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CD-R and Audio Hardware => Vinyl => Topic started by: tuxman on 2014-08-18 02:49:35

Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2014-08-18 02:49:35
Hi,

I recently bought my first own vinyl player, one of those with an arm without a motor. Is there anything bad on having such, except that it's a bit more effort to set the needle to the track?

Just wondering. It seems to make diagonal extra lines on my LPs.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: DVDdoug on 2014-08-18 04:54:41
Most high-end turntables are fully manual.  There are some turntables that only raise the stylus off the record at the end.    (Automatic turntables don't usually have a separate motor for the tonearm.  It's usually a mechanism that is operated from the platter rotation.)

On most turntables, you'll find a "cue lever" that gently lowers (and raises) the tonearm  so there is less chance of damage to the record.

Quote
Just wondering. It seems to make diagonal extra lines on my LPs.
That shouldn't be happening.  Do you hear any damage to the sound?
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2014-08-18 09:54:34
Yes, there is such a lever. I was just wondering if I made something wrong here.

Hm, not sure, the music sounds OK to me. The LP I tried last has some weird marks on the tracks which were played though. Not sure if they were there before.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: AndyH-ha on 2014-08-19 02:46:43
The important questions are
Is the cartridge alignment correct?
Is the tonearm adjusted correctly?

Of course, on some lower end TTs there are no user adjustments but that does not mean everything is fine.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2014-08-19 09:13:35
[quote author=AndyH-ha link=msg=872441 date=1408412803]Is the cartridge alignment correct?[/quote]

How can I see that?

[quote author=AndyH-ha link=msg=872441 date=1408412803]Is the tonearm adjusted correctly?[/quote]

It's horizontal when not playing.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: AndyH-ha on 2014-08-19 11:34:17
Look here and you should find plenty of explanation

https://www.google.com/search?q=tone+arm+se...&channel=sb (https://www.google.com/search?q=tone+arm+setup&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3a%6ffficial&client=firefox-a&channel=sb)
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2014-08-19 11:46:21
For cartridge alignment, you can download and print various protractors here: http://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge-align...otractors.shtml (http://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge-alignment-protractors.shtml)

What brand/model is this turntable you have bought?
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2014-08-19 12:30:38
[quote author=AndyH-ha link=msg=872457 date=1408444457]Look here and you should find plenty of explanation

https://www.google.com/search?q=tone+arm+se...&channel=sb (https://www.google.com/search?q=tone+arm+setup&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3a%6ffficial&client=firefox-a&channel=sb)[/quote]

Thanks.

What brand/model is this turntable you have bought?


This one:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dual-301-1-DJ-Plat...g/dp/B0076Z72RQ (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dual-301-1-DJ-Plattenspieler-Magnet-Tonabnehmer-System-Nadelbeleuchtung/dp/B0076Z72RQ)
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2014-08-19 15:38:14
[quote author=AndyH-ha link=msg=872457 date=1408444457]Look here and you should find plenty of explanation

https://www.google.com/search?q=tone+arm+se...&channel=sb (https://www.google.com/search?q=tone+arm+setup&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3a%6ffficial&client=firefox-a&channel=sb)


Thanks.

What brand/model is this turntable you have bought?


This one:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dual-301-1-DJ-Plat...g/dp/B0076Z72RQ (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dual-301-1-DJ-Plattenspieler-Magnet-Tonabnehmer-System-Nadelbeleuchtung/dp/B0076Z72RQ)
[/quote]
I used to have a Dual 505 turntable, and it came with a clip-on alignment thingy, which got the cartridge fairly close to spot-on.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: dprimary on 2015-02-23 06:51:59
Hi,

I recently bought my first own vinyl player, one of those with an arm without a motor. Is there anything bad on having such, except that it's a bit more effort to set the needle to the track?

Just wondering. It seems to make diagonal extra lines on my LPs.


