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Why does my vinyl music sound flat compared to cd

adamski88

Standard Member
I have technics 1210 with ortofon concorde pro s stylus/needle, vestax pmc-25 dj mixer nakamichi av1 power amp and processor and Samsung blueray as player that came with my TV which is connected to the nakamichi processor.

I have loads of vinyl records and my problem is that my vinyl sounds flat and lifeless compared to playing cd. Can anyone advise where my system maybe letting me down. Im thinking it's the vestax. Can anyone suggest a solution that would cost me less than £200. Thanks
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
I've never been overly keen on the 1210s as a hi-fi turntable, but many people seem to like them, and I don't think it is what is letting you down at the moment. The cartridge you are using is more geared to taking abuse than outright sound quality (better than Stantons though), but again, not the main issue at the moment. A turntable can be held back by the phono stage used, and as you suspect, I think the mixer in general is letting you down. The phono stage built into this isn't going to be anything special, so I think this is the first part of the system to look at to improve what you have. You could try a stand alone phono stage plugged into the line level input of your mixer to see how that alone improves things, but I suspect you need to be looking at a full pre-amplifier to start making the most of what you have.

I would just have a look around on ebay for any well known brands - something like an Audiolab 8000C.
 

clived

Established Member
How old / how many hours on your cartridge? I'd suggest fitting a hifi oriented cartridge rather than a DJ one. For your budget an AT-440MLb mounted on a new headshell would be a good starting point (Audio Technica cartridges for example - although don't look at the rest of the site or you'll be tempted to spend more money ;-) )
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Does the Turntable sound flat and lifeless, or just not as loud as the CD?

CDs are typically a bit hotter than a turntable. In my case, the Universal DVD I was using as a CD Player was massively louder than my Turntable which for me is the standard. It took 12db attenuators to bring the CD down to the level of the Turntable.

So, I ask again, is the difference a quality different or a volume difference?

Also, while you do have a DJ rig, DJ stylus's are typically Conical, that's great for DJing, but not great for Hi-Fi Playback. Most Hi-Fi Cartridge have some form of Elliptical stylus which is more precisely able to track the grooves of the record.

Steve/bluewizard
 

clived

Established Member
Does the Turntable sound flat and lifeless, or just not as loud as the CD?
I'd have thought given the "pre-amp" is a mixer the OP would have no issue level matching? :)

Actually, something none of us have asked is - how many hundreds of times have your records been played? Are they just old and worn?
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
@clived: Good point but I would rather hear it from the Original Poster.

Is this the system you are using?

Nakamichi AV1/AVP1 review | What Hi-Fi?

Next, where is the PHONO Stage, or more accurately, where is the Phono Equalization Pre-Amp? Built into the Mixer, a stand alone, built into the turntable? What?

Next, try the turntable without the DJ Mixer.

Next, what are you comparing the Turntable too? You say it sounds Flat, but how is the CD connect? Is the CD connected to the Mixer or directly to the Pre-Amp?

I assume your Mixer is similar to this -

Vestax PMC 250

Click on "Show Full Description" to see details.

The Mixer does seem to have AUX input, you could plug the CD Player into the Mixer to see if the Mixer changes the sound. Equally you could try the turntable without the mixer, assuming you have a Phono Stage, to see if it sound changes.

Clived also touch on something, how old is the turntable, or more importantly, how old is the cartridge. Given that the turntable has a removable Headshell, you could have a Headshell for DJ work and a separate Headshell with a Stereo/Hi-Fi cartridge in it.

turntable headshell - Google Search

There are really too many factors to determine where the problem is. We need to go through a process of elimination to determine the real source of the problem.

Steve/bluewizard
 

moppit

Established Member
For your budget the best bet would be to look out for a used Arkless modded Cambridge audio phono stage (search pfm classifieds from time to time). Failing that something like an arcam alpha 8 or 9 is a really good piece of kit with excellent phono stage. Either will transform your collection. A new cartridge worth a look too.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Are you sure the Stylus (needle) is in good condition. If the Stylus gem is broken or the cantilever arm that the Stylus is mounted in is damaged, you will still hear sound, it will just sound like dung.

Equally, I've heard turntable with the Stylus Gem completely gone, and you can still hear sound, but it really really sounds like crap.

Is the Stylus clean? Crud can build up on the stylus to the point where it can effect the sound. A small brush (artist's brush) and perhaps a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser can help clean the stylus.

Steve/bluewizard
 

adamski88

Standard Member
Thanks all for the replies and apologies for the lack of response. I had not realized what seemed like a simple question could open a can of worms with what the problem might be.

I did a test (although not the best of tests) i played a cd through my portable dvd player connected to the dj mixer and then played the same cd with my blueray player connected direct to the nakamichi. (i was being lazy not connecting the blueray player to the mixer). The difference was amazingly impressive, the blueray sounded 10 times better. I will do a test again using the same player and report back just to make sure.
 

DIBSTER

Prominent Member
Careful! You will have the vinyl police knocking on your door in the middle of the night if you say your CDs are sounding better than your vinyl ;)
 

adamski88

Standard Member
OK did a better test. Tested cd direct to receiver and via the dj mixer. The dj mixer was 'quieter' (better not say rubbish sound) even with levels adjusted on dj mixer.

Actually I think I do need to say the sound was not as good even if I turn up the volume on the amp. Thus I'm thinking either I am loosing quality through the dj mixer or the stylus needs replacing. Im guessing the stylus so will invest in the stylus and report back.
 

adamski88

Standard Member
Steve, yes that's the system I have with the vestax mixer. The stylus is an old one has probably done some milage. This is the first time in getting the vinyl out in 10 years so hope to improve the sound with new stylus
 

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