Worth more in the wrapper
Probably worth £60k in 20 years time if left in the wrapper.
There must have been a time when Apple thought that anything Sir Jony Ive touched turned to gold. Now luxury hi-fi manufacturer Linn will be hoping the same – with a £50,000 ($64,000) turntable dreamed up by Cupertino's former design whiz. Ive is responsible for guiding the aesthetics behind some of Apple's most successful …
And which part did Ivy's company actually design?
That is what always gets me when designs of electronic products are attributed to thos who have "styled" it and not those who have designed the bits that actually make it work.
Do they know anything about audio and designing audio products (beyond designing their "appearance")?
Funny you should mention that. He did those, the lid hinges (which now hold the lid at any angle) and that round switch at front left IIRC.
Worth mentioning that he did the whole lot for free though. He's a massive Linn fan and admits that one his life's highlights was taking a tour of the Linn factory as a young man.
When Linn made CD players, their top of the range one, the Sondek CD12https://www.stereophile.com/cdplayers/86/index.html * did not have any actual buttons. The CD tray was the control. When empty, you tapped it to get it to extend to receive a CD. When extended you tapped it to get it to retract. With a CD installed various taps and prods controlled the device (or so I believe, I couldn't afford one). Of course there was a remote control available, but why spoil the fun?
*"The drawer is of chrome-plated aluminum alloy, and locks solidly in place when closed. The drawer is also the only means (other than the remote, of course) of controlling the player, as there's nary a knob or button on the CD12's face—optical sensors detect "nudges" against the drawer. The machine understands a hard shove to mean Open or Close, while a gentle nudge is interpreted as Play—or, if a CD is already playing, as Next Track. A nudge will also stop play—but only after you've become sensitized to the control system. It takes a few tries to learn the differences between a Next nudge, a Stop nudge, and an Open shove. Pause is handled solely through the remote." (from page 2 of the review.)
I was impressed that they managed to sucker audiophiles (OK, maybe not a high bar) into believing that a sooper-dooper mechanism ("Karik") would produce more accurate digital data for their D-A converter ("Numerik"). I bet it opened up the soundstage a treat.
Buy something mechanically well made and solid.
Buy something very well shielded and decent thickness.
As i own a premium quality SCART lead I can tell where the VFM is.
I could tell between a cheap SCART and my good SCART, all due to better shielding in the cables.
My HDMI are decent mechaical quality but no different picture wise to a freebie one.
Speaker cables, just thick wire, biwired due to I had it.
All is base audiophile/AV system level. Good enough to last and not ruin the picture or sound.
I also run Castle speakers.
For analogue, there is a noticeable difference between a $10 interconnect and a $100 interconnect (or SCART). There is a tiny bit of difference (to audiophile/videophile ears and eyes; 99% of us couldn't tell them apart) between a $100 interconnect and a $1000 interconnect. There's no difference at all between a $1000 interconnect and a $10,000 (or higher) interconnect, apart from bragging rights.
For digital, as long as the cable is mechanically sound there is no difference at all between a $10 HDMI, a $100 HDMI and a $10,000 HDMI. Same goes for optical. The 0s and 1s get from one end to the other just fine. The problem with (very) cheap cables is that they tend to BE less mechanically sound; but you don't need to spend much more money to avoid this.
For a long time I used to use lighting circuit wire for my speakers, because oxygen free copper is oxygen free copper at the end of the day.
Then I bought a second hand Arcam CD player off eBay, the seller stuffed a load of related crap in the box, including a pair of QED Reference speaker cables, that when I checked cost about £500.
These cables really opened the soundstage, although not so much that I'd willing spend 500 notes on another pair...
>>These cables really opened the soundstage,
With respect sir, bollocks. You knew the cables were expensive, therefore they sounded "better".
What, exactly does "opening the soundstage" mean, in real, measurable, terms? what characteristics of the cable (other than cost) make a truly audible difference (independent double blind A/B test results only please; the physics is pretty much settled)?
>>For analogue, there is a noticeable difference between a $10 interconnect and a $100 interconnect (or SCART)
Disagree - care to share any double blind A/B testing that shows this?
I would bet 50p that in a double blind A/B test there would be very little, if any, difference between cheap audio interconnects and expensive ones. 24 strand is, electrically, plenty good enough and you could get away with 2mm^2 twin and earth if you want to go posh.
SCART? well if you are in an RFI rich environment, more shielding is better I guess, but somewhere around the £10 break point. Any higher than that you are paying idiot tax or buying your cables from an "Audiophile" shop instead of an electrical supplier.
Of course a true [audio,video]phile will challenge the validity of double blind testing because hand waving reasons... but they would still be wrong.
All that said - don't let me get in the way of anyone who wants to pay for emporers new clothes; it's their money after all.
