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Speed stability: Direct Drive vs belt

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DaleClark, Feb 11, 2019.

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  1. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    M
    My Yamaha PF 50 is a direct drive turntable with a suspended drive system and tonearm.
     
  2. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Well let's just say that most common dd's don't work that way?!
     
  3. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    I don't think they need to.
     
  4. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Possibly. I have a few years of experience with suspended bd's and only just started out with dd...so time will tell me ;). Never had speed issues with the Thorens models I had.
     
  5. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    It's motor noise isolation vs. cost, right? It seems like it costs more to make a direct drive with a noise level comparing to a belt drive of lower cost?
     
  6. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    The Thorens are great TT's. Back in the day when I sold them I had the utmost respect for them. My only complaint was their price. At that time the Japanese were killing the European brands on price and new tech. Kinda like they did to the american car industry.
     
    Big Blue and bever70 like this.
  7. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Most people do need to choose only one, and I think you are right about the heels being dug in. Nobody likes thinking they have made an expensive mistake (though it's not really a mistake if they are happy with the turntable they have chosen, so it's still silly...).
     
    bever70 likes this.
  8. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    Not in my experience. The cheapest DD I own is an Audio Technica AT LP120 USB I purchased used for $150 with the original cartridge. I listen to it with headphones and it is dead quiet. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

    DD is not particularly expensive, in my experience. It used to be. Heck, radial tires used to be expensive compared to bias ply. But they've been around for a few decades now. It's so dialed in the Chinese pump them out like free breath mints. :D
     
    vwestlife likes this.
  9. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    And now the ones actually made in Japan are expensive... go figure.
     
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  10. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I believe you, but it seems like that legacy reasoning is still used in the design, manufacture, and marketing of new turntables. Otherwise why are most turntables made now belt drive?
     
  11. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    The problem is this: Anyone can make a belt drive turntable. Buy a usable motor of any electronics parts site. a pully, a platter (The clear ones look cool but they are basically plastic), sand and paint a nice MDF base, adjust the motor speed and have a two speed pulley made, throw on a tonearm and presto, a turntable.

    Direct drive is a little more involved, not much more, but profit margins are tight. A dollar here or there per piece can put a company under.

    Also, if your advertising campaign is a throwback to the campaign for the AR turntable or the AR XA, you gotta use belt drive. ;)

    I really like the look of a lot of the new belt drive turntables, seriously, but I've just become a DD man, partly because of my early experiences with belt drive, and the disadvantages they bring to the table for my specific purposes. I wouldn't throw a u-turn in the garbage if someone sold me one. I'd even use it and enjoy it. And they look cool. But I'd definitely prefer the LP120 over any of those boutique brands. At the end of the day it's really just personal preference.
     
    stetsonic, vwestlife and Big Blue like this.
  12. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    This is a bigger factor than a lot of gear-oriented people consider it. It doesn't seem like much of the development of currently-made DD turntables has gone into aesthetic design. Make a DD that looks halfway elegant in my living room, and that's very possibly what I will buy next. All the models that look at home among furniture are belt drive, and I think the DD manufacturers are just letting part of the market go on that front. I think they probably win on the speed stability argument (definitely on wow and flutter specs), but a lot of people don't want to settle for putting a hunk of DJ gear in their homes.
     
    bever70 likes this.
  13. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    I'll just throw this out:
    The first "hi-fi" turntable I ever owned was a Technics SL-20 belt drive that I bought new. When I got the Kenwood KD500 I gave it to my parents who basically never used it. Back in the early 90's I decided to resurrect it for them. The belt had become like so much glue stuck to the platter in pieces. I was able to find a belt for it (before the internet, I don't remember how I did it, frankly) and it worked perfectly. That was actually not a bad little TT, for what it was.
    [​IMG]
     
    The Dragon and Big Blue like this.
  14. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    Yep. If I could get an LP120 in white, yellow or orange, I'd jump on it. My wife wouldn't, though. ;)

    The LP120 looks "industrial". I like that, but for our listening area, a nice, shiny mdf based belt drive with clear, frosted platter would look much more 21st century. In fact, those things actually have a nice mid-century look. I'm a huge fan of that.
     
    Big Blue likes this.
  15. SteelyNJ

    SteelyNJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    As I stated earlier, I have both types, a Dual 510 belt-drive and a Technics 1200MK2 direct-drive. Both are precision instruments with a high degree of speed accuracy. If I could only use one of them, however, it would be the Dual, but not because of drive preference.
     
    Soundslave, bever70 and Not Insane like this.
  16. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    If you don't like the look of any turntable, it is fairly easy to make a pretty wooden box for it. KAB has free plans for one for the 1200, and there are many aftermarket suppliers out there for other types of turntables too. For example, don't like the gloss MDF plinth of your Rega? Easy to change it out for an exotic wood or exotic wood veneer plinth.

    Re: the old "hunk of DJ gear" argument, it might interest you to know that before the 1200 became ubiquitous as a piece of club DJ equipment, people used a variety of things, including belt-drive turntables. The famous Paradise Garage DJs liked Thorens. Jamaican Soundsystem DJs (hugely influential also) liked to use a Garrard idler drive model. The 1200 itself was not originally designed as DJ gear, it just happened to be adopted by DJs at a certain point.
     
