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Welcome Licorice Pizza (LP) lovers! Setup guides and Vinyl FAQ.

Re: Turntable "upgrade" not living up to expectations?

Better resoulution has never made my old records sound anything but better- you're thinking too much! The PL-400 is a decent sub-$50 turntble IME. Check the basics:

First, it sounds very much as if the cart is worn badly and/or misaligned. Don't risk trashing your records with an unknown old cartridge. Do the math: relative cost to replace that old Empire with a decent-sounding new Shure M70B or A-T CN-5625AL for $25, verus killing dozens or records! Check Needle Doctor, Ed Saunders on eBay, etc. for cheap deals and reliable service.(Go to your local HoFiHut- mine has carts in th little glass case for $30 to $3000, and they answer all qustions, dumb an smart.) When you get a better 'table, keep this cart as a back-up.

Mount the new cart and set it up decently- it doesn't have to be the National Bureau of Standards- you can do a good enough job. Look in VA FAQ- link at top of page. You want to set the tracking force with a scale, don't trust the numbers on the back of the arm. You can buy or borrow a friend's alignment protractor (commonly a mirored scale with calibrations printed on it) and make sure the cartridge is aligned as well as it can be on the arm, to reduce tracking error. Follow the E-Z instuctions with the protractor. Don't forget to look at azimuth (the twist of the crtridge about its longtitudinal axis). I don't think the Pioneer can be adjusted for vertical tracking angle easily, but read about it, look at yours, and think about it.

Clean all electrical contacts but be absolutely sure not to get contact-cleaner on the diamond tip of the cart- they can come unglued and fall off! Make sure the cart mounting screws are tightened snugly and the removable headhell is firmly attached.

Surprisingly, a major determinant for good sound is to clean your s records- some carts are more sensiive to noise and crud than others! I think its fair to say that cleaning in all cases improves the sound and makes your records last.

Good luck. Didn't mean to get too rudimentary- if you know all this already forgive me. Ask questions here if you get stumped.

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