"Disagree - care to share any double blind A/B testing that shows this?"
Sure - here's one on speaker cable. Definite difference between cheap (crap) and 'proper', and basically no difference once you get into the 'proper' territory. Which is what I said.
The difference is in the shielding. It comes down to:
No shielding vs some shielding, noticeable.
Some shielding but not properly wound vs 'proper' shielding, noticeable by a trained ear, but not by normal mortals
'Decent' proper shielding vs 'Unbelievably expensive' proper shielding, no difference at all.
Sure - here's one on speaker cable.
From the link...
To find out, we’re going in completely blind. At least: fellow authors Martijn ten Napel and Yung Lie are going in blind. Your author has measured and sampled all cables and is therefore no longer objective. His only task on the listening day is to change the cables and drink coffee…. ah, well: someone has to do that.
That's not double blind, one person knows which cable is which and can introduce unconscious bias. Double blind test requires both the tester and test subjects to be unaware of which 'thing' is which.
The difference with audio cables is often the older interconnect or speaker cables are dirty and oxidised, whereas the new ones aren't.
The main difference between SCART cables is whether the RGBY wires are individually screened or not. The cheap cables which aren't individually screened do suffer from crosstalk which can be seen on screen. Other than that, price makes little difference. Gold plated ones are a con, since the sockets are still nickel plated.
> The 0s and 1s get from one end to the other just fine
On any cable costing less than around $1000, the 1s will be blunted and the 0s will be squished or deformed - or worse, be filled in as ⚫️.
Real enthusiasts spend in the $10K range, to get cables that can transmit 2s for higher dynamic range.
I’m not sure I’d want to brag that I’d spent £10k on an interconnect! It brings this to mind:
It’s interesting to note that studios use good quality cables, but eschew the magic earthing boxes & other nonsense so beloved in the hi-fi world.
The claims regarding magic 'audio-grade' ethernet cables are even better - all those 0s and 1s clearly need a top quality cable to transmit properly (and the cable does of course need arrows on it to indicate which way round to connect it, otherwise all those 0s and 1s could end up going the wrong way and just think what carnage might result!)
Best example I found last time I looked was about 20 grand as I recall, for a 10m one, Bargain!
I had an early Sony CD player in the 70s that was all discrete logic. One of the CDs I had was slightly off centre. I hooked up a scope to the R/W line on the RAM and it was fascinating to watch the variations caused by the offset. The disc played OK though as the RAM read out to the DACs was crystal controlled.
I think the most audiophily thing would be to put a GPS-controlled OCXO in there for the accuracy, and charge $$$$ for it.
I had an early Sony CD player in the 70s
I've still got a decent Tecnics stack (bought in 1990? ish) at home - it moved with us in 1997 to our current house. It sits in the lounge with none of the cables connected (apart from the speaker cables) and mainly serves as something to put the TV base reflex speaker on..
Can't remember the model - has a turntable (used about 5 times), CD player, AM/FM radio and dual tape unit - all separates. At some point I'll sell it on ebay - when I can amass sufficient tuits to get round to it.
Hmm, I bought my first CD player in the mid 1980's, a Sony, and I thought I was an early adopter. 1970's does seem a tad early.
"The Sony CDP 101 is widely believed to the first ever compact disc player. It was launched in Japan on 1st October 1982." (https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/sony-cd-player-1983#:~:text=The%20Sony%20CDP%20101%20is,during%20the%20Spring%20of%201983.)
I thought the two companies invented it together? I heard that the requirement was that it could play the whole of Beethoven's 9th symphony from one disc, which determined the storage requirements, and therefore the physical size:
"Both Sony and Philips knew that the legendary conductor Herbert Von Karajan would be instrumental to the success of their new format. He had agreed to endorse the CD at the Vienna press conference where they would announce the company's prototype.
But he had one condition: that the new technology could allow listeners to hear the whole of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony without interruption.
The longest recording Sony could find was Wilhelm Furtwängler's glacial 1951 recording which ran to a length of - you've guessed it - 74 minutes."
Oh God, that was the one I used to run out of the HiFi shop when it was being demoed, it sounded like breaking glass, Dire Straits bad enough but on that thing, argh. The equivalent Phillips at the time sounded bearable with the same Dire disc, at least I didn't have to run from it. Thankfully DACs and circuitry improved. Linn Sondek...no. 33rpm only back then. I've always been a nightmare to ...'creative sales pitchers '.
There's some other amusing phrases in ther too, e.g.:
"The sonic improvement comes by way of Linn's all-new Bedrok™ plinth technology; formed of orthogonal layers of beech placed under extreme pressure to create an entirely new, solid and massive material."
I think the word they are looking for is 'laminate'... But the above no doubt convinces audiophiles better than describing it as 'beech laminate'!
