VPI Scout to Marantz 2245! Cartridge Suggestions?

 

New member
Username: Jungluthr

Potomac, MD USA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Feb-08
Hi There,
I have a beautiful 2245 that I am currently using as an amplifier for my Dual 1219 and 701 both of which have Shure V15 Type III cart's w/VN-35E Super Track styli. The back end is a pair of B&W 685 stand mounted speakers. This set up has made me very happy to say the least. The small speakers are a result of my tiny listening room. Unfortunately, my JBL-L100s overpowered my room with low end resonance.

I love my Marantz 2245 but I have become increasingly dissatisfied with my Dual TTs so I am about to buy a VPI Scout.

My question to the Marantz lovers and/or VPI Scout lovers out there is: Does anyone know what type of cartridge I should be looking for to match with my 2245 phono stage?
I don't know anything about the 2245 phono stage (except that it sounds great to my ears driven by my MM Shure V15s). Since I have been using my 2245 phono stage only with Shure MM carts so far, I am not sure if the MC carts that I am looking into for my new VPI Scout will be a good match.

Is the 2245 phono pre equally at home with MM and MC carts? Can someone please help me?

This also might help: I listen primarily to 60s- early 70s rock. Stones, Hendrix, Dylan, Neil Young, Velvets, 13th Floor Elevators etc. etc. but I also listen to plenty of Billie Holiday, Coltrane, Tomita, Terry Riley, Steely Dan, Skip James, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Cash, Ravi Shankar, Debussy etc. etc.. So, a cartridge that will mainly shine on 60s electric guitar driven rock but will also sound right with just about any good old music it spins.
This might be a tall order. But you know how it goes.
Thanks,
Cory
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12279
Registered: May-04
.

You should stay with a moving magnet cartridge with your vintage Marantz receievr. It is not equipped to input most moving coils unless you choose a high output type. If you like the sound of the Shure, take a cartridge off the old table and install it on the VPI.


Why are you dissatisfied with the Duals?


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New member
Username: Jungluthr

Potomac, MD USA

Post Number: 2
Registered: Feb-08
I am actually very much in love with my Dual TTs and I am planning on keeping at least one of them (probably the 701) in my system at all times. The pitch adjust feature on the Dual is vital for playing some of my old slow-speed bootlegs.

I am eventually going to have two complete systyems. One vintage, with the Marantz and Dual combo and the other, new stuff with Bottlehead tube gear, the VPI Scout and a cd player. For now though, the Scout will be driving my Marantz phono stage.

The main problems I have with my Duals are vibration damping, speed accuracy, and VTA (especially on my 1219 because of the multi/single play setup) and azimuth adjstment. I have also had problems maintaining proper tonearm balance. By the way, both of my Duals are in excellent shape and have been fully serviced and tuned by Bill Neumann of FixMyDual.com. He is the best Dual technician in the country, in my experience. So, I think they are about as good as they are going to get.

I am looking to the VPI Scout to provide much more solid, consistent and accurate LP playback. The Scout is a rock compared to the Dual which is a bit rickety.

Don't get me wrong, I have had a love affair with Dual TTs since 1997 when I bought my first, a 721. I am simply looking to upgrade now. After a bit of research last night, I am considering a Grado Sonata cartridge, and a few others. The mV output of the Grado is similar to my Shure and the Grado will eventually be a good match for the Bottlehead Seduction phono pre. I am not sure though, without hearing it, if it is a good match for my musical tastes or if it will be as good or better than my Shure V15 T-III.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12283
Registered: May-04
.

"The main problems I have with my Duals are vibration damping, speed accuracy, and VTA (especially on my 1219 because of the multi/single play setup) and azimuth adjstment. I have also had problems maintaining proper tonearm balance."




I don't understand how you can have problems maintaining tonearm balance unless you constantly move the counterweight or tacking force adjustment. There is no need to do that. The Duals are for the most part set and forget tables.


VTA? Are you trying to maintain the same VTA through a stack of records using the 1219 as a changer? That's impossible. Once again, unless you constantly make changes to the Dual arm, there shouldn't be problems with VTA once it is correctly set. The Shure is not sensitive to VTA adjustments in any regard and even a few degrees variation will not affect the sound of the elliptical stylus on the V15. VTA is at best a crap shoot on any table due to the large variety of records you'll encounter. Buying a new table so you can adjust VTA is like buying a new car so you can fill the tires.


Azimuth is also a one time adjustment and not something that constantly changes.


