ortofon Blue "too good" and brings out the disappointment in most vinyl? Did I set it up wrong? If I so much as sneeze, it skips. Very "persnickety" turntable or needle? I have it set at 1.8

    My ears are no longer young and I have some tinnitus. Have I grown too used to CD's to enjoy vinyl?

    Any help would be much appreciated. I see all the passion for vinyl and the sound quality of vinyl and I am not getting it. Thanks!
     
    Cekootje and Tim 2 like this.
  2. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Your 2M Blue wants an input capacitance of 150-300pF. Your Alva Solo has a 100pF input capacitance. I'm not really a vinyl guy, but that seems like it might make for less than ideal matching. I'm sure someone who knows what they're talking about will confirm or deny the truth of this :laugh:

    EDIT: I forgot to account for cabling. You're probably spot on with your capacitance. :doh:
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2022
    mclayton and bloodlemons like this.
  3. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Could be setup issues with the cartridge, or perhaps placing the turntable too close to the speakers or on a not very stable surface.

    However, your Fluance is an entry-level ‘table (albeit very good-looking one, but that’s kinda what much of the $ went to). In my experience, digital will generally outperform entry-level ‘tables… though of course some of this depends on what was mastered/recorded better, the vinyl or the CD. But, still.

    The nice thing about analog is that the more you spend, the better it gets… it catches up to and then passes digital. But, to get to that level may be more $$ than you feel like spending.

    For a bang-for-the-buck entry-level system, CD can make a lot of sense. Especially considering how many used CDs are out there for relatively cheap. :thumbsup:
    .
     
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  4. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Ya, my iTunes sounds better than my TT setup, but I accept it as that. I like playing my LPs for sh!ts & giggles, since I have a soft spot for them.

    No regrets.
     
  5. downloadsofist

    downloadsofist Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    One of the reasons CDs took off is because at the low end they sound so much better. Your setup is pretty entry level so it’s not surprising. Not a slam—so is mine. I have the same turntable and cartridge, and I’m deeply skeptical of anyone who says gear at this level sounds much better than digital. That said, vinyl is my preferred medium and I like how records sound (as well as many other things about them).
     
  6. Jaxjax67

    Jaxjax67 Samantha Fish @ small venue

    Location:
    Toledo Wa
    Something isn't right. Definitely shouldn't be skipping that easy. Did you use a digital scale for the 1.8 reading ? I would try a different cartridge.....
     
  7. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    If skipping easily something is wrong. Could be a dirty stylus, poor setup and siting of the turntable, wrong VTF etc.
     
  8. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    If I'm reading the manual correctly, the recommended tracking force is from 1.6 to 2 grams. Try increasing the tracking force slightly to eliminate skipping.
     
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  9. Gary7704

    Gary7704 It's All Too Much

    Location:
    New Jersey
    I have the Fluance RT-Fluance RT-82w/ AT 150 on it. How did you set it up? What is your anti skate set at? I noticed the deck was very touchy with that and if it not set right bad things will happen.
     
    mclayton likes this.
  10. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    You found what was well known before: digital playback chain allows to achieve much better results for less money. Analog playback requires at least $5000 to get anywhere close to average $500 digital player. That is why I always recommend to get into vinyl, when everything else is close to perfect. You will need double the cost of your system to get a minimum level of satisfaction. When you take high-res digital playback chain, you need to spend $10000 or more to get similar results from table/cartridge/phono preamp combination.

    The only reason to deal with vinyl for me is to have ability to play 1950s-1960s vintage records the way they were meant to be heard. But then if you hear digital transcript of original master (if it survived the time), you won't touch vinyl again.
     
  11. Lenny99

    Lenny99 The truth sets you free.

    Location:
    Clarksburg WV
    Obviously, the problem is with your TT and or your cart/stylus setup. The Blue is a good stylus so unless it"s improperly installed, misaligned, your tracking is off, or your anti-skate is off, it's not the stylus. I'd see if a higher tracking force might help, then fool around with the anti-skate control.

    I'm not sure about that TT. If it's not the setup of the cart, it's prob the table. I'd check the balance of the TT, and look at the isolation. Also, I'd look at the phono interconnects.

    It could be a combo of many things.

    Good luck.
     
