Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

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nilo0901
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Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by nilo0901 » 01 Sep 2017 16:59

Hi. I see a similar question has been asked before but wanted to get some advise. I use a Sony PS-HX500 for digitising my vinyl. It comes with it's own cart/stylus that I believe is essentially the AT95e. Tracking and anti-skate are set accurately to 3g as per the manual. LPs sound great but I have problems with 45 singles and mostly with the vocals on 60's/70's soul records. When listened to through headphones the vocal tends to distort or have a static-like fuzz around it, especially in loud parts or on 's's. Some I'm sure are worn and that is the cause, but others don't look to be and the problem persists. Any advice on what to do to or get better the sound, or is this just the way it is? many thanks, Nick

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by noisefreq » 28 Sep 2017 02:19

Hi Nick,
It shouldn't be "just the way it is".
What you describe is siblance.

But there are so many factors that could contribute to the problem, it's hard to know where to start.

Thoroughly wet clean the offending records and vacuum them.

When is the last time you replaced the stylus?

I couldn't find the TT model number in the database. Has the cartridge been properly aligned with a protractor?

It's odd that LPs sound ok but 45's don't.
Faster speeds may increase skating effect and make it more noticeable.

Does it sound the same with headphones as it does with speakers?
Perhaps try a different set of headphones.

This is where I would start. Good luck!

AsOriginallyRecorded
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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 28 Sep 2017 02:58

I have an AT95e on one of my turntables, and the manufacturer (AT) cites tracking weight at 1.5 to 2.O grams.....it is the specs of the cartridge manufacturer that take precedence over the turntable manufacturer usually...could this be the source of your problems? Just throwing it out there, as we all like to fudge the numbers sometimes. :D

H. callahan
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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by H. callahan » 28 Sep 2017 04:29

Well you see the Sony PS-HX500 is said to be "high-resolution-standart", but Sony doesn´t really tell what this standart does mean. Probably that the AD-converter is "high resolution".
Furthermore they don´t say what specification, like rumble or w+f, the tt has - which is like selling a car without mentioning how many horsepower it has.

Tracking at 3g is rather a high tracking force for a MM-cartridge and considering the cartridge-manufacturer recommends 1.5-2.0g casts a shadow on the tt.

So this tt probably isn´t the best tt around.

In addition to that 45rpms usually are recorded hotter than 33rmps which is more demanding for the tt. Therefore 45rmps are harder to playback, so one needs a good tt for them.

In addition to that 45rmps from the 60s and 70s likely were played on rather primitve tts having ceramic cartridges having high tracking force - so these 45rmps probably are more or less worn. And even on a reasonable tt they still would have distortion, though fewer distortion than on a bad tt.

In addition to that the amount of distortion of a record also can depend on the mastering/cutting process. There´s a stage called "De-essing", i think, which is applied during mastering to avoid excessive playbackdistortion. As every stage costs money, this means sometimes was skipped - and considering the playback gear most people had in the 60s leaving out de-essing wouldn´t make a big difference in sound quality.
........

So you´d need a better tt or need to heavily modify the Sony PS-HX500 to get better playback, but you´ll probably still end up with distortion, fewer though depending on record condition.

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by Spinner45 » 28 Sep 2017 05:45

45's were not meant to provide "LP" quality.
They were a convenient and casual form of playback for jukeboxes and teenagers.

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by palmkrawler » 02 Oct 2017 06:16

Spinner45 wrote:45's were not meant to provide "LP" quality.
They were a convenient and casual form of playback for jukeboxes and teenagers.
Wow. I beg to differ.

First, 45s have the advantage of having more information pass under the stylus per minute than an LP at 33rpm. More data equals higher resolution (theoretically). Higher resolution means better sound quality.

Of course, you can have a poorly pressed 45 that sounds worse than the best pressed LP. But in general, 45s have better sound quality.

Also, the signal in the groove takes up less space on a 45 because it is more elongated. The same song cut at the same volume takes up less space in the groove. This lets the sound engineer increase the volume during cutting which results in a louder, richer sound.
You have to increase the volume on your equipment to get the same volume on your 33rpm
that the 45rpm naturally has.

