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Everything posted by maxg

  1. How to do this without being too long winded? OK I used to be an audiophile. Two things have changed. The first is my hearing which is not what it was (50% hearing loss in my left ear over 10K, less in the right). Second is that I was at a friends house a few years back listening to my own copy of the Rach 3 (Ashkenazy / Previn / LSO, London recording) and as the second movement ended I queried whether he thought the amp was clipping at points. I realized I was no longer listening to the music but listening to the system. My favorite piece of music of all time had become a test piece. That was a shock. The cure was to move away from audiophilia for a while and to deliberately listen to lesser systems. At first it hurt but after a while I could focus on the music and after a longer while my brain filled in the missing parts, or improved the parts that weren't rendered so well. Now I can listen to any system with scant regard to what it is (ok within limits) and hear the music as my brain tells me it should be. I still appreciate a good system that presents the music well, but its no longer such a biggie as it was. I'm listening to music again, not systems. Its quite a relief.
  2. Hi Thebes, Not out of vinyl per-say but I don't get a lot of listening done at home anymore. Most of the time its on the road. Its hard to schlep a TT with you. Sad to say 90% of my listening is now digital. Its just so convenient and with decent headphones and flac files it ain't half bad. Well that or I am getting used to it. Still got the 1000 records my wife let me keep.
  3. Balance between TT and cartridge is not about budget. It is about matching the physical characteristics of arm and cartridge. One of the best experiences I had was with a Denon 103 Cartridge on a clearaudio TT with a linear tracking arm. Thats a $10K TT with a $150 cart. It just so happened that the specs of the cart (tracking weight, compliance etc.) were perfect for the passive linear tracker. So breaking this down a bit further - the TT itself should be well isolated (from its own motor as much as anything), level and, if you are not going suspended, solid. Mass helps. The arm and cart are a combo. You should always get the one with the other in mind. That said, years of enjoyment can be had experimenting with other carts later on, but you want to start on a solid footing. Then there is the phono stage. If you are going MM then a phono stage built in to your pre-amp should be fine. MC will require more gain than most built in phono stages can muster. When I ran the Denon and a Shelter 901 I had a 67 dB gain Acoustic Signature Tango to drive them. You might want to factor in a power supply for the TT. Most TT motors get their timing from the mains. Having something that can provide a fixed 50Hz or 60Hz output can make quite a difference. Also worth bearing in mind that keeping a record flat (outer ring, vacuum system w.h.y) has a huge effect on the work that the arm and cantilever have to do. I used the clearaudio outer ring on my system and it was as if I doubled the capabilities of the arm, cart combo (a big reason as to why the Denon worked so well). I've probably just confused the whole thing for you. Sorry - I got really into vinyl back in the day.
  4. Most of my stereo is boxed up and in storage, even the clearaudio TT. Right now we have a little JVC system in the house (although it is connected to my sub) with wooden drivers. The sound is.....er.......pleasant. Cant find a picture of my sub online. I have an old (1975) Panasonic all-in-one player connected to it. That has a TT and I've modded it a bit so I can listen to vinyl still, on occasion. Other than that these days all my listening is done on my android phone. FLAC files using the Neutron player and a Pair of Sennheiser Momentum On-ear headphones. Its pretty good, but wouldn't win any awards I guess.
  5. Cheers Guys. Ill try to get on more often but my audio passion is on hold due to financial reasons, and my wife wanted her living room back.