The Scout is a non-suspended table and therefore will have many of the same "vibration" issues as either Dual - which actually have some form of suspension. The Scout is a belt drive table similar to the 1219 and is not the last word in speed "accuracy". I find it difficult to believe the direct drive, servo controlled 701 cannot maintain a constant speed if it is operating properly.


If these are your reasons for changing tables, I would suggest you rethink your logic.


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New member
Username: Jungluthr

Potomac, MD USA

Post Number: 3
Registered: Feb-08
"Set and forget" might have been the way of the Dual 36 years ago but each Dual still in service today will have its own pet problems and idiosyncrasies much like a 35-40 year old car. Unlike some classic car projects, it is probably not worth doing the complete overhaul needed to remedy each and all of the minor problems encountered with an early 70s Dual. That is what I meant when I said "my Duals are about as good as they are going to get." I should also add that they are as good as they essentialy need to be. They have been serviced and tuned to a point that provides me with an enjoyable, better than average listening experience almost every time. But there is definitely room for improvement.
The problems I have with my Duals may not be problems that are inherent to all 1219s and 701s but they are there nontheless. If you read carefully you might have noticed that the main reason I am buying a VPI Scout is not to "change tables" but to provide higher quality LP playback in a higher end system I am building. My 1219 and 701 will always be in action- my 701 alongside my VPI for my tube system and my 1219 driving my vintage SS Marantz. If you happen to find fault with this "logic" please keep it to yourself.

My Dual problems, more specifically:
-1219 tonearm balance: I set my 1219 counterbalance properly, so the tonearm is floating completely level, just a hair above the arm-rest. I then set the tracking force and anti-skating accordingly. After playing records for awhile, if I reset the anti-skating and tracking force to zero to check the tonearm balance it comes up too light and the counter balance needs to be adjusted a few clicks to level it again. This is an endless cycle. Set it, play records, check it, readjust it. So I leave well enough alone and live with it. Amazingly, I am not "constantly moving the counterweight and tracking force adjustment". It just happens. I know there is a quantifiable reason for this strange phenomenon but it is beyond me and it doesn't bother me too much. Can you tell me how to fix this? The VPI Scout does not have this problem.

-1219 VTA: I only use my 1219 to play single records and I only use it in single play mode. Unfortunatly, there are a few generations of the 1219 and mine happens to be a first. This is most apparent by the single and multi play switch designations. Mine say "sp" and "mp" rather than the later, "single" and "multi". Certain problems are inherent to the first generation 1219. One of these problems is an inability to consistently track through an entire 12" in single play mode without getting stuck on a groove near the end of the record due to improper VTA resulting from a slightly off-set single-play mode tonearm height. Fortunately, this problem only occurs on certain records, mostly 180gram and higher. This problem can also be fixed with an internal adjustment. Is it worth it to take my 1219 apart because certain records begin to skip near the end of the last song on a side? I don't think so. The VPI Scout doesn't have} this problem, neither does my 701.

-1219 and 701 suspension: Both of my Dual TTs, even with their respective suspension systems are very prone to even minor vibration unless they are isolated and damped very well, which mine are not. They are isolated as well as I need them to be, though. In my experience, the VPI Scout's damped,coned feet, hefty platter and base, isolated motor, belt drive and unipivot tonearm bearing do a much better job of absorbing and shielding vibrations on their own than the 701's direct drive motor, 1219's rim drive, plinth springs and cheapo (but nice looking) fiberboard base and feet on their own. I'm sure it is a measurable difference. I will also be investing more into isolating and damping my VPI Scout than either of my Duals. A VPI Scout has a higher overall performance potential than a Dual so I think it wise to invest more time and $$ into isolating and damping the VPI. The Duals are fine just as they are.

My 701 does maintain very good speed control, better than my 1219. In my experience the VPI will be somewhat of an improvement over both.

And it should be obvious that I am not looking for "the last word" in anything in my price range. Looking for "the last word" in any price range is a foolhardy pursuit.

You have, however, prompted me to rethink the logic used in my last automobile purchase and I have decided to sell my car and keep the tires so I can continue to enjoy filling them with hot air. So I must thank you.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12287
Registered: May-04
.

So you're another one of those young dipwads that gets p!ssy whenever someone suggests they might not have their facts straight. Good grief! You must be a joy to live with.



You're wrong about the tracking force adjustment and you're wrong about the VTA issue. Can I tell you how to solve the VTF issue? Sure! Set it correctly and then leave it alone.


