Thursday, 28 August 2014

MEASUREMENTS: Technics SL-1200 M3D Wow & Flutter - PlatterSpeed + Dr. Feickert's Test LP...

So, I got the Dr. Feickert's Adjust+ 7" Test LP in the mail the other day direct from Germany. It looks well pressed on good quality vinyl.

It's great to see the measurement screenshots from Michael Fremer for the various turntables reviewed so I thought it would be interesting to do my own measurements with the Technics SL-1200 (M3D) here at home. I believe that all the Technics SL-1200 quartz-controlled direct drive units (MK2 onwards) have the same servo mechanisms so they should measure similarly.



I'm using the current PlatterSpeed iPad app (v.2.2) to do the measurements in concert with the Test LP.

Recorded over 60 seconds, here's how the wow & flutter graph looks for my Technics with the stock rubber mat in place and stock tonearm at 33.3 rpm. The turntable sits on my sturdy basement hardwood floor as in the picture above. The M3D's "reset" button was activated to quartz-lock at the standard pitch. Cartridge is the Denon DL-110 with the Emotiva XSP-1 preamp:



I also did the measurement with the Funk Achromat 1200 and did not see any difference (not unexpected of course since the mat itself should not be causing any platter rotational change unless there is slippage of the LP or mat over the platter).

As you can see from the lowpass-filtered green line, the overall speed is very accurate, hovering right around the 3150Hz test tone. Notice too that this doesn't look like the more chaotic "raw" graph from something like the less expensive "clone" Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB recently reviewed. You can also compare this with the Music Hall MMF-11.1 graph, and the Zorin Audio TP-S3 - way more expensive tables. And here's a supposedly "modestly" priced AVID Ingenium review with rather significant speed stability issues. (When look at these graphs, remember to mind the scale differences on the left, not just the shape of the raw tracings.)

If you have a subscription to Stereophile, the Analog Corner article in the May 2014 issue (p. 33) also has some numbers and graphs for the VPI Classic Direct Drive Signature, Continuum Caliburn, and the very smooth looking graph from the Onedof One Degree of Freedom (the review is also posted on-line.)

Here are the numerical results for my SL-1200M3D. (I paid a few bucks to get the DIN IEC 386 / IEC 45507 plug-in measurements as well for those interested.)


Lowpass-filtered, we see a nice +/-0.02% deviation. Over the course of ~60 seconds, it's good to see that the maximum deviation remained <+/-10Hz for the 3150Hz signal - good stability (Fremer's measurements are usually for ~30 seconds).

I try not to be a zealot over hardware - it's just a "thing" after all and can be replaced, but I do value objective "truth" as best I can show evidence of and am curious if I actually do experience something unexpected subjectively... So please don't take my comments as being some kind of "religious" cult-lover of the Technics SL-1200; I got it at a great price used, it has excellent build quality, and so far it sounds fantastic to me. That being said, here's something that Michael Fremer wrote in the May 2011 Stereophile in his Brinkmann Audio Bardo turntable review:
Virtually all electric motors "cog," ie, their rotational speed regularly fluctuates above and below the average speed as each magnet pole goes past each coil. A high-torque motor needs a greater number of poles—in some designs, dozens—and the more poles, the more cogging. With nothing to counteract the motor cogging that inevitably occurs directly within the platter of a high-torque, low-mass, direct-drive turntable, large amounts of wow and flutter are also inevitable.
Regulating a direct-drive motor's speed with a phase-locked loop produces tight speed control and measurably low levels of wow and flutter, but the motor's constant, ultra-high-speed hunting and pecking as it over- and undercompensates in the attempt to produce a consistent speed can create a jitter effect in the mid-treble to which the human ear is particularly sensitive, adding a hard, brittle texture to music. That describes the sound of Technics' now-discontinued SL-1200 series of direct-drive turntables, and explains why, despite their high build quality and relatively low price, few are used in serious audio systems, though some listeners claim that these 'tables can be modified to improve their sonic performance. 
Well, that sounds a bit scary doesn't it? But unless substantiated with some objective evidence, it remains just another scary theory among many promulgated by the "high end" (eg. the dreaded jitter, WAV vs. lossless compressed FLAC sounding different, digital cables, power cables, strange "room treatments", funky playback software, just to name a few). Surely something so ominous can be measured, right? Others have also voiced doubts about these claims; for example KAB doesn't seem to think this happens with the SL-1200.

