Turntable lacking presence

orangefender

Active Member
Dear all,

I am having a frustrating time trying to achieve a high quality signal from my turntable and would appreciate your assistance in identifying the cause.

Essentially, I am dissatisfied with the sound I get from the turntable when compared to my CD player. The bass is weak and there is a general lack of presence. From what I have read about the old vinyl v. cd debate, I expect a similar if not better quality sound from the the turntable, albeit at a lower volume.

My system is comprised of the following:

1. Arcam Alpha 10 integragted amplifier;
2. Arcam Alpha 9 CD player;
3. Pro-ject 6.1 turntable (similar to the perspective in the current pro-ject range) with a Nagaoka MP-11 cartridge;
4. Arcam integrated phono pre-amp; and
5. Mordant Short MS10 stand mounted speakers.

The turntable is sitting on a heavy concrete paving placed on top of a far from ideal Ikea cabinet (I hope the slab compensates for this). I am using good quality audo cables.

For comparison I use the opening to Pink Floyd's The Wall which I have on vinyl and CD.

I have spent some time setting and resetting up the turntable, and have ensured it is sitting level with tracking force and anti-skate set correctly. I have also tried placing the concrete slab and turntable on the carpeted floor, but notice only a modest improvement at best.

Is it reasonable for me to expect an as good sound from this turntable as my cd player? If so, is there anything which jumps out as being the reason for the problems I am experiencing?

Many thanks in anticipation.

Ian
 

nil102

Active Member
The MP11 gives a smooth but dull vinyl reproduction and will sound lacking when compared with a quality CD player.The Pro-Ject should be able to do justice to a much better quality cartridge i.e the new ortofon 2M red(£60) or Blue(£100)or one of the Goldring range.All of these will bring your vinyl back to life.If you try an Audio Technica AT95e at around £30 you will still find a major improvement.:smashin:
 
M

maidened

Guest
Ian look at my thread on system synergy. HI FI is a funny beast.
 
M

maidened

Guest
The MP11 gives a smooth but dull vinyl reproduction and will sound lacking when compared with a quality CD player.The Pro-Ject should be able to do justice to a much better quality cartridge i.e the new ortofon 2M red(£60) or Blue(£100)or one of the Goldring range.All of these will bring your vinyl back to life.If you try an Audio Technica AT95e at around £30 you will still find a major improvement.:smashin:
Ask a dealer if you can try before you buy. Don't bang your head against a wall:suicide:
 

cwilson

Active Member
I would imagine that it is the cart thats not 'doing' it for you. As for the Ikea rack being the cause, if its something like the oppli or corrus I doubt it is harming it much. You could get 4 furniture castor cups, 4 squash balls and a granite chopping board from Asda or somwhere and build a 'isolating plinth' that may help. Then try one of the new Ortofon MM carts, or one of Hi-fi's unsung bargains. The Denon DL110 Cart, it is a high output moving coil, so works into the MM section of a phone stage, and lives with carts at around the £250 mark... it sells in the mid £60's.
 

Alan Mac

Well-known Member
Is it reasonable for me to expect an as good sound from this turntable as my cd player? If so, is there anything which jumps out as being the reason for the problems I am experiencing?


Ian

Ian,

No, it is quite unreasonable to expect as good a sound from your turntable (and vinyl records) as you would get from your Compact Disc player.

The CD system is better than the vinyl record in every measurable respect.


Alan
 

cwilson

Active Member
other than the final hearing test that is
 

phil t

Well-known Member
At risk of making myself look really stupid, you have got the optional phono stage fitted?

:)
 

Pat Marcus

Active Member
It isnt at all unreasonable to expect a good sound from your TT and one that in many ways betters your CD.
My turntable/arm/cartridge combo is about the same value as my CD front end and the sound is noticeably more 3Dimensional and organic.
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
Ian,

No, it is quite unreasonable to expect as good a sound from your turntable (and vinyl records) as you would get from your Compact Disc player.

The CD system is better than the vinyl record in every measurable respect.


Alan
Err, right................ And what is that based on exactly? CD was also supposed to have zero (at least thats what they claimed) distortion etc, etc. And over time all the digital fantasies have slowly been unraveled.

I would expect any half decent TT to be at least as good, if not better than it's CD equivalent.

However, each to their own. :)

The Arcam 9 is a great CD player, it's detailed, dynamic and has (for CD that is) good stereo. The TT is currently being inhibited by a cartridge that will not let the TT shine. Try looking at the cartridges suggested, but also look out (if you have a decent MC input) for a Denon DL304. Some dealers still stock them.

@Pat Marcus, exactly. ;)
 

DOBLY

Well-known Member
Hi orangefender,

I have the same CD player and amp as you (fitted with the same phono stage), albeit with a different turntable, arm and cartridge. My speakers are also different to yours being Acoustic Energy AE509s. CD replay volume is about 40-50% louder than vinyl replay, but hey, it's a good excuse to turn that big knob up to levels that would deafen you with a cd when playing a decent single or LP !

I have an Atacama eqinox rack which probably contributes a bit more to the vinyl side of things than the Arcam alpha 9CD.

