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Garrard 301, Yamaha amp & AT440MLb loading

Discussion in 'classic' started by John_73, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    The system : Garrard 301, SME 309 & AT-440MLb. Yamaha A-S2100 amp.

    The problem: Whilst I am (truly) delighted with my recent purchase of the Yammy amp, it's full MM loading specs are unknown to me, beyond being the standard 47K. Zero complaints through the line stage, and the sound is so very close to how I want it on vinyl too, it's just a tad too bright (the midrange & bass are absolutely exemplary however).

    I have a pair of those special phono plugs that can take inline phonos, so in theory I am thinking I could add, say, a 100K resistor into a plug-in phono, and that should parallel with the existing internal 47K load of the amp to give me around 33K, which might tame the treble. Does this sound viable, or should I try adding capacitance instead?

    Cheers,

    John.
     
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    If it is too bright chances are you have too much capacitance at the phono stage. Many modern MM carts need something between 100 and 300pf in total, and that includes the arm lead which is typically 100pf. It is hugely annoying and a marked contrast to say vintage Shures which need 450pf or so. As such if your Yamaha sounds too bright chances are you have nowhere to go short of taking a soldering iron to it if you can find and understand a circuit diagram. I had the same situation with my Quad 34 and my Ortofon 2M Black or 540/II until I got Rob to reduce the capacitance from the stock far too high 220pf to 39pf. This, and a little tweak to greatly reduce the rumble filter, transformed it from a rather poor phono stage into a superb one IMHO. My JC Verdier tube pre is currently sitting unused for the same reason. It has a lovely onboard tube phono stage and sounds great with say an old M95ED I have knocking around, but terrible with these modern Ortofons (which are very like ATs loading and capacitance-wise). I need to work out how to alter the loading of that one.
     
  3. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    I'll try writing to Yamaha and asking them what the loading capacitance is. It's a new amp so I don't really want to open it up. The Van den Hul cable the 309 comes with is specced at 140pF, with 15pF for the tonearm wiring, so around 155pF in total. I have a Van Damme cable which is approx. 90pF so could give that a try. It really is just a tad too bright, not nearly as bad as I've had in the past with other equipment, but it would be nice to get it balanced as it sounds exactly how I want it to otherwise: full bodied with just a hint of warmth. End game amp for me. Failing that I might have to look into a similarly priced cartridge that better matches the Yam. Funnily enough was thinking of an Ortofon earlier today.
     
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Dropping the tonearm lead capacitance will help I'm sure. Also the shorter it is the lower it is, so with the Van Damme I'd be inclined to prune it as much as possible! I use some van den Hul 501 hybrid stuff on my 3009 (I upgraded it with RCA outs) and that is about 75pf a metre IIRC.

    PS The Ortfons sound awful with too much capacitance IME, they just push the drum kit metalwork and surface noise forward. I'm sure it is where the reputation for brightness and leanness comes from. Load them as intended and the tonal balance is very flat and 'CD-like' to my ears, e.g. I can flick between a good mastering of the same album on both formats and nothing really changes tonally, which is what I always aim at. Both the 2M Black and 540/II are great carts, and I have a feeling I actually prefer the older model as the Geiger tip seems a little kinder to surface noise than the Shibata on the Black. The hot spot in the 2M range may actually be the Bronze...
     
  5. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    Definitely try a lower capacitance lead and the shorter the better with AT MMs.
    You could also change the load impedance - easily achieved by soldering a small resistor across the connection inside each RCA plug. Adding a 150K Ohm resistor across the cable will give you a 35K Ohm loading when combined with the Yamaha input . That will drop the HF by a couple of dB.

    Use tiny 0.25w metal film resistors. (1% or 5% accuracy is fine)
     
  6. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    I think the SME supplied cable with the 309 is the very same 501 VdH hybrid stuff too Tony. I could try shortening it but I may be swapping the arm for an M2-9 so better withhold any cable surgery for now. Will try the shorter Van Damme which will minus capacitance by about 50pF. Might just be enough to shave off that slight sting in the tail.
    To be honest despite decades of playing about with decks, arms, carts, amps etc. I've never fully been 100% onboard with vinyl, but I suddenly found myself just about 'there' with the addition of the Yamaha amp. So close to my 'ideal' now with vinyl just need to tidy up that treble.
     