So, I'm looking at the graph above and am wondering whether I'm seeing evidence of "ultra high-speed hunting and pecking". The frequency variation looks quite regular and clean. I assume we should be looking for significant random chaotic ups and downs in the graph that could be (supposedly) perceived as the "jitter" artefact. Sure, the Technics is not as good as the symmetrical, smooth and constrained undulation of the Onedof turntable (ahem, $150,000 folks). For less than $600 or so that I paid including the LED cue light replacement and aftermarket Funk Achromat, this 1970's Japanese designed performance seems pretty decent I think!

On a side note, if anyone dares to complain about jitter as a significant variable in digital playback, just look at how much 'jitter' is present with timing errors from vinyl! We're talking orders of magnitude compared to the usual picoseconds from typical decent CD players.

Ultimately, rotational speed accuracy and stability are just a couple of the variables in the complex vinyl playback chain; but important ones. Remember that the test LP itself will add its own variation and affect the results (eg. if the spindle hole is slightly off center, mild warping, etc. - the lowpass-filtering is supposed to compensate for this). I wouldn't therefore read too much into these measurements other than a guide to know when something is really abnormal. I agree with Fremer when he wrote in the VPI Classic Direct Drive Signature review:
The Onedof and Caliburn measure similarly, but their frequency graphs look very different. Are the sonic differences the result of differences in bearing smoothness, motor control, or both? At this point, I don't know.
Personally, at least I feel secure that my >10 year 'young' SL-1200 is holding its rotational speed well. A measured result of 3149.8Hz (3150Hz ideal) is essentially as good as it gets.

As for the supposedly audible complaints of "hard, brittle texture" in the earlier quote above charged at the SL-1200, I have no idea what he's talking about... Just because something uses quartz doesn't mean it's "hard and brittle" :-); just like silver cables = "fast" and "bright", right?

There have been debates about direct drive vs. belt drive vs. rim drive turntables over the decades but as far as I am aware, good controlled listening tests/comparisons are lacking so I think it's more important to focus on the actual execution of the turntable rather than lumping drive mechanisms in a simplistic fashion. I'm sure there are some terrible direct drive models just as there are terrible belt drive models.

For completeness, here are the Feickert PlatterSpeed test results at 45 rpm on my SL-1200 M3D over about 45 seconds (test signal target is 4252.5Hz):



As expected given what was seen at 33.3rpm. A bit more frequency deviation/fluctuation with the 35% higher rotation speed. Note that the +16.3Hz raw max frequency deviation is an anomaly due to that little spike at the end when I took the stylus off the record... Should only be +11Hz at most. Very good result I think!

Overall, I suspect the results here would be superior to many very expensive "boutique" turntables out there. I'll show some other measurements in the days ahead when I come across the opportunity.

Off to try out some zip-lining and white water rafting at Whistler this Labour Day long weekend. Enjoy the tunes everyone...

-----------------------------------
Addendum: Here's another interesting thread and the original thread where the test was done on the idea of "cogging" with direct drive motors from a few years back. Clear as mud. Again, even if these results demonstrate imperfections in the drive mechanism, where's the evidence for perceptibility?

25 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I am wondering if replacing/improving the (alleged) inherently faulty power supply in these turntables will bring about a measurable improvement ? ( I don't think so)

      http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=80185.0

      http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/analogue-source/142026-improved-psu-technics-sl1210-mk2-sp-10-mk2-others.html

      http://www.kabusa.com/ps1200.htm

      There have been many reports of GREAT sonic improvements.
      Many of them appear to be in the pseudo science/placebo realm and am wondering IF W&F improves.
      Takes some soldering though....

