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Vinyl vs Digital and 24 bit vs 16 bit from vinyl.
2Bdecided
post Jul 29 2008, 10:13
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QUOTE (botface @ Jul 28 2008, 17:03) *
I'm not suggesting that vinyl has the same dynamic range as CD just that in my experience you can't tell the medium while listening to music in a normal domestic environment if the tell-tale vinyl clues (pops, clicks etc) are not present on the piece being listened to. I guess I should qualify that by saying that I'm assuming the music level is well above the noise floor
It's not really good enough for a wide range classical work. What were once considered "good" recordings and "good" pressings are now only collected by people who love vinyl. Most people who love the actual music threw these records away as soon as they could get them on CD, and with good reason.

I have decent playback equipment. I have decent LPs. I have (a few) records that are indistinguishable from CDs. No classical ones though.

Cheers,
David.
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botface
post Jul 29 2008, 10:53
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Fair comment. It seems we don't disagree after all

Moderation: Removed unnecessary botched quote.

This post has been edited by greynol: Jul 29 2008, 17:47
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2tec
post Oct 17 2008, 19:44
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jul 29 2008, 03:13) *
I have (a few) records that are indistinguishable from CDs.

Sure, however, my point wasn't whether analog is better than digital, or if albums can sound as good as, or the same as, CDs. In fact, my albums and tapes sound different than my CDs of the same music. To me, this is important, and is the reason why I maintain a non-solid-state audio set-up. Indeed, my original point was that I believe that music originally recorded using an entirely analog process can be reproduced with the greatest fidelity by an analog, tube based stereo system. So far, I haven't seen anything in this thread that would lead me to question this.


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pdq
post Oct 17 2008, 19:56
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What about the experiments in which an analog audio stream was converted to digital and back to analog, and none of the listeners were able to distinguish them?
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2tec
post Oct 18 2008, 02:20
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QUOTE (pdq @ Oct 17 2008, 12:56) *
What about the experiments in which an analog audio stream was converted to digital and back to analog, and none of the listeners were able to distinguish them?

Wouldn't the exact case be where the files were converted to digital and then directly compared to the originals? Personally, I've listened, as best I can, to the same recordings pre and post processed, and then through both of my front-ends. Both front ends sound different, however, neither seems completely better or worse than the other. The analog has more midrange warmth, the solid state seems to be tighter and the highs and lows seem sharper, but there's no apparent difference in fidelity. I prefer the analog side when listening to records and tapes, however for most post-seventies music, a CD player and foobar are better especially when dealing with digitally mastered or electronic music. They do sound different enough that I can tell them apart reliably.
  • Front end one was a cassette deck directly into tube amps then to the speakers.
  • Front end two was either a sound card or a CD player into a solid state amplifier, then to the same speakers.
This all came about when I'd thought about, and then quickly gave up any thought of encoding my collection of tapes. Which, by the way, still sound great. It's been my experience that at normal volume levels, few people can tell the digital solid state CD based music from the same tune from an old pre-recorded analog cassette. Of course, with analog, there is always noise between tracks and in the silences during songs which gives it away.


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Slipstreem
post Oct 18 2008, 03:18
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I do see your point, but I've stopped using my cassette deck on a regular basis for exactly the opposite reason. I already have most of the albums I have on tape on CD which I've transferred to MP3 in VBR at an average bitrate that's perceptually transparent to me on the same analogue amplifier I'd otherwise be listening to the tapes on.

Almost all of my tapes were home recordings from CDs I owned in the first place (or borrowed at the time but have subsequently purchased) and were recorded on a deck with -3dB points of 15Hz and 21kHz onto Metal formulation tapes using Dolby C, thus pushing the perceived noise floor on playback when using Dolby C down to around -85dB. The Dolby HX Pro incorporated into the recording deck minimised the saturation effects of the tape during the recording phase so commonly accused of causing a "warmth" of sorts through HF compression in cassette recordings.

At normal listening volumes when played back on a professional Teac cassette deck, I hear no significant difference between these recordings and the VBR MP3 encodings of the same original CDs. I have close to zero analogue "warmth" to lose due to there being next to none in these cassette recordings in the first place. They're just almost perfect replicas of the original source signal as far as a typical human ear is concerned. Closer analysis of these tapes shows that the vast majority of the original HF content remains intact many years after the initial recordings were made.

