Which turntable will track music better for digital archiving? The models with a straight arm or the traditional S-arm? Please share your thoughts on this issue. It's been a challenge to get any proper feedback about this matter for years. Have at it!

Hi! From what I understand, it is not the shape of the arm that makes the big difference, it is the length of the arm.

I beleive that average length of a turntable arm is 9 inches. I have just measured my Technics 1210 http://www.gearogs.com/gear/89-Technics-SL-1210M5G and they are 9". My Sound Burger is 8 1/2" http://www.gearogs.com/gear/3565-Audio-Technica-Sound-Burger

Some 'Scratch' turntables have short arms where the cartridge is dead straight with the arm such as on http://www.gearogs.com/gear/557-Stanton-STR8-80

Compare this to a longer hi-fi tonearm such as http://www.gearogs.com/gear/377-Linn-Akito-Mk1 - it is not 'S' shaped, but the arm is longer than the Stantons, and the cartridge is fixed at an angle to the arm.

Some expensive hi-fi turntables have longer arms, such as the 12" arm on this SME http://www.gearogs.com/gear/4311-SME-Model-20-12A - it is hard to see in that picture, but at http://www.sme-audio.com/tonearms/sme-series-v-12-tonearm you can see that the cartridge attaches at an angle to the arm still, again even though the arm is 'straight'.

I hope that makes sense! What turntable models are you considering?

Thank you Nik! I have been keeping a steady eye on the Stanton SRT8-150 http://www.gearogs.com/gear/5037-Stanton-STR8-150 for a LONG TIME, and I'm DEEPLY concerned about the stylus I want to use. I'm simply blown away by the Ortofon 2M Bronze http://www.gearogs.com/gear/1512-Ortofon-2M-Bronze , I just want to make sure that this cartridge will fit it properly without damaging the record. I could really use some more knowledge about the angled settings as well. As a starter turntable, I will be grabbing the Audio-Techinca ATPL-120 http://www.gearogs.com/gear/1439-Audio-Technica-AT-PL-120 and maybe use the 2M Bronze on this one.

I have been keeping a steady eye on the Stanton SRT8-150 http://www.gearogs.com/gear/5037-Stanton-STR8-150 for a LONG TIME, and I'm DEEPLY concerned about the stylus I want to use. I'm simply blown away by the Ortofon 2M Bronze http://www.gearogs.com/gear/1512-Ortofon-2M-Bronze , I just want to make sure that this cartridge will fit it properly without damaging the record.

I am not sure that stylus is the best for that deck. The 2M Bronze seems to have some type of 'shaped' stylus. If used with the short arm on the Stanton SRT8, the tracking error that the short arm introduces means the stylus sits at an angle in the groove, and could damage the record or wear it out faster. IIRC only spherical styli should be used with straight arms, and I'd only choose a straight arm for heavy turntabalist / scratching use, not for hi-fi playback.

If you want to learn scratching a straight arm is arguably slightly more skip-proof than an S shaped arm but it's really all in the cartridge and technique.

Nik, are you buying the Stanton for mixing and scratching if you don't mind me asking. I have a pair of Stanton T 92s and they are great. BUT all the Stanton range are DJ turntables. For mixing I use Ortofon S-120s and I only scratch on one deck and have the old faithful Shure M44-7.

I don't understand this entire thread being a DJ and a bit of an audiophile. In the other room I have a Pro-ject classic wood with a...I can;t be bothered to go and look but a £400 cartridge. I have a £1500 Musical Fidelity amp etc etc. Why on earth would you buy a DJ deck with pitch control, great torque, v fast start up, a, arm DESIGNED for scratching and then worry about damaging your records? I don;t scratch my valuable soul collection, I use battle records and old scratched up ones I get from charity shops for nothing.

If you are not a DJ but want the best sounding TT for your money DON'T BUY a DJ TT. Buy a Rega or a Pro-Ject. And if you scratch with an Ortofon Bronze it will prob fall apart.

kconthedeckshsval forget about the shape of the tonearm. If you are digital achiving u want the best sound quality possible. All tonearms track properly...that's the purpose of them.

As a starter turntable if you are not a DJ buy this
http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/rega-rp3-3
or this
http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/project-debut-carbon-phono-usb
or the next model down and spend more on the cartrdge

Sorry if I've offended but this is the oddest thread......

