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Cartridge problem


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I have the Pro-ject RPM 4 TT with the Pro-ject 9 arm and the Pro-ject K4 cartridge.

The TT is sited rather close to the right side amp as can be seen in the picture:


The problem is that when the volume is at a reasonable level there is a buzz in the right channel. The buzz is at its worst when the arm is in the rest. As soon as I move the arm over the record the buzz reduces dramatically BUT IT NEVER DIES AWAY COMPLETELY.

Obviously the easiest thing to do in theory would be to further separate the amp and the TT. The problem is that I dont have any other obvious way to arrange the components.

Last night I wanted to verify what the source of the problem was. I was unsure as to whether the buzz came from the cartridge itself or from the thin cables running down the length of the arm picking up current by induction.

Having tried rotating the table both towards and away from the amp I am now sure that the cartridge is to blame. As the headshell nears the amp it gets worse and as it moves away the humm decreases.

So what to do. I thought that placing something between the amp and the TT might sort the problem out but even using a solid metal tray the difference is negligible. Anyone got any bright ideas?

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Well, until you train her accordingly (i.e. never to touch dad's KT88's and Hi-Fi gear in general...), you can always put in front of the rack a nice wiremesh (you know, the kind people put in front of their fireplaces!). Of course, your wife might not be 100% happy with the proposed decorative solution, but you can't have your pie and eat it too! Unless she buys that this hum lowers alarmingly your testosterone levels...

Another solution is to dump the Tsakiridis amps and buy gear with shielded transformers. It will work but, this time, you pay the price!

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Well, you know my feeling on that all. I personally think you could get major upgrades in sound doing a HOST of different things but know you are limited in your room and what you are willing to do. The amp and turntable should definitely be farther apart, ditto with the television in my view. Also, you have the amps directly on the surface your speakers are on, which is a definite sonic problem as the tons of vibration trying to release to the ground via those speakers/cabinets is routed DIRECTLY to the amps! And with tube amps, this is very problematic (actually, with any amp).

These are not minor "audiophile" details (Indeed, one of my problems with that whole Greek Club is the apparent hand holding with the entire Audiophile side of the equation - many of those pages/systems/comments are laden with listening to sounds and not music with an unhealthy link to the status quo of the whole mess...many have not come out the other side yet!)

The easiest solution is to ditch the TV! heh.... Man, that would literally be my first call but know you aren't about to do it. Obviously, I don't like mixing TV with music and have always felt that HT or anything linking it should be apart from music, which goes to a whole different level in interaction with the soul/skull. I personally wont even hook anything related to video to my music system but that view is not shared by many. Music is such a different entity really. Anyway, you probably aren't going to do that either but it WOULD solve many problems allowing you to get the amps off the speaker mount and away from the turntable. You obviously have the HT usage thru the same system. IS there any way you could have another room for that? Yeah, yean, I know the answer to this.

Trouble is, I like the looks of your furniture and think it adds some good character. Problem is the speakers are now elevated too high and the amps shouldn't be sitting on anything the speaker rests on, not to mention the closeness to the turntable.

OK, on looking again, the simplest solution would be to MOVE the cabinet the right speaker is resting on closer to the doorway to its right. I know that aesthetically this can be touchy, but I would move it so it's just a few inches from the door. This would bring the amp far enough away from the tonearm/cartridge to make things better. Still, ultimately, you need to do some serious restructure to get the best from your setup. I would temporarily attempt some more amp isolation from the base the speakers rest on as well, until you find a suitable alternative such as dedicated speaker stands.


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Its funny but every audiophile who visits makes much the same comments you do Kelly on the placement issues. Then they listen and are generally somewhat surprised.

Though I say it myself, despite the poor placement, the push pull amps, the 1975 design speakers, the fairly lame TT and all the rest it does play remarkably well.

Even Arco was kind enough to pass positive comments on both the current sound and the level of improvement since he last visited.

I am thinking that the best solution here would be to put a shelf up on either side of the TV (which does, by the way, have to stay exactly where it is) and place one amp on each. In one fell swoop I sort out the hum problem and isolate the amps from the speakers. The added benefit is that I am further raising the amp away from prying little fingers.

I wonder if I can get SWMBO to agree....??

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Well, I have no doubt you are getting some nice sound here and, more importantly, enjoying your music. As you noted in another thread, you must NEVER lose sight of the music nor let the idea of the equipment and listening to SOUND get in the way of feeling and being moved by the music. The problem with these audiophile listening sessions is that a good majority of the audiophile contingent ONLY listens to SOUND! It's a disease and something you must be both AWARE of while at the same time losing an awareness. I was head-long into the entire hobby aspect of the picture years ago...ironically enough, it was vinyl and VINTAGE tube amps that finally pulled me from that horror although the SET amp neurosis can lead you down a different hell hole. In some ways, I was hoping Arco would see some of this with that EICO HF-81 but he either didnt get a good enough unit, or was listening to sounds yet again.

