HELP! why am I getting no bass with new Turntable? (Solved)

Kapkirk

Active Member
Purchased the Debut Pro Turntable last week (with Pick it Pro cartridge based on the 2M series cartridge) and am finding the bass very weak, I have to invoke the tone controls on my amp and turn the bass control up to the 3 o'clock position to get anything that resembles bass and with it like that the sound is just muddy with no definition. I'm not a bass head, just want to hear what's going on with bass guitars & kick drum etc. Project describes the sound from the PickIt Pro cartridge as dynamic and robust, that's not what I am getting.

I have it connected directly to my Denon PMA1600NE amp's phono input, everything else in the frequency range sounds superb, the top end and mids are super clean and detailed without any edginess like reported on the 2M red (the Pick-it pro stylus is actually a lot better than I expected) but bass response is very poor.

I have already tried another Phono preamp, a Project phono box MM that I had laying about (no difference) and the sound was actually WORSE than on the Denon Phono stage.
Bass is full and detailed from my digital sources -Node 3 and Sony CDP and from TV when using source Direct, so I assume the amp is not the issue.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Buy a cheap tracking weight scale and check that or even just carefully increase in small increments and see what you find. Probably that simple.
 

gava

Active Member
Well one possibility is that from your digital music you have gotten used to hearing bass below 100Hz, and vinyl cannot really play those frequencies.

Not a vinyl expert by any means, but as I understand it it's a limitation because of the groove and stylus interaction, encoding low bass ends up simply kicking the tip out of the track groove.

There have been other standards, but most records simply do not encode frequencies below 100Hz. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
 
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Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
The vinyl media requires a large groove width for significant bass, which would substantially reduce playing time. RIAA equalization is used to lowers bass and raised treble on recording, and does the opposite on replay (see RIAA equalization - Wikipedia). The disadvantage is that this also amplifies the rumble.

Some LP recordings apply a high pass filter at 100Hz, others at 70Hz, mostly to preserve running lengths. There are also LPs that pride themselves on being difficult to track because of their low bass, such as the famous Telarc 1812 recording (Amazon product).

Your cartridge and phono box should be sufficient, Other than checking the tracking, it may simply be something you will need to get used to. In essence, as gava says, it's one of the limitations of the medium's need to compromise. Even the 1812 mentioned above compromised - although loud, the dynamic range is rather restricted.
 
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MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Well one possibility is that from your digital music you have gotten used to hearing bass below 100Hz, and vinyl cannot really play those frequencies

It really can. It can go subsonic too, which was removed on CD and is one of the few proven differences between vinyl and digital sound.
 

gava

Active Member
It really can. It can go subsonic too, which was removed on CD and is one of the few proven differences between vinyl and digital sound.

Better go correct all that nonsense in wikipedia then. :)

I don't mean to disrespect your sacred cow. It's been a very long time since I used vinyl. If you have a setup meant for home theatre or digital music however I have seen it written for a long time in many places that there may simply be a period of adjustment.
 
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MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member

DT79

Distinguished Member
Well one possibility is that from your digital music you have gotten used to hearing bass below 100Hz, and vinyl cannot really play those frequencies.

Not a vinyl expert by any means, but as I understand it it's a limitation because of the groove and stylus interaction, encoding low bass ends up simply kicking the tip out of the track groove.

There have been other standards, but most records simply do not encode frequencies below 100Hz. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
That is wrong, the vinyl medium/replay system can go lower than human audibility, no issue. I believe there is a frequency below which the bass is essentially mono though, although low enough that human hearing can’t really tell. Perhaps that’s what you’re thinking of.
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
@Kapkirk check your vertical tracking angle (i.e. make sure the arm is parallel to the record surface. If it slopes down noticeably toward the cartridge then that would account for reduced bass. Also agree with checking the tracking force.

Could the headshell lead wires be connected incorrectly leading to one channel being out of phase?
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
The vinyl medium/replay system can go lower than human audibility, no issue. I believe there is a frequency below which the bass is essentially mono though, although low enough that human hearing can’t really tell.
I am hard pressed to think of any cartridge that can successfully reproduce frequencies below 20Hz. For example, Ortofon's £7,250 MC Anna only claims 20Hz (-1.5dB). The Top Wing Suzaku at €16,500 has apparently "been measured at 16Hz", but the manufacturer's web site (Coreless straight-flux cartridge "Suzaku(Red Sparrow)" | TOP WING Cybersound Group) makes no such claim.

