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Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vintage?

Wharfedale Linton Heritage Speakers

Skallabank

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Hi everybody and greetings from Sweden.

First of all, please excuse my bad english, this is not my mother tongue. If anything is unclear, please ask and I will try to ellaborate.

I have been lurking quite a bit on the forum and found that now was a good time to finally join. As usual in dedicated forums, I follow the tradition of bad manners and start my career here with questions. :) Or actually, I'm starting with a novel, those of you uninterested in reading about HIFI-related daily life, skip to the end, where the more technical questions are located.

After being bored and frustrated at the digital mass consumption of music today, I went down to the basement and got my old records and TT up. The TT was in a sad state and since it was a cheap one, part of a full set, there was no power adapter, only a loose cable. Sure, adapters can be bought, but I remember this thing being dropped in the concrete floor from a high altitude in the storage :(

So I went to the electronics barn and picked up a new one. The seller recommended this particular model and said that they had many happy customers. I was sceptical at frist, since the TT had an USB out, not quite what I was looking for, but I thought, hey, times have changed, I'm sure they make good TT's nowadays!

Back at home my problems started, for once in my life I read the manual and it mentioned something about line level current. I am thankful that I did read it, because I'm not sure that my old amp would have enjoyed ten times the expected current straight to the phono input. Luckily, the amp have an AUX so I just plugged it in there. I put on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (by some old not so known british rock band, strange looking dudes with long hair, you wouldnt know them) and enjoyed. I went through old reggae albums and soundtracks and I really liked what I heard. Sure, the sound was not perfect, it crackled and popped a bit on some records and my old speakers is perhaps a bit large for my amp, but still, wow!

Anyway, trying to cut to the chase here, the mrs does not care as much as I do for (visible) technology and electronics. She does definately not share my enthusiasm for large floor standing speakers and subwoofers. I have battled hard to keep the surround system and the floor speakers and I have managed to conceal the rest of the system (ever heard of IKEA?). I knew that it wouldn't be a healthy option to introduce another set of speakers (threeway, 21.5 x 10.5 x 8.5 inch) to the living room and I want to keep the truce around here. But I couldnt resist when she was away.

But this is not a long term solution. I believe that love and relationships are a compromise and so is HIFI in a 2-room apartement. I really want her to be happy so I had to change my battle plan. I managed to build in the TT on a slide out shelf, thus concealing it (and protecting it from the wicked world) but it is harder to conceal two fat three way speakers so they had to go. "No biggie" I thought, I'll just hook up the TT to my AV-receiver from the future, since the TT is operating in line level, I'll just hook it up to any available input and go. Who knows, maybe it will sound awesome with a modern receiver, modern TT and modern speakers?

Full of anticipation and excitement I put Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on the TT, fired it on and dropped the needle. The results were on a whole new level ... of disappointment. It was on a verly low sound level, sounded extremely thin and tinny. No precense of bass what so ever, and the treble was way to sharp and annoyed my ears. It sounded like a crappy 90's computer speaker set with small plastic boxes. No, it sounded worse. I had to turn the volume level up very high for some sound actually coming out.

I connected my old speakers and the results were marginally better, on a Peter Tosh album I could actually hear hints of bass playing.

This is not an option, I must find another solution. What I'm hoping here is that someone can enlighten me as to why this is happening.

---------------------------------------

Problem system: Ion Pure LP to Pioneer VSX-921 to decent thick, shielded cables to Dynavoice M-65EX (page in swedish, specs are 1" tweeter, 5.25" mids x2, 6,5" woofers x2. 4-8O, 24-32000 Hz, 250W peak)

Working system: Ion Pure LP to Pioneer SX-636 to Pioneer CS-3030 three way speakers (120W, 90dB, 45-20000Hz).

Questions:

Why does this sound decent at my old vintage system and so very very bad on my modern system?

Sure, the TT is probably crap, but still works on the old amp.

Is it a voltage/signal thing? The input sensitivity on the SX-636 is rated at 150mV and at the VSX-921 200mV, thus having lower sensitivity than the SX-636. I don't know what the TT is specified to, but might it be the issue here? Still, as it is a modern player, I guess that it's intended use is to hook it up through line level at a receiver, so it should be working.

Is it a modern digital, sound "improving" thing? Perhaps all the digital DSP, PQLS, TrueHD, ADHD and so on is screwing up the signal here? Or is it perhaps that 2 channel stereo playback is not something prioritized in the making of this receiver? However, digital music sounds great, streaming through AirPlay, internet radio and CD all sound super, and I play in stereo.

Is it worth trying to connect a RIIA amp from an old TT, or is the project doomed to fail?

Any ideas, experiences, suggestions and thoughts are appreciated!
 
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sandeepmohan

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Re: Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vinta

Have you tried swapping components to identify the culprit?

The Ion TT is surely as cheap a turntable as it can get but it cannot sound vastly different between two different rigs unless the rigs have something seriously flawed.

