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Old 25th May 2004, 09:58 AM   #1
maxg is offline maxg  Greece
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Default Upgrading into insanity.....(long - sorry)

My first post on here - so bare with me - I want to give you some background..there are questions towards the end.

Well it all started about 3 years ago. I had embarked on SACD as the replacement for my aging CD player when I got to hear a reasonable vinyl setup and was hooked.

I then discovered quite how plentiful vinyl is in my area and the saga began.

I should state from the outset that I knew nothing about TT's and so began with as simple a setup as I could find - as it turned out one local supplier sold Project TT's and he did me a good deal. A project RPM 4 TT, Project 9 arm, Project K4 cartridge and a project phono box (no phono stage on my pre).

All well and good. the dealer came round - setup and installed the table atop my equipment stand and I started the process of building my record collection from the 8 disks I had kept from childhood.

A friend of mine bought at the same time - the identical unit. Within 6 months he had replaced his with something rather better (Accoustic Solid Machine, upgraded RB250 arm, Shelter 901 cartridge and the phono stage that fits into his Accuphase 407 amplifier).

I suppose I could have done something similar but I was very interested to attempt to find out what each of the component parts of the TT actually contirbutes to the sound.

I therefore elected to upgrade my way slowly through the options till I got to the point where replacing the table became the obvious choice. The problem is - it never did.

I started with cartridges and tried a variety - Blue Point Special (good for Rock - not for classical), Clearaudio Virtuoso 2 (the opposite) and finally relented and got the Shelter my friend had plumped for (good at everything - very very good - but pricey to my way of thinking).

During that process I auditioned a dozen phono stages, finally optiing for the Accoustic Signature Tango (seemed the least flavoured option of all those tested - to my ears of course).

Visiting "experts" advised that my arm was not good enough for the cartridge and I happened upon a fully upgraded Project 9 arm (the one with the better bearing - through wired with Clearaudio sixstream cabling and some very fancy, and rather expensive, connectorsm, a better counterweight and various other bits).

At this point I realized that the noise level coming from the motor was excessive. It could clearly be heard once the needle approached the centre of the record, getting louder with each consecutive track.

Turning the TT over I noticed how basic the motor mounting was - and how easy it would be to remove it completely from the unit. There was a sufficient gap between platter and plinth for the driving rubber band to pass through and connect to the sub-platter (therefore not changing the gearing at all).

Therefore I pickup up the rubber band for the project perspective (much longer than the standard band), ripped the motor and power supply out, and knocked up an external wooden box to house it in.

The wooden box was supposed to be purely temporary (it doesnt look all that good) but as with many temorary things - its still there and worked a charm. I managed with this simple expedient to eliminate all traces of motor noise even with the needle at the end of the very last track and the volume on full!

Thereafter I turned to the feet and picked up some hidden cones type devices to replace the standard rubber affairs.

What I did not realize was that this was actually quite a fundamental change. I was going from a suspended design to a non-suspended, and therefore ideally, higher mass design.

As luck would have it another friend has a TT with 2 platters (one glass and one acryllic) and I have tried them both (separately and actually together - they are thinner than my standard platter.

The improvement from the extra mass is dramatic. I cant keep both his platters obviously but he doesnt use the glass one so I have that in place at the moment.

Now I am planning to replace this platter with something the right depth (2.7 cm - or about 1 inch - arm height is variable 2.7 is the maximum I can support currently) and of considerable mass.

As long as I manually start off the platter the additional mass should not have an undue effect on the motor so I am looking at a number of options:

1. Get a glass platter made of 2.7 cm thickness.
2. Get a marble platter made of 2.7 cm thickness.
3. Find a suitable ready made platter.

Any thoughts on my options?

For reference some pics:

MY TT with the motor housing prior to replacing the platter:

[IMG]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0VQAAAPIZAl6fa6BhZPRJ4S49SLI5q2LRWNFwrQaTFI3yGNWfU OIsrNvR2kgglOvSlVp975MtYRdMd*4bM1vC01nnw5spcCS6waW t8yNkLwNzEQgy3CvXCGohqEzxDmR7/new%20tt%20from%20top.jpg?dc=4675447798303547509[/IMG]

And with the glass platter in place (dont ask about the rubber support - you do not want to know - except that it works fine)

[IMG]http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0SQDfAvYWBmjxk4kPefSSMH9CGO4VPKebgwt6Jsdy24Z2Mcq03 Bz2arCx8gddaB3cpP4RfQ5tbkMAcc1cKDbumc*EBVMX0yhHTRJ U5hGjDO6MoyJioNR8qw/isolation.jpg?dc=4675473544143696647[/IMG]
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Old 25th May 2004, 12:48 PM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
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Make sure that the added platter mass can be accommodated by the bearing.

Also, there's a school of thought that feels the platter ought to have a similar acoustic impedance as the record- so platters made of filled plastics, like vinyl or polycarbonate, are popular. You can get the mass by inlaying the platter with lead. Depleted uranium ought to work, but can have an unpleasant side effect.

Congrats on the upgrades.
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Old 25th May 2004, 12:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
Depleted uranium ought to work, but can have an unpleasant side effect.
SY, this is an audiophile forum. That one ought to come with
a sign, or somebody will try it. Somebody will anyway,
of course, now that you have suggested it.
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Old 25th May 2004, 01:06 PM   #4
maxg is offline maxg  Greece
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Default Thanks for the responses...