Also think about this. The sound engineer is working on the ONE song on the 45 (not including the b-side which is typically less important) and strives to make that one song sound as good as he can. On an LP, lets just deal with one side. You have what, 4, 5, 6 songs? He has to manage to make ALL these songs sound good so his focus is is not the same. The best settings for one song may not be the best setting for the next. He has to deal with that.

There is nothing inherent about making a record convenient or for jukeboxes that make their quality suffer in any way.

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by Spinner45 » 02 Oct 2017 08:14

palmkrawler wrote:
Spinner45 wrote:45's were not meant to provide "LP" quality.
They were a convenient and casual form of playback for jukeboxes and teenagers.
Wow. I beg to differ.

First, 45s have the advantage of having more information pass under the stylus per minute than an LP at 33rpm. More data equals higher resolution (theoretically). Higher resolution means better sound quality.

Of course, you can have a poorly pressed 45 that sounds worse than the best pressed LP. But in general, 45s have better sound quality.

Also, the signal in the groove takes up less space on a 45 because it is more elongated. The same song cut at the same volume takes up less space in the groove. This lets the sound engineer increase the volume during cutting which results in a louder, richer sound.
You have to increase the volume on your equipment to get the same volume on your 33rpm
that the 45rpm naturally has.

Also think about this. The sound engineer is working on the ONE song on the 45 (not including the b-side which is typically less important) and strives to make that one song sound as good as he can. On an LP, lets just deal with one side. You have what, 4, 5, 6 songs? He has to manage to make ALL these songs sound good so his focus is is not the same. The best settings for one song may not be the best setting for the next. He has to deal with that.

There is nothing inherent about making a record convenient or for jukeboxes that make their quality suffer in any way.
Beg to differ all you want...
Your technical explanation about 45's must mean the 12 inch style, which I can agree about.
Technically, some of what you stated is true, aka groove velocity.
But seven inch 45's were never meant to "sound better", louder, yes, not better.
Notice I stated "seven inch 45's, not those "disco single 12" at 45 rpm.
Of course increased loudness to some people impresses them, always did.
But that doesn't mean quality.
Knowing the music business as I do, and having the benefit of discussing recording techniques with various engineers, I hold fast to my original statements.

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by H. callahan » 03 Oct 2017 04:35

Also, the signal in the groove takes up less space on a 45 because it is more elongated. The same song cut at the same volume takes up less space in the groove.
Because the signal is elongated the higher frequencies are cut, and *can* be tracked, at higher precision. But volume still is defined by how far the groove-modulations go from left to right - this means it doesn´t matter how elongated the grooves are, if the record is cut at higher volume the groove does take more space as it goes further to left and right.
Just compare the space on a (hot) 45 needed for one track having the same playing time as a track on a 33 1/3 being lower volume.

And that´s one of the problems of 45s, they are just cut hotter and therefore are harder to track - as the TO reports.
Also think about this. The sound engineer is working on the ONE song on the 45 (not including the b-side which is typically less important) and strives to make that one song sound as good as he can.
Well, just think about how much money it would cost to do every 45 perfect. A hell of money. It´s more likely that they don´t/didn´t put too much effort into a 45 as it would be way too costy.

Especially in the 60s and 70s they often didn´t made 45s out of vinyl, but styrene because styrene is cheaper in production and because 45s weren´t meant to be "HD".
Of course 45s *can* be higher quality as the groove is elongated and let´s say in the 80s 45s were higher quality, because at least then they made them out of vinyl, but especially the 45s the TO has problems with can be considered doubtful regarding sound quality.
I also have some 45s from that period and noisefloor for example is pretty bad, i feel like i can hear the rumble of the record-cutting-machine.

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by Fuzzybass » 11 Oct 2017 00:28

I think you might be referring to the 'scratchy' sound affecting the higher loudness components of the music, especially vocals, guitar or organ parts.

I reduce it this way:

1. Mono the signal. Maybe your amp has a stereo/mono selector. If not, simply tie the left and right signals together at the preamp or cartridge terminations.

