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March 2010 issue
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TAFELRUNDE TIPS
This turntable was sent to Hong Kong before being shipped to you. Some settings, like the tone arm ones, were not carried out as they are usually done on location at the factory.

The speed regulation is meant to be a very fine tuning of the speed. With a base frequency 50 Hz:   - the regulation at 50 mHz gives 0.1% change for every turn (50mHz / 50Hz = 50 mHz / 50,000mHz = 0.001 = 0.1%)   - the regulation at 5 mHz gives 0.01% change for every turn (5mHz / 50Hz = 5 mHz / 50,000mHz = 0.0001 = 0.01%)

We are sorry for the inconvenience of 45 RPM not working. This is caused by a malfunctionment of the external power supply. This constitutes of: 1 power supply board, 1 control board; 1 amplifier board. Basically it transform 220 VAC into DC, then it splits into two oscillating stages (one for 33 RPM and one for 45 RPM), then back again into one single amplifier driving the turntable at 115 VAC. The cause of the problem can be: bad connection of the flat cables inside; broken oscillator; broken quartz; broken PIC.
Lift/lower problems. This is the only regulation not covered extensively in the manual: we do apologize, but usually the set-up is carried out by a specialised dealer. You may regulate the lift in three different points. First you may regulate the horizontal bar that actually lifts the tonearm: this is common to most of the tonearms lifts. I’ve included a picture showing the other two points A and B. By rotating these you should get the lifter in working conditions. We have never experienced this problem before.

Headshell offset was not factory set. In the instruction manuals there are instructions to carry out this adjustment:   1) Position the shell straight in relation to the arm tube (tighten the shell screw very slightly). The correct setting is the point on the template nearest the centre   of the record (use the included template), obtained by sliding the base of the arm among the bars that enter in the rectangular plate.   2) Move the needle to the second point on the template (the point furthest from the centre of the record). At this point, the setting is not correct. To fix it, turn the shell until you have the correct setting at this point (tighten the shell screw again very slightly)   3) Move the needle to the first point, nearest the centre. At this point, the setting is not now correct. Then move the base of the arm along the bars which joins it with the pin again until you have the correct setting.   4) If you move the head to the point on the template furthest from the pin again, the situation in point 2 above returns. Turn the shell as described in point 2 above. Obviously, when we verify if the setting is correct, moving from the furthest point to the nearest one, and conversely, we must slightly move the template making the turntable rotating. Continue to repeat these two operations, moving from the point furthest from the point to nearest to the record, always moving the arm base when you check the head on the template at the point nearest to the centre of the record and modifying the angle between arm tube and shell when you check the head on the template furthest from the centre of the record. Repeat this operation 4/5 times. The setting is perfect at the two points of the template where no move is required (neither the distance between the record player pin and arm nor shell angle moving required). You now have the right setting for the angle of the shell and the correct distance between arm pin and  record player pin. The head is now set.
yours sincerely,
Luca Gombi

We included Luca’s lengthy explanation for setting Lancellotto arm geometry for the sake of completeness. This is what we encountered in the instructions too, at which point it was time for the pub!
As explained in the review, we calculated correct head shell offset angle and overhang using Stephenson’s equations and applied the result to minimise tracking error in the arm. This was checked using a protractor, to ensure the zeros in the graph were zero in practice – and they were. We sent the equations in a graphical spreadsheet to Luca in Italy, to explain and illustrate the process,
NK

ITALIAN OR GERMAN?
In the Feb ‘10 issue much play is made of the Klimo record player being Italian whereas, Klimo is a German company located in Reutlinger. I know this because I own a pair of very good Klimo ‘Beltaine’ 300B monobloks (bought from Walrus). The Italian company Suono e Comunicazione s.r.l. appears to be their agent or distributor - they also represent Rega, Bosendorfer and Epos. Or am I missing something?
regards,
Nick M Jones


klimo_germany

Boffins at Klimo in Germany.

The following reply came from Luca in Italy, in direct response to your query. We were aware of this but perhaps should have explained it.

“Klimo is a German company, based in Reutlingen. Dusan Klimo, actually, is of Slovakian origin and he moved to Germany in 1968. We started many years ago as their distributor, but the cooperation became closer and closer till this stage where, roughly, the electronic part is made in Germany and the mechanical part is made in Italy: the turntable is made in Italy”.
Luca Gombi

CANNED HEAT

The headphone review published in February’s issue had me laughing out loud when I read it. Was the reviewer serious? I was surprised to see a Sennheiser PX100 used as a ‘reference.’ What does the reviewer normally use himself? Is he a headphone user?
Two amps used - both low output impedance, one being solid state and the other with a valve buffer. Is the reviewer aware of the differences that the output impedance can have on headphones?

The headphones chosen varied in price from £160 to £1,000. How is this a fair comparison given that cheaper headphones may have to make some compromises in comparison to a £1,000 pair of headphones (where it looks as though the compromises were made on its build/looks)
The headphones varied from wireless to open to closed to electrostat. Each designed in a totally different way. No mention of different impedances and sensitivities of the headphones.

Choices of music seemed a little strange - a mono recording from 1958, a Beatles recording and an 80’s recording.
Did the reviewer manage to wear in the headphones for any time?

I have the same set up as the one the reviewer was using and switch between many headphones via an Earmax, X-Can V8 and V2 (Modded) both also with beefier power supplies and one of my Headphones, the K701 took a long time to settle. What the reviewer seems to be describing is how they sound out of the box. Did he also miss the ‘airiness’ that the 701’s produce. Had he worn in any of the headphones before launching into this article?