The only negative about a manual turntable, is falling asleep with an album playing to wake up many hours with it still running adding many hours of wear to the stylus.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: Porcus on 2015-02-23 08:06:26
one of those with an arm without a motor [...]


You mean, one with a radial arm (fixed pivot) rather than a tangential arm (base of arm closer to centre on the inner groove). You got the common solution, the one to the right:

(http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/tangential.jpg)

This sketch exaggerates the advantage (if any) of a tangential arm. The stylus is close to a point, so it does fit into the groove even if not at zero degrees angle. It still does matter whether the "groove movement" is orthogonal to the arm or not, and AFAIK most (virtually all?) vinyl cutters are tangential, here are  a couple of nice pictures: http://transcoder.fr/images%20site/T-560.jpg (http://transcoder.fr/images%20site/T-560.jpg) and http://thewallpapers.narod.ru/archive07/ve...yl_recorder.jpg (http://thewallpapers.narod.ru/archive07/vestax_vrx_2000_vinyl_recorder.jpg) (the radial arms are for playback!)

A tangential arm aims to resolve that angle issue, but adds more movable parts to a mechanical system supposed to pick up only the motion in the groove. Most turntables have radial arms, and especially in the low brackets you do not want to pay for that extra mechanics AND for the more elaborate engineering required to solve those problems it creates. Even in the expensive bracket, the radial arms dominate.



Just wondering. It seems to make diagonal extra lines on my LPs.


You do not mean it creates scars? Just that it is positioned slightly diagonally except somewhere in song number two-ish?
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2015-02-23 10:13:34
A tangential arm aims to resolve that angle issue, but adds more movable parts to a mechanical system supposed to pick up only the motion in the groove. Most turntables have radial arms, and especially in the low brackets you do not want to pay for that extra mechanics AND for the more elaborate engineering required to solve those problems it creates. Even in the expensive bracket, the radial arms dominate.


Ah, thanks.

You do not mean it creates scars? Just that it is positioned slightly diagonally except somewhere in song number two-ish?


It looks like scars. 
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2015-02-23 12:41:05
How do these marks look, can you take a picture? And also one of how the tonearm/pickup sits on the record?

When lowering the tonearm, you have to be gentle, don't just bang the lever straight down. A lot of turntables have a damped mechanism to do this, but some are undamped. Some even require you to grab the tonearm and do this completely by hand, which requires a gentle touch.

A record should obviously bear no marks from being played back. If it does, some kind of damage has occurred.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2015-02-23 13:07:11
I'll be back on my vinyl station in about nine hours. I'll post pictures then.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2015-02-23 22:37:15
Here's my copy of "f#a#infinity". You can see which part I listened to. Not sure if that's intended.

(http://i62.tinypic.com/syp6w4.jpg)
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2015-02-24 08:47:15
That does look a bit strange.

Is anything other than the stylus itself touching the record during playback?
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2015-02-24 08:59:05
No, nothing. 
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2015-02-24 10:52:26
And the turntable is correctly setup (tracking weight, antiskating, cartridge alignment), and plays well enough?

If that is the case, I am at a loss to what the problem could be.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2015-02-24 11:00:48
Are these marks making an audible 'damage' noise when you play the tracks again?

And does anyone else have a vinyl copy of this album who can post a comparison photo?
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2015-02-24 11:10:26
And the turntable is correctly setup (tracking weight, antiskating, cartridge alignment), and plays well enough?


It's balanced horizontally and sounds fine in my ears. (Which probably aren't the best ears you could find.)

Are these marks making an audible 'damage' noise when you play the tracks again?


No, not yet. I just don't want them to start doing so.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2015-02-24 12:28:43
And the turntable is correctly setup (tracking weight, antiskating, cartridge alignment), and plays well enough?


It's balanced horizontally and sounds fine in my ears. (Which probably aren't the best ears you could find.)

Are these marks making an audible 'damage' noise when you play the tracks again?


