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CD-R and Audio Hardware => Vinyl => Topic started by: rocket_pc on 2009-12-11 21:03:03

Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2009-12-11 21:03:03
I have first browsed the wiki for this, though only a few minutes.  My question is about adjusting the tone arm on the Numark TTUSB.  Can anybody tell me where there are instructions on adjusting the counterweight on the tone arm of the Numark TTUSB and adjusting the anti-skate mechanism?

I got the turntable yesterday.  The instructions in the operator's manual is insufficient, with only a few sentences on the subject that seem very ambiguous to me. 

The manual says,
Quote
...there should be a feeling of weight and resistance when the head shell is raised and lowered. Begin rotating the counterweight clockwise (away from the pivot point) until the weight and resistance feeling is gone. If done properly, the tone arm will pivot with very little resistance back and forth indicating that there is exactly 0 grams of stylus pressure.  With the counterweight in its new position further away from tone arm pivot point, grasp the scale ring of the counter weight and rotate it until "0" is in the vertical position.  Finally, rotate the counterweight (and scale ring) counter-clockwise (towards the pivot point) until the desired amount of weight is reached. If the scale rotates 360 degrees beyond the zero point, the new scale ring reading should be added to 3.5.

I don't understand these instructions at all.  I remember seeing somewhere last month, when shopping for this, mention of some website or other with instructions on adjusting the tonearm and antiskate functions.

Thank you, in advance, for your attention on this subject.

Don
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: DVDdoug on 2009-12-11 21:47:16
I don't have that turntable, but the instructions sound fairly "standard".

First, the idea is to "calibrate zero" (with the cartridge installed).  So, you adjust the counterweight 'till the tonearm is perfectly balanced (zero tracking force).

Then you set the dial (without moving the counterweight) to read zero.  You might have to hold the counterweight to prevent it from turning at the same time...  After calibration, the weight and dial should be moved move together.

Then, you rotate the counterweight and dial together to set the actual desired tracking force.  (per the specifications supplied with the cartridge.)

Then, you set the anti-skating to match the tracking-force adjustment.

Quote
If the scale rotates 360 degrees beyond the zero point, the new scale ring reading should be added to 3.5.
One full-rotation is 3.5 grams, and at this point the dial will read zero again.  So, if you need more than 3.5 grams (probably not), you need to make a calculation.

P.S.
You probably didn't realize that you can turn the indicator dial without also rotating the counterweight.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2009-12-12 22:12:25
Thank you for the reply, DVDdoug.  I didn't see the reply until now, because there was no email alert.

The way I understand this, the tonearm is "balanced" when it floats (above the platter or off the side of the platter?), and then the dial is set to zero.  That would imply that the 3.5 - 5 turns "weight" is for reaching the surface of the record.  I don't believe that, because I think that "weight" is the amount of pressure on the surface of the record.  There is some variation in the thickness of records, I believe.  The earlier records (1950 to 1960s) may have been thicker. 

With the very common transflexive surfaces of laptop mousepads and of pdas, these expesive turnables aren't as high tech as they claim.  An high tech turntable could read the pressure on the record surface, with existing computer technology.

Anyway, I am still uncertain on how to calibrate this tonearm.  I'll look up this thread in the morning, if I don't get an email alert.

Thanks again for your attention on this subject.

Don

Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2009-12-13 04:30:40
Thinking about this, once again, adjusting the tonearm/stylus has nothing to do with "balancing."  The arm may be balanced at 1/2 inch above the surface of the record, obviously of no use to playing the record.  I believe the tonearm should be lowered to where it barely makes contact with the surface of the record, then secured at that point, and then the dial set at zero.  Turning the dial to 3.5 (whatever that is) would then lower the needle deeper into the surface.  What is your opinion about that?

Thanks for trying to help me on this problem.

Don
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: MichaelW on 2009-12-13 05:47:01
Thinking about this, once again, adjusting the tonearm/stylus has nothing to do with "balancing."  The arm may be balanced at 1/2 inch above the surface of the record, obviously of no use to playing the record.  I believe the tonearm should be lowered to where it barely makes contact with the surface of the record, then secured at that point, and then the dial set at zero.  Turning the dial to 3.5 (whatever that is) would then lower the needle deeper into the surface.  What is your opinion about that?

Thanks for trying to help me on this problem.

Don


The dial has calibrations, representing force in grams--you set to "3.5" on the dial.

First, balance the arm: it will float. Keeping the counter-weight still, turn the dial until it reads zero.

Then, turn the dial and counterweight together until the dial reads "3.5"

The needle end of the arm will, of its own accord, drift down until it rests on the platter, surface of the record, or whatever it meets, where it will exert a force of 3.5 grams, which is what you want.

These numbers don't control the height of the needle end of the arm: they represent (once the thing is adjusted) the extent to which it is out of balance, measured in grams of force at the needle.

Hope that helps.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2009-12-13 20:24:43
Thanks for the reply, Michael.  Okay, now I understand what the purpose is in the tone arm weight adjustment.  There were several posibilities.  The instruction manual so ambiguous, I wouldn't know.  Anyway, the tone arm weight adjustment may be simple.

Okay, what about the anti-skate dial?  Do I leave that alone, or is there an adjustment for that also?  I am confused about the concept of the antiskate function, also. 

The website, Knowsy.com, says that the purpose of antiskate is to center the needle in the groove.  Knowsy.com says that each side of the groove is for a speaker of the stereo.  From my recollection, there is no explanation there on adjusting antiskate.  Opposing this, is a utube demo stating that antiskate purpose is to keep the tone arm from sliding accross the record platter <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzQjuDqv0vY>.  I'd like to understand the basic concept of antiskate, one way or the other. 

This is very important to me, because I am going to convert a collection of Christmas vinyl records to digital, and then burn them on expensive media, probably involving many hours. 

Thank you for your help.


Don



Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: MichaelW on 2009-12-13 20:28:57
I can't give a reasonable explanation of anti-skate, but I think if you do a search on this site, you'll find useful stuff. The person behind knowsy has been a visitor here, so there might be something in one of his threads.

Happy hunting.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: pdq on 2009-12-13 23:11:54
As the record turns, the needle dragging in the groove produces a force due to frictiion. Because the tone arm is at an angle with respect to the groove, part of this force is exerted as a sideways force, or skating force. This force tries to draw the needle toward the center of the record. If there were no anti-skating correction then this would cause the needle to press harder against one side of the groove than the other.

Since the frictional force is proportional to the tracking force (the downward force of the needle against the record) the skating force is also proportional to this, which is why the skating force needs to be adjusted with the tracking force.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2009-12-14 00:47:16
Thank you for your replies.  Michael, the google searches of the past couple weeks have been cluttered with subjects of the "DJs".  I don't believe these are radio djs, but rather disco djs whom deliberatly abuse their records - and turntables, scratching the records, dragging the turntables...  I've seen a few new sites on a search a moment ago, and I'll see what their about.  According to Knowsy, Hydrogenaudio is a very authoritive forum of "audiophiles".

PDQ, are you saying that I should adjust the antiskating at the same time that I am adjusting the counterweight?  How do I make this adjustment?

Thanks.


Don

Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Axon on 2009-12-14 03:19:15
Antiskate is complicated, and different instructions (advocated by different people) will give widely varying results. There is no "right" antiskate setting: it varies from record to record. If you get within 50% of the optimum value for each particular record you play, you're doing pretty good. I doubt anybody gets closer than 20%.

The "normal" (and easiest) instruction is to set the antiskate dial equal to the vertical tracking force setting in grams. If you don't have a spherical stylus, add 20-50% to the VTF setting.

A more complicated method is to purchase a test record with a tracking test on it, and set the antiskate so that the level of distortion in both channels is equal. But there are good reasons to believe that this may not be an accurate way to align for optimum tracking ability, or lowest distortion, for "real" music records.

If you have a blank record (a side without a groove cut on it), and if you have a spherical stylus (which you do), you can set the VTF to 40% higher than you normally set it, set the needle down on the spinning record (being extremely careful to lift the arm quickly if it spins off the record). Then adjust antiskate so that the arm is roughly stationary at the center of the record, and set the VTF back to the normal value.

