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I'll keep it simple.
I have an AR ES-1 table. Only owner since 1985. Mint condition. On it is an Adcom "crosscoil" XC/Micro Ridge II MC cartridge. (they were made by Sumiko I believe). It sits on a target wall shelf. Other than that, no tweaks. It has been my great "one of these days" piece.
The reason for not doing more is I have been happy with it, and fiddling inevitable results in trouble.
However, I feel the time is nigh to finally do some tweak upgrades.
I was considering starting with Herbies Turntable Mat which has been reviewed as a good bang for buck item.
For the arm, I was considering the OL live but hear the Incognito RB250SE is even better.
A new cartridge is my last concern, but I am considering either the Shelter 901 or the Helikon.
My questions are:
Does anyone have experience comparing any of these items? and...
Would I be better served saving the money and just getting a new deck, like the Scoutmaster?
Finally, if I stay with the AR, does anyone know of a record clamp that works with it (due to it's very odd platter) or because of that platter are clamps pointless/impossible?
Yes, I am opening the proverbial can of worms asking for opinion on AA, but even if your advice is not germain to my question, I'll listen to it.
I owned an ES1 for many years and only sold it when I bought my VPI HW19 mkIII with a SME 309 arm in 1995. A close friend now owns the AR.
The Stock arm is really good (Sumiko MMT). At the risk of sounding anti-RB250 I think "upgrading" to the Rega may be a lateral move.
The ES1 responded to the George Merrill (sp?) modifications as they addressed the key weaknesess of the resonant platter. The motor upgrades talked about elswhere in this thread are valid also.
The AR ES1 is a very fine deck that needs very little to truly be exellent!
Born to Tinker!
I'd be looking at power supply 1st, then arm and cart.
Speed stability is one of the biggest real improvements in "Modern" turntables.
The Heed Orbit PSU is well priced and seems to be gaining a lot of fans. There is also Walker, Linn, Naim, VPI etc etc all more expensive - some incredibly more expensive. A second hand unit may be a good buy.
I would get a good powersupply first, listen for a while and then think about the arm and cart.
I have an AR table, and only a light clamp will do. Most clamps are very heavy , and as you have already experianced, this table is hard to change. It was a well thought out piece by a good company. The modest price point required a high degree of interdependence of the somewhat frugel parts used. But maybe I am not being clear. There is no over kill in the construction. Any clamp sold today that I am aware of will kill the springs. the clamps are all pretty heavy as far as I know. I use a very old plastic clamp called the "Pod". It works. but I could only use it because it is weighs only onces. Around the same era, radio shack sold a $5 plastic clamp that works well on the AR tables. Both of these clamps use a friction grip on the spindle to clamp , insted of using mass. You might be able to find the radioshack clamp second hand, if only because Radio shack must have had a lot of customers. But it was kind of an insignificant item at the time.
I haven't done one (yet) but from everything I've read, it's a rather challenging task. I've also been advised that even though very difficult, with the right arm it's well worth it. I haven't been on here in a while so I don't know if ARguy is still posting on here, but he seems to be a wealth of info and very helpful. I think he's probably experimented with several arms.
to be a PIA. My next table will be unsuspended with a massy platter and a detached motor (all failings in most suspended tables) and probably with a uni-pivot arm. Its really not hard to deal with isolating the table. Think Nottingham.........
> Its really not hard to deal with isolating the table.
No, it's not, and that's how you end up with a suspended turntable. How else do you plan to isolate a table from structural-borne vibrations?
As far as set-up is concerned, you have no idea what PITA means until you start using an air-bearing tonearm on a suspended table.
Are you saying because the rigid ones are so...rigid that they become a nightmare absorbing vibrations?
Firstly, I would never not use a table unless it was on a wall mount. I don't care what people put it on, if the table is on a stand that's on the floor, it's moving . Walls however don't move up and down. The difference is startling.
Yet I know most people don't use wall mounts, and they have these rigid modern tables. They claim what they're getting is wonderful. Do they not know how much better it could be? Could it even be better?
What do you recommend?
> Are you saying because the rigid ones are so...rigid that they
> become a nightmare absorbing vibrations?
No, non-suspended tables simply do not absorb any vibrations; they allow all frequencies to propagate unimpeded to the cartridge.
> I don't care what people put it on, if the table is on a stand
> that's on the floor, it's moving.
Not necessarily -- whether it does or not depends on the floor construction.
> Walls however don't move up and down.
They most certainly do. The entire earth beneath the house moves up and down -- how do you then prevent the wall from doing the same?
> The difference is startling.
That's true only if you have a very bouncy floor; in that case yes, a wall mount is the best solution.
> What do you recommend?
Ideally, a house built on a thick slab, as far away from civilisation as possible, and a suspended table bolted directly to the slab.
