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Turntable Sound Issue

 

New member
Username: All_lit_up

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jan-13
Here's my set-up:
Onkyo CP-1046F Direct Drive Turntable (bought new in 1985)
brand new Audio Technica AT311EP cartridge
Sanyo ULTRX R55 Stereo Receiver (bought used at thrift store)
I just recently hooked up the turntable after not having used it for close to 10 years. Never had any sound issues back then. Now records sound not good. Best way I can describe it is to say it sounds tinny and muddy at the same time.
I've done all the basic set-up checks: turntable is level, on a solid surface, plugged into phono jacks on receiver. Tone arm balanced, tracking force and anti-skate are set properly. Records are clean.
I also have a MacBook hooked into the receiver via a Griffen Powerwave box so I can hear my digital music through the same system. I recently remodeled a room to be a music room only and just got the stereo set up. The digital music sounds awesome! That's why I was excited to set up the TT again to start playing some vinyl.
Speakers are a pair of Bose 301's that I've had since the late 70's (woofers have been replaced) and a pair of Pioneer SH35IFK's.
I realize this is not top-notch equipment and finances prohibit upgrading (re: remodel). I'm an above average listener as far as noticing differences in sound quality, but I'm not super fussy. Just want it to sound pretty good.
I'm thinking the problem is in the TT because playing iTunes from laptop through the same set up sounds really good.
Sorry for the long winded first post. Wanted to make sure I covered all the bases. Hope I've done that. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17665
Registered: May-04
.

"Tinny" in any question concerning turntables first suggests the lack of a proper "phono pre amp". This receiver is going on, what? twenty years of age? And you purchased it from a thrift store which isn't likely to have checked out all functions.

The first suspicion would be the receiver does not have a built in phono section, many from that period did not. The inputs labelled "phono" are intended for an external phono pre amp's input and are only labelled as such to confuse and frustrate the user. The next suspicion would be the receiver simply isn't working correctly. This would be a fairly typical suspicion for any thrift store product. The only way to check these suspicions is to use the receiver with another turntable/cartridge or to buy an inexpensive external phono pre amp and try it in another high level input such as "AUX".

How is the volume level from the table compared to the digital source? Are they of fairly similar volumes for the same position on the control? If they are vastly different, then I would tend to go with these first guesses as to the receiver's condition.



A table has very little to do with "tinny and muddy" sound. As a source player, a table has tremendous effect on the final sound quality but in a system such as your's we'd be splitting a thin hair far too finely to say it is the table itself which is the cause of your problem. In a basic receiver based system such as your own a table either works or it doesn't. There are no controls or circuits in the table itself which would account for tinny and muddy sound quality unless they were accompnaied by another problem such as too fast a speed. I might suspect tonearm set up as this is a fairly easily kludged procedure for many people. Incorrect set up of the arm, which would then translate into incorrect set up of the cartridge, can alter the performance of the table's sound quality. How certain are you of the arm set up? Tracking force adjustments are quite easily baloxed up if you're not very familiar with the process. Have you checked your set up with a tracking force guage?

These are my first guesses at your problem and its solutions. Unfortunately, "tinny and muddy" encompasses quite a bit of territory in sound quality. If you removed the snap in stylus assembly while installing the cartridge, it's possible it has not been re-inserted fully or properly. Arm adjustments can make for bad sound. But, more often than not, when a cartridge sounds bad, it is the electronics of the system which are at fault.



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Bronze Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 86
Registered: Dec-12
Somebody wrote:

"The first suspicion would be the receiver does not have a built in phono section, many from that period did not."

But the poster already said:

"I've done all the basic set-up checks: turntable is level, on a solid surface, plugged into phono jacks on receiver."

It's obviously time for some new gear, I should think. I would start with the cartridge and have it set up by a competent shop.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17668
Registered: May-04
.

This: "I've done all the basic set-up checks: turntable is level, on a solid surface, plugged into phono jacks on receiver" ...

does not exclude:
"The first suspicion would be the receiver does not have a built in phono section, many from that period did not", as a possible cause for the sound quality described by the op.


Exactly as I pointed out, many receivers with input jacks labelled "phono" lack an actual phono pre amp. This situation has existed for several decades. It was first seen on less expensive receivers - of which the Sanyo would qualify - once CD began its single source dominance in the market. It's far less expensive to pay for a label than it is to pay for a label and a phono pre amp.