The Dual arm on the 1219 has what is called "stiction" in the vertical bearings. It is both intentional on Dual's part and an artifact of a 35 year old mass produced table. The 1219's arm is actually much better in this regard than most of its contemporaries could manage.


When you static balance the 1219 arm, it tends to stick in one place even though it may be correctly set to neutral balance. You should then apply the approximate downforce with the tracking adjustment spring or you can ignore the spring (set it to "0") and dial in the correct downforce with the counterweight. (The latter is generally preferrable since it places the counterweight closer to the bearings and therefore provides less effective mass to the arm overall.) To properly set the VTF on a Dual you need a high quality stylus force guage since the arm will not always appear to be correctly balanced by returning the Dual's VTF gauge to "0" - as you have seen. (Why are you constantly checking this adjustment in the first place? Once the adjustment has been made on a Dual arm, leave it alone!) Once the proper adjustment has been made the counterweight cannot move until you move it. That you are moving the counterweight is an indication the cartridge is probably not tracking at the correct VTF most of the time.


While the VTF (and anti-skating) spring may have lost some tension over the years, it will be consistent in its downforce over a period of, say, five years and should probably still be in spec with Dual's own design of a less than accurate adjustment when the table was new. That the spring has lost a small amount of tension is no big deal since it was intended only to be used as a approximate guide even when the table was brand new and the gauge on the arm typically needs to be tweaked after checking with a stylus pressure gauge. (Or, once again, ignore the Daul gauge and set the VTF with the counterweight.) Using a guage allows you to set the VTF properly and, if you would check the pressure with a guage rather than expecting a tonearm with less than terrific bearings to "float" and less than accurate arm guages to be correct, you would find the VTF has not changed between records. It is changing when you change it. Leave it alone and the arm will take care of itself since the V15 can track properly between a wide range of downforce settings. I suspect you are trying to track the Shure at the low end of its recommended range which will typically cause problems - particularly in an arm with a reasonable amount of friction and someone who cannot leave things alone. Raise the VTF to about 1.5 grams, don't change anything after that and many of your problems will likely disappear.


The 701's arm should have less "stiction" and not display this behavior to the same extent as the older table if at all. By the time the 701 rolled around Dual had made significant improvements in the arm. Of course the Scout's arm does not display this behavior at all. The stock arm on the Scout is a unipivot which exhibits near zero friction in both the horizontal and vertical planes. However, as opposed to the ball and race bearings of the Dual, unipivots have their own unique set of problems.



VTA is not your problem with the 1219's inability to track certain discs. (I'm guessing most of your problems are related to your inability to understand how to correctly set and maintain the tonearm on the Dual.) VTA relates to the "SRA" or stylus rake angle. It should conform to the generally accepted industry standard of 20°. However, there really is no industry standard and VTA adjustment is typically made by ear. On the Dual any VTA adjustment would be made by using spacers between the cartridge and the headshell mount. The "sp" and "mp' change is such a gross adjustment as to not really matter when discussing VTA. A slight or even fairly large adjustment in VTA will not affect the V15 unless the cartridge bottoms out on the disc. You once again have a mechanical problem with the older Dual table that can be rectified but not by the approach you choose to take. You are confusing VTA issues with mechanical problems and incorrect set up. Once again the 701 will not have this problem since it is only a single play table though it will also require spacers to accurately establish a fixed VTA setting when you initally set up the table. I get the feeeling you don't truly understand the function of VTA and why you might care to adjust it.


The Scout arm provides for VTA adjustment and, if you constantly fiddle with it, you will have the same problems you experience with the 1219. The solution is to set the table up properly and then leave it alone. The V15's elliptical stylus profile is not hyper-sensitive to VTA adjustments. The V15 was, however, designed with the Shure tonearm(s) in mind and as a model for performance. Placing this cartridge in another arm - especially one with lower or high mass than the old Shure arms- will compromise it's performance.


I see no issue with azimuth on your Dual. It is also a set and forget issue. I'll assume you threw that one in for good measure.


The Scout weighs substantially more than either of the Duals but quite a bit less than the "mass damped" tables at higher prices. Mass is another trade off and a higher mass table isn't necessarily the answer to your problems. While the Dual suspension is rudimentary and not all that effective, relatively low mass also has its advantages. You should understand the trade offs of both designs before you invest time and money "isolating and damping" the Scout. It's very easy to undo what VPI has achieved in the Scout by applying faulty logic to its set up.


Speed control and speed consistency are two different issues. While the Scout does quite well at both, you should also investigate this difference before assuming the VPI will do something it is not capable of accomplishing without a further investment. A belt drive table suffers from problems that do not affect either a direct drive or a rim drive table and vice versa. You might want to find someone else to explain those trade offs to you.