Like this, you mean?
No doubt much better at handling all those 0s and 1s than bog-standard 8-port ethernet switch costing 20 to 30 quid!
I like the way they've reused the name and branding of one of the most significant English manufacturers of the mid twentieth century - a company which made everything from domestic appliances to aircraft to power station equipment to railway locomotives. Delusions of grandeur or what?!
Direct from the ridiculous conman website:
The 8switch by English Electric (a Chord Company brand), is an 8 port GbE Ethernet switch modified and upgraded to our specific requirements for high-performance music streaming networks.Right... what this really means is that they:
I'd actually upgrade the entire Essential. I never did like the bare-bones design of that turntable!
Mind you, my upgraded Debut II is probably not a lot better (although it's sporting my vintage Ortofon VMS20E-II on a Debut-III arm with an add-on acrylic platter to compensate for the lower body height - sounds sublime)
Rather than looking for Cambridge Audio amp, I'm still happy with a rebuilt NAD 7020, although I have a C-A CD player and DAC.
What I can't get over nowadays is how expensive Pro-Ject decks are. When originally bought, my Debut II cost £108 (I came across the receipt recently). Current Pro-Ject turntables seem to start at north of £350.
Looking at the Linn, I think I preferred the looks of the original squared-off corners. Rounded corners (yes, really) don't look right on a Sondek!
I had the debut carbon with an acrylic platter. Replaced the ortofon cartridge with an AT.
Now I've got an SL-1200 Mk7 and ported the cart over. £800-ish in silver from Richer Sounds. Enjoying it much more. Don't need the DJ stuff, but the non-DJ versions were going £1K+
Speakers, Castle Durham 900 bookshelf. Nice rich sound for not much cash on ebay. (£70 in 2016)
That’s absolute *NOT* a Toaster … it’s a fucked up mini-oven Umerican’s call a Toaster (Oven).
A toaster is vertical, for bread/crumpets/hot cross buns - my daughter puts in filled tortillas too - and any pizza put in it would delaminate and end up as a pile of burning goo in the toaster crum tray.
Can't recall what my kettle cost - it is mostly metal, no plastics in contact with the water, looks nice (yeah, and works well). No, it wasn't €150, but pricey enough. But it makes me happy that it does not have the plastic touch and feel the previous one had, every day I use it (ok, hyperbole... slightly).
O M G, I am a nerd and a geek and enslaved by technology and advertising agencies.
Won't someone please help me?
I have a 'KitchenAid' Artisan kettle. It has a temperature selection lever for heating water to between 50 and 100 Celsius. It is also double skinned so the outside does not get too hot to the touch.
And I do use it for my Whittard's 'Chelsea Garden Tea' (heat water to 80C, brew for 5 1/2 to 6 minutes before decanting into my Wedgwood Hibiscus teapot).
Am I beyond help? Or does my being 'gay' excuse my liking for 'nice' things?*
Yes, I really do won the above.
*Yes, I really am gay, don't make a thing of it. And I like the pattern, plus the Wedgwood is 'dishwasher safe' :o). I got he Wedgwood after realising that drinking vessels in my home amounted to a disparate collection of mismatched mugs, some chipped.
Then hook it across two phases. 380V rather than 230V
And watch that electricity meter spin baby!
(Assuming you have a mechanical one like wot we does. Rather pleasing to see it going backwards when the PVs are dumping electricity back out to the grid.. Yes, yes, strictly speaking I should get a smart meter and do a proper outbound tarrif but they give you less than you pay per unit and, with the meter going backward, we are actually offsetting more than we'd get for an outward feed tariff).
We take the freshest of deuterium nuclei, plucked from the morning dew on the Alpen grasslands, delicately swirled in a classically formed toroidal confinement chamber whose hand-polished curves accentuate the delicate purple hues of the all-natural plasma. Only the most dynamic and excited neutrons are collected in the fluffiest of thermal blankets, heating the organically sourced coolant, to provide the smoothest and most refreshing electron flow available today.
This isn't just any fusion power, this is M&S fusion power.
None of this sharing of mains with your cheap and nasty fridge!
I'll have you know our cheap 1997-vintage fridge is still working fine! (It's a Beko - when we moved in 1997 our fridge-freezer unit wouldn't fit anywhere so we bought a new fridge and freezer. Beko were at the cheaper end and, if they only lasted a couple of years, it wouldn't matter if we had to replace them.
Both are still chugging along. The fridge was struggling to get properly cold so we bought a replacement, moved the freezer out to the garage and run both fridges at the same time.
Turns out that the old Beko, if not rammed full, actually still works fine. Because we don't entirely trust it, no meat gets put in that fridge. And the freezer is still relagated to the garage,
Always wondered why Audiophiles don't use offline batteries for their power needs... especially as the price of lithium cells keeps descending (rare earth metal markets not withstanding).
