Turntable speed control

May 30, 2010
15,504
713
113
Portugal
#21
No...mainly because of the focusing and reading on the wall part. Wasn’t too keen on the idea. Of course I have no direct experience with it. The laser tach is a professional scientific device calibrated to an industry standard for all things spinning. I trust it for accuracy over a audiophile device.
All the pointed devices are accurate enough - we just get convenience from the more tricky ones. Considering that the best reel machines have an accuracy of +/- .1% a classical strobe with a quartz oscillator driven LED lamp is good enough for the purpose. But surely not as enjoyable ...
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,629
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North Shore of Boston
#22
Where is PeterA ? didn't he have an involved thread discussing this matter a few years back ?
HA!, Just saw this thread. I have the KAB strobe and I did start two threads on the subject a while ago. I now use the Sutherland TimeLine. It is expensive and accurate. Both devices can be used while the needle is in the groove. I like the Timeline because it is easy and does show drift. Few people took up my challenge to post videos of their turntables with the TimeLine, despite their promises to do so. I used to take my TimeLine to friends' houses and discovered some interesting results. I don't take it around any more. It can be brutal and very humbling if one has an expensive turntable.

The important thing seems to be how adjustable is the turntable's motor controller? Some have argued that speed consistency is more important than absolute accuracy. The speed should not vary, but despite the "myth" of stylus drag, I have seen stylus drag in action, which is why I check my speed with the needle in the LP groove.

I suspect Christian's new AS2000 is extremely speed accurate and stable which is one of the main reasons the reports of its sound are universally positive.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,629
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North Shore of Boston
#23
There was also a big thread on Audiogon asking each turntable owner to take the Sutherland Timeline "challenge" with their table.
I believe that is the thread I started.

Here is a link to the thread on WBF: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?13137-Turntable-Speed-What-matters

One can look at the OP and see links to four videos showing results of the TimeLine. The Victor T101 is particularly accurate. It's a shame that not more people took up the challenge for inclusion in a database.
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,345
453
83
Hong Kong
#24

Lagonda

VIP/Donor
Feb 4, 2014
550
275
63
Denmark
#25
I second the Roadrunner for speed reading, and use the power supply without auto adjust, as the micro-adjustments are manifested as a smearing in the high frequency’s. Stylus drag is measurable, if your readings are accurate. On my Maplenoll table with a 120 lb steel/lead platter and air bearing, the stylus drag slows down the the speed with 0,005 rpm. Not saying I can hear the
drag, but it is measurable !
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,667
1,065
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#26
Peter, so the Timeline is just like a KAB –- you place a mat on the platter and aim a light on it –- but the Timeline is more accurate?
 
Feb 26, 2012
181
26
18
At The Dark Side
#27
Well, music is enjoyed from everyone in a different manner. When you hear something you like, it can be played via car stereo or MP3... it doesn't matter. Same with audiophile units...you find for everything raves and enthusiastic recommendations.
Next step is, when you think about technology and compare...it is normal that there are differences...brain is different too. Some have better solutions than others. Does it mean that they are automatically more successful? No. Not in the audiophile world. The reason is very simple, knowledge is replaced from marketing. It is much more easy (and cheap) to write a few lines than to develop something serious.
I wrote about the Sutherland Timeline 2012, when nobody did even know to spell it correctly and wrote about the differences in speed. Most Turntables are simply mediocre, even the most expensive ones.
Can you hear the difference? Yes, of course. But it depends on your knowledge, understanding and quality of System. A female singer with a guitar in the background sounds ok with 35.9 rpm too:)
Now, some may think, going back to old DD is the solution...well, they have a proper motor management but they are not able from construction to be named as "High End". Let's say, they work, they accelerate and that's it. You can compensate their problems with colored cartridges but at end of the day they are the way they are...rattling accelerators made for broadcast (with limited signal dynamics).
Their electronic corrects the speed permanently, "...accelerate--reduce---hold---accelerate--reduce---accelerate---and so on and on" based on that, listening Piano with it is a pain for me. There was a demonstration about that in the Munich High End Show 2013. All visitors rated the DD negative compared to a regular running belt Turntable...but that is only one technical point, there are much more necessary a good reproduction (let's say for High End reproduction Standard).