Since you once again don't seem to know what you're talking about, Orne, you should probably bow out now and not make more of a fool out of yourself.



Or you might choose to continue on as the forum troll who disagrees with everything I post. You might choose, as the forum troll, to make more worthless comments which waste readers' time. I can only guess which troll-like behavior you, the forum troll, will follow.


Will the troll go away as suggested? Or, will the troll continue to be the troll because it makes them happy
to disrupt a normal conversation with their worthless BS?

Which, oh which, will the troll choose?

I'm betting we'll know within the hour.





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Bronze Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 88
Registered: Dec-12
I cannot imagine a phono input on any major company's product without a phono section. It would be easy enough to check the specs.

From what I can find, it has both an MC and MM phono section, with typical sensitivity and overload values for each. It's hard to see, but that's what it looks like to me:

http://i.ebayimg.com/t/ULTRX-Sanyo-Service-Manual-R55-Stereo-Receiver-/00/$%28KGrHqJ,!h!E3uYSOFrIBODIw4Vz%29Q~~0_3.JPG

The output of the cartridge seems adequate for any standard MM phono section:

http://eu.audio-technica.com/en/products/product.asp?catID=6&subID=43&prodID=2867

And your attitude, I would suggest, should change.

I disagree with you only when you are wrong. It seems you are wrong here.

It could well be that the cartridge was damaged during installation. That's my guess.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17669
Registered: May-04
.

It's difficult to be "wrong" when you say something is a possibility. When you are essentially asking a question. If you're not here to help, don't get in the way.




Your link doesn't work.

Should the receiver have a built in phono pre amp, then there is still the possibility the pre amp section is not operating to spec. And "ULTRX" or not, Sanyo was not known for fine quality audio gear. There is always the possibility this receiver just doesn't have a phono section which is capable of better response.



And, if the cartidge was "damaged" during installation, why not tell the op how to check for any problems caused by damage? The op is under the impression, he's "done all the basic set-up checks: turntable is level, on a solid surface, plugged into phono jacks on receiver"


To the op, if the receiver has a built in MM/MC phono section, is the unit switched to or somehow set up for the Audio Technica MM cartidge? Plugging a MM cartridge into a MC input will result in poor sound quality.



.



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Bronze Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 89
Registered: Dec-12
I put a new link in. It should work.

It could be anything, but not the lack of a phono section. Therefore he should take the turntable and receiver to a qualified repair shop. Perhaps something in the turntable wires. Who knows?
 

New member
Username: All_lit_up

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jan-13
Well...

One thing I did fail to mention is that yes, the receiver does have both an MC input and and MM input. I've tried both, with the MC input sounding better.

Yeah, tinny and muddy is vague and that's what I thought was so odd about this issue. Wouldn't seem to be possible, one or the other but not both!

I totally get that the receiver was a cheap purchase and after reading the comments kind of going in the direction I've been leaning, I'm guessing that is the main issue. And I get that the TT is over 25 years old and just might need to be replaced.

As far as setting up the tone arm, cartridge, etc. The cartridge is brand new, less than two weeks old. I am confident that I did not damage it during installation and am confident I have set up the TT properly. I've done it before and have all the original instructions that came with the TT and the cartridge, but I am no expert. I think I'm just more fussy now than in years past!

Regarding volume, the phono volume level is fine. Maybe just a little less than from the laptop, but the volume can also be adjusted from there.

I think I'll pop for a new amp first and see if that cures it. If not, then I guess it's time for a new turntable.

Thanks for the responses.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17670
Registered: May-04
.

Before you spend money for a new turntable, why not take your existing table to another shop for a try out? Any local audio shop should be willing to plug your table into one of their receivers if you call in advance and set up an appointment for a quiet weekday morning. While the big box stores will be far less willing to disrupt their displays, even a pro music shop will have components with a phono pre amp they will allow you to use for an audition. Get a grasp of how the table system performs with a known pre amp.

There is virtually nothing in the table itself which should affect sound quality in the ways you describe. From the cartridge clips to the RCA's at the end of the table's leads there are no electronics which would alter the sound quality in dramatic ways - only connection points where the tone arm wires change to the lead out cables of the table. For the most part, if the table runs at the correct speed, the table itself is not the most likely suspect. You should check off many other potential issues before you decide it's time for a new table.