The OP's Pick it PRO claims 20Hz (-2dB).
 

musicphil

Active Member
It is correct that the bass is reduced as the stylus goes further to the inner grooves - in other words LP with 5 tracks on a side, track 1 will get more bass than track 5. This was a big issue for Peter Gabriel as he wanted to end his album “So” with the track “In Your Eyes” but the difficulty of getting more definition on bass at the end of a vinyl album side had him move it to the start of side two. When the album was re-released on CD, he restored the song to the end of the album.
Going back to the original question, there seems to be a fault somewhere if there is no bass the OP's system.
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
I am hard pressed to think of any cartridge that can successfully reproduce frequencies below 20Hz. For example, Ortofon's £7,250 MC Anna only claims 20Hz (-1.5dB). The Top Wing Suzaku at €16,500 has apparently "been measured at 16Hz", but the manufacturer's web site (Coreless straight-flux cartridge "Suzaku(Red Sparrow)" | TOP WING Cybersound Group) makes no such claim.

The OP's Pick it PRO claims 20Hz (-2dB).
They've just quoted it in accordance with established conventions. If a cartridge is reproducing 20hz @-1.5db, clearly it tails off after that and therefore is producing those lower frequencies. Speaker lower frequency capabilities are often quoted at -3db or -6db.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to say anything other than that it is wrong to think that vinyl has appreciably different lower frequency capabilities than other media for the purpose of music reproduction. Certainly it is not the reason why the OP has issues with bass when playing vinyl.
 

gava

Active Member
I can't remember all details or find the article, but something like with vinyl:

There is a trade-off between play length and the amount of bass that can be accommodated. If you go very low then you need wider grooves. Mitigation can be provided by eliminating stereo bass on a narrower groove as bass isn't very directional anyway and by doing that you don't get the needle thrown out of the track.

Also though if you have a longer album then you may need to master with a highpass filter which removes a fair bit of the bass.

The RIAA equalization curve also helps.

A couple of the things I had in mind - but as someone who hasn't used vinyl in a long time I shall now bow out of this thread because there is much more that I don't know than that I do know.



 

DT79

Distinguished Member
I can't remember all details or find the article, but something like with vinyl:

There is a trade-off between play length and the amount of bass that can be accommodated. If you go very low then you need wider grooves. Mitigation can be provided by eliminating stereo bass on a narrower groove as bass isn't very directional anyway and by doing that you don't get the needle thrown out of the track.

Also though if you have a longer album then you may need to master with a highpass filter which removes a fair bit of the bass.

The RIAA equalization curve also helps.

A couple of the things I had in mind - but as someone who hasn't used vinyl in a long time I shall now bow out of this thread because there is much more that I don't know than that I do know.



Yes there are ultimately physical limitations, but they can be worked around. The first article just explains why RIAA is necessary and the second two are informational to help sound engineers work around the physical limitations and still get the end result they want.

No half way competently mastered record has any noticeable lack of bass.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Getting good bass off a vinyl record is fairly straight forward. If it wasn't there wouldn't be so many dance DJ's still happy to use the medium.
Re the OP's issues, firstly I'd guess alignment/tracking weight. I like Project, but I've had to readjust carts that have come with their tables before.
Secondly, that Pick it cart is not great in my opinion. I was prepared to give it a go when I got my X1. It lasted 3 weeks. Too analytical and bright.
 

FootHealer

Active Member
Purchased the Debut Pro Turntable last week (with Pick it Pro cartridge based on the 2M series cartridge) and am finding the bass very weak, I have to invoke the tone controls on my amp and turn the bass control up to the 3 o'clock position to get anything that resembles bass and with it like that the sound is just muddy with no definition. I'm not a bass head, just want to hear what's going on with bass guitars & kick drum etc. Project describes the sound from the PickIt Pro cartridge as dynamic and robust, that's not what I am getting.

I have it connected directly to my Denon PMA1600NE amp's phono input, everything else in the frequency range sounds superb, the top end and mids are super clean and detailed without any edginess like reported on the 2M red (the Pick-it pro stylus is actually a lot better than I expected) but bass response is very poor.

I have already tried another Phono preamp, a Project phono box MM that I had laying about (no difference) and the sound was actually WORSE than on the Denon Phono stage.
Bass is full and detailed from my digital sources -Node 3 and Sony CDP and from TV when using source Direct, so I assume the amp is not the issue.
Hi Kapkirk,

Sadly, when started my vinyl collection, I also noticed that the bass on some albums was not as deep or tight as CD or streaming versions. But, on other albums or singles, it was fine. I seem to recall that most of the 12 inch singles I have, plus albums with only two or three songs on each side, tend to have better bass than albums with more tracks or longer tracks, probably for reasons already mentioned. This is just something I learned to accept and it doesn't bother me so much now. In fact, on Sunday, I had an interesting experience. My wife wanted me to stream a song for her, a disco hit from the late 70s. I found a 24-bit "Hi-Res" version of the track, played it...and it was almost unlistenable, even on the sweet and smooth Concept 20s! Where was the bass? It was pretty much all treble, bright, and after a minute or so, we both agreed we should turn it off. We tried Youtube, and it actually sounded better despite the low resolution, and with more and better bass. I bought her the LP recently, an original pressing, in VG+ condition, and we took it out and played it...the bass was even better with greater detail and clarity than both the other versions (if you ignore the noise-floor of a 44 year old record)! So, the HD streaming service had a copy of the song that was pretty awful, and the LP had great bass in comparison. Go figure...
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
What we generally refer to as bass or slam is usually around 80Hz, so well within the frequency range of pretty much all turntables. Your tone controls will be active over a similar region.

