Please help! TT + amp/speakers conundrum

6th.replicant

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As mentioned in another post, I've been home demo'ing a Rega P2 (w/ Bias 2 cartridge) and have found the SQ to be very, very bass heavy with poor mid-range/top-end detail - eg cymbals and high hats are very faint. [:O] Initially suspected the phono amp, a Cambridge 640P, wasn't working well with the P2. Have sampled an alternative, a Rega 2000, which significantly tightened/focussed the bass and added loadsa separation and texture but did now't to improve detail or quell the subwoofer-style bass. [:(] I suspect the real issue is the P2 not complementing my amps and speakers, which were selected to give a warm vinyl-like sound when hooked up to my CDP. So, compared to the Rega P2, is there such a thing as a TT that's considered to be bright-sounding, which arguably errs too much toward mid-range and top-end detail? (Max budget is c. £400.) Ta [:)]
 

bretty

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Sorry, I haven't read your other post, so I don't know all the details here. Can you ask the dealer to put a different cartridge on the TT? One with a brighter character, like the Ortofons (red or blue), perhaps?

From my limited knowledge, the TT's job is really just to isolate itself from vibration as well as it can, and run the platter at the most constant speed that it can. The characteristics of the sound come from the cartridge. So, I don't think there's Bright or Warm TT's, as such, that comes from the cart that you choose. If i'm wrong here, please feel free to shoot me down, guys!
 

mitch65

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Have to agree with Bretty, the arm and turntable may highlight the
charateristics of cartridges but the cartridge itself will be the
determining factor in the sound.

I would be surprised if your problems are to do with your amp and speaker choice but to cause such a loss of performance would seem to indicate a fault in the setup (In Brettys case I think it was the cartridge that was duff?) or a system fault.
 

bretty

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mitch65:
Have to agree with Bretty, the arm and turntable may highlight the charateristics of cartridges but the cartridge itself will be the determining factor in the sound.

I would be surprised if your problems are to do with your amp and speaker choice but to cause such a loss of performance would seem to indicate a fault in the setup (In Brettys case I think it was the cartridge that was duff?) or a system fault.

Yep, it was a faulty cart on my deck.
 

audioaffair

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Feb 21, 2009
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Apologies if this is an "obvious" suggestion - have you double checked cartridge alignment and that its tracking at the correct weight? This may not be causing the problem but by process of elimination this is worth checking and should be explained in the manual if you are new to vinyl.

Alternatively, it's worth listening to this with your dealer for their feedback and possibly trying a different cartridge as suggested.

Do you have the phono stages plugged into a standard input on your amp and (another obvious question) are the tone controls set to neutral?

It's not exactly great fun, but a little basic fault finding like this is a good place to start
 

6th.replicant

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Thanks for replies


floyd droid:Mr Replicant, is this your first foray into the world of vinyl?

Umm, I wish! Put it this way, the first album I bought was an LP, in the month of its release - Bowie's Hunky Dory - which was released in 1971.

My first 'proper' TT was a Dual 430, which saw service until '03, when it 'died' at the hands of a removals co (don't ask...). Since, I've been using a Marantz TT42, which IMHO is not exactly a star performer. Hence, I'm home demo'ing a Rega P2.

audioaffair:...Have you double checked cartridge alignment and that its tracking at the correct weight?...
Yep, all OK.

audioaffair:...Do you have the phono stages plugged into a standard input on your amp and (another obvious question) are the tone controls set to neutral?...
Phono stage is plugged into Aux.

Alas, my amp (bi-amp'ed Arcam A38/P38) doesn't have tone controls.

Maybe an Ortofon Red or Blue is the answer, which is perceived to be best for detail? (I sure don't need any more bass!)

Again, thanks for replies.
 

floyd droid

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Ah ok then, you have a grasp on whats what. Just a thought,is your cart sitting a**e heavy ?. Bit strange this as if anything the Cambridge ers on the brighter side sonicaly. The reason i asked if you are a newbie was purely to say if so then your lugholes are tuned in to that brilliant format called the ceedee,lol.

Nay mind mate,im pretty sure the Rega fan club members will throw a light on your dilemma soon enough.
 

6th.replicant

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floyd droid:... The reason i asked if you are a newbie was purely to say if so then your lugholes are tuned in to that brilliant format called the ceedee,lol. ...
In effect, I guess my lug 'oles are tuned to vinyl, which is why I've gone for a CDP/amp/speaker/cable setup that delivers, IMHO, a vinyl(ish)-type sound from ceedees and essayceedees.


In turn, I fear that the amp/speaker/100% copper cable combo is, ironically, proving to be to the detriment of/too warm for actual vinyl.
 
A

Anonymous

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The 640P in my limited experience wouldn't be the problem. It's pretty neutral and errs towards the relaxed end of the spectrum. I wouldn't say it's the Totems either - excellent speakers, but I've only heard them with Naim and Primare gear. Arcam (but I've not heard the latest) might be part of the problem. They are known to be not the liveliest of amps.

When you say subwoofer levels of bas do you mean the boomy, one note bass sort of sound? If so, a part of that may be the position of the turntable and where it is mounted. Regas are extremely sensitive to any vibration and ideally should be mounted on a shelf or on a separate table (Ikea lacks are excellent) on a concrete floor. Also, the turntable should be away from the speakers so the cartridge doesn't picking up anything from them.

Finally, the cartridge. The Rega is said to be on the bright side of neutral without massive bass. It could be there's a problem with it - I'd certainly be going back to the dealer and asking.