No doubt some readers of this post will scoff at the idea of an almost perceptually transparent cassette deck, but they honestly did exist and were sold in their hundreds of thousands. It was just a matter of doing your homework before purchasing and being prepared to pay for one. wink.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif
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2Bdecided
post Oct 20 2008, 14:45
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QUOTE (2tec @ Oct 17 2008, 19:44) *
Indeed, my original point was that I believe that music originally recorded using an entirely analog process can be reproduced with the greatest fidelity by an analog, tube based stereo system. So far, I haven't seen anything in this thread that would lead me to question this.
I don't think that's a fair use of the word "fidelity". You're taking a medium with inherent distortions, and playing it through a system that will add more inherent distortions.

There would be better fidelity to the original if you played it back through a system with fewer inherent distortions. This is just the definition of high fidelity - the closest approach to the original sound.

Which sounds "better" to you is a different matter. You could argue that the additional distortion is kinder to the original recording, or even more "true" to the intents of the original record producers.

I could similarly argue that the way to listen to The Beatles is by playing the vinyl on a 1964 Dansette record player. It may be true to the original sound heard by millions of fans, but it's not the greatest fidelity to the sound made in the studio.

(It may be closer to what was heard in the control room, but who would choose to sit in the control room when they could sit in the studio? (I suppose it depends on whether you think George Martin or John Lennon was more important - I've huge respect for both!) wink.gif )

Cheers,
David.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Oct 29 2008, 22:11
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QUOTE (Slipstreem @ Oct 17 2008, 21:18) *
At normal listening volumes when played back on a professional Teac cassette deck, I hear no significant difference between these recordings and the VBR MP3 encodings of the same original CDs. I have close to zero analogue "warmth" to lose due to there being next to none in these cassette recordings in the first place. They're just almost perfect replicas of the original source signal as far as a typical human ear is concerned. Closer analysis of these tapes shows that the vast majority of the original HF content remains intact many years after the initial recordings were made.

No doubt some readers of this post will scoff at the idea of an almost perceptually transparent cassette deck, but they honestly did exist and were sold in their hundreds of thousands. It was just a matter of doing your homework before purchasing and being prepared to pay for one. wink.gif


Not only is the cassette format not sonically transparent, neither is its big brother, two-track high speed analog tape.

Please see http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_tapg.htm
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Axon
post Oct 29 2008, 22:20
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ARNY SPEAKS!

Took ya long enough to get here wink.gif
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[JAZ]
post Oct 29 2008, 22:37
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Oct 29 2008, 23:11) *
Not only is the cassette format not sonically transparent, neither is its big brother, two-track high speed analog tape.

Please see http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_tapg.htm


I may not be the person to refute your post, but I see several details that i can't but put it here:

First, the person you're quoting stated about first generation copies, where in your link, it talks about second and fourth generation copies (on a supposedly better storage method)

It is a fact that tape does degrade the quality from copy to copy, just like transcoding lossy codecs do. This implies that either at the recording, storage or playback state, there is a loss of information. Yet, that's not against what the user said.


Next, there's something I don't get:

Correct p less than
193 / 340 = 57% 0.007

May I ask.... since when a 57% of correct guesses is a 0.007 probability of guessing?
Care to tell me what does that test actually mean?
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Slipstreem
post Oct 29 2008, 23:37
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I never said that the cassette format was sonically transparent, just that it was capable of coming close given a good example of appropriate machine and tape. Even more so if the machine is accurately calibrated in terms of recording bias level to suit the tape in question.

I'd like to be able to take the ABX results seriously on the Otari MTR-10 and MTR-20 decks, but as no mention is made of the age of the machines, the condition of the heads, the specific tape used, nor whether the optional Dolby SR noise reduction offered with these machines was either installed or used during the testing process, the results are meaningless in reality.

Apologies if that appears rude. It's just the way my analytical mind sees it. smile.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Oct 30 2008, 20:41
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QUOTE
' date='Oct 29 2008, 17:37' post='596389']
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Oct 29 2008, 23:11) *

Not only is the cassette format not sonically transparent, neither is its big brother, two-track high speed analog tape.