      The SL1210 and SL1200 are technically the same.


      Another interesting test may be to create a file (or CD) with the same frequency test tones as used on the test disc and play those back on cheap and more expensive players and see how they COMPARE to the trusty old vinyl (at least its trusty and superior to some)

      Is the disc itself specified, I mean what were the deviations during the cutting proces ?

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    2. Hi Frans. No I don't see any specific details on the technical cutting process of the test disk; perhaps it's listed somewhere and maybe someone can let me know if this is the case.

      Great idea about burning a 3150Hz test tone to a CD! I'll actually try this tonight...

      I don't know if a change in the power supply would change these measurements. I can say that I have already measured a much more expensive setup with external power supply and the measurements do not appear better than above.

      I do believe there's significant contribution from the test disk itself so that could be the limiting step towards perfect measurements!

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    3. Exactly, not only are you measuring your turntable but the lathe the test disk was cut on.

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    4. Were you aware of Alan Shaw's similar experiment with an Oscilloscope and a 1Khz tone on vinyl, and CD?
      http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?2046-An-honest-appraisal-of-vinyl-v-digital-reality-v-romance&p=26390#post26390

      Keep up the good work!

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    5. I had not seen this experiment (nor a lot of other experiments done over time).
      While I do agree that technically vinyl is MUCH worse in reproducing the original signal, in practice I find the sound of vinyl not to be so bad as some, or at least the scope pictures) suggest.
      Certainly given what the signal has been through (conditioning the signal) before it was being cut onto the master and played back.

      The scope pictures are a bit misleading and IF he had used a sharp low filter (say below 500Hz) the 1kHz sine wave from vinyl would be (almost) as good as CD, perhaps somewhat less stable in time due to speed variances.
      It would look FAR less jittery and more like the CD version and maybe show only some very slight amplitude variations.
      The biggest reason the scope picture looks so jittery (in time) is because the trigger point of the scope is fixed in level (0 Volt line) and if the tone is modulated the scope would show a very jittery picture because it triggers at a lower or higher point in the 1kHz sine-wave slope.
      In any case I am sure it would not sound as bad as the scope picture shows/suggests.

      One would say this is dishonest but it isn't really as the 1kHz is clearly modulated with L.F. content.
      This could be a combo of rumble from the T.T., pressing lathe T.T. rumble, tone-arm/cartridge issues, applied 'track spacing' technology and whatnot.
      The ears, however, have lots of frequency 'bands', the hair cells that only react to small parts of the applied frequencies, and the 1kHz tone hair cells would not be modulated with the added L.F. but instead the L.F. hairs in the ear would also be vibrating (not with the CD) and thus we would be hearing a tone + rumble IF we had speakers that didn't F-up this somewhat as well with weird I.M. products or other (non) linearities.

      IMO the ears/brain are highly overrated as 'analysers' and should be used to enjoy music instead.
      So... enjoy the music regardless of the used format.

      Delete
  2. @Grahame: And some people seriously worry about tens of ps (0.0000000000x seconds) of jitter!

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  3. This is really interesting. So basically, if one is purely subjectivist, no need to buy a more expensive turntable for pitch stability and vibration issues? Save money towards arm and cart? Any recommendations/measurements on those?

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    1. If one is purely subjectivist definite sonic improvements can be had when buying (much ?) more expensive turntables, carts, tone-arms, cables, (tube) pre-amps, power supplies, 'conditioners' and other accesories.
      All money thrown at it WILL give a sonic improvement, for a while, until the next best device comes along or someone else claims this or that is even 'better'.
      Measurements are completely pointless to 'prove' something performs better as improvements are clearly HEARD. Regardless of what may be the cause of this perceived improvement it IS clearly there and doesn't need to be validated by any measurements, only by the ears of others.

      If one is more objectively minded a decent deck + decent cartridge and pre-amp should be enough (but perhaps in the back of the mind something keeps nagging when reading the BS on other sites).

      In the end all that counts is what the person in question 'believes' to be true and prefers and allows THAT person to enjoy HIS/HERS favorite music... regardless the opinion of other or like minded people.

