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Topic:
DIYPro: How to Ruin Vinyl.
This thread has 40 replies. Displaying posts 31 through 41.
Post 31 made on Friday December 21, 2018 at 01:59
Ernie Gilman
Yes, That Ernie!
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I have two opinions right now. One is that the article should be allowed to die. The other is that everyone should know what we're talking about.

Fortunately, that second opinion was just validated by the fact that I've had a Chrome tab open for several days, and I can copy and paste.


Thus, here's the article. Font and emphasis changes have been removed due to my copying it to Word, then to this editor. But the words are all there, intact.



Hands-On: Pro-Ject Essential III RecordMaster Turntable and DAC Perfect for Millennial Vinyl Fans

The $449 Pro-Ject Essential III RecordMaster is the perfect turntable for the vinyl-curious, providing good quality sound and an easy installation process.
Hands-On: Pro-Ject Essential III RecordMaster Turntable and DAC Perfect for Millennial Vinyl Fans

The $449 Pro-Ject Essential III RecordMaster turntable and $399.00 Pre Box S2 Digital DAC make for the perfect budget-conscious vinyl setup for those looking to explore the medium without breaking the bank.



Andrew Nichols · December 17, 2018

Custom installers and audio geeks alike understand the value of vinyl, but for many others, the idea of a turntable and vinyl might seem a bit archaic and daunting. If those descriptors apply to you or your customers, Pro-Ject has done an excellent job creating turntables for the average consumer with above-average specs and quality.

Prior to receiving the Pro-Ject Essential III RecordMaster, I was curious about (but admittedly naive towards) vinyl, since my Dad listened to music via a turntable when I was a kid but I was never allowed to touch the fancy-looking contraption.
I had no idea where to start, but thankfully Pro-Ject’s turntables and Pre Box S2 Digital DAC are very user-friendly, only needing a few quick connections and a software download in order to be played via my custom-built PC with JBL 305P studio monitors.

Installation and setup could not have been easier. As a PC user, the process was fairly cut-and-dry: I plugged in the turntable's power cable, routed a USB to RCA cable from the turntable into the DAC, connected the DAC via USB to my computer, and I was all set.

At least on Windows 10, my computer was able to auto-detect and install the necessary drivers for both the turntable and DAC.

RecordMaster Helps Bring Vinyl into the 21st Century

The turntable itself feels like a premium product; It’s heavy, well-detailed, and operates with virtually no platter noise or distortion.

The turntable’s Ortofon OM10 pickup combined with a RecordDoctor clamp made it so I experienced no popping, scratching, or haziness, something I was accustomed to in the setups my friends and family own.

All of the signature feel and sound of vinyl is ever-present, with a few select records like Porcupine Tree’sFear of a Blank Planet and Opeth’s Damnation sounding particularly vivid and full of warmth.

It seems perfect for my fellow Millennials who are looking to break into the vinyl world with a quality turntable without spending a small fortune. The Millennial market is growing rapidly, and as integrators slowly field more requests for turntables in homes, Pro-Ject is a name to remember.

One of the coolest parts about the RecordMaster is the ability to digitalize records via USB, giving users the option to carry over timeless classics and new purchases to their PC or Mac for mobile listening (with a side benefit of not having to purchase the same album twice).

Read Next: RecordDoctor Clamp Is Simple, Effective Turntable Accessory
While the digitalization function was not a feature I found myself using often, I love the flexibility that it provides. I ended up digitalizing my friend’s old, beloved copy of Cream’s Live Cream album for him and my rare copy of The Mountain Goats Beautiful Rat Sunset. After a few tweaks with the software, I found the digitalizing process intuitive and stress-free.

After living with the system for a few months, I’ve noticed my whole family has come to listen to a lot more vinyl than I anticipated, to the point where my Mom went and dug out her old records from storage!

While I initially expected to use the system as little more than a cool novelty when entertaining friends, in reality, I’ve been using it heavily (especially on the weekends when I can really jam out by connecting it to the household Sonos system).