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  17. Mike from NYC

    Mike from NYC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Surprise, AZ
    No, and I refused to buy one for it at the prices being asked.
     
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  18. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    Yeah, it's the main reason I haven't been tempted by a VPI or a MOFI table or anything that uses a Hurst type motor. Their motors don't seem to be compatible with other brands of speed controllers either. I guess some of the discontinued Phoenix stuff could work on some models, but those are harder to get now and the prices have gone up.
     
  19. rebellovw

    rebellovw Forum Resident

    Location:
    hell
    I love my hunk of DJ gear. Here is my old thread on this I started at AK many years ago:

    DJ Table? Damn it - then I'm a DJ!

    Title inspired by the movie From dusk til dawn Harvey keitel

    I also love my VPI too. It is all good!
     
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  20. Mike from NYC

    Mike from NYC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Surprise, AZ
    Many belts are pieced together, like the VPI belts, and whenever their is a size difference, the speed will fluctuate and the same goes for the rest of the belt if there are differences in the diameter along the belt. I guess 2 or more belts might help to minimize the speed variations but I didn't try that out. The wow and flutter was too much for my ears and in comparison to my Kenwoods (I own 3) the difference was quite dramatic.

    YMMV
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  21. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    I have belt and DD, but prefer the DD.

    I think many could not sell TT's if they had to make a DD. In today's world a DD is more outlay in overhead, more engineering than many companies are capable of taking on at the current market. So out of necessity BD is the most common produced today. You can do quite a bit with just a little using this technique.

    I've never heard cogging, only witnessed people talking about it. Either I am oblivious (seem I would catch it on a long note or two though) or we have a term or condition that continues to be repeated with little or no basis in reality.

    I think the different designs and even within designs, the choices impart a signature to the sound, but it is hard to describe it properly.
     
  22. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    This helps explain the cogging thing:

    I think the fact is that many people don't understand that there are multiple types of DD systems, and they are not all equal in performance. Other people just parrot what they read on the internet or what a salesman told them.


    Myth Statement
    Direct Drive is never on speed always hunting and searching


    In order for a 'table to have low flutter, the rotational precision must be high. It is an undeniable fact.

    There are two kinds of direct drive systems out there:
    1. those that use positional updating systems.
    2. those that use linear frequency generators.

    The 'tables that use the update technique will make a correction to the platter speed once, maybe twice per revolution. These designs will appear to hunt and search for speed because the corrections are large and tend to overshoot. They also will exhibit high Wow and Flutter Test results, usually over 0.2%. You know them as the DJ variety, Stanton, Gemini, Numark, etc.

    Linear frequency generators like those used by Technics, Denon, JVC and Kenwood to name a few, have a constant read on the platter speed and do not need to make any corrections unless it is truly neccessary. And since these systems know the precise instant that the speed has changed, they can make a correction that is timed properly without overshoot and, as a result, is imperceptable. These systems acheive Wow and Flutter results of 0.025% and that is really nearing the resolution of the test equipment. These drive systems were born in the discrete quad period 1972-78 where the need to lock onto a 30Khz carrier signal and trace modulations to 50Khz at the inside groove were a requirement.

    To compare, a very good belt drive like the Well Tempered Turntable, reviewed fully by Audio magazine, shows a Wow of 0.12% and a Flutter of 0.03%, or W&F = 0.15%. ca 1988

    There are few measurements of this type specified by todays new age manufacturers or done by magazines today.

    One I found a few years back in Stereophile Magazine reported on the Music Fidelity turntable around $5K, Flutter only equal to 0.15%. Interestingly, the magazine would not publish the Wow figure, expressing doubts about the measurement, believeing it was too high and probably the result of record non-concentricity. Perhaps, still, it would have been useful to know what was actually measured. 0.15% is 5 times the flutter of the W.T.T.

    Now go back and compare that to the Technics W&F at 0.025%.( That's wow and flutter combined remember. That's 5 times better than the W.T.T)
    Those measurements would not be possible if the motor was "hunting and searching".
    And it is the only kind of control system that can compensate for dynamic stylus drag as well as static drag. Further, Technics goes so far as to test for spurious or peak wow and flutter as well. The results for that measurement is still just 0.035%! These specs are in the owner manual.

    CUSTOM BUILT HI PERFORMANCE TECHNICS SL-1200 TURNTABLE AT KABUSA.COM

     
  23. rebellovw

    rebellovw Forum Resident

    Location:
    hell
    If cogging was a real problem - which it absolutely isn't on the SL1210Mk5(one I've years of experience with) then it could easily be recorded and proven -- which it hasn't been. Somethings cannot be recorded - but speed control/variance certainly can be.
     
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  24. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I really did just mean visually. I hope that came across. I know they are good-sounding, quality-constructed turntables. It's that industrial/utilitarian look I wish had a more furniture-like alternative.

    The suggestion to build a box around it is great, but I think somebody could sell some direct drive tables if a Technics-quality drive system was implemented in a more elegant package, without all the lights and giant slider (Technics is getting closer with the new SL-1500C). Because, again, a quiet and well-designed direct drive makes more sense to me in theory, and sure seems to measure better in speed stability.
     
    rebellovw likes this.
  25. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    That's just crazy talk! How do you think I get mine into warp drive?!
     
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