Nov 022018
 

It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the personal side of things, but I thought I’d report on what’s going on at chez Jeff on the audio side of things at the moment, and what’s coming up in the near term.

Turntable Musical Chairs

My Classic Turntable Company 301 (above) is on it’s way back to Ray Clark in the UK to get some maintenance and trouble shooting done.

Normally I do my own maintenance, but Ray offered to give it a good going through, first to address an issue with the power on/off mechanism not engaging properly, and also to track down a mechanical noise issue that had become audible when the motor was engaged (and which I couldn’t figure out), as well as anything else that might need a little extra TLC to get back into tip-top shape.

A big “Thank you!” to Ray Clark for offering to help me get things sorted out with my beloved CTC 301!

It left here for the UK yesterday via FedEx, and should be back here in a couple of weeks.

The Classic Turntable Company “hot-rodded” 301 is such a fantastic sounding turntable, I miss it already! 

In the interim I’ve pressed my Artisan Fidelity Statement “Long Base” Thorens TD124 turntable into service in my main music system. The Thorens TD124 isn’t at the same level musically or sonically that the Classic Turntable Company 301 is, but it is still a gorgeous and amazing turntable.

I suspect much of the performance difference is due to the plinth. The Artisan Fidelity “Long Base” plinth isn’t nearly as massive as the Artisan Fidelity plinth for my Classic Turntable Company 301, and I think it is the primary culprit in the performance difference.

I may have to investigate a more massive plinth for it one of these days, and I’ve got some interesting ideas about a plinth design that I may share with you when/if the time comes.

I also became aware of a replacement stainless steel (or maybe it was aluminum?) CNC’d outer platter that has become available for the Thorens TD124, and I think that would be an improvement over the stock pressed aluminum outer platter.

A better record mat would also help out the Thorens’ performance, I think, and I saw a brass one that Chris Harban at Woodsong Audio had on his Thorens TD124 to experiment with that looked intriguing, so I may have to investigate that.

I really like the Spec Analog Disc Sheet (a mat) that I use on my Classic 301, but there isn’t a version available for the Thorens TD124 (that I am aware of).

SPEC GMP-8000 turntable.

A number of you have asked me what “non-vintage” style of turntable I would recommend. While I have no plans to move away from my Classic 301 or Thorens TD124 as references, if I was shopping for a current production turntable the Spec GMP-8000 (above) or the La Platine Verdier (the Auditorium 23 version) would be at the top of my list of current production ‘tables to seriously check out. I’ve seen and heard both of these ‘tables, and they are really superb.

The Duelund-Altec Project

Stokowski Altec’s in the listening room.

I have finished breadboarding the Duelund CAST tinned-copper crossovers for the Stokowski Altec’s, and I’ll fill you in on all the details in a follow-up post before too long.

The Duelund CAST Sn-Cu components in the Altec HF horn cabinet.

The photo above is of the Duelund CAST components sitting in the Altec HF horn cabinet, before I wired them together. They are all wired together now, but not connected to the drivers yet, which will be the next step.

I have been having mixed feelings about installing the Duelund CAST Sn-Cu crossovers into the Altec HF horn cabinets, simply for the reason that it doesn’t show off the impressive nature of the Duelund CAST crossovers to the extent that I would like.

The good part about mounting them in the HF horn enclosure is that you can still easily see the Duelund CAST Sn-Cu crossovers and easily access them to do voicing and what-not, but I’d like to figure out something to “showcase” them a little more.

To really appreciate the Duelund CAST Sn-Cu components you have to see them in person, they are beautiful and deeply impressive, and I’d like to figure out a way to display them in order to highlight them a little more. I’ll keep mulling on this topic while I finish wiring them up, voicing them with the various Duelund DCA wires, etc.

When I get everything voiced the way I want it then I’ll revisit the topic of crossover enclosures (?) that are as artful as the Duelund CAST Sn-Cu components are themselves.

There’s much more to come on the Duelund-Altec Project, so stay tuned!

Acoustic Revive Review for Positive Feedback

Next up for review at Positive Feedback are the impressive and exotic new Acoustic Revive Absolute Power Cords, RCA Absolute FM Interconnects, and PC-TripleC/EX Headshell Leads.

Like I said in my introductory Today’s Fresh Catch post about them, “I always get excited when new Acoustic Revive products arrive from Mr. Ken Ishiguro (Acoustic Revive) via Mr. Yoshi Hontani (Muson Project, Exporter), as Acoustic Revive products always have an extreme level of quality materials, technical ingenuity, a  beautiful fit & finish, and with performance to match!”

