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New Cartridge Setup: Buy the gauges or hire a professional?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Adventitious, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Balifly

    Balifly Listening Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,775
    Location:
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Best of luck in your search for the perfect alignment.

    In the mean time try the following method and you enjoy the music during the journey to perfection. :rolleyes:

    Caution: Baerwald alignment may not be possible if your Technics headshell is an old one with the shorter screw slots. :no:
    technicsoverhangcolor1a_606135.jpg 52mm from the tip of the stylus to the rear washer.
     

     

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  2. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,248
    Location:
    West Michigan
    What turntable and cartridge were you using before the Technics? The MA6100 was designed back in the day when cartridge output was all over the place so I doubt you could overload it unless your older TT had a RIAA preamp built in.
     
  3. Adventitious

    Adventitious New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    I was using a Numark cc1 on the Technics, and was told by my tech that it was too hot for the Mac. I can't remember the p-type model but it exhibited similar distortion. Not awful distortion but definitely noticable in loud passages. I was surprised that the Mac couldn't handle it but my tech is certified by them so what can I do?
     
  4. Balifly

    Balifly Listening Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,775
    Location:
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Numark cc1
    • Frequency response: 20 to 22,000Hz
    • Output: 6mV
    • Channel separation nominal: 28dB
    • DC resistance: 430 ohms/ch
    • Inductance: 400mH/ch
    • Weight: 18.0g
    • Channel balance: within 1.5dB
    • Tracking force: 3
    • Recommended load: 47K ohms 200pf
    • Stylus tip: fine circular diamond
    • Application: high versatility and skip resistance
    https://www.numark.com/product/cc1 :idea:
     
  5. Adventitious

    Adventitious New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    6mv doesn't seem like all that much to me...
     
  6. SA-708

    SA-708 Appalachian-American Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,917
    Location:
    NE Tennessee
    Per http://www.roger-russell.com/amppre.htm#ma6100

    MA 6100 Preamp-Amplifier
    ELECTRICAL: 70w/ch at 4 or 8 ohms, 40w/ch at 16 ohms. Response 20-20kHz (+0.5 -0.5dB). Distortion 0.20%. Noise and hum -90dB high level, -76dB low level re 10mV. Damping factor 50 at 8 ohms. Power amp noise -95dB. Input sensitivity and impedance: high level 0.3V at 250k, phono 2.5mV at 47k, tape head 3.0mV at 500k, power amp 3.0V at 100k. Tape output 0.3V. Dual concentric tone controls +16dB to -16dB. LF filter 50Hz at 12dB/oct. HF filter 7k at 12dB/oct. Presence boost 4dB at 1.5k.
     

     

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  7. Balifly

    Balifly Listening Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,775
    Location:
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    He is your "tech". :dunno:
     
  8. Adventitious

    Adventitious New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    Well 6mv would definitely be too much then?
     
  9. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,248
    Location:
    West Michigan
    DJ cartridges certainly push the limits of common sense cartridge/turntable design and 6mV is certainly hotter than even the common Shure M91e I would still be surprised that it would overload the phono input. You were probably hearing the cartridge mistracking which is very common with any stylus designed to survive the DJ environment.

    The 2.5mV is the minimum input needed to meet the stated specs for output and distortion.
     
    Grenadeslio likes this.
  10. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

    Messages:
    11,261
    Location:
    Norman OK
    Once you learn to do an alignment, you generally will end up doing a couple for friends at some point. Before long, you're one of the few local TT gurus. Bask in the glory.
     
    savatage1973 and Adventitious like this.
  11. desertrat748

    desertrat748 Active Member

    Messages:
    379
    No, 6mv won't be too much. It will be noticeably different than something like 4mv, "louder" at the same volume setting but most preamps set within a 36dB to 43dB (MM range) and will handle quite a bit more before distortion or overloading.

    It could even have 50dB of gain and still be okay, but it's getting close. Depends on how much gain your pre-amp section is set at if you can get the specs for your 6100; I looked for it and saw that the min. level was 2.8 mV but that may have changed over the years. But basically, no it won't be too much.