It also helps that the turntable features some seriously good looks. I got mine in a glossy, deep red finish which pops beautifully and contrasts the RecordMaster’s minimalist design.

Digital DAC is a Massive Upgrade to Sound Quality

The Pre Box S2 Digital also exceeded my expectations. Coming from a cheap Fiio E10K USB DAC, I could immediately see the difference in quality between the two, even when listening via streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.

It’s similar to going from cheap off-brand earbuds to a nice pair of open-back headphones; the soundstage is wider and I find myself able to pick out elements of tracks I never noticed before with the cheaper DAC. The DAC comes with 7 selectable digital filter characteristics for those who like to play around with their audio experience, but I found myself sticking to the default settings most of the time.

For the sake of comparison, I used the Fiio DAC alongside my turntable to see if I could tell the difference. I put on “Thick As A Brick” by Jethro Tull (vintage vinyl from 1972), plugged in the Fiio DAC, and was stunned by how flat the record sounded. After setting up the Pre Box again I felt spoiled. This is an area I suggest integrators stress the importance of not skimping on when discussing options with clients.

Related: CE Pro 100 Names Top Turntable Brands

That said, I have experienced a few small issues with the DAC, with most of them being software issues. Specifically, I had an issue with the drivers not updating properly when I initially plugged it into my PC, and as a result, my computer faded in and out of recognizing the DAC. As a temporary fix, I found by unplugging and plugging back in the USB power cable I was able to force my PC to detect the DAC and avoid some of the technical issues in the short term.
To Pro-Ject's credit, its customer support was able to determine the problem after a few back-and-forth emails, and ever since it’s been smooth sailing.

The other issue I had was on arrival. Once I unpacked and got the DAC running, when I attempted to unplug the 5V power cable the housing around the female-end came loose and fell to the floor. I've not been able to reattach it, resulting in me only being able to power the unit via USB (which is what I use with my computer).

While it's unlikely that integrators would use the DAC without a computer, being aware of the delicacy of this component is important. I'm guessing this was a shipping issue, as every other piece was in otherwise perfect condition.

Final Thoughts

Outside of those small complaints, I've been impressed with the quality of both products throughout my testing. While I was initially skeptical, especially of the benefits of a higher-quality DAC, I’m convinced that both products would make for an excellent addition to any music lovers' home.

It also seems perfect for my fellow Millennials who are looking to break into the vinyl world with a quality turntable without spending a small fortune. The Millennial market is growing rapidly, and as integrators slowly field more requests for turntables in homes, Pro-Ject is a name to remember.

Pricing Information:
•Essential III RecordMaster $449.00
•Pre Box S2 Digital DAC $399.00
A good answer is easier with a clear question giving the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
Post 32 made on Friday December 21, 2018 at 02:35
davidcasemore
Super Member
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Thanks for the cut & paste, Ernie! It gave me the chance to laugh all over again.

I think it's great, for convenience, for someone to be able to play their old LPs and capture them to a digital format for ease of playing and for mobility. I do take issue to reviews like this, and also people who make statements that they're "getting into vinyl" because it's "so much better". But then they purchase a crappy turntable with a crappy cartridge and plug it into a crappy AVR which is connected to even crappier speakers in a room with awful acoustics and then claim "... the signature feel and sound of vinyl is ever-present ... sounding particularly vivid and full of warmth."

Oh please. An MP3 file is probably adequate for most people's systems (ear buds, anyone? Air Buds?). If you want to "enjoy" vinyl you need to purchase an audiophile system and install it in a dedicated listening room. You need to purchase high quality vinyl pressings and be okay with having to clean your LPs and putting them on to have a listen. You should probably listen alone, have a pin spot above your head to be able to peruse the album art and linear notes (Herbie Flowers on Bass?!!), and have a glass of your favorite single malt and a big fat joint.

On the other hand, a few audiophiles go way overboard. "My speaker wires have insulation spun from spiders and they are 14 CM off the floor on crystal spikes which keep the inductance balanced with the square root of the qi. The resulting sound has distinct oak overtones".
Fins: Still Slamming' His Trunk on pilgrim's Small Weenie - One Trunk at a Time!
Post 33 made on Friday December 21, 2018 at 09:09
highfigh
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On December 21, 2018 at 01:59, Ernie Gilman said...
At least on Windows 10, my computer was able to auto-detect and install the necessary drivers for both the turntable and DAC.