With competent design you can get any voltage you may require out of a battery pack so why bother with all this mains malarky (and associated hum)?
If I were ever to return to vinyl it would be with a Technics SL200MK II if I can get hold of an original one in good nick. Its direct drive was one of the better designs out there, stable by design and so much oompf that it got up to speed in at most 120º of a turn. Belt drives tend to demand a serious table mass to camouflage irregulaties in drive spindle, belt wheel or the belt itself.
That said, it had many imitations so it may be possible to pick up a more recent incarnation at a sane price..
.. but I'm quite happy with CDs :).
I've got some old vinyl with no digital equivalent, so every now and again I think I must buy some sort of reasonable-spec turntable, even if only to digitise. I have a vague look around, hum and haw about prices, wonder whether anything I might buy is worthwhile, then shelve the idea. Again. Is there any sort of worthwhile turntable in the £200-300 range? I don't want to buy something crappy, but then I'm not any kind of mad audiophile either...
It'll need a new belt by now, and probably also the rubber suspension band that holds the motor will need to be replaced, if my Planar 3 from the 80s is anything to go by. New belts/bands are cheap. Careful of the screws: they are only plastic. Oh, and have a look at the capacitor too—they used those infamous RIFA ones. A safe replacement one is cheap from RS.
“Yes, the ones with systems which they can afford and enjoy using for the music.“
That’ll be most of us then. Very few ‘audiophiles' sink themselves into debt to buy a decent system, more often (from forums I’ve been on) it’s a combination of getting to the stage where the kids have left, mortgage is paid and the career has gone well enough to provide a comfortable existence, and the desire to improve the music system meets a surplus of cash. What else should we spend it on? My sister (also nr retirement age) is away on her 3rd holiday this year tomorrow, on top of their numerous weekend breaks. Who’s right? Her doing that with [apparently] nothing to show for it, or me with a little stack of Naim boxes on Fraim shelves and nice speakers sitting in the living room? It’s taken a few years of part ex, pre-owned and the simple ‘what’s your best price?' deals to get here and I wouldn’t care to guess the actual cost, but I f I walked into a dealers tomorrow to buy it all again it’d be the cost of a very a decent car to do it. But the enjoyment factor? Off the scale esp when the house is empty and you get into a flow picking and ordering tracks to build a mood, in awesome quality. I’d recommend it.
Get a second hand Thorens TD150/TD160. Should be possible at that price.
If you also spend a bit more for a better arm then you effecively have a Linn Sondek with at least one zero missing from the price.
I ripped all my remaining vinyl and sold my TD150 to a mate so he could do the same thing.
Belt drive requires a large mass to damp any oscillations (the level of which are dependent on bearings, motor and belt), direct drive require high frequency drives and decent feedback to prevent oscillations (the level of which are dependent on bearings, motor and control board). The argument is roughly equivalent to whether a linear or switched mode power supply is better in an amp ... Eventually you open your wallet and become a fanbois ...
Yup, aka plywood. I don't get that. If the objective is mass, why not make it out of tungsten? Or depleted uranium? Ok, audiophiles may have reservations about that, or could mebbe spin it as helping reduce static.
Seems like a case of style over substance, like much in the audiophile world.
Concrete works really well here and is easy to form into odd shapes. Only favoured by dedicated fans of industrial design though.
I think Linn needs to hire more engineers. Or even marketing types to extol the virtues of concrete. Or they'll lose market share once lunar materials can be exploited and I can launch a turntable made out of lunacrete. The properties of that one still intrigue me since diving into the dual realms of off-world colonies and concrete properties. NASA publishes some fascinating research on that, and how lunarcrete could be interesting given the 'sand' can be very fine and unweathered. But given my limited knowledge of materials and the claims made, I'm really curious why plywood would be considered better than alternatives.
I'm really curious why plywood would be considered better than alternatives.
Solid wood can have knots, voids and imperfections, plywood does not, at least not to a significant extent. As for other materials, hard metals can have too much resonance (there are cast iron plinths available so I suppose it's not an unsurmountable problem) and soft metals are, well, too soft, glass has been used and can perform well, plastics tend to be a bit on the grotty side and lumps of rock are good but difficult to work.
Also plywood is cheap and easy to work.
Plywood is a really good structural material. It's equally strong in all directions and it tends not to resonate or warp. This is why it's used in construction and is definitely a good choice for something that needs damping.
But you can't sell a 50 grand turntable and tell people it's made of plywood, because people associate that with "cheap", so you have to resort to marketing bollocks. Which is a shame.