    If you use a separate preamp, make sure it goes to a line level input, not to the phono input. That will definitely be too much.

    As for set up, learn to do it yourself. Get a digital scale cheap off the web, like $9-12 for an inexpensive one, and use the Technic's overhang tool or use a set of calipers, or a small mm rules/protractor and set it to 52mm from tip of diamond to the back of washer (flat up against the stop/boss). Look at the post above and it gives the exact diagram. Make sure your tt is level. It is easier to see with a good tt level. Don't know about your specific TT and if it has a strobe, but there's an app you can get for your phone to check TT speed & wow/flutter. I had horrible sound once with a TT that wouldn't hold speed. That's easy and obvious but sometimes forgotten.

    You can get away with that 52mm as long as your cantilever and cart body are straight in the headshell. I find the main items to look for are the VTF (weight) and the overhang set properly to get decent output. This all relies on the cart being reasonably straight in the headshell and reasonably close VTA. A proper protractor model (downloadable as pdf, printed actual size not scaled) will get you most of the way there but make sure you are using the correct one for Technics.

    Sometimes you have to adjust for azimuth and making sure the cartridge isn't tilted inward or outward from the groove (left/right inwards or outwards towards spindle as you face the cart). Some headshells and tonearms don't allow for that, I'm not that familiar with yours but someone here will know. I've had some noticeably bad headshells/tonearms on used turntables that had to be adjusted.

    You can get close by just looking at it, and even closer by using a protractor. Look up some instructions off the web on using one and setting up your cart. You don't have to spend $$$$ on equipment as your ears will let you know and you get more and more comfortable with set up.

    It's a learning curve. I like the suggestions of using an inexpensive cart to start out with in case you damage the stylus. Maybe buy something second hand on the cheap and a spare headshell to mess around with? I would recommend that.

    I had an old JVC LF-41, AT cart powered with an old AX-2 amp set up by a dealer back in 1980. Thought it was great. Finally learned how to set up on my own and found the overhang was way off. The performance was much improved and my opinion of the AT cart and LF-41 also improved.

    You should do a side by side comparison with your P-mount and your new tt when you set them up. Maybe a cheap input switch to compare them back n forth. Your P mount will be set up right and if your new one isn't, you will be able to tell and go back and check.

    I like to use a decent set of headphones when doing this as you don't have to move back and forth so much during adjustments and it eliminates how some speakers don't convey trouble as easily as headphones seem to.

    Try with VTF and overhang first (52 mm with your Technics headshell) with a reasonable straight cart and see how it sounds. You may be surprised. As you get those used to it, you can start worrying about some of the other items like VTA, Azimuth, gravity during high tides, full moons, solar flares, atmospheric pressure, humidity, and keep your albums clean as well as your stylus.

    I used to think keeping my '68 Vette in tune was a PITA, (trust me it was). That was until I bought an old Hitachi 353.

    Take your time, enjoy the music.

    DR
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018

     

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  12. don philipe

    don philipe AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,133
    Location:
    West plains mo
    Alot of people make it sound so complicated setting up a cart,it's not,it;s a piece of cake. don't over think it.
     
    mkane likes this.
  13. Bill Ashton

    Bill Ashton AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    788
    Location:
    Central Massachusetts
    As in a few threads before, can't he just use the Technics-gauge and the marked tracking forces on the counterweight and then start enjoying some records? Or is his cartridge
    delicate enough that he needs to do more...and if so, is it really suited for his tonearm? The SL-D2 is near the bottom-of-the-range on Technics turntables (having an SL-B2 myself), but is a pretty nice piece in my eyes.

    Not trying to start flame war, trying to learn myself...
     
  14. majick47

    majick47 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    8,593
    Location:
    Pembroke MA
    Bill as far as I can see after owning a number of Technics tables that were mostly in the upper tier but also talking with another AK member that purchased a number of tables like the SL-D2 it appears that the Technics overhang gauge was used across the Technics line including for the TOTL EPA tonearms. Also the counterweights were highly accurate but it doesnt do any harm to double check with a digital scale the tracking force. As for the lowly SL-D2 my AK friend considered them to be the Toyota Camray and Honda Accords of turntables, highly dependable and built to high standards unseen in todays so called "modern" entry level turntables. Agree that the Denon DL-110 is a step above most cartridges found on that table today but years ago it would not of been the case when better than average cartridges were quite common on tables in this class.
     
