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Old 26th December 2004, 07:31 PM   #1
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Default Opinions Please, Turntable Mods

I have a humble Pro-ject Debut (in red) with a Ortofon 510 cartridge. I use it through a DIY phono amp that uses the Circuit from the ESP (Rod Elliot) website with a few modifications of my own. These are mainly filtering of the powersupply to the amp and TT.

I use a glass Platter with a felt matt that does not weigh as much as the standard metal platter, but it doesn't chime like a gong, like the metal platter.

The most impressive mod I done was to cut open the outer sleave of some Shark audio cable from Maplins and "clip it around the tone arm. This really worked well. The TT had a problem with sibilance and this cured it as well as many other improvements. I also made a metal plate that shields the motor from the cartridge. This really does reduce the pick up of the motor EMF by the cartridge to almost nothing.

I've also tweaked the tonearm bearings a little by adjusting the bearing pressure to get it as tight as possible without it starting to bind the bearings.

I'm quite happy with the TT and the sound but I've been thinking about further mods but I don't know what will give the best results. So I thought I would guys.

My currents thoughts are;

New Tonearm, possible a pro-ject carbon fibre one or a Rega RB250 / 300.

Changing the motor our buying the pro-ject speedbox or speedbox SE.

More mass on the platter

or something else I havent thought of yet.

Can people advise what mod they think gives the most improvement as I would hate to buy a new tonearm just to find out it doesn't sound much different from my modified old one.

Cheers
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Old 27th December 2004, 03:22 AM   #2
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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I can't for my life understand why anyone would want to buy a Rega RB-300. The silly plastic stuff has to go on the 250. But there's no end to upgrade possibilities. Get the works from Origin Live and you have an arm that embarrasses the RB-1000. You know about all that already.

But for my money it would be an arm without anti-skating mechanism. What you gain in tracking you lose in everything else. You get firmer sound from a first version SME 3009 than you get from the overpriced and overrated SME V. Anti-tracking is only good if you like muddled sound and hate details. You live in denial if you think you can add stuff without consequences, good or bad. To my knowledge, there's no arm made today without anti-skating mechanism. But if there is, that is the arm I would buy. (If anybody here knows of such an arm, please let me know. Thanks.)
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Old 29th December 2004, 05:13 PM   #3
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Have you seen the pro-ject arms. The anti skate mechanism is just a bit of nylon fishing line attached to a weight that pulls the arm out. This can be easily disabled by just removing the weight.

However, I have just done a mod which involved sticking a piece of sink plug chain to the bottom of the weight. This way as the weight gets pulled up it has to take up more chain with it so the anti skating weight is increased slightly as the tonearm moves in.

Because there is no springs involved there is no increased problems with resonance.
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Old 29th December 2004, 06:30 PM   #4
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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Modern quality arms have good anti-skating mechanisms. No doubt about that. My problem with it is that it causes new problems while making so little difference to begin with. And you have to go thru all the hassle of setting it up. I just can't reason the mechanism. Had I ever had any problems with tracking then I might have preferred it. I only know about tracking problems and distortions on the inner tracks on LPs because I have read about them. Never experienced any myself. But then, I don't have "golden ears." I don't hear the sampling rate of CDs, like some (probably very few) people do. I mention CDs because oversampling is my other pet peeve. Am I right about these things? For my needs and what I want out of my sound system, yes.
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Old 29th December 2004, 10:03 PM   #5
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I have to agree with some of what you said. I got into the DIY to learn more about electronics and to make things for my system at the same time. Alot of issues around upgrades of equipment seem to be about tackling engineering problems that once fixed make the system sound better. Iv'e tried all sorts of things to tweak my hifi and only some of then have had effect thats been noticable. The anti skating mod while solving an engineering problem has had no effect of the sound as far as I can tell.

Anti skating is just another engineering problem that supposedly made our hifi sound bad. A whole load of different ways of combating skating have been designed and I have herd of very few that people dont complain about becuase thay cuase other compromises that then have to be fixed. Then the fixes cause more compromised elsewhere and these have to be fixed, and so on.

Anti skating is probably an issue if you listen with your head clamped in one place so you get perfect stero image all the time. I like to put the hifi on and walk into the kitchen and make a cup of tea then lay on te sofa and read a book.
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Old 8th January 2005, 10:52 PM   #6
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I've just been in the fortunate position to buy a new analogue front end. As the situation dictated I purchased the turntable first then I upgraded the arm, then the cartridge. What came as a surprise to me was the difference the turntabel made. I auditioned a few decks and plumped for a deck with an aluminium platter that weighs about 20Kgs, it's 60mm thick and spins on a ceramic bearing. This was the most significant improvement that made the rega 300 and AToc5 sound quite excellent. I then changed the rega for an OL Silver which while very worthwhile did not give the same improvement as the T/T. Again a surprise is how just good this sounds in comparison to a Thorens TD160S and the Michell Mycro both of which had this cartridge. In absolute terms this front end is better than any I've experienced.

So my advice is by all means tweak away, that's after all what this forum is about, but don't spend too much on the arm until you've had an opportunity to hear what a different T/T can do. Maybe try and build a more massive platter for your Project.

Kev
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Old 8th January 2005, 11:27 PM   #7
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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Indeed. The Thorens 150 and 160 are great turntables. But they don't have the bottom end of the technically similar, but larger 125/126/127/32X/2001/3001. The latter just have a more powerful presentation. I guess you can say that a cartridge and arm can only read what's there. In turn, that's the reason I don't like the anti-skating mechanism. I want an arm to do one thing only, bring out the most of my Garrard 301. I don't need the other stuff, whatever that stuff is.
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Old 8th January 2005, 11:37 PM   #8
qwad is offline qwad  Australia
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pardon me a simpler solution is to chuck out the glass platter and replace it with an acrylic one which is much more inert and does not ring and because it is lighter lowers the load on the bearing, the arm is a whole different matter altogether which someone suggested in another post [ the rb 250] a whole lot better arm [according to a feature article in hi- fi world feb 1999] and tweak it with an origin live upgrade kit cheers TC
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Old 13th January 2005, 02:51 PM   #9
GeirW is offline GeirW  Norway
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Gday.

Quote:
Originally posted by qwad
pardon me a simpler solution is to chuck out the glass platter and replace it with an acrylic one which is much more inert and does not ring and because it is lighter lowers the load on the bearing
A n00bish respond: With a belt drive, replacement with a lighter platter, wouldn`t that mean a slight alteration in the RPM, no.
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Old 14th January 2005, 06:41 PM   #10
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As long as the motor has enough torque and the loading of the platter remains pretty much constant the speed SHOULD not change. Inertia should also make the platter easier to stay at its intended speed once it gets moving.
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