I suspect you'll see all of this as so much hot air. No problem, you've asked for a reply and I've provided such. Hopefully, this reply will help someone else. Good luck with the Scout. It's an excellent table (I own one) and it will be an improvement in many ways from the Duals if you set it up correctly and then leave it alone.



I would, however, dump the Marantz.


.
 

New member
Username: Jungluthr

Potomac, MD USA

Post Number: 4
Registered: Feb-08
Wow! You're a peach. YOU are wrong though, in your assumptions regarding my setup/adjustment behavoir. The only time I check or make an adjustment on either of my Duals is if and when I change cart.s, styli and/or encounter an audible or mechanical problem, which rarely if ever happens. You should have inferred this information when you read that "I am not constantly checking..." and "I leave well-enough alone" in my last response.

Aside from your ridiculously rude attitude, I find most of your information intersting and helpful. At least in better understanding what's going with my Duals. As far as fixing any of it, no need yet. I track my Shure carts at a touch above 1 gram.

Why do you think I should dump the Marantz?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12288
Registered: May-04
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It sucks!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12289
Registered: May-04
.


Are you tracking the Shure at just over one gram according the read out on the Dual guage or are you using a high quality stylus force gauge?
 

New member
Username: Jungluthr

Potomac, MD USA

Post Number: 5
Registered: Feb-08
"Sucks"?
Not to my ears.

Have some class. Your technical knowledge would be better imparted with a tone of wisdom, if possible, rather than the arrogant pedantry you so easily resort to.

I use the Dual guage. Your info regarding "stiction" was interesting and helpful. Once I have a more accurate tracking force guage I will follow your advice and set the stylus force with the counter balance.

An accurate tracking force guage will also be helpful on my 701. It has been suggested to me that I put a screw through the rear of the cage on my 701 counter balance to secure the 2 seperate wieghts due to a deteriorated rubber piece which holds the weight to the metal stem. Are you familiar with this procedure? This will make it impossible to fine-tune the counter balance by turning it though. So all balancing must be done by moving the counter balance in and out and using the tracking force dial. I was not aware that having the counter balance further in would lower the effective mass of the arm either. So it sounds like bypassing the fine tuning dials on the Dual tonearm is a win win. Is there a particular tracking force guage that you would recommend for less than $100? How about the Shure? Or would a digital one be the way to go?

I'll run my anti-skating and azimuth issues by you later.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12292
Registered: May-04
.

Any balance beam type guage such as the Shure will be sufficient. There is no magic VTF for any cartridge so minute changes are not something I care to measure. If I set the VTF to approximately 1.75 grams and then find I like the sound with a bit more or less downforce, the exact amount I increase/decrease is not important for me to know down to the 0.01 gram range. I go by the deflection of the cantilever to know whether I'm within the range of VTF for any particular cartridge. After I get the VTA about where I want it I then re-set VTF which alters the VTA slightly and I go back and forth with these two adjustments until I hear what I want to hear on the widest range of LP's. After that, with most elliptical styli, I don't bother to make VTA adjustments for each disc.


The large counterweight alone on the 701 should provide sufficiently fine adjustments for most cartridges. What exactly is the problem with the secondary weight?




The Marantz sounds OK to you? Compared to what? What are you using for a reference when you make that statement? What is it you like about the 2245? Technically, it's not the best match for the B&W speakers.


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New member
Username: Jungluthr

Potomac, MD USA

Post Number: 6
Registered: Feb-08
What is cantilever deflection and how do you measure it?

In your method of going back and forth between VTA and VTF adjustments are you still refering to a Dual TT? If so, is it possible to easily adjust the VTA on a 1219 somehow? And what is it that you "want to hear" when running this adjustment procedure? Will you play snippets of a wide range of musical styles or do you play full sides and focus on your favorite records or do you have personal reference records? What sonic qualities specifically do you want to span the widest range of records?

What about and why I like my Marantz 2245 and what I am using as a reference to come to this favorable judgement is not a simple question for me to answer satisfactorily. The short answer is: Disregarding all technical specifications, in my personal listening experience, out of all the stereo receivers I have heard, the Marantz 2245 sounds better than most and the B&W 685 speakers are the only fully functioning speakers I have heard the Marantz 2245 through. Therefore, in my opinion, I deem the Marantz 2245 to not "suck" and the B&W 685 speakers to be a good sonic match for it. How many people do you know who have actually listened to a Marantz 2245 through a pair of B&W 685s? Maybe the initial decision to match the two makes little sense technically but you should know better than to judge sound which you have not heard by technical specs. This is not to say that I don't think there are better technical and audible matches to be had for each of these components.