"Concrete works really well here"
G. A. Briggs (founder of Wharfdale Wireless Works) described a brick speaker enclosure to be built into the corner of the room, stating "the characteristics of the brick front are practically perfect...".1
1: G. A. briggs, Sound Reproduction, pub. Wharfdale Wireless Works 1953, pp103-105
This is not ordinary plywood, this is compressed super-dense M&S plywood. More remarkably, contrary to the claim, it is nothing new. These compressed laminated woods were used extensively in the late 1930 and early stages of WWII for aircraft propellers; the Mk. ! Spitfires had them for a start. The debate over metal vs compressed wood propellers raged as fiercely as which kind of guns to fit. Some nations, such as Russia, used them extensively for many a whole aeroplane. One trusts that Linn have the sense to resin-impregnate the stuff, like everybody else does.
A big advantage of this material is its lack of resonance, it naturally damps out any vibrations, while metals can resonate and start to vibrate wildly.
Back to HiFi record decks and the advantage is clear. Other good materials for this application include dense, hard rocks such as marble or granite. But these are less easy to machine without chipping the odd bit off, of more variable consistency, and you get failure rates where you cut into an internal flaw.
So this is probably the only bit of the whole shebang that is not purest audiophile-shit.
$299, and it doesn't even connect to the internet.
The internet connected version only costs £199, but it only works if it can monitor your internet activity continuously. When its motion sensor detects you it shouts 'relevant' adverts at you which you can shut off for £9.99/month - until the price goes up.
It will be almost as good, maybe equally as good. There really isn't a whole lot you can re-engineer in a record player. The cartridge, maybe (I notice that this unit doesn't come with one....surprising nobody's noticed). The preamplifier is now routine -- a decent design does make a noticeable difference but there's no need to skip on the design any more to cut costs. The rest is cosmetic.
BTW -- Sorry to say this but FLAC beats legacy analog media. Once you've got a decent file then that's it -- no wear and tear, just perfect sound forever. Recording vinyl is just a matter of a decent preamplifier, a decent A2D encoder and a bit of signal processing to remove mechanical artifacts from the recording. (...and, yes, I've got legacy hi-fi equipment, up to date hi-fi equipment etc etc etc -- however you slice and dice it its just low frequency these days -- you've got to make everything 'bespoke' to differentiate it!)
Concrete works really well here and is easy to form into odd shapes
Ahhh.. Napster. I used it to discover lots of Prog bands that I'd never heard of before. And then spent lots of money on CDs (which I promptly ripped at high VBR rates, made sure that they MP3 tags were done properly to suit my slightly anal nature and then deleted the Napster downloads.). I've still got a lot of MP3's from that era.
I mostly use Apple iTunes store now - but make damn sure that everything in my library is backed up in several places just in case Apple does something silly again (U2 album springs to mind - I've never knowing bought any of their output so was slightly miffed when Apple foisted it on me..).
Maybe I missed it in the article and/or site. Are we looking at a belt drive here (ugh), or (given the price) some sort of epic fancy direct drive stepper motor that will run at so exactly the right speed you can use it to calibrate your strobe (rather than the other way around)?
They're surprisingly reticent about the drive mechanism. I thought the original LP12 used a belt drive because the combination of an elastic belt and heavy turntable provided considerable damping between the drive motor and the turntable proper. Direct drive is one of those things that sounds cool but is going to cause both electrical and mechanical isolation problems.
The thing is, technology's moved on so much in the last 40 years or so that designing something to rotate at a constant rate is now too easy. It should be possible to get the angular speed so precise that both the record and the mastering system that made it are going to seem a bit wobbly. (Note -- measuring angular velocity is actually quite tricky but only if you're trying to track varying speeds in a servomotor system or similar; for a constant speed device like a turntable the problem really is trivial.)
BTW -- I've never trusted their tonearm. I think the 9" SME has never been bettered; its a bit inconvenient with all the weights and stuff but it tracks well. Of course, these days we could actively track the grooves -- just take a picture of the record and play it from the picture maybe, it just lacks the "je ne sais quoi" of an authentic turntable.
"... and is best known for the Sondek LP12 turntable." Among audiophiles I'm sure it is; but surely for Regizens, what with us being IT geeks and all, I'd say the Rekursiv microprocessor would be well known. I mean, if it wasn't for that, I'd have never heard of Linn. Mine's the cheap Sanyo boombox and the drawer full of Motörhead tapes.
80's technology, and hardly obscure. The LinnDrum LM2 in particular was all over recordings by a vast array of artists. I'd suspect more people have heard of Roger Linn (pretty much anyone involved in electronic music) versus the purveyor of an overpriced record deck.