Please see http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_tapg.htm


I may not be the person to refute your post, but I see several details that i can't but put it here:

First, the person you're quoting stated about first generation copies, where in your link, it talks about second and fourth generation copies (on a supposedly better storage method)


In the context of the ABX test I cited, the first test *was* origional versus second generation, which is the same as a first generation copy. IOW, the author called the original the first generation.


QUOTE
Next, there's something I don't get:

Correct p less than
193 / 340 = 57% 0.007

May I ask.... since when a 57% of correct guesses is a 0.007 probability of guessing?


57% correct is 0.007 probability of guessing when you do a large number of trials. Do a smaller number of trials and the probability of guessing increases.


QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 29 2008, 17:20) *
ARNY SPEAKS!

Took ya long enough to get here wink.gif


Usenet is getting to be soooooo boring. :-(

QUOTE (Slipstreem @ Oct 29 2008, 18:37) *
I never said that the cassette format was sonically transparent, just that it was capable of coming close given a good example of appropriate machine and tape. Even more so if the machine is accurately calibrated in terms of recording bias level to suit the tape in question.


I guess I think that "close" is hard to get a precise handle on. Take my post as an errr... umm... clarification. ;-)

QUOTE
I'd like to be able to take the ABX results seriously on the Otari MTR-10 and MTR-20 decks, but as no mention is made of the age of the machines, the condition of the heads, the specific tape used, nor whether the optional Dolby SR noise reduction offered with these machines was either installed or used during the testing process, the results are meaningless in reality.


Dolby SR was not used. The machines had been just tested and aligned by one of the very best analog tape technicans around, who also did the tests.

I seem to recall they were brand new machines being checked out by the dealer's best tech, preparatory for delivery. The tape choice was of course optimal for thase machines at that time. I think there is a corresponding AES paper, but I don't know if it was for a conference or a section meeting.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Oct 30 2008, 20:57
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QUOTE (pdq @ Oct 17 2008, 14:56) *
What about the experiments in which an analog audio stream was converted to digital and back to analog, and none of the listeners were able to distinguish them?


That's an easy test to do and many people have done it with the same results you mention. Questions can be asked about the source material, and the monitoring environment.

People who believe in magic recordings that reveal differences that other recordings can't, can be reasonable or unreasonable depending on how far they take it.

If the conversion in question is 16/44 then a good recording done in an appreciably more precise format like 24/96 should be sufficient.

A good pair of 16/44 converters will pass the test if levels are set intelligently.

People who believe in magic monitoring systems that reveal differents that other systems don't are on shakier ground, given that reasonably good equipment is being used. Headphones can be very sensitive, and a pair of < $260 Sennheiser HD 600s are about as sensitive as it gets. HD 580s were good enough but they seem to be out of production.

Certainly any system that meets EBU recommentation BS 1116 is pretty solid. That recommendation can be met using a pair of JBL powered monitors that sell for less than $2,000 a pair, situated in an appropriate room.

Cut to the chase and you find that the limit to what we can hear are often the limitations on dynamic range and frequency response that are a natural part of a live performance, the dynamic range issues in most listening rooms, and the listener's ears.

QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 3 2008, 15:26) *
QUOTE (Axon @ Jun 3 2008, 12:20) *

Oh, nice! Another flat transfer partisan. Welcome to the club.


I have to wonder, what does all that RIAA curve do to your overall gain structure and dynamic range, then.


It is not pretty!
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Slipstreem
post Oct 30 2008, 21:07
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Oct 30 2008, 20:41) *
I guess I think that "close" is hard to get a precise handle on. Take my post as an errr... umm... clarification. ;-)
That's exactly how it was intended and no offence taken. I've learned to be either painstakingly precise or ambiguous to the point of not actually stating anything around here. There's not much tolerance given for anything inbetween. wink.gif

QUOTE
Dolby SR was not used. The machines had been just tested and aligned by one of the very best analog tape technicans around, who also did the tests.

