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Argonaught View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Turntable Aesthetics
    Posted: October 25 2014 at 16:05
Folks,

Speaking of the looks only, and without delving into tech details and practicalities: what kind of (relatively) mass-produced record players pleases your eyes the most?

  • The good stuff from the early stereo era, like e.g. this phonograph?

  • Or the elegant Japanese turntable designs of the 1970s, some of which have carried the SL1200s DNA well into the 21st century?

  • Or the more hi-tech-looking specimens from the same period?

  • Or those modern and decidedly hip tables that seem to appeal not only to the millennials, but also to many vinyl old-timers? Catcher10 recommended that I use this pic as an example, although it looks more like a one-off, custom-made machine. But, you get the gist, right?

  

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Catcher10 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2014 at 17:03
Skipping the first picture...too vintage for me LOL.
 
I always liked the look of the Technics SL1200 models and all those variations. The strobe platter, strobe light and other versions had the pop up cueing light. The S shaped tonearm and just the look was very "techy" and said "I sound damn good!" Those were work horses and proven by the DJs and scratch artists, Technics were the sought after tables.
I always just had a problem with the aluminum platter...the "ping" noise.
 
The newer designed TT that are a bit more eye-candy while incorporating a lot of sound dampening designs, now catch my eye...and ear.
 
For sure a TT is a visual pc of gear and should have some aesthetic value, it moves and grooves...it should look good. And yes that Music Hall mmf-11.1 is my dream table at the moment, not custom, its a production table just top of the line for MH, made in Czechoslovakia, same factory that makes Pro-ject tables.
 
I am saving all my pennies and mowing my neighbors lawns for extra cash....Big smile 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2014 at 17:29
I saw the other day some new TT models from Audio-Technica with great design, somewhere between the SL1200 and modern categories. Wink


Edited by Meltdowner - October 25 2014 at 17:30
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2014 at 18:27
Originally posted by Meltdowner Meltdowner wrote:

I saw the other day some new TT models from Audio-Technica with great design, somewhere between the SL1200 and modern categories. Wink
 
Yes the popular one is the AT-LP120 USB model, excellent value for an entry level table. It has all the features of a $1K table. It has a built in phono amp so its basically plug and play, or you can bypass it and use your own. Plus it spins at all 3 speeds, it performs above price point, you can also digitize your vinyl with it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2014 at 18:41
^ Is it that good? I saw it new on sale but I didn't know if it was worth it, because I read somewhere that direct drive TT's are worse than belt drive. Is it true?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2014 at 18:43
The ATLP-120 is the spitting image of the SL1200 as far as the outward appearance and the layout, the only difference being a few extra (and unnecessary) buttons. Internally, for better or worse, there are a few differences, but we have agreed not to talk tech :)

There are some other tables that, I suspect, are assembled at the same plant as the ATLP-120 :


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2014 at 19:20
A turntable should be simple and elegant, something that Rega got right back in the 1970 with the Planar 2, a much-copied design that hasn't changed much in 40 years.


...although the design of the Rega was inspired by, if not copied from, an old Connoisseur turntable like the one I'm currently replinthing.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2014 at 20:26
This is mine, a Pro-Ject Debut III with USB output.  Nothing mind-blowing but I get a lotta mileage out of it.



Edited by HolyMoly - October 25 2014 at 20:27
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2014 at 21:51
My dad is old school sound man and swore by Garrard. They did have great sound too. So this is always what first pops into my mind.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 25 2014 at 23:12
Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

A turntable should be simple and elegant, something that Rega got right back in the 1970 with the Planar 2, a much-copied design that hasn't changed much in 40 years.

Agreed, although I kind of miss the strobe thingy:)


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 26 2014 at 01:52
Originally posted by Argonaught Argonaught wrote:

Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

A turntable should be simple and elegant, something that Rega got right back in the 1970 with the Planar 2, a much-copied design that hasn't changed much in 40 years.
Agreed, although I kind of miss the strobe thingy:)
As an Engineer I never really got the strobe 'thingy'. To me putting a strobe and 'pitch' control on was like Technics admitting they could design a stable speed control circuit. Since later models were quartz-locked that of course means they probably couldn't.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 26 2014 at 07:32
^ In defense of the strobe, I respectfully submit that in the hifi turntable context it may have 2 engineering functions, important to some users: speed indication and speed accuracy verification. I have also used the strobe in a couple of different ways to satisfy my curiosity, but that's too much tech. 

And, of course, the strobe and pitch control capability has been put to good use by DJ's and those who wanted to play records at non-standard speeds. 

But I'll admit that aesthetically it's controversial. It could be a desirable design element to some, and annoying clutter to others.  




 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 26 2014 at 07:39
Originally posted by bhikkhu bhikkhu wrote:

My dad is old school sound man and swore by Garrard. They did have great sound too. So this is always what first pops into my mind.



I kind of got hooked on the "DD, S-arm and 1.5 gram tracking" doctrine 30+ years ago, but one day I'd love to lay my hands on a pre-1960s table, just for the heck of it. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 26 2014 at 07:47
Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

This is mine, a Pro-Ject Debut III with USB output.  Nothing mind-blowing but I get a lotta mileage out of it.


You and Mr. Catcher10 are, therefore, the "contemporary turntable" guys .. duly noted LOL. But, what can I say - clarity and elegance will never go out of fashion. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 26 2014 at 09:17
Originally posted by Argonaught Argonaught wrote:

^ In defense of the strobe, I respectfully submit that in the hifi turntable context it may have 2 engineering functions, important to some users: speed indication and speed accuracy verification. I have also used the strobe in a couple of different ways to satisfy my curiosity, but that's too much tech. 