If you have absolutely no opportunity to do such an audition, you might want to order an inexpensive phono pre amp to try out; http://www.parts-express.com/cat/phono-preamps/352_1000_2073?utm_source=msn&utm_ medium=cpc&utm_campaign=P_Cats_E&utm_group=phono-preamps_352_1000_2073_E&utm_ter m=phono%20preamps The folks at PE are very good at taking back an item if you decide it's not for you.

It is possible you've damaged the stylus and you don't realize it has happened. The AT cartridge you have uses a bonded stylus. This means the actual stylus is bonded (glued) to a small pipe which extends through the cantilever. It's fairly easy to snap off the stylus tip but leave the pipe. This would result in inferior sound quality. Replacing the stylus assembly would solve that problem.

The AT cartridge is a MM type. It should sound best with the MM input. The difference between the two, MM and MC, is gain (volume) and loading. The AT cartridge does not require the additonal gain of the MC input and the loading down of the cartridge should result in somewhat lower quality sound.



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Bronze Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 90
Registered: Dec-12
I think the thing to do is to take everything to a shop. If you cannot do that, go through a process of elimination. Get another cartridge, replace the leads from the cartridge, etc. I don't think it is the amp; that's not the most likely thing. It's very easy to damage a cartridge. The "phono" setting should be for "MM" (Moving Magnet) with this one. The "MC" setting is for Moving-Coil cartridges, which have a lower output, typically about 1/100th that of the MM type.

The most likely things should be addressed first. It's not very likely that the phono section alone is defective, when the rest of the amp is good.
 

New member
Username: All_lit_up

Post Number: 3
Registered: Jan-13
I snagged the receiver I've been using as part of my video system, took it out to the music room and hooked it up in place of the Ultrx.

It's a TEAC AG-V8500. Everything is good now. Vinyl sounds great. Should have thought of this sooner. So it was the Ultrx causing the problem. But what can you expect from a piece of gear that costs $5? LOL

Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.

Next question, what's your take on cork turntable mats or the anti-static mats? What's the best way to go there?
 

Silver Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 101
Registered: Dec-12
It would not be the most likely thing, though, for JUST the phono section in a receiver to be defective. It could be that there was some connection problem that was cleared up by the exchange. Hard to say. In fact, it could simply be that the contacts of the receiver are dirty.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17680
Registered: May-04
.

Or it could be the ULTRX receiver has a crappy phono pre amp. Give it up, Orne. The problem is solved and there's no need for more of your type of "help". Why don't you just tell him what you told another poster in a six month old thread? That LP's suck and he should buy a CD player? Ya'know what? Trolls do that sort of crap. Trolls never admit they might have been wrong. You, Orne, are a troll.








Turntable mats can alter the quality of the music playback. The better the system, the more benefits they can make audible. Hard rubber mats make for less than "warm" and clear sound, most commonly due to the reflections introduced back into the LP as the groove is being tracked. Changing the mat to a different material can change the character of the music - if the system is capable of showing such fine distinctions. But any cartridge change is going to be more of an improvement than a change in the mat alone. You need to set priorities to be effective at audio. Shot gunning your efforts just leads to alot of wasted time and money.

I find a cheap turntable "tweak" is buying a package of stick on cork or felt dots at the home improvement store. Use these in place of your OEM mat and play around with how many and where they are placed until you find a suitable mat replacement. Usually, keeping the pattern of placement as symmetrical as possible is a good idea. Not always. Typically less is better than more. Sometimes. There is no right or wrong here, just what you prefer. If you don't like the result, take 'em off and start again. Or put your old mat back on the table. You've only spent a few bucks and you may have learned something.

Keep in mind the OEM mat has a certain thickness and you don't want to alter that thickness if you can help it. If you do, then you've changed how the cartridge tracks the disc and you'll have changed the sound by changing the angle the stylus creates with the groove. So, if the OEM mat is 1/4" thick, buy something that is also about 1/4' thick, not 1/8" and not 1/2". Get the mat material too thick and your cartridge will hit the disc if there's a warp. Get the material too thin and the sound will become thin also.


I do, however, have to point out that you are using a $40 cartridge and what was about a $89 table a few decades ago. While it's fun and educational to tweak gear, you have to understand what you have to tweak in the first place. While you could do it with lots of effort and lots of money, you wouldn't drop a 426 Hemi into the engine bay of a '67 Dodge Dart. You certainly shouldn't make that your first tweak to that Dart. If you get the Hemi in there, you're going to need brakes that can stop it, a transmission and rear end that won't be torn apart by the torque and a suspension that won't sag under the weight.

