Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by shaizada, Sep 28, 2015.
@Wfojas are you saying I have hairy arms?
FWIW, from the instructions that came with my original (white) Zerostat:
1. Imagine the record as having a triangular shape (the spindle hole being the center). Hold the Zerostat approximately 12 inches from the record surface and slowly squeeze the trigger at each of the three "corner points" of the record. We suggest taking about two (2) seconds to release it. (If the record is on the turntable, perform this while the turntable is not revolving.)
2. Pointing the Zerostat at the center of the record, gently squeeze the trigger a fourth time, point the Zerostat away from the record (toward the floor) and release the trigger.
That old Zerostat still works. The resistance to squeezing/releasing the trigger has lessened to the point that it is harder to judge how hard to squeeze/release without causing the clicks, though.
I have read that it is only the carbon black that would be susceptible to magnetism. I started to post that it would be black records. Then, I remembered reading in Trouser Press (or Bomp) magazine that the late 70s French pink vinyl 'Pink Floyd - Animals' was the first to use a process that allowed colored vinyl to use carbon black. I don't know if that process went anywhere beyond that one release, though.
Now that you bring that up....
My Zerostat instructions say "Don't use on people or animals". No clue why not.
So I've been collecting records for a few months. It started as an innocent interest, a genuine fascination with physical media and the satisfaction that comes along with owning ones favorite albums versus an intangible digital copy. Eventually I owned so many it physically and emotionally hurt to not be able to play them, so I started researching beginner vinyl rigs. I spent the better part of a month hemming and hawing over every option; as it was extremely important for me to 'do it right' and put together (on a budget that would leave money for more records!) something I would enjoy listening to as much if not more than my digital setup. After much deliberation I became the proud owner of a U-Turn Orbit with a 2M Blue cartridge and a Lounge LCR MKIII phono stage. Below are just some of the many things I've learned since:
1. Digital is just an approximation of the real thing
I've heard this phrase thrown around before, sometimes by digital-must-die doomsayers like Michael Fremer and a few times even on this forum, but I never really truly understand what it meant until I listened to this system for the first time. It's hilarious how many digital setups I've heard at varying price points which have totally failed to do the simplest things such as correctly render guitar distortion, and here I was listening to a modest turntable that was playing back the most realistic and organic guitars I'd ever heard.
2. Not all LPs are created equally
Despite my best intentions to do research both online and in-store, some records just plain suck, and no one will tell you otherwise beforehand. I now shamefully own a few LPs that are just straight up worse sounding than the CD because of a poor pressing or poor master, but each one is a lesson learned.
3. Phono pre-amps are important
The Lounge MKIII that is now in my system is excellent, and deserves it's own write-up somewhere else. While it was being held hostage by Canadian customs I was resigned to using a Musical Fidelity V90-LPS; which was rough, lacked depth and more or less sounded like digital. Upgrading to the Lounge was a revelation, and taught me even in a budget system choice of phono stage counts.
4. A ~$1000 analog chain can compete with a good ~$1000 DAC
The total cost of my TT rig (before cost of records, of course) was around what it costs to buy a Gumby and a big question I had was how the two would compete. It's safe to say if I own a good copy of an album on vinyl, I will listen to it on my table every time. It doesn't keep up in every technical factor, but I'll be damned if the engagement factor isn't up several magnitudes over what I'm used to with digital. My Gumby isn't going anywhere, it's imperative I keep a good digital front-end to enjoy albums I don't own yet or ones that never made it to vinyl. I have a new-found appreciation for how many facets of analog reproduction the Gumby manages to convincingly mimic, and it makes sense why so many vinyl nutjobs on here keep it around as their DAC of choice.
5. The maintenance factor and surface noise is overblown
The work associated with maintaining a collection and playing back vinyl isn't that bad. I'm a lazy fuck and I can keep up with using a brush, cleaning the stylus after every side and putting records away properly after playing them. I've only been listening through headphones thus far and surface noise has been unobtrusive in all but one of my records, and that one was simply a horrid pressing. Caveat: I've only been buying new or at least VG+ records, so no deep record cleaning required on my part.
Maybe this post will help someone who is on the fence about getting into vinyl get their feet wet. I'm very glad I did, if the physical aspect of collecting records appeals to you and the music you like is reasonably obtainable, go for it! I'm not responsible for vinyl addiction, loss of home or relationship due to spending $1200 on a record clamp or loss of sanity when your $2400 record cleaning machine gets the label on your UK original Pink Floyd wet.
Nice write-up K4! Very thoughtful.
The only thing I would add is to not underestimate the value of giving new vinyl a cleaning.
Thanks for taking the time to share this.
Nice @k4rstar !! Looks like you're getting a lot of enjoyment from that rig.
One thing I'd like to note, however. "No deep cleaning required" - I believe you're wrong there. Clean all records, even brand new right out of the shrink wrap. They're *not* clean most of the time, and that includes MFSL which often look like they've made an attempt to clean them, but often left streaks and residue containing who knows what. Further, IMO, cleaning (proper cleaning) isn't really about removing ticks and pops either. There are other ways to do that. Cleaning is about enabling that stylus to extract everything it can out of the grooves up to its potential. So if you really want to hear your records sing, you will give them a deep cleaning. And I also believe that a single deep cleaning is usually sufficient, unless you somehow re-introduce contaminants. Dust particles can always be brushed off....
Right, I totally get that even new records will sound better once cleaned and it's not just about removing noise, but I worded it poorly. I don't think it's necessary to start, as looking at the cost and hassle of even cheaper cleaning solutions can be intimidating when added onto the cost of a table setup, but I definitely recognize the importance once you're underway.
Hmm. I tried to Milty a few coworkers, and they and the static still didn't go away. I have to find another way to get rid of them.
I have friends that don't believe the Zerostat does anything until I zap their arm.
I want to believe there is some reasonable cheap alternative to the Zerostat but googling around shows people using lighter parts and they aren't up to spec. Just paying the audiophile toll I guess. I have some luck with dabbing the edge and the runout groove with a damp microfiber cloth but it is by no means flawless.
I remember reading someplace that the zerostat was a LOT cheaper a while ago, and then the price shot up when demand increased because vinyl users bought tons of them. Not sure how true this is, but feels pretty shitty cause I cant buy one at the current price :/
I don't really remember them being cheap, and this is going back decades. When Discwasher imported them in the 80s, they were already in the mid $30s, then when vinyl died down, they were sold in the original branding at the mid $60-$70s, and this was in the 1990s. If anything (in real purchasing power) they're lower today.
I know, doesn't help when you are trying to buy one today, but on the upside, they literally last forever. I have one going on 38 years, and i still zapped away static with it last night.
Finally after many months in the making have all my gear on one rack! Looking forward to tuning the system with folks like @shaizada, @bazelio, @Marvey, @RKML0007 and anyone else who wants to swing by and listen!
I like the big stick in the corner.
I would up my renter's insurance. Those look so purty.
Room treatment!! Haha it's just a stick my wife dragged out of central park one day cause she liked it LOL
Actually, how does the room sound, now?
Good question Willy! I'm still playing with speaker positioning a bit, at least as a first pass. It was a welcome change to bring the couch forward away from the back wall, and the heavy curtains in front of that large window behind the rack too. It'll be tricky to treat the room cause it's the living room and my wife might have an objection or two if I were to attempt something extreme haha! Anyway, I'm amazed at imaging on these 2-way speakers, the Duke 2s sound very musical to me. Have to play with tubes in the preamp and phono stage at some point too. You're welcome to come help me out any time
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