      I think having more 'objective side' minded blogs, like this one, is an asset.
      There is far too much 'subjectivity' and plain nonsense (also from the 'objective side') on the web already.
      If one doesn't agree with what's written on this blog simply look elsewhere.

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    2. Hi Abhijit,

      As suggested by Frans, I generally find that the objectivists are easier to satisfy. For me as being more of an objectivist, yeah, those pitch stability graphs IMO will beat out many more expensive turntables and I don't really think I need anything better than the SL-1200 in this regard. I've already bought two reasonably priced cartridges (Shure M97xE and Denon DL-110), changed the mat, and would rather spend the time in used record stores to find some music that make me happy!

      As for tonearms and cartridges themselves, measurements are more complicated than digital stuff since so much will depend on the test record, tiny variations like the accuracy of one's setup, and synergy between the tonearm and cartridge (like tonearm mass, cartridge compliance, headshell used, etc...). As a result, I don't see vinyl as an accurate or precise medium and therefore, other than measuring stuff I own or trying to address gross comments like Mr. Fremer's, I really don't see a point in spending too much time measuring analogue stuff since whatever result I get would have limited generalizability.

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  4. Oops- very silly typo. I meant objectivist, of course. But I hear you on the pitch correctness- no need to try to improve that with a better table, at least.
    What 'm trying to figure out on the cartridge front is what is audible- if a miserable channel separation of 35 dB sounds ok (which is what most cartridges seem to achieve in the real world), are we really sensitive to higher quality as much as we think? Take the Jan Allearts cartridge, for example. 70 dB separation, but is it audible and worth the 4500 euro? Those are the kind of questions I'm struggling with. Unlike digital, data is hard to come by.

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    1. The 70dB separation can probably only be achieved with tangential arms and perfect alignment.
      The question is how well (channel separation wise) the record is cut as well.

      What's important in arms and cartridges is the combination of both (arm and cantilever suspension) as already mentioned by Archimago.
      Another important thing is the RIAA amp input resistance AND capacitance need to be correct and differs per cartridge.
      Cable CAPACITANCE can be of influence as well and can make an audible difference in the case of MD cartridges with high impedance coils.
      Low impedance systems are not affected by cables (even though some will certainly disagree)

      Those that have bought the $ 4500.- cart may well feel it is worth it.
      I would never pay that much and severely doubt it will sound substantially different, i.e. worth the price difference.
      To some a small difference may be described as huge while others may not even hear differences when they are very measurable.
      It is nigh-on impossible to guess what your hearing is capable off.

      I own (but do not play vinyl any more) a Technics SL1310 + DL110 cartridge which was good enough for me.
      Worked in a high-end shop (as technician) for many years and honestly think the differences between well adjusted cartridges in the higher price range were very small, much, much smaller than loudspeakers/headphones (all are magneto-dynamic-acoustic things).

      Setting up a turntable correctly is essential for good results.

      Delete
    2. Cool Frans, didn't know you used to work as a tech in a high-end store!

      Delete
    3. As for channel separation Abhijit, as Fras has suggested, there are many factors at play to keep in mind.

      In terms of hardware, you would likely need perfect alignment/geometry (likely a tangential arm as well) to achieve that 70dB spec across a good part of the album. I'd love to see what kind of equipment was used to come up with that figure for this cartridge and if that reflects anything one would see in the "real world". Furthermore I'd really like to know from analogue experts if consistent 70dB channel separation is even possibly attained when cutting vinyl?

      Of course 70dB channel separation is rather trivial in the digital world with half competent hardware... :-)

      Now, the other part of the equation of course is whether we even need anything close to 70dB separation for music. The fact that vinyl sounds good argues that it's in fact unnecessary to achieve anything more than 30dB (perhaps even less, like 20dB). The extreme right-left panning effect ('ping-pong') isn't exactly pleasant to listen to nor natural. A few songs like Depeche Mode's "Behind The Wheel" uses channel separation in a very cool fashion as an effect but I doubt I'd enjoy it less if separation were 15dB versus say 50dB.