This is the long version:
Over the course of about 10 years I amassed a very large and deep record collection. Throughout my prime record collecting years I never gave much thought at all to my stereo. I always liked the old Dual 721 I bought. I could intuitively tell that it was a well crafted machine. I had no idea about how to properly balance and set it up and I ran a $40 Ortofon cartridge on it the whole time. This 721 was driving the phono section of a very cheap early to mid 80s Onkyo receiver. The Onkyo went to a pair of Bose 201 Series IV bookshelf speakers which I bought at Best Buy for $200. No thought was given to proper cartridge alignment, tonearm balance, anti-skating, component matching, speaker placement, etc., etc. I listened to my records in a state of ignorant bliss. I am not sure how many of my records were damaged by improper playback or how much of the musical information I was missing because I sold 99% of them about 2 years ago when I fell on hard times financialy (the records were the second to last thing to go. My vintage guitars and 2 '65 Fender Twins were the last). My 721 was sold too.

Things eventually turned around financialy and about a year ago I decided to buy another Dual so I bought my 1219 on Ebay from Chuck of "Adopt A Dual".
I was so impressed with the beauty and craftsmanship of the 1219 that I began to research the world of Dual turntables which has since lead to a healthy interest in the world of high end stereo equipment and real hi-fi sound overall. I learned how to properly setup and maintain my 1219 and I began building a record collection again with more care and attention put towards quality inspection and proper playback to ensure a long life of good listening. Almost immediately after receiving my 1219 I decided I could no longer live with the sh..ty Onkyo and Bose speakers. The opportunity to purchase the Marantz 2245 (which happens to be a solid 9 out of 10 condition wise) from a friend for a good price presented itself and I took it. I then took my dad's old L-100s out of his basement and hooked them up only to hear some overpowering and unlistenable bass resonance in my somewhat small bedroom/listening room. I believe now that this resonance was due to one of the L-100s being damaged rather than a room resonant mode.

I knew I could not go back to the Bose so I bought the B&W speakers based on some good reviews and a couple enjoyable showroom listens at an awful store called Meyer Emco. I did not look too deep into the 2245 and B&W 685 specs to determine if they would be an optimum match. The 685s got good marks, sounded good and the price was just what I was looking for at the time. I rearranged my room, took measurements and took great care positioning the speakers. Most of the room arranging, measuring and speaker placement info I learned from reading Hartley's "Complete Guide to High End Audio" cover to cover (also issues of TAS, Stereophile and UK's Hi-Fi, internet, etc.). This book was a great starting point for the journey and has remained an invaluable reference.

I was initially less than impressed with the Marantz and the B&Ws but after playing them together for a few months now they seem to be getting better and better and, while they may be a poor match technically, I find it hard to believe that you would find them to be a poor match, musically, if you could hear them together in my listening room. For the first time, I am hearing soundstaging, good soundstaging with fairly precise imaging and quiet little details in the background, cymbals have tone and don't wash out electric guitars. This setup proved to be such a nice and musical system to my ears that I decided to visit a real high end audio store to gain some real high end listening experience for critical listening practice, reference and comparison.

For just the past few weeks now, I have been visiting a local high end audio shop regularly and speaking to the incredibly friendly and helpful owner, who has extended his kindness by allowing me to listen to my records on a number of different systems setup in various acoustically treated listening rooms, including two $150,000+ reference systems. Surprisingly, I have not come home to find that my system now, noticeably lacks sonic quality}. Through my recent high end listening experience I actually have come to appreciate my system more for what it does achieve for around $1500 total than what it does not. I don't think this would be the case with any stereo system. I think that my particular setup happens to be a surprisingly good match to the ears. I have, however, determined that a VPI Scout would improve my Marantz/B&W system for LP playback until I can build my tube system and move the Scout over to it, which is a goal of mine. I will be upgrading my speakers in both systems and retiring my B&Ws at some point I believe. I don't think they are the last word in speaker quality or the last word in a good match for the Marantz 2245. I hope this background gives you a better idea of why I am so impressed with my Marantz 2245. I know there are better components out there but, by any measure I can think of, the 2245 does not "suck".
 