2. Use a conical stylus, Preferably 1.0 tip radius. I use Shure M44-7 or a GE VR2 cartridge.

3. Roll off the frequencies above 12KHz.

Good luck.

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by tlscapital » 10 Dec 2017 17:08

Fuzzybass wrote:I think you might be referring to the 'scratchy' sound affecting the higher loudness components of the music, especially vocals, guitar or organ parts.

I reduce it this way:

1. Mono the signal. Maybe your amp has a stereo/mono selector. If not, simply tie the left and right signals together at the preamp or cartridge terminations.

2. Use a conical stylus, Preferably 1.0 tip radius. I use Shure M44-7 or a GE VR2 cartridge.

3. Roll off the frequencies above 12KHz.

Good luck.
Agreed but better to get a MONO cartridge to read those MONO records than to "fake the MONO" by binding both STEREO channels into one. The MONO read of the groove is lateral and STEREO is vertical.

So with a STEREO cartridge one will get a lot of unwanted noise and distortion out of those MONO 45's. Then indeed a conical stylus is far better at picking up the music out of those not always finest pressings.

I know for fact since I collect sixties and seventies singles for more than 30 years now. And it took me some time, understanding, tweaking and money investment in my phono gear to grace my 45's the best I could.

I do still have some sibilance on some 45's where the studio take might be at fault, the mother template mastering not the most well balanced one and the plastic they used not of the better kind all the time.

To play better the gains and impedances out of my cartridge, I adjusted my preamp by the ear. My preamp has that possibility. This is truly crucial as I don't have an equalizer and this does the job at the source.

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by KentT » 23 Dec 2017 01:50

Spinner45 wrote:45's were not meant to provide "LP" quality.
They were a convenient and casual form of playback for jukeboxes and teenagers.
Wrong. 45 RPM singles also made those songs hits. And good enough for broadcast use. Styrene 45 RPM singles are best to be played on either .3 x .7 elliptical styli or best yet, conical tips of .7 mil.

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by Sunwire » 23 Dec 2017 03:53

I don't think I've ever heard a 45 rpm single that sounded as good as an LP.
I'm not saying it's impossible. I just never heard it.
Unless your 45s were extremely well cared-for, they have probably been damaged by play on poor quality record players using worn needles at high tracking forces. This causes vocal distortion/fuzz.
To make them sound their best, you need to align your phono cartridge just for 45s, or get another cartridge you use only for 45s.
Here's a thread that discusses how to do it.
viewtopic.php?t=44789

Most 45s are mono.
The best cartridge for mono 45s is probably something like the Denon DL-102 that is designed to minimize response to vertical movement.
Most modern "mono" cartridges are just stereo cartridges with the channels wired together at the back of the cartridge. You can get the same effect by pushing the MONO button on your amplifier.

If you have some stereo 45s, use a stereo cartridge. But for best results, align it as described in the link above.

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by Sunwire » 23 Dec 2017 03:55


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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by Spinner45 » 23 Dec 2017 08:02

KentT wrote:
Spinner45 wrote:45's were not meant to provide "LP" quality.
They were a convenient and casual form of playback for jukeboxes and teenagers.
Wrong. 45 RPM singles also made those songs hits. And good enough for broadcast use. Styrene 45 RPM singles are best to be played on either .3 x .7 elliptical styli or best yet, conical tips of .7 mil.
I agree that "hit songs" were pressed into 45's, popular for the younger crowd, convenient, and sturdy.
And also cheap, meaning record companies made a sizeable profit off teens.
But rarely of the same "quality" as LP's.
The companies knew these "hit singles" would likely be played on inexpensive 45 players with poor amplifiers that kids had, and so manufacturing tolerences were not as strict.

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Re: Vocal Distortion/fuzz on 45"s

Post by tckmet » 23 Dec 2017 13:03

Another view would be that cutting a record at 45 vice 33.3 is better if the intent was that from the begining like the MOFI and other 45rpm double albums vice just the one album this goes along the same reasoning of tape speed for recordings. I do have some singles that are 12 inch cut at 45rpm and do sound reasonbly good and dynamic with the emphasis on bass these were probaly used in dance clubs.

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