With some cartridges with very high compliance, you can observe the bias force skewing the cantilever left/right, and the antiskate force likewise. You could use this to set the antiskate so that, when looking at the cartridge from the front, the alignment of the cantilever when playing a record is the same as when it is lifted off the record. However, you almost certainly don't have a cartridge for which this will work.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2009-12-14 08:49:35
As the record turns, the needle dragging in the groove produces a force due to frictiion. Because the tone arm is at an angle with respect to the groove, part of this force is exerted as a sideways force, or skating force. This force tries to draw the needle toward the center of the record. If there were no anti-skating correction then this would cause the needle to press harder against one side of the groove than the other.

Actually the stylus should not be at an angle with respect to the groove. (Of course on a pivoted tonearm, most of the time it is *slightly* out of alignment). The source of the sideways force is due to the overhang. A pickup arm with zero overhang doesn't generate any sideways force.

So, you may ask, why have an overhang? Because it improves the geometric alignment of stylus to groove over a wider portion of the LP side. This benefit outweighs the downside of needing to add antiskate. (Ever noticed that linear tracking tonearms have no overhang?)

The best way to set antiskating is to start at or slightly above the tracking force, then adjust by ear. As Axon says, it's very difficult to get it right for every LP, so don't stress too much about this.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Axon on 2009-12-14 10:40:53
Adjusting by ear means adjusting both the tracking distortion and the distortion resulting from the varying pressure applied to each groove wall. The latter is intimately tied to antiskate but the former has nothing to do with it and changes over the course of the record.

It means explicitly not optimizing antiskate for maximum tracking ability/lowest change of falling out of the groove.

There are good reasons to follow either approach - but realize that a) the two goals are to to a large degree mutually exclusive, and b) adjusting by ear has its own specific potential sources of bias.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2009-12-14 18:47:58
I could just "adjust by ear" - listen to a record through headphones to hear if there is a stronger sound in one ear over the other, and adjust the antiskate accordingly.  I don't have the turntable connected to a stereo.  But if I did, I could use volume controls independently on the speakers, shutting one off, and then the other to hear if speakers are at the same volume.  I may have headphones somewhere that have sliders on them.  And use a record that hasn't been played much, as there could be an imbalance due to wear by turntables that didn't have antiskate functions.

Don


Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2009-12-15 08:43:14
I could just "adjust by ear" - listen to a record through headphones to hear if there is a stronger sound in one ear over the other, and adjust the antiskate accordingly.  I don't have the turntable connected to a stereo.  But if I did, I could use volume controls independently on the speakers, shutting one off, and then the other to hear if speakers are at the same volume.

Incorrect antiskate doesn't affect perceived volume much at all. What you're aiming for is equal levels of distortion on the two channels. With a test record it's fairly straightforward (although the optimum antiskate will be different at the outer and inner grooves, so you have to pick a compromise). But with a music LP, it's pretty difficult to judge when the two channels have equal levels of distortion. Your best bet would be something like a solo piano piece (use the loudest part for your tests).
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-10 07:59:13
Thank you for your reply, cliveb.  I hope you understand my absence - Christmas holidays...  Didn't get the xmas LPs converted to digital, either.  Was out of time, last week before Christmas, to get the recording system in order. 

Anyway, I would like to ask about the "blank record" that was mentioned here, before this thread expires.  Is there a place that I can purchase a blank record like this, and stylus/anti-skate instructions?

Thank you for your help on this subject.


Don

Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2010-01-10 09:52:58
Anyway, I would like to ask about the "blank record" that was mentioned here, before this thread expires.  Is there a place that I can purchase a blank record like this, and stylus/anti-skate instructions?

The force that draws the stylus towards the centre of the record is due to the pressure exerted by the groove sidewall. So a record with no grooves doesn't help. If you're serious about setting antiskate correctly, you need to get a test record with high level tones cut at the outer, centre and inner parts.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-10 11:26:56
Quote
The force that draws the stylus towards the centre of the record is due to the pressure exerted by the groove sidewall.


cliveb, You said that "The force that draws the stylus towards the centre of the record is due to the pressure exerted by the groove sidewall."  Yes, but the turntable has an antiskate function that keeps this from occurring.  Could you tell me where I can find the blank record or special record, that you mention, for conducting this test, and a reference for carrying out this test?

Thanks.

Don
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2010-01-10 14:08:28
cliveb, You said that "The force that draws the stylus towards the centre of the record is due to the pressure exerted by the groove sidewall."  Yes, but the turntable has an antiskate function that keeps this from occuring.  Could you tell me where I can find the blank record or special record, that you mention, for conducting this test, and a reference for carrrying out this test?

Perhaps I didn't explain things clearly enough. By "blank record" I took you to mean one without any grooves cut in it. This won't work. You need to get a test record with a signal cut into the grooves designed for this purpose. I personally use a test record called "HiFi Sound HFS75". One nice feature of HFS75 is that it has antiskating cuts at the outer, centre and inner portions of the record, allowing you to find the best compromise. (The ideal amount of anti-skating varies across the record). However, I don't believe HFS75 is available any more. HiFi News do a test record, but I'm not sure exactly what cuts it has. http://www.needledoctor.com/Brand-Stores/LP-Test-Records (http://www.needledoctor.com/Brand-Stores/LP-Test-Records) has a few test records listed. One of them, "Ultimate Analogue Test LP" looks to have some useful stuff on it (but only one antiskating test cut, at the outer edge of the LP).
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-10 15:41:35
Quote
However, I don't believe HFS75 is available any more.


Maybe its on an online auction somewhere.  Or I'll just look up the others you mentioned.

Don
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-12 05:18:52
Hi cliveb,  Thank you for your reply.  I've got appointments until after Wednesday.  If I have any spare time, I'll look up the very good faq and knowledgebase that I noticed you have. 

I looked up the links and the product that you mentioned (HiFi Sound HFS 75).  It was priced at $44.99.  Isn't that kind of high?  I was thinking of $15 - 20, plus shipping.  If I can get this record in used condition, could that affect the test results?  Also, are the new test records any different or better than the test records manafactured several decades ago?  (I noticed one manufactured in 1969!) 

Also, a very important question:  what is the very best test record?  If I am going to spend any time on this, I would like to get the very best quality results.


Thank you for your time and attention on this subject. Re on Thurs.


Don
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2010-01-12 08:34:54
I looked up the links and the product that you mentioned (HiFi Sound HFS 75).  It was priced at $44.99.  Isn't that kind of high?  I was thinking of $15 - 20, plus shipping.

Test records do tend to be a bit pricey these days. Probably because they are now a niche product, selling in much lower volumes than they used to.

If I can get this record in used condition, could that affect the test results?

Very possibly. It depends how the record has been treated. If it's been played on a turntable that had severe mistracking, then it will be damaged. And a simple visual inspection won't tell you whether that has happened. I personally would never buy a used test LP.

Also, are the new test records any different or better than the test records manafactured several decades ago?  (I noticed one manufactured in 1969!)

I suppose in principle there may have been some technological improvements in cutting equipment since the 70s, but whether that is taken advantage of on newer releases is anyone's guess. I seem to recall reading that the HiFi News test record has some distortion actually recorded into it, so if you're looking for top notch results then it's probably to be avoided.

Also, a very important question:  what is the very best test record?  If I am going to spend any time on this, I would like to get the very best quality results.

I couldn't say what the "best" test record is. What I will say is this: You're using a Numark USB turntable. There's a limit to the quality of signal you can get from it. There are test records out there that cost more than the price of a genuinely decent turntable. If you're prepared to spend serious money getting your transfers right, invest it in (i) a better turntable (avoid USB and DJ types); and (ii) a vacuum cleaning machine (eg. Nitty Gritty, VPI, Moth, etc).
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2010-01-12 13:09:31
I looked up the links and the product that you mentioned (HiFi Sound HFS 75).  It was priced at $44.99.  Isn't that kind of high?  I was thinking of $15 - 20, plus shipping.  If I can get this record in used condition, could that affect the test results?  Also, are the new test records any different or better than the test records manafactured several decades ago?  (I noticed one manufactured in 1969!)


