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Hierarchy in a vinyl playback system

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Hierarchy in a vinyl playback system

Postby DSJR » 11 Oct 2017 12:50

I apologise in advance. I can't help it, but I was a Linn LP12 setter-upper from 1976 right into the noughties before I retired from HiFi retail...

One of the things that was drummed into 'us' was the correct procedure for vinyl system upgrades. The turntable itself always came first, followed by the tonearm and lastly the cartridge, followed by the phono stage, then amp and lastly the speakers. This hierarchy was easily demonstrated in the shop too, so I don't think this aspect was mere brainwash. Perhaps in the US this wasn't taken so seriously for a while, I don't know and of course there are better decks for getting music off records than an LP12 these days (usually new-car money and above though), though this latter springy belt drive has improved hugely over its life in both set-up and sonic/tonal neutrality without losing the 'listener involvement' aspect.

The systematic way above was abused hugely to the extreme by many UK dealers, putting an expensive Linn-style turntable with a low cost NAD amp and say, Wharfedale Diamond speakers (original Diamonds are great fun, but a bit 'extreme' here), but the theory was that if you lose or distort the musical information at the deck end, it doesn't matter how good the arm, cartridge, amp or speakers are, you'll never get it back! I've been ridiculed for saying this, but a humble AT95E cartridge could always sound surprisingly good when put on a decent top end turntable, despite it's almost give-away price. You may not want to keep the cartridge long term this way, but it's done many audiophiles great favours when their precious MC type has gone away for re-tipping or whatever.

With digital, you can now go back to the original way of thinking and put the speakers first in my experience as current cheapo DAC's costing ten quid (or less sometimes) actually 'sound' very fair indeed and don't go badly wrong at all, but with VINYL, you can't make these generalisations.

I'm bringing this up as a reminder to myself too. An old idler driven Dual can be a wonderful thing to behold and use, but 'wide dynamic range and no added noise' isn't always part of its portfolio (I'll make an exception with the 1219/1229 family as when new, as they were pretty darned quiet through the stylus to the speakers and I've never compared a 1209 to them I'm afraid). Look at the Dual specs and see how 'rumble' figures significantly reduced as the models evolved, rumble here being motor vibrations coming through as a kind of distant 'droning noise' as much as the far smaller 'rumble' in the main, often ball race, bearings, which were usually very good if lubed properly.

Dual tonearms in most cases from the 10** series onwards are perfectly serviceable for modern cartridges and quite incredible musically in the 1229 family, 601 and immediate descendants, 701 and 721, despite not 'measuring' as rigid as separate counterparts such as Rega RB models for example, these latter sounding grey and 'boring' if you get them wrong, offering some rigidity and usually very low friction. In fact I loved the 1019 when I first came by one thirty odd years ago as the large diameter pipe and non-perforated headshell reminded me of the Linn Ittok arm with large diameter pipe and others such as the Zeta and descended models. Discovering that this arm and its siblings could track really good mm cartridge types and *sound* really good while doing so and in fact wasn't quite as massive as it looked was a huge bonus for me, but at the end of the day, the TURNTABLE part including motor and idler drive governed everything simply by the noises this drive could impart if not running correctly and much of this being the idler itself after fifty years.

So to conclude this 'thinking out loud,' I'd urge buyers of some cheap 'thrift-store' lower Dual models (especially those with 4 pole and upwards motors on them) not to ditch a perfectly good tonearm (if understood and used correctly) and also possibly stiff mechanical parts which only need carefully servicing, but to look first at the motor, idler wheel and platter bearing, as iffy performance here will affect everything that comes afterwards. Directly bolting the deck frame to the plinth seems to make little difference here as the main source of transmitted vibration *seems* to come from a tired idler wheel or possible worn drive belt (although some belt drives need the motor looking at too). Dual arms were largely better engineered to those fitted to the average large-format Garrards, and ther performance can't be fully judged until the drive is working properly.

Does any of this make sense to you 'chaps?' I and others hold classic Duals so highly because they were able to extract the music from records so well in competition with other 'HiFi' integrated models, *despite* many of them basically being auto-changers - and auto-changers in the UK were sneered at from the mid 60's onwards for 'High Fidelity' use. Fortunately, 70's Duals with single-record spindles don't look especially like 'changers and I think this helped.
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Re: Hierarchy in a vinyl playback system

Postby Minstrel SE » 13 Oct 2017 05:16

I am a firm believer in the source first principle because once you have bought the best turntable that you can stretch to, the amp and the speakers can be upgraded individually later.

They can only deal with the information and low bearing noise fed to them. I would rather know that I had put a Sondek up front and budgeted down on the amp and speakers if the total budget covered all three.

The fundamental engineering of spindle bearing is all important and ideally I would have the motor in a seperate unit from the platter

That approach was not to suggest that you had to keep the amplifier and speakers forever. No magazine ever suggested that and it was a good feeling that the best source was there to be rediscovered with every upgrade along the chain.

However there is a balance and I am aware that amps and speakers matter. The original Wharfedale Diamonds were a brilliant marketing exercise but its a bit extreme to say they were of sufficient hi fi quality. as I said it wanst too important because after the initial outlay funds would be along later to upgrade them as the source was good enough for several upgrades along the chain.

The AT95e is superb value for money but I also want to use my ADC XLM and eventually get a moving coil

I would like to hear an idler driven Dual. I can only get a sense of why you all like them so much.

