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Old 13th February 2012, 12:40 AM   #1
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Default Old JCPenney stereo and newer turntables

Hello. I apologize in advance for what will surely seem like dumb questions, but I can't find answers elsewhere on the Internet, so I am hoping someone can help.

We have the speakers and receiver from an old, cheap stereo--JCPenney brand, believe it or not, model 1931. My guess is it dates to the early 1980s. We've been using it mostly to listen to the radio, but we are also able to connect our iPods to it using the phono inputs.

There was originally a turntable part of this system, but we don't have it. We're trying to connect a turntable to it now.

A relative gave me his Technics SL BD27u turntable, originally part of a stereo system as well. When we connect the Technics to the JCP unit, the volume is VERY low. We were confused, and didn't expect to encounter problems connecting it to a phono input. We thought maybe there was a problem with the Technics, since it had been shipped across the country.

So today I bought an Audio Technica AT-LP60 USB. I realize it's not the greatest turntable, but I just want to listen to my records; nothing fancy. The AT turntable comes with a built-in switchable stereo phono/line level preamp. Since the JCP unit has a phono input, I set the AT to "phono" accordingly. BUT the volume is still very low! I need to crank it up all the way just to achieve a "medium" volume. According to the AT turntable owner's manual, this problem may be due to "the input gain of the amplified speaker or similar device may be too low." But they don't elaborate or explain how to fix the problem.

I've been Googling to try to figure out what is going on. My only guess, based on what I've read, is that maybe the JCPenney system had a ceramic cartridge on its turntable, which is why it is causing low volume when connected to the magnetic Audio Technica. But this is just a guess, as I have no idea if the JCP unit did in fact have a ceramic cartridge.

My questions are: Does the ceramic cartridge theory make any sense? If so, is there any way to figure out if the JCP unit had a ceramic cartridge? Would the specifications written on the back of the receiver provide any hint? And, should I just use the Audio Technica with the switch set to "line" if this improves the volume, or would this be too damaging to the JCP unit? Finally, should I keep the Audio TEchnica turntable and get a new stereo, or should I return the turntable and keep trying with the JC Penney stereo? (i.e. am I better off trying to use the Technics turntable?)

Thank you so much for your help.
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Old 13th February 2012, 01:25 AM   #2
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Location: Skokie Il
Quote:
My only guess, based on what I've read, is that maybe the JCPenney system had a ceramic cartridge on its turntable, which is why it is causing low volume when connected to the magnetic Audio Technica.
You're most likely correct.

Quote:
And, should I just use the Audio Technica with the switch set to "line" if this improves the volume
Yes, because that's exactly what it's for.
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