The Timeline should be used normally from Dealers to select a product before they buy it to sell it to their customers. Same for Manufacturers btw.
But it is ignored from all. All want to sell the stuff they produce and when no one asks for "quality"...well...then we get what we deserve.
It is much easier to shoot the messenger (I know that very well from the guys who think that black color with a few motors has something in common with quality)
Ah, btw, yes, I solved "that" Problem long time ago :)

There is a video about it (one shown in the darkness to see the light a bit better and another one)



that one was my first video ever, the noise you can hear is my breathing because I was too close at the microphone, but anyway....
it is a real difference among such "tools" while playing, with different VTF (the higher, the worse for the manufacturers, that one in the video has 2.5 gr btw.) and of course, there is also a huge difference in the groove modulation in some very demanding classic recordings...

 
Last edited:

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,062
1,068
113
E. England
#28
Syntax, my direct rim drive tt has had a very interesting design evolution leading to the finished product in 2011 (production ceased after 50 units sold).
Vic began to experiment with idler drives after becoming dissatisfied with belt drive sound. He took start various idlers incl Garrard 301s and 401s, Lenco L75s, and direct drive 1300s and SP10s.
He finally managed to replace the second idler wheel to help minimise torque losses, and critically chose not to go with any form of feedback loop to correct speed. This means that his initial idea of measuring speed variation changes as voltage aberrations in use and comparing against a fixed voltage representing 33.33rpm or 45rpm (as opposed to the usual quartz crystal/optical encoder disc system) was aborted, and Vic stuck with a much simpler non feedback system, ie high torque analog set, v accurate speed at any one instant, but with potential drift over time.
This suggests to me once I set speed accurately, stylus drag should be much less of an issue, but I’ll need to check accuracy more regularly, perhaps every few days.
And hence I’m looking for the most accurate and practical application out there.
 

Stacore

Industry Expert
Feb 23, 2017
533
104
43
Gdańsk, Poland
stacore.pl
#29
Hey Syntax,

Merry Christmas to you! Nice writing. Sorry for diverging from the subject, but how do you find the Amari TT vs RX5000? Has the former replaced the latter in your system?

Cheers,
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,062
1,068
113
E. England
#30
I’m really liking the look of the Phoenix Engineering Roadrunner tachometer.
Unfortunately it looks like I’m at least 12-24 months too late, the company is no more, and no stocks of this device exist anywhere.
 
May 30, 2010
15,504
713
113
Portugal
#31
Well, music is enjoyed from everyone in a different manner. When you hear something you like, it can be played via car stereo or MP3... it doesn't matter. Same with audiophile units...you find for everything raves and enthusiastic recommendations.
Next step is, when you think about technology and compare...it is normal that there are differences...brain is different too. Some have better solutions than others. Does it mean that they are automatically more successful? No. Not in the audiophile world. The reason is very simple, knowledge is replaced from marketing. It is much more easy (and cheap) to write a few lines than to develop something serious.
I wrote about the Sutherland Timeline 2012, when nobody did even know to spell it correctly and wrote about the differences in speed. Most Turntables are simply mediocre, even the most expensive ones.
Can you hear the difference? Yes, of course. But it depends on your knowledge, understanding and quality of System. A female singer with a guitar in the background sounds ok with 35.9 rpm too:)
Now, some may think, going back to old DD is the solution...well, they have a proper motor management but they are not able from construction to be named as "High End". Let's say, they work, they accelerate and that's it. You can compensate their problems with colored cartridges but at end of the day they are the way they are...rattling accelerators made for broadcast (with limited signal dynamics).
Their electronic corrects the speed permanently, "...accelerate--reduce---hold---accelerate--reduce---accelerate---and so on and on" based on that, listening Piano with it is a pain for me. There was a demonstration about that in the Munich High End Show 2013. All visitors rated the DD negative compared to a regular running belt Turntable...but that is only one technical point, there are much more necessary a good reproduction (let's say for High End reproduction Standard).

