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Thread: Incompetent turntable fettling

  1. #41
    Join Date: Oct 2014

    Location: Surrey

    Posts: 286
    I'm Graham.

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    Hi Reggie,
    I also use an AT OC-9 ml ii and like you used it with an AT-630. I also tried various other SUTs including the AT 650, Black Head, RFC and probably some others I have forgotten. Recently I stumbled upon two much better solutions. One being the Puresound T10, the current model with the 2 gain settings (the older model with 5 settings was no good with the OC-9). Second solution is a Denon HA-500 head amp. Both these step up options make the oc-9 sing with plenty of energy and presence. It sounds like a much more expensive cart.
    The Denon has more leading edge attack and openness at the expense of a bit more surface noise and the T10 is a little smoother. Either are excellent and transform the OC-9 into a seriously good cart.
    Graham

  2. #42
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Worcestershire, UK

    Posts: 827
    I'm Rob.

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    Thanks Graham. The AT-630 was the first step on my SUT journey. I currently have a Luxman AD8000 (with type 8020 SUT) fitted, and the sound is fabulous.

    At the moment I'm concentrating on upgrades to the deck. I expect once I'm happy with that, I'll look at the amplification again - probably the MM stage.
    Rob.
    Powered by crossed fingers and clenched buttocks

  3. #43
    Join Date: Dec 2014

    Location: Midlands

    Posts: 65
    I'm Matt.

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    Will follow this with interest. Lots of people seem to prefer the LP12 with no base board at all, had you tried that before going with the Stack Audio item?

  4. #44
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Worcestershire, UK

    Posts: 827
    I'm Rob.

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    Hi Matt, that's interesting. Removing the base board makes it a lot easier to adjust the suspension in-situ, so worth doing for that alone. One of the things I like about the Stack baseboard is that it has holes below the springs to allow adjustment when in-situ.
    Rob.
    Powered by crossed fingers and clenched buttocks

  5. #45
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Worcestershire, UK

    Posts: 827
    I'm Rob.

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    Let's just say - I'm engaging smug mode.

    Everything is back together and the results are splendid.

    First job of the day was to fit some rubber feet to my maintenance stand, which made things a little more stable. It still wobbles a little, but I'm in no fear that I'm going to have another near disaster with the deck falling through it. The feet also meant the frame was a little more floor friendly when I brought it into my listening room for some final adjustments. I also bought some soft floor panels which I used to protect surfaces - but most importantly my relationship with my wife who had not been impressed with me littering her table and cupboard surfaces with tools and bits and piece last week.



    Once that was done, I could get on with the main job of the day - fitting the arm board and completing the reassembly.

    I decided to go with the allen headed screws as they were the least fiddly to fit. I had to shorten them a little for them to fit correctly. I chose to grind them as they were a little small to saw easily. First one went fine, but I got a little over-confident with the second and ground too much in one go - the result a big blob of melted metal on the end of the screw. Whoops. So a number of small gentle grindings and I got the next two to size quickly. Once they were the right length, fitting the armboard was straightforward.



    Once that was done, I checked everything was in place and started to fit the new base board. The first obvious thing was how many more screws were needed. The new board is much more securely screwed to the chassis than the old one. Then I noticed something - the hole the signal cable comes out was empty. Doh!. So I unscrewed the base board, and placed the tonearm cable in the right position and secured it. So much for checking everything.

    With that done, it was time to get the platters and arm in, and start adjusting the deck. As I mentioned in an early post, the Stack Audio SERENE Baseboard has nicely positioned holes that allow access to the bottom of the suspension springs when in place and they did indeed make it so much easier to make adjustments. With the old board, it would have to be left off while the adjustments were made, and then be fitted as a last job, which was awkward.



    I got everything level and was feeling pleased with myself. It was time to get the deck fitted into my Hi-Fi. As soon as I did so I noticed something was wrong - the armboard was obviously too high in the deck.



    So the maintenance stand came into the listening room and I had a second go at adjusting things. Second time round and everything was much better. The platter was level and the armboard sat nicely in place, and when I tried the suspension it moved nice and freely and smoothly.

    The last things to do were get the arm aligned vertically, and the down force corrected. That didn't take long and I was soon listening to my first LP of the afternoon.



    The first LP was XTC Nonsuch, a fabulous record - one of my favourites. The very first thing I noticed (after my initial relief that I hadn't broken anything) was that the sound stage seem to have got narrower, but that at the same time, everything had become much more distinct within the sound stage. The more I listened, the more I came to the conclusion that instead of hearing the wide spread of sound I'm used to, I was hearing a much better distribution of individual instruments and voices within the sound stage. That is, if I was listening to a group of five musicians what I heard was a sound stage that was five musicians wide, rather that one that was "my hi-fi wide". That is, the width of the sound stage was much more defined by what was being played rather than how wide my hi-fi could spread the sound.

    I also noticed that the backing vocal present in a number of the XTC tracks, was much more clearly separated from the main singer. The better separation of individuals became even more evident when I put on some opera: Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. On the first album side there are a number of individuals singing one after another, and it can be a little difficult to distinguish between the singers (well for a Luddite like me). Well no longer. This was interesting, because the separation is much more about clarity of tone rather than stereo effect. It shows it's not just imaging that's improved.

    The more I listened, the more I appreciated the better clarity I seemed to be getting. The upper mids in particular seem to be a little sweater than I recall previously.

    And then I turned my sub-woofer on. Well that started another bit of fun and games, as there is more bass and I found I needed to readjust the sub-woofer to get the balance better to my ears. To be honest, my sub-woofer is usually tucked in a spot that's convenient rather than being placed for best sonic results. Today, I had to get it out and put it front and centre which I don't think I've ever done before. I think I'll be doing that more often.

    It's difficult to say if I'd have got similar result with either just the new base board, or the sub-frame (it's even possible that all that's happened is on re-assembly I've managed to better align my cartridge). A conclusion I can make - the base board for me is a no brainer. Being able to adjust the suspension with it in place makes things so much easier. And the quality of the board is way ahead of the original. But I'm sure the main factor improving the sound quality - the item adding the clarity - is the sub-frame. I'm really glad I brought both items.

    Of course this may all be wishful thinking - I really ought to listen for a while and then swap all the old kit back in and compare the result - but at the moment I don't care if it's subjective or not - I'm just really enjoying the results of my labours.
    Last edited by ReggieB; 29-09-2019 at 08:47.
    Rob.
    Powered by crossed fingers and clenched buttocks

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