The sound I get from CD and vinyl is largely comparable (but sometimes quite different in that indefinable "essence" of character), probably because the vinyl set up is at a slightly higher level than yours being a Michell Gyro SE, and Sumiko Blue Point Special cartridge. I get pretty good stereo imaging and sometimes the ellusive 3D feeling on certain recordings on both cd and vinyl replay. I think that this is where your disappointment lies - perhaps the quality of this mighty fine cd player is a bit greater than the quality of your vinyl set up - certainly the cartridge may be the place to achieve the improvements in synergy that maidened talks about, and nil102 alludes to.

Proper cartridge allignment and set up takes some skill, but you should be able to get very good (if not great) results in about half an hour - the last 5-10% of performance can takes many hour of fiddling about. I am certainly no expert in all this, this is just an observation through my limited experience.

I am definitely not of the opinion that CD is always superior to vinyl (or the other way around) - it just so happens that sometimes the synergy you get from a certain bunch of components is so rewarding that you get disappointed by the sound you get from another (often equally costly) source.

As cwilson and overkill both say, the cartridge appears to be the weakest link - say goodbye to it as soon as you can and spend a bit more on it's replacement.

Hope this helps - good luck.

Dobly
 
J

JollyJeweller

Guest
I'm sure it's available on Ebay...
I think it was one of Led Zeppelin's best albums....


I'll get my coat :rotfl:
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
I must admit DOBLY, I would be worried if my Vinyl replays output was 50% (or even 30%) lower than my CD's. :confused: However, it is down to the phono stage and Cartridge output. At the same time, I'm surprised at the equal nature of the two sources. The Arcam is a fine CD player, but I would expect more from the SE. Again, the Cartridge may be the problem there.

In my setup, it takes a very poor recording for the CD to sound the TT's equal. And don't get me wrong, I love my CD player........ *cuddles the Primare, 'there there honey'* :D
 

DOBLY

Well-known Member
Hi Overkill - perhaps I was a bit unfair on the vinyl output - it is a lot quieter but you are right, it isn't anything as much as 40% - more like 25. Also, what I was trying to get at was that the CD reproduction is excellent, but sometimes with a great piece of vinyl the sound is more alive, vibrant and "organic", giving you that "lost in music" feeling which is all too rare with CD.
 

orangefender

Active Member
Thank you everyone for your input. I am now doing my research on cartridges!

I think first I need to decide whether to go down the MM or MC route and how much it is worth me spending relative to my turntable. Any advice would be appreciated. I am a little concerned that the the medium-mass aluminum tonearm will let me down with a MC cartridge.

Dolby - do you have an opinion on whether the arcam phono stage is better suited to a MC or MM cartridge? I understand that phono stages with the option for both normally have a preference. (I have noticed that there is a two bar difference in volume between the cd player and turntable on my system).
 
M

maidened

Guest
Thank you everyone for your input. I am now doing my research on cartridges!

I think first I need to decide whether to go down the MM or MC route and how much it is worth me spending relative to my turntable. Any advice would be appreciated. I am a little concerned that the the medium-mass aluminum tonearm will let me down with a MC cartridge.

Dolby - do you have an opinion on whether the arcam phono stage is better suited to a MC or MM cartridge? I understand that phono stages with the option for both normally have a preference. (I have noticed that there is a two bar difference in volume between the cd player and turntable on my system).
Try the Audio room in Headon.Explain the situation and your budget and they will help all they can.
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
Hi Overkill - perhaps I was a bit unfair on the vinyl output - it is a lot quieter but you are right, it isn't anything as much as 40% - more like 25. Also, what I was trying to get at was that the CD reproduction is excellent, but sometimes with a great piece of vinyl the sound is more alive, vibrant and "organic", giving you that "lost in music" feeling which is all too rare with CD.
I had that feeling last night with TD's Tangram. Bizarrely, as it's electronic music, I really don't enjoy Tangerine Dream on CD. It's left too cold and souless.

Maidened, I don't know them, do they do much analogue? Otherwise it's a waste of time for the OP. My local dealer sells TT's, but I wouldn't take his advice on anything more than skin deep stuff on carts, phono stages, impedance etc. I'm sure you're right, but just checking.
 
M

maidened

Guest
I had that feeling last night with TD's Tangram. Bizarrely, as it's electronic music, I really don't enjoy Tangerine Dream on CD. It's left too cold and souless.

Maidened, I don't know them, do they do much analogue? Otherwise it's a waste of time for the OP. My local dealer sells TT's, but I wouldn't take his advice on anything more than skin deep stuff on carts, phono stages, impedance etc. I'm sure you're right, but just checking.
They will put your needs first the only problem may be price. They love TT. Call them it won't hurt.
 

DOBLY

Well-known Member
Hi Orangefender,

My cartridge is described as "high output MC" - the arcam dealer I bought the amp, turntable and original cartridge from (Richards Audio Visual in St Albans, Herts) said that it would work best on the MM input - I haven't changed the internal switch on the phono board so I'm still using the MM input. I will investigate using the MC input once I get time.

Perhaps this explains the low volume issue??

As I said previously I'm no expert - perhaps this is showing exactly how much of a non-expert I am !!

:lesson:
 

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