The Timeline should be used normally from Dealers to select a product before they buy it to sell it to their customers. Same for Manufacturers btw.
But it is ignored from all. All want to sell the stuff they produce and when no one asks for "quality"...well...then we get what we deserve.
It is much easier to shoot the messenger (I know that very well from the guys who think that black color with a few motors has something in common with quality)
Ah, btw, yes, I solved "that" Problem long time ago :)

There is a video about it (one shown in the darkness to see the light a bit better and another one)
(...)
that one was my first video ever, the noise you can hear is my breathing because I was too close at the microphone, but anyway....
it is a real difference among such "tools" while playing, with different VTF (the higher, the worse for the manufacturers, that one in the video has 2.5 gr btw.) and of course, there is also a huge difference in the groove modulation in some very demanding classic recordings...

(...)
You are addressing accuracy and precision, two very different concepts. The Sutherland Timeline gives you a view of both, surely much better than any simple strobe devices. But as it ignores the spectra of the speed variations, its use can be misleading. Although I agree on some of your points, I would never select a turntable just on its results. But surely YMMV. I have seen people using similar techniques in labs with lasers and optical mirrors to study minimal measurements - but the movements of the beam on the target are recorded and carefully analyzed.

The situation is in some sense similar to what happened with tape machines - only after Dale Manqen published his studies on scrape flutter and released the Altair system we got a firm explanation and measurements showing why some tape machines sounded fundamentally better than others. Wow and flutter were not enough.

BTW, just to make it clear, I consider that an accuracy between 33.30 and 33.36 rpm is good enough for me, and rely mostly on a PC audio spectra analyzer to check my equipment, including turntables / tape machines.
 
#32

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,629
495
83
North Shore of Boston
#33
Peter, so the Timeline is just like a KAB –- you place a mat on the platter and aim a light on it –- but the Timeline is more accurate?
No Ron. They are very different. Watch one of the videos and do a google search. The Timeline is a timed laser device. The KAB is a strobe disk. I find the Timeline more accurate, but perhaps those who know more will chime in on this thread.
 
May 30, 2010
15,504
713
113
Portugal
#34
No Ron. They are very different. Watch one of the videos and do a google search. The Timeline is a timed laser device. The KAB is a strobe disk. I find the Timeline more accurate, but perhaps those who know more will chime in on this thread.
Although the Timeline claims to be more accurate (and probably is, although we are not shown measurements to prove it), it is meaningless IMHO. They claim to be as accurate as a clock that looses or advances 1 second in one week. Will any one notice if Beethoven 9th lasts for an extra 5 mS?

The KAB site even includes formulas to compute the exact speed from the number of ticks drift per minute - in this sense it can be more complete than the Timeline. https://www.kabusa.com/strobe.htm

Sorry to say - none of these expensive gadgets adds more to sound reproduction quality that a basic strobe using a quartz driven light. But if Santa had dropped the Timeline in my system I would surely keep it!

In some sense we are reproducing the Casio versus Rolex argument - for the basic function of keeping on time daily they are equivalent ...
 
#35
Although the Timeline claims to be more accurate (and probably is, although we are not shown measurements to prove it), it is meaningless IMHO. They claim to be as accurate as a clock that looses or advances 1 second in one week. Will any one notice if Beethoven 9th lasts for an extra 5 mS?

The KAB site even includes formulas to compute the exact speed from the number of ticks drift per minute - in this sense it can be more complete than the Timeline. https://www.kabusa.com/strobe.htm

Sorry to say - none of these expensive gadgets adds more to sound reproduction quality that a basic strobe using a quartz driven light. But if Santa had dropped the Timeline in my system I would surely keep it!

