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Call me nostalgic: Analog & Digital

koelaboe

Standard Member
i wanted to digitize my vinyl record collection.
setup: fast computer, santa cruz sound card, audacity 1.3 beta software.
analog in: AR turntable, shure v15 cartridge, xpsound-xp201 phono pre-amp.

got started with the first record and it took all of 2 evenings to learn some of the audacity program.
all above did a bang up job to transport the analog signal to digital.
removed some noise and all the clicks and pops and bang... burned it to a cd.
played it on my avr350 - dv139 combo and wow... it sounded just like my old record setup from the past... i think.

here is the rub, it just takes too much time!
to do 1 record: actual playing time up to 60 minutes. then it starts to get murky; depending on who you are it may take a long time before the last tweak and twist makes it sound just right.
yes you get the picture; the digital fine tuning is almost infinite.

in my case i 'saw the light'. i would need another 20 years of dedicated digitizing my collection and i just don't have that much time left.
then the biggest "duh..." came over me: why not hookup the pre-amp to the turntable, run a good cable to the avr350, see if you still have a free analog input left, move the turntable convenient and close to the sound system, collect records underneath in the turntable cabinet and double WOW... what a sound !
i even love the old snap, crackle, pop as i was used to hear then when playing the you know what out of a fine new record release we used to wait for with much impatience.

when i first got my avr350 - dv139 combo i was dutiful impressed and delighted with the sound and re-discovered my whole cd collection. such depth and dynamics.

but after sulking in a closet for such a long time now all my vinyl records are blinking their collective grooves telling me: 'me first... no me first please...!
and yes what a sweet, clean, clear, honest sound can be heard with a good combination of equipment.
and heck i don't even mind getting up and walking to change the record over.

question:
i have to turn the avr350 up to at least 80db to get the base sound i like. feeling i miss some of the low end punch.
realizing there must be better phono pre-amps can anyone let me know what works for you?

(how longwinded can one get to just ask a simple question, sorry)

regards
nick
 

lpm

Active Member
nick,

About as lonwinded as I can get with an answer.

I have a separate area for stereo so I don’t run my phono stage into my AVR300 but rather into separate pre and power amps. Like you, I have recently added my old AR XB and Shure M95HE back into my system to sit alongside a CD36. Like you, I am loving it.:thumbsup:

I have been extremely happy with the CD side of things as the 36 is a corker and now find the vinyl equally rewarding. Performance wise, there is not much between them. I’m sure a better deck and cartridge would put some extra gloss on the vinyl side but the two sources as they are now are simply a bit different in their presentation emphasis rather than one being better than the other. To be perfectly honest, I rather enjoy the old ritual of selecting, putting on the LP and dusting etc. What has surprised me most is that there is very little surface noise, pops, rumble etc and whilst the noise floor is not quite as low as with the 36, it is quite unobtrusive.

I have not heard your current pre/phono stage but I bought a CA 640P as I didn’t want to spend too much money until I saw if I really wanted to get seriously back into vinyl. However, I’ve found it surprisingly good and it punches well above its weight; good base and treble and quite clean on the mids as well. Much, much better than some other basic phono stages that I tried. It might not be quite up there with the EAR’s etc but it won’t be the first thing I upgrade on the vinyl side unless Arcam come out with a stand alone phono stage option.:)
 

tvh3ad

Active Member
question:
i have to turn the avr350 up to at least 80db to get the base sound i like. feeling i miss some of the low end punch.
realizing there must be better phono pre-amps can anyone let me know what works for you?

regards
nick


I'm using Arcam's onboard phono stage in an AV9 with a VPI Scout/Grado Sonata and I absolutely love it: this rig is just amazing, to the point where I'm really not much interested in CDs any more. I don't know if you can add the stage to the AVR series, but if you can it's a worthwhile investment -- it's reasonably-priced and compares favorably against many (though of course by no means all) more expensive outboard stages.

However, regarding bass response here are three things I would consider before replacing your preamp:

1. On my AV9, it's possible to raise the phono preamp input level using the input trim; I would guess that the AVR has something similar. This shouldn't change your bass response, but it might help equalize the input level against regular line-level sources like the DV139 so that you get a more correct A/B comparison.

2. Cartridge VTA can seriously affect bass response. If your lows are de-emphasized, you might want to check it. Neutral response = parallel, bass emphasis = nose up, treble emphasis = nose down.

3. The cartridge and stylus could be old and less flexible than they once were -- sounds like this table is something you had in storage, so perhaps this is worth checking into. Many styli are mounted into a small rubber or plastic piece; if this is dry or brittle, it will restrict the movement of the stylus and cartridge.

I'll leave off there for now and spare you from my rantings on phono interconnects... ;)
 

koelaboe

Standard Member
thanks lyn and tvh3ad

tvh3ad, you are so right by saying:

"3. The cartridge and stylus could be old and less flexible than they once were -- sounds like this table is something you had in storage, so perhaps this is worth checking into. Many styli are mounted into a small rubber or plastic piece; if this is dry or brittle, it will restrict the movement of the stylus and cartridge."

yesterday when i was ready to do some more listening i found my stylus was ready to break off at the back of the shank. that is the end of a good cartridge; shure V15VMRLE.
no replacement V15V to be had so i quickly ordered the shure M97XE as a replacement seeing that it is very similar to the V15V.
then i can do some testing and try out your suggestion of tipping the nose up and or down. i have a couple of rubber wedges from the V15V setup left.

i may still be ok with my present setup.
will post with later results.

nick
 

lpm

Active Member
I’d try the new cartridge level at first. Chances are it was the old cantilever at fault and response will be spot on with the new cantilever and stylus. I gave my old AR TT a good service and made sure it was level, correct VTF set, the cartridge properly aligned etc which all contributed to a better performance but replacing the stylus (after all it was about 20yo) and setting the unit on a really solid base made the most difference of all. Trying hard not to be jealous of a VPI scout though.:)

Yes please, lets know how the new cartridge goes. If there are still some problems remaining with the base then you can look at other external phono stage options as I expect that unlike the AV9, the 350 does not have an internal option. Be glad to be proved wrong though.
 

koelaboe

Standard Member
just finished mounting my new shure cartridge M97XE.
now all the settings and...
oops no right channel. well my fumble fingers broke the lead. :mad:

after some delicate soldering all is well and all the sound is back. good highs and a solid base at normal db levels.

very happy with re-discovering all the excellent music i have on vinyl.

thanks all
nick
 

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