USB Turntables - anyone tried them?

As a general rule, turntables have not really improved since the 1960s but tonearms have improved a lot in the last 20 years. Since this is a DIY forum, my best advice would be to buy a used quality massive turntable from yesteryear and install a modern tonearm on it. A new turntable will have to cost over $2000 to perform better than a rearmed great turntable from the past.
An interesting quote from the Linn website:
“Stop throwing your vinyl records away; you haven’t heard what’s on them yet!”
- Linn’s founder, Ivor Tiefenbrun MBE (c. 1989)

Regarding the idea expressed in the above quote, a modern game changer cart is as described in the attached.

Someone who already has a Linn LP12 might be very happy, and the cost is more or less keeping within Linn territory:
https://www.gcaudio.com/products/ds...zer,-Home > Products > Analog&text=$14,995.00
 

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The optical cartridges are interesting, but you don't have to spend so much..

https://www.gcaudio.com/products/ds-audio-ds-e1-optical-phono-cartridge-system/

At this price point it's very competitive with cartridges...

It almost wants me to buy another used LP12 to try this cartridge. You can find used LP12s with a Lingo and Ittok for less than 4000 "asking"...

The thing about the LP12 is that it is a real system... and fully upgradable... so it becomes a mix and match. Unlike other tables where it's "all in".
 
Had an E1. Now using W3, which is definitely a step up. Custom NGF "Engergiser" here sounds better than the corresponding commercial one, so some savings there. To also save a little money elsewhere, the TT is a used. A Technics SP-10 Mk3 the previous owner had rebuilt in Japan. Not bad though.

That said, the E1 is still good enough to get some people to give up on MC and MM.
 
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How does it sound?

Did you build your own "energizer"? How does it work? Do you still use an analog phono preamp then?

I realize that our tables are different.... Honestly, have your thought about moving to a Linn with the Karousel? That's a HUGE improvement in the noise floor!

BTW, the Linn has a built in digital phono preamp option! But it will cost you a bunch! I mean, who buys such? If I'm spending $30K on the table, why would I want something that I can drive my speakers directly? Would I not spend the money on a proper preamp?
 
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How does it sound?
We had a visitor recently who is also a friend of NP, has visited Sea Ranch, etc. IIUC, NP has two DS Audio optical systems. Our visitor described the vinyl system here as "superb." Of course the speakers are large panel ESL, and the rest of the system is good too.

Friends I know who have tried optical don't bother with MC or MM anymore. Its clear and detailed like really good CD, but doesn't sound digital at all. I would say its best of both worlds.

Regarding Energisers, DS has an app note out about how to design one, but if trying that I would suggest to avoid opamps and GNF if you know how to design well without those things.
 
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Interesting.

Did you have to rewire the tonearm?

How touchy is it to vibration? Warps?

I noticed the commercial equalizer outputs 500 mV which is on the lowish side... meaning it will need some gain .

Does your equalizer replace the phono preamp as well?

Sounds like "really good CD"... doesn't bode too well. :~|

My current set up has Maggie 1.7 with A2s so it also sounds quite good.

It sounds like I would need a dedicated second table before I make the move. I really like my current set up- using a Pearl 2.

NP has more money than I do ( I think ). Besides, he likely uses it for business and gets to write it off his taxes, I can't. So, I got to be somewhat careful with my spending.
 
Did you have to rewire the tonearm?
No. Please see attached.
How touchy is it to vibration? Warps?
Not especially.
I noticed the commercial equalizer outputs 500 mV which is on the lowish side... meaning it will need some gain .
We use a line amp with volume control to drive the power amps.
Does your equalizer replace the phono preamp as well?
Yes.
Sounds like "really good CD"... doesn't bode too well. :~|
Don't worry. You haven't heard a CD played here. People can't believe its only a CD. Despite how well we can do, optical vinyl still sounds better.
It sounds like I would need a dedicated second table before I make the move.
Up to you. It uses standard tone arm wiring. Using a Korf ceramic headshell here. Arm is an Audio Creative Groove Master II (with some upgrades). Very good, and bargain priced for what it is. Titanium arm tube, stainless steel counterweight, etc. There are still some better though. There is also a custom machined stainless steel record mat from Japan. It is dished in by 1-degree, and tapers off at the outside edges so that the outside record lip is not being rested on. Custom machined stainless steel record weight. it all works well together overall. There are reasons our visitor described it as superb, he has the ears and the experience to know. He's not the only expert to opine either, trust me (PM if you like.)
NP has more money than I do ( I think ).
Understood. Me too. Thus have to save costs where I can.

One other thing: Looks like you are in Southern CA. if so, we are in Auburn, CA. Just a bit North. You would be welcome to stop by for a visit and listen for yourself. Maybe that would help you be sure about what you would be getting into, so to speak :)
 

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Interesting...

(1) Maybe I'll wait until ZM designs one with a couple of transformers. :)

(2) OP amps.... how about using stuff like the ones from Burson? I got the v6 Classics in my DAC and they sound pretty good.

