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A few Vinyl questions

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martineyles's picture
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Things I want to try and remedy now.

  1. If I get sibilance, what is the likely cause? What can I do to resolve it?
  2. If I have some wow, could this be caused by the belt wearing? Or should I look for something else?

Future Things

  1. How different should I expect current cartridges to be to old ones in terms of sound? I currently have an old Sure one - probably from the late 80s. Is it better to replace an old cartridge, old turntable, or is there only a benefit in replacing them both?
  2. I have a NAD C352 amp and a Project Phono Box SE (I bought the much cheaper Phono Box, but I was very happy to inherit the SE one) to handle my vinyl amplification. When I come to upgrade my turntable (and associated things, such as cartridge and tonearm), what would make a good match?
Andrew Everard's picture
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Re: A few Vinyl questions

Sibilance can be down to stylus wear, mistracking or, in extreme circumstances, damage to the records themselves caused by playing with a worn or misaligned stylus. We've all been there in our youth and damaged records we wish were still pristine with nostalgic hindsight!

Wow is usually a sign of belt wear or stretching, causing some slippage or speed fluctuations. Or it could just be a dirty belt. In either case, if the turntable's more than a couple of years old and has been used a lot it's probably worth buying a new belt. Or indeed two, if you have an older turntable, since belts for some models are increasingly hard to find.

Changing the belt is relatively inexpensive, and at least will give you some idea if there are more serious problems. But you could do a quick check with the turntable running without a record on: listen closely to the motor for any unusual/fluctuating noise, and get your ear close to the spindle and listen for any 'graunch' from the bearing. Depending on the age and type of the turntable, some new bearing oil - if the deck uses it - wouldn't go amiss.

I really hope that old 1980s Shure cartridge has had a stylus replacement or two in the last 20 years(!), but even if it has the chances are the suspension within is likely to be getting a bit baggy with age, and I think a replacement is probably a smart move.

As to whether it's worth replacing the turntable and what with, if you give me an idea of what turntable you have now and how much you might be thinking of spending, I'm sure I can advise further.

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martineyles's picture
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Re: A few Vinyl questions

Thanks for the info. I replaced the stylus and belt a while ago, but probably over 5 years ago now. The stylus was an upgrade, as there were two versions when it was released (and it had the cheaper one fitted), but Shure stopped selling the cheaper stylus, listing this one as compatible. As for how much I use it, it doesn't get as much use as my CD player, which is my main source. However, my copy of Stevie Wonder's Talking book (It's was a new copy in the late 90s/early 00s, not a second hand pressing from the 70s) is currently getting plenty of play, which is how I noticed the sibilance and wow initially (but I think it's on other records too). The turntable is a Pioneer PL112D, which is the same age as the stylus. Budget wise, I currently have very little to spend, so just want to get rid of the sibilance/wow immediatley. For future budget I am slightly open to suggestion - Higher budget would mean saving up for longer - I don't want to spend more than I'll hear the difference with though. I don't really know where phono box se is in the whole scheme of phono stages, but my amp was only £350, and my CD player at only £200 sounds very good, so I don't want to break the bank.

Andrew Everard's picture
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Re: A few Vinyl questions

The Phono Box SE is a very good budget phono stage, and more than good enough for the turntable/amp you have now. I'd suggest waiting for the arrival of the new Pro-ject Genie, which looks very promising and is expected to cost around £125. I'm fairly confident it will outperform the Pioneer you have now, given the company's track record to date.

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martineyles's picture
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Re: A few Vinyl questions

Do you know if the Genie will be just a turntable, or if it will have a tonearm and cartridge supplied? If the former, how much would this take the total cost up to?

Andrew Everard's picture
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Re: A few Vinyl questions

AFAIK Genie comes with new S-shaped Pro-ject arm as standard, and should also come with a cartridge, though this is subject to confirmation

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