  6. I saw this recently on Youtube and it was simply wonderful. Helps if you are a fan of Tim Minchin, but its not essential. Might be a bit.....British? for you all of course:
  7. Wow - thanks guys. Nice to be remembered - although I think time has embellished memories of my knowledge somewhat. Larry, Interesting move towards AV. I find that the video element makes me much more tolerant of the audio quality so the fact it ain't vinyl doesn't matter so much. I've even been known to enjoy music on youtube from time to time - and that really isn't quality. One thing you might enjoy though is this: Its the 2011 comedy proms. Generally hilarious whilst smuggling in tons of the sort of music you and I like. There's a wonderful montage with Orchestra playing one thing and piano playing another that will drive you mad attempting to identify which piece each is performing. Apple owners: Sadly I don't think there is any equivalent to Neutron for Apple. The real pity here is that iPhones, out of the box, probably have about the best sound quality of any phone but there's nothing you can do with it beyond that. Its pretty much my opinion of iProducts on all fronts. Initial user experience is the best but as soon as you want to go a bit further you are out of luck. Android is a PITA for the simple stuff but unlimited thereafter.
  8. If there is a reason for that its probably simply that I didn't have much to write. Whatever changes have happened to my audio system over the years have not been in the interest of better sonics but rather aesthetics. As a result I now run a rather simple system, although still vinyl based largely. Sadly, due mainly to lifestyle I don't get to listen to it all that often. My main music listening has been limited to my phone. Again, about 2 years ago I picked up an HTC Sensation XE with the Beats Audio profile and after junking the included Beats headphones settled on a cheap pair of AKG 311 earphones along with a pair of Senheisser HD 202's for home listening. That was very much that - it sounded OK, probably very good for a phone, but nothing to write home about. Now, I do have something to write about, so here I am again: Last month, whilst in the UK, I started to investigate other alternatives and eventually settled on a pair of Sennheiser "On-the-ear" Momentums which appeared to be an easier load on the limited capabilities of the phone than the larger original Momentums and actually, to my ears, sounded better. (Note: I can't wear the in-the-ear type earphones. They just don't stay in for me which is why I didn't try the Klipsch S4 units). Realizing that the phones were now much better than the source I started to look at what has happened in portable audio over the last few years to see if there was anything better than the Beats audio profile. I have tested the headphones on a slew of moble phones and frankly - nothing better, in fact, excepting the newer HTC models, nothing as good. It was then that I found, entirely by accident an app in the play-store called "Neutron" which claimed to be an audiophile's music player. I downloaded the free version and started to play about with it. There are more settings in this software than you can shake a stick at. I've left the majority of them well enough alone but have selected a few options (like 64 bit processing) that were recommended. To make a long story short - wow!!! The software will play every format I own, including 192/24 recordings. These are downsampled, obviously but that is a limitation of the phone and not the software. My next phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 3) has apparently got a 192/24 chip so that will be interesting. In the meantime anything FLAC or WMA lossless, even at a lowly 44.1/16 plays well. Some recordings, like my Dire Straits Private Investigations track, play so well its in uncanny. As a source for the main stereo its better than anything bar the vinyl (and that's a lot closer than I like to admit). Strongly advise anyone with a reasonably powerful mobile phone (say 1GHz dual core) to download it and give it a try. The nice thing is that it seems to bypass the built in settings almost completely. Even my Nexus 7 sounds good with it- and that has dreadful sound out of the box. In the meantime Tony, my best friend has gone the same route. Same phones, same software on this Samsung Galaxy S3. I haven't heard it on his yet but he reported that with a portably external amp it sounded "better than many $50K system's he's heard." Take that with a pinch of salt - Tony is prone to exaggeration. Just thought I'd share.
  9. "... the pair of MX-D1 amps" Now that's funny. I had forgotten you had 2 of them. Well, why not, they are only 500 wpc each and its not like JubScalas are highly sensitive speakers or anything. I'd guess that setup alone would serve a Stones concert for 60,000 or so....
  10. I don't think low voltage would do it. We are talking about a quite dramatic difference in sound quality here - beyond anything I would have thought possible. Its the sort of change one might expect if you were to change your source to one that is double the price. No - for this effect to have happened I think the only explanation is that the old panel was delivering a wavering voltage due to a combination of aging components and/or loose connections. It would be nice to attempt to regenerate that scenario deliberately with, say, a 5% continualy variation in voltage and listening to the result. Sadly I don't have the equipment to do that.