    The FRiNgE, uzn007, bluesky and 3 others like this.
  12. c-eling

    c-eling They're made of light,We never would have guessed

    Some of the mastering's on LP you have are most likely pretty poor. -Today's modern mastering's thrown to wax.
    Garbage in/Garbage out. Applies to all formats...
     
    tin ears, mclayton, Dr. Funk and 3 others like this.
  13. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I used to be on a site where such media was available, and it definitely is awesome. I was able to download a few flat transfers of some favorite classic rock albums before I lost access. Can't remember what quality they are, but each album was like 30 gigs, lol. They all have a certain obvious analog feel to them, similar to needle drops, but with something extra I can't put my finger on.
     
  14. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    DSD128 tranfers are excellent. HDTT project is one source of them. There are others.
     
    DyersEve726 likes this.
  15. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    A lot of ppl would disagree with that statement.

    .
     
  16. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    Simple, your Cambridge amp has got to go. Replace it with this:

    BasX A2 Stereo Amplifier

    then, chuck your boring ortofon 2m and get this in your system:

    https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Techni...s&sprefix=audio+technica+phono,aps,160&sr=1-2

    you’ll never look back……BAM! SYNERGY….
    BEAVE
     
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  17. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    Me included!
    Beave
     
  18. c-eling

    c-eling They're made of light,We never would have guessed

    C'mon Beave, no amount of $$$ on hardware can save stuff like this.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    People need to pay more attention to what's on those big ass circles.
    The Blue is actually a pretty exciting cart, that's why I don't use one anymore. I wanted something a bit more neutral.
     
    tin ears, mclayton, nosliw and 2 others like this.
  19. theflattire

    theflattire Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    As others have said, check your TT, it needs to be level. Make sure your cart is set up properly.
    I had a 2M Blue and the Cambridge Alva does not do it justice (I had a Duo). When I changed to my Darlington Labs MP7 the Blue really took off and made my Rega P1 sing.
    Your TT, as other have said, is entry level but with the right combinations it should be ok.

    Vinyl takes some dedication to really rival or surpass digital and there are three components involved besides your main system: TT, cart, and phono stage. All three are important to your sound.
     
  20. Lenny99

    Lenny99 The truth sets you free.

    Location:
    Clarksburg WV
    I'd gave to say I agree. My modest Audio Technica AT-LP7 @ $850 produces fine sound especially when coupled with the AT VM540ML cart/stylus. That's a total cost of appx $1050. I have an ARTS LE DJPREPHONO preamp at appx $80 which definitely helps.

    In most cases, I prefer it to my Yamaha 301 CD player @ appx $400 which sounds good, and sometimes great.

    The CD player is normally considered an entry level component while my TT is generally considered a step above entry level.

    I can understand why it's stated an analog system will cost more than a digital system that produces comparable sound. This may well be true, but that's ignoring the intrinsic value of analog play.

    Even without taken the intrinsic value into consideration I don't think the before mentioned gap is $5000 to $500, a ten to one increase in cost.
     
    Rattlin' Bones, MAP, mclayton and 2 others like this.
  21. RWBadley

    RWBadley A Long Strange Trip

    Location:
    Reno NV USA
    How much time on your cartridge? If it’s quite new I might question the setup. It should hang pretty well with cd, unless there’s some other issue.
     
    mclayton likes this.
  22. B. Scarpia

    B. Scarpia WatchingYouWatchingMe

    Location:
    WNC
    Where should I send the $2,000 I owe?
     
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  23. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Yeah, it's nonsense.
     
  24. B. Scarpia

    B. Scarpia WatchingYouWatchingMe

    Location:
    WNC
    "If I so much as sneeze, it skips. Very "persnickety" turntable or needle? I have it set at 1.8"

    Besides the tracking and anti-skate advice I'd take a careful look with a flashlight at the gap, if any, between the cueing lift and the underside of the arm with a record playing. The lift height will be adjustable and may need to be lowered.

    Records sounding dull and murky could mean the VTA/SRA is poorly set with the cartridge out of parallel to the platter sloping back toward the arm pillar. Try raising the arm pillar in 1/2 mm. steps, listening each time.
     
  25. doctor fuse

    doctor fuse Forum Resident

    1. Turntable needs vibration isolation. Can you put it on a heaven board which sits on racquetballs cut in half, or a half inflated 10”-14” inner tube? Is the table or stand that the turntable sits on stable and heavy enough?

    2. Recheck cartridge setup, including alignment, VTF, etc

    3. Speakers too close to turntable?

    4. Stylus worn out?
     
    mclayton, BrentB and woodpigeon like this.

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