On a more practical note, a floor as rigid as possible, and a suspended table sitting directly on the floor.
The only case in my experience where a floor does not move is when it is a poured slab in direct contact with the ground. Some very old houses with post and beam frames and thick flooring also can be quite rigid. The great majority of what is left is not. I have been in many large new buildings with poured concrete slabs and jumping in them causes things to rattle in the room.
Walls however don't move up and down, only so much as the entire house can. You spun the answer. I don't know anyone who can jump so hard the entire house moves, so walls do not move. (unless it is a non load bearing wall in a poorly built home)
People can check by simply placing a half full glass on the top of their turntable, moving to the center of the room, and jumping. If the water is moving (which is most probably will be) their table is not vibration free.
I have never seen water move when placed on a wall mount, ever.
Simply put the facts are:
If the floor is a mover, the walls, even if they move, will be moving less.
If the floor is not a mover, the walls will still move less.
On top of that, on a wall mount the table sits on a plith connected to the room by 4 pin point spikes. That's about as decoupled as you can get.
In any case I think we are at cross purposes. You are not talking to the original point of my post and instead went off on an engineering tangent, which while always interesting doesn't answer my original question.
> If the floor is a mover, the walls, even if they move, will be moving less.
No, not necessarily. The construction of both surfaces will determine the vibrational modes that each one can sustain, and which one will affect your turntable most cannot be universally determined in advance.
> If the floor is not a mover
There is no such thing in this world.
> On top of that, on a wall mount the table sits on a plith connected to the room by 4 pin point spikes.
> That's about as decoupled as you can get.
Spikes are one of the worst interfaces for turntable support; rather than decoupling, they generate vibrations.
> People can check by simply placing a half full glass on the top of their turntable, moving to the center of the room,
> and jumping. If the water is moving (which is most probably will be) their table is not vibration free.
If that's the extent of your engineering analytic abilities, then by all means, get a non-suspended table, place it on spikes, rollerballs, mpingo discs, whatever, and enjoy the end result.
Good luck in your quest for better sound.
If you are going to contend there are places where walls move and floors don't, who am I to contradict you.
"Spikes are one of the worst interfaces....they generate vibrations."
I suppose that's why they are used by so many manufacturers. Everyone is stupider than you apparently.
Using a glass of water is a simple and effective means to determine how much instability you are dealing with in a given setup. It's not the end all but it is very reliable.
All your reply did was denigrate it, and me.
If that's the extent of your people skills, then you remind me of some audio salesmen I have known.
But thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to browbeat and insult me. In future however, you don't need to bother.
Wood floors will transmit vibrations, mostly from footfall, or vibes from speakers, now matter how well supported. When you place ANY TT on a floor based support you have to isolate the TT in some fashion. The walls of many houses sit on the perimeter foundation and are not directly connected to the wood floor. In these houses a wall mounted platform for the TT would be an excellent choice. Even should the walls be in contact with the floor the vibrations will be reduced by having to pass thru many different types of materiel with different vibrational modes. Of some interest to me, although I have never seen a study on it, is how much vibration passes thru the springs of a suspended TT which is not isolated in SOME manner. I think one of the reasons that John might like his TT set up without additional vibrational protection is that it needs to be able to bleed off internally created vibrations, but I would think that vibrations flow in both directions. Interestingly, I agree with him to the extent that I set my TT directly onto a hard surface to allow the TT vibes to excape, but I go one step further and I try to isolate this hard surface from incoming vibrations.
Don't let John grind you down, you will note that all of his comments are negative, have very little to do with the pratical problems of TT design and use, and he offers no real world solutions. What I loved was his comment below in which he unabashedly, without any support, denegrated off the plinth motors as being the worst design possible - and at the same time he, because of some assumed engineering backgound, is an expert in the field of vibration transmission (and assummedly resonance control) which is the underlying principle for taking the motor off the plinth, i.e. to reduce vibration from the motor to the TT. Oh well......
> Even should the walls be in contact with the floor the vibrations
> will be reduced by having to pass thru many different types of
A typical structural-borne vibration of 50Hz has a wavelength of about 130 feet; whether you place your turntable on the floor or the wall makes no difference to such a wave.
> Of some interest to me, although I have never seen a study on it,
> is how much vibration passes thru the springs of a suspended TT
> which is not isolated in SOME manner
If it has a spring suspension then it is isolated. And the study you're looking for can be found in any undergraduate physics and engineering book.
> I think one of the reasons that John might like his TT set up
> without additional vibrational protection is that it needs to be
> able to bleed off internally created vibrations
What do you mean by "additional vibration protection"?
No, there are no internally created vibrations -- who would create these in the first place?
Lastly, there is no physical concept of "bleeding off" vibrations. As far as I can tell this term was coined within the hi-fi community by people who had no passing acquaintance with physics but wanted to give their product a sheen of scientific acceptability.
