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Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I think)

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Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I think)

Postby Royalalbatross » 05 Jan 2017 05:25

Hi everyone!
I am not very knowledgeable about turntables, but I recently bought the AT-LP120 USB. I noticed that some tracks sounded much worse than others. I think that the assembly is OK as per the instructions, and that everything is aligned*. After looking around on various web pages I noticed that my problems follow the pattern expected from inner groove distortion: the inner tracks sound very bad. On one record, where the track goes very close to the label in the middle, it is VERY noticeable. Any tips? Should I buy a new cartridge?

(*Note: I printed a Stevenson alignment sheet, and as far as I understand it, it looks correctly aligned. Not 100% sure I am doing it correctly though)
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby smee4 » 05 Jan 2017 06:31

Are the records new or secondhand? Old records may have suffered groove damage on previous misaligned and inferior systems.
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby Rocky_Road » 05 Jan 2017 07:17

I have also recently purchased an AT-LP120, and mine arrived with a factory installed AT95E cartridge. I used the Technics Baerwald Arc Protractor from this site, and I am totally pleased with the results. My bet is that the factory aligned cartridge in the head shell would have been acceptable, as well....

I have transferred several hundred of my vinyl records to my computer, so far, and I am amazed as to how well they sound, even though many are from the mid-60's and in mono.

Did you receive a pre-mounted cartridge? Are you listening to records that were well cared for? And did you set your tracking force with any kind of gauge, and the anti-skate control to match? Any of these could make a difference...!
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby Royalalbatross » 05 Jan 2017 07:20

Both new and second hand records.
A few records sound fine though.
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby Royalalbatross » 05 Jan 2017 07:23

The tracking force and anti skating are set according to manufacturer specifications.

In general, the inner tracks sound a bit muffled compared to the outer tracks.
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby Rocky_Road » 05 Jan 2017 07:37

Royalalbatross wrote:The tracking force and anti skating are set according to manufacturer specifications.

In general, the inner tracks sound a bit muffled compared to the outer tracks.


The instructions that I received said to balance the arm horizontally...adjust the gauge to "0"...then dial in 2.0 grams. This was way off when I checked the results with my ancient (but trusted) Shure SFG-2. The slightest rotation of the counterweight translates into massive weight shifts with this setup. I don't see how it can be adjusted without some sort of gauge....

I would suggest using the Technics Arc Protractor found in this site, since the AT-LP20's arm is a direct copy of the Technics arm this protractor was drawn for. I also found out that one of my printers was not reproducing the protractor in proper scale, when I checked the reference lines against a metric ruler. My newer Epson printer printed it out perfectly.
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby JohnMcC » 05 Jan 2017 11:32

I have one of these turntables which I bought two years ago - very pleased. I've upgraded from the pre-installed AT95e to an old AT120e I've had for 15 years. Stuck a new stylus in and it is excellent. But you need to set the tracking force with a decent balance or gauge; you need to experiment with the anti-skate; and you need to align the cartridge really really carefully! I also bypass the built-in pre-amp and use an £80 Rega Fono Mini pre-amp. If all this fiddling doesn't sort your problem then maybe it should be returned to the vendor. Could be poorly adjusted tone arm bearings or an internal obstruction to the movement of the arm.
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby FileFixer » 05 Jan 2017 13:58

Royalalbatross wrote:The tracking force and anti skating are set according to manufacturer specifications.

In general, the inner tracks sound a bit muffled compared to the outer tracks.


Try to balance your tonearm and place it over platter in the middle between inner and outer grooves then turn antiskate knob at point where tonearm don`t go on any side. It must stay in same position, then look on antiskate knob. In this point number on antiskate knob is your zero point for antiskate on your TT.
Audio Technica AT-LP120 USB modded(AT440MLb cartridge),Technics SL-PS770D CD Player,Pioneer CT-S740S Tape Deck,Onkyo HT-R508 Receiver,Mod. Opera Mezza with passive radiator,DALI Trio sub moded with int. amp,HECO center speaker,BOSE surround speker,MDR-DS6500 headphones,M8S media player,DM-800HDse/CS
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby FileFixer » 05 Jan 2017 14:07

