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¿End-of-side distortion — inherent to vinyl?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Chris, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. mmaatt

    mmaatt pfm Member

    I don't get any audible end of side distortion: it's all about accurate cartridge alignment and having a quality deck with a quality arm which has decent anti-skating, and a cartridge with a fine line diamond tip which tracks the groove properly.

    All the above doesn't come cheap but it is wrong to say that all record players produce end of side distortion. The manual that came with the Townsend Elite Gauge explains how even on the innermost grooves tracking error can be set to within 1% with correct cartridge alignment.

    Also not all anti-skating mechanisms are as capable: on the Artemiz the bias force increases towards the centre of the record where more is needed.

  2. Basil

    Basil Harbethian


    It's also about having undamaged records, once a disc has been played with a worn stylus, that's it.
  3. mmaatt

    mmaatt pfm Member


    Yes of course, but it is amazing how records in my collection that once suffered from this are now perfectly listenable with a better record player set-up. I listen to a lot of choral music which is not nice if the cartridge is mistracking.

    Often a cheap(er) cartridge has only damaged the upper edges of the groove because that's as far as it reaches, a good fineline will be sitting right down in the groove walls avoiding a lot of this damage. I have about 1500 records many of which are second hand and I can't think of many that mistrack.

  4. Have Fun

    Have Fun pfm Member

    Funny that - if you look at the graph read out from the Vinyl Engine Protractor / Comparator the middle section of an LP is the least distorted

    distortion is higher at the beginning & often more especially at the end - it makes sense as the arm traverses in an arc. Loefgren protractor produces the flattest graph for the mid section & the highest at start & finish. Baerwald is a better compromise but still shows distortion.

    personally I can't say I've noticed end of side distortion not sure why, both arms I use are gimbal.
  5. Basil

    Basil Harbethian

    You seem to have been incredibly lucky, I used to help run a small classical record shop and the vast majority were truly shagged!
  6. sonddek

    sonddek pfm Member

    Or more likely your deck wasn't playing them right.
  7. mmaatt

    mmaatt pfm Member

    Ah maybe the shops I bought from threw these away - and I hope yours did too;)

    That certainly isn't my experience at all, I find classical vinyl to be much better looked after than rock or pop. The Classical Music Exchange in Notting Hill is excellent.

  8. sonddek

    sonddek pfm Member

    I agree with this 100%. It is perfectly possible to set up affordable gear which does not fall prey to end of side distortion. For example, I have before me a Technics SL1210 with stock arm and Goldring 2500 which plays the last track beautifully. That's 200 quid for the deck and 200 quid for the cartridge.

    Of course, with poor set up, a worn or conical cartridge anything can happen.

    It's also perfectly possible to align a cartridge so that the last track is optimised, at the expense of the first track, in which case there should be none of this problem. I believe Rega adopts this policy.

    In the end, these criticisms of vinyl are theoretical. A well set up deck with a 200 quid cartridge can compete with just about any digital source. Unfortunately vinyl is frequently judged when poorly set up, or for non-musical metrics like 'bass' or 'separation'.

    Set the deck up right, and listen for spellbindingness, because that's why we're here.
  9. sonddek

    sonddek pfm Member

    That would be a big mistake. Groove velocity decreases towards the centre, so anti-skate needs to decrease with radius.
  10. Basil

    Basil Harbethian

    For the most part it is, but you have to remember these were played on old garrards with decca arms and carts with tracking forces that measured in pounds!
  11. Mescalito

    Mescalito pfm Member

    No it is not. In order for the play back to be accurate, the pick up arm has to exactly mimic the cutting head used to make the original acetate. Unless you use a parallell tracking arm, a conventional pivoted arm will only do this at a single point on the record.

    However, this is the least of vinyl's problems.

    By spending stupid amounts of money, we can get it to sound almost as good as a cheap DVD player. But why bother? The software to play new music on it is now stupidly expensive, and most new music does not get a vinyl release.

    And in spite of what you say, the vast majority of S/H vinyl is well & truly knackered.

  12. kasperhauser

    kasperhauser pfm Member

    ...whereas most "old music" will never get a cd release. Which is why a music fan uses both, accepts the strengths and limitations of each, and gets on with enjoying the music.
  13. sean99

    sean99 pfm Member

    Agreed. I've recorded most of my LPs onto CD-R, just because it's much more convenient to listen to them now. I've even ripped some to my ipod.
  14. mmaatt

    mmaatt pfm Member

    I am not an expert but I will trust Touraj Moghaddam knows what he is doing, and it seems to work very well in my experience.

    I think actually you do need increased anti-skating force towards the centre of the record because the angle of the groove is increased which in combination with velocity throws the arm inwards with increasing force.

  15. Basil

    Basil Harbethian

    So you never discovered the countless CDs of 78's?
  16. mmaatt

    mmaatt pfm Member

    Shit I could have saved several £K's and bought a cheap DVD player - oh well each to their own.

  17. packtech

    packtech Ex band member twice.. :)

    It is dependent on correct geometry and setting up, regardless of arm length...I have never had an issue with end of side distortion..ever..regardless of arm used or stylus profile. If you have inner groove distortion then it is not set up correctly or the record is damaged from a previous poor set-up.
  18. Mescalito

    Mescalito pfm Member


  19. barrymidd

    barrymidd Who me?

    It is dependent on correct geometry and setting up, regardless of arm length...I have never had an issue with end of side distortion..ever..regardless of arm used or stylus profile. If you have inner groove distortion then it is not set up correctly or the record is damaged from a previous poor set-up.

    ^^^^TOTALLY AGREE^^^^
  20. kasperhauser

    kasperhauser pfm Member

    What makes you think that? I have quite a few. I even have some cds made from cylinder records.

    Are you suggesting that most (as in, the majority of) stuff originally released on vinyl or shellac actually is available on cd?

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