No, not yet. I just don't want them to start doing so.

Once you balanced it horizontally, did you then apply the recommended tracking force? And how much was that? And how did you measure it?
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2015-02-24 12:31:37
I, honestly, have no clue. The manual advised me to guess, so I did. I applied the force so that it won't press on the LP.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2015-02-24 12:47:16
OK, you really really need to read up on how to set up a turntable, and find the recommended values for the specific cartridge/stylus you're using. It sounds to me like you've set the tracking weight to the lowest possible amount, which is actually much worse than having the tracking weight too high.

Your cartridge will have a specific tracking weight range, and the recommended "ideal" tracking weight is usually right in the middle. For instance the Ortofon OM-5E that I am using specifies 1.5-2.0g tracking weight and recommends 1.75g. You set the tracking weight using the counterweight on the back of the tonearm. First adjust the counterweight so the tonearm balances perfectly. Then turn only the scale, not the weight itself to zero it out. Then you can turn the whole weight+scale to the recommended value. After this, you should set the anti-skating (usually a small dial near the base of the tonearm assembly) to the same value. Setting anti-skating to the same value as the tracking weight is not 100% perfect, but it's usually very close to correct.

But these two adjustments are only the most basic adjustments you can make on a turntable, and you really should thoroughly read a good guide to turntable setup, such as this: http://gizmodo.com/5216965/how-to-calibrat...-possible-sound (http://gizmodo.com/5216965/how-to-calibrate-your-turntable-for-the-best-possible-sound)

Ideally you should find someone who can help you in person, since a couple of aspects can be counter-intuitive, and having a second person there to guide you can be invaluable.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: tuxman on 2015-02-24 12:50:18
It sounds to me like you've set the tracking weight to the lowest possible amount, which is actually much worse than having the tracking weight too high.


Hmm, just curious: Why?
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2015-02-24 12:55:39
OK, you really really need to read up on how to set up a turntable, and find the recommended values for the specific cartridge/stylus you're using. It sounds to me like you've set the tracking weight to the lowest possible amount, which is actually much worse than having the tracking weight too high.

Your cartridge will have a specific tracking weight range, and the recommended "ideal" tracking weight is usually right in the middle. For instance the Ortofon OM-5E that I am using specifies 1.5-2.0g tracking weight and recommends 1.75g. You set the tracking weight using the counterweight on the back of the tonearm. First adjust the counterweight so the tonearm balances perfectly. Then turn only the scale, not the weight itself to zero it out. Then you can turn the whole weight+scale to the recommended value. After this, you should set the anti-skating (usually a small dial near the base of the tonearm assembly) to the same value. Setting anti-skating to the same value as the tracking weight is not 100% perfect, but it's usually very close to correct.

But these two adjustments are only the most basic adjustments you can make on a turntable, and you really should thoroughly read a good guide to turntable setup, such as this: http://gizmodo.com/5216965/how-to-calibrat...-possible-sound (http://gizmodo.com/5216965/how-to-calibrate-your-turntable-for-the-best-possible-sound)

Ideally you should find someone who can help you in person, since a couple of aspects can be counter-intuitive, and having a second person there to guide you can be invaluable.

Looking at close-ups on the Amazon link he posted, it isn't the usual Dual arm, with the side-mounted tracking weight adjustment dial. But there is a scale on the counterweight itself, so once you've balanced the arm, give it (at a guess) 1.5g to 1.75g.

From distant memory, once the arm is balanced, rotate the dial (not the counterweight) until the zero is top and centre, then turn both the dial and counterweight together 'til it shows 1.5g.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2015-02-24 13:02:52
It sounds to me like you've set the tracking weight to the lowest possible amount, which is actually much worse than having the tracking weight too high.


Hmm, just curious: Why?

