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Old 29th October 2005, 10:01 PM   #1
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Question Noisily front end

Well after years of being a way from audio, I have returned with renewed passion. My equipment has a room to itself, well sort of. Rather than go into that here is the issue. I am presently using a Thorens TD124 with an SME 3009 model2 tonearm. The cartridge is a new Denon 103. The problem is that it sounds “noisily” like there is some lint on the stylus. It never really sounds that clear. Before the Denon there was High output Talisman Alchemist with about 4 years of hard service before being put always for 16 years. I really don’t think the rest of the system is at issue. My phono / preamp is a LOESCH & WIESNER TUBE PREAMP using Arthur Loesch phono section design. My amp is Angela 91 clone modified with a WE310 and Jane transformers. All upstream of my Goodman speakers. Don’t know which drivers are in them but it works for me. How do you know it’s my front end? Well some times I use a little 2nd generation Phillips CD player. Yeah I know all things vintage aren’t good. But I can hear much more clarity than on my turntable.

Up to now I have used a cartridge alignment tool and software that I purchase off eBay. The guy is pretty attentive and I guess it worked. Still have issue. Really need help with this. The wife would like to take back the room and I have 1200 LP in my collection plus assorted equipment. Why would any one want a room for guests when you could have music?
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Old 30th October 2005, 06:25 AM   #2
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First of all: You haven't forgot how much a vinyl record has?

With connected cartridge, is the noise substantially lower than from a vinyl? If yes, you haven't got any noise problem in the amp.
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Old 5th November 2005, 04:37 PM   #3
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I guess I wasn’t clear enough on my description of the sound. I am curious to your reply however. Thank you very much for making it was the only one so far. The image and soundstage seem to be coming thru a “cloud”, “like there is some lint on the stylus”. That was the first thing I checked on. The Denon is still new, so some of my concern is whether that is what 103’s sound like during “break in”? I am sure that the problem is either with the cartridge or the tonearm setup. If any one can describe the sound of a 103 during break-in or recommend a process for aligning a tonearm I would appreciate it.

Hey Per-Anders, you have a lot of good information on your page. You are however, missing turntable information! There are a number of phono units but nothing about the turntable you are using them with. My question to you is “do you remember how quiet vinyl can sound!” LOL. I would love to know what you are running. Please keep the replies coming.
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Old 5th November 2005, 05:03 PM   #4
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My TT is an old JVC JL-A40, nothing fancy together with Ortofon FF15, their cheapest cartridge.

If your amp noise is much lower than what you'll get from the vinyl, I'll guess you haven't got any noise problem. Sorry but the thing you are refering is beyong my comprehension. Can't help you here.

... and yes, I do still remember how good a good vinyl can sound.
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Old 5th November 2005, 08:37 PM   #5
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Default Cartridge/tonearm matching

I know next to nothing about those old 3009 arms. Is this one one of the low mass designs? If so, it will never match up with a 103.
Seems that the series II was a low mass. It will work better with a higher compliance cartridge.
And as Per mentions, check noise floor. Listen to a record at a much loder than normal level. Then with the turntable spinning and the arm on the rest crank the volume pots another 1/4 turn. If you can hear anything at the listening position you have a phono noise problem.
This is a bigger issue than most admit. My own was being changed to test a new diy phono stage. Hooked up the two grounds for the arm and table up wrong. Listened to a cou-ple of records and things were hazy, and low level detail smeared. Checked the hum and found there was more hum than normal. Played with the grounds and the hum level dropped dramtically.
Upon relistening to the same records there was a dramatic change. Things snapped into focus, and the low level information was spotlighted. The overall tone at low levels of playback was improved. This just from a low level hum.
My first test of a phono stage nowdays is to listen at a normal level. Crank up the volume another five notches and then place my ear next to the speaker drivers. If I can hear noise from the phonostage it has to go. Dead silent.
If the phonostage is noisy you might as well play CD's.

