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Minimising surface noise of vinyl on recordings?

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Martyk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Martyk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2021 at 5:16am
Hi all

Thanks for all your input

Yes you were right. It is definitely surface noise which was the issue. After 3 thorough cleans on the same vinyl there is a definite improvement now. I have ordered the AI No 15 and Pure Water so fingers crossed it'll clean it in one hit rather than having to keep applying the same procedure.

However I do have another question now...

Just using my Concorde Elektro Ortofon Stylus now but wondered the best configuration for it to pair with the Accession MM?

According to the manual its recommended is 200 - 600 pF.
I saw a load of things written on the manual about subtracting 75 to 100 but don't quite understand it and wondered if someone can assist.

So I basically I just want to know the capactiance setting to apply to a Concorde Elektro Ortofon stylus which has recommended capacitance of 200 - 600 pF. Cables used is the standard Technics RCA cable which I think is good quality because its well shielded.

I also noticed on the manual (from memory) it mentions that RIAA setting are of records today and its the suggested setting to use. My pressings of vinyl range between the years of 1998 to 2004. Which would surely be RIAA right? All my pressings are from the UK and I have actually noticed the sound to be a lot more clearer/open on the British option rather than RIAA. On RIAA the sound sort of sounds a bit more closed in... hard to explain. Anyone else noticed?


Edited by Martyk - 19 Apr 2021 at 5:18am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2021 at 8:11am
Noticed? Welcome to my world!

As designer Doug Self basically put it (20 years ago) - if after 40 years, anybody thinks solid-state amplification has been perfected, think again! (my interpretation).

Every step of the analogue way, its amplification; even if it's a buffer, it is an amplifier.

It stops being an amplifier where it crosses into the digital domain, and I'm not going to venture there. Everywhere else, it is amplification of some sort.

Many engineers play down the speed of vinyl, as it isn't really a high-frequency medium. Yeah, but you're amplifying a tiny signal, requiring serious gain, and nobody considers beta as it approaches the transition frequency. Hey, throw more transistors at it.

Every amplifier is a trapped oscillator just wanting to escape. Still, while vinyl spent its years in the underworld, designers, having discovered the simplicity of CD (the forerunner of today's digital world), stopped thinking of the reason for "speed" as it wasn't needed anymore - few being old enough to remember, and a lot more with memory loss!

Woe betides the owner of Chinese developed vinyl circuitry. As an old Chinese friend told me, "we never knew vinyl. It existed during the cultural revolution. We never knew it existed."

Luckily for me, there have been a few tens of thousands of customers owning amps having the speed to do my quiet phono stages justice.

It isn't a matter that the phono stage can magically cure all ills. It can only do so in the right company. Defining that company is the tricky part. Specifications cannot tell you. I can build an amplifier a hundred ways, and if I'm lucky, 99 don't do it for vinyl! On the other hand, all 100 will do it for digital audio.

An example is the Solo headphone amplifier history. Twenty-one years of producing a headphone amplifier that cuts the mustard for vinyl but having to create the digital wow factor to get it to sell in the cutthroat headphone amplifier market.

Yes, it can be "chip rolled", and those that do it ask why I don't do the same. It is due to getting it right for vinyl. It is likewise with power amps and just the same in a preamp. All can be easily made to sound great with digital audio, but the proof of the pudding is vinyl!

You look at your recording and playback chain. Did any of the designers burst their brain cells over it, or did they work office hours? The price tag might be an indication.

Hopefully, someone on here will talk to you about "the well-trodden path" or about being "fully Slee'd," and the reason for that is down to the compatibility of each product with a vinyl source.

The past three years I've spent developing an amplifier where vinyl exposed circuit problems. "OK, it sounds great on digital - let's try vinyl .... argh! the surface noise!" And back to "the drawing board" to burst ever more brain cells to find the function that caused it. Needles and haystacks!

The phono stage doesn't remove clicks - it doesn't emphasize them! It reproduces the original click instead of the emphasized clicks you get elsewhere.

The next stage has to do the same - not to emphasize the clicks. So what is it? I wish I could give you a straight answer, but the truth tends to require far greater explanation.

The work of Matti Otala gets the nearest, but here we were in 1972, and who wants to go so far back? Everything Otala said works - but others come along and deny overshoot, and these others are often the educators. They cannot see with Otala's mind's eye. National Semiconductor gave the world its education on designing phono stages and couldn't see it either.

The entire thing is holistic, and you'll get that dismay about EQ settings because the chain is not holistic. The 200 - 600 pf is essentially ballpark. Somewhere in there, you might find a sweet spot.

Calculate the resonant frequency range between 200 and 600 pf - use Fr = 1/ 2pi * sqrt of L * C. See how crazy and wide of any mark such a load range is, and it's much less than 20kHz!

Damp that with the 47k "standard load" and see the mismatch. Do they even tell you the cartridge's inductance? No MM tracks RIAA accurately - there's always a bump in the upper mids. Try to measure the frequency of a click. Perhaps it has a frequency-amplitude profile? What's the output of a constant velocity device?

It isn't quite as bad as answering the reason for the universe's existence and how it's held together, but it isn't far off! If clicks didn't exist, vinyl would be easy, but clicks exist in chaos, and every part of the vinyl chain has to be designed with that chaos in mind.

Answer me honestly, do they?

Not simple enough for Google-Bot to understand...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2021 at 2:51pm
Originally posted by Martyk Martyk wrote:


Just using my Concorde Elektro Ortofon Stylus now but wondered the best configuration for it to pair with the Accession MM?

According to the manual its recommended is 200 - 600 pF.
I saw a load of things written on the manual about subtracting 75 to 100 but don't quite understand it and wondered if someone can assist.



Ortofon is not helping you here. That is a huge range of settings. Normally the manufacturer's recommended setting is much more narrow. When you are adding up capacitance, you have to take into account the internal tonearm wiring, the cabling that runs out the back of the turntable, and the input capacitance of the phono preamp. Typically, though not always, when you combine the internal tonearm wiring and the aforementioned cables you'll have at least ~100pf. So if the cartridge manufacturer says 200pf for a certain cartridge, you would set the phono preamp to 100pf. Make sense?

When the cartridge manufacturer doesn't tell you what to use, or gives you a broad range like 200-600pf, you're basically left to figure things out on your own. That means using an accurate test record and software, some kind of LCR modeling, or just trying to tune by ear. If it were me I'd probably just keep the capacitance on the low side as most cartridges don't benefit from jacking it way up. Of course there are exceptions.

One thing I noticed is this is a very high output cart (7.5mV) meant for DJ work.


If you can swap that cart out for something with more modest 3-5mV output, it might also help reduce the surface noise. IME carts like that Concorde can magnify surface noise. A DJ friend of mine noticed the same thing when he moved from one set with 6mV output to a set with over 8mV output.



Originally posted by Martyk Martyk wrote:


My pressings of vinyl range between the years of 1998 to 2004. Which would surely be RIAA right? All my pressings are from the UK and I have actually noticed the sound to be a lot more clearer/open on the British option rather than RIAA. On RIAA the sound sort of sounds a bit more closed in... hard to explain. Anyone else noticed?


All of those records should be RIAA records. Most of the alternative EQ curves are for records that were pressed prior to RIAA standardization in the mid 50s to early 60s. However, if you want to use an alternative EQ to listen to your records that's your prerogative.
Reflex M + PSU-1 used with AT VM95ML, Stanton 680mkII + Ogura, and Shure M35X cartridges.
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