  11. Thanks Marvel - yes we are surviving the hiatus over here - just about. As for the reasons for the improvement of my sound with the new circuit breakers I am guessing that as they get older they get noisier. I am sure the least affected item is the TT as it does indeed have a power regulator on it that holds the Voltage at 230 Volts exactly and the frequency at exactly 50.1 Hz (both are user set - I use the additional 0.1 Hz to take into account slipage on the belt drive). My amp is a fairly high power 200 WPC unit and my pre-amp is a modded ZTPRE tube unit. I suspect that these 2 are the main beneficiaries of the improvements brought by the electrical changes. I use a powered sub too so that must also be benefitting I'd guess. Bascially as I said I never thought about it and certainly wasn't expecting a change as I didn't realize that there was anything wrong with the old installation. This was very much an after the event discovery. It would be quite interesting to run a test on a high powered amp to see how it coped with fluctuating electic power. I wonder if a plus or minus 5% swing would have an audible affect? I'd guess it would but until someone tests it out ....anyone?
  12. Well its been a very long time since I last posted on the 2 channel forum - mainly because my system settled about 4 years ago and hasn't changed an iota since then. That was until about a week ago - although nothing on the system, nor in the room has actually changed. So a week ago I started having serious electrical problems in the house with the main relay switching off regularly. I called a man in, He looked at the old board with its series of relays and stated it needed replacing. This was the cause of my problems apparently. So out with the old and in with the new. An amazing looking set of switches that would not look out of place in a Star Trek movie was installed. It was wonderful - but it didn't solve the problem. We went through the whole house and eventually discovered that the refridgerator was shorting out (power cable inside had worn through its shielding - how? and was shorting on the body of the unit). That was taped up and everything worked fine. So I was left thinking - well this beautiful to behold new set of switches was a complete waste of money then. But it wasn't. For the last 6 days I have been playing music on my system and am stunned. The improvement in sound has been simply astonishing. I am not sure it has ever played as well as this. Every aspect of sound reproduction has improved - from the firmness of the bass to the soundstage. It took me quite a while to reason out why this had happened. The last thing I suspected was the power - but as it was the only thing I had changed what else could it be? I have never been one for the importance of power cables and am still not - but the importance of an even, reliable power supply - on that I am now sold. There is now no doubt in my mind that the old relay box was problematic although it wasn't the cause of the original problem. My new sound tells me it was an amazingly good investment. I am guessing it is as good for all the other electrical items as it is for the stereo - just not as obvious. I dunno though - maybe the lights are a little bit brighter - it could just be my mood though.
  13. I need to come into this forum more often...big Marley fan - have been since god only knows when. As it happens I have 7 albums of his that I can readily lay my hands on (probably got a few more stored somewhere) all on vinyl: Talkin' Blues, Rebel Music, Survival, Kaya, Chances Are, Uprising and Rasterman Vibrations (still sealed). Thing is - these are all original or at least early pressings. In my limited experience with non-classical music these are often better than later audiophile versions as they have been made from fresh tapes. Its also worth considering how these particular albums were made before taking the plunge into audiophilia. When Bob started there wasn't much of a music industry in Jamaica. They actually recorded many of the albums as 4 track recordings. These were then sent to the UK where an additional 4 tracks were added to create 8 track "masters" from which the 2 channel mix for a record was created. This was not a process that would lend itself to re-creating the original sonic event in the best audiophile tradiitons. Oh - and my records cost a lot less - I think the most expensive (sealed) one was 10 bucks or so.
