Which Needle Drop Do You Prefer? [Poll]

Discussion in 'Music and Recordings (vinyl , 8-track, etc.)' started by bazelio, Feb 11, 2017.

?

Which needle drop do you prefer?

  1. The first one.

  2. The second one.

  3. They sound identical.

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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  2. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    Sorry I actually didn't get a chance to hear it yet on my system, but I will. Till then I am not going to open the spoiler, so I won't know what is what, I hope.
     
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  3. Valolilol

    Valolilol Acquaintance

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    I had not read the spoiler yet and listened without the best rig I have (just a FiiO DAC/AMP and a pair of Final Audio intra). I will try with my home setup after this but so far here is where I am :
    • The first one sounds shriller and I am sensitive to it so it is usually a no-go. However I feel that it brings support for some details.
    • The second one showed for me a lighter attack and resulted in a more comfortable listening although I think I lost some plankton in the process. Not completely sure though... I went for the second one it reminded me a bit of the HD650 at some point, funny.
    And now let's go to the spoiler ! :D
     
  4. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

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    Ok, I read the spoiler first, so take it what I'm about to say as junk. I do forget which one is which though. I finally got time to listen to these two.

    I thought the second one sounded dull and mushy, the brass and drums lacked the attack those instruments demand. A bit of a rounded sound. The first one sounded correct, though maybe not as full bodied as I'd prefer. I wonder how much this test depends on the DAC. Neither sounded shrill.
     
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  5. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    I wouldn't go as far as to say shrill either. But if there's a headphone analogy to be made, I'd say it's that the first one is to the HD800 as the second one is to the Code-X.
     
  6. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

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    For me, my headphone analogy for the two would be: UERM out of iPhone / unmodded 650 for the first one, HE-1K for the second. It feels too soft to be a Code-X. I think DACs are playing a big part in this. I'm very particular though, if a trumpet doesn't pierce my soul or a drum hit awaken me, I don't connect to the music. More wishy-washy words explaining why I don't like the HE-1k as well.
     
  7. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    I looked at the spoiler first (and immediately regretted it), but I do think I prefer the first one. I find most vinyl to sound too soft - the stereotypical "warm analog" sound so I welcome the more aggressive nature of the first one. I think the UERM/HE1000 analogy works for me here. With my current speakers with the FE83En widebanders it was even clearer to me than with the HD800. I really don't want my vinyl to sound warm and smooth. Real life sounds aren't artificially pleasant either.

    But to be honest I found both to sound pretty bad overall, compared to how vinyl sounds like, especially considering that this was what seems to be a very good setup. I'm finally getting my Gungnir upgraded to multibit, so I have to use the GO450 in the meantime, which does probably play a big role here, but I'm sure the real thing sounds much much better.
     
  8. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Yeah, don't look at the spoiler first. ;-)

    Some folks may prefer the final sound of the first one. I'm a bit surprised by that, but preferences are what they are. To me the treble gets grainy at times and those cymbals are just much further off. I guess I didn't pay enough attention to the horns from one to the other, and now I'm curious to go back and listen again. The Code-X does everything well but lacks that last bit of dynacism which is how I hear the second one here. DACs are likely playing a role here, as Doc Findley says.

    But here's a discussion point, whether you prefer the first or the second: We've been talking about the final sound. However, a discussion about which tonearm is better is a different question than which final sound you prefer. So if we talk about that, then I feel counter balancing distortion in the tonearm is less the right starting point vs utilizing the neutral tonearm and building a system around that which adds coloration to taste. Would you guys agree?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Even for those of us who think the second clip sounds better, there's no guarantee that the factor that changed in this test would therefore sound as good in our home rigs, which have entirely different equipment and synergies.
     
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  10. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    No, but if you already know you want to take your system in a particular direction, this would give you an idea where a change from first to second could take you. And, again if you were starting from scratch building a system around a source - doesn't it just seem more intuitive to chose the more "linear" source and if attack is what you want to enhance, then do so downstream?

    PS - I have a gut feel that I can get closer to a high end reference sound (such as Dr Findley's room) starting with the linear source than I could otherwise.
     
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  11. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    If I were building the system from scratch, yes. But many of us already have sunk costs. Not bad advice for anyone who hasn't started down this rabbit hole yet though.
     
  12. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Think of them not as sunk costs, but as assets of value on your balance sheet. :)
     
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  13. Valolilol

    Valolilol Acquaintance

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    @bazelio I agree on the approach, it looks ledgit to me looking for a linear (low distortion) system/rig and adding the color with a dedicated block. I had few disappointments with very low distortion stages (maybe a lack of personality sometimes, but the personality is the part you are tuning according to your taste, so, it was not even a ledgit drawback). I also feel that it is a very instructive way to learn.
    However, this approach fails with block/module's synergy. Two distorted blocks may result in a comfortable sounds, at least something that suits your need.
     
  14. Chris F

    Chris F Boyz 4 Now Fanatic - Friend

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    Additional comments now that the secret is out. Please vote before clicking on the spoilers, it's a good listening exercise. :)

    I totally agree with the synergy comments. The cartridge used for the test was a Lyra Atlas which is one of the fastest and most dynamic cartridges available. It's also medium weight at 11grams. For laid back or heavy cartridges (ex: Koetsu stone body) I suspect the higher mass more "exciting" metal arm would be the better choice.
     
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  15. JK47

    JK47 The Beer Houdini

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    I took a listen with my MacBook Air --> Centrance DACport HD feeding Andromeda's.

    Against popular opinion, I preferred the first sound byte. The way the horns had bite and seemed to have a deeper richer sound was more fulfilling. The cymbals were at the cusp of being too splashy, but not quite.

    The second sounded more neutral and composed, but the horns sounded like they were struggling to break through, almost like they were in another room from the rest of the instruments.

    FWIW I do prefer a slightly "U" shaped sound, and I only took a listen with the gear listed above.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  16. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    I just did a quick listening test.

    Though I felt the sound quality is lacking in BOTH clips, the first one sounded better to me in my system. It had a little bit better textural information, the presentation of the upper midrange and cymbal decays were definitely better. The tonal palette is more filled out to my taste.

    The second clip has less "colors" and I definitely didn't care for the top end air in this clip. Also, the decays seem to die off way quicker. More dampening or "Greyness" in the sound.

    Now I'll have a look at what is going on in the spoiler. Before that, let me vote. Thanks!

    EDIT: Wow my listening preferences matched to what I've been saying all along! ;) SURPRISE! HEHE.
    I have a strong preference for a non 3D printed arm clearly! Glad to know that I'm not all that nuts! haha
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  17. shaizada

    shaizada Friend

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    @bazelio , what is this piece of music? I wonder if I have the vinyl. Let me know the pressing details etc. I'll see if I can make my own clip and wonder what that sounds like through my digital stuff.
     
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  18. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    I went ahead and picked up a sealed copy of the LP. It's not here yet, but MF says it's stunning.

    It is Moussorgsky Pictures At An Exhibition (Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel) Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Fritz Reiner, Conductor Side 2. Mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound from the original 3 track tape and pressed at QRP.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  19. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Just gave the vinyl a listen today. Two words "holy" and "shit". Highly recommended record. Just so dynamic, alive, and full. The needle drops through Yggdrasil just sound goofy, flabby, and disappointing now.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    That is a lovely turntable you have there, Baz!
     
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