New member
Username: Jungluthr

Potomac, MD USA

Post Number: 7
Registered: Feb-08
Disregard: "In your method of going back and forth between VTA and VTF adjustments are you still refering to a Dual TT? If so, is it possible to easily adjust the VTA on a 1219 somehow?"

I reread your earlier post from this afternoon. You answered this.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12297
Registered: May-04
.

Excuse me for a moment while I consider you don't hear a "sonic quality" distinction between a $150k system and your present set up.


*



"What is cantilever deflection and how do you measure it?"


As the stylus settles into the groove the downforce of the VTF "deflects" the catilever upward into the cartridge body. Too litle VTF and the cantilever doesn't move far enough. Too much VTF and the cantilever is submerged into the cartridge body. Different cantilever materials will deflect at different rates so there is no correct measurement. It is an "eyeball" measurement. The working end of the cantilever must sit in the correct position between the magnetic poles (or the coils) of the cartridge innards to get the best sound quality, highest channel separation and lowest distortion with the widest frequency response. Once you've set up enough cartridges you learn about how much deflection is correct for any given tonearm/cartridge combination. It's like an old time shade tree mechanic setting timing by ear.




"And what is it that you 'want to hear' when running this adjustment procedure?"


I'm familiar with Hartley's book but haven't bothered to read it. Does he not cover the effects of VTA changes? The most basic changes affect tonality/timbre and - for lack of better words - the tangible benefits of a believable acoustic presence. This "acoustic presence" extends beyond the simple concepts of soundstage and imaging as many readers envision them.




"Will you play snippets of a wide range of musical styles or do you play full sides and focus on your favorite records or do you have personal reference records?"


I play a few short pieces of various albums and then longer selections and finally make my decision based on listening for whole sessions at a time. If you know what is important, it is simpler and quicker to decide what's correct and what needs tweaking.



"What sonic qualities specifically do you want to span the widest range of records?"


I learned long ago to get the midrange right above all else. If the mids are correct, most everything else the system is capable of doing, the system will do to the best of its ability. Correct midrange means tonality and timbre for which I have favorite vocalists and instrumental players who I favor for evaluation purposes. Correct midrange also means a high degree of nuance in performance without sacrificing tonality and timbre.


Acoustic presence boils down to a transparency through the system components that allows me to believe I'm as close to hearing the original performance in the original acoustic space as my budget allows and not something that simply relates to the audiophile adjectives of "imaging", "soundstaging" "depth", etc. The rather commonly referred to concepts of "PRaT" plays a part in my decisions. I am solidly with the Flat Earth crowd in believing a system will work well when it times the performance properly.


My reference for my decisions is the music I hear live. To me, comparing one system to another system is similar to discussing the values of two four color press type prints of a Van Gogh painting without ever seeing (in person) an actual painting by a masterful artist.




"Disregarding all technical specifications, in my personal listening experience, out of all the stereo receivers I have heard, the Marantz 2245 sounds better than most and the B&W 685 speakers are the only fully functioning speakers I have heard the Marantz 2245 through. Therefore, in my opinion, I deem the Marantz 2245 to not "suck" and the B&W 685 speakers to be a good sonic match for it. How many people do you know who have actually listened to a Marantz 2245 through a pair of B&W 685s? Maybe the initial decision to match the two makes little sense technically but you should know better than to judge sound which you have not heard by technical specs. This is not to say that I don't think there are better technical and audible matches to be had for each of these components."


"Therefore, in my opinion, I deem the Marantz 2245 to not "suck" and the B&W 685 speakers to be a good sonic match for it. How many people do you know who have actually listened to a Marantz 2245 through a pair of B&W 685s? Maybe the initial decision to match the two makes little sense technically but you should know better than to judge sound which you have not heard by technical specs. This is not to say that I don't think there are better technical and audible matches to be had for each of these components."


"I know there are better components out there but, by any measure I can think of, the 2245 does not "suck"."





In the entire schene of things, yes, there are receivers that would suck even more when paired with the B&W's. And you are not alone in "loving" your vintage euipment. Whole forums are devoted to the adulation and restoration of vintage hifi from the 1960-80's. And every time I even suggest that I think there is something better than what someone else likes, I get caught up in arguments about how what they like is just fine with them. It is your budget and I can't tell you what you should own.


One argument for other people's defense of what they own is usually that all hifi is subjective. While I agree in part with that concept I strongly disagree with the idea you get to make this up as you go along. There are absolutes in music and while you and I may hear a particular performance with different ears and even prefer different music, the performance remains the same. Establishing priorities for what I find valuable in live music allows me to select what is of value to me in my playback system's performance. It is tailored around those qualities I must hear in order to suspend disbelief and doesn't change with each disc or component. IMO if your system is based around the qualities of the music and not the qualities of the hifi, we can all enjoy each other's systems while not necessarily wanting to own the other person's rig.