@Rocky_Road:

AT-LP120 have similar tonearm like technics but it is not same as Technics tonearm. Technics have pivot to spindle 215mm, AT-LP120 have 214.15mm Pivot to spindle distance.
For that reason Technics protractor is not adequate to adjust AT-LP120. Sound with Technics protratcor is way better then Stevenson protractor from Audio Technica but tonearm does not exactly align with them.
Audio Technica AT-LP120 USB modded(AT440MLb cartridge),Technics SL-PS770D CD Player,Pioneer CT-S740S Tape Deck,Onkyo HT-R508 Receiver,Mod. Opera Mezza with passive radiator,DALI Trio sub moded with int. amp,HECO center speaker,BOSE surround speker,MDR-DS6500 headphones,M8S media player,DM-800HDse/CS
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby Royalalbatross » 05 Jan 2017 16:00

Thanks for the suggestions folks!

I found a post online that suggested instead of using different protractors, simply adjust the cartridge at different angles and use the setting that sounds best. Is this safe? How much of an angle is OK to experiment with?
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby FileFixer » 05 Jan 2017 16:08

Did you find this topic...
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=91678
Audio Technica AT-LP120 USB modded(AT440MLb cartridge),Technics SL-PS770D CD Player,Pioneer CT-S740S Tape Deck,Onkyo HT-R508 Receiver,Mod. Opera Mezza with passive radiator,DALI Trio sub moded with int. amp,HECO center speaker,BOSE surround speker,MDR-DS6500 headphones,M8S media player,DM-800HDse/CS
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby Royalalbatross » 05 Jan 2017 21:45

FileFixer wrote:Did you find this topic...
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=91678


Wow, that is very technical. I am not sure I'll try this myself (I will ask a turntable expert here first)
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby FileFixer » 05 Jan 2017 21:49

Not matter how many is technical or not technical. Just print protractor from last post on this topic, align your turntable and enjoy in music. ;)
Audio Technica AT-LP120 USB modded(AT440MLb cartridge),Technics SL-PS770D CD Player,Pioneer CT-S740S Tape Deck,Onkyo HT-R508 Receiver,Mod. Opera Mezza with passive radiator,DALI Trio sub moded with int. amp,HECO center speaker,BOSE surround speker,MDR-DS6500 headphones,M8S media player,DM-800HDse/CS
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby Rocky_Road » 05 Jan 2017 23:08

FileFixer wrote:@Rocky_Road:

AT-LP120 have similar tonearm like technics but it is not same as Technics tonearm. Technics have pivot to spindle 215mm, AT-LP120 have 214.15mm Pivot to spindle distance.
For that reason Technics protractor is not adequate to adjust AT-LP120. Sound with Technics protractor is way better then Stevenson protractor from Audio Technica but tonearm does not exactly align with them.


I just printed out Conrad's Free Stuff custom generator Lofgren B...'THANKS' for the info!

I printed it on heavy photo stock, and as soon as it is completely dry I will see how my far off my setup is (or, should that be 'was'?). Past tense sounds better....

Happy tracking!
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Re: Newbie AT-LP120 problem: inner groove distortion (I thin

Postby FileFixer » 06 Jan 2017 00:03

I am glad to help someone. :)
Lofgren B is very good choice to align LP120 but with this alignment it is very difficult to set up in order to avoid IGD with AT95E cartridge and it`s stylus.
Better vay is to align your TT with Lofgren A protractor which has at the end of the inner groove and outer groove lower tracking error and distorsion then Lofgren B. In the middle groove that protractor is negligibly worse than Lofgren B and this difference is not audible.

You can find completed protractor there...
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=91678#p774910
Audio Technica AT-LP120 USB modded(AT440MLb cartridge),Technics SL-PS770D CD Player,Pioneer CT-S740S Tape Deck,Onkyo HT-R508 Receiver,Mod. Opera Mezza with passive radiator,DALI Trio sub moded with int. amp,HECO center speaker,BOSE surround speker,MDR-DS6500 headphones,M8S media player,DM-800HDse/CS
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