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Topic: Distorted vinyl rip (Read 5807 times) previous topic - next topic
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Distorted vinyl rip

Hi everyone,

Hydrogenaudio may not be the best place for this post (I'm sure with a little effort I could find some vinyl enthusiast board somewhere), but I thought I'd give it a try since I browse here fairly often.

So I have a 7" from a local band but I don't have the patience for listening to vinyl so I thought i'd rip it through a 24/96 prosumer soundcard. That I had no problems with, it's just the resulting file has some really unpleasant distortion in the upper midrange - somewhere in the range of 4-8khz - that's not the fault of the soundcard or preamp.

I managed to find an mp3 of the same song on the record label's website which - albeit low quality (160k I believe) is significantly cleaner sounding. So my record player leaves something to be desired.

My question is, if this isn't an adjustment issue, what one component would I want to upgrade on the turntable itself that would yield the most improvement in this area? Or would it be best to just get rid of the one i have (used Onkyo, $20) and start with something better?

I appreciate your input.

Distorted vinyl rip

Reply #1
The problem is characteristic of vinyl distortion. There are only two things that can improve the sound : the stylus tip, or the record itself.
If the stylus is weared, or dirty, it leads to the kind of distortion. Unfortunately, it have a tendency to imprint the playback distortion into the record permanently, by damaging it.

However, the distortion is not surprising for a 7" record. 7" usually have a very bad sound, compared to 12" 33rpm, that have themselves a sound worse than 12" 45rpm. So before blaming your stylus, try it on a clean 12". If it sounds the same, change the stylus, or the whole cartridge. If it sounds ok, there is nothing to do. 7" is not a good format for sound quality.

Distorted vinyl rip

Reply #2
Ah, good to know, thank you. I had no idea there was such a difference between 7" and 12".

Distorted vinyl rip

Reply #3
However, the distortion is not surprising for a 7" record.

Found this of interest...

I always thought 7" was better due to it being faster @ 45rpm in which sounds like you say is true but made null
when used on a smaller disc. So why exactly is that? 

I'm guessing it has something to do with following of the groove as the angle or spacing changes.
If so does that mean the first tracks each side of a 12" sound better than the ones after,  hence like the ones on a 7"?

And all that being said is that where the whole linear turntable craze came about in that
they sound better because they follow the groove just like the way it was made?



Distorted vinyl rip

Reply #4

I know turtables are Pass'e & did try surfing for the info but seems like
everyone uses the same blog which really doesn't answer the question.

Distorted vinyl rip

Reply #5
Tracks further toward the center have more distortions and sound worse than tracks further from the center, because of the angle IIRC.

That linear-tracking-being-better stuff was pretty well debunked I think. It was marketing BS made by manufacturers of low end turntables as I recall.

Distorted vinyl rip

Reply #6
Hmmm... Well those 'low-end turntables' sure did carry a price tag back then.  Would
gather it cost more to manufacturer them than a standard turntable.

Found this note in the R.S. online doc archive:

The linear-tracking tone arm helps preserve your records
by maintaining the correct angle between the stylus and the record's grooves.
Linear-Tracking Tone Arm - Prevents distortion by maintaining the
correct tracking angle across a record.

And this note confirms my original thoughts:
Consider this:. The original masters from which LPs are pressed have an image which is cut using linear tracking stylus. The angle at which the masters are cut does not have tracking angles from a pivotal arm. It is linear. All pivotal arms will attempt to minimize this compromise during playback utilizing the widest arc possible.
However, in theory, a true linear tracking arm will follow the groove in precisely the same manner as the original machine which made the original master. Virtually replicating the same tracking path as the day it was first made.

Anyway, always wanted one just because I thought they looked kind of cool. Then again so does a regular turntable nowadays

Distorted vinyl rip

Reply #7
All other things being equal, the sound quality difference 7" vs 12" and 33rpm vs 45rpm is due to the speed at which the vinyl passes the stylus tip - it's almost the analogue equivalent of sampling rate!

Consider the amount of record groove the stylus "sees" per second...

At the outside of a 12" 33rpm disc, the stylus sees (in cm) 30cm*pi*33rpm=3110cm of record groove per minute, or 52cm per second.

At the outside of a 7" 45rpm disc, the stylus sees 17.5cm*pi*45rpm=2474cm of record groove per minute, or 41cm per second.

If recorded right up to the label edge (let's say that's 10cm diameter), the inner parts of a 33rpm disc are 10cm*pi*33rpm/60=17cm per second; the inner parts of a 45rpm disc give 10cm*pi*45rpm/60=24cm per second.

At the other end of the scale, the outer grooves of a 12" 45rpm "disco single" (as we used to call them!) are 30cm*pi*45rpm/60=71cm per second.

I'd say these numbers reflect the relative sound quality you can expect, with the caveat that good, well aligned record decks seem to do much better on the difficult parts of the record (towards the end), or, conversely, very bad decks can sound OK at the start of a record, but awful towards the end.


Distorted vinyl rip

Reply #8
Thanks Much!

So my thoughts were generally correct as well in thinking that the 45rpm was a
contributing factor to better sound. Although a wash when comparing 12" 33rpm to 7" 45rpm.

Unfortunately, no longer have the 12v (auto) LP player  , so its 45's only in the car.

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