Check eBay. I ve obtained several from there with good results.

Test records seem to be things that many people buy and rarely if ever use.

Quote
Also, a very important question:  what is the very best test record?  If I am going to spend any time on this, I would like to get the very best quality results.


I'm unsure what the best test record is, as they all have faults.

Some of the CBS Labs discs amd most other legacy are probably pretty competitive with modern discs because not much has changed in LP cutting technology in the past 20 years.

The Shure trackability discs are classics.

Some of the Stereo Review test records were actually pretty credible.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-12 23:30:06
There shouldn't be too much wear from testing, with probably only an hour or so use to conduct the test, but if the owner didn't put the record back in the sleeve to get scratched up.  Also, some material things become brittle with age. If that was the case with vinyl, all of our old records would be worthless. 
So, on Thursday, I'll start searching for the HiFi Sound HFS75, CBS Labs discs, Shure trackability, and at Stereo Review.

Thank you for your help.  Hopefully, I can bring out the best in the vinyls I have.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Axon on 2010-01-12 23:31:56
The Ultimate Test LP is also worth looking at, and is almost certainly the best test record currently in production.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2010-01-13 09:49:10
There shouldn't be too much wear from testing, with probably only an hour or so use to conduct the test

General wear & tear due to prolonged use is not the issue with buying a used test LP.

The problem is that test LPs are generally used to set up tracking force, antiskating, etc. And while doing this, it is very likely that some degree of mistracking will occur. Mistracking can permanently damage the LP grooves - just one instance of severe mistracking can trash an LP. And by their very nature, test LPs are the ones most likely to have been severely mistracked.

If you buy a used test LP and everything works beautifully, then you're OK.

But if you buy a used test LP and can't get decent results, it doesn't tell you anything. It could be that your turntable is badly set up, or it could be that your turntable is fine and is faithfully reproducing the damage caused by previous users.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-21 05:39:19
Hi audiophiles,  Thank you for your replies, Cliveb, Axon, and Krueger.  To start off the year, I have been involved with several technical support issues of electronics things that I have.  On the subject of the lp turntable testing disks, you have convinced me that the "Ultimate Analogue Test LP" would be a good investiment.  The problem now isn't the cost of a test record, but the several testing instruments that may be required to conduct the tests offered by the tracks on this test LP. 

For example, browsing through a list I found of tracks of this test LP, some of the test instruments that I had seen mentioned were: an oscilloscope, preamp adjustment (which is part of the usb turntable), AC millivolt meter, cartridge (part of the turntable, the tonearm), IMD tester, a Wow & Flutter meter, a stethoscope on the plinth (I've got a stethoscope) And I have seen mentioned someplace else, that a strobe light can be used for testing the turntable. 

If all of the tracks of this LP require expensive instruments, then there would be no purpose in getting this test LP.  Remember that my turntable is a Numark TTUSB, with limited, imprecise adjustments.  (The tonearm weight is simply pushed back and forth.  And the anti-skate dial appears to be a cheap recast of another dial.) 

All I had planned for this turntable was to convert half a dozen Christmas records to digital (now for next year) and convert about a dozen other LPs to digital.  I do have maybe a few hundred LPs, though I have little interest in most of the lot.

About reading on how to conduct these tests, Hydrogenaudio may be having some technical problem with their website, as some of the links on the knowledgebase are blank.  I did find a site describing testing instruments: <http://collectingvinylrecords.blogspot.com/2009_04_05_archive.html>

So, are special instruments required?  I would spend ten or fifteen dollars on a few instruments, but not the hundreds of dollars.


Below is a list of the tracks of the test LP, "Analogue Productions - The Ultimate Analogue Test LP".  I removed all of the comments to save space here, and to avoid copyright infringement.  The article in detail is at: <http://store.acousticsounds.com/index.cfm?get=detail&title_id=35532>


Side 1

Track 1 1Khz reference tone 7cm/s Mono, in phase (Lateral)

Track 2 1kHz reference level Left channel only

Track 3 1kHz reference level Right channel only

Track 4 1 kHz tone at -20 below reference level, Lateral

Track 5 10 kHz reference tone at -20dbu, Lateral

Track 6 1 kHz to 20 kHz sweep at -20dbu, Mono (Lateral)

Track 7 1 kHz to 20 Hz sweep at 0 VU (Lateral)

Track 8 100 Hz reference tone at 0 vu (Lateral)

Track 9 VTA adjust

Track 10 Standard Wow & Flutter test signal; 3150Hz

Side 2

Track 1 Anti-skating test; 315Hz amplitude sweep to +12dbu (Lateral)

Track 2 Pink noise lateral

Track 3 Pink noise vertical

Track 4 1kHz @ reference level, vertical

Track 5 1kHz to 10Hz sweep @ -20 below

Track 6 Silent groove for bearing rumble and table isolation



The above "The Ultimate Analogue Test LP" you mentioned is highly rated.  What about this test LP, "Realistic Stereo Test Record Home & Lab Audiophile LP"?  Are these tracks valuable and without requiring alot of testing instruments?

1. Speaker Phasing and Channel Identification, 2. Channel Balance, 3. Frequency Response, 4. Cartridge Evaluation, 5. Stereo Separation, 6. Stereo Spread, 7. Effective Hum, 8. Rumble, 9. Flutter.

Thank you for your time, helping with this.

Don





Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Knowzy on 2010-01-21 20:19:08
You're using a Numark USB turntable. There's a limit to the quality of signal you can get from it.

Clive hit the nail on the head, in my opinion. No matter how well you tune this equipment, it isn't going to drastically improve the sound quality.

My advice- forget test records. Forget measurement equipment (with the possible exception of software).

Instead, invest up to $100 in a better cartridge and adjust the counterbalance and anti-skate using the "easy" method described by Axon and DVDdoug.

A better cartridge will result in the big improvement in sound quality you are seeking- more than any other turntable component and certainly more than any fine-tuning of the adjustments.

All of that measurement and adjustment will only improve the sound quality about 10% over a reasonably adjusted turntable (assuming you could put a number on "sound quality," broadly defined). Audiophiles (and 'philes in general) live to eek out that extra 10% of performance and will spend countless hours and dollars pursuing it.

If you want join them, you're in the right place. But you seem to be putting up resistance on the budgeting end.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-22 01:16:00
Hi Knowsy,  I believe that you're the guy whom wrote the excellent website, explaining and comparing turntables, Knowsy.com.  What a surprise!  Glad to meet you.

Whether or not I have a problem with the budget, the point is it appears that purchasing the test record isn't all that is required to complete calibration of the turntable.  Is this correct, or can I conduct the tests without purchasing instruments?  AcousticSounds.com explains each track of the test record, "The Ultimate Analogue Test L" mentioning instruments as an oscilloscope, AC millivolt meter, IMD tester, a Wow & Flutter meter, a stethoscope "on the plinth."  I've seen mentioned some other place the use of a strobe light.  Can you tell me what instruments are required to complete these tests?

Don
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Knowzy on 2010-01-22 05:27:09
Hi Knowsy,  I believe that you're the guy whom wrote the excellent website, explaining and comparing turntables, Knowsy.com.  What a surprise!  Glad to meet you.

One and the same. I appreciate the compliments. I got some of my earliest turntable education (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=65386&pid=583482&mode=threaded&show=&st=0) from the members of Hydrogen Audio. So, in turn, thanks HA!

Whether or not I have a problem with the budget, the point is it appears that purchasing the test record isn't all that is required to complete calibration of the turntable...Can I conduct the tests without purchasing instruments?

I think a lot of people use their ears. You can listen to a test LP online. I posted recordings (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=69979) from a roughly similar turntable- the Ion TTUSB05.

Software can do some of the measurements described in the track list (http://store.acousticsounds.com/index.cfm?get=detail&title_id=35532) for the Ultimate Test LP. Maybe even for free.