The turntable itself feels like a premium product; It’s heavy, well-detailed, and operates with virtually no platter noise or distortion.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard platter noise, I would be broke.

The turntable’s Ortofon OM10 pickup combined with a RecordDoctor clamp made it so I experienced no popping, scratching, or haziness, something I was accustomed to in the setups my friends and family own.

So, a record clamp eliminates popping, scratches and haziness, eh? Is that right?

All of the signature feel and sound of vinyl is ever-present, with a few select records like Porcupine Tree’sFear of a Blank Planet and Opeth’s Damnation sounding particularly vivid and full of warmth.

Read Next: RecordDoctor Clamp Is Simple, Effective Turntable Accessory
While the digitalization function was not a feature I found myself using often, I love the flexibility that it provides. I ended up digitalizing my friend’s old, beloved copy of Cream’s Live Cream album for him and my rare copy of The Mountain Goats Beautiful Rat Sunset. After a few tweaks with the software, I found the digitalizing process intuitive and stress-free.

An old copy of Live Cream may not be usable, given the average quality of the turntables used in the '60s.
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Post 34 made on Friday December 21, 2018 at 11:37
Ernie Gilman
Yes, That Ernie!
Joined:
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29,851
On December 21, 2018 at 09:09, highfigh said...
If I had a dollar for every time I heard platter noise, I would be broke.

You totally missed the actual problem with his comment: He was LOOKING at the turntable and made this comment about platter noise. He had not yet gotten to the LISTENING part of the review. Or, if he had, his writing was unclear as he had not yet spoken of listening:

"The turntable itself FEELS like a premium product; It’s HEAVY, well-DETAILED, and operates with virtually no platter noise or distortion."

Those words in capital letters tell us he's inspecting the parts visually and tactilely, not sonically.

Come to think of it, since he hadn't gotten to the listening yet, VIRTUALLY no platter noise is DAMN LOUD PLATTER NOISE!
A good answer is easier with a clear question giving the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
Post 35 made on Friday December 21, 2018 at 22:40
davidcasemore
Super Member
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On December 21, 2018 at 09:09, highfigh said...
An old copy of Live Cream may not be usable, given the average quality of the turntables used in the '60s.

You mean the one with the Quarter Scotch-taped to the tonearm?
Fins: Still Slamming' His Trunk on pilgrim's Small Weenie - One Trunk at a Time!
Post 36 made on Saturday December 22, 2018 at 08:14
highfigh
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On December 21, 2018 at 22:40, davidcasemore said...
You mean the one with the Quarter Scotch-taped to the tonearm?

Ours only needed a nickle for most records. By the time my brother bought Cream albums, he had bought a stereo from a department store and while it worked, it really, really sucked. He has a funny look when he hears the music from that time when it's coming through my system- it never sounded close to this way, even though I have some of the original LPs that we had. ELP, Tull, Cream, Moody Blues & Court Of The Crimson King just didn't sound good through those little speakers.
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Post 37 made on Saturday December 22, 2018 at 08:18
highfigh
Loyal Member
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On December 21, 2018 at 11:37, Ernie Gilman said...
You totally missed the actual problem with his comment: He was LOOKING at the turntable and made this comment about platter noise. He had not yet gotten to the LISTENING part of the review. Or, if he had, his writing was unclear as he had not yet spoken of listening:

Those words in capital letters tell us he's inspecting the parts visually and tactilely, not sonically.

Come to think of it, since he hadn't gotten to the listening yet, VIRTUALLY no platter noise is DAMN LOUD PLATTER NOISE!

I'm surprised he didn't begin each sentence with "I feel...".

