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Finding Vinyl hard to fall in love with

Discussion in 'audio' started by snaphappybob, May 22, 2023.

  1. snaphappybob

    snaphappybob pfm Member

    Opinions seem to run strong on the subject of vinyl with suggestions of how to bring it to life often running into excessively expensive territory. I have made incremental improvements with Cork matt, stabiliser weight, Mana platform (biggest difference) and now a new old stock A&R cartridge upgrade suggested by @Lurch (from whom I may purchase). That has caused the sound to take a backward step but I suspect that it hasn't been set up properly as the rational for going for an older cartridge (to better suit the phono boards in Naim NAC52) seems fairly logical. The turntable is a modest Project Debut Carbon purchased from Richer Sounds last year and they fitted the A&R for me as I'm pretty ham fisted and didn't want to damage the cables and connectors in the tonearm. Aside from adjusting the weight on the arm I cannot find any other way to adjust it. It looks to me like the stylus is sitting too heavily on the records surface compared to the Ortofon Red it replaced and I'm assuming that is what is having an impact on sound quality. Any suggestions or even better is there anyone local to Liverpool/Lancashire who could help to set the T/T up to its full potential?
  2. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    I think your expectation is perhaps too high? It’s not a great TT, if you are running a 52 pre-amp then the rest of the system is probably rather stellar.
    Dozey, JoeJoe and NickofWimbledon like this.
  3. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    As well as Woodface’s point which I agree with, do you know how to adjust the weight accurately?
  4. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    Probably not a very helpful post... but if the (vintage/NOS) cartridge is riding a bit low is there a chance the suspension might have failed?
  5. Rob Stockman

    Rob Stockman pfm Member

    could be so many things. Which cartridge. A&R sounds like it is from the early 80's? Do you know how to check the 0 mark on the arm is correct, so you can set the tracking force with confidence?
    purplepyramid likes this.
  6. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Falling in love with analogue is far more than just sound - it is also the routine that it forces upon your listening.

    Like everthng else hifi, people will debate endlessly over details, but maybe ten times the spend on a turntable set-up (tt + arm + cart' + stage) will get you the sound comparable, if different, to digital, until you get to what many would call silly money.

    Most of us old farts spent on analogue a long while ago, so don't have that mountain to climb.
    Dozey and JoeJoe like this.
  7. Rob Stockman

    Rob Stockman pfm Member

    tis true... I have the opposite problem. Finding a streaming solution that sounds anything like as nice as my LP12 without bankrupting me. With digital though, you can spend £50 and get something "acceptable" or even pretty decent if you are lucky. Not true with turntables.
    I'm wondering here if the cartridge isnt a problem if its 40 years old (maybe it isnt...).
    NickofWimbledon likes this.
  8. Rob Stockman

    Rob Stockman pfm Member

    simple thing to try.... just back off the weight 0.1g at a time until you get sibilance on female vocals or violin, then add back 0.2g.
    sonddek likes this.
  9. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig Trade: ^'- -'^

    You've got a Project Debut plugged into a Naim 52 and wonder why it doesn't sound very inspiring? :0.

    Good grief. This has nothing to do with setting up or cartridge choice. The Project is a budget turntable and not a very brilliant one at that. All the Naim amp is going to do is let you hear just how dull and boring the Project is. If you want to get an an idea of what vinyl is about, in the context of that system, you're going to need a bigger boat.
  10. Rob Stockman

    Rob Stockman pfm Member

    I tend to use Eurythmics Savage album as Annie Lennox's voice is pretty tough to track - soon shows you if the cartridge is misaligned or at the wrong weight
    NickofWimbledon likes this.
  11. lordmortlock

    lordmortlock A Linde Mann

    Sorry to third the notion that you’re trying to fall for the medium via a deck that itself is pretty hard to love.

    Find a nice condition Thorens TD160 for sensible money and see if that lights the spark.
  12. Rob Stockman

    Rob Stockman pfm Member

    Well. it will certainly reveal all it is capable of, and all the faults!
    domfjbrown likes this.
  13. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig Trade: ^'- -'^

    It's not capable of very much. I'd say the absolute rock bottom minimum into any decent Naim amp would be a Planar3 but a better starting point would be a well sorted LP12 or another deck of that caliber. The TD160 is not a bad shout if you want something cheap but you'd need to find a good one.
  14. lordmortlock

    lordmortlock A Linde Mann

    domfjbrown and freefallrob like this.
  15. Eoin

    Eoin pfm Member

    Bit vintage maybe?
  16. manicatel

    manicatel pfm Member

    I seem to fly against others opinions here, I reckon the Debut carbon is a decent sounding deck for its price.
    However, it would naturally be partnered with a max £500ish amp, maybe a budget marantz or NAD.
    Asking it to make you fall in love with vinyl when partnered with a 52 is a stretch.
    And I’m also unsure of that cart. The 2m red is more suited to the debut carbon, giving it a bit of life & sparkle an old A&R cart is unlikely to.
    There isn’t that much you can do to adjust the cart set up, especially without a few tools & a bit of know-how.
    But a couple of things you probably can do for yourself…..
    Find out the tracking weight (VTF) of the AR cart. The 2m red tracks at 1.8grm.
    With the anti-skate weight taken off ( that’s the fishing line thing with the small weight on the end) & any stylus guard also off, dial the tracking weight backwards, ie turn it clockwise if you’re looking at it from the front end of the arm until it hovers horizontally. ie the arm isn’t pointing up or down, just nicely parallel to the platter.
    Then place the arm in the arm rest cradle, hold the main part of the weight steady & turn the dial to read 0 at the 12 o’clock position. Then turn the whole weight anti-clockwise until the required tracking weight is at the 12 o’clock position. Then replace the loop of the anti-skate weight fishing line into the middle groove of the little stub & hook the line through the loop of the guide.
    There’s a YouTube video of setting up the debut carbon step by step which is very helpful.
    The cork mat will change the angle (VTA) as the record will now be a couple of mm higher than without the mat in place. This may make it sound a bit duller or bass heavier. The stabiliser weight is also something I personally wouldn’t bother with as the debut carbon isn’t designed to use it.
    Until you’re ready to change the turntable for something substantially better, more in keeping with the 52, I would just use the debut carbon as standard ( ie 2m red, no mat or weight) & accept there is a lot more to come from the vinyl format when funds allow.
    Only my opinion.
  17. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    I suspect the NOS A&R cart is the problem, given the OP reported incremental improvements until its installation. The dealer might have fluffed the installation too. There must be a pink fishie near the OP who could pop around and lend a hand?
  18. cobbers

    cobbers pfm Member

    Even the A&R cartridges have a max recommended load of 400pf - must have 600 at the mo:confused:.
  19. lordmortlock

    lordmortlock A Linde Mann

    Maybe. But hard to beat for the money, and it’s so tactile. The clunk of those switches …
  20. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Can you post a couple of images of how the cart/stylus looks. Also, has the 52 phono board ever been looked at? I have a couple of friends with the Project with appropriate systems and it's fine. With a NAC 52 probably a step too far as others have said. I agree with manicatel, no point tweaking the Project just get it working/setup properly.

    I think you have three choices: give up vinyl; get a better deck; get an appropriate second system for the Project.

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