  14. Just as a quick follow up I wrote to the MD of the company pointing out this thread to him to see if he wanted to provide any input. He replied to me but did not feel comfortable writing on here directly so I'll just provide a few of the comments he put in his email. "You may want to mention to the fellow that the copper is from billet copper sheet, water cut to rough size on a $275,000 Machine//lapped flat on one side and then CNC machined ($ 376,000 machine) (using custom made vacuum plates to hold the copper on the 4 axis lathes) with polycrystalline diamond tools (copper is the most abrasive material next to high end aircraft alloys, but worse)to .001 flat and parallel./machined both sides." "Then they get 3 hand sprayed coats of DEF STAN 80-24/2 air drying laquer." "Needless to say......Copper cannot be stamped what a ridiculous concept, people all of our products are machined on top class Hardinge CNC machines, by skilled guys, 20 plus yrs in the business, We do not even own a shear press or stamping machine nor will we ever..." It would seem that there is a reason it costs what it does afterall. Also worth re-iterating that mine did cost more than double this one - and is not made of copper.
  15. It would depend on the TT involved and usage. My TT is designed for a heavy platter anyway so I do not have any such worries. I think that this is only really an option for high mass tables anyway as I would be more concerned about the suspension for suspended designs. Prior to my Clearaudio I owned a Project RPM Four which I mass loaded to a huge degree during my learning process getting back into TT's. As long as the forces are balanced on the bearing the problems of additional wear should be fairly minimal. With regards to the motor I would suggest starting the platter spinning by hand first and then merely allowing the motor to keep the speed constant. As long as this is done there really shouldn't be a problem. Nottingham tables, for example, use tiny motors which are unable to start the platter on their own - they merely control the speed. In summary then - if you are suspended its not for you- otherwise with some sense it works a charm.
  16. As I couldn't find the original spreadsheet I have recreated it and thought I'd post it here for everyone to play with (well anyone that wants to). I have had to zip it as the system does not allow me to post an excel spreadsheet. Obviously if anyone spots an error I'd like to know. Cheers outer ring justification.zip outer ring justification.zip
  17. Actually for completeness I should add that if you have a perfectly matched arm/cart combo (such as a shroeder arm with a ZYX Airy 3 cart) the sonic difference will be less as the combined arm/cart suspension systems serve to absorb the motion thereby dramatically reducing the range of tracking weight. Even in this case, however, there will be a difference. The choice is simply between attempting to counteract the motion and eliminating it. IT should also be borne in mind that the above mentioned combo does cost something in the region of 4,700 euros ($6K). Compared to that the ring is a bargain as it could be matched to a more typcial $2 - 2.5K arm/cart to get as good, if not better results.
  18. Thanks to Larry for pointing this thread out. Yes I have an outer ring from Clearaudio on my TT. Mine is actually a combo of inner ring and outer ring. The inner ring fixes exactly on to the edge of the platter extending it outwards enough to pass the end of the record. Its edge is bevelled - as is that of the outer ring thus ensuring it is exactly centred when dropped down and keeping loads even on the baring. So what does an outer ring do? Now If I said I thought it was probably THE most beneficial additional item on my TT you would be sure I am exaggerating - yet I am not. Here's why. The outer ring serves to flatten the record about as absolutely as is possible - especially if used in conjunction with a record puck. This all but eliminates arm motion in the vertical plane. I did some calculations a while back which I cannot currently find but: If you have a record with a 2 mm "wave" in it over a distance of 5cm @ 12 centimeters from the centre of a 33.3 rpm album and your tracking weight is 1.7 grams you will find that your tracking weight is actually varying between 1.1 and 2.3 grams with each revolution of the disk. All of that sounds quite specific and indeed it is as it was based on one of my own records which I used for testing. What astonished me was that even with records that show relatively little warp the ring still makes a difference. Subject to the weight of the ring (mine is a couple of kilos I think) it should flatten just about anything. Anyway - my conclusion after extensive play was that despite my ring costing me about 1000 euros ($1450) it has actually paid for itself in spades. The sonic improvement it has brought to my rig (and several others in the ACA club) is akin to having spend 2 to 4 times as much on the cart/arm combo as was actually spent. There is no snake oil here - promise! It can all be backed up with very basic physics (Newtonian). Having said all that - you can get much the same effect with platter suction systems ala SOTA. It isn't really cheaper though and is likely tobe more error prone as it is a more complex system.
