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Precision, or not....

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Precision, or not....

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 11 Jan 2017 16:22

Hello all. As I learn a little about playing vinyl and having picked up various new and used records, I wonder about the contrast between the exceptional attention hobbyists pay to precision in their play back equipment, and the media to be played back. Of the recordings I have picked up, not one single LP has been truly flat, nor have the spindle holes been centered perfectly. When watching the arm and cartridge ride on these records, there is a lot of movement, both horizontally and vertically, as the stylus tracks along. It's comical how imprecise the playback is, really. Yet, I don't hear these movements in the playback, which of course is a good thing! Still though, are the precision/obsessional aspects of the hobby reasonable, given that the media played back on these machines is likely the least precise element in the entire playback chain?
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby Poinzy » 11 Jan 2017 16:36

If I didn't have access to a turntable with a removable spindle, allowing me re-center off-center records, the wow would often be intolerable. So I have 2 turntables on my equipment bench. Obsessive? I have no idea.
Null-point alignment theory merely lays the groundwork for tests that never occurred.
A sure-fire cure for inner-groove distortion: a CD player.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 11 Jan 2017 17:04

There is a point of learning for me then Poinzy. I had no idea that hobbyists operated TTs with no/removable spindle. Very clever indeed. I have the sense though that there is much underlying the fact that records themselves are manufactured to slovenly standards, compared to the playback equipment used by devotees.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby analogaudio » 11 Jan 2017 17:28

The LP is an imperfect medium which was the best that could be done using analogue engineering.

At it's best it can be very good quality. To achieve the best requires attention to detail as you have noticed and the purchase of good quality components (costing hundreds but not thousands of US$).

I agree, the LP itself is probably the weak link in the chain. Self-centering platters were made (Nakamichi Dragon) and vacuum hold-down made (SOTA and Audio Technica) to overcome two of the problems. Nothing can overcome the decrease of groove velocity as playback progresses, nor the subsonic resonance of the cartridge+arm combination (although the Morch anisotropic arm minimizes this problem).

Regarding precision/obsessional aspects of the hobby these are things that entertain some people more than others and seem to me to have little to do with the enjoyment of music.

In the late 1970s it was realized that LP had reached the end of the road and the solution was a new medium, the compact disc, which does not suffer from any of the problems mentioned. I stopped buying LPs in the early 1990s and switched over to buying CDs, I haven't regretted the choice.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby Mike 33 » 11 Jan 2017 19:01

Warpage and decentration are flaws that should not be accepted, they are manufacturing flaws or storage flaws.

For used records it is all down to your tolerance for imperfection.

The Nak was a terrible thing since it allowed the industry to put out more trash.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 11 Jan 2017 20:05

Having only recently gotten back into vinyl I absolutely understand not only the attraction of the sound, but also the obsessional qualities. I worry I may go down the rabbit hole myself, since I am strongly attracted to the gadgetry involved, the minutiae, the possibilities. I've already been drawn to multiple cartridges, love the requirement to be present and involved in the listening, the vision of the spinning disk, all of it. I get it, but also see the folly of some of it. In a way, I find that gaining really good sound and presence in music is simplified through this medium, compared to the multiple web-age possibilities out there. Start talking about MP3, FLAC, lossy versus lossless, etc, CD-quality versus higher bit-rates, it all becomes annoying. Tell me that I can grab that vinyl record and plop it on my $250 turntable and get high-quality music that requires that I also pay attention, and I'm in, big time. Now I suppose the decisions become how silly to get with this stuff. Personal preference in the end, but great fun at the same time and compared to many other hobbies/pursuits it's not necessarily expensive either. Compared to travel, golf, any number of other pursuits, one can chase records and equipment for a pittance.



analogaudio wrote:The LP is an imperfect medium which was the best that could be done using analogue engineering.

At it's best it can be very good quality. To achieve the best requires attention to detail as you have noticed and the purchase of good quality components (costing hundreds but not thousands of US$).

I agree, the LP itself is probably the weak link in the chain. Self-centering platters were made (Nakamichi Dragon) and vacuum hold-down made (SOTA and Audio Technica) to overcome two of the problems. Nothing can overcome the decrease of groove velocity as playback progresses, nor the subsonic resonance of the cartridge+arm combination (although the Morch anisotropic arm minimizes this problem).

Regarding precision/obsessional aspects of the hobby these are things that entertain some people more than others and seem to me to have little to do with the enjoyment of music.

In the late 1970s it was realized that LP had reached the end of the road and the solution was a new medium, the compact disc, which does not suffer from any of the problems mentioned. I stopped buying LPs in the early 1990s and switched over to buying CDs, I haven't regretted the choice.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby tlscapital » 11 Jan 2017 22:05

NOT for me... I'm not looking for precision nor perfection. I'm likely in the minority here, but it's all to do with my love for my music, I have to have the original pressings and they are mainly USA singles from the 6T's and 7T's. Not all have a perfect mastering and some even the pressing plant's work makes you wanna go Hmmmm ! But it's them I collect and play them as they are. Jut like they were first played that way.

But I'm looking to get a sound that gives my beloved 45's justice with depth, power, dynamic and balance both in soft and hard, highs and lows. So I'm still tweaking my phono set-up to reach there on my "humble" budget. I'm more of a RI (ght) -FI (delity) than the regular HI (gh) - FI (delity) guy. I'm looking for a sound that will bring the most of my 45 (and when I play LP's the sound is still rather descent IMHO) and that is pleasant to my ears as to my guests.

It started with a love then a passion for music and original records. It should remain the same for me. I understand the other trips about techs and so forth but then it's most likely to do with performance than with music as such.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby nat » 12 Jan 2017 01:02

MIcro Seiki and Luxman (if memory serves) had vacuum hold down (and, I think, before SOTA). I'm happy that Mike 33 is satisfied with his choice, but I have found CDs much more fragile than records - often scratches on them are intolerable and there is no way to nudge the laser, and no record has ever died from internal corrosion (CD rot) -- and I'm exceedingly annoyed by the lack of room for album art, liner notes, and lyrics (yes, some manufacturers do provide booklets, but too many don't), and the seemingly purposeful leaping of CD cases to the floor where the top of the case would lose one or both tabs that kept the top on the holder. I also haven't noticed any consistent superiority of CD sound compared to records on good turntables, though I also haven't noticed an consistent inferiority, either, even if I do find records more relaxing to use, and to listen to.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 12 Jan 2017 01:37

My 50-year-old ears may be jacked, but I have been finding vinyl to sound superior, and that's on a relatively inexpensive Fluance (Hanpin) running through an ART DJ into a Pioneer AVR. This is not great equipment, but I find myself almost in a trance when I'm playing LPs. I couldn't be bothered to pay attention to digital music all around me for the last many years, but I put a record on and I'm grabbed. I see the wobbling vinyl, know in my head that the frequency response it inferior, know that my gear is pedestrian, that a lot of this equipment fetishism is ridiculous, but right now I'm looking at Ortofon 2m blue cartridges on ebay, knowing that they cost as much as my turntable! Perhaps vinyl is really just an affliction.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby Melos Antropon » 12 Jan 2017 02:24

SeeTeeVinyl wrote: Of the recordings I have picked up, not one single LP has been truly flat, nor have the spindle holes been centered perfectly. When watching the arm and cartridge ride on these records, there is a lot of movement, both horizontally and vertically, as the stylus tracks along.



90% of the time, warping is due to sloppy storage before you get them. Vinyl records should always be stored upright. I use a very conventional "record cabinet", and the records are upright and snug (not "jammed in"), and every single one of them lies on the turntable as flat as a mirror. Even "warped" ones will straighten out if stored this way for a few months, and left alone. Just an info thing you might be able to use.

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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby pogo » 12 Jan 2017 02:57

SeeTeeVinyl wrote:.....Yet, I don't hear these movements in the playback, which of course is a good thing!

If you can't hear it then it doesn't matter. So remind me what your point is?
If you can't hear it, then it doesn't matter. Of course if you're 70, there's lots you don't hear!
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby Copperhead » 12 Jan 2017 03:04

nat wrote: and the seemingly purposeful leaping of CD cases to the floor where the top of the case would lose one or both tabs that kept the top on the holder.


Those tabs surely must feature in in the top 20 design disasters, they break as soon as you look at them.

The scratches on discs I polish out with jeweller's rouge, have had some success with it.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby Copperhead » 12 Jan 2017 03:08

pogo wrote:
SeeTeeVinyl wrote:.....Yet, I don't hear these movements in the playback, which of course is a good thing!

If you can't hear it then it doesn't matter. So remind me what your point is?


I concur. A decent tonearm with decent vertical bearings should ride a warp well enough not to be audible. I thought this was the point of including vertical movement in the design.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby analogaudio » 12 Jan 2017 18:13

The point about LP having reached a dead end is not because of how good or bad LP sounds in an individual case, rather it is because there is inconsistency in sound quality that depends on the quality of playback hardware and its adjustment. Good LP is very good. Bad LP is very bad. Too inconsistent.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 13 Jan 2017 00:25

pogo wrote:
SeeTeeVinyl wrote:.....Yet, I don't hear these movements in the playback, which of course is a good thing!

If you can't hear it then it doesn't matter. So remind me what your point is?


I suppose the point is the very interesting (to me) contrast between obsession with precision, and the accompanying gadget aspects of this hobby, and the fact the the very medium being played back is sloppy and inconsistent. It's OK if you're not interested in discussing same, but thanks anyway for your comment!
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