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Comparing Elements of Turntable Construction, Kindly requesting your help in building a turntable comparison chart.
Knowzy
post Aug 19 2008, 03:06
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Greetings HydrogenAudio.

USB turntables, as many around here are aware, range in quality from poor to decent. I'm setting out to create comparison charts detailed enough to find the gems in a sea of lightweight plastic and ceramic carts. Once the guide is more presentable, I plan to give HA an exclusive sneak preview.

What follows are the elements I'm considering for chart #3, "Turntable Construction," along with the possible values.

Is there anything else I should be considering? Are there any elements not worth comparing or combinable with other elements? Am I using correct terminology?

I greatly appreciate your informed input.
  • Drive
    • Belt
    • Direct
  • Cartridge Type
    • Ceramic
    • Moving Magnet
    • Moving Coil (no USB TT's feature these)
  • Plinth/Body (really having trouble succinctly comparing this)
    • Lightweight plastic/No isolation
    • Heavy plastic/Rubber
    • Metal/Rubber
    • Wood/Rubber
  • Anti-skate/Counterweight
    • Yes
    • No
  • Edit: Removed tonearm shape, combined counterweight with anti-skate (thanks for setting me straight Axon)
  • Mount Type
    • Half-inch
    • P-Type
    • Edit: Bayonet (thanks Axon)
    • Edit: Universal (thanks Axon)
    • Edit: Proprietary (thanks Axon)
  • Stylus Type Edit: Added more types
    • Conical
    • Elliptical
    • Spherical
    • Linear Contact
    • MicroLine
    • MicroRidge
  • Dustcover
    • Plastic
    • Cloth
    • None
  • Adjustable Feet for Leveling?
    • Yes
    • No
  • Tonearm cue?
    • Yes
    • No
  • Tonearm Auto return?
    • Yes
    • No
  • Edit: Specs (If Available) (Chart #4: Specifications)
    • Wow and Flutter
    • Signal to Noise Ratio
    • Rumble
    • Dimensions
    • Weight
    Edit: Pitch Control (chart #2) (thanks Axon)
    • +/- X%


This post has been edited by Knowzy: Aug 21 2008, 07:03
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WmAx
post Aug 20 2008, 03:05
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The implementations are so different for each feature on each product, you really have to get down to specific products and compare them.

For example, direct drive can be a noisy problem on cheap executions. But the superb executions, like on a Technics SL1200 have no audible consequence, and offer better speed stability then a standard belt drive unit.

The tone arm is critical, in that is has sufficient adjustments to get the best tracking, IMO.

Of course, the cartridge is critical, also. The Denon DL-110 comes to mind for one of the best cartridges for converting music to files. It has a smaller tip, and made with great precision according to those that inspect such things under microscopes, and it lets you get a cleaner signal from used LPs due it reaching to the inner grooves where normal sized tips don't typically contact well. It is also very flat response cartridge according to the Denon response graphs, with a slight 2dB rise over 10Khz, that you can easily EQ out using the graph for reference, in your digital editing to near total flat response. If you want even better accuracy, you can special high quality test record for $40 that you can use to measure the frequency response of your system so that your EQ correction process can be even more accurate.

Are you actually in the market for one? If so, what is the budget? If it is $500 range, there simple is no better option than the Technics Sl1200. The so-called audiophile TTs in the price range have no where near the level of engineering and build quality. If it under $500, then your options are really limited in new turn tables. But you can turn to certain vintage TTs from the 80's for superb playback systems. Some of these, such as some Denons from the early 80's, have extremely advanced tone arms with active servo stabilization and arm resonance canceling using microprocessors. The only issue with these is if it breaks; it's difficult to get replacement parts or service.

-Chris

This post has been edited by WmAx: Aug 20 2008, 03:13
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