Nirvana . . . ?

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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Round and round, with the new P5 . . . thats how its been for a few weeks, you may have seen the various despair, and euphoric 'thats better' posts on the HiFi forum . . . sorry guys, having had it pointed out to me, these should have been here in the turntable section :doh: I really do have problems with writen detail sometimes. As has been pointed out I'm a 'tweaker', an ex audiophile, once a tweaker always a tweaker . . . I said I had finished tweaking . . . yeah!!! I thought I had pinned it over the weekend, shims, no platter mat, still a tad edgy at the top end but very detailed. Then someone mentioned acrylic platters . . . look a week or so ago, but the price!!! Looked again, dismissed the American offering at £240!!! but came across 'SRM/Tech' in Biggleswade and at a very reasonable £75 . . . registered it in the mind Sunday night. Work Monday, decided to have Tuesday off, as you do??? Sat at the computer after breakfast, pulled up details of SRM, worth a phone call, discovered it was an old acquaintance from the 80's, who new me better than I remembered him. Cut a long story short, and noting Biggleswade is within striking distance of my home and I'm at home with nothing lined up especially . . . . . . . well you have to really dont you. I'm sitting hear, late evening, with a magical sound floating around my room, speakers what speakers. I have been looking for a sound that I achieved 20 years ago that I call 'pipe and slippers' not the woolly, smokey sound one associates with that phrase. Its, dynamic, but warm, easy top end with out being rolled off, fast transients but not in the face. An image that is totally convincing with sound to match. I'm actually listening to a drum solo at this moment, I can hear the skin being struck, cymbals sound like symbols, not a metallic fizz, the kick drum is totally convincing. I listened to the Proprius recording 'Cantate Domino', choir and organ, recorded in a church, the choir was easily presented in its layers and parts, the organ was easy to identify pipes and position, consul, stops and foot use, simply enthralling, and the church acoustic was delicately presented as a rolling echo and part of the whole. I have achieved my goal of recreating a sound that I used to listen to for hours on end during the 80's. I cant try anything to heavy or loud, its late, have to think of others, but the dynamics are there, image is there, articulation is perfect. The sound may be a tad warm/understated for some? but it ain't smokey and it certainly gets up close and personal as required, just like Emmylou Harris at this moments and her album 'Evangeline' If you have a Rega, its worth £75 IMHO . . . the only thing I found a faff was the 3 little pips that support the platter off the sub-platter, sticking them on is a pain, but, the results are worth it!!! By the way, sounds better with the platter mat on, ads that tiny bit of warmth that I like with out muddying the sound as it does when put on the standard glass platter. CJSF
 

Jason36

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Jul 23, 2008
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Hi CJSF and welcome to the Turntable & LP section of the site.

So it sounds like the "Holy Grail" is possibly achievable :)

How is the finish on the SRM/TECH platter?

Also, how does using the felt mat with the acrylic platter alter the Height of the arm, VTA etc?? I believe a lot of the acrylic platters are machined slightly thicker than the glass platter as they say the felt mat is not required. I might be wrong but interested in finding out.
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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Jason36 said:
Hi CJSF and welcome to the Turntable & LP section of the site.

So it sounds like the "Holy Grail" is possibly achievable :)

How is the finish on the SRM/TECH platter?

Also, how does using the felt mat with the acrylic platter alter the Height of the arm, VTA etc?? I believe a lot of the acrylic platters are machined slightly thicker than the glass platter as they say the felt mat is not required. I might be wrong but interested in finding out.
SRM's 20mm platter is machined to the same thickness as the glass, tried it like that first. The SRM platter is recommended to sit on three isolator pips, these are supplied at 1mm, 2mm and 3mm thick, they represent the mat, 2mm is the standard Rega mat.

So as I say, I tried various combinations, no pips + mat was good, the pips are a pain to deal with at this stage (they are eventually stuck on) . . . then me being me thought, I have seen isolation pips on other designs, so just the 1mm pip was put on, no mat, then the mat . . . :cheer: everything pulled into focus with introduction of the mat. I got Hazel in from the kitchen, "am I hearing things" I asked, "no" says she, " I hear it to"! We simply kept putting track after track on . . . nothing changed, perfect presentation . . . mmm, perfect by my '20 year old memory standards' it must be said. We eventually crawled into bed at 1am!