I seem to recall they were brand new machines being checked out by the dealer's best tech, preparatory for delivery. The tape choice was of course optimal for thase machines at that time. I think there is a corresponding AES paper, but I don't know if it was for a conference or a section meeting.
Thanks for the additional info. I'd have liked to have seen the same test carried out with Dolby SR personally. It should, in theory, increase the transparency by quite a margin if calibrated correctly by heavily reducing the effects of tape saturation and increasing the apparent S/N ratio considerably. Although it still wouldn't have fooled all of the people all of the time, I think the decks would have faired much better in an ABX test with it rather than without it.

And please excuse my manners. Welcome aboard. smile.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif
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Axon
post Oct 30 2008, 22:40
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Oct 30 2008, 14:57) *
QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 3 2008, 15:26) *

QUOTE (Axon @ Jun 3 2008, 12:20) *

Oh, nice! Another flat transfer partisan. Welcome to the club.


I have to wonder, what does all that RIAA curve do to your overall gain structure and dynamic range, then.


It is not pretty!


Oh, blah. We've been over this before on this site.

Right now I'm recording flat with a Yamaha GO46 (quieter/cheaper than an Emu 0404 USB!). It's about 10-20db quieter at all frequencies than the vinyl noise floors I'm recording, except for some 1khz peaks and diverse harmonics thereof at +20db above the vinyl noise floor (which are not audible at real listening levels, and are not predicted to be audible due to spectral masking), and a really wide hump at 700hz that's perhaps 5db up IIRC. That's probably audible, but even with my dynamic LPs it's an incredibly minor concern. The noise floor while recording is -72db, and I do manage to clip on very rare occasion with real music.

So I still have some niggling issues with my flat setup, but they're exceedingly minor, and I'm fairly sure they will go away on the next upgrade. And they are likely worlds better than anything else I could find for $150.
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Slipstreem
post Oct 31 2008, 01:00
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@Axon: I hope you're providing the recommended capacitive loading for the cartridge, preferably directly at the cartridge. If the graphs you showed us in a recent thread showing noticeable HF ringing are anything to go by, I suspect not. wink.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif
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Axon
post Oct 31 2008, 01:11
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QUOTE (Slipstreem @ Oct 30 2008, 19:00) *
@Axon: I hope you're providing the recommended capacitive loading for the cartridge, preferably directly at the cartridge. If the graphs you showed us in a recent thread showing noticeable HF ringing are anything to go by, I suspect not. wink.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif
It's not needed. I run MC.
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Slipstreem
post Oct 31 2008, 01:24
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Ah. Fair enough. smile.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif
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Axon
post Oct 31 2008, 01:52
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... That said, I do intend on scoring a 78 cart someday, and unless I want to spend $2000 for an EMT, or get a retip on a DL-102 for some smaller but still absurd price, I'll probably get an Ortofon or Shure 78 cartridge, and wire up an inline capacitive network with XLR connectors.
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Slipstreem
post Oct 31 2008, 02:14
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Would it not work better with the capacitors soldered on directly at the cartridge though? I only ask after carrying out similar damping/tuning experiments myself with cassette tape deck heads where placing low-K ceramic plate capacitors directly at the head was far more effective than placing them at the opposite end of a length of coax.

I realise that you won't be expecting to tune for a flat 20kHz+ bandwidth like I was and you're never going to get that back from an old 78RPM recording anyway, but it might help with damping out the inherent ringing that's going to occur mechanically if, or should I say when, you hit a big scratch or heavy surface noise. smile.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif
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Axon
post Oct 31 2008, 02:26
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Soldering the leads on a cart is an easy way to fry it. However, wiring the network up parallel to the headshell leads would work pretty well...
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Slipstreem
post Oct 31 2008, 02:32
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Best of luck with it when it happens. I'm hoping to see an in-depth article in your blog about it when it does. wink.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Oct 31 2008, 13:53
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QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 30 2008, 17:40) *
Right now I'm recording flat with a Yamaha GO46 (quieter/cheaper than an Emu 0404 USB!). It's about 10-20db quieter at all frequencies than the vinyl noise floors I'm recording, except for some 1khz peaks and diverse harmonics thereof at +20db above the vinyl noise floor (which are not audible at real listening levels, and are not predicted to be audible due to spectral masking), and a really wide hump at 700hz that's perhaps 5db up IIRC. That's probably audible, but even with my dynamic LPs it's an incredibly minor concern. The noise floor while recording is -72db, and I do manage to clip on very rare occasion with real music.