I would say the average turntable buyer, particularly in this price  range, follows the counterbalance method described by DVDdoug, then the  "easy" anti-skate method described Axon and nothing more.

The next adjustment seems to be alignment and, from what I hear, it's a project that takes commitment.

My point is that all this calibrating beyond the basic two steps won't buy you what a $40 to $100 cartridge will.

And once you have that cartridge, taking all those extra steps will be more satisfying.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2010-01-22 12:27:52
A better cartridge will result in the big improvement in sound quality you are seeking- more than any other turntable component and certainly more than any fine-tuning of the adjustments.

I respectfully disagree. Some cheap turntables have poor pickup arm bearings that mean no cartridge will be able to work at its best. If the arm is sufficiently poor, the cutoff point where a more expensive cartridge gives any improvement can be surprisingly low. I seriously doubt that anything better than a fairly entry-level moving magnet would be justified on a typical USB turntable.

I would say the average turntable buyer, particularly in this price  range...

What the average turntable buyer does should not necessarily be regarded as the recommended procedure :-)

... follows the counterbalance method described by DVDdoug, then the  "easy" anti-skate method described Axon and nothing more. The next adjustment seems to be alignment and, from what I hear, it's a project that takes commitment.

If by "alignment" you're referring to mounting the cartridge correctly in the headshell (ie. so that it is tangential to the groove at the two optimum points across the extent of the LP), then this is in fact the first thing to do, before you set tracking force and antiskating. To align the cartridge correctly requires the use of a simple protractor. (You can download one here (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/protract.htm)).

You should also check that the cartridge is vertical when viewed head-on, although this is rarely adjustable except by adding thin shims. Fortunately even cheap pickup arms tend to be fairly level in this respect.

My point is that all this calibrating beyond the basic two steps won't buy you what a $40 to $100 cartridge will.

A $20 cartridge correctly aligned will sound better than a $100 cartridge badly aligned. It's not difficult to get it right, so it's worth taking the trouble.

I agree that a test LP is probably not needed here. Get the cartridge properly aligned, set the tracking force to the top of the recommended range, then start playing some actual music LPs and adjust antiskating by ear. Find something like solo piano, play a fortissimo section, and set the antiskating so that the distorion is equal on both channels.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Knowzy on 2010-01-22 18:06:05
I respectfully disagree. Some cheap turntables have poor pickup arm bearings that mean no cartridge will be able to work at its best...I seriously doubt that anything better than a fairly entry-level moving magnet would be justified on a typical USB turntable.

I can't argue with that and I didn't mean to imply that this turntable will do justice to an even half-way decent cartridge.

What I meant is something like a Shure M97xE (http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/Products/DJPhonoCartridgesAndNeedles/us_pro_M97xE_content) at $60 would be a better investment than a test LP. It will open up the high end and reject surface noise better than Ion's iCT04 cartridge (http://www.ionaudio.com/ict04), which tracks at 3 - 5 grams.

I do believe you when you say the arm will prevent the cartridge from reaching it's potential.

 
If by "alignment" you're referring to mounting the cartridge correctly in the headshell...

Yep.

To align the cartridge correctly requires the use of a simple protractor. (You can download one here (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/protract.htm))... It's not difficult to get it right, so it's worth taking the trouble.

Obtaining the protractor is simple. Achieving proper tangential alignment, from what (http://www.audiophilia.com/features/cartridge_setup.htm) I've (http://6moons.com/audioreviews/guru/guru.html) read (http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/vinyl07.html), is tedious and requires much patience.

Many, if not most, cartridges don't even broach the subject of alignment in their manual. Here's Shure's cartridge setup instructions (http://store.shure.com/store/shure/ContentTheme/pbPage.cartridge_installation), for example.

There must be a "good enough" method of cartridge alignment for people who don't want to break out a protractor. Maybe mounting the cartridge at the absolute front of the headshell, ensuring that the cartridge is perfectly straight?

I realize overhang may come into play at this extreme. But a turntable in this price range doesn't offer guidance on overhang anyway.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-23 04:23:08
Thank you very much for your replies.  What I think I am going to do is get the free CX-1 cartridge, with rebate, from Numark.  The ad said it is a $119 value.  The rebate may be expired though - by only a few days.  I would have sent it in right away, but it required the original UPC, which I may have needed for future business reference, and the photo of it looked sort of peculiar.  If I don't get it, then I guess I'll check out the one you suggested, the Shure M97xE.  In the meantime, I'll try out the one I have.  Eventually, I'll probably get the the Ultimate Test LP suggested here - right away if I am convinced that it can be useful without alot of highly expensive testing instruments.  Another $15 here and there for instruments won't be too much problem.  In the meantime, I'll get the Radio Shack test LP, at five bucks, said in used but "excellent" condition, just to get an idea the state of my turntable.

Thank you very much for your comments and suggestions.

Don
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Knowzy on 2010-01-23 21:09:43
What I think I am going to do is get the free CX-1 cartridge, with rebate, from Numark.  The ad said it is a $119 value...If I don't get it, then I guess I'll check out the one you suggested, the Shure M97xE.




Here's how the [a href="http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/Products/DJPhonoCartridgesAndNeedles/us_pro_M97xE_content" target="_blank"]Shure M97xE (http://www.numark.com/cx1) compares to the CX-1:
You're better off with the cartridge that came with the turntable.

Good luck.
 
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-23 22:14:50
Okay, I won't get that.  How can they they even market DJ stuff in the same line as quality audio?  Thats idiocy, scratching records.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Knowzy on 2010-01-23 22:28:36
How can they they even market DJ stuff in the same line as quality audio?  Thats idiocy, scratching records.

Well, Numark is a DJ equipment company (http://www.numark.com/content48), so they can be excused.

"Scratching records" has a somewhat different definition in a DJ'ing context. They're not making music by literally dragging the stylus across the record. More like rhythmic forward and reverse platter spinning motions.

Of course, scratching in any context is not good for your vinyl!
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: arranzio on 2010-01-29 11:59:01
Hi Rocket

I just arrived here googleing, looking for information about how to adjust the antiskate in a Numark turntable, because a friend of mine asked me to help him, and I knew nothing about these DJ turntables.

I’ve learned a little more about antiskating, so, thanks to all who have helped Rocket!

Meanwhile, regarding your issues, I agree with the direction of the last posts comments. And I push them a little further, I mean, I’ll try focus in the “practical”. Well, “my practical”, different opinions may arise, haha.

1)   The origin. Do you want just to digitalize your vinyl records? Two possibilities:

a.   If your records can be found in CD format, they have been digitalized before by pros, from better sources, with very good equipment, that’s the CD. You will not be able to achieve this unless you make a very big investment and lots LOTS of hours learning and trying. So, I would look for an internet source and download them in compressed or uncompressed formats. From a normal internet music store (like iTunes, etc...), or from alternative sources (people sharing their digital music) (I would not be afraid about piracy issues in this case, because you have the vinyls already) (and I would avoid any further discussion about this in this forum.....). There are even people that are sharing their own vinyls digitalizations!

b.   If your records are so rare (but probably aren’t), that it’s impossible to find them digitalized, then you will have to invest in your own equipment. But your starting point has been wrong. A Numark turntable is for DJ’s, not for pleasure listening, not for sound accuracy, not for taking care of your records. It’s just very good at Djeing. I saw a couple of Numark turntable at my friend’s house yesterday, and I’m pretty sure about that.