AS to your solution, it does make sense although adding another level to that arrangement is pushing the aesthetic bounderies a bit. Perhaps some neat looking wood stands with cones on bottom or some black, funky iron contraption that would keep the artistic side intact while providing the audio solution as well. You cant go too much higher as it would interact with the artwork above (and throw of visual balance). I think it would be interesting to make a stand the exact same size as the amp in width and length.

BTW, your post on audio vs music was a topic we got into heavily last year. There is a GREAT thread on the subject with some interesting musings from a variety of characters. Actually, there are several thread addressing this topic. It is a very appropriate topic for you and should be addressed at any of those audio meetings where SOUND can become the abstract that puts music and all within at arms length.


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The funny thing about the whole audio Vs music topic as you put it is that I recently came across a collector of vinyl (tens of thousands of records) who seems to suffer from vinyl Vs music syndrome.

It seems he buys records with little if any intention of actually listening to them and probably has thousands in his collection that are truely in mint condition!!

What strange games our minds play with us. You start off by getting in to music and then you get sidetracked into either the eosoterics of the play-back system or into the medium itself.

Why is it so difficult to stay with the music?

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Man, I guess I feel frustrated here... as if you write a long post trying to address the actual concerns of the post at hand, and the answer to this reply is always a new subject slightly with no interplay with the ideas you bring up in the actual post. Lordy... It's a bit like two people talking with two cans and a string that's not only too long, but not even tight! heh...

Anyway...OK. Ummmmm. I think you know this answer already. People RARELY do anything for the real reason of it! I find this the basic human condition and admire animals for their lack of this aspect although intinct is not exactly a mind opening proposition.

I find most people into audio dont know a lot about music, nor do they really listen to it. Sad but true. In that way you are correct in that post observation. Driving down the highway with a single speaker AM radio blasting out The Who's "Cant Explain" sends you into a euphoria that rivals any tube system or high resolution audiofiend delight!

As to why humanoids collect things...I think it is a mask for real thought, which is actually quite hard to maintain. Once the love becomes overtaken by the "thing" we have a mental shutdown. The mind is essentially asleep at the wheel. Collecting/hobby/fiend mode takes over. Those 25,000 unplayed albums are not all that different from the 700 Beanie Babies lining some frootbat's shelves. OF course, if the swine was PLAYING the records, it would be another story altogether.

Well, one could argue that collecting and the "hobby" aspect of music is just another facet, which has some truth. But I find the emotion and musical uninvolvement quite depressing, especially when there is a lack of awareness concerning the predicament. On the other hand, if one enjoys that aspect, then far be it to point out it's "not the right way." Ultimately, one could be aware and enjoy all aspects without losing sight of the essence, yet once again, this takes use of thy skull.... which is not that easy.


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"and the answer to this reply is always a new subject slightly with no interplay with the ideas you bring up in the actual post."

Now you force me into repeating the manoevre. It is the way the mind works my friend - off on tangents the whole time (mine anyway).

Actually I have no problems with people collecting records, or audio components for that matter even if the music that can be produced is not their main aim.

My main pondering is why they would get deflected from their, presumably, original mission of listening to music and delve off into other related fields.

I suppose there are some that get more enjoyment out of owning 20,000 albums than listening to say, a favorite few hundred.

This is again tangenital to my real, more personal concern, that I am not getting as much out of music as I used to.

Time was when I would put a record on (or even a CD in what seems a past life) and listen to it in its entirety. Now I hop up and down changing records between tracks just to see how some other piece of music sounds on my setup.

Hell - I even find myself waiting impatiently for a piece of music to finish so that I can change it. Where is the sense in that?

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Actually, it's not as much tangents as the age old human predicament #2: Waiting for the other person to finish talking (typing) so we can speak again! Heh....

Part of it comes from the thing I mentioned a few posts back concerning listening to the system and the SOUND and not the music. One gets sidetracked with the equipment and starts to focus on THE SOUND, forgetting to take in the music. REviewers that do this are too frequent and lose credibility as well, since they dont take in the whole picture nor interact with the music enough to ultimately do a REAL review of the essence/performance of the gear in relation to how well a job it does conveying the emotional aspects of the music.

I also think that man's notion of going to the particulars can harm or obfiscate his understanding of the whole. OF course, it can HELP as well...but not if you lose sight of the other aspects. Also, many men seem to resist doing things on a emotional level anyway; I will probably get flak from that comment as it is a stereotype, but true in some ways.

It seems listening to the "sound" is a fine example of this aspect. And understanding the role of the gear is part of this, but ONLY a part and not necessarily the BEST part.

Besides, as I said, few audio goons get into music the same way they did when riding down the road in that 67 Galaxy 500 with the AM radio shaking the dashboard. When it does hit them again this way, light bulbs go off...for second that is...


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