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S-Sound distortion - what causes it?
post Jun 6 2012, 09:15
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This was originally going to be a reply to another topic, but I thought I'd make a new one instead of derailing someone else's. (In case you were wondering why I'm starting in the middle of things and seemingly pulling quotes from thin air!)

QUOTE (jamie_P84 @ Jan 25 2011, 18:19) *
QUOTE (ramicio @ Jan 25 2011, 20:22) *
One thing I noticed with this turntable is with newer records you will get horrible distortion whenever a microphone-kissing artist makes a hard sound like S, F, or T.

In my own collection, all the records made from 1979 onwards are digitally-sourced (apparently due to the introduction of digital cutting delays in the mastering chain). I only bother with vinyl if it was produced prior to this date.

I think that's a rather misguided notion, and here's why -

I've got original pressings of Elton John and Kinks albums (among others) from the 60s and 70s that have this "S"-sound distortion, that also occurs on certain cymbal hits, usually hi-hats. It's very ugly. (Some of my old records are fine, though.)

I also have albums that have been written, recorded and pressed in the digital age, many from the last few years (2008 - 2011). None of them have this distortion.

The newer records were all bought new by me, and have been in my sole possession. The older ones changed hands God knows how many times before they ended up in my collection. This leads me to believe that the S-sound distortion comes from the records being damaged in some way - played on bad/misconfigured equipment, maybe something like the tracking force or stylus angle being grossly off from what it should be? Maybe simply from being played too many times?

I've been wondering since I started collecting what causes records to become distorted in this way. So if someone who knows what they're talking about could tell me, definitively, what causes this type of distortion, I would be very grateful.

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