Is it better to buy a $60 mat for your old table? Or, is it better to buy a better table before you begin tweaking? If your present table has more inherent problems than a mat can solve, what have you accomplished? Tweaks are often a cumulative affair. One builds upon another. Often you can't really tell what a tweak has done to a lesser component due to the limitations found in lower quality gear. Does that mean the tweak is ineffective? Not necesarily. It could mean the tweak needed a more transparent component to be effective. Or, possibly, a better listener. Get to know the values of live music before you start playing around in audio. Music is the end result we all want. If you have no idea how music actually sounds, you're destined to just keep changing gear and tweaking gear without any direction in mind. "Tighter bass, clear mids and clean highs" is not a description of how music sounds.

So I always tell anyone to go spend some money on a few concerts before you spend money on things like mats. If you have friends who are good musicians, talk to them about how they hear music and how they go about playing music. It will be time well spent in most cases and you'll be miles ahead of most people who are just aimlessly throwing money at their system.


If you're playing around with tweaks just to see what they do, that's one thing. If you're trying to build a better system through tweaks, it's best to have an idea of where you want the system to head; warmer, more forward, better pace and rhythm, more tuneful bass, etc. Once you've established a few "wants", aim for those components and tweaks which head the system in that direction.




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Silver Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 103
Registered: Dec-12
There is a difference between 'crappy' and 'defective'. I always approach things from the perspective of 'what is the most likely'.

It was indeed more likely that there was something wrong with the cartridge or turntable leads than with the receiver, given that the receiver was fine with other sources.

LPs DO suck and he SHOULD give them up for CDs.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17683
Registered: May-04
.

There is no difference between crappy and defective when you use the crappy component and you can't tell whether or not it is defective.


It was INDEED more likely the receiver didn't even have a phono pre amp. Don't go patting yourself on the back for getting it wrong.



Give it up, Orne. The problem is solved and there's no need for more of your type of "help". You are a troll. And a not very helpful troll at that.

The question has no moved on to mats. Any more discussion of why you are still wrong about the poor sound is unnecessary. Let's see, what have you contributed on the subject of mats? Oh, yes, nothing! How helpful of you.




.
 

Silver Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 104
Registered: Dec-12
There is a difference between crappy and defective, and it was not likely that the receiver had either given that it even had an MC phono section!

Turntable mats? Who cares? Records are obsolete. They suck and always have.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17685
Registered: May-04
.

"There is a difference between crappy and defective, and it was not likely that the receiver had either given that it even had an MC phono section!"



In your opinion, the receiver was not crappy or defective because it had a switch labelled "MC"?

ROFLMAO!!!

I've heard some bizarre rationalizations from the various trolls who have landed here. But THAT! is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen a common, ground feeding, know nothing troll post.


"I snagged the receiver I've been using as part of my video system, took it out to the music room and hooked it up in place of the Ultrx.

It's a TEAC AG-V8500. Everything is good now. Vinyl sounds great"



Nothing else changed other than the receiver and its phono pre amp. Therefore, nothing logical says anything other than the Sanyo receiver and its built in phono section were the problem. No "something wrong" (you don't know what, do you?) with the turntable leads. "Something wrong" is sooooo helpful to someone who posts saying, "Something is wrong, how do I fix it?".

The cartridge leads weren't touched according to the op. There was nothing wrong with the leads. And a $5 thrift store receiver is not sure bet for good sound. You're reaching for any illogical thing you can hang on to as you quickly sink into the ocean with the weight of not knowing very much at all tied to your neck like a boat anchor. Nothing changed other than the receiver. Give it up.

Crappy and defective are just a state of mind away. Particularly in a $5 receiver.




"Turntable mats? Who cares? Records are obsolete. They suck and always have."



The op cares. That's why he asked for help. If you can't help, don't insult. Only trolls insult as you do. You're just a p1ssy old, know nothing troll, aren't you? You can't help, so you turn to insults. How many times have we seen the same pattern of trollish, insulting behavior from you? Answer: too many.



Ornello posted on Friday, January 25, 2013 - 15:19 GMT
"If you offer useful advice, people accuse you of being a 'troll' ... "



If that is your idea of "useful advice" ...


You are a p!ssy old, know nothing troll.