When we were buying 45's and LP's then the artists made money and the companies helping made the records did well too - both working (and smoking) together in those days but today we have a lot of bands (e.g Captain Ska on Bandcamp) trying to make a little income from their music. Remember the days when Disraeli Gears appeared and was a huge hit and Dark Side Of The Moon appeared ... it was so fantastic that we all listened to the music and bought the albums (I still have mine and am plying them) ... everyone LOVED music back then (us and the musicians too) ... I remember buying Dark Side Of The Moon the day it was released and opening the windows in my friend's Oriel College room on the top floor, putting the speakers out and playing it to everyone that night. We all had a great time, smoking together, happy together, and loving the new album, but these days people only comment on Social Media. I'm still playing all my albums that I brought originally, it's so much nicer memories for me ... listening to the groups and remembering listening to the records with my friends and sharing a little roll of puffs. Back then "social media" was just happy people sharing puffs with each other, never any bad comments about anything, or even the politicians (they might have been shitty but music was so much better).
OK, I'm old and eventually I hope to be eventually talking with Brendan Behan about his quotes with minor updates that define today, "It's not that Social Media is cynical. It's rather that Social Media has a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody." ... Brendan loved music too.
Fewer groups? You must be kidding, there's 100+ new ones a day.
I don't care to ever again hear oldies like Led Zeppline, ACDC, Metallica or whatever. I hope you're not depending on radio FM to hear new music... dear lord. I remember ~35 years ago when the Jacor president said he'd always see to it that more songs from the current year were played than any other year(s) combined. Guess how true that was... shoot the radio.
This post has been deleted by its author
Every era produces good and bad music, you just don't know which is which until about 20 years down the line.
Yes "back in the day" there was Led Zep, Floyd et al, there was also tonnes of unmitigated crap that we have thankfully forgotten.
Oh no, far worse than that. Consider 1975: the best selling singles in the UK included at #4Queen with Bohemian Rhapsody, #14 David Bowie with Space Oddity - well that doesn't seem too bad until you look at the rest, #1 selling single in UK 1975 (cue drum roll) was, The Bay City Rollers with Bye Bye Baby the next was OK if you like that sort of thing (I don't) Rod Stewart with Sailing, rolling in at #3 was Windsor Davies & Don Estelle with Whispering Grass.
And it just get's worse, lots more Bay City Rollers, about as much miscellaneous Osmonds some Sweet and so on. Nasty.
Whispering Grass is superb. Don Estelle had a magical voice and had been a singer in an earlier life. It’s also from a time when records were made to sound great. I was playing this the other night on the hifi - Don and Windsor Davies' voices have a brilliant presence. Don’t knock it. :)
Pah! - that's just plywood, I'm renovating my gables and am replacing the split and rotten pine with Tricoya. It's guaranteed for 25 years in the ground without any protection. At £300 per 2.4x1.2 m sheet it's a bit pricey, but I'm planning on not going up there again. It's very un-resonant when you tap it. I might build a speaker cabinet out of the offcuts.
The records are things to hold, look at and financially support the musicians. He does not actually play them. FLACs are more convenient, sound better and last longer.
I prefer the absence of junk cluttering up the house but there is plenty of room on the planet for people with a different opinion. As for the turntable: not enough eagles.
I prefer the sound from vinyl. My set up involves a bluetooth receiver which plugs in to the music center's AUX port. So I use my record player to stream music through it.
Thing is, the vinyl album sounds different to the Spotify version. The Spotify albums are also tinkered with. Sammy Hagar's "Standing Hampton" is ordered differently on Spotify compared to the record, and sounds different (note: not cleaner, different). Same with the Brian May stuff he's re-releasing.
Vinyl records, and I suppose CDs and cassettes too, are a snapshot of a musician's work in a specific time period. Its how they wanted it to be heard. Spotify, while shafting the artist, also allows the artist to change the record so it's not the same as it was when released.
For me, Spotify exists to listen to a record to see if I like it. If I like it enough, it gets bought on vinyl. If it's new vinyl then I download the MP3/FLAC for it, if it's not then I'll get the CD.
I also prefer sound from vinyl. Not claiming it's better or worse, just a different sound and a different experience. I've seen claims that "vinyl is mastered differently without using compression/normalisation etc." Definitely not a valid claim for every album but I certainly have some albums where the quiet bits are quiet and loud bits are loud, vs. the cd or streaming equivalent where every instrument is just a sea of same-volume noise. Probably not an issue with recent music that was produced digitally and meant to sound like that, but a lot of older tracks sound weird on streaming services, when I have 30 years knowledge of how they should sound.
Also playing vinyl is a whole experience, I like it much more than a digital playlist because I can appreciate the art, and having to turn it over halfway through is more engaging and an appreciation of the old technology.
I generally listen to a streaming service outside the house. When I find an album I like, I still buy it on CD. A few albums make it to my list of all time favourites and I buy them on vinyl if available. Even then I have albums from modern bands that are still obviously mastered differently on vinyl and not normalised.
