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Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:33 am

Tim Gillett wrote:Testing audio gear with any sort of rigour and objectivity is often not easy. Here's a general article by Ethan Winer on the subject:

https://ethanwiner.com/audio_minutiae.htm

Tim

You're right Tim, and it helps, like a lot of recording equipment, to test it in your own place with your own gear. But even that falls down if what your testing wasn't designed to work with your gear in the first place. And in hi-fI, this isn't always made apparently obvious, you really do have to go through time and money to find out the systems that work well together. Also in the strange world of hi-fI, there are lots of different "camps" and god forbid if you mention Linn in the Michell camp for instance, or Naim in the Macintosh camp.
You could find yourself being burnt at the stake...

:D
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:31 am

I guess I was hoping you might have picked up on Ethan's and James Johnson's words on the limitations of human hearing, perception and memory. They might help encourage us to question a little our own certainties about what we thought we heard.
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:27 am

Tim Gillett wrote:I guess I was hoping you might have picked up on Ethan's and James Johnson's words on the limitations of human hearing, perception and memory. They might help encourage us to question a little our own certainties about what we thought we heard.

I did read that article, it's interesting, but some of it is a bit inconclusive and vague, along with some very sound facts though.
I have been caught out by the blind test, I went to buy a Michell Gyrodeck because It's my favourite turntable, it was pitched against a Linn Sondek LP12, in a blind test I preferred the Linn, thinking I was hearing the Michell.
But things aren't that simple or conclusive again, I had in my mind as you say, a memory of what I think the Gyrodeck should sound like, and what the Linn should sound like, and it's a long time since I have heard both, and both designs have changed considerably over the years, so that adds complications.
But we have to make a judgement at some point, and of course it is possible, items of equipment in the same room, with the same material is about as reasonable as we can get, and conclusions are made. Otherwise what are we supposed to do? Be told by some zealous salesman that we aern't hearing what we're hearing and we are obviously wrong, and we should buy what he thinks sounds good?
We have to use our ears, and if it sounds good to you that's all that matters.
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby cyrano.mac » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:10 am

Years ago, we did some blind testing on turntables. While most could easily hear the difference between cartridges, and even phono preamp/cartridge combo's, nobody could reliably tell the difference between turntables.

Mind you, we didn't make it easy because we never compared with low end and high end players. Just between "average" and "expensive". And I think an SL1200 was part of it, many, many others were too.

I think current prices for the SL1200 and 1210 are crazy. You can get a 1500 or 1800 for about one fifth. That is if you have time looking for a specific one.

Some years ago, the old Lenco L78's were going crazy prices too. It was made out to be an audiophile's nirvana. Of course, you needed to mod those. Another arm, an audio amp to drive the motor, a stone base, a "special" rubber mat. In the end, the heavy platter and the bearing were all that was left...

I think we all can agree idler wheel drives aren't exactly a good starting point if you want to keep it simple. Simple, as in, buy and use. Not starting a build that'll take four years or so.
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:22 am

cyrano.mac wrote:Years ago, we did some blind testing on turntables. While most could easily hear the difference between cartridges, and even phono preamp/cartridge combo's, nobody could reliably tell the difference between turntables.

Mind you, we didn't make it easy because we never compared with low end and high end players. Just between "average" and "expensive". And I think an SL1200 was part of it, many, many others were too.

I think current prices for the SL1200 and 1210 are crazy. You can get a 1500 or 1800 for about one fifth. That is if you have time looking for a specific one.

Some years ago, the old Lenco L78's were going crazy prices too. It was made out to be an audiophile's nirvana. Of course, you needed to mod those. Another arm, an audio amp to drive the motor, a stone base, a "special" rubber mat. In the end, the heavy platter and the bearing were all that was left...

I think we all can agree idler wheel drives aren't exactly a good starting point if you want to keep it simple. Simple, as in, buy and use. Not starting a build that'll take four years or so.

The Lenco is amazing, even in standard trim. It's got a very solid, well controlled sound.
I blow hot and cold regards turntables, I want one, then when I get one, I realise what a total pain they are, and as for records.....
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby ef37a » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:50 am

Hah! Interesting that the CD is held up as the Gold Standard for its "attack"!

I cannot see that finger amputating torque is needed for a hi fi turn table? So long as there is enough to maintain speed against the microscopic drag of a stylus exerting around 1.5 grams?

I was following the fortunes of the hi fi world until it got too silly for words and nobody ever came out with a cartridge with what we would now call a decently flat frequency response. I would also say you would struggle to get two cartridge samples sufficiently similar to be valid for A/B tests on two different turn tables, not to mention the arm setup hassles.

Then, you cannot test vinyl playback systems if the speakers are in the same room. The setup is mildly microphonic and even different mats can colour the sound in such cases.

I have a Rega Planar tt with an Empire cartridge and it'll do me for dubbing my disc collection to hard drive, if I ever get around to it. Then I shall let it gather dust as the finniky, noisy, distorting medium it always was!

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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:22 am

I love tinkering with vinyl, but it is far and way the least accurate musical medium ever invented! Everything you do changes the sound, often quite dramatically.

You've got the physical construction and supporting method of the plinth, the mass and material of the platter, the bearing design and its lubrication, the 'slip mat', and any centre clamp arrangement.

Then there's the drive mechanism -- rim, belt, direct or whatever, and the type of motor and method of control.