I suspect the AV receiver. Try the AV receiver and your Pioneer Speakers and the Dynavoice with your Vintage amplifier.
 

ghatgepatil

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Re: Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vinta

Long post, eh? It is indeed!

First of all, welcome to this Forum.
I believe your query should be answered by one, 'kuruvilajacob' in this Forum. Send him a PM if possible. Not that nobody else can answer, but believe it should come from an expert who can guide you step by step and also provide accurate answers.

Heard of Guru speakers? They are Swedish too. Available in India, but quite unaffordable :mad:.
 
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jls001

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Re: Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vinta

@Skallabank: does the Ion have in-built phono preamplifier? If it has then you can plug in the output of the Ion to any line level input of your amplifier - CD, AUX, etc, (but not PHONO) and it will play normally after you set appropriate volume.

If the Ion does not have a built-in phono preamplifier, then you need to plug it into the PHONO input of your amplifier. Alternately, you can plug in the output of the Ion to an external phono preamplifier, then send the output of this phono preamplifier to line level input of your amplifier.

The phono preamplifier, wherever it is located, has to reverse the RIAA equalisation coded into the record, and secondly amplify the signal level to the level of a line level signal. Of course it also has to perform impedance and capacitive load matching appropriate to the cartridge.

If you bypass the phono preamplifier, you will be almost totally missing the bass as the RIAA EQ reduces the amplitude of bass, and also you'll get very low level sound as you are trying to directly amplify a very small signal of the order of 3 to 5 mV on an amplifier that expects an input which must be in the region of 350 mV.
 

Vinay2013

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Re: Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vinta

+1 jls001.

Seems like a signal level input feed to you new receiver. As I can see, your vintage amp has phono stage while the new receiver doesn't, so probably you might have connected your TT to phono input of your amp. There must be a switch in the TT to convert signal level to line level. Did you connect your TT to line level input of your vintage amp?

Edit: As I can see your TT has line level output only hence you might check the settings of your new receiver.
 
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ghatgepatil

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Re: Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vinta

+1 jls001. I couldn't have put it better!
 

ANILKUMAR

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Re: Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vinta

+few more...

"main stream modern amplifiers " do not include a phono stage input (there are few exceptions too) because there are more compact disc players sold than lovely turntables,so, sadly, the manufacturers consider it an unnecessary expense.

1. A turntable produces a PHONO output signal. This phono signal needs to be converted to a LINE LEVEL signal (sometimes referred to as AUX signal) to work with audio equipment including stereo systems, computers, and speakers.

2. A phono preamp converts PHONO to LINE LEVEL
The phono pre-amp actually applies a correction curve to the turntable's output to produce the sound that's actually meant to come out.
Otherwise it would be all treble and no bass.

Typically a 'Phono Stage,' applies a small amount of gain and also the RIAA EQ-curve.

So, better buy an AMP with PHONO input or but a PRE-AMP and connect the RCA out to your modern AMP's AUX or TAPE(if it is there)

Also modern cheap speakers/or your home theater speakers are not best suited to listen Vinyl(there are exception here too).
 

Dr.Bass

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Re: Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vinta

I think the OP clearly mentioned in the initial post that the manual of his TT says that its output is line level which means it must have had a phono stage in built. It has an USB output which can be connected to a PC and the records could be digitzed which again means that there must be a phono stage in built.

He has successfully used the TT into the AUX input of his stereo amp so it should also be okay into the AUX input of AVR which is not happening. Now please continue with the gyan...:D
 

rohitmusic

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Re: Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vinta

Just by reading the title I can say the following from my experience.

The vintage system I hear on is little more forgiving than the new age. The vintage system has bigger drivers and vocals come out beautifully without the shrillness in the highs. So it puts almost a veil over the "imperfections" of vinyl playback. In other words I found it to be more forgiving as compared to the new age system.

(Althought this may have to do nothing with your situation but the high level observation matches hence thought of sharing :) )

Kind Regards!
 
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kuruvilajacob

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Re: Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vinta

Of late I have been very busy and did not see this post. Your observation about sound on new amps and speakers sounding worse than in a tiny computer speaker is absolutely correct. As observed by others on this thread, the vintage systems were designed to analogue reproduction while the new systems are designed for digital reproduction. So when you mix an old analogue source to new system, there is a complete mismatch resulting in dull reproduction. Even many new Turntables are designed to attract the new generation segment and they are a big disappointment for many wanting to start a vinyl entry
 
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greenhorn

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Re: Why does my turntable sound like garbage on a modern system but decent on a vinta

honestly this post makes no sense. If you are using a modern amp, it shouldnt sound vastly different. all of them are tuned to have flat frequency response.

My best guess is that the difference is in the phono stage - differences in capacitative loading might make huge differences in sound - between vintage amps as well
I prefer the phono stage in my pioneer SA 606 and Sony reciever to my NAD 3020 phono stage - despite being an internationally acclaimed amp and phono stage in their own induvidual rights, they sound rather dull to me.

Play around with amps and if you are open to modding the circuits - the capacitative loading
You'll get lucky!
 
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