  19. " I believe they only put "Sheep" on the box set to my great disappointment." Track 2 side 2 on both my copies.
  20. Its funny how your mind plays tricks on you: I was sure the beaten up copy was UK and the mint one was US but it is actually the other way around. The US copy knocks spots off the beautiful looking UK version. Anyway - as you can see I found it as even my secondary collection is well organised. According to my listening notes side one has been played 3 times and side 2 once. Minimal surface noise apparently. I won't try it again to confirm as we may as well keep it as mint as possible for you.
  21. Obviously its not sealed anymore so don't get your hopes up too high. In the meantime I will have to dig it out of the secondary collection (do not ask) when I get the chance. PM me your address in the meantime. Lets just hope it can survive the Greek postal service - twice - did it the first time (I bought it on ebay) - and not all of them do. If anyone wants a self assembly kit of Roberta Flack's Killing me softly album please let me know. I do have all the pieces.
  22. "It is my understanding that the typical Klipsch crossover round copper dohickey thingy has about 127.3 miles of copper wound around it. So how, or why, or could, a few extra feet of "magic carpet cables" possibly affect anything but our natural predilection towards self-delusion. " The interesting thing about your question is that whilst it is often posed I rarely see it answered in any way other than - it can't. This may, or may not, be the case - but how about a quick search for possible reasons - you know - real ones that are based on such accepted principles as impedance, capacitance, noise, oxidation etc. FWIW (which isn't much): External cables Are often not nearly as well shielded as you would think. Often lie in close proximity with other similar or dissimilar cables (power, speaker, patch, antenna). Can be subjected to physical stress (not quite long enough - chewed by the dog, kicked and trodden on...) Can be exposed to (sometimes) enormous static problems from carpeted floors. Have physical connectors at both ends which can oxidise or simply not fit all that snugly. Can be subject to quite dramatic temperature variation along their length (I do not know what effect this might have - just something I have observed). Do have pysical limits on the distance they can carry a signal at all. Ergo - reduction of signal strength as a function of length. There are probably more reasons than the above - off the top of my head list. I do not think that there is anything there that is magic based and I have experienced many of the above first hand. MY most recent experience was item 2 above. I suddenly and without warning started to get serious noise from my TT - a hum beyond that of the tubes in the pre-amp. It took a serious investigation to find out what the cause was, which, as it turned out, was coming from the amplified TV antenna signal cables that were actually encased in the wall. We had been using them without amplification and installed the amp only to boost signal strength and improve the picture. As it happens the solution was fairly straightforward - I simply moved the cable so that its orientation relative to the antenna cable was at right angles rather than parallel. Point of all this? Cables do impact the sound for all sorts of basic fundamental reasons - but this has nothing to do with needing exotic, big $, cables in place of well put together reasonable cost ones. And this from a man that spent $2,000 on a pair of Synergistic Silver speaker cables which now reside in a drawer in my desk - but that was a long time ago - when $2000 was still considered a lot to spend on cables. [:S]
  23. Whilst I cannot comment on the quality of the records you have been gettting off the net I would say that new records do not always play better than used ones IME. Interestingly (well - ish) you refer to the Animals album. I have 2 copies. One I bought sealed (US copy) and one a fairly beaten up old UK issue. The older one knocks spots off the sealed one soncially - albeit with rather more surface noise. Further, I have found that the best way to buy used vinyl is to do so from a physical shop where they have a TT setup so you can check it out first. I do not know what you have where you live - I am fortunate in that Athens has a plethora of shops selling vinyl (about 30 that I know of) so this works well for me. A friend of mine who lives on one of the islands where there is nothing just comes to Athens once every 6 months or so and loads up. Its the sort of trip that pays for itself manifestly.
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