2)   The equipment. If you have arrived here, you probably still need to digitalize your own records, or, it should be a good idea, you plan to listen your vinyl records for pleasure -  -. To digitalize you’ll need, absolutely:

a.   a good vinyl. If your vinyl is very scratched, or very dirty (you should clean it up), or has been used 1000 times, it’s likely the sound will not be pleasant enough. And if it’s not, the digitalization would not be good. You can use software to dissimulate clics and tics of dirt and scratches, but, it’s extra work, and you’re modifying the source. It’s like scanning a picture, if your scanner glass is clean, you’ll spare time and have better results from the beginning.

b.   a good analogic equipment. It does not mean expensive equipment. Any entry level for audiophiles would be far better than the Numark. Suggestions? Lots of them. I’m saying some examples, to take an start, then you can investigate through the web (if you have enough time, lots of choices)

i.   Turntable. Any entry level of brands like Rega, Project, Thorens, ... Or second hand, there’s plenty of them, just buy them from specialists that know they’re in good shape. About the Numark, if it’s new, you can sell it again easily, I think. That’s an idea, don’t get angry..... I only found the right way until I bought my third turntable (lot of years with bad turntable, and bad stylus choices, I had to change to learn it). If you can get the Pro-ject entry level where you live, probably it’s the cheapest choice. In every brand line, the more you pay, the more you get, but only for digitalizing..., some cheap one will suffice. Just to take a look, http://www.project-audio.com/main.php?prod...les&lang=en (http://www.project-audio.com/main.php?prod=debutphusb&cat=turntables&lang=en)  this one has USB, see below.... If you read their FAQ, and turntable Manual, etc, you can easily learn a few more things about turntables. This one maybe around 450 $, and without the USB, it should around 300$.

ii.   Tonearm. Just keep with the one provided with the turntable. They’re not shining ones in the entry level turntables, but are good enough (and far far better that the one in the Numark) (bearings, balancing, etc...).

iii.   Cartridge + stylus. If you can choice, the stylus should be elliptical, not conical. The moving magnet technology is your choice. There are better, but far more expensive. Again, entry level cartridges and stylus from good brands, are very good, and far better that the ones in the Numark. As someone wrote before, compare the tracking force of dj’s stylus (about 4 grams), and audiophile stylus (about 1 gram). The audiophile ones are more sensible, take more care of your vinyls, give more detail, depth, etc etc etc
Typical brands for cartridges: Shure, Ortofon, Goldring.  I’m particularly fond with Grado cartridges, which equal results comparing to much more expensive stylus, but beware, these brand uses unique technology with unshielded cartridge: it means than any average magnetic field nearby would add a noise hum (hummmmm) to your system. In practical, it just means that using a Grado involves to use a turntable which engine is NOT below the plate, but to the corner of the tunrtable (opposite to the stylus corner); and that the turntable must to be placed at least 15 cm from the amplifier, the speaker, or any equipment with magnets or engines; not difficult though.

iv.   Cables. The typical thin and black ones, with red and white plastic coaxial connector, are easily improved with any entry level cable (like Van Den Hul, Shure, etc..., or whatever cheap one recommends to you in a specialized shop). But the cables issue are not as important as the previous points, mainly i. and iii. points. And probably, with entry level turntables, they have the interconnect cables hard wired to the turntable, so, you can forget about it.

3)   The digitalization. OK: you want to convert an analogic sound to “0”’s and “1”’. This is A WORLD. You’ll always lose informations, the question is lose the least and the less importants.

a.   If your modern (and good, entry level audiophile) turntable has an integraded digital-analog converter, with an USB output, it should be good, probably, but I have no idea of their quality. Maybe someone knows here an audiophile turntable with integrated digitalization.

b.   The named digital-analog is an issue. There are very different quality types. So, if you don’t have an internal digital-analog converter, or if someone tells you that the internal in the turntable of your choice, is not very good, you should go to PC:

i.   PC, with a good soundcard, will do the job. There are plenty of average to good soundcards. I believe that the chances to have a decent soundcard in a PC are higher that the ones integrated into the turntable. But I’ve not enough experience with this. The card in a MAC would be good enough; and if you use a PC, a mid range one would be good too. No more ideas about it.

ii.   Amplification. Remember, you don’t need this if your turntable has built-in analog/digital converter, with USB output. You will need to amplify the signal from your turntable, before you put it into the PC (analog jack):

1.   with your own amplifier, through the REC / OUT (TAPE), or whatever name has your amplifier for output signal (the not amplified one,  and not the speaker signal, of course).

2.   If you don’t have amplifier, then, at least you need a phono amplifier (they are good, and cheaper than buying an amplifier, if you don’t need an amplifier for any more purposes). If a friend has a “miniamplifier” for earphones, you may try it how it sounds (just a silly idea, maybe, because I’ve never tried it).

iii.   Digitalization software. In your PC / MAC. I only know the Roxyo one issued for MAC, which is very good. There are a lot more solutions in the market. Just google.

AND THAT’S IT. These are my ideas, and maybe you can find some of them useful.

Best regards

Albert
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Knowzy on 2010-01-30 01:05:56
Hi Albert,

Welcome to HA.

That is a lot to digest! And that's coming from someone who is pretty verbose himself! 

Nonetheless, I read it all and it's pretty accurate and good advice. Stick around and you can learn some of the finer points of tonearms, pre-amps and equalization. I learn new things about vinyl here every time I show up.

I'm not going to address everything point-by-point but a couple jump out:

If a friend has a "miniamplifier" for earphones, you may try it how it sounds (just a silly idea, maybe, because I've never tried it).

This isn't going to work because the equalization will be horribly out of whack. Phono pre-amps raise the low frequencies and attune the highs along the RIAA equalization curve (http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Preamplifier_%28Vinyl%29). Some people use a microphone pre-amp and correct the equalization in software (called a "flat transfer").

No matter how you go about it, equalization is required to avoid the ear-piercing highs cut into each and every vinyl record.

iii.   Digitalization software. In your PC / MAC. I only know the Roxyo one issued for MAC, which is very good. There are a lot more solutions in the market. Just google.

FYI: You are among quite a few software developers who write programs that directly or indirectly help digitize vinyl, including Clive and Axon who contributed to this thread!

Take care,
Jeff
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: arranzio on 2010-01-30 01:34:12
Thanks for your comments, Jeff.

Yes pretty long, but after reading all the issue, with such complications for a simple task, and not apropiate hardware, well… let's try it, maybe rocket reads and agrees, or not.

I'm just entry level (or medium, depending of whom to compare, lol). So, I'll learn a lot here, I see.

Thanks for your advice about earphone preamps.

ABout digitalizing software, well, I've never used it! So I just have bare ideas 

Until know, I've not digitalized a vinyl. I just listen to them. But one day may come that a friends asks for some digital that does not exist, I'¡ll know where to look for good advice!

Starting by the wiki or the faq, which seems rather interesting.

Regards

Albert
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-30 17:15:53
Hi all,

I aggree that this Numark is a lousy turntable, but that is because it has poor design and engineering.  From my recollection, the Knowzy website shows that this turntable is for digital conversion, rather than for DJ.  Why they had advertised a rebate for a free DJ cartridge for purchase of this turntable, I don't know, other than maybe they were trying to get rid of it. 

This Numark is belt driven, whereas djs prefer direct drives.  On some websites, belt driven is preferred by people recording the music because it is said to minimize transmission of noise from the motor.  However, on this Numark, it is more of a large rubberband than a "belt."  If anybody has seen how rubberbands melt when fastened to something over time, this rubberband belt is going to deteriorate, changing the turntable speed.  A "belt" should have been something like the belt in an automobile radiator fan with cloth or fiber woven into it, and wrapped around a smaller disk or gear whereas this Numark band is wrapped around the outer edge of the platter. 


- Many of these albums aren't in CD or are difficult to find.  For example, none of the xmas albums are in CD.  Some of the classical albums I have may be in CD, but are difficult to find.
- With many dozens, of hundreds of albums I have, why should I pay $15 - 25 dollars (totaling several hundred dollars) for CDs when I can convert the albums I have to CDs.
- CDs from music produced in contempory digital studios may be high quality, but I have found some CDs from old analogue music have been very poor quality.  The CD producers may have taken care in making quality conversions for major musicians, but poorly for less popular musicians.  I should get better quality from my own conversions than the commercial CDs.

Hey, I am not about to buy another turntable.  The turntable and the box it came in is huge, and would cost as much as it is worth to ship it, if I resold it.  I got screwed, but please don't rub it in.  I am going to do the best I can with it.  I'll look up the specs on the existing cartridge.  If it appears it would cause damage to my vinyls or is of poor quality, then I'll get another cartridge.  And I'll also get some sort of test record.