I wouldn't change cartridge just yet, and, to be honest, I'd avoid the Ortofon as it may exacerbate the problem if it turns out the cartridge isn't the guilty party.
 

6th.replicant

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Thanks for your reply


Grottyash:The 640P in my limited experience wouldn't be the problem. It's pretty neutral and errs towards the relaxed end of the spectrum...
In hindsight, and having compared the 640P with a Rega Fono Mini and a 2000, I'd agree that the 640P isn't the issue.

Grottyash:... Arcam (but I've not heard the latest) might be part of the problem. They are known to be not the liveliest of amps...
I guess some folks would deem the Arcam A38/P38 to be "not the liveliest of amps" - although the A38 is certainly more spritely than its predecessors, IMO - but to my ears, at least, they're plenty lively enough when hooked-up to my Arcam CDP (CD37). (My baseline is classical music CDs/SACDs sounding 'realistic' and engaging, which IMHO I've achieved.)

Grottyash:... When you say subwoofer levels of bass do you mean the boomy, one note bass sort of sound? ...
Bass isn't boomy, it's tight and focussed, but also very deeeeppp - after 30mins listening my ears start to ache. Perhaps a better description would be thus: imagine an amp with its tone controls set to max bass and neutral treble. (BTW, the A38 doesn't have tone controls.)

Grottyash:... Regas are extremely sensitive to any vibration and ideally should be mounted on a shelf or on a separate table (Ikea lacks are excellent) on a concrete floor. Also, the turntable should be away from the speakers so the cartridge doesn't picking up anything from them.
The P2 is mounted on the top shelf of a Blok Stax 5000 (which is very solid and I assume impervious to vibration cos it weighs a freakin' ton) and 5ft 6in from each speaker.
 
A

Anonymous

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Then I'd look at the cartridge - it is wired in phase, isn't it? Certainly I'd query with the dealer first, as I've never heard a cartridge sound like that.

As a quick check you could try an AT95E - william thakker has them for 20? - they're towards the brighter end of the spectrum and usually have decent but not overwhelming bass.
 

6th.replicant

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Grottyash:
Then I'd look at the cartridge - it is wired in phase, isn't it? Certainly I'd query with the dealer first, as I've never heard a cartridge sound like that.

As a quick check you could try an AT95E - william thakker has them for 20? - they're towards the brighter end of the spectrum and usually have decent but not overwhelming bass.

Once again, thanks for your reply.

I assume the cartridge is wired in phase, because it was setup by the dealer.

I'll speak with the dealer on Tuesday (closed Mondays). I have discussed the problem with him previously - he suggested that either the Cambridge 640P might be the weak link or simply that the Rega P2 doesn't suit my amp and speakers.

With regard to the 640P, I'm now pretty sure that it can be ruled out. But as for the system-matching aspect, who knows, maybe it is the case??
 
A

Anonymous

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Here's what a review about your cartridge said: ... the bias offers a gentle, refined sound quality."

Wiring should be easy to check. The manual for the bias 2 is available on the Rega website and at vinylengine .
 
A

Anonymous

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What happened when you called the dealer? I'm curious to find out.
 

6th.replicant

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Grottyash:What happened when you called the dealer? I'm curious to find out.
Thanks for your interest.


Dealer thinks it's a system-matching issue - the P2's not gelling with my amps and speakers.

He also suggested trying an AT-95E, but he's out of stock, as is my local AT dealer; nearest with stock is 56 miles/1hr 20min away, selling at £36.

William Thakker's eBay shop is selling AT-95Es for £29.99, but quoting "11-23 working days" via regular delivery or 3-5 days using "Other Courier". However, it's not possible to discover the actual cost of the "Other Courier" until after "clicking on the button below, you're committing to buy this item from the seller".

Maybe I'll visit the dealer that's 56 miles away tomorrow...??
 

audioaffair

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The AT90 might be worth a try but considering the set-up (and fact you cvonsidered the 2M blue), the AT120 is worth considering too.
 

6th.replicant

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audioaffair:...The AT120 is worth considering too.

Will do. Ta.

Post/couriers/weather permitting, tomorrow I'm trying out the P2 with an AT90E at Audio T Bristol - from where I'm also collecting some 'kitchen' speakers - who are being very helpful, as opposed to the original selling dealer, who's not exactly busting his chops.

I'll report back...
 

6th.replicant

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Spent a couple of hours at Audio T, Bristol, this afternoon, with the store's (very patient and helpful) TT/vinyl guru, Alester.

Setup my Rega P2 with their Arcam A38 and Totem speakers (Mites). Overall, the sound was very balanced. So, there's now't wrong technically with my P2 or its stylus, it's simply that Totem Forests (my speakers) + Arcam A38/P38 + TT = very deeep bass with very little top-end detail.

Alester fitted an AT90E to the P2, which I'm listening to now (at home). Yep, it's an improvement compared to the Bias 2 - more mid-range detail and the bass isn't as overpowering. However, the top-end treble is still lacking and after an hour of some old skool roots reggae, the low-end bass frequencies have literally given me earache.


In short, by selecting an amp/speaker combo that makes a CDP sound vinyl-ish, I've screwed actual vinyl.


Of course, if this was the good old days - ie before tone controls became verboten - I'd crank on some extra treble and leave the bass at neutral.

Maybe there's an interconnect that sounds like a tinkling, screeching horror with a digital source but might suit my TT? (Currently using Chord Chameleon Plus.)

Any suggestions?

Ta
 

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