The stylus isn't firmly in the groove, and can move around too much, causing damage, especially on bass-heavy tracks or ones with sudden, violent sounds like the famous Telarc 1812 Overture (they used real cannon).
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2015-02-24 13:13:37
Just found a set-up video for this model, and the presenter says the recommended VTF is 2.5g!

A DJ cartridge, I suppose, optimised for durability and DJing heavy beats in a less-than-optimal situation, but that seems a lot.

Anyhoo, skip to about 10 minutes 30 in this clip and see if it helps you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l1CLC4Z2D4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l1CLC4Z2D4)
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2015-02-24 13:28:30
Just found a set-up video for this model, and the presenter says the recommended VTF is 2.5g!

A DJ cartridge, I suppose, optimised for durability and DJing heavy beats in a less-than-optimal situation, but that seems a lot.


2.5g is on the high end of consumer cartridges, but on the low end of DJ cartridges, a lot of them go up to 4g or more. Another factor is that the stylus in question is conical, which can affect sound quality and increase playback wear on records, but is more robust and long-lived, and will stand up better to scratching.

That turntable+cartridge setup is definitely biased towards DJing applications.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2015-02-24 13:31:49
Just found a set-up video for this model, and the presenter says the recommended VTF is 2.5g!

A DJ cartridge, I suppose, optimised for durability and DJing heavy beats in a less-than-optimal situation, but that seems a lot.


2.5g is on the high end of consumer cartridges, but on the low end of DJ cartridges, a lot of them go up to 4g or more. Another factor is that the stylus in question is conical, which can affect sound quality and increase playback wear on records.

That turntable+cartridge setup is definitely biased towards DJing applications.

Dual's home stereo-oriented turntables usually come with a cartridge from the Ortofon OM range (the pointy one), which are fairly inexpensive and have an easy-to-replace stylus for upgrades/replacing damaged units, should one feel the need. Might be worth considering, as they usually track at 1.5g or thereabouts.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2015-02-24 13:45:34
Dual's home stereo-oriented turntables usually come with a cartridge from the Ortofon OM range (the pointy one), which are fairly inexpensive and have an easy-to-replace stylus for upgrades/replacing damaged units, should one feel the need. Might be worth considering, as they usually track at 1.5g or thereabouts.


That's exactly what I'm using, an OM-5E. Recommended tracking weight is 1.75g. It should cost around €50-60.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2015-02-24 14:14:47
I, honestly, have no clue. The manual advised me to guess, so I did. I applied the force so that it won't press on the LP.



There are such things as stylus pressure gauges for the purpose of avoiding damage to the record with excess or inadequate tracking force.

Shure Stylus Force Gauge Link (http://www.amazon.com/Shure-SFG-2-Stylus-Tracking-Force/dp/B00006I5SD)

Tacking force is critical enough to not leave to chance or procedures you may not understand or work as well as you hope.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2015-02-24 14:36:17
There are such things as stylus pressure gauges for the purpose of avoiding damage to the record with excess or inadequate tracking force.

Shure Stylus Force Gauge Link (http://www.amazon.com/Shure-SFG-2-Stylus-Tracking-Force/dp/B00006I5SD)

Tacking force is critical enough to not leave to chance or procedures you may not understand or work as well as you hope.


I use a 0.01g precision weight for this, since it was cheaper at the local uh... "freelance pharmacy supply store"  than the Shure gauge. Either will work fine, it's not like milligram precision matters.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2015-02-24 15:21:44
There are such things as stylus pressure gauges for the purpose of avoiding damage to the record with excess or inadequate tracking force.

Shure Stylus Force Gauge Link (http://www.amazon.com/Shure-SFG-2-Stylus-Tracking-Force/dp/B00006I5SD)

Tacking force is critical enough to not leave to chance or procedures you may not understand or work as well as you hope.


I use a 0.01g precision weight for this, since it was cheaper at the local uh... "freelance pharmacy supply store"  than the Shure gauge. Either will work fine, it's not like milligram precision matters.

