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Proof That a Ceramic Cart Damages Record with Single Play*, *It helps if the stylus is bent!
post Jan 21 2010, 06:53
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Picture This:
Your treasured record makes it to the new millennium, only to be ruined by a USB turntable!

A Closer Look at the Damage (Click to zoom in)

It Sounds as Awful as it Looks

The Problem? Bent Stylus Combined with 6.75 Grams of Pressure

Stylus #2: Bent in the Other Direction

A Month and 22 Cents Later: Needle #3

Stylus #3: Finally Points Down


These are the clips found in this article. I'll post the standard clips soon. MP3 versions of the standard clips at Knowzy. (Tip: The FLACs are there too. Just change the extension from .mp3 to .flac in the URL.)

A Lot of Work for a Lousy Turntable

I sat down to start sampling from my new Grace Digital Audio USB turntable. I placed the needle down on my 30th Anniversary Aja LP and heard an atrocious amount of surface noise. Worse yet, I noticed the grooves changing from black to gray as the record played.

My initial thought was that, at 6.75 grams of tracking force, the tone arm is simply placing too much pressure on the record. I believe the range for this cartridge is 2 5 grams. So, I sent it off for warranty repair, hoping to get a replacement unit.

While waiting for it to come back, I got a close look at the photos I took. You can clearly see a bent stylus.

This is exactly what the rep from Grace suspected before I started talking about VTF. Clearly this a common problem, further evidenced by this Amazon review.

My turntable came back. Same unit, which they said they repaired. I placed the needle to the vinyl and it proceeds to grind away at my 30th Anniversary Dark Side of the Moon. The surface noise was just as bad this time around. The photo seems to show the stylus bent in the other direction this time.

I call Grace and the same rep assures me that my repaired turntable can't be shaving my records. They test it before shipping it out, he says. Apparently I shouldn't believe my own eyes and ears!

He says he'll put a new stylus in the mail. It should arrive in the few days.

Three weeks later, no stylus.

I call back. Again I'm met with disbelief. "I remember mailing this out," the rep says. He agrees to send out a second needle.

A week later, I get a notice from the post office in my mail box. The postal service returned the package postage due to Grace three times. Apparently they ignored it each time. It finally came to me postage due: 22 cents. I drove to the post office, gave them a quarter and got my needle.

The next day, the second needle arrived.

Both styli were in good condition. I got a reasonable sounding sample. So I went ahead and produced the samples I'll post in an upcoming thread.

After all the trouble Grace went through to make it right, you have to wonder if companies regret selling these turntables as much as their customers regret buying them.

This post has been edited by Knowzy: Jan 21 2010, 07:07
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