So, educate me! ;-)

Dynamic range has two parts - noise floor and headroom. YOu seem to be OK on the noise floor end, but what's happening with headroom? Before you apply eq in the digital domain, how close do peak levels come to FS?


QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 30 2008, 21:26) *
Soldering the leads on a cart is an easy way to fry it. However, wiring the network up parallel to the headshell leads would work pretty well...


Done the headshell trip, and it works, but adds some mass. Soldered to the clips that slip onto the cartrdige pins.

Never had any problem with applying loading capacitance at the preamp end. Indeed, my main phono preamp in the days of vinyl was based on NE5534 ICs, and had tuning capacitors wired across the inputs.

The sources and electronics were in a different room than the speakers, the walls were wet plaster over steel, and the floors were poured concrete over sand. Bottom line, minimal transfer from the speakers to the playback setup. No problems with acoustic feedback, even with the 18" subwoofer (F -3 = 16 Hz) in play.
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Slipstreem
post Oct 31 2008, 15:37
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Oct 31 2008, 13:53) *
Never had any problem with applying loading capacitance at the preamp end. Indeed, my main phono preamp in the days of vinyl was based on NE5534 ICs, and had tuning capacitors wired across the inputs.
It's difficult to quantify the difference in terms of the audible effect without violating TOS8, but I had young ears at the time and the HF content definitely sounded much cleaner to me personally with the capacitors at the cartridge end. There was far less ringing on record scratches and HF content when viewed with an oscilloscope too.

All coaxial cable inherently has inductive properties as well as capacitive, so placing the capacitors at the far end of a cable run is effectively placing another L/C circuit in series/parallel with the cartridge before the loading capacitors. Placing the capacitors as close as physically possible to the cartridge means that it "sees" the capacitors as an almost purely capacitive load rather than "seeing" them at the opposite end of a frequency-dependent (thus lossy) transmission line.

Low-K ceramic plate capacitors were used due to their inherently high temperature stability, close tolerance and very low leakage. They're about as close to perfection as a capacitor can get for HF audio use and their mass is so close to zero as to be insignificant in a typical headshell, IMO. I've never actually weighed one, but the solder used to attach them could weigh significantly more than the capacitors themselves.

I was particularly interested in minimising overshoot and ringing at the time to make it easier for the analogue electronics I'd designed to discriminate a scratch from genuine audio content for a home-brewed scratch eliminator. On one particular test record that I'd deliberately scratched myself, the detection accuracy went up from 74% to 97% by simply moving the capacitors from the input of the preamp to the cartridge itself due to reduced HF ringing.

Whether or not this makes any audible difference to the clarity of HF content from vinyl to any given individual is open to debate depending upon whether the ringing with their particular system is large enough to be heard and within the frequency range audible by the listener in question, but it hopefully goes at least partway towards explaining my apparent obsession with the subject of technically correct loading. wink.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif
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Axon
post Oct 31 2008, 17:38
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Oct 31 2008, 07:53) *
So, educate me! ;-)

Dynamic range has two parts - noise floor and headroom. YOu seem to be OK on the noise floor end, but what's happening with headroom? Before you apply eq in the digital domain, how close do peak levels come to FS?
Like I said, it clips on rare occasion - although usually this happens either with a pop/tick or when I'm playing a 33 at 45rpm by accident, or when significant groove wear is already evident in the final product - cases that I largely don't care about. Otherwise, the clip is for only one or two samples out of every 50 or so. So I'm not too worried about it.

Moreover, this is at the maximum gain setting for the preamp (50db), and I can always turn it down if it becomes an issue. And note, this is for a LOMC. Gain goes a lot farther in the flat domain than in the RIAA domain.

QUOTE
Done the headshell trip, and it works, but adds some mass. Soldered to the clips that slip onto the cartrdige pins.
Ah, yeah, good point. I'm already in the 7hz regime with my arm/cart and I probably shouldn't go any lower.
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