A most striking affect that took a while to appreciate was the balance achieved, one likes to hear the background in live recordings such as the customers and activity in the room of 'Jazz in the Pawnshop'. The activity is there, crisp and clear, but now it is in its rightful place, as a background, the music is the main event, and what an event!!! Same with a couple of other Propius recordings, the layers, especially ambiance, are rejigged to be where one would expect them to be, adding to the whole, rather than taking over as a novelty event, gone are the audiophile perceptions.

Talking to Stuart at SRM about the mat, it depends on the individual, he was confident, his confidence was well founded.

Have I got it perfect . . . ? nah . . . but, its bl**dy close to! I cant believe the basic system I have now can match the audiophile system I put together in the 80's . . . or can it? As I often say I do trust my ears.

CJSF
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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5pm . . . cup of tea and then an hour with a few of the recordings I like to turn the wick up on . . . :dance:

CJSF
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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Jason36 said:
How is the finish on the SRM/TECH platter?
Sorry Jason I did not answer you question on finish . . . out of 10, I would give it 9. The platter is black and made of two 10mm pieces stuck together, (broken bell) the playing surface is excellent, it has a synthetic resonance ring around the 20mm edge, which does not shine like the platter surface. There is a machined depression in the top to accept the LP label and a much deeper machining on the underside to clear the motor. This underside machining is OK . . . The pips are a bit of an afterthought in my humble opinion, fiddly, but they do work.

At £75, its well worth the '9', for a 10 on finish alone, you would need to double the price to allow for some very fancy machining. It looks fine when in place, some might say I'm being harsh . . . OK, 9.5 out of ten, but musically it gets '11 out of 10' from me!!!:dance:

Here is a couple of pics to give you an idea, sorry about the dog hairs on the mat, top one is how I use it, bottom pic shows without mat and machining:



Incidentally, now, with such a clean sound being produced, I can't hear any interference from the book case I have the TT standing on. Thats a broken bell, MDF board, with a full size felt interface between it and the shelf, and then a granite slab placed on the board. The slabs are obtained from Tescos or Morrisons, sold are pastry roll outs and kitchen surface protectors, cheapest from Morrisons at a tenner, twelve pounds fifty from Tescos, exactly the same product, down to the same packaging, different shop name printed on.

CJSF
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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I thinks it's about time you looked into getting the Michell TecnoWeight (to replace the stock Rega item) and having the tonearm rewired.

You can't let yourself be content with just 'close' to perfect.
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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No need to spend more . . . I have heard enough this evening, the three 'original' test rock records that I used to use all the time, Peter Gabrial, Queen and Dark Side, exceeded my memory of them . . . I have never experienced such detail, power, dynamics and yet they presented a truly musical and beguiling performance. Dark Side in particular, contained information and subtlety that I have never heard before on any system.

To change this would seem to me, potentially, to destroy an obvious synergy between components that is greater than the sum of its whole?

In other words 'I like it the way it is' . . . a lot! :D

. . . as always, 'never say never' but its going to take a lot of persuading to change anything. CJSF :dance:
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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CnoEvil said:
CJSF said:
In other words 'I like it the way it is' . . . a lot! :D
Well thank goodness for that.... The traffic on the forum will probably halve. ;) :D
Phew ConEvil, you weren't kidding, traffic is almost non-existent! . . . Mind you, I thought I had got all this tweaking lark out of my system, been listening to some really obscure LP's I have found in amongst my saved 200? Most are audiophile labels, direct cuts, I really dont remember buying or playing them?

As I say, all out of the system now??? . . . . . . . well . . . I had a call this morning from my friend who does the acrylic platters, he is going to send me a few more bits to try on the P5 . . . I'm really getting back into things, feeling so much more positive, it like having a goal to aim at, a new life, 'just what the Doctor ordered' . . . 8)

Nice cuppa, amp and PSU cooking ready for an hour of 'music' before dinner . . .

CJSF
 

CnoEvil

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The old ways/passion can come back with surprising ease, and all the old contacts are waiting in the wings, ready to rekindle the dying embers if necessary.