I used to think that your magazine was more serious about hi fi than this. No measurements taken, just a reviewer and his rhetoric. Could the magazine please take headphones a little more seriously and ask someone with proper experience of them to do some fair reviews of like with like, the effects of output impedances on them, the impression of ‘space’ in the sound presentation, how each headphone has been designed to be used and make sure that they are fully ‘loosened’ by playing them for some time before reviewing?
Ian (Oxted)


Perhaps we should have said the Sennheiser PX100 was a 'benchmark' rather than a more difficult and nebulous concept to define, a ‘reference’. We have this problem with loudspeakers, using Spendor S8es as benchmarks for quality, because they set good standards all round. This is quite different from saying they are quality references - and what is a reference is very subjective in any case. For example, I would  nominate a good electrostatic or ribbon loudspeaker, because they measure well and sound right. However, most listeners prefer boxes, making my choice academic as far as everyday experience goes. A benchmark is a better everyday yardstick than a ‘reference’.

A low impedance source does not interact with varying load impedance, which is why headphone amps have low output impedance, and why we used two headphone amps with low output impedance. Headphones have either a very high non-flat impedance, like the Sennheiser HD650s, which vary from 50 Ohms to 500 Ohms, or a lower but flat impedance of around 40 Ohms (all the others in the group) which does not react significantly with a low output impedance source. We measured impedance and frequency response but impedance is of little consequence for the reasons stated and frequency response strictly non-flat unless a dummy head is used, which we do not have.

sennheiser-fr1

Sennheiser HD650 frequency response. Bass rolls off because they are not on-head (i.e. measured in open conditions).

sennheiser-z

Sennheiser HD650 impedance, not flat but very high at 500 Ohms maximum, and 50 Ohms minimum.

The review was a broad look across the price spectrum, an approach that is useful for spotting bargains.
We run in all transducers, but commonly do not mention it, because it can be a little tedious to read about and consumes valuable page space. Cartridges are run in, however, loudspeakers often run very heavily with pink noise and the Monitor Audio De-tox CD, overnight and over weekends. Amps are run to settle their components too.

Finally, with transducers such as loudspeakers and headphones, there are so many variables that it is impossible to make any judgement of them except subjectively. We use the widest range of the most sophisticated measurements with loudspeakers, including swept distortion spectrums, decay spectrums and much more, measurements beyond the capabilities of many manufacturers, yet still we describe them in subjective terms. The same applies to headphones. So at the end of the day it is one person’s judgement. In this case that person was musically experienced, uses headphones, and used low output impedance sources to avoid interaction. The headphones had been measured too, to ensure they worked normally. NK

Hi Ian. The reason I asked Paul to use the Sennheiser PX100 as a reference is that, in my fifteen years of testing headphones for Hi-Fi World and The Sunday Times, I’ve yet to find anything anywhere near as good at its £40 retail price. Feed it a good source via the likes of a Musical Fidelity X-CANS v8 and you’ll see what I mean. As such, it’s an excellent choice; if any of the headphones tested weren’t as good (despite being far more expensive), then they’d be swiftly discounted from the running. Unsurprisingly, the PX100 is also extremely popular; a great many thousands have been sold; so why on earth not use an affordable, much loved and fine sounding product as a ‘reference’? Makes sense to me!

The reason we routinely run a ‘spread’ of prices in group tests is to give a sense of perspective onto the subject. Obviously, we are not expecting the £160 phones to be better than the £1,000 ones, but an interesting question is ‘how much better is the most expensive than the cheapest?’ I think a ‘we tell you the best £1,000 headphone’-type group test is too narrow in its remit, whereas our approach throws open the possibility of a surprise or an upset; sometimes the cheapest isn’t the worst. Again, different types were used, to give a sense of what is possible with different engineering philosophies. Paul very accurately conveyed the difference between the Stax electrostatics and the other dynamic headphones, I thought. When auditioning, the music wasn’t limited to just that stated in the test; Paul chose to single out the tracks he did for the purposes of brevity in the write-up because again they epitomised key differences between the ‘phones.

Paul had the headphones for over six weeks before he filed his report, so yes, he did have plenty of time to bed them all in, and - importantly - time to experiment to see which ones suited the valve buffered Musical Fidelity phono stage and which suited the ANT Audio Amber 3T solid-state stage.
This magazine has been reviewing products for nearly two decades Ian, so we’re quite familiar with issues of running in; to audition an un-run-in ‘phone would be a schoolboy error! Please don’t assume this just because Paul’s subjective findings don’t tally with your own, obviously strongly held, views. If there was no difference of opinion about the relative merits of a product then there wouldn’t be any need for hi-fi magazines at all, so let’s accept informed subjective opinions for what they are, rather than attempt to discredit them. DP



 
Comments (3)
Technics mods
3Wednesday, 25 May 2011 11:58
Dave Cawley
Hi Anton

We are SL-1200 modifiers and currently have a half page advert in Hi Fi World. I have tried very many combinations of arms and cartridges, both my own and customers. If the standard arm is new or not abused it can easily take an OC9 cartridge and you could live with that almost happily ever after. In my view, and we are all different, the Rega 300/301 is only marginally better than a perfect stock arm and as such we recommend going a bit further up market to the SME 309, which with an OC9 or AT33EV will give quite remarkable results.

The links Noel gives above are a good starting point.

Regards

Dave Cawley
Technics query
2Tuesday, 24 May 2011 11:55
NK
Hi Anton,
Our usual advice is to go to -
http://www.soundhifi.com/sl1200/SL1200%20PSU.htm
or look up the Timestep forum at -
http://www.time-step.net/
regards, Noel Keywood, publisher
Technics SL1200 arm?
1Tuesday, 24 May 2011 06:23
Anton
In Vinyl Quest DP says "There are a number of specialists who can do this (fit a Rega arm to a 1200) for you, and who advertise in HFW". I cannot see any ads on your site for this. Can you tell me these people?

thanks, Anton

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