> What I loved was his comment below in which he unabashedly, without
> any support, denegrated off the plinth motors as being the worst
> design possible
No, I was referring to the practice of using very low power motors to spin the platter, allegedly because low power motors would transmit fewer vibrations to the platter. There is essentially no scientific basis for this claim; motor vibrations are determined by the design and construction of the motor and have very little to do with its power output; in fact, the smoothest motor I have ever measured was a 10"-diameter, 50-pound jewel that required a controller bigger than my power amp. The only thing an underpowered motor can achieve is introduce speed variations, a condition that the original poster said was very sensitive to.
But this guy has chimed in on just about everyones post in this thread with no other purpose than to "correct" them about virtually everything.
All the while not addressing even one of my original questions.
So I took it for what it was, but thanks.
I don't think one has to be a rocket scientist to see floors are horizontal and move in the verticle and walls are the opposite. But the real criteria is there is nothing exerting force on the wall, but people are walking on the floor. On top of that, the wall is probably load bearing in which case the weight of the entire house is damping it. Nothing is damping the floor, unless as I said it's a basement floor. I cannot see how anyone could question a wall mount not being an ideal setup unless the room has seriously faulty walls.
After that, the only vibrations reaching the table are coming from the music itself, and that is a constant regardless of where the tables is.
This reminds me of the argument about whether a dust cover should be left on or not. Some say it blocks airborn waves and should stay on and down, others say it's a reciever for waves which it transmits to the base and should be taken entirely off. mea culpa....
I think at this point I am going to do nothing. Sometime next year I will probably get a used VPI Scout, simply because they are common, well regarded and I can buy it reasonable enough. I'll pit it against my AR and see for myself.
Thanks for all your insights and kind words.
I would also like to chime in on this thread just briefly. One thing that I did while playing music on my stereo was to hold my hand against a wall and I felt a lot of vibration coming from the wall. I donít know whether the wall was a load-bearing wall, but my house is sitting on a concrete slab so I would assume that every wall was pretty much a load-bearing wall, although Iím not an architect or civil engineer. I have my turntable on a sturdy hardwood stand spiked to the concrete slab underneath my carpet and it seems to be very stable relative to movement or vibration. I have never done a water-glass test, but I think it would pass. However, my walls definitely vibrate.
I stated the only exceptions are where a person has a poured concrete floor, as you do.
I suspect your walls vibrate because the wallboard is very thin. This is an all too common problem in many homes made since the late 60's. That said, the wallboard is vibrating, the wall is not moving. Studded floors move up and down.
If you attached a plinth to the wall studs, and then attached a target wall mount to the plinth, I guarantee there would be no vibration getting to the table.
In any case, thanks for the input and kudos on the floor.
Out of curiosity, does the concrete effect the bass at all in the room? (pro or con)
> > > Out of curiosity, does the concrete effect the bass at all in the room? (pro or con)
I guess I donít know the answer to that question. I have powered subwoofers that handle the bottom octave from 30 to 60-Hz and I get what I believe to be very realistic bass on vinyl. I get some earth shaking bass on many DVD movies. However, I have no idea how the concrete floor affects the bass.
During the past ten years Iíve lived in three different houses with these same powered subwoofers. I have never had any complaints about bass, but the best house for stereo, in general, was the first of the three. It had ordinary carpeted wood floors that moved up and down quite significantly. Bass was rather exciting because you could feel your chair vibrating. The listening room in that house had other attributes that made it the most amazing listening experience that I have ever heard. I guess it was just the right size and shape to create the most holographic three-dimensional imaging that I have ever heard. Everyone who listened to my system in that house seemed to be quite amazed. I remember one person asked me where the speakers were because the sound never seemed to come directly from them. Of course, I had the speakers well out into the room with both subs in a rear corner. The ceiling was slanted such that it reached 16-feet at the rear wall. I really miss that house.
I have two and I find that they couldn't be easier to setup. Plus they stay setup, no constant tweaking and re-adjusting. But I like non-suspended tables as well. I'm thinking Teres for my next table.
I sold a vintage lp12 last year and bought a Nottingham Interspace TT/Arm Combo. I got tired of dealing with the LP12 and just wanted to play music. The Nottingham has a great sound and its brought me back to enjoying music rather than "futzing" with the turntable.
Pain in the ass.
Sorry, I've been trying to clear my mind of vulgarities now that the election season is over.
2 replies, two opposing points of view. Exactly what I wanted.
Actually, I had also considered the space deck and arm as well. I just listed the scout as a more common example in my mind. Have you heard both?
And what is it about the suspended designs you dislike? I was not happy with it at first but a dealer and friend told me to put in on the target wall mount which I did soon after getting it. Made all the difference.
By the way, I'm Abr. challenged. What is PIA?
