Will I notice if I upgrade?

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Bob257
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Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by Bob257 » 07 Nov 2018 16:51

I own a Technics SL-D20 turntable with a Audio-Technica cartridge LS450/LT. I just started collecting vinyl and was wondering if I'd notice a big enough difference if I bought a different turntable. I'm powering it through a Yamaha a-s801 amp, Elac debut 6 speakers and a Polk PSW-10 subwoofer. I've been spending a lot of money and I'd have to save up of course. I was thinking of a Planar 1 or, if I thought I could hear a BiG difference, the ProJect 2Xperience.
Should I spend money on something else or save for one of the new turntables?

Spinner45
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by Spinner45 » 07 Nov 2018 19:14

The Technics, if serviced properly, should provide plenty of quality listening without having to buy anything else.
Go over the claimed specifications such as wow/flutter, rumble, etc, and see how the "new" stuff compares.
A lot of the new stuff falls short.

tom6to1
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by tom6to1 » 07 Nov 2018 20:32

I have this exact turntable but with a Technics cartridge. You are unlikely to notice an improvement going to an entry-level belt-drive turntable. What you have, if in good working order with a good stylus will be the equivalent of a much more expensive model from ProJect. Certainly the specs will make that clear. What will sound better is much more subjective (for anyone) so if you need to know for sure, you need to do a side-by-side comparison. Get a retailer to lend you the model you want with the cartridge you want, try it at home and decide if it is better than what you have (or bring your turntable to the dealer, though that means you are doing all the work and taking the transport risk).

Alternatives? I was going to suggest maybe a better cartridge. I can't (quickly) find info on the LS450/LT, but if this is similar to the LS400 then that is already a pretty good cartridge. Perhaps a new stylus -- how much wear (how many hours) on the stylus? Another idea, how do you clean your records? If you don't have anything, buying a Spin-Clean is a good place to start. A good anti-static brush? (You may of course already have all of these items, but they are relatively inexpensive items that will improve your listening experience).

62vauxhall
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by 62vauxhall » 07 Nov 2018 21:42

If just getting your feet wet playing records, give it some time before looking to upgrade anything. Get used to the format first with some albums under your belt.

Chances are, those of us who've lived with it for decades. left well enough alone for several years before the urge or necessity prompted it and money allowed it.

Solist
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by Solist » 07 Nov 2018 22:16

You have a good setup. I would try to go with a better cartridge/stylus. I do not know much about the old AT cartridges, maybe it is a keeper, maybe not.

But remember that the stylus is the first link in the chain and there is where you lose/gain the most. I would recommend Jico styluses, mainly because of their QC.

And one more thing, take your time setting the azimuth and SRA correctly. It might take a couple of hours the first time, and then some more to fine adjust everything.

Buy a magnifying glass and make sure that the azimuth is spot on, use shims (electric tape does wonders) to set the azimuth and SRA.

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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by JDJX » 07 Nov 2018 22:23

In addition to what has already been said......

FWIW..
Once you reach a certain level of quality on TTs, the important thing is, the one thing that may effect sound is, tone arm - cartridge compatibility with each other.

Not to beat a dead horse but.... :)
One the thing that people liked about the Sure M97xE was that the Shure stabilizing brush enabled compatibility with a variety of tone arms in its tracking force range. .

patient_ot
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by patient_ot » 07 Nov 2018 23:14

Instead of spending money on a new turntable, make sure what you have is running correctly. Download the manual and learn about it, get everything calibrated correctly.

If the stylus on the current cartridge is old, get a new one to tide you over. Playing records with worn out styli will just cause extra wear you don't want. Styli for that old cart should be fairly inexpensive.

If your speakers are not on proper stands and equipment is stacked up like Jenga, get a hi-fi rack and some stands.

If you have money left over buy a real record cleaning system (preferably a vac RCM) and new cartridge.

Solist
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by Solist » 07 Nov 2018 23:16

Yes, the tonearm/cartridge compatibility is another issue worth discussing.

I just noticed that it uses a p mount cartridge, well scheisse.

My bad, if you want you can still order an adapter which would increase the selection of cartridges drastically.

Sunwire
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by Sunwire » 07 Nov 2018 23:24

The SL-D20 is a pretty good turntable. You would have to spend quite a lot for a new turntable that is better.
If you want to upgrade, the most cost-effective way would be to buy a better stylus for your cartridge.
In this regard, you are really in luck.
The LS450 LT appears to be the same cartridge body used by the following models:
AT102P
AT112EP
AT122EP
AT132EP
AT152LP
I found another thread in the forum archives that confirms this.
Those are all p-mount cartridges, like yours. And this is quite a good cartridge. You would have to spend a lot to do better.

But the needles for the similar 1/2" mount cartridges are also compatible.
This includes many of Audio Technica's newest cartridges.
So, you should be able to use any of the new needles with model numbers that start with VMN:
VMN10CB
VMN20EB
VMN30EN
VMN40ML
The VMN20EB is probably similar to what came installed on your cartridge, originally. The VMN10CB might be a step down.
The VMN30EN and VMN40ML should be a step up.
These are all designed for 1/2" mount cartridges, but should fit. BUT, they require a bit more mass and tracking force .(1.8-22 grams tracking force) than your tonearm can supply, so you would probably need to add some mass to the top of the cartridge in order to achieve a good match. Since I think your tonearm has either no VTF adjustment or only a limited range of 1-1.5 grams.
You might need to use an external stylus force gauge. A cheap Chinese scale that costs about $15 would work fine. The extra mass can be added to the cartridge with some Blu-Tack or Blue-Stick or similar adhesive putties. There are many brand names of the same basic stuff.

Alec124c41
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by Alec124c41 » 08 Nov 2018 00:06

Optimize what you have. Buying a new entry-level turntable would be a step sideways, at best.
Don't think about trying to adapt to 1/2 inch cartridges. It only works the other way.
The SL-D20 is quite a decent turntable. It sounds good, and will not harm your records. In a few years, you might want to upgrade, but you might then be able to make a more significant investment, and you will know more.

Cheers,
Alec

Spinner45
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by Spinner45 » 08 Nov 2018 00:34

Solist wrote:
07 Nov 2018 23:16
Yes, the tonearm/cartridge compatibility is another issue worth discussing.

I just noticed that it uses a p mount cartridge, well scheisse.

My bad, if you want you can still order an adapter which would increase the selection of cartridges drastically.
An adapter?
For what?
The turntable here is a P mount design, there is no adapter.

Solist
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by Solist » 08 Nov 2018 01:37

As alec already mentioned.. I remembered seeing adapters a while ago, though they were to mount standard cartridges to p mount tonearms.

Sunwire
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by Sunwire » 08 Nov 2018 02:12

I don't think there is any adapter to fit 1/2" cartridges to p-mount tonearms.
Only p-mount adapters for 1/2" tonearms.

lenjack
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by lenjack » 08 Nov 2018 03:39

The comment re the the Shure m97Xe is dead on. Pity Shure stopped making them. See if you can find on, but watch out for price gouging.

Sunwire
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Re: Will I notice if I upgrade?

Post by Sunwire » 08 Nov 2018 04:36

It won't work on his turntable and the cartridge he has is better, anyway.

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