So let me start this off with you by telling you I sold audio gear for a few decades and know the sound of your turntable, cartridge, receiver and speakers. I am broadly familiar with the technical abilities and deficiencies of each of those same components. Technically, your speakers require more amplifier than your receiver can muster. The old Marantz receivers from the 2245 generation were, like most other mass market receivers from that period, focussed on watts per dollar. While the Marantz was not the cheapest of the bunch, putting numbers on a piece of paper was more important than building an exceptional product. Specifically, your speakers would prefer far more current delivery than your receiver can pass. At low volumes the Marantz can probably do OK but as the volume rises the amplifier looses control of the drivers and things tend to get "whoomphy". On the whole the Marantz is smooth and relatively non-offensive which will mitigate some of the "brightness" of the B&W speakers. However, the Marantz is also a fairly high negative feedback design which means it will have some response deviations which follow the reactance of the speaker load. Not as much in this regard as a high output impedance tube amplifier but enough to be noticeable against another amplifier more suited to the B&W's needs.


I assume you like the Marantz/B&W combination for its relative "warmth" and agreeable nature. Nothing should sound particularly bad with that pairing but nothing should sound particularly outstanding either. Add the rather flat character of the V15 and the system shouldn't offend in most ways. If you give me the choice of sins of ommission or commission, I'll take the former over the latter any day.


I'm still not certain why you are considering the VPI other than you're convinced it will play music with more life than either Dual can manage. In that regard, I agree. And your consideration of the Grado over the Shure is, IMO another step in the right direction (yes, I run a Grado also). You will be outclassing the Marantz by a large degree when you add the VPI.


If you're happy with this system and your overall goal is for this to be a secondary system, then by all means, use what you have. Once you move to the tubes - assuming you choose speakers well - you should hear what I'm talking about.


It sounds as though you've found a good dealer who is willing to work with you. That alone is worth the price of admission.



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Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 1125
Registered: May-06
Just a thought, but if Cory's "sound" or "ears" were shaped by the Marantz it very well has built up to where he can hear some good things through his existing set up.

My ears were shaped by listening to tubes at an early age. I have always loved listening to music. Moreso in the past couple of years.

Over the past two years I have begin to hear things that I have never heard before. 50% is due to better gear and set up of such and 50% might be because I have learned how to listen through doing it so much.

What I am akwardly trying to say is that I hear things in my kit that I do not hear in most, yes I do hear most of what I get in my kit in Jan's, but that not withstanding, I am growing in my ability to hear music differently through what I listen to piece by piece.

I expect that the same can be said for Cory. While most of us who have a broader sense of what we listen to / for than others, we can easily distinguish nuances in a variety of components and appreciate the outer limits of some gear. It seems reasonable to me that Cory could enjoy his set up more than anything else because of his familiarity with it.

If so, then maybe that familiarity is what it is he should be building upon. Marantz today McIntosh tomorrow is sort of how this could play out.

Sorry, I am lacking analagies for turntables.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Msgtpogi

NJ

Post Number: 27
Registered: Jan-08
As an aside, I've heard very horrible megabuck systems that featured components from someone's recommended list or the other. Throwing money at an audio system is one thing, optimizing the setup is another and having expertise in having these components work well together is another. The care in setup and the expertise I mentioned is greatly undervalued. I've seen/heard too many systems that should have been reference quality only to come away with the impression that the it was all for naught. It seems that the best systems I've heard at dealerships were the one's were the passion for the music and its faithful reproduction is obvious. Usually, these dealers don't have flashy showrooms or flashy salespeople, have a stack of records piled somewhere, leave you alone during auditioning and could talk your ear off. They usually aren't too quick to put down other dealers' products but rather give a reason why they have a certain opinion. These places are worth seeking out for audio advise.

Anyway, my favorites for low priced MM cartridges have been the Rega Elys and various Grados. They are musical yet approach the detail retrieval of good MC cartridges. I prefer low output MCs but they require high gain phono stages that would add to your overall cost. Of the lower priced ones, I liked the Denon DL-160 and the Audio Technica OC-9. They just seem to present music better than MMs but are more finicky with interactions with associated equipment (MCs usually have a rising high end that could present problems if equipment matching is done haphazardly). MCs tend to throw bigger soundstages, more musical detail, greater transparency, etc. Your mileage may vary....
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12301
Registered: May-04
.