There are a lot of inexpensive digital gauges sold in 'ahem' that sort of shop, which would be fine for the purpose. Look for the kind of corner shop that stocks a variety of extra-large filter papers and they will probably have a selection of these handy gadgets.

I bought one when I became tired of fiddling with a tiny balance beam gauge (my counterweight doesn't screw in or out, which makes for a fiddly experience in itself). A calibration weight is sometimes supplied with these gauges, which good for peace of mind.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2015-02-24 15:45:06
[
I bought one when I became tired of fiddling with a tiny balance beam gauge (my counterweight doesn't screw in or out, which makes for a fiddly experience in itself). A calibration weight is sometimes supplied with these gauges, which good for peace of mind.


I took a look at a number of ahem, Herb Scales online and found them at low as $6 postpaid (eBay).  Seems like something like this would be far easier to use.

Looks like the classic $20.00 Shure has been thoroughly obsolesced!
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2015-02-24 16:20:57
[
I bought one when I became tired of fiddling with a tiny balance beam gauge (my counterweight doesn't screw in or out, which makes for a fiddly experience in itself). A calibration weight is sometimes supplied with these gauges, which good for peace of mind.


I took a look at a number of ahem, Herb Scales online and found them at low as $6 postpaid (eBay).  Seems like something like this would be far easier to use.

Looks like the classic $20.00 Shure has been thoroughly obsolesced!

I'd say even a 0.1g accuracy would be okay for a cheap setup. You do have to take a look at the scale and make sure you can easily get the weighing platform under the stylus.

I have one of these - no manufacturer name and replacing the batteries is a little fiddlier than it needs to be (battery covers don't just unclip, hence the supplied screwdriver), but the weighing area is nice and low, with a centre spot. I forget exactly what I paid, but it was definitely quite cheap. It goes to three decimal points, which is more than you'd ever need.

(http://store.acousticsounds.com/images/large/S_ATE_DSFG__63639__05272010015618-9506.jpg)
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: Porcus on 2015-02-24 16:25:51
Note to self: if I want to go back to vinyl, then I need something else than my whisky-diluting dropcounter.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2015-02-24 16:31:23
Michael Fremer (and I know he's persona non grata here) mentioned getting an ultracheap USB microscope (with light) for checking stylus condition. I took a look online, and you can get one for about five quid!
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2015-02-24 18:49:15
Michael Fremer (and I know he's persona non grata here) mentioned getting an ultracheap USB microscope (with light) for checking stylus condition. I took a look online, and you can get one for about five quid!


There is the odd bit of wisdom buried in his audiophile rantings, and that's definitely one of them.

No one in the entire history of record playback has ever bothered to count the hours of usage on their pickups, making the commonly recommended 500-800 hour change interval slightly meaningless. Much better to actually check the stylus for wear, which also lets you see whether your antiskating etc. is set correctly.
Title: Is there anything "bad" on having no automatic vinyl arm?
Post by: JabbaThePrawn on 2015-02-24 20:22:27
Michael Fremer (and I know he's persona non grata here) mentioned getting an ultracheap USB microscope (with light) for checking stylus condition. I took a look online, and you can get one for about five quid!


There is the odd bit of wisdom buried in his audiophile rantings, and that's definitely one of them.

No one in the entire history of record playback has ever bothered to count the hours of usage on their pickups, making the commonly recommended 500-800 hour change interval slightly meaningless. Much better to actually check the stylus for wear, which also lets you see whether your antiskating etc. is set correctly.

Maybe someone can make a turntable with a Foobar-style playing time counter. 

As for Michael Fremer, he gets many things right among the unscientific/emotive stuff, he has an enjoyable writing style and his genuine love of music has pointed me in the direction of some good albums.

Oh, and when I emailed him with a question, he got right back to me (allowing for transatlantic time difference) and followed up the correspondence when I had more questions. A gent.

I'm still looking for a copy of his stand-up comedy LP, though.
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