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October 2012 Issue
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ON TRACK

I am a little confused by Dave Clewlow’s letter re the setting up of an SME V tonearm. I use an SME V on my Garrard 401, I also use the Hi-Fi News test disc. As far as I’m aware, the 18dB tone is a setting for bias compensation and all the trackability bands are at 15dB which he mentions later in the letter. 

    After working my way through endless protractors, I now only use the Clearaudio gauge on the 65mm setting which Clearaudio recommend and this gives superb results with my Denon DL304 cartridge. When listening for tracking errors I always listen via headphones. 

With respect to bias, don’t rely on the dial setting, always set the bias using the 16dB (Band 8 on the disc). This will help trackability. The 18dB bias setting cannot be reproduced cleanly. Also I am not convinced that the test tones on the producers cut version have been cut cleanly, they seem to be much better on the first generation (blue cover) version of the disc.

Regards,

Michael Bickley

 

 

The Graham Phantom II Supreme B-44 tonearm that attracts John Williams.

 

 

GET IT STRAIGHT

I would like you to help me sort out a problem I put myself into with buying a new cartridge for probably outdated turntable and tonearm, i.e. a Benz Micro Ace SL for a Thorens TD 160 super with Mayware Formula IV tone arm that I bought second hand some years ago when I wanted to listen to my vinyl records collection again. I have to say that I am in fact very happy with the sound of the new cartridge compared to the Goldring Eroica that was originally fitted with the Mayware, and even compared with my CD player. But I am nonetheless worried that this arm would be too light for the Benz, even with the optimum settings (the Mayware is a variable mass design), and would be bettered by a more recent device anyway. Could you recommend an arm that would be good enough for the cartridge and allow me a possible turntable upgrade in the future? I thought of a Jelco 750, or maybe a Moerch UP 4, which is also an unipivot but with a possibility to chose between different mass arm wands. What do you think?  

Main system: Marantz CD 14 and PM 14, Kef Reference Two.

Thanks in advance,

Marc Lucas 

Liège 

Belgium

 

 

 

An Audiomods Rega arm would suit the Thorens TD160 turntable of Marc Lucas.

 

The straight tube 250T Jelco is far more rigid than the S tube arms. However, with a Benz Micro Ace SL a Rega RB301 arm would be a better choice I feel. It’s rigid, one piece construction, standard dimensions and light weight make it suitable for the TD160, and it suits the Benz too. Look at the Audiomods Regas for some idea on how to move forward here, or you could just get an RB7001000, according to budget. Standard Regas work very well and tuned ones give great results and are 

fine value. NK

 

MOVING UP

I have a Rega P3-24 with TT-PSU and since then I have upgraded the Elys cartridge to Goldring 1022 and managed to find a Quad QC24P for a bargain price which solved my phono stage dilemma. Both upgrades have been significant improvements and I am really enjoying my vinyl. But I have been bitten by the upgrade bug and as much as I am enjoying it I can’t help feeling that I am just starting to glimpse the potential of the format and want to see how much further it can go.

Previous advice you gave was on a logical upgrade path - part of which I have now done as above. The next step is either to upgrade the arm or possibly to wait a little longer and upgrade the turntable. So my questions are;

 

1) Which will make the most difference - an upgraded turntable (say Gyro-Dec level) with the RB301 off my current deck or an improved arm (possibly Audiomods, Audio Origami, Origin Live or Inspire) on my current P3 - budget demands that upgrades will be staggered.

2) Of the arms mentioned have you any advice on their respective characteristics because I assume it may not be possible to audition them as many are made to order? Are there other arms I should consider and what sort of level should I be looking at to match up with a potential turntable upgrade (see below)

 

3) At least turntables should be possible to audition. I have always been interested in a Gyro-Dec, but Nottingham Analogue and Origin Live also look interesting. A realistic budget is £1,500 to £2,000 for the turntable but I am also interested in any other decks you think really should at least be auditioned because if the improvements are big enough, I would prefer to wait and buy the best I can.