And, of course, the strobe and pitch control capability has been put to good use by DJ's and those who wanted to play records at non-standard speeds. 

But I'll admit that aesthetically it's controversial. It could be a desirable design element to some, and annoying clutter to others.  
Of course I shall disagree. You can never have too much tech [talk] - a turntable is a piece of technical equipment and while many regard technical information as being an inconvenience, it is never-the-less an inconvenient truth that cannot be summarily brushed to one side, even for aesthetics.

The strobe will only indicate when the platter is spinning at a fixed speed because that is its function and only purpose. It will not indicate what that speed is or whether it is accurate. As odd as it seems, the strobing does not denote any measure of accuracy or any absolute measure of platter-speed. 

Contrary to many apparently informative sounding articles explaining how it is possible to tell that the strobe-circuit needs "recalibrating", you cannot use the pitch-control to check the strobe accuracy; and similarly, you cannot use the strobe to check absolute speed accuracy of the platter or to indicate its actual rotational speed.

The platter rim has a fixed number of dots and those are illuminated by a flickering light that has a fixed number of flashes per second. The clock that produces the strobe frequency is no more accurate than a similar clock used to control the motor speed - in fact in the Technics SL-1200 this is the same clock, generated from the same 4.19328MHz quartz crystal. Everything is phase-locked to the crystal and all speeds are derived from it, if the crystal drifts or is affected by temperature it will not affect stability of the "dots" nor will it affect the "zero" position of the pitch-control. Also, there is no means of calibrating or adjusting this 4.19328MHz quartz crystal frequency. If the crystal is off-frequency, then the platter will spin at the wrong speed and the strobe will flash at the same wrong speed so the dots will remain stationary. 

Certainly a DJ can use the pitch-control to adjust the speed at which a record is being played, and the strobe will indicate that the platter is no longer spinning at 33 1/3 rpm, but that is all it can do.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 26 2014 at 10:50
Originally posted by Argonaught Argonaught wrote:

Originally posted by bhikkhu bhikkhu wrote:

My dad is old school sound man and swore by Garrard. They did have great sound too. So this is always what first pops into my mind.



I kind of got hooked on the "DD, S-arm and 1.5 gram tracking" doctrine 30+ years ago, but one day I'd love to lay my hands on a pre-1960s table, just for the heck of it. 

I actually still used one of these till about 1984 when it just wasn't worth maintaining anymore. Notice the stacking mechanism in the back. You could load up a few albums and they would automatically play. How many of you remember that? It fell out of favor because it wasn't good for the vinyl, plus you would only hear one side of each album.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 26 2014 at 13:28
Originally posted by bhikkhu bhikkhu wrote:

Originally posted by Argonaught Argonaught wrote:

Originally posted by bhikkhu bhikkhu wrote:

My dad is old school sound man and swore by Garrard. They did have great sound too. So this is always what first pops into my mind.



I kind of got hooked on the "DD, S-arm and 1.5 gram tracking" doctrine 30+ years ago, but one day I'd love to lay my hands on a pre-1960s table, just for the heck of it. 

I actually still used one of these till about 1984 when it just wasn't worth maintaining anymore. Notice the stacking mechanism in the back. You could load up a few albums and they would automatically play. How many of you remember that? It fell out of favor because it wasn't good for the vinyl, plus you would only hear one side of each album.

I had a BIC tt as a kid and had the stackable spindle....its why some plants pressed dbl albums as Disc 1 had Side 1/4 Disc 2 had Side 2/3, so when you flipped them over then Side 3 and 4 played.
My version of The Who~Quadrophenia is like this.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 26 2014 at 13:30
I certainly remember record-changers (never liked them, though), and I have a few changer-friendly double albums that have sides A and C on one record and sides B and D on another, or something like this.

I don't mind dragging myself across the room to flip the record every 20 minutes .. makes for a more engaging musical experience.  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 26 2014 at 14:23
Dean is spot on with the speed/strobe feature on tables...they only tell you what is actually going on, right or wrong. You can adjust the speed using the pitch control...If you want to add or reduce pitch/speed and if that sounds better to you then go for it!

There are outboard speed controllers you can buy that will hold speed constant and there is one dual device, a tachometer will read the platter speed to 0.001 accuracy and the PSU (power supply unit) will work in conjunction with the tach to maintain 33.333
I have heard the difference that can be made, it exists, what I think is the big reason to want one of these is if you have dirty or inconsistent power supply to your home, which screws up your AC motor. Interesting and I am looking into a set once I have some extra cash......Cry

Here is the combo in action, no promoting from me just showing what technology is out there and also adding to the aesthetic coolness of turntable gear Cool



Edited by Catcher10 - October 26 2014 at 14:24
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 26 2014 at 16:30
Originally posted by Catcher10 Catcher10 wrote:

Here is the combo in action, no promoting from me just showing what technology is out there and also adding to the aesthetic coolness of turntable gear Cool
 

Yep, these boxes do looks very neat, even though - aesthetically speaking - it might be even better if the tach and the speed control functions were integrated (discreetly) into the table itself. I kinda picture a small display, flush with the plinth, which can be toggled between LIT and UNLIT, depending on whether you want to see the real-time readings or not. 

Thanks for steering the the conversation back towards the subject line. 




 



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