I only have a £150 Audio Technica turntable and a tiny valve pre-amp, but it sounds really nice through my old Arcam AVR350 and MA RS-8 speakers.
I love those AM5 amps (in the author's photo), I snag as many as I can for when I'm setting a friend up with their first system. They're just new enough that the caps don't leak like the earlier A series CA amps and, unlike the later Azurs, don't have a protection circuit that goes overly sensitive. The one thing I would say is to get those speakers on a separate piece of furniture from the turntable to prevent feedback or stick a paving slab under the mini stand to add some mass.
You are not getting the full effect from just the images on the web.
To enjoy it as Ives intends, the LP12-50 must be placed upon a perfectly flat and level surface, alongside an original LP12. They must be set at an angle of precisely 3.6 degrees from each other and 2.78 inches apart. Arrange your amp and speakers so that the stereo sweet spot is exactly on the line separating the two decks and no more than seven feet away. As you listen to an LP on the new model, defocus your eyes as though looking at a 3D magic image and let the two machines merge into a single form: hold onto this for the first two thirds of the side.
You will now see the subtle differences between the two as a ghostly shimmering, fading in and out of your reality as the rotating LP on one side captures your attention and then releases it again. The newer, more rounded, corners will float before you, pulsating gently. The drift of the tone arm will send colours you have never seen before into your consciousness as the migraine slowly builds.
As the room darkens around you and your vision draws in on itself, the last thing you will observe is the true beauty of this new form sculpted, as only Jony can, from the obsolete forms of yesteryear.
I would have at least expected it to be in the shape of a birdbath or a toaster
But from the article:
LoveFrom has applied their design expertise to the new, precision-machined power/speed control button and hinges
So he didn't actually do very much at all?
I'm amazed at how similar techie people's workspaces are. I too have a turntable next to my desk, a big amp and big speakers behind me, but unfortunately my office is way dustier than the Vulture's nest pictured. At least my guitar and effects pedels are in a different room ...
But getting out of a bean bag at my age? Forget it.
I was in the office above Juicero when they were in the Googleplex. I was working on a 70GB/s flash array. We met one of their people as we went out to lunch one day and she told us about the product and the backing they had. We were polite and didn't laugh in her face. Anyway, can't complain about startups, they got me the house I'm in how. And out of the Bay Area.
Well. I chanced on this article looking for a Who Me.
It’s a given that anything that vaguely references audio will attract the snide and the sarky, and lo - all are here. Dismissive posts about mains, about anything over £1k being wasted, how digital files aren’t up to it. And so on.
If you want to brag about how you’ve never sat in front of a serious hifi this is your chance. And not just sat for 5 minutes through half of Comfortably Numb and got bored before you wandered off. Maybe you should have made it a hobby. Wife apart and Leicester unexpectedly winning the Premier League the other year, there’s not much to beat being left alone with a serious stereo and a NAS full of your own favourite music plus a Qobuz hi-res account. And a bottle of nice wine.
Flac files beat any vinyl. Mains cables do make a difference. Better interconnects and speaker cables change the sound. Directional? Maybe not…
But being in front of a seriously good streamer that goes into a magnificent preamp then a chuffing excellent power amp and out into a pair of tremendous speakers isn’t to be sniffed at, especially when the upgraded mains cables improved things for each box. Honestly, the sound is magnificent. Not just quite good or 'nice bass', but genuinely fabulous. It’s why I’m still up at quarter to three.
If your baseline is £899 worth of Richer Sounds' finest, fill yer boots. If you’ve arrived at the top end of a specialist audio manufacturer’s range, it all looks (and sounds) a bit different. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
Flac files beat any vinyl.
I'll give you that.
Mains cables do make a difference
Nope. There is so much else going on with mains supply to your HiFi that four feet of "audiophile grade" mains cable isn't going to make any difference at all. Mains cable is already 99.99% (or whatever) pure Copper (as is the wiring in your walls), mains flexes are already stranded (if you're worried about things like that) but the mains wiring in your wall is solid. Mains flexes (certainly the 3-core types) are twisted, but the wiring in your wall isn't. You might get some benefit from a "filtered" mains strip, but any decent power supply in your kit will already have more filtering than you can imagine.
Better interconnects and speaker cables change the sound
I'd turn that around; worse interconnects and speaker cables change the sound, but who on earth is wiring their kit up with bell-wire these days? Anything better than that is good enough, and anything costing more than £10 a meter (arguably £5) is snake oil. I used to wire professional studios using 2.5mm² mains flex to the speakers. The "golden eared" brigade thought it sounded wonderful. Then again, all the "interconnects" were balanced and on proper Neutrik XLRs or jacks, not phono connectors.