      I likewise would not even consider purchasing a $4500 euro (almost $6K USD) cartridge. As I said above, vinyl to me isn't about precision and specs like 70dB I feel would not contribute to better sound quality. If anything, for cartridges I think it's more about the frequency response curve (which of course is also dependent on the pre-amp, capacitance, etc.), the cartridge's resolution (ability to extract details off the LP), and ability of the stylus to resist the sonic imperfections like pops and crackles. Other factors therefore would easily overwhelm how impressive that 70dB specification 'sounds'.

      Delete
  5. Odd experiment as this is data readily available since the 70s. Do you not understand Japanese engineers tackled this elementary data when they were DEVELOPING the turntable in the early 70s. Why are you retreading what has been known for what, 40 years? Oh yes because you are rich and bored. Redundancy is a sickness.

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    1. Odd reaction....

      Archimago describes his 'adventures' with his turntable and the wow and flutter app + the disc that he used.
      He is NOT questioning the sanity of developers or other reviewers that have talked about it before.

      Also it can never hurt to check ANY older TT to see if it is still up to spec.
      The mentioned wow and flutter app + test disc are very cheap ways of achieving just that.

      Delete
  6. Great test!
    And it will be very interesting to make similar test with new Pioneer PLX-1000 which has the same design but highter wow and flutter in specs - 0.1% WRMS (JIS WTD) .
    It is a main argument against Pioneer in different threads in internet, and it will be very cognitional to match these two turntables.

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  7. First, I tend not to put much credence in comparing individual tests of equipment where the same exact test gear and people did not do the tests of the different equipment. The only times I'd put much confidence in it is if there are multiple independent results that match. The 1200 series is one of the few components out there that matches that criteria.

    The big reason you would want the power supply moved into an external box is to prevent EMI/RFI causing hums in cartridges such as on certain unshielded moving iron designs, as well as vibration from bad quality or old power supplies. The worst DD turntables in this regard have actually been the dual voltage versions that also lack proper metal shielding around the PSU (like mu metal).

    I hope when you're talking about cables and room treatments not having an effect you're not talking about capacitance of phono cables, whether audio cables in general are properly constructed and still have the same resistance as day one over time as they are kinked or re-plugged, and that you're not talking about traditional acoustic room treatment.

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    ReplyDelete
  9. Great post just read this, got a very good condition one as a way to play around with it. Do enjoy the table. Would adding a more expensive arm improve the performance or is the 1200 tonearm good enough?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post just read this, got a very good condition one as a way to play around with it. Do enjoy the table. Would adding a more expensive arm improve the performance or is the 1200 tonearm good enough?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Michael Fremer usually doesn't substantiate his bullshit claims (yes, I mean that), and when people question him he starts to yell and scream (online style) with CAPS LOCK on AUTO, or he just keeps quiet. He never backed up those claims against the Technics deck. I've seen other discussions about the same issue online, where people asked him to back it up, but he didn't.
    I don't know why he doesn't like the Technics, but I suspect it might be because it's "cheap" and popular and not exotic and aimed at DJs (although it wasn't originally). In other debates he just screams (CAPS LOCK) that people are talking out of their ass, and they don't know what they're talking about and they're all idiots, etc.
    His only way of "backing up" his claims (yes, quatation marks needed) are to say "I have 30 years of experience", or "engineer/producer XYZ, who's as old and biased as me says the same, so therefore I'm right". Nothing but anecdotes. He always manages to "forget" to mention that MOST producers/engineers hold opposing views. In short: Don't listen to Fremer.
    When it comes to these turntables, then the VPI Classic Direct Drive Signature had almost the same speed deviations as the Technics, but cost $30,000! And the Technics' mean frequency was 3149.8, just 0.2 Hz less than the target, whereas the VPI was 3154.5 Hz. That's what you get for paying $30,000!
    This is also goes to show how forgiving our ears really are, despite what most audiophiles like us to believe. Let's also not forget the several rave reviews in Stereophile, and also the ones that state "it took some time getting used to, but then I was basically the happiest person ever", followed by measurements where John Atkinson states that the product is extremely poorly designed - or broken even (it has happened with both CD players, amps and speakers, and Fremer had the worst case of them all: Read his review of the Zanden CD player/DAC combo and be sure to read the measurements section afterwards - it's the most ridiculous piece of audio review I've ever seen!).
    Although I still deal with vinyl almost on a daily basis, and there are many albums that do really sound better on vinyl, then the technical merits are poor compared to CD. But some like that, and in some cases I certainly do. Although it's often distortion that people mention, then wow and flutter has also been mentioned to be part of the "vinyl experience". Someone recorded a record or a casette tape onto his computer, and then a computer program fixed the wow and flutter, and as he said "then it sounded just like a CD".
    Some claim Fremer's editor, John Atkinson, is more evil than Fremer, because Atkinson knows he's spreading lies, but to me he seems mostly competent and at least very, very well-mannered - unlike the angry Fremer that has to be right about everything, or he'll see the world burn trying!