  7. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    Funnily enough have already ordered exactly that :) Should get me down to around 35k. Will try the shorter Van Damme cable first, that might just get me there on its own. If not then will try the inline phono plug. If that works I'll then solder the resistors inside the Van Damme's phono plugs.
    Touch wood almost there!
     
  8. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Here is the vdH spec page (link). 75pf, so looks like the VD may take you in the wrong direction.
     
  9. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    My Van Damme cable is only 70cm long, and the XKE cable is specced at 90pF per meter. I think the SME cable is about a meter I think. Probably not much in it then unless I shorten the SME.
     
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I'd not do that, it will kill the resale value if you are trying to swap arm to a M2 (the M2s have RCA outs on the arm base so you couldn't even keep the cable).
     
  11. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    Very true, and I'll keep it as-is.
    Well have just substituted the much shorter Van Damme cable. It might be expectation bias so need to give it a few days, but sounds a less treble etched now. So it seems a step in the correct direction. Resistors ordered and hopefully arriving Tuesday so I have that avenue to try out if need-be too.
    Sounds very well balanced already though, I might just be there now. Listening to some classical LPs - no shrill violins! (Always a good test).
     
  12. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    By all accounts the MC stage in those big Yamaha amps is superb so why not just change to a MC cartridge; it might be a lot easier.
     
  13. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    If money grew upon trees, I would ;)
    From a 'green' point of view, I like the ability to easily change styluses too when the time comes.
    I think I'm just about there with the sound I want now anyway.
     
  14. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    I think I'm finally there! Probably wouldn't be to the tastes of those who like the traditional (somewhat stereotyped) vinyl sound, but I alway endeavor to match it tonally & in terms of detail to a very well mastered CD & DAC (in this case Chord Mojo & DPA One series 2).
    This coincides with recently giving the main bearing & housing a very thorough clean, polish and re-oiling with a 20W vintage 'blend' containing no additives etc, and replacing the idler bearings with new production sintered ones from Audio Silente. Appropriate as the noise floor is surprisingly quiet now (more than I imagined from an idler). Changing the interconnect was the concluding piece in the puzzle it seems.

    I've finally got my vinyl system to where I've always wanted it to be - very pleased indeed! And thanks for all the suggestions guys!

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    Nice looking setup. The worst things about those big Yams is that they are so deep but they do look the part. Several posters have commented on striving to get their digital and analogue sound to a similar level and it makes sense. I really only achieved that recently regarding CD/LP but what did surprise me the other day was putting a metal tape (recorded years ago) through the Nak and experiencing a quality of sound not so far behind the CD. I wasn't expecting that.
     
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    For years now I've used good CD mastering as the benchmark and aligned the deck to it and it has worked very well as my system now has no source bias. Coming from a Linn/Naim flat-earth background it took me a long time to figure out that CD sounded so dreadful through my then system due to it being setup to compensate for a very warm and weighty sounding analogue front end. That gave an absurdly thin, forward and bass-light EQ to the nominally flat CD, so I initially dismissed it as a flawed format (as did so many with similar systems in the '80s). I've learnt from my errors and am a latter-day digital convert! As it really is possible to EQ MM carts via loading and capacitance it is possible to switch between my TD-124 and a similar sounding mastering of the same album on the Rega/DPA digital system and barely tell them apart, which is exactly what I want. I need the system to play the music I have rather than force format choices. The old-school Linn/Naim rig was a total failure in this respect.
     
  17. John_73

    John_73 pfm Member

    Hear, hear!

    Never been interested in tiresome cyclical format arguments. The magic's in the music & the mastering. I want the best (I can afford) from all formats.
     

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