Right now, I am recovering from a computer crash and got other things to attend.  It is past time for converting the Christmas albums, with 11 months until next season, but I'll have to at least, test the turntable, in the next few weeks.

Thank you, hydrogenaudio audiophiles, for your help.

Don



Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2010-01-31 09:54:12
This Numark is belt driven, whereas djs prefer direct drives.  On some websites, belt driven is preferred by people recording the music because it is said to minimize transmission of noise from the motor.

The Belt Drive v. Direct Drive debate can get almost as religious as digital v. analogue in the audio world. It is possible to build turntables ranging from very poor to exceptionally good quality using either technology. It's all down to the engineering, not the method.

However, on this Numark, it is more of a large rubberband than a "belt."  If anybody has seen how rubberbands melt when fastened to something over time, this rubberband belt is going to deteriorate, changing the turntable speed.  A "belt" should have been something like the belt in an automobile radiator fan with cloth or fiber woven into it, and wrapped around a smaller disk or gear whereas this Numark band is wrapped around the outer edge of the platter.

While it is quite possible that the implementation of belt drive on this Numark is poor, none of the factors you mention are intrinsically bad. Virtually all belt drive turntables use a "rubber band". Sometimes the belt has a flat cross-section, sometimes round. Usually the rubber is a fairly special composition, but I've never seen a turntable drive belt that has fabric woven into it. Driving the outer edge of the platter is not an issue: some of the very finest turntables do just that.

- CDs from music produced in contempory digital studios may be high quality, but I have found some CDs from old analogue music have been very poor quality.

No argument there. Many CD re-releases are significantly worse than the original vinyl, so in those cases it is worth doing a transfer.

Hey, I am not about to buy another turntable.

But you say that you have hundreds of albums to do. In that case, it really is worth reconsidering the playback hardware. A secondhand Rega/Dual/Thorens/etc and a decent phono preamp needn't cost the Earth, and the results will be so much better.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-01-31 11:05:58
Hi cliveb,

I wouldn't conclude that this Numark TTUSB is a dj turntable, simply because the company had produced a dj cartridge for it.

I'll have to test this turntable, this winter, before jumping to conclusions and shopping for another.  I had tried to convert vinyl to digital several years ago, failing, after much time into it.  I had used an analogue turntable - a Kenwood - with a preamp and cords and cables from Best Buy, connecting to the 900 mghz computer I had at that time.  I tried several variations of connecting the cords, the computer control panel settings, etc, to no avail.  I suspect that the problem was that the computer operating system was Millenium Edition, as some people have suggested had been the source of other problems of this sort.  I don't want to get involved with this previous turntable setup as an issue, as that is bygone.  I have that turntable packed away on the shelf, in a box.  If the Numark results are unsatisfactory, then maybe I'll try out this Kenwood with preamp and cables on my new computer, with XP.  For now, the Numark is going to be much easier with USB and Audiocity software.

Thank you for your comments.



Don

PS - I believe that a new cartridge for the Numark may not be enough, as the tonearm has limited adjustment - only sliding the counterweight back and forth with fingers, although DVDdoug, or others here had spoken of adjustments with the tonearm as it is.


Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2010-02-01 09:39:26
I wouldn't conclude that this Numark TTUSB is a dj turntable, simply because the company had produced a dj cartridge for it.

I'm not assuming it is a DJ turntable (although Numark are primarily known for DJ equipment). As far as I'm aware, it's a typical example of a USB turntable aimed at the digital transfer market.

I had used an analogue turntable - a Kenwood ....  I have that turntable packed away on the shelf, in a box.

Now this is an important piece of information. Kenwood equipment was known as "Trio" here in the UK back in the 1970s and 1980s, and I seem to recall their stuff was actually pretty good. If your Kenwood is of that vintage, chances are that it may well be a half-decent turntable. Definitely worth unpacking it and taking a look. Maybe you could post a few photos of it here so we can get a feel for what type of turntable it is.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Knowzy on 2010-02-01 19:40:22
The Knowzy website shows that this turntable is for digital conversion, rather than for DJ.

Any turntable can be used for digital conversion. The USB connection and built-in pre-amp simply offers convenience.

Most of the best built USB turntables are DJ turntables, for better or worse. I devote an entire section in the guide explaining what to do with a DJ turntable (http://www.knowzy.com/usb-turntable-comparison.htm#LP2CDDJTurntables) if you're using it for vinyl archiving, rather than DJ'ing

Hey, I am not about to buy another turntable...I got screwed, but please don't rub it in.

I don't mean to rub salt in your wounds. For this price range, you did pick one of the best USB turntables. You avoided getting ceramic cartridge. You got a turntable with anti-skate adjustment and you can even upgrade the cartridge (though Clive seems to be saying upgrading it is of limited benefit).

You may find the sound quality acceptable, particularly if you don't want to go through the trouble to revive the old Kenwood. Listen to some samples (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=69979) of the Ion TTUSB05 to get an idea of what to expect. It uses the same cartridge and a plastic platter. Yours will likely sound a bit better because the Numark TTUSB has a better (big assumption here) "S"-style tonearm where the Ion TTUSB05 a straight-bodied tonearm.

I had used an analogue turntable - a Kenwood

Kenwood equipment was known as "Trio" here in the UK back in the 1970s and 1980s, and I seem to recall their stuff was actually pretty good.

I browsed a half-dozen models of Kenwood (http://www.vinylengine.com/library/kenwood.shtml) turntables over at VinylEngine. Every single one looked better than the Numark TTUSB.

First off, there are no plastic platters among them.

I was amazed at the Wow & Flutter ratings for these turntables- almost all below .1%, with direct drive models significantly lower.

The worst Kenwood models had S/N ratios in the high 40's, most were much higher. Numark doesn't list any specs but the Audio-Technica AT-LP2D-USB, which is better constructed than the TTUSB, is 50dB.

You have a clearly better turntable in your attic and it would likely take minimal refurbishing. It's certainly worth considering.


I believe that a new cartridge for the Numark may not be enough, as the tonearm has limited adjustment - only sliding the counterweight back and forth with fingers, although DVDdoug, or others here had spoken of adjustments with the tonearm as it is.

The TTUSB has both counterbalance and anti-skate. Those two adjustments are enough to allow you to install a different cartridge.

You have been very patient with us as we enumerate your turntables shortcomings and I hope we weren't too hard on you. If you decide the sound quality isn't good enough out of the box, there are a lot of great suggestions here to improve it. Personally, I'm hoping you break out that Kenwood.

Jeff
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-02-02 05:23:23
Thank you for your replies.  I've got a couple reports to do, and the Super Bowl is this weekend.  But I'll at least see if I can find the user manual to the Kenwood, to find the model number and specs, and post it tommorrow morning. 

From looking at the shelf, my estimate is that I have over four hundred albums.  There is only a small part of the collection that I would be interested in converted to CD, since most of them are 70s music that I would care the least for listening.  I am definitly going to convert the Beatles, Rolling Stones and any other sixties music I may have there, but only half a dozen at a time over the next year. 

Don


Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-02-03 00:34:21
My digital camera is malfunctioning.  Reading from the front and back of the turntable:

Kenwood Automatic Turntable KD-291R
"Belt Drive Turntable"
AC 120V, 4W, 60Hz  E85649
54400 RC


The preamp that I bought for it:

Recoton Stereo Pre-Amplifier Model SP-2



The tonearm style is straight.  Appears to have non-adjustable counterweight, no antiskate.  Steel/metal platter.


Don
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Knowzy on 2010-02-03 05:37:10
Reading from the front and back of the turntable:

Kenwood Automatic Turntable KD-291R

...The preamp that I bought for it:

Recoton Stereo Pre-Amplifier Model SP-2

[/font]I found the manual for the Kenwood KD-291R (http://www.retrevo.com/support/Kenwood-KD-291R-Turntables-manual/id/479ci361/t/2/). Be forewarned: It's a several step process to download and you don't have to give them your e-mail address to continue.

The Kenwood does have an aluminum platter but no anti-skate.

