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Old 13th March 2011, 08:30 AM   #1
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Default Dust Cover Modification

Just wondering if lining the inside or outside of the dust cover with some damping material would improve the turntable sound?

Has anybody tried this before, and does it help?
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Old 13th March 2011, 09:41 AM   #2
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remove the dust cover when playing records...
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Old 13th March 2011, 09:52 AM   #3
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I've thought about that, but prefer keeping it on because of the "others" that I live with.
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Old 13th March 2011, 08:19 PM   #4
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I've thought about this a few times but haven't yet come up with a final, tested good, answer, although I have some ideas.

Definitely, you degrade sound by playing records with the dust cover in place (down, or on the TT, is worse than up, or the "open" position, but ideally you would have neither, I think). The real point of a dust cover is to protect the TT when not in use. You compound the problem when you need it in place during playback, something most people try to avoid.

I think a DIY dust cover solution is a superior answer to the dust covers that come with commercial tables.

A (not necessarily complete) summary of my thoughts on this, for your own experimentation or idea generation:

Just having a dust cover of conventional box construction is a problem in the first place. Ideally you would have none at all.

Some tables have a lift-off cover. Fundamentally there is nothing wrong with that approach sonically (assume it's placed somewhere appropriate and not on the TT while playing) but I have a nagging insecurity with regard to a lift-off device and my tonearm-cartridge investment. So, I tend to think about a solution where the dust cover is capable of supporting it's own weight and is constrained in movement so that if it does drop somewhat out of control, it does so without crashing directly onto my gear.

Having a large box-like structure hanging around ... ie in the conventional open position of a typical attached dust cover as you would find on a consumer-grade japanese DD turntable ... is probably not a great idea. I find it difficult to believe there is no degrading sonic impact, when we all know that room treatments work. With your idea of damping the cover, you are in effect creating a room treatment device. I would expect it would be sheer luck, and quite unlikely, if the room treatment worked best sitting on your playing turntable.

Also, I can tell you from experience that in the "good old days" where everyone had a TT you always had less feedback problems with no dust cover, followed by open while playing cover, and maximum feedback sensitively when covered by playing. Even if you don't buy the arguments regarding the need for component isolation and vibration control, everyone ha to admit that feedback is real and is both air and mechanically borne.

An improvement might be made by not having the dust cover directly attached to the turntable; say instead attached to the wall or whatever you use as a rack, shelf, or furniture.

Still, that may not be ideal; for example with a TT without floating suspension where the dust cover would still be effectively coupled to the TT via the shelf, etc.

An open mesh might be worth looking at, versus the plastic box we usually see. It could be covered with some reasonably acoustically transparent cloth for appearance sake, and thinking about it, it does seem to effectively obtain the desired result of protecting the TT from airborne contaminants or ham-fisted fingers, while at the same time not necessarily creating a reflective box structure to cause acoustic interference or effects.

For a DIY rack, a sliding cover might be worth looking at (say, upside-down "U" shaped, sliding to the left to another side of a 2-wide rack). This eliminates the possibility of anything falling anywhere. It too could be made of the mesh/cloth configuration if desired, or perhaps some nice material, eg wood, if your rack is "show". I would not choose solid material like wood if I needed it to be in place while playing, myself.

In your particular case, where the cover serves as a protective device even while playing some version of the mesh/cloth cover would be my first attempt at solving the audio and protective issues together.
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Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 13th March 2011 at 08:48 PM.
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