FWIW I've enjoyed your "diary of an old audiophile", in which I've lived your roller coaster ride of achieving "audio nirvana". It brings me back to the days of messing about with the Planar 3 that I owned over 30 years ago.

Keep up the good work

Cno
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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CnoEvil said:
The old ways/passion can come back with surprising ease, and all the old contacts are waiting in the wings, ready to rekindle the dying embers if necessary. FWIW I've enjoyed your "diary of an old audiophile", in which I've lived your roller coaster ride of achieving "audio nirvana". It brings me back to the days of messing about with the Planar 3 that I owned over 30 years ago. Keep up the good work Cno
Thanks ConEvil, I've always been a waffler, used to write for the media in another life about airplanes and fishing, not in the same magazine:D some was liked, and some . . . well? Controversial I was, am, and ever will be I suppose, often taking the alternative view, in those days of course, it was one way, today, its can get a bit more personal, best to see both points of view, but one does not have to agree! . . . I have never been a 'yes man'.

I'm enjoying my vinyl, some of it is a bit of the wall, but even the weird stuff seems to have been well recorded, wish I could remember some more of the detail of my life at the time?

Just had a bit of nostalgia with the Shadows, and then got really heavy on Alan Parsons 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination' based on some of the work of Edgar Allan Poe. Time for dinner now, I have pulled out for after dinner relaxation; Art Garfunkel 'Lefty', John Williams 'Sky2' with Herbie Flowers, Kevin Peek, Tristan Fry and Francis Monkman. Followed by, The Everly Brothers 'Reunion concert' and for a bit of culture, A Linn recording 'Cappella Nova' and maybe a bit of harpsichord played by Albert Fuller, on the 'Reference Recordings' label.

CJSF
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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8 o'clock, the postie has rung the door bell to deliver my P5 'tweak up goodies' . . . work gets in the way . . . have to wait until tonight!

CJSF
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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Tried the P5 upgrade goodies . . . yes, we could hear subtle changes, but . . . the essential balance achieved was upset, trading better in one area for negatives elsewhere, I have no doubt someone else would have preferred the new presentation, Hazel and I like it as it was/is. After all the work I have put in, achieving a 'balance we like', I will keep the money in my pocket.

I did take the opportunity to rebalance the arm properly, I have a Michell Balance from 25 years ago. Discovered the arm over compensates on stylus pressure as well as bias! . . . and yes the sound has lightened and opened 'very slightly' tracking at a true 2grs. How much out, I did not think to check with the balance before:doh: but I recon 10% judging by marks on the arm dial?

I wonder if the 'Harmonic ring' around the counter weight upsets the arms 'stylus weight dial' . . . ? Any old how, I know its on a true 2grs, sounding great, no guess work . . . 8)

CJSF
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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There are two ways to balance the arm and the weight.

1) According to the instructions.

2) Turn the tracking weight dial to the max (3 grams?) setting. Without changing this, set the tracking weight just with scales and counterweight position.

Set according to Rega instructions, Rega RB arms apply more upwards spring force the lower the tracking weight number applied on the dial.

So if you max the dial setting to 3, the spring is slack and has little or no upward force.

Now if you leave it set to 3 - then just use the counterweight and scales - then the resultant tracking force is due purely to gravity and is not 'fighting' against any upwards force from the spring.

It's cheap, easy to try and one of the reasons some 'purists' prefer RB250 arms to RB300s. (The RB250 has no spring involved in setting tracking force.)
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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chebby said:
There are two ways to balance the arm and the weight.

1) According to the instructions.

2) Turn the tracking weight dial to the max (3 grams?) setting. Without changing this, set the tracking weight just with scales and counterweight position.

Set according to Rega instructions, Rega RB arms apply more upwards spring force the lower the tracking weight number applied on the dial.

So if you max the dial setting to 3, the spring is slack and has little or no upward force.

Now if you leave it set to 3 - then just use the counterweight and scales - then the resultant tracking force is due purely to gravity and is not 'fighting' against any upwards force from the spring.

It's cheap, easy to try and one of the reasons some 'purists' prefer RB250 arms to RB300s. (The RB250 has no spring involved in setting tracking force.)
Thanks for that Chebby, I'll give it a go. I presume the 700 arm fitted to the P5, is dealt with in the same way?

Learn something every day.

CJSF
 

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