George
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Old 5th November 2005, 09:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cartridge/tonearm matching

Quote:
Originally posted by Panelhead
Upon relistening to the same records there was a dramatic change. Things snapped into focus, and the low level information was spotlighted. The overall tone at low levels of playback was improved. This just from a low level hum.
A possible explanation is also that this grounding picked up other things than pure hum, maybe some >20kHz garbage which somehow interfered

I'll gather also that the combination arm/cartridge also is important, especially when the needle is too "hard" plus a lightweight arm and vice versa.
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Old 14th November 2005, 02:03 AM   #7
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Well that “tears it”! There is a lot of noise coming from my equipment. From the amps, back to the table I have to check for noise. So I just changed the back-end of my system to check. Now I have a Health UA1 replacing the 300b and have the QUAD ESL57 back into service. The stands seem a little too high but I can put the original legs back on. Back to the cartridge it just sounds the same. I have a copy of the Beatles “Help!” album and the guitars are off. That same fuzz and the voices don’t “image” well. While I was the tried the volume thing you recommended and when I turned it up I did get a “wind tunnel” sound. I didn’t think about this before but the Denon 103 is a Low Output MC and Arthur Loesch’s design was for MM. I have a pair of Altec microphone transformer I heard would be good for the Phono section. Do you think it is time I connected them? Or should I try to find a stylus for that old Stanton 681EEE i have? Now I have heard that SME 3009 series2 (which I have) go well with the 103 and the Stanton. Has anyone had any bad “reactions” to these combinations?
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Old 24th November 2005, 03:46 PM   #8
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Well the Stanton has been in the system awhile. I really would like to enjoy my vinyl but issue still stands. It seems that there is some issue with the Denon. By now it should have been broken-in. Anyway while testing out the new cartridge, I used the test posted earlier. Turned up the volume, what did I get but distortion! Sounds like having the car window “cracked open” at 60 mph on a windy road. Funny thing though I had this same sound with by old Audible Illusions 2C. Could this be something environmental like a grounding issue? During the Holiday weekend I am going to swap out the Loesch for the 2C for testing purposes. Really starting to wonder was only in my mind that vinyl could sound as good as I remember?

All ideas or suggestion would be helpful, "short of getting a cd player"! LOL. Not ready to give up yet!.
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Old 26th November 2005, 01:30 PM   #9
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The info given by Panelhead in his answer is absolutely correct - the SME 3009 is a low mass tonearm, which is much better suited to high compliance moving magnet cartridges than the Denon DL-103. The 103, and many moving coil cartridges, are much better suited to medium to high mass tonearms. The ideal cartridge/arm resonance should be 10 Hz, but 8 to 12 Hz would be OK. You can check it using a test record like the Hi-Fi News and Record Review one to find the resonance. Keep the 103 for a higher mass tonearm, change the tonearm, or get a higher compliance cartridge are your options, assuming that the 103 is OK, and hasn't been damaged in some way. The Denon 103 should be able to be easily sold on Ebay if you get another cartridge. A Shure, Stanton or Grado cartridge would be a better match for your tonearm. And I'm not biased against Denon MC cartridges, as I own two, and they sound wonderful matched correctly to a tonearm. Whether your combination would cause the sound you describe is hard to say, but your arm and cartridge are definitely not matched well.

The other possible culprit is your phono stage, if sound from your CD player is OK. To eliminate that, you'd need to try another amp - see if you can borrow a friend's amp to try it.
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Old 11th December 2005, 04:44 AM   #10
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One very old trick after you've eliminated the problem from the rest of the supply train; stop your platter & rest the stylus in a groove (actually you can stand the stylus straight on the bare platter if you're careful). Slowly turn up the gain on your (pre)amp.

1) If it suddenly sounds like someone's moving furniture in the next room - assuming they're not - you've got accoustic feedback. Revise your deck support/location.

2) If there is a distinct mains type (in your case 60HZ+?) hum, you've got earthing problems - there is a set proceedure to correct this.

3) If you find that your system is producing generalised noise out of consistency with other inputs, check your phono section. (borrow someone elses phono stage & route it through your aux).

Let me know how you get on; if none of the above check out, you've probably got a compliancy mismatch (mentioned previously).

Cheers, Jezz.
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