AT-LP120 listening problems

Jo1976

Novice Member
Hey all,
I’ve got the AT-LP120 with a Sony TA-FE370 (I know, I know 🙄 ) and a pair of new Qacoustics 3020’s with C-Screen cables and banana plugs. A very budget setup but all I can afford at the moment, sigh... It does the job, apart from one problem...

I’m not hearing everything in the music. My flat is pretty damp and has some mould issues, last month I tried listening to an album with my *really* old Mission floor speakers, there was sound only coming from one monitor, I was ready for an upgrade and they had mould damage anyway, so I binned them.
Bought the 3020’s and set them up this morning as my husband’s birthday present (you know, the ‘it’s for me too’ kind of present).

Put on Hounds of Love and thought something wasn’t right, new speaker sound obviously, but felt that some thing was missing.
Put on Lionheart and when I got to ‘Coffee Homeground’ there were some things definitely missing.
If anyone would be so kind as to have a quick listen on YouTube or whatever you’ll hear the bit I mean, it’s the chorus (at 1:05) where she sings
‘Well, you won't get me with your Belladonna, in the coffee,
And you won't get me with your arsenic, in the pot of tea,

Usually the last lines ‘in the coffee’ and ‘in the pot of tea’ are both highly audible, but they sounded distant and quiet, kind of like the stereo wasn’t working. Please excuse my lack of technical language.


So I’m thinking it’s either the cartridge/needle (there may have been some bashing around of the turntable by friends when we moved 🤬) or the amp has finally gone, maybe from damp damage?

Any ideas on what this might be would be much appreciated! I know it’s difficult to say as you can’t test my set up, but any clues would be great as I can’t afford a new amp AND a new cartridge.

Thanks people!
Jo
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
Do you have any other sources you could plug in to the amp to test it. At a push a phone with a suitable 3.5mm to RCA lead will suffice.

Are you absolutely 100 percent sure the new speakers are wired in correctly, your speakers being out of phase could certainly account for your description of something being missing.from the sound.
 

Jo1976

Novice Member
Do you have any other sources you could plug in to the amp to test it. At a push a phone with a suitable 3.5mm to RCA lead will suffice.

Are you absolutely 100 percent sure the new speakers are wired in correctly, your speakers being out of phase could certainly account for your description of something being missing.from the sound.
Hi, thanks for the answer, I’ve tested some of the other inputs with some equipment my brother just brought round, we’re pretty sure it’s the phono connections in the amp. The speakers are definitely wired correctly, I’m pretty fastidious with that sort of thing. Luckily my brother has a spare amp he can lend us to break in the new speakers, going to try it out later today to check it’s the amp for sure. Here’s hoping, I’d be totally gutted if it was the turntable.
 

Jo1976

Novice Member
Might be a silly question, but are you sure the stylus is pushed in properly?
Hey, thanks for your answer, we did unscrew the whole cartridge, check the connections and the stylus, re connected it. Didn’t make a difference, but did notice that the needle is slightly wonky 😒 very annoying.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
IIRC the LP120 has a built in phono preamp which has a switch to by-pass or include it. If the phono preamp in the LP120 is engaged then you need to plug it into the AUX/Tape/CD/DVD line level inputs on the amp. If the LP120 preamp is disengaged (outputs direct the cartridge output, very small signal) then you need to connect to the Phono input on the amp. Try both ways round and see if there is a difference.

Also, when you removed the cartridge did you re-do the weight, alignment and anti skate ? If not it may be just a cartridge alignment issue.

Hope this helps.
 

oscroft

Well-known Member
IIRC the LP120 has a built in phono preamp which has a switch to by-pass or include it. If the phono preamp in the LP120 is engaged then you need to plug it into the AUX/Tape/CD/DVD line level inputs on the amp. If the LP120 preamp is disengaged (outputs direct the cartridge output, very small signal) then you need to connect to the Phono input on the amp. Try both ways round and see if there is a difference.
Hmm, yes... If higher frequencies are dull (and Kate is singing quite high in the "pot of tea" bit), and detail is lacking, that could suggest two sets of phono equalization might be happening. Like if the LP120 phono preamp is switched on, and it's also connected to the phono input on the amp.
 

Jo1976

Novice Member
IIRC the LP120 has a built in phono preamp which has a switch to by-pass or include it. If the phono preamp in the LP120 is engaged then you need to plug it into the AUX/Tape/CD/DVD line level inputs on the amp. If the LP120 preamp is disengaged (outputs direct the cartridge output, very small signal) then you need to connect to the Phono input on the amp. Try both ways round and see if there is a difference.

Also, when you removed the cartridge did you re-do the weight, alignment and anti skate ? If not it may be just a cartridge alignment issue.

Hope this helps.
Hey thanks. Yeah we did try with the preamp both engaged and not, it didn’t make a difference, again leading me to think it’s the phone connections on the amp.
That’s a good point, I really should check the weight again as I haven’t done for a while, and yep, realign and anti-skate. Don’t want Kate to diminish 😯
 

Jo1976

Novice Member
Hmm, yes... If higher frequencies are dull (and Kate is singing quite high in the "pot of tea" bit), and detail is lacking, that could suggest two sets of phono equalization might be happening. Like if the LP120 phono preamp is switched on, and it's also connected to the phono input on the amp.
Hoping the amp swap will sort the problem, double equalisation does make sense though. If the new amp doesn’t sort it I’ll make a better investigation...
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Hey thanks. Yeah we did try with the preamp both engaged and not, it didn’t make a difference, again leading me to think it’s the phone connections on the amp.
That’s a good point, I really should check the weight again as I haven’t done for a while, and yep, realign and anti-skate. Don’t want Kate to diminish 😯

did you try with the lp120 preamp engaged and plugged into an aux line input, if this was ok then it is the phono input.

what should happen -

  1. lp120 preamp off into phono input on amp - should sound ok, normal operating mode.
  2. lp120 preamp on into aux/line input on the amp - should be ok, normal operating mode.
  3. lp120 preamp off into aux/line input on amp - will be very quiet and have no bass or treble
  4. lp120 preamp on into phono input on amp - will be very loud and will have exaggerated bass and treble (double riaa Filter and double amplification of cartridge output).

whenever you change over the setting/connection remember to turn the amp off and turn the volume to minimum for safety.

from the above you should be able to work out whether the amp or lp120 is at fault, if everything is the same And not sounding right on the first two case (normal modes) then it is likely to be either the cartridge alignment or the cartridge/stylus. If it is ok on case 1 and not case 2 the issue is with the lp120, if it is ok on case 2 and not on case 1 then the issue is with the phono input. I would only try case 3 as a double check and if possible don’t try case 4 unless really necessary.

hope this helps.
 

oscroft

Well-known Member
A thought - is it the same with both channels? It would be very strange for the same sound problem to develop with both channels of an amp simultaneously.

And if you get the same problem with cases 1 and 2 described by Ugg10 above, my finger would also be suspiciously pointing towards the cartridge.
 

Jo1976

Novice Member
Hey all, thanks so much for all of your replies, have had a bit of an online break 😊 so I tried my brother’s amp and so far it seems to be working.
just out of interest, it’s an Arcam alpha 2, any thoughts on performance? It’s what I’ve got right now so it doesn’t really matter though, but nice to know!
 
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Jamie

Distinguished Member
The alpha is pretty old but it's still an Arcam stereo amplifier which is no bad thing at all IMO.
 

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