    Bill Ashton likes this.
  15. majick47

    majick47 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    8,593
    Location:
    Pembroke MA
    As for the Numark CC1 I'd put it away in case of emergency, useless other than to a aspiring DJ, the Denon will be light years better. After hearing the Denon you wont ever want to hear the Numark again.
     
  16. desertrat748

    desertrat748 Active Member

    Messages:
    379
    It’s best to get it set up correctly. One little thing missed or forgotten can make a big difference.

    For example: swapped out two different headshell/cart set up’s to compare against each other. Thought the head shells were the same, but they were not. One weighed almost a gram and a half more. So I could not figure out what was going wrong with one cart that sounded terrible. The counterweight said it was tracking at 1.25 grams but once I measured it with a digital scale, found out that it was tracking at nearly 3! Killing the sound. Once adjusted properly it was working fine.

    It’s not a big deal but it does take a little time to figure it all out and then it starts to become easier. It also helps to learn how certain adjustments make certain changes. It’s a good thing to learn about turntables, sound quality and set up.

    There are a lot of options out there beyond P-mounts and learning more about set up is a good thing.
     

     

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  17. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,245
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    YES--100% correct! This makes more difference than you would think.

    Not necessarily (the bolded part)--the cart body may appear to be offset (crooked in the headshell) to get proper alignment. DO NOT align the cart with the headshell--align it to the protractor or overhang gauge. There is a reason that headshells have slots, rather than just two screw holes in them for mounting the cart.

    NO, NO, NO... on so many levels!!! :eek: You do not want to "de-tune" your new cart and table down to the level of what you are replacing. YES, you can A/B the old set-up vs the new one, but the objective is not to make them sound the same--the new combo should sound light years better.

    Of note--your new Denon cart has a substantially lower output than your old cart, so a substantially higher volume knob position will be required to achieve the same overall output from your speakers--this is normal and nothing to be concerned with. Listen to the overall sound presentation, not the volume level at any given volume knob position.

    IME, most carts perform better at or above the mid-point of their recommended tracking force range--YMMV.

    I don't know the condition or level of cleanliness of your record collection, but it is not unusual to hear a lot more "noise" out of a given album with a better cart/stylus. The new combo may reveal a lot of stuff that you couldn't hear before. Beyond upgrading the TT/cart/stylus combo, the next step is cleaning your records.
     
  18. desertrat748

    desertrat748 Active Member

    Messages:
    379
    You are taking that WAY out of context and what you are saying in the last sentence is EXACTLY what I meant by it. If he has it wrong, the new set up won't come close. I have no idea how you can get "de-tune" out of comparing the two. Amazing!

    And the part of checking to see if it is straight, just trying to help out a guy who is JUST STARTING OUT. Most likely he will be overwhelmed with it all and possible to have it canted without knowing it. A quick eyeball check will help, not hurt. Chill out. OP isn't going to go from P-mount to an expert on first set up.

    Lastly, this isn't about you and me. It's about helping the OP to get going in the right direction without overly complicating it. He may or may not know what to do with a protractor; especially with Technics.

    My post was to try and help with layman's terminology and nothing more. If he didn't like the way I tried to help, he's free to overlook it. Wasn't meant to scrutinized by you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  19. desertrat748

    desertrat748 Active Member

    Messages:
    379

    ^ This!
     
  20. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,245
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    No harm, no foul intended on my part (I'm only on my first pot of coffee). I have just seen (too many times) people that insist to align the cart with the headshell, rather than where it belongs (my OCD is bad, but at least not that bad). And, yes, you can buy a $500 cart and align it so poorly that it sounds like a Close N Play--I guess that was my point regarding "de-tuning"--aka--not taking advantage of what the new stuff can do. Sorry if I offended--not my intent.
     

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