Directional? Maybe not…
It's alternating current for heaven's sake! "Directional" has nothing to do with it.
If your baseline is £899 worth of Richer Sounds' finest, fill yer boots
My baseline has always been £300 of Richer Sounds' finest, but I see that the Cambridge AM5 is no longer available which rather raises the baseline :-/
Thought this item had died a death but a couple of days later it’s still prominent, and I see a couple of posts busily dismissing mains cable upgrades in response to my late night views.
You’re probably right in what you say about the wire not making any difference. I have Naim gear and their mains cable upgrade is called the Powerline. It uses bog standard 3 core cable, but Naim don’t make claims for the wire, their claims are for the mechanical properties of the mains plug at one end - for which they don’t claim much at all tbh - and their own version of the kettle plug at the other. The two key claims are the firm mechanical clamping action of its prongs onto the pins in the socket on the back of the receiving box, and the isolation of vibration incurred by 240V AC. Naim are big into mains power with most of their top line kit being two boxes; a separate power supply and the main unit - streamer, pre amp, power amp.
The biggest upgrade most Naim owners find is installing a separate mains for it, taking a parallel feed from the meter to a new CU running to dedicated wall sockets avoiding the radial that feeds fridges, freezers, the boiler and everything else. That’s next for mine, given how much it improves late at night when the house is asleep.
Just to add, a huge amount of the comments on this thread confirm what I suggested in my first post - that too many people have never experienced sitting in front of a decent stereo and don’t grasp a) how absolutely magnificent top-line hifi can sound, and b) how apparently tiny differences can have such an impact on the sound, differences that with the best will in the world a £299 one-box stereo from Curry’s with its flimsy 3” drivers in a stapled together box but described as 'hifi', isn’t going to deliver.
To the guy laughing at changes in soundstage, it’s where the speakers effectively disappear and the music becomes a 3D image with height depth and width. That’s what can change with different speaker cables and different combinations of source and amplification where the one constant is the choice of speakers.
I agree that you can get a noticeable improvement over £1k all in or even £1k on speakers alone but have better power cables (beyond something that's patently defective) ever been shown to demonstrate a measured or double blind identified improvement? Similarly, for the speaker cables, beyond getting thicker copper (more strands to avoid HF loss rather than just a thicker conductor) on longer runs has an advantage ever been demonstrated?
Melting isn't the issue, it's the frequency-dependent resistance presented by most speakers. Introduce an interplay between that and the cable and you'll alter the frequency-response (irrespective of volume). This is also why a thinner cable is more acceptable for a shorter run.
For reference, you should be considering amps (unit, not the component) for a conductor, not Watts. For example, if you're feeding 676W into a 4 ohm load (overkill, I realise), that's 52V, 13A. The same current as a conductor would experience at 240V and 3kW. Obviously, you should also consider the breakdown voltage of any insulators too since, on both counts, house fires aren't too neighbourly.
I have heard some amazing setups in "proper" hi-fi shops (most of those shops no longer exist) of stuff I could not afford.
I was always on a budget with sound kit as other things were more important in life (& still are - happy with music sound that is "good enough" - especially now I'm getting older and hearing decline is noticeable (probably not helped by attending many loud gigs, including some of the bands that have had "loudest ever" status (though that's a very arguable thing)) and differences I could easily detect decades ago would probably not register now ).
Back then if you were buying an affordable turntable the best "bang for buck" vinyl sound improvements you could get (assuming decent amplification setup, speakers & good quality speaker cable) were a decent tonearm (if turntable supported a choice of tonearm), cartridge & stylus - makes a huge difference (& can have a surprisingly big impact on the sound, especially cartridge - can be a compromise choice depending on what type of music you most listen to)
But, back in 1975, Mrs Tim99 bought us one of the first LP12s wth a neon mains switch. Including the arm and cartridge, it was expensive at about £250. We listened to it a lot. For some of the time we didn't have a TV - Partly because we were "too busy". I had to sell it 25 years later after a serious car accident meant that I couldn't drive it properly (After spending an insane amount, trying to get everything else that was audio related up to a similar "standard"). The good news was it still sounded more pleasant to us than an upmarket CD player; and the better news was that we managed to sell it for quite a lot of money.
These days our hearing is shot - The "HiFi" is a AU$300 stereo pair of Apple HomePod minis, which are fine...
Back in the days of vinyl (now long superseded) I owned a TD125 mk ii. It beat the LP12 (which is cheaply based on Thorens subchassis design) in terms of clarity and bass extension without any doubt.
It was sold off more than ten years ago for a good quality Arcam CD player and a REL Storm 3 sub woofer.
My understanding was that the Thorens turntables were initially developed, starting around 1957, at St. Croix in Switzerland. The first commercial player being the TD124. Thorens were building cutting machines starting in the 1940's