In some sense we are reproducing the Casio versus Rolex argument - for the basic function of keeping on time daily they are equivalent ...
I guess I don't understand this position. If accuracy isn't important, then why even bother measuring speed in the first place? If you are going to measure it, then why not do it as accurately as possible, or at least use a means of measuring it that is as accurate as possible and only pay attention to the level of resolution that you find relevant?

I think accurate speed is important, especially since it can change the pitch of the music and the overall presentation. Whenever I'm confronted with this argument, I always ask the person: "When you are adjusting the speed of the platter, do you stop adjusting when the strobe dots just start to slow down and get close to stationary? Or are you like most people who will adjust until the spots appear to stop drifting, going back and forth until you are sure it has settled to the minimum error? If so, why?"

In response to your last statement, I've been told something similar: "I don't need an atomic clock to tell me when it's time to eat!". Perhaps, but if there was no reference for accurate time, your analog watch could easily drift many minutes and if you were asked to meet someone for lunch at 12:30, you might just miss them completely.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,062
1,068
113
E. England
#36
Is that last response from Phoenix Engineering, of Roadrunner provenance?
If it is, please tell me where I can buy one? I cannot find a single one online.
Feel free to PM me, thanks.
 
May 30, 2010
15,504
713
113
Portugal
#37
I guess I don't understand this position. If accuracy isn't important, then why even bother measuring speed in the first place? If you are going to measure it, then why not do it as accurately as possible, or at least use a means of measuring it that is as accurate as possible and only pay attention to the level of resolution that you find relevant?

I think accurate speed is important, especially since it can change the pitch of the music and the overall presentation. Whenever I'm confronted with this argument, I always ask the person: "When you are adjusting the speed of the platter, do you stop adjusting when the strobe dots just start to slow down and get close to stationary? Or are you like most people who will adjust until the spots appear to stop drifting, going back and forth until you are sure it has settled to the minimum error? If so, why?"

In response to your last statement, I've been told something similar: "I don't need an atomic clock to tell me when it's time to eat!". Perhaps, but if there was no reference for accurate time, your analog watch could easily drift many minutes and if you were asked to meet someone for lunch at 12:30, you might just miss them completely.
I think you are missing the main point - everyone likes and wants accuracy. But what we are debating is sound quality and musical enjoyment and accuracy must be quantified - what is being debated is just how accurate we must be. Precision in measurements has a cost, if all these gadgets had the same cost we would not be debating them.

Your analogy does not apply - every time you start an LP, playback time starts. Sound quality does not depend on exact time.

And fortunately people could have meals on time long before atomic clocks! :D

BTW, thanks for the DIY link - I use a similar device from Maplin since long ago.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
9,062
1,068
113
E. England
#39
Hi Phoenix, too bad about RoadRunner non availability.
My final choice coming down to
KAB SpeedStrobe, or
Sutherland Engineering TimeLine, or
Monarch PTP-200.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,635
240
63
Boston, MA
#40
Although the Timeline claims to be more accurate (and probably is, although we are not shown measurements to prove it), it is meaningless IMHO. They claim to be as accurate as a clock that looses or advances 1 second in one week. Will any one notice if Beethoven 9th lasts for an extra 5 mS?
The problem with the Timeline is that it MUST be used as the center-weight once speed it measured with it, otherwise, if you remove it then you have shifted the overall mass, therefore, the entire measurement is thrown out. Some think they are replacing it with another center-weight of roughly-equal mass, but if accuracy is the goal, then the Timeline itself must be used all the time, and "roughly-equal" won't do... that's OK, but I think it's ugly, FWIW.

Sorry to say - none of these expensive gadgets adds more to sound reproduction quality that a basic strobe using a quartz driven light.
Quartz is fine, IFF you can assert that steady, constant DC voltage is applied into it.
 

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