I would second checking the cartridge wiring, as lack of bass suggests a phase issue somewhere.
 

Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
To help the OP - some things to look at with the Debut Pro (we've shipped many and have one in store):

  1. tracking angle - the debut pro features adjustable VTA - tracking angle. We found that most had "slipped" in transit and were running low. As such, the angle the stylus was running was a little out of compliance / tolerance. You can get a cheap protractor for this just to ensure you have the right angle set.
  2. tracking force - the obvious one. There's a range of tracking forces for cartridges. Something like the Measure IT E (£30 scale) to ensure you're within range. You can increase the tracking force to the upper limit - how does the sound change to you?
  3. cleanliness of records - is it all records you're experiencing this "lack of bass" on? I clean my vinyl regularly - background noise (grime and dirt) can often muddy the sound somewhat. Something such as the Spin Clean is a good little investment if you have a growing library to get your records into a better state :)
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
tracking force - the obvious one. There's a range of tracking forces for cartridges. Something like the Measure IT E (£30 scale) to ensure you're within range. You can increase the tracking force to the upper limit - how does the sound change to you?
These are very useful and, in the interest of balance, can be got for about £10. No Project logo though, of course.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Getting good bass off a vinyl record is fairly straight forward. If it wasn't there wouldn't be so many dance DJ's still happy to use the medium.
Unfortunately, get good bass of an LP is anything but straight forward, especially if the L in LP is taken seriously - it is in fact not possible. The bigger/deeper the bass, the wider the groove, the lower the playing time. That's why these "Dance LPs" hardly last over 10 minutes a side, whilst classical LPs (that's my interest) are expected to have 25'-30'+ per side, and therefore compromise on the deep bass.

We all agree here that the OP needs to investigate further. As well as the technical aspects we're all mentioning, I also suggest trying an LP with known deep bass (e.g. the 1812 I referenced), in order to exclude the possibility that it's a source material issue.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Unfortunately, get good bass of an LP is anything but straight forward, especially if the L in LP is taken seriously - it is in fact not possible. The bigger/deeper the bass, the wider the groove, the lower the playing time. That's why these "Dance LPs" hardly last over 10 minutes a side, whilst classical LPs (that's my interest) are expected to have 25'-30'+ per side, and therefore compromise on the deep bass.

We all agree here that the OP needs to investigate further. As well as the technical aspects we're all mentioning, I also suggest trying an LP with known deep bass (e.g. the 1812 I referenced), in order to exclude the possibility that it's a source material issue.
I have plenty of LP's with more than sufficient bass. I get that there's only going to be so much, but I'm never left wondering where the bass is.
 

andybebbs

Active Member
kapkirk I suggest if you have a bass issue then its not the records as i have never listened to a record where bass is an issue so the problem must be elsewhere in your setup so check all your connections and that your cartridge is aligned and set up properly.
Andy
 

FootHealer

Active Member
I think one issue, that others have already alluded to, is the necessity of defining the terms "not enough bass". What is "not enough"? Personally, I am with @Mark.Yudkin on this one. It really depends on the record. What constitutes "enough bass" is very subjective. If you mean frequencies below 100Hz, or below 40Hz, and use the same way of speaking then it may be confusing things.

I have 12 inch LPs with one 5 minute Dance track on each side, and the bass slams deep. I have albums with several songs, 25 minutes or more, squeezed onto each side, and the bass is weak and feeble. This is consistant across my small collection. If you are used to big bass, slamming from 80Hz to 25Hz or something like that, then this can come as quite a shock.
 
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Khankat

Well-known Member
I get very good bass reproduction from my modest rig. When cranked up a little, the bass can be physically felt as well as heard.

It's a fact that bass reproduction on vinyl, does depend on the width of the groove: roughly speaking, greater bass reproduction is achieved with a wider groove.

On a personal note, I am not a fan of the Ortofon Red mm and its clones. It's a reasonable starter cartridge, one often bundled with a turntable, but it can be bettered by quite some margin. Consider changing it, only when you're satisfied that your T/T is correctly set up.

Turntable setup has been covered by other knowledgeable contributors to this thread, so follow their instructions.
 

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