I think it is an ok question, no one knows everything :-)

Nik, are you buying the Stanton for mixing and scratching if you don't mind me asking.

I'm not buying anything, just trying to help kconthedeckshsval

All tonearms track properly...that's the purpose of them.

This isn't true in fact. All tonearms that act from a pivot point (IOW are not linear tracking) have a tracking error. The shorter arms that have no offset ('straight') have a worse tracking error than the offset arms (the arm itself can be S shaped, or straight with an offset headshell). The longer the arm, the less the tracking error, hence some 12" tonearms on high end turntables, but other compromises may be introduced there.

Hi Nik, well I was talking about trackling from the point of view of what he said first ,to rip vinyl to digital amd I don;t know about length but I know about Hi-Fi TT's and DJ TT's and am part of a scratching group and even among turntablists there are two opposing views but I have The S Shaped Stanton and it never skips unless I go mental and don;t stratch smoothly and the fact that 1210's were and still are (even though u can get better TTs now) the Turntablists choice really shows there's no difference apart from the fact that they are built like tanks so took the wear and tear of club use. I think what you are saying is what a cartridge protractor is for (Ive still got one somewhere) as you had to set up the Cartridge on high end TTs at the correct angle to track properly but by the laws of physics they will never track perfectly unless they got longer as they got closer to the centre of the record, I haven;t had a major geeky Hi Fi TT discussion for years haha. Anyway the point is what does he mean by tracking as it's only ever a concern to DJs. I've been into Hi Fi since I was at school. There was a great second hand shop in Croydon where you just part exchanged what you had for something better. I ended up with a high end Ariston with a Linn tonearm. Was just about setting it up properly. I do know someone who has gone ridiculous and has some £20,000 monster that works in a totally different way but his very expensive London flat is so small I think my set-up sounds better haha
Andy

I think thatl's what those crazy and v evpensive TTs like the guy I know has is obviously correcting as the don;t pivot but sort of move alone a bracket type thing in a straight line. But like u aid other compromises. The one fact that has always been true is that from your source to your speakers the journey of the signal should be as simple and clean as possible. Hence my £1500 Musical Fidelity Amp has one big volume knob and that's it. But my oldest friend is one of the foremost accoustic experts in the country, he used to design speakers for B&W and now he designs recording studios. He gets sent a lot of ridiculously expensive cables to test and told me that above a certain point the differennce that the human ear can detect is so minute the the following day your brain would adjust so they would sound no different at all. ie don't go silly unless you are a millionaire and don;t care.

As a mastering engineer with many years experience in this area I have to agree with "nik" here. The S Tone Arms have less inner grove distortion because of tracking geometry. If you can find a larger turntable like the ones we use in the mastering studio to play back test cuts on 14 inch lacquers they will have longer "S" tone arms even further reducing the amount of tracking error in the inner grooves. Two models that I have at home are from JVC in the 1970's and both still work well. One is belt driven and the other is direct drive. The model numbers are VL-8 (Belt Driven) and JLB-44 (Direct Drive) both use the standard 4 pin ring mounted plug in cartridge. Also when looking at vinyl you will often seen varying amounts of empty space on the inner section of the disc. As a mastering engineer heavily involved in the early days of half speed audiophile mastering I always made an effort to keep the inner empty space as large as possible. This keeps the modulated groove area as close to the outer edge of the disc as possible insuring that the listener will experience less inner groove playback distortion.

I'm seeing disparate discussions here: What is better for archiving? What is better for tracking/scratching?

Straight arm DJ turntables are designed strictly for sheer groove-holding capability, and not for fidelity. Harmonic distortion on a short, straight tonearm will increase by double, which can limit the effectiveness of any great sounding cartridge, regardless of manufacturer. This being said then it is logical to chose an "S" arm and archiving. For archiving purposes I use an Ortofon 2M Bronze with a 12" S tone arm on the JVC JLB44 for most 33 1/3 stereo vinyl transfers. I have a variety of cartridges including Grace, Shure, Grado, etc and cartridges like speakers tint the sound so it becomes a matter of personal taste. However is is important to use specific cartridges and styli for mono and especially 78RPM discs. Ortofon has some excellent literature and training materials specific to both DJ and Audiophile cartridges and tonearms. Take a look at their site: (DJ FAQ) http://www.ortofon.com/support/support-dj/faq-setup
and the general HiFI section http://www.ortofon.com/hifi

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