(3) Auburn... hmmm.... let me guess.... what company is based there? That's indeed a nice part of the State, but it's a bit far for a day drive. My wife would insist going to Reno afterwards.

(4) That's a very nice app note. Thanks.

(5) My TT is Linn all the way. Just the plain bunch of parts: LP12, Karousel, Lingo, Trampolin, Ittok... Sitting on a Target 5TT rack. I might upgrade the cables in the tonearm one of these days. I'd like an Ekos but the used ones go for $2K.... and I can get a used TT for $3K with the Ekos and Lingo... so....

I dunno. Going optical will be a huge step as it would change not only the cartridge but the preamp, and I'm pretty fond of both of them. It would take at least $7K to set up a 2nd used Linn with the entry level optical cartridge... maybe save a little if I went to DIY for the equalizer. And we're looking at a lot of money, specially as I want to retire one of these days.

https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649968022-linn-sondek-lp12-turntable-with-ekos-lingo-and-arkiv/

OTOH, imagine having two LP12s... dueling Lingos.

Auburn... nice place indeed. We had dinner there once. Placer County is relaxed.
 
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I do not run through my entire record collection with a $34 USB 'turtable' such as the Ezcap 613.

What I plan to do is to test the quality of the conversion of vinyl to digital, using the most inexpensive equipment available. (By the way, the above model was the only one that shipped here, and I was in a hurry). If the quality is comparable to my existing conversions, then I may just proceed to purchase a turntable that will not damage my records, or repair an existing one. It can only get better.

As for what is available, this is what is available here and in Sri Lanka. If all goes well, I could possibly 'invest' in the required $200 or so for a good one.

$ 150

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$ 600

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Is the JVC AL-A1BK worth repairing? I might get one with a missing belt.


And in Sri Lanka. Why did I never see this before? Hopefully they can repair these things, I got an amplifer serviced once, decent job, at another place.

Starting at $150 upwards:

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http://www.lankabuysell.com/Vintage+turntables-1179903.html

These are probably $300 or more

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https://audiosystems-lk.business.site/

Also here. Presumably they can repair and refurbish them.

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https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/101672843205062/turntables-record-players/
 
One tip for a decent transfer is to ensure the audio replay level in the room is very low or use headphones. This will give the cleanest sound as it will eliminate any vibrational effects. This is doubly important with a budget turnable and if a non dedicated support is used.
 
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I went ahead an bought one, and it has arrived. I have also ordered a record to test.

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I do not run through my entire record collection with a $34 USB 'turtable' such as the Ezcap 613.

What I plan to do is to test the quality of the conversion of vinyl to digital, using the most inexpensive equipment available. (By the way, the above model was the only one that shipped here, and I was in a hurry). If the quality is comparable to my existing conversions, then I may just proceed to purchase a turntable that will not damage my records, or repair an existing one. It can only get better.

I will not play the entire record either, but run through the one track I do not like, and check if there is any change in audio quality. I have some damaged records at home that I will get down and try to convert those. Those records are not in good shape and cannot be transferred properly although it has been tried.

I want to answer the following questions:

1. Will the player damage my records, and how bad will it be after 100 plays?

2. What is the tracking force used?

3. What is the sound quality of the mp3 conversion, and can equalizer settings help?

4. What is the sound quality if an transfer through RCA cable is performed?

These questions can only be answered by testing. If all goes well, I will be looking for a decent turntable that will not damage my records. I need to know before I get my records down and start purchasing online and on location. Vinyl seems to sound better, from my informal tests and listening to converted CDs that I have. Standard CDs sound a little distorted in the high end, but this needs further testing.
 
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Testing

I still do not have my record, so I started testing what I could. Powered on with the USB cable and an USB charger, the platter turned smoothly it seemed, with a classy green LED indicating the power state of the unit. I searched for and downloaded the best wow and flutter app I could find. Would my phone be too heavy to place on the platter? The phone weighs 189 grammes, which is about the weight of an LP. These things are heavy.

I had to wait until the analysis finished, with the app, and it gave me some readings, which are not too bad. The question is, how much wow and flutter is detectable by the human ear?

If you’ve ever heard a recorded tape become distorted, you’ve witnessed wow and flutter. To an extent, all turntable decks have wow and flutter—even if they’re new. Wow and flutter can be slight, too, and a lot of listeners can’t “pick up” on wow or flutter ranges up to .25 percent. Under this percentage, the sound distortion simply can’t be picked up by most.


On the other end of the spectrum, high wow and flutter amounts will be displeasing to the ear. High levels of distortion are avoided, and a lot of turntable enthusiasts rightfully shun decks which product a lot of wow and flutter. A lot of today’s average turntables pack a wow and flutter range between .10 and 20 percent. Yes, this means today’s regular turntables have an incredibly low amount of distortion when they’re first purchased.


...Again, you’ve probably selected a good turntable if it has a wow and flutter under the .25 percent range...



So how does the EZCap 613 measure? When new? Here are the results: between 0.54 and 0.29. Maybe the phone was off center. An actual record may have some effect on this, I fear.

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