The question is mats. Not me. Not how you can distort your previous posts to say you were not wrong - you were. The question is mats. Either you have something "useful" to contribute or you are a p!ssy old troll and we don't have any need for any more p!ssy old, know nothing trolls who only have insults for answers.


Why don't you just take your own advice; you've been exposed as a p!ssy troll more than once, you should just quietly crawl away. No one here will miss you, no more, at least, than we would miss a fistula - because you have become a true PITA.






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Silver Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 111
Registered: Dec-12
We didn't know beforehand what the problem was, but some things are more likely than others. Given that the receiver was working fine otherwise, AND that cartridges and phono leads are delicate mechanisms, it was MOST likely NOT the receiver but something connected with the cartridge or leads. That remains true. That was the most likely source of the problem. I suggested he take it to a shop, as I did not know he had another receiver.

Is TEAC really significantly better than Sanyo? I doubt it.

All you can do in a situation like this, without being there, is to go by probability and a process of elimination.

If you get in your car and it doesn't want to turn over, it's more likely that you have a dead battery than that your engine has been stolen, though that is not impossible.
 

New member
Username: All_lit_up

Post Number: 4
Registered: Jan-13
I actually did give up records in favor of CDs at one point, but I have quite a few LPs that still have not been issued on disc. Mostly out of print stuff.

And records don't suck. That does insult me. That's like saying Hithcock movies from the 60's suck because you can't watch them in hi-def. It's the art of the piece as much as the medium.

As I stated before I do realize my equipment has limitations. I think I'm a pretty good listener. Been playing records for 40 years and have a little experience as a musician and have attended a ton of concerts over the years.

It partly might be an issue of a different listener. What I mean by that is maybe I've gotten so used the sound of digital music that I need to recondition my hearing to the sound of records?

Going to try the cork dot tweak just for grins.

Thanks again!
 

Silver Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 140
Registered: Dec-12
Don't get me wrong. Good records (which were always the exception in the US) can sound just great, so long as the modulation levels are kept moderately low and you don't expect dead silence in the background. But however high the quality that can be achieved with records, it cannot match a CD, and it was all-too-seldom achieved. That's the problem.

Ever since about 1969, LPs have used 'compatible stereo', in which signals below about 500 Hz are mixed to the center (i.e., mono). If you look at older stereo records from the mid 1960s, you can see the difference. This was done for several reasons: to make records easier to press, as it lowered the depth of the groove. Also, stores did not like double inventory for every item (mono and stereo). Very few people know about this today.

Anyway, I had about 1200 records when I finally dumped them. Maybe 1/3 of those were not flawed in some way; almost all of those were ECM or foreign pressings. My Beatles records were German pressings and for the most part excellent, but the Beatles music did not stretch the limits of dynamic range and frequency that more recent music has.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17704
Registered: May-04
.

"And records don't suck. That does insult me."




Geeez, you'd think most people would apologize for insulting you, wouldn't you?


Would that have been so GD difficult, Ornello? Good grief!


Ry, I think you and I can agree LP's and CD's both have pros and cons and both can sound very good - without all the BS self-adoration Orne needs to add.



Let me know what you think of the cork dots.




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Silver Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 142
Registered: Dec-12
Records had their day. That day is gone. Almost every record I wanted to replace on CD has been reissued on CD. there are a few that for some reason never made it onto CD, but there are damn few.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1547
Registered: Jul-07
Who cares about manners....

I do, we all should.....

LMAO.
 

Silver Member
Username: Ornello

Post Number: 143
Registered: Dec-12
LQTM
 

New member
Username: Mike2222x

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-15
Boy, some folks are so HARSH!! WHY??

I'd try to work with that receiver Ultrx.

If you don't and want to sell it give me a shout here.
 

New member
Username: All_lit_up

Post Number: 5
Registered: Jan-13
Mike,
I haven't been using the Ultrx so I'm interested in selling it. How's 20 bucks sound? Plus shipping of course, you know it's heavy! Let me know, you can email me directly at goodnewsfirst@cableone.net
Thanks
 

New member
Username: Msjazzmaven

Post Number: 2
Registered: Apr-16
As a diehard turntable afficionado, for all matters concerning maintenance and upkeep, I highly recommend the Vinyl Nirvana Web site. There is a wealth of information on vintage machines, different mods (tonearm and cartridge changes), platter upgrades, etc. Some are super pricey, but worth a look anyway. You can also purchase replacement parts while there. The url is http://www.vinylnirvana.com .
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