Replacing the stylus is pretty standard advice after more than a decade  or two in storage. I don't think replacing the cartridge is an option  here- permanent mount.

The KD-291 uses an N-74 (or N-76) stylus, which looks to be conical (http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=LG&Product_Code=KDS74). There are elliptical tip replacements (http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=LG&Product_Code=KDS74IE) for around $30.
 
The pre-amp was selling as recently as 2007 on Amazon for around $20 (http://www.amazon.com/review/R1TDYPTGRAI9BK/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm).

Also up for consideration: The sound card in the "new PC with XP."

I'm starting to root for the Numark again.

Two things that hold me back from wholeheartedly siding with the Numark:

Despite its limitations, I think the Numark TTUSB is the better choice for a once-through digitization. But whenever I say something so assuredly here, someone throws me a curve ball!
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2010-02-03 09:01:41
I'm starting to root for the Numark again.

Having taken a look at the manual for your KD291R, I am inclined to agree with Knowzy - that is, if we're talking about a straight preference between the Kenwood and Numark. This particular Kenwood appears to be a cheap and inflexible turntable, with an extremely dubious-looking pickup arm. Shame - they also made some very good units, and we were all hoping you had one of those.

I'm still of the opinion that if you want to transfer hundreds of LPs, it would be worth investing in a secondhand decent turntable to start with (Rega, Dual, Project, Thorens, etc).
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-02-03 16:29:23
Thank you for your replies.  Jotted down the info on the Kenwood; Didn't get around to finding the paper edition of the manual; Thank you for finding the link to it; Haven't yet found the online specs for the Numark; nothing at their sales website that shows the cartridge specs. 

The Kenwood may be a good playing turntable for a stereo system, though I'll have to make sure that it doesn't damage the records.  The tonearm is very light, with counterweight on it.  I may give it to somebody at a farmhouse, for a stereo system.  I got the Kenwood about ten years ago at Circuit City.  It was on sale at 75 dollars, original price probably at 125 or more.

I am glad you are favoring the Numark, because I wasn't planning on going back to all the hassle of setting up the line in, with preamp on the Kenwood, and then probably having to get more stuff for it.  If I decide the existing Numark cartridge is safe to use on LPs, I'll use it for the conversions.  CDs are only about 15 or 20 cents each, though I'd probably convert them to mp3s.  I am not converting the whole collection; only a few at a time.  And can reconvert them later, if I think I can improve upon them.  The Numark is going to be much more convenient with its built-in preamp and USB linein, is new, with new "belt" and motor, and has some adjustment to its counterweight and antiskate, it'll be okay for awhile.  Note that the Numark has an aluminum platter.  If the results from the Numark are absolutely terrible, then I may consider the second hand turntables you mentioned.  I mainly wanted to convert the Christmas records, but those holidays are now over.

Thank you for your help.  I'll report back on the results or problems, in a couple weeks.  Until then, getting a test record, evaluating the cartridge if neccessary for upgrade.

Don

Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Knowzy on 2010-02-03 22:08:25
Haven't yet found the online specs for the Numark; nothing at their sales website that shows the cartridge specs.

Numark doesn't publish specs for the GrooveTool cartridge. The 3 - 5 gram tracking force range I cited comes from the TTUSB manual.

What's funny is their comparison of Numark cartridges (http://www.numark.com/stuff/contentmgr/files/6/18b1ac3e6181b6f888a3337884b5f909/file/numark_turntable_cartridges_product_overview.pdf)- it shows detailed specs for every one except the GrooveTool.

 
Note that the Numark has an aluminum platter.

How did I miss that? My bad. I updated comparison table #3 at Knowzy to reflect an aluminum platter on the Numark TTUSB.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-02-10 09:48:40
Hi all,  I'm back, for a moment.

Up front, the purpose of my posting today, is to ask anybody here about a quality, (but in the budget range of thirty dollars, no more than fifty for the whole tonearm/cartridge) replacement of this "groove tool" on my Numark TTUSB?


From my recollection, I had made the decision to purchase the Numark TTUSB, in part because of the Knowzy website.  In this Hydrogenaudio thread, your link showing a Numark website link of all its cartridges as DJ, and even that the cartridge on mine is called a "groove tool," had taken me by surprise.

The Knowzy website had a tool for sorting out turntables according to their features.  I had chosen obviously to keep out DJ turntables, and believe that the Numark was listed after cutting out the DJ turntables.  I wouldn't have purchased the Numark TTUSB turntable if I had thought it was a DJ turntable. 

Many features of this Numark  point to a non-DJ turntable:  Antiskate adjustment, tonearm weight adjustment, the S-shaped tonearm, the belt drive instead of direct drive, the USB linein input.  Another website suggested that the aluminum platter was a good feature for fine quality.  This "groove tool" DJ cartridge thing came out of obscurity.

I don't want to grind out the threads on my vinyls with this groove tool.  Can anybody tell me of a a quality cartridge to replace the cartridge that is on my turntable?  I'd rather replace the tonearm, while replacing the cartridge, to be certain that the cartridge matches the tonearm, and tonearm that has fine adjustment of the counterweight than this groove tool/ tonearm.  Anything in the budget range of thirty dollars? (no more than fifty for the whole tonearm/cartridge).

   

I don't have any interest in DJ turntables, nor getting into it.  The impression I got of DJ turntables is of how some photographers were playing with photographic film after digital cameras came in, rubbing the photographic film during processing, mutilation, etc to create "artsy" images, using up extra film they had around.  In the same way, "DJs", with the arrival of CDs and digital music replacing LPs, were abusing LP records and turntables, scratching the records and putting their hands on the platter to make odd sounds.  Because DJs were making their income from playing for parties, group functions, etc, they were spending money on turntables.  Turntable producers therefore gained a market, producing "DJ" turntables.  Just because turntable producers are making alot of money from these turntables doesn't mean that these turntables should be pushed onto the market of consumers of quality turntable music.

Don



Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-02-10 09:56:51
PS:

The Shure cartridge that you mentioned in this thread, was $59 dollars a few weeks ago, now $89.  The recent results show that only the needle component minus the rest of the cartridge.  And there is mention that this Shure cartridge won't match the tonearm on my Numark.  The Shure website shows their price at $140.  I just want something that is decent quality that won't grind into the threads like this groovetool.

Don
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Knowzy on 2010-02-11 06:50:46
The Knowzy website had a tool for sorting out turntables according to  their features. I had chosen obviously to keep out DJ turntables, and  believe that the Numark was listed after cutting out the DJ turntables.

There were a few errors with this turntable that I have since corrected.

My mistake was believing that the Numark TTUSB was the same as the Ion Audio TTUSB (http://www.ionaudio.com/ionttusb). It's not. Here is how they differ:

even that the cartridge on mine is called a "groove tool," had taken me by surprise.

To my surprise, I got the specs for the GrooveTool out of Numark today.

The specs don't read like a DJ cartridge as far as I can tell. They read like a $20 cartridge, which it is.

The big question in my mind what disadvantages the spherical tip has over the elliptical tips.

Here's the specs for the GrooveTool:
Quote
Frequency Response:

            20Hz-18,000Hz

                 


Output @1KHz

            2.4mV,

                 


Channel Separation @1KHz

            26dB,

                 


Channel Balance @1KHz

            Within 2dB,

                 


Tracking Force

            2.5 to 3.5grams,

                 


Stylus Tip

            Spherical .6mil,

                 


Cartridge Weight

            3.2grams,

                 


Tracking Ability

            90u @3grams,

                 


Recommended Load

            47k ohms and 275pF,




Lifetime (under normal use)

            1600 Hours



[quote author= link=msg=686821 date=0]I don't want to grind out the threads on my vinyls with this groove tool.[/quote]
You don't need to worry about that, particularly if you're going to do a single pass through your album. Just set your tracking force near or at 3.5 grams.

Can anybody tell me of a a quality cartridge to replace the cartridge that is on my turntable?

For $55 you can pick up the Ortofon OM 5E (http://ortofon.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=44&Itemid=64). It's the same cartridge and stylus found in the best USB turntable- the $500 Pro-Ject Audio Debut III USB (http://www.project-audio.com/main.php?prod=debutphusb&cat=turntables&lang=en).