I'll try to control myself! :-)
You'll note in "systems" that I use a suspended table, and have for years. In order for it to work properly you have to be able to adjust the spring tension (if your turntable doesn't allow for this you'll have difficulty getting its best). That can be just as important as correctly setting up the arm/cartridge. And you still have to deal with some sort of additional isolation devices. Also, when changing arms on a suspended table you could well have to change the springs, assuming that the arm is somewhere withing the tolerences of the design and the manufacturer provides alternative springs. This limits you somewhat as to what type of arms you can use. Also, uni-pivot arms don't usually work well on suspended tables (they don't like all that bouncing about :-). One of the reasons I favor the Nottingham is the way the designer has delt with isolating the motor off the plinth and the design of the motor. One of the best tables I have owned was an old manual Mission with a motor so "underpowered" that you actually helped it to start spinning up to speed by rotating the platter and to use a dust brush. However once it was up to speed it was dead quie and spot on. This is how Nottinghams are designed (I assume you've read up on them already). The last reason I favor the more recent designs of non-suspended tables is they allow the use of heavy platters which contribute mightly to speed stability. I can't stand pitch variations!
I have not heard both designs you refer to in my home...I'm basing my comments on my understanding of the designs involved and consumer feedback re quality control. In the near future I'll be putting my money where my mouth is, i'e' probably a spacedeck and arm.
> In order for it to work properly you have to be able to adjust
> the spring tension
Or their height -- this is how VPIs work, and they work fine.
> And you still have to deal with some sort of additional isolation devices
No, you don't, and in fact, you should not; performance will suffer if you attempt to "isolate" a properly suspended table.
> One of the reasons I favor the Nottingham is the way the designer
> has delt with isolating the motor off the plinth and the design
> of the motor.
One of the worst designs in existence today.
> The last reason I favor the more recent designs of non-suspended
> tables is they allow the use of heavy platters which contribute
> mightly to speed stability.
How heavy a platter one uses is unrelated to whether the table is suspended or not. And if you care so much about speed stability, you should concentrate on getting a very good motor, motor controller, and bearing.
I will just have to audition a VPI table - I'm sure it solves all of the many problems facing turntable designers. :-)
> I will just have to audition a VPI table
From an engineering standpoint, VPIs are no better or worse than similarly priced suspended tables.
This is why I haven't done anything in 19 years. : )
Maybe I should just forget the whole thing.....
Obviously, I'm still using an old Oracle...............But one day soon, perhaps. Fun to keep up with whats going on though ....there really have been some great improvements in the past 20 years but none come cheap anymore.
Adjust the spring tension?!
I'll be honest. I'm moving the gear up into the attic as I'm putting a dedicated room in up there and when I took the table off the wall mount I cleaned it. While doing it I noticed the bottom cover was sagging, so I took it off to reverse it. This was the first time in 19 years I have ever done so. Not only did I not ever consider the springs, I didn't know adjusting the tension was possible or done. In any case I would not have screwed around with it.
I have always gone to great lengths to remove mold release and clean ever record on a machine. I also set the table up dead perfect. But beyond that, I have done nothing. I consider what I'm getting to be quite good. I consider cleaning the vinyl and proper setup 85% of the battle. It's only now I'm worrying over the last 15%. : )
The bouncy-ness of this platter has bothered me for years however, even though it does stay put when playing on the wall mount. But record clamps I tried did not work with it thus precluding their benefit and for what it would cost to replace the arm and motor I think it would be better to go with modern technology.
Thanks for the input.
Would it be worth my while to upgrade the power supply and motor with the Origin Live DC motor and speed control upgrade?
The AR is a suspended subchassis design right ? I say keep it !
Go for the arm option & then the cartridge Then the motor upgrade (I'm saving for that one as I write this). It's just an opinion but I think that suspended decks rule and you could do all sorts of other inexpensive things like damp the inside of the plinth / the subchassis with cork mat while you fit with the arm / replace the springs & grommets etc.
I think the mitchel clamp is universal (again, I'm about to find out myself).
Even if you decide to upgrade the deck later you'll still have a great arm for it. You may get what you're after & not want to replace the deck once you've wrung all the performance out of it !
You could even do what I'm trying at the moment & try casting your own plinth out of mineral loaded resin,finishing it in carbon & separating the motor from the rest of the plinth in a lead loaded casting. I just finished the mould walls & I'm ready to pour this weekend. Moment of truth !
That is good advice. I would add in addition to a new arm (I like the Rega RB300, no mods) the dampening of the outer platter and use of a new mat may help to quiet things down a bit. Rega or Linn dealers can supply felt mats. If you have a felt mat now, that may be best although the Ringmat is a good alternative to have on hand as well. Money saved could be spent on a record cleaning machine or phonostage if those are needed.
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