"It seems reasonable to me that Cory could enjoy his set up more than anything else because of his familiarity with it.

If so, then maybe that familiarity is what it is he should be building upon."




MW - You and I have discussed this before and I generally agree with the broad outline of your concept of hearing what's available in your system. You can't hear what's not in your system unless you are using live music as your reference. And, IMO, to improve your system, you must know what it's incapable of doing that real music does with consistency. However, if you focus only on "the system" or any one component, you're planting the trees and missing the forest behind you.


When I owned a HK receiver and a pair of Ohm C2's I liked what I owned even though I was exposed on a daily basis to substantially better equipment. As I progressed through my system building I always liked what I owned. I liked what I owned not necessarily because I regularly heard better equipment - much better equipment in a variety of combinations and on a constant basis - but because I had a clear idea of what was better, why it was better (for me) and what chunk of musical transparency that better gear offered that was I able to have at home when I sat down to listen to whatever my budget could afford. This once again boiled down to setting priorities for what makes music interesting and deciding how to get there from where I stood. Priorities for me are still against the real thing - live music - and not against another component.


While I had a readily available comparison between my VPI and a half dozen other tables; between my Audible Illusion and McIntosh tubes combination and a dozen or more other pre amps and amplifiers; and my Spicas and Rogers against Thiels, Wilsons, B&W's, KEF's, Klipsch and several other lines of speakers I never chose between components or speakers. I never made a choice between Spica and Thiel or between Mac and Rowland electronics based on how the component performed in isolation. I made my comparison by deciding whether the AI pre amp sounded more like music - whether it made me more interested in listening to more music - than the B&K could manage, not because it could produce a wider, deeper soundstage. I bought the Spicas because they did less to remind me of a hifi than the Thiels and because I heard less of the Spicas. The Spicas got out of the way of the system which allowed more music being performed with better life and energy. That was one of my priorities. The Spicas were more coherent from top to bottom than the other speakers. That is a major priority for me. And I made that comparison in the context of my "system" knowing all the components of my system must work in synergy to achieve a common goal. Then I lived with those systems for long periods of time before I made changes. Over that time period I learned my system very well and reached the point where I knew what it did well and what it didn't do so well when reproducing music. When I was familiar enough with what I was hearing to know it was time to move on, I did.


Does that mean I didn't build upon what I owned? I think I did exactly that. I don't know how to not do that unless you have no idea where it is you want to go. When I think back to what all the systems I've owned have done well I consider my progression to have been very consistent. If I had to go back to any of my old systems, I would find many of the qualities I have right now only constrained by the budget I had available then and the technology I had access to at the time. And I've thought many times that it would be easier to simply go back to a minimalist system that didn't even bother with "soundstaging', "imaging", etc. as long as I could hear the music in an engaging manner. You know I listen to a lot of mono LP's and 78 discs not for the hifi aspect of sound but for the music I find there.


But I tend to prioritize things in my life. My feeling is my cars have had similar qualities, the coffee/beer/wine I drink is consistently similar, the neighborhoods I've lived in are alike and the dogs I've had are very much like one another despite having completely different personalities. Did I enjoy my cars because I became familiar with them? Of course. Did I enjoy my cars because they were what I could afford? Yes. Did I then build upon those qualities of my car, house or hifi when I improved any of them? Sure I did. But I did so knowing what I had and where I wanted to get to.


Should Cory be building upon his familiarity with his Marantz? No. IMO, he should be building upon his familiarity with what he is trying to hear reproduced in his own room. If what he is after is a more realistic representation of the performance, then he needs to know what those qualities are that allow "that" in either his system or in the $150k systems he's heard. If he can't identify "that", then it doesn't matter how familiar he is with his receiver.


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Gold Member
Username: Mike3

Wylie, Tx USA

Post Number: 1126
Registered: May-06
No argument from me on that JV. I believe I am at the point with my system that I will be with if for a while. A little tube experiment gives me something to ponder, but as we discussed, no changes will be made any time soon. As you suggest, if in time I find that there is something that is missing in the audio reproduction of my system I probably will seek it out. That time in not now nor tomorrow.

As to Cory, I was using my analogy to my Grandfather's tubes and the similarity to my sound. I should have used my sound and the familiarity to music and how it was akin to what my Grandfather's system produced. There is no way his gear could hold a candle to mine due to technology if nothing else.

I agree that it seems that Cory is using the Marantz as his point of reference and not live music.

Thanks for the feedback.
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