Those of you who have been following my writing know that the Acoustic Revive products have been a mainstay in my audio systems over the years, and I couldn’t imagine being without them. Ken-san continues his goal of surpassing the cutting-edge of performance with these latest offerings, and I’m looking forward to telling you all about them in my Positive Feedback review. 

The Acoustic Revive products are both crazy good and crazy expensive, and I sure do like them!

I’ve been getting plenty of run-in time on the Absolute Power Cords and the RCA Absolute FM Interconnects, but I haven’t yet had a chance to try the PC-TripleC/EX Headshell Leads, which I am really looking forward to.

Part 2 of “Adventures in Real Sound with Yazaki-san: Alan-san’s GEC PX25 monaural SET’s!”

Yazaki-san has sent me Part 2 of the “Adventures in Real Sound with Yazaki-san: Alan-san’s GEC PX25 monaural SET’s!” article, and I am working it up now to post. 

Many thanks to Yazaki-san for taking time to tell us about his Adventures In Real Sound. I always enjoy reading his articles, and I know you do as well!

Like always, Yazaki-san’s article is very enjoyable to read and full of fascinating insights. I hope to have it ready for you for the weekend, so stay tuned.

Ok, that’s it for now.

Thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

 Posted by at 8:14 am

  4 Responses to “Jeff checking in … turntables, the Duelund-Altec Project, Acoustic Revive, and Yazaki-san!”

  1. Wall shelf for the 124 solves your plinth problem!

    Interestingly the 301 I demoed nor the Rek o Kut I rebuilt don’t like the wall shelf… but the 124 sure does.

    • Hi David,

      Thank you for your suggestion, but no, actually a wall mounted shelf doesn’t have anything to do with how a plinth design sounds.

      While it might not be intuitive, plinths and wall mounts (or equipment stands) serve entirely different functions.

      A wall shelf helps isolate the entire turntable from floor borne vibrations, but it doesn’t do anything to damp vibrations originating from the turntable itself or the wall AC.

      First let’s think about the wall AC as a source of vibration. While people don’t generally consider the 60Hz mains cycling as a source of vibration, it is, and it is part of reason why Furutech offers the NCF(R) Piezo Ceramic Series of AC plugs to connect to components and to the wall AC, as its damping properties help reduce the vibration induced from the wall AC from reaching the component and its internals.

      For example, wall AC subtly shakes all the components in a piece of electronics (capacitors, resistors, transformers, vacuum tubes, etc.) and the chassis they’re mounted to, which causes some degradation to the sound quality. That’s why adding vibration damping material to the inside of a chassis can have such a positive effect. The wall AC does the same thing to a turntable, which is at least as susceptible to vibration as a piece of electronics, and possibly more.

      There’s also vibrations that originate from the turntable’s motor, platter, idler wheel, spindle bearing, belt drive, etc. Think of the plinth like the body of a guitar, where a big resonant body of a dreadnought guitar like a Martin D28 will sound quite a lot different from a little Martin 0-18 parlor guitar, even when they have identical sets of vibrating strings mounted on them.

      Then there’s the plinth design itself, and whether it is just a square box that has an open cavity in it, or whether it is form fitted to the underside of the turntable like a glove, like the Artisan Fidelity plinth for my CTC 301 is. If there’s a cavity in the plinth does it subtly amplify the internal vibration of the turntable like a guitar body amplifies the vibration of the strings? Possibly.

      Then there’s the properties of the materials that the plinth is composed of, which also affects its sound. Some plinths will use layers of different materials in a constrained layer damping approach, and other plinths will have a simple box-like frame of wood or some other material, or even an open architecture.

      Finally, there’s the mass of the plinth, and mass damps vibration, whether it comes from the outside or the inside, and affects the sound quality.

      Well, I think that gets the idea across, and it’s why people like myself are willing to invest in a high-quality plinth for their Garrard’s or Thorens turntables, as a plinth makes a lot of difference to overall sound quality.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

  2. Jeff, In my opinion, there is nothing that can turn a Thorens into a Garrard.

    jack

    • Hi Jack,

      The Thorens and Garrard are completely different animals when it comes to their musical and sonic performance. Both can be wonderful turntables in their own right, which is of course why I own both! 😉

      Just as with the Garrard 301/401, there are certain things people can do to maximize their performance (which I went into detail about in my Garrard 2015 Project article at Positive Feedback). When one pays attention to those aspects of Garrard performance the resulting turntable can be a remarkable performer.

      I do believe that the same sort of attention to detail when applied to a Thorens TD124 pays the same sort of dividends, and my TD124 has had most of those things done to it. I do believe that there is still performance to be had from it, however, in the form of a high-mass plinth, possibly a CNC’d outer platter, and a better mat.

      Kind regards,

      Jeff

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