Best wishes to everyone on the forum
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Re: Hierarchy in a vinyl playback system

Postby H. callahan » 13 Oct 2017 08:21

Does any of this make sense to you 'chaps?'


Yes. ( :D )

If a tt creates or transmitts a lot of vibrations, the whole system is given a good shake. Then you´re having a record, more or less vibrating, being tracked by a cartridge, more or less vibrating, which decreases tracking precision - apart from introducing noises like rumble etc. .
A good cartridge will keep up better on a vibrating tt than a bad one, but the good cartridge never will be able to play its cards right.
So a good tt is essential for all the rest - and on a good tt a not-so-awesome cartridge also will sound pretty good as the good tt permits the average cartridge to show what it is capable of. Same goes for tonearms.

So yes, the hierarchy is pretty correct.
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Re: Hierarchy in a vinyl playback system

Postby DSJR » 14 Oct 2017 11:12

It's also to do with reproduction of the musical signal too, as resonances vibrations/feedback etc. can dilute the natural recorded reverb and 'atmosphere' from a good acoustic recording and help to make the music sound more boring or even more 'lively' than perhaps it should. Many Duals were always excellent in reproduction quality, despite most being 'auto-changer' based... perhaps I'm over reacting to the gent who seems to like 'improving' what's there by ripping the Dual tonearms off and fitting a Rega or somesuch externally, compromising other aspects in the process - not always as good as the original article if fettled correctly in my experience...
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Re: Hierarchy in a vinyl playback system

Postby cafe latte » 14 Oct 2017 11:44

Get the best you can afford that rings your bell so to speak and get a cart that matches the arm. My 881 (actually 890al identical to 881 and I replaced the stylus for 881 one) sounded good but never amazing. On a Hadcock high compliance arm (very light) it sounded amazing. Matching components is very important. Never owned a Dual idler would like one to add to the turntable shelf.
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Re: Hierarchy in a vinyl playback system

Postby Legrace » 14 Oct 2017 19:00

cafe latte wrote:Get the best you can afford that rings your bell so to speak and get a cart that matches the arm. My 881 (actually 890al identical to 881 and I replaced the stylus for 881 one) sounded good but never amazing. On a Hadcock high compliance arm (very light) it sounded amazing. Matching components is very important. Never owned a Dual idler would like one to add to the turntable shelf.
Chris


Are you aware Dual made great DD's as well? Can't be too spoiled! :lol:
Reanimated vinyl enthusiast circa 2015; #1: AudioMods V on Rega RP6/Kiseki Purple Heart/Sutherland Phd/Siltech IC's/Marantz PM11S1/VTA M-125 monoblocks/Tannoy D700/SVS SB2000; (man cave) #2: Dual 721/Apheta 2/Headroom LMP/Senn HD650; (office) #3: Technics SA-GX330/Defintive AW500 (outdoor patio)
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Re: Hierarchy in a vinyl playback system

Postby dualcan » 14 Oct 2017 20:07

Hi,
After many years of abstinence, I now have two of Dual's best again!
Thanks to a tip from dualjean, who also managed to snag one, I was able to get a pair, both version one and two:
DSC00300.JPG

The "younger" of the two, that is 721 version 2 has seen some dubious "work" on the tonearm which needs to be rectified along with the normal restoration and cap change.
My by-line of Favorite Duals: TG12a 1009 and the 721 is now complete again:
1009 with B&O sp1,  TG12A, Saba,  1965 l.JPG

My Saba Freiburg 16 from 1965, is just icing on the nostalgia cake!
Regards,
k
Klaus Adlhoch, fmr. Assistant Service Manager,
Noresco -N.Q.I.-Dual of Canada,
Area of expertise: Tech Training and Consumer Service P.R.
Associated with Dual till Thompson era.
Favorite Duals: TG 12a, 1009, 721.
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Re: Hierarchy in a vinyl playback system

Postby cafe latte » 14 Oct 2017 20:28

Legrace wrote:
cafe latte wrote:Get the best you can afford that rings your bell so to speak and get a cart that matches the arm. My 881 (actually 890al identical to 881 and I replaced the stylus for 881 one) sounded good but never amazing. On a Hadcock high compliance arm (very light) it sounded amazing. Matching components is very important. Never owned a Dual idler would like one to add to the turntable shelf.
Chris


Are you aware Dual made great DD's as well? Can't be too spoiled! :lol:

Love my DD's, but 3 of my 5 turntables are idler or belt.
Chris
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Re: Hierarchy in a vinyl playback system

Postby Tinkaroo » 18 Oct 2017 21:28

dualcan wrote:Hi,
After many years of abstinence, I now have two of Dual's best again!
Thanks to a tip from dualjean, who also managed to snag one, I was able to get a pair, both version one and two:
DSC00300.JPG

The "younger" of the two, that is 721 version 2 has seen some dubious "work" on the tonearm which needs to be rectified along with the normal restoration and cap change.
My by-line of Favorite Duals: TG12a 1009 and the 721 is now complete again:
1009 with B&O sp1, TG12A, Saba, 1965 l.JPG

My Saba Freiburg 16 from 1965, is just icing on the nostalgia cake!
Regards,
k



A very nice pair of 721s Klaus! :D

I only have the one but have both versions of the platter. I have a new solid oak plinth in the pipeline for mine that I'll hopefully be able to post a photo of soon.
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