Home Turntable Phono CD Pre Speaker Multi Pre HT

Whilst I tend to listen to shiny silver disks every day more often than not I also tend to play records. A few tracks off one or two records that I haven't heard for a while but sometimes this gets way out of hand and before I know it there are LP's laying around everywhere. Some I've already played, some are to be played, some are there just to look at. The sleeves are out, fold out albums are open, I'm looking at the artwork, I'm reading the liner notes. I'm getting another full bottle to replace the empty one. And several hours disappear rather quickly. Oh the joy of vinyl.

And at this point a reality check because records do have some problems. The least of which are the occasional click and pop and a bit of background surface noise. And lets face it, shiney silver disks are far more convenient and can be made to sound very nice indeed. Obviously more so with SACD than CD of course assuming a pure DSD recording and a proper SACD player (one that doesn't convert to PCM) is used because this is as close to analog that digital can get. But digital formats are only trying to copy what vinyl already does and does better and digital conversions can only degrade the music, not improve it.

The other thing that vinyl has going for it is that most of the vinyl we love was produced when engineers knew what they were doing and stupidity like compression wasn't being used like it is today on digital formats. Luckily it seems that a lot of current vinyl pressings are also being spared from having to participate in the "loudness wars" with it's compression and clipped dynamics. The same however can be said for SACD where the CD layer on a hybrid disk, or even the standalone CD can be very inferior to the SACD version.

My turntable isn't anything special. In fact it's a more often than not maligned Linn Sondek LP12. Despite it's antiquated appearance it has been brought up to much more recent spec by having more time and money spent on it than I'm willing to own up to. As I didn't have a digital camera at the time, no photos but there's a lot of information on the internet on modding/updating LP12's.

It's fitted with a DynaVector DV-505 arm, something that a lot of people will tell you shouldn't be done. Admittedly the arm is perhaps a tad too heavy weighing in at 1250g and getting the springing for the Linn right takes a lot of time and effort, but it can be made to work. Maybe not as well as some other combinations but that's more than made up for in what the DV-505 does better than just about any other arm, which is just about everything.

I'm using a Grado Prestige Gold moving iron cartridge which I should have changed to long before I did and not wasted all that time messing about with a succession of moving coils. With it's wide frequency response and good channel separation it's perfect for the types of music I listen to. Rock, pop, stuff with a bit of clout and this cartridge delivers the goods although it perhaps lacks a bit of finese and resolution.

And whoa there some may say, you're using a medium compliance cartridge in a DynaVector DV-505, aren't they high mass and designed for low compliance cartridges? Well it's a bit of a myth that the Dynavectors are high mass arms, because they're not really, well they are and they aren't, no I'm not confused, it's true because they're two arms in one with very different effective mass for horizontal and vertical movement. Different by a factor of two in fact with high mass in the horizontal which is good, good for bass and low mass in the vertical which is good for tracking.

Dynavector quote a composite effective mass of 16.5gm but that's with a headshell weighing in at 15gm!!! and the best place to increase effective mass is at the headshell. They also supply three counter weights of different mass for the short stub arm. All this mass on the stub arm is so they can be used with low compliance Dynavector moving coil cartridges. But fit a low weight headshell and the lighter sub arm counter weight and the 505 and even the 507 will work just fine with medium to even high compliance cartridges.

The DynaVector DV-505 manual can be found here in PDF format or here in HTML. The phono pre itself is a basic two JFET design and it's described in full in the System section under "Phono".