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HELP! Vinyl distortion!
Chjmu
post Nov 1 2008, 16:59
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Hi
I am using an Audio Technica PL-120 turntable with its supplied cartridge. It sounds great, but there is one problem. There is some kind of distortion that can be heard on numerous records new and old. Any 's' sound is elongated to a 'shhhh' sound with crackling. It is most notable of folk records, were vocals are very important. What should I do?

p.s. some examples include 'sweet' which sounds like 'shhweet'
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punkrockdude
post Nov 1 2008, 18:32
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Does it sound more and more the closer the stylus/cartridge goes to the center of the record? If so, it's probably inner groove distortion. I don't know all the technical stuff about it but usually cartridges with better or more sharp stylus sounds A LOT better. I had a Grado Black and upgraded to a Audio Technica AT440ML cartridge and it was night and day in comparison. It is still some tiny distortion just at the last spins of the record but it is almost nothing that I think of.

It is the best upgrade I've made for my turntable. But, I haven't made many upgrades to it. Anyway, I recommened a quality cartridge (usually more expensive like $100 and up) but man, it does make a huge difference.

P.S. Alignent of the cartridge can solve some of the distortion.
http://www.soundfountain.com/amb/ttadjust.html

Best Regards
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Slipstreem
post Nov 1 2008, 19:07
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I believe that the supplied cartridge is an ATP-2XN and should be tracked at between 3 and 5grams. Have you tried a vertical tracking force closer to the top end of the range? It might help to reduce lateral mis-tracking. smile.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif
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Axon
post Nov 1 2008, 19:48
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Is the cartridge new (ie did you buy the PL-120) new? If not it could merely be worn and require a new stylus. But yeah, you really ought to think about getting a higher end stylus.
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Chjmu
post Nov 1 2008, 22:16
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Yeah, I bought the whole set new. I don't know about inner groove distortion because this phenomenon occurs anywhere on the record, not just near the inner grooves. I'll take a look at how I set up the turntable; the manual was very vague and a tracking pressure gauge was not included.
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Woodinville
post Nov 1 2008, 22:41
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QUOTE (Chjmu @ Nov 1 2008, 08:59) *
Hi
I am using an Audio Technica PL-120 turntable with its supplied cartridge. It sounds great, but there is one problem. There is some kind of distortion that can be heard on numerous records new and old. Any 's' sound is elongated to a 'shhhh' sound with crackling. It is most notable of folk records, were vocals are very important. What should I do?

p.s. some examples include 'sweet' which sounds like 'shhweet'


Sounds like severe mistracking due to a dirty or worn stylus, or an incorrectly set tracking weight.

You want to nip this in the bud, as mistracking does much more damage/play to a record than does normal play.


--------------------
-----
J. D. (jj) Johnston
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Curtor
post Nov 1 2008, 22:50
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If sibilants on vinyl are shocking to you, then you're not a good candidate for vinyl - buy the CD. If you want to limit them, buy an AT440MLa and make sure you align it properly.
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Chjmu
post Nov 2 2008, 21:21
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Good news! smile.gif
I measured the tracking force and found it to be way off from the anti-skate and the recommended tracking force. Fixed it and it sounds great!
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uart
post Nov 3 2008, 08:40
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QUOTE (Chjmu @ Nov 2 2008, 12:21) *
Good news! smile.gif
I measured the tracking force and found it to be way off from the anti-skate and the recommended tracking force. Fixed it and it sounds great!


Hi Chjmu, that sss'ing is such a common problem with Vinyl, I've also had that issue in the past. From memory I think it was insufficient tracking weight that caused the problem in my case. Just to help others with the same situation could yo please elaborate on exactly what fixed it for you. Did you adjust the antiskate or increase/decrease tracking weight?
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Chjmu
post Nov 4 2008, 07:51
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QUOTE (uart @ Nov 3 2008, 02:40) *
QUOTE (Chjmu @ Nov 2 2008, 12:21) *

Good news! smile.gif
I measured the tracking force and found it to be way off from the anti-skate and the recommended tracking force. Fixed it and it sounds great!


Hi Chjmu, that sss'ing is such a common problem with Vinyl, I've also had that issue in the past. From memory I think it was insufficient tracking weight that caused the problem in my case. Just to help others with the same situation could yo please elaborate on exactly what fixed it for you. Did you adjust the antiskate or increase/decrease tracking weight?

Well, I bought a stylus pressure gauge and found I was tracking around a gram over the recommended amount for the cartridge. I adjusted the tracking pressure and anti-skate to the correct pressure (which happens to be 3 grams) and the problem disappeared. I can still hear some distortion in the inner grooves, but that's most likely due to the cartridge quality (it came with the turntable, y'know). cool.gif
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