I went to a little Chinese restaurant for carry out and a family came in shortly after I ordered. EVERY freaking thing the son said, who looked to be in his early-20s, began with "I feel". I came very close to asking him if he had ever considered thinking about anything but I guess that wouldn't have validated his feelings.
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Post 38 made on Saturday December 22, 2018 at 11:46
Anthony
Ultimate Member
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28,573
I agree with most posts here.

except for one thing. We don't know every persons situation.
For example

1) what if someone is an audiophile and listebns to LPs in his listening room but he also spends many hours a day in his vehicle where listen to LPs isn't an option so he wants digital copies for the car?

2) what if someone is not an audiophile but he has eclectic taste in music of a bygone era that is impossible to find on newer media so he wants to digitize his LPs just so that he can listen to his music.

don't get me wrong I get the frustration with the idiot that wants to be "cool" and so buys LPs just so that he can say they are LPs and then over compresses it and just listens to the digital copies but there can be many scenarios where that is not the case.
...
Post 39 made on Saturday December 22, 2018 at 12:59
buzz
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Compression is not necessarily evil. There are multiple types of "compression". One type (MP3, for example) is an attempt at data file size reduction. Very aggressive MP3 data compression can have ugly sonic consequences. FLAC has no audible artifacts. One could could rip a CD to FLAC, then use this FLAC file to remaster the CD. In terms of data recovered after playing both CD's, there would be no difference in the data streams. If one looked at raw data error recovery  events while playing the CD's, the correction signatures would be different due to a different set of media physical defects.

Another type of "compression" is dynamic range compression. Used properly, dynamic range compression can be very beneficial. For example, if the noise level in a moving auto or on a train is in the 70-80 dBA range (on commuter trains that I regularly use it's actually closer to 85-90 dBA) and you are attempting to listen to a source with an 80 dB or so dynamic range, the quiet stuff will be lost in the noise while the louder stuff will be at or above the threshold of pain. Dynamic range compression allows one to experience more of the musical elements without the pain. I do not appreciate a high level of compression at home.

Modern music marketing attempts to break through the noise of typical listening environments (autos and phones) by compressing the release. Ancient LP's did not use these draconian levels of dynamic range compression. (Mostly because the marketers hadn't yet figured this out and they didn't have the sophisticated hardware)

In my opinion, the media sold to the public should be uncompressed and the players should apply an appropriate level of compression to match the playback environment. Unfortunately, this concept would be shunned by the marketers who would feel that they lost control of the situation, the audiophiles would be up in arms about "compression" in playback, and I doubt that the general public would understand what to do. Plus, the playback hardware manufacturers would be grumpy about the few extras cents of cost.
Post 40 made on Saturday December 22, 2018 at 13:16
highfigh
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On December 22, 2018 at 12:59, buzz said...
Modern music marketing attempts to break through the noise of typical listening environments (autos and phones) by compressing the release. Ancient LP's did not use these draconian levels of dynamic range compression. (Mostly because the marketers hadn't yet figured this out and they didn't have the sophisticated hardware)

In my opinion, the media sold to the public should be uncompressed and the players should apply an appropriate level of compression to match the playback environment. Unfortunately, this concept would be shunned by the marketers who would feel that they lost control of the situation, the audiophiles would be up in arms about "compression" in playback, and I doubt that the general public would understand what to do. Plus, the playback hardware manufacturers would be grumpy about the few extras cents of cost.

How much compression was used depends on the genre of music- lots of rock LPs have a ton of compression because they wanted it to sound louder than it actually was and along with limiting, they were able to get the drums to kick people in the teeth without actually exceeding the saturation limits of the tape. So much was written & recorded for radio that it caused a lot of problems for some stations because they were already using too much compression/limiting that when a loud part in a song came along, it actually became quieter at that point. The big guitar chord in Journey's 'Wheel In The Sky' is a great example of this.
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Post 41 made on Saturday December 22, 2018 at 15:15
buzz
Super Member
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The Orban Optimod took radio stations by storm in the 970's. Optimod would be introduced into one station in a market and one could begin to measure audience shift almost immediately. As a listener scanned the dial, an Optimod station would jump out and capture the listener. The other stations would soon switch to Optimod too.
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