 

The intention is for the arm and turntable upgrades to be definitive ones in my system. I may revisit cartridges again at some point but I would like to find my final arm and turntable and ideally for them to be well matched even though I will have to do them separately so there will be perhaps a significant period where there may be more of a mismatch so advice on what to consider and which is best to upgrade first would be much appreciated.

Many thanks,

Bob Smythe

 

 

 

I have upgraded to a Quad QC24P phono stage says Bob Smythe.

What turntable should I get?

 

 

The Quad QC24P is a fine phonostage that will carry you through several upgrades in the future.  It will handle any moving coil cartridge you can think of.

A few years ago I fitted a 12” Jelco arm to a GyroDec and it was reviewed in this magazine in the April 2010 issue.  It sounded very good and but my thoughts were that an SME IV might have been more suitable.  They do make a great combination as I later discovered.  I found late night use a bit of a problem after two glasses of wine, the suspended deck is very suspended!  You could easily fit your RB301 until you can afford a SME IV.  I don’t think you would regret this decision.

Or you could consider a Technics SL-1200, the Funk Platter and the Timestep PSU.  If you get a good used one from eBay or a dealer you will find the original arm is really quite good, at least until you can go for the SME 309 as used on the Technics EVO reviewed in the July 2011 issue of Hi-Fi World.

You haven’t asked about a cartridge. Get a Benz Glider or, if you can afford it, a Transfiguration Axia would go well with any of the above.  Good luck and let us know what you decided?

Dave Cawley

Sound Hi-Fi

 

OPENLY BAFFLED

I have been attempting to match a pair of differing impedance loudspeakers to produce a balanced musical reproduction. On my baffle, measuring about 33 inches square I have centrally mounted a 12 inch Wharfedale Bass Unit (3010 102.04) of 6 Ohms impedance (ex Dovedale duty and many other branded enclosures), and slightly offset above it a Wharfedale Super 8RSDD of 10-15 ohms impedance. Simply wired together in Series with no intervening crossovers,etc.

My power amplifier gives either a 4 ohms or 8 ohms output impedance and to my ear the 8 ohms setting sounds the more balanced. Because of the difference in impedance and power handling capacities (20 watts and 6 watts respectively from their seventies specs.) should I be considering some adjusting circuitry, perhaps in front of the 8 inch unit, to ensure a better integration between them? If anything the Super 8 can be a trifle excitable or hard pressed at times.

 Any advice gratefully received along with a small diagram with values as appropriate.

Usual thanks for all you do in the World of Hi-Fi.

Regards,

Adrian Warwick

UK

 

 

 

This is how a two-way loudspeaker is configured. It may not be the best

way to marry a Wharfedale 12in bass unit to a Wharfedale 8RSDD.

 

Er – yes, this isn’t how loudspeakers are designed Adrian! Connecting the drivers in series will limit the power developed into them and cancel electrical damping, which you need on an open baffle where acoustic damping is non-existent. The usual arrangement is to run drive units in parallel, with the bass unit connected to the amplifier through a low-pass inductor and the treble unit through a high-pass capacitor – see the circuit diagram. 

In your case I suggest you connect the bass unit direct, as it will not need a low pass I suspect. To cross over at 200Hz to the 8RSDD you need to use around 100μF, using a bi-polar electrolytic. Or you may just not bother and let the 8RSDD run full range. I suspect the 12in bass unit will have far higher output than the 8RSDD, meaning bass will be excessive. However, balancing this is small baffle size of 33in, which will cancel bass progressively below 200Hz. 

It’s all a bit of a hotchpotch technically and I suspect you will end up with little low bass, plentiful high bass and recessed midband and treble. Increasing baffle size or placing it on a floor / against a side wall are tricks used to lift lower bass by increasing baffle area. There’s nothing you can do to reduce output from the 12in bass unit to match the 8RSDD other than insert low value resistors of a few ohms, but this will destroy electrical damping again. If the 8RSDD is very sensitive though, I may be wrong and the two drivers will match. It’s best to experiment and see. Have fun! NK

 


 

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