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Thread: Turntable Setup - Better done by a "Gifted Pro" or can regular folks learn to do it well?

  1. #1

    Turntable Setup - Better done by a "Gifted Pro" or can regular folks learn to do it well?

    Fremer does a lot of turntable seminars at shows. Can normal folks actually learn to do it from a single seminar?

    Is it a matter of repetition and feedback, kind of like surgeons get good at their craft? How many times does one need to do it to master it?

    Or do people who are really good at it have a "gift" of great aural sense to do it well, in addition to having mastered the mechanics?

    Are most people better off finding someone who has done it a lot and has a "golden ear"?

  2. #2
    VIP/Donor [WBF Founding Member] ack's Avatar
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    You can certainly learn, and it's not very difficult... however, installing the arm can be a daunting task, especially if you need a special armboard, as is setting up VTA/SRA, and to a lesser degree, aligning the cartridge. For a beginner, have the dealer you buy from do it, then tweak yourself.
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    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! Believe High Fidelity's Avatar
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    "Well" is the keyword in your question. Most tables are not that complicated that if you can follow direction and take your time (and I really mean take your time) then you can of course do it yourself. But to do it as well as a gifted pro is difficult. To start to go down the road of optimization with advanced tools and testing is something you have to have the ....ahem...patience for as it is to a large degree very tedious and artistic.

    Recommendation: Buy a very inexpensive used or goodwill table and use that for practice. Take it apart and set it up over and over again until you feel comfortable and then take the optimization in pieces. Then when you are ready buy a Torqueo table from me

    Good luck
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    Moderator Moderator treitz3's Avatar
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    ^^^ Agreed sir. ^^^

    You can take a nominal (on this site and others) LP setup, set it to manufacturers specifications and still get to 90-95% (estimated IMO) of what digital can offer on an extreme digital setup.

    It's not that hard and perhaps that's why we are seeing a resurgence of vinyl.

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to a good analogue reproduction.

    I post my own opinions except when posting as a moderator in green.

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    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! jazdoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz3 View Post
    ^^^ Agreed sir. ^^^

    You can take a nominal (on this site and others) LP setup, set it to manufacturers specifications and still get to 90-95% (estimated IMO) of what digital can offer on an extreme digital setup.

    It's not that hard and perhaps that's why we are seeing a resurgence of vinyl.

    Tom
    The flip side to this is that many vinyl newbies get discouraged with vinyl and wonder what all the hype is about.

    A vinyl system, especially a high end rig, is by nature an interactive experience. You will never know how good your system can sound unless you commit to learning how to optimize the set up. I am near sighted with deforming arthritis in my hands and an unfortunate genetic predisposition to in-coordination. If I can learn how to do a reasonable set up, anyone can.

    A friend once made the brilliant analogy that vinyl is a lot like motorcycles. After reading "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", I would strongly endorse that position.

    Trying is the first step to failure. -- H. Simpson

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    Addicted to Best! jadis's Avatar
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    In my experience, the essential things in a good analog set up are patience, tools, and confidence. Many people, including me, are weary of a totally new installation from scratch, as in straight out a a box assembly. I was weary before, as I didn't have much tools, and in some instance, a tonearm or turntable 'jig'. I probably didn't have the patience then too, and a slight lack of confidence, as in breaking a cartridge in the process. I've lived with an ET2 tonearm for 20 years and after the dealer set it up for me on my VPI table, all I have to do is recheck the VTF, azimuth and overhang when I had to change the cartridge. It was fairly easy. And I have some small tools for some of the tasks. I believe we all can learn to do it when we have those 3 things.
    Phil

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    Site Founder And Administrator Steve Williams's Avatar
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    I'm a newbie in vinyl yet feel quite confidant that I can take down and set up my turntable. Its the arm and cartridge set up IMO wherein lies the art of set up
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    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] Mike Lavigne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazdoc View Post
    The flip side to this is that many vinyl newbies get discouraged with vinyl and wonder what all the hype is about.

    A vinyl system, especially a high end rig, is by nature an interactive experience. You will never know how good your system can sound unless you commit to learning how to optimize the set up. I am near sighted with deforming arthritis in my hands and an unfortunate genetic predisposition to in-coordination. If I can learn how to do a reasonable set up, anyone can.
    don't believe a word, he is doing his typical 'Clark Kent' deal.......

    I've been around a few very, very fine tone arm <-> cartridge set-up people, I've seen no one do it better than jazdoc.

    not only that, I've seen no one more patient and relentless about it. whenever I really want my set-up 'uber' perfect, it's Superman.....er I mean jazdoc to the rescue.
    Wave Kin. NVS tt, AS-2000 ord. (2) Durand Telos (1-Sapphire) arms, CA Gold Stat, Ort Anna carts, -2- Studer A-820 RTR (1/4" + 1/2").*MSB Select II dac w/33 Femto clock + mono powerbases, SGM serv + (2x) 30 tb NAS. *darT NHB-18NS w/2 phonos, King-Cello. *dart 458 mono blocks. EA MM7. *Equi=tech 10WQ, (10) Abso Fid PC & (2) Evo Acou PC. *Evo Acou 12' TRSC and 8m + 1.25m 'zeel' ic's, *Tripoint Troy Sig + Elite, Entreq Sil Tel + Pos, *Herzan TS-140 & TS-150, Wave Kin. A10 U8's + 2NS, Adona GTX.

  9. #9
    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] Mike Lavigne's Avatar
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    back on topic.....

    I think cartridge set-up is a total mind set thing.

    assuming reasonably steady hands and decent eyesight, it's simply a matter of doing it a few times. and the biggest issue is fear to do it. once you've done it twice; it becomes just something to do.

    it helps to have the right tools, good lighting, and the tt at a good working height and being able to get your body in position to sight things properly. the hardest thing is setting up a second or third arm where the angles for sighting require you to twist around and lean in a way that our bodies no longer do very well. but do that a few times and that becomes a normal thing too. at times I avoid dealing with my second arm since I've not messed with it in awhile. then I do it once and I get comfortable again with it and it's easy peasy.

    repetition reduces this process to routine.

    the best set-ups are when your system tells you the most. and it helps to have a go-to pressing and cut that you can rely on. this is where the challenge is. relating sonic adjustments to changes in set-up. again; you get better with practice.
    Wave Kin. NVS tt, AS-2000 ord. (2) Durand Telos (1-Sapphire) arms, CA Gold Stat, Ort Anna carts, -2- Studer A-820 RTR (1/4" + 1/2").*MSB Select II dac w/33 Femto clock + mono powerbases, SGM serv + (2x) 30 tb NAS. *darT NHB-18NS w/2 phonos, King-Cello. *dart 458 mono blocks. EA MM7. *Equi=tech 10WQ, (10) Abso Fid PC & (2) Evo Acou PC. *Evo Acou 12' TRSC and 8m + 1.25m 'zeel' ic's, *Tripoint Troy Sig + Elite, Entreq Sil Tel + Pos, *Herzan TS-140 & TS-150, Wave Kin. A10 U8's + 2NS, Adona GTX.

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    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
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    I also understand that as a cartridge wears off, one has to readjust VTA etc to compensate, so if a pro sets it up it will work only for a few days.
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