And then the cartridge type and design, the stylus shape, the alignment in the head-shell, the tracking weight, the anti-skating bias, the vertical tracking angle, the geometry and length of the arm itself, it's construction materials and its bearing designs, and the cartridge wiring.

The there's the preamp design and the RIAA correction EQ, and all the variations thereof...

It's no wonder no two record players ever sound even remotely alike... and that's why there will always be the tedious hi-fi 'mine's better than yours' arguments ... sorry, 'informed debates'... when the reality is that none of them are 'accurate' in the technical sense.

But that doesn't mean the format can't sound deliciously musical and enjoyable. :lol: :D

H
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:30 pm

And they sound quite different to each other... :headbang:
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby FrankF » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:57 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:I guess I was hoping you might have picked up on Ethan's and James Johnson's words on the limitations of human hearing, perception and memory. They might help encourage us to question a little our own certainties about what we thought we heard.
I like the bit about our audio memory being roughly 1 second. We're all Epsilon minus goldfish, I tell ya!
There's a well-known ABX test from the 80s involving a certain Ivor Tiefenbrun (AKA Mr Linn Electronics), and it has to be said, he doesn't come out of it covered in glory.

https://www.bostonaudiosociety.org/bas_ ... sting2.htm

There's also the test, conducted about 15 years ago, where several world-class violinists couldn't distinguish between the sound of a Strad and a modern violin...
However, my all-time favourite is the test, conducted in the late 70s, where a group of French wine critics and top sommeliers took part in a blind wine-tasting at the invitation of a similar group of American experts. The test was to see whether the French "experts" could identify French wines vs. US plonk in a series of blind tests.
And guess what? The French unanimously preferred the American wines, waxing all Jilly-Goolden-like in the process . Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when they were told the bad news. :D
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Tim Gillett » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:27 am

Yes but to his credit, Tiefenbrun was prepared to risk be proven wrong, which he was. The Boston test was done wisely I think. It didn't pit a vinyl directly against a CD, but vinyl against a digital copy (AD/DA) of that same vinyl, which is what Tiefenbrun couldn't distinguish. The limitations or not of vinyl weren't the issue here. By simply using the vinyl as the source material, that issue was bypassed. It was a test of the fidelity of digital. A digital doubter couldn't tell when the AD/DA was inserted.

Then around that time I think, someone had been producing CD's of Beatles albums using mint vinyls played on top notch gear, as sources. But once EMI started to issue their own CD's of the Beatles catalogue, the small producer stated "I cant compete with that". As an expert in vinyl reproduction, he was admitting to the fidelity limitations of the vinyl, re 44.1/16. A CD could be an audibly indistinguishable copy of a vinyl but not the other way around.
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Wonks » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:38 am

FrankF wrote:I like the bit about our audio memory being roughly 1 second. We're all Epsilon minus goldfish, I tell ya!

Goldfish memory span is actually around 5 months, not the 3 seconds of popular myth.
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby ef37a » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:40 am

I recall there was some resistance to Dolby B but some listening tests found that a panel could not tell an original, non Dolbied recording from one that was processed but had the correct amount of noise added!

My first encounter with CD was Bat out of Hell from a Quad current dumper and a pair of Castle acoustic speakers (the big, 10" jobbys)

"Ooooooo! GOTS to get me on of these!!

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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Zukan » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:25 am

Anyone used the Mixars?
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:59 pm

The first time I did a comparison of vinyl vs CD I thought that the vinyl sounded more like I expected digital to sound. Mind you, I was using a Decca FFSS arm and cartridge which are known to have a bit of a high frequency resonance.
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Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:20 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:Yes but to his credit, Tiefenbrun was prepared to risk be proven wrong, which he was. The Boston test was done wisely I think. It didn't pit a vinyl directly against a CD, but vinyl against a digital copy (AD/DA) of that same vinyl, which is what Tiefenbrun couldn't distinguish. The limitations or not of vinyl weren't the issue here. By simply using the vinyl as the source material, that issue was bypassed. It was a test of the fidelity of digital. A digital doubter couldn't tell when the AD/DA was inserted.

Then around that time I think, someone had been producing CD's of Beatles albums using mint vinyls played on top notch gear, as sources. But once EMI started to issue their own CD's of the Beatles catalogue, the small producer stated "I cant compete with that". As an expert in vinyl reproduction, he was admitting to the fidelity limitations of the vinyl, re 44.1/16. A CD could be an audibly indistinguishable copy of a vinyl but not the other way around.

The whole BADA hi-fi thing in the 80's was bad for hi-fi in general, it was a bunch of dealers who had narrow minded views and a vested interest in promoting brands that were in a lot of cases poor value for money, there was a dogged adhereance to buying British even though you could get better cheaper, and less hyped products from Japan.
Tiefenbrun was the high priest of that movement, and had what was effectively a tweaked Thorens TD150 in the LP12.
I can remember auditioning a lot of that stuff, it just wasn't worth the money, and sounded very average to my ears, if I had £3,000 to spend on an amplifier or turnatable then, it certainly wouldn't have been British.
Thank god, now the market has opened up and that attitude vanished ages ago, and dealers are much more encompassing in the equipment they stock.
Sure, us British make some amazing hi-fi, up there with best, but I can honestly say that I don't think, my ideal system would have any British components in it, maybe speakers, but I'm still not really sure about that.
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