You'll save yourself a gram of tracking force. You'll get an elliptical tip. I expect it will sound noticeably better. But it's not going to turn a Numark TTUSB into a Pro-Ject turntable.

Don't forget, if you buy a new cartridge, you'll have to mount it and align it, which requires some skill. The cartridge the comes with the turntable is already mounted.
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: cliveb on 2010-02-11 18:21:00
Can anybody tell me of a a quality cartridge to replace the cartridge that is on my turntable?  I'd rather replace the tonearm, while replacing the cartridge, to be certain that the cartridge matches the tonearm, and tonearm that has fine adjustment of the counterweight than this groove tool/ tonearm.

I don't have much more to add above what Knowsy has already said, except to address your desire to replace the tonearm as well as the cartridge.

I don't have any personal experience with the Numark TT, but looking at pictures of it on the web, I'd say that replacing the tonearm looks to be a difficult operation. The tonearm has a base that looks to be an integral part of the whole turntable - it's clearly not intended to be a replacable part (in the way that the tonearm on say a Thorens or Linn turntable is easily replaced). In contrast, it clearly has a detachable headshell with 1/2" fixing centres, so mounting a new cartridge will be relatively straighforward. Go with a modest HiFi moving magnet from the likes of Ortofon, Audio Technica, Shure, etc, preferably with an elliptical stylus. And download & print out a cartridge protractor so you align it properly. You can get a basic one here (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/protractor3.pdf), or if you're interested in looking at a variety of types, see here (http://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge-alignment-protractors.shtml).
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: rocket_pc on 2010-02-11 22:09:23
Thank you for your reply, cliveb and knowsy,  It would be nice if this Numark TTUSB had a tonearm with fine adjustments - a threaded counterweight.  I'm not going to worry about it.  I'll follow the instructions at the begining of this tread, on tonearm adjustment.

I don't know that much about turnables yet.  From the specifications shown here of the Ortofon OM 5E and the Numark TTUSB, I can't really distinguish the difference other than the tracking force - to replace the Numark.  I noticed when looking up a Stanton (mentioning below) review that the sperical has less "burn" factor than the eliptical, however compromised sound.  I am figuring the round needle compensates for damage by the heavy tracking force. 

From the review, <http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/frr.pl?ranlg&1179802283&read&3&4> it appears that the Ortofon OM 5E is a darn good cartridge. 


Notice down in the article he suggests that it is of no use to replace a cartridge on a "cheapy" turntable with the Orofon.  I don't know if this includes the Numark TTUSB:

"It just does not pay to put a highly compliant expensive cartridge in a cheapy turntable. Believe me ...years ago when I was younger and fooling around with this stuff...I tried ! It just doesn't work ! Just try a Shure V-15 Type III in a Garrard SL-125B and you'll find out what I mean...no, don't try it ! The higher tonearm friction is just too much even for the cart here. A more appropriate stiffer compliance higher tracking force cheapy cartridge like the Stanton 500AL would be better here and yield surprisingly good results." 


Maybe I should look up the Hydrogenaudio faqs about this: if there are vinyl cleaning tools neccessary and a how-to page. With a quality needle like this, I believe the LPs should be rid of dirt.  When I tried recording several years ago (2001 or other) I had gently washed some of the records in dishsoap water.  That may be sub-standard here, I don't know.  I'll use a camera lens brush to remove dust from the needle.


Is there a place to report trojans on websites?  Maybe I should call Mcafee.  There was a trojan at Sam Ash music that began to download onto my computer when clicking on their number for Skype (from the google listing).  McAffee found it when I scanned my computer immediatly afterward.  This is the second time I got a trojan from that link.  (I had forgotton about it since the last time it happened.)

Don


Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: paulhyland on 2012-02-14 19:30:15
I would say the average turntable buyer, particularly in this price  range...

What the average turntable buyer does should not necessarily be regarded as the recommended procedure :-)

... follows the counterbalance method described by DVDdoug, then the  "easy" anti-skate method described Axon and nothing more. The next adjustment seems to be alignment and, from what I hear, it's a project that takes commitment.

If by "alignment" you're referring to mounting the cartridge correctly in the headshell (ie. so that it is tangential to the groove at the two optimum points across the extent of the LP), then this is in fact the first thing to do, before you set tracking force and antiskating. To align the cartridge correctly requires the use of a simple protractor. (You can download one here (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/protract.htm)).

You should also check that the cartridge is vertical when viewed head-on, although this is rarely adjustable except by adding thin shims. Fortunately even cheap pickup arms tend to be fairly level in this respect.

That nails my problem exactly. When I look at the cartridge/headstock from the front, it seems to be tilted severely to the right (or twisted clockwise), so it seems as though the tonearm somehow was twisted or something, but I can't figure out how it happened. (I think it was OK when I first tried it, but it was stored and the stylus broke off, so I replaced the cartridge with a nicer Audio-Technica that fit the unversal mount). Thus every record skips backwards, as though it has very high anti-skate set, no matter how I adjust the weight and skating.

I tried shimming with a couple washers from the other (AT) headstock. It sounds like I just need to do more of this until I get it looking more-or-less level with the platter. Question: is there any tool or technique to perform this alignment with vertical? Besides leveling the table and then trying to measure the level-ness of the cartridge?

I also plan to perform the horizontal alignment with protractor you have described here - thanks!
Title: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2012-02-15 13:41:05
I would say the average turntable buyer, particularly in this price  range...

What the average turntable buyer does should not necessarily be regarded as the recommended procedure :-)

... follows the counterbalance method described by DVDdoug, then the  "easy" anti-skate method described Axon and nothing more. The next adjustment seems to be alignment and, from what I hear, it's a project that takes commitment.

If by "alignment" you're referring to mounting the cartridge correctly in the headshell (ie. so that it is tangential to the groove at the two optimum points across the extent of the LP), then this is in fact the first thing to do, before you set tracking force and antiskating. To align the cartridge correctly requires the use of a simple protractor. (You can download one here (http://www.enjoythemusic.com/protract.htm)).

You should also check that the cartridge is vertical when viewed head-on, although this is rarely adjustable except by adding thin shims. Fortunately even cheap pickup arms tend to be fairly level in this respect.

That nails my problem exactly. When I look at the cartridge/headstock from the front, it seems to be tilted severely to the right (or twisted clockwise), so it seems as though the tonearm somehow was twisted or something, but I can't figure out how it happened. (I think it was OK when I first tried it, but it was stored and the stylus broke off, so I replaced the cartridge with a nicer Audio-Technica that fit the unversal mount). Thus every record skips backwards, as though it has very high anti-skate set, no matter how I adjust the weight and skating.

I tried shimming with a couple washers from the other (AT) headstock. It sounds like I just need to do more of this until I get it looking more-or-less level with the platter. Question: is there any tool or technique to perform this alignment with vertical? Besides leveling the table and then trying to measure the level-ness of the cartridge?

I also plan to perform the horizontal alignment with protractor you have described here - thanks!


If a cartridge skips backwards, it could be that the routing of the tone arm wires is applying a torque to the arm.

Adjusting cartridge alignment is often done using drafting tools - plastic squares, protractors, and the like. Most of the gauges that you may need can be drawn onto heavy cardboard with the same tools.
Title: Re: Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
Post by: RedcoMusic on 2018-06-20 19:47:47
I scored one of these at Goodwill over the weekend for $49! Banged up headshell, cartridge, missing stylus and slipmat. But otherwise, the tonearm is still in good shape, belt was down there and it starts/stops/pitches as appropriate. I replaced the headshell with a $10 one from American DJ, my spare AT3600 cart and stylus (unscrewed it from a Gemini headshell combo, because it does NOT fit this and other universal tonearms, BTW), and a $12 slipmat. Worked like a charm. I did a sound comparison with a Sony LX300USB and the overall quality is the same, though the Sony is maybe a notch louder. I'm using it just for everyday playback. It sucks that it doesn't come with a dust cover, but oh well.

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