I wonder why the pictures didnt work? I think you can cut and paste the URL into another browser window and it might work...the trials of being a newbie...

I dont think depleted uranium would pass the WAF test. she gets nervous when I use the RAT Shack sound meter, the RAT Shack Guiger counter would set her off completely.

As I plan to use a felt mat between the record and the platter (or even that non-felt mat thing I have seen advertized) I am not too bothered at this stage by the material for the platter itself (of course I may disagree with myself later on this - it has been known). right now I just want mass which I think glass or marble would provide most easily.

Thanks again.
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Old 25th May 2004, 03:08 PM   #5
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Hi Maxg,

Same here, also new on this forum, and just finished ripping the motor out of my RPM 4 too! And I'm also investigating each upgrade step by step. Not as far as you though, apart from the motor my TT is still in it's original state. Took a look at those funny rubber feet the other day.. Thinking. I'll try spikes someday.
I use a piece of audiotape to drive the platter, but I got the impression this is too slippery, when listening to some laidback music all is well, but when suddenly a more dynamic or complicated part comes up, the music seems to slow down a little, as if the resistance the needle is getting is too much. Not really convinced though.

Oh, one more upgrade i did, I use a sheet of bitumen as a mat. Unfortunately this was too thick for the record clamp: it wore out and now it doesn't clamp anymore But it sounds fine to me..

More upgrades I have in mind is using another motor, an DC one, battery powered seems very nice..

Once you have more results of your experiments, let us know! At least one person is very interested here!
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Old 25th May 2004, 04:55 PM   #6
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Made curious by your post I just removed the platter and put 15 LP's in it's place. The first album is playing now, I like what I hear, it seems to do good to voices, hmm let's hear the acoustic guitar, jeez, is this what they describe as "not just the strings, but the wood of the guitar"??
This seems quite a nice upgrade. Hmmm

Maybe I'll glue the records together, first get rid of the warped ones. Now: more music!!
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Old 26th May 2004, 08:21 AM   #7
maxg is offline maxg  Greece
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Default Another RPM 4 owner.....

Excellent - there is a long road to go down.

Couple of things I did not mention:

1. The motor - this is fairly sensitive to AC variations (which are a pain here in Greece). I picked up a constant PSU for about 50 euros which keeps the voltage and the frequency constant. Its a must have with a motor of this quality - now at least I know the 33.3 rpm is constant. The only downside is that when the current does drop you hear a thump as the capacitors inside unload - it doesnt happen often - but it can be a bit of a shock during quiet passages.

2. The base. Mounting the TT on as stable and rigid a bass as possible is important (even for me with solid floors). I grabbed a sheet of marble that happened to be the right size and it works very nicely.

I dont think using audiotape is a good idea for the drive - especially if you are going to play with the platter and insert a heavier one. The rubber bands from project are not expensive - I got the one for the Perspective for 15 euros (ok - that is a lot for a rubber band - not expensive in absolute terms).

The idea of using a bunch of records as the platter itself is quite a good one (although I would be pushed to find enough I would want to destroy). I wonder what the weight of 2.6 cm of records would be. I might have a play with this - but I think I would want to coat them with something to keep them all together. I wonder if you could use some of that plastic heat seal stuff that they wrap cables in sometimes....does that have a lower melting point than vinyl itself?

It would certainly be a good idea to glue them together of course...
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Old 26th May 2004, 01:26 PM   #8
Gregm is offline Gregm  Europe
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
Make sure that the added platter mass can be accommodated by the bearing.
That's very important -- also make sure you use high performance lubricant.

Quote:
the additional mass should not have an undue effect on the motor so I am looking at a number of options
As a side note, why not ask the dealer to LEND you a clearaudio platter -- just to try it out. Get a mid-sized one. While you're at it, why not also try a Simon Yorke platter, and check for sonic results.

{At the end of the day, you're probably better off taking the TT there -- use one of their giga$ hi-end phono stages, too, while you're at it }

The point is to try out two precision engineered platters: a medium mass perspex (clearaudio) & rate it against the higher mass (Yorke) in one go.
Cheers
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Old 26th May 2004, 02:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Christer


SY, this is an audiophile forum. That one ought to come with
a sign, or somebody will try it. Somebody will anyway,
of course, now that you have suggested it.

That depleted U will give you more brilliant sound, and a wider radiation pattern.....

Jan Didden
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Old 26th May 2004, 02:17 PM   #10
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Hi,

Quote:
That depleted U will give you more brilliant sound, and a wider radiation pattern.....
Great idea for playing the Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash...

Add a phonostage based around gammatrons and if you're lucky you'll even be glowing in the dark.

On the downside...GF may not be too pleased with it in the long run...

Quote:
The first album is playing now, I like what I hear, it seems to do good to voices, hmm let's hear the acoustic guitar, jeez, is this what they describe as "not just the strings, but the wood of the guitar"??
Reinventing the autochanger, are we?

Seriously, look at that pile of LPs on top of each other and you'll notice not a single one is actually in proper contact with the other due to the labels touching.
If you want to recycle old vinyl, remove the labels with hot water and scrub them away.
If you want to get rid of the grooves too, take alot of aceton and gently rub them of in a well ventilated room.

Try a single grooveless record as a mat first, it should improve the sound already without having to go through a stack of albums.
If you like the result, an acrylic platter will be even better sounding.

Also use a well designed record puck to clamp the record to the platter.

Cheers,
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