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    1. Hi Anders,
      Yeah, that's the general impression I get about Fremer as well. I appreciate his passion especially in the days when nobody wanted a turntable and he was dead set that LP's were awesome. Maybe in that context one has to be a bit on the rigid and stubborn side to see it through.

      I don't mind anyone with passion! But I really don't like the attitude and CAPS LOCKING when trying to debate technical *facts* with the vinyl extremists.

      Yes. LPs *can* (just like digital) sound great. But don't give me the hogwash that they're of higher fidelity than digital. They are not. One just has to consider the fact that the platter and disk has to rotate around at a certain speed to appreciate the fact that timing becomes orders of magnitude less than digital audio (femtoclock or no femtoclock!).

      I'm totally blown away that vinyl advocates would even consider comparing time-domain accuracy with digital!
      http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/752-digital-vinyl-temporal-domain/

      This is not even mentioning the limited equivalent bitdepth resolution, or other physical imperfections - non-centered spindle hole, dust, poor pressings... Or even physical limitations like inner groove distortion potential with various tonearms and cartridges, limited bass extension, and mono-bass.

      In any event, I don't wish to necessarily change the opinions for LP lovers. We're all free to enjoy whatever we wish. Just that from a technical perspective, that the facts be respected and arguments otherwise should be engaged with *evidence* rather than plain testimony!

      Delete
  12. Thanks for your response :-).
    I asked on another entry if you could re-upload the files from the needle-drop blind test, which you did, but I didn't see your comment until after the files had been removed due to inactivity. Are you able to upload them one last time, please? Then I will check here every day to make sure I see it :-).

    Thanks for the link. I quickly skimmed it and added a comment. Don't waste your time and energy on Fremer. I tried. He's angry and self-righteous and contradicts himself. Here's a Christopher Hitchens quote you can throw at the audiophiles:
    "What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof."

    On VPI and jitter:
    Most who say jitter is a problem have never heard jitter, and many don't even know what it is.
    Previously, only audiophiles had told me how jitter sounds. It actually sounds like an old worn, wobbly cassette tape. I found out by asking on Hydrogen Audio, and Arnold Krueger posted sound clips (here: https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,109948.msg905609.html).
    An excellent study was done: Audiophiles could in their own home listen to music with jitter and then halve the jitter until it became inaudible. The threshold for audibility was more than 250 nanoseconds. To compare, the jitter level of my Naim CD 5X player is 241 picoseconds – one thousandth of the audible threshold! The maximum jitter amount they measured in the equipment in that study was 2-3 nanoseconds.
    The study: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242508896_Detection_threshold_for_distortions_due_to_jitter_on_digital_audio

    VPI:
    VPI makes great turntables. However, I'm very satisfied with my Rega RP3 (2013 model) and its Exact cartridge, although there are a few issues that can easily be fixed:
    1: It runs fast (around 1 %) as the subplatter is too small. I added a few rounds of adhesive tape to the subplatter. Now it's 0.2 % fast: a basically free solution. Others buy a new subplatter, which is a lot more money.
    2: The cart has two problems: One is the incorrect overhang adjustment from the factory. Move the cart forward and print a free Bearwald protractor and adjust it. The audible improvement is not enormous, but I did get 15 out of 16 correct in an ABX test. Again, essentially free.
    3: The most serious issue is a 2 dB dip around 5 kHz in the cartridge. To fix this, simply use an equalizer with a 2 dB boost at 5 kHz. The equalizer I want is $150-$200 used.

    I used EQ on my Rega and compared it to 11 more expensive tables and 35 cartridges. So far I have only found 2 or perhaps 3 cartridges that I MIGHT consider buying. A Rega Exact is around $400. The 3 others were $1000-$4000.
    As for the turntables, I also listened to a VPI Scoutmaster, but I have yet to find a table that would be a wholly audible improvement, although some have a "flavour" that some people might like (thin and detailed). The two most expensive setups, a Bergmann Magme with an Ortofon MC A90 cart, and a Dr. Feickert with a Reed tonearm and a Dynavector DRT XV-1t cart, both $17,000 including the preamp, were disappointing. The Bergmann was very similar to my own, but was clearly distorted and just lacklustre. The other one was thin and overly bright. No sparkle to the music.
    My story illustrates a simple point: Yes, you have to spend SOME money to get decent vinyl playback, but it's often ludicrous to spend gazillions. Although my Rega has a few issues they are cheap and easy to fix. Some pay thousands of dollars for a cartridge with a 1 or 2 dB boost or cut in the treble that they could have made with an equalizer. But of course using an equalizer is BAAAD they say. Better to pay several thousands for a component that just changes the frequency response slightly – just like an equalizer. I've even heard a Kenwood turntable that sounded great with an expensive cart!
    So, stick to your Technics, and perhaps put another tonearm or cart on it (not really necessary) if you insist on changing something, but you're already well-off with this setup :-).

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  13. By the way: Even though I talked a lot about turntables in my last comment, I completely agree that digital is a far superior technology. I've spent a lot of time on reading about the technology, and I finally understand most of it now. Yet people like Michael Framer et al still have it wrong after 30 years – because they don't want to admit the limitations of analogue. In their minds, "sounds better to me" equals "is technically better, and I shall prove it to you with my stupid anecdotes cherry-picked to illustrate my point, although most other people 'in the know' have opposing opinions."
    I have also compared 800 albums on vinyl and CD, and I preferred the CDs in two thirds of the cases (a lot of the cases were simply a matter of taste and there wasn't a clear winner), but there's no doubt in my mind that digital is a superior technology, and it's cheaper both on a production and consumer level. Yes, there are a few issues with digital, but they are all below the threshold of audibility, unless something has gone wrong.
    Actually, what is often the case with "better records", at least with music released nowadays, is that the vinyl edition has lower fidelity than the CD, but I/we/certain people prefer the lower fidelity as it might sound more pleasing to the ear, as the production itself was not a pleasure to listen to, so the vinyl material "shaves off" part of the hard treble.
    If the vinyl lovers just said "yes, we know that vinyl is an inferior technology, but we simply prefer the colouration it produces", there would be no arguments. The arguments don't start until they say "but if I prefer something it MUST be because it's technically superior, there's no other explanation, because I'm infallible, and besides, lying/ignorant person XYZ said the same thing, so it must be true." What's almost even worse is this attitude, especially of Framers, that "if it's a CD it's pure shit, but if it's SACD/hi-res [the exact same mastering and everything just a higher sample and bit rate] it's great even though I refuse to take a blind test!"
    To again quote/paraphrase Christopher Hitchens: "It made me think I could write a follow-up called 'How some [audiophiles] apparently can't even read'," because those discussions "are trying, irritating, time-consuming, annoying, when they don't listen."
    Here's a video by the ever so calm and rational Sam Harris, where the first 1 minute and 30 seconds describes just how it is talking to vinyl lovers (the rest is about religion and not really relevant here):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3W86hYg1Fg

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