Low volume = bad cartridge?

the thin end of the wedge
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Flypper4
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Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by Flypper4 » 13 Feb 2020 15:42

Hello folks!

I just replaced my old Sony turntable with a Pioneer PL-5. Since I have a Sony STR-DG820 (no phono input) I got a Behringer PP400 preamp and plugged it in to the CD input. I have to max out the volume to get much of anything. I replaced the stylus because it was damaged in shipping, but I'm wondering if the cartridge needs replacement too. It's a Hitec 105, and I can't find much on it to see if it's magnetic or not.

I don't know what else to do. My other components at max volume will rattle the windows - the speakers are Bose Acoustimass 10.

Replace the cartridge? Am I missing any other issues?

plyscds
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by plyscds » 13 Feb 2020 17:22

Your cartridge seems to be an Audio-Technica made Signet Hitec 105. Signet products seem to be re-badged versions of A-T's regular line of cartridges.

You can check the integrity of the cartridge with a multimeter set to resistance. Touch the probe's tips, one on a channel's positive terminal and the other tip to the channel's negative terminal. Then do the same to the other side's terminals. Readings should be reasonably close, not needing to match identically. Good readings from both L and R channels means the cartridge is ok.

vanakaru
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by vanakaru » 13 Feb 2020 23:10

Are you sure you got the wires right at the cartridge/headshell?
Bad cartridge means no sound at all.

denvertrakker
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by denvertrakker » 13 Feb 2020 23:22

As vanakuru said, cartridges either work or they don't. However, it's possible your stylus is not seated correctly. Especially with the AT design, not inserting the stylus properly can result in a problem such as you're having. Try removing it and reseating it - making sure the round part goes into the hole all the way, and the surrounding plastic is snug against the body.

Not necessarily the problem, but worth a try.

Alec124c41
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by Alec124c41 » 14 Feb 2020 16:48

Check the wiring to the cartridge.
Red - right +
Green - right -
White - left +
Blue - left -

Cheers,
Alec

nat
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by nat » 15 Feb 2020 01:59

The preamp is powered and turned on, right?

Flypper4
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by Flypper4 » 16 Feb 2020 20:22

Wires checked, amp connected and on, headshell re seated, wires to cartridge re seated. Wiring checked with meter.
Connected some old computer speakers to the amp. And voila.
So the problem is my expensive receiver and speakers. Dammit.
Receiver is a Sony STR-DG820. Any ideas?
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Alec124c41
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by Alec124c41 » 16 Feb 2020 21:25

Amp selector switch set to CD, speaker selector switch on, usual stupid things.
Try with alternate input. Does it work with anything else?
If the CD selector position has not been used in a while, try rotating the knob, if it has one, back and forth a few times, to wipe the contacts.

Cheers,
Alec

lini
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by lini » 17 Feb 2020 03:54

F4: Well, gain of the Behringer is 35 dB (= roundabout factor 56), so pretty usual for an MM phono stage, but not really high, and the analogue line-in sensitivity of your Sony is somewhat on the low side (500 mV). Additionally considering, that the "recording level" (actually the modulation velocity) on records is usually chosen much more conservatively than the recording level on digital media, I'm not really surprised, that you need to turn up the volume pretty high.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

Flypper4
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by Flypper4 » 17 Feb 2020 08:51

Alec,
Several inputs were tried. There is no selector switch on the amp.
Computer speakers plugged right in to the amp got more volume than going through the receiver, so I'm thinking that's my problem.

Manfred,
Any ideas on a fix? Get a converter and plug it in to an HDMI slot?

Thanks folks!
Robin

vanakaru
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by vanakaru » 17 Feb 2020 10:43

So you have Sony STR-DG820 that without Phono IN ie. without phono preamp. You use Behringer Phono to get signal from TT and plugging into CD-IN and you get low volume sound?
You have more inputs to try instead of CD - TV, SAT, DVD, Video. All of these are OK to use for Line level audio input(red and white RCA) although the result may vary somewhat with volume.
There is a switch on the front "Input Selector" that should be set accordingly to the inputs used in the back.
Maybe it is too obvious and you know all that but I just try to make sure I understand you right.
Then you plug Behringer(or what do you mean by "amp") into powered computer speakers and all is well?

lini
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by lini » 17 Feb 2020 14:50

Robin: I'd suggest to consider a phono stage of higher quality and with more gain (at least 40 dB/factor 100) - like for example a Pro-Ject PhonoBox S/S2 or a Hagerman Bugle 2/3.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

Flypper4
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by Flypper4 » 17 Feb 2020 19:54

Vanakaru,
Yep, all of the above. I'm quite frustrated.

Manfred,
Those options are a bit pricey. Are there other options under $100 that you'd recommend?

What kills me is the cheapo 20 year old Sony was fine till the built in preamp died and rendered it useless.

Collux
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by Collux » 17 Feb 2020 21:58

Flypper4 wrote:
17 Feb 2020 19:54
What kills me is the cheapo 20 year old Sony was fine till the built in preamp died and rendered it useless.
I thought the STR-DG820 didn't have a phono input?
https://www.Sony.co.uk/electronics/supp ... ifications.
(Maybe it is there via the 'Input Selector' ? )

If they are available with phono, (and you are saying your unit once had a working phono stage); then a secondhand STR-DG820 may be an option?

There seems to be quite a few on ebay in the US.
Here's an example:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sony-STR-DG820 ... %7Ciid%3A1

At that price, it's always nice to have another unit, even if just for parts.......

lini
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Re: Low volume = bad cartridge?

Post by lini » 18 Feb 2020 02:28

Collux: That "cheapo 20 year old Sony" must refer to a different model. The STR-DG820 is a more recent surround receiver from ca. 2009 and doesn't sport a phono input.


F4: Well, the PhonoBox MM as well as the regular (non S/S2) PhonoBox also offer a gain of 40 dB. However, unlike the S/S2 these neither offer adjustable load capacitance, nor the additional 43 dB gain setting (= factor ca. 141), which I'd deem pretty ideal for you.

However, you could try the cheap Art DJPreII, which sports an output stage with adjustable gain and thus offers a total gain of roundabout 44 to 45 dB maximum. However, the problem is, that the DJPreII runs its opamps with a rather low internal voltage of 5 V asymmetrical (i.e., not even +/- 5 V, but +5 V/0 V only), so that the maximum gain setting isn't really recommendable with typical MM/MI carts with an output voltage of ~ 5 mV (@ 5 cm/s and 1 kHz), as the available voltage swing is just too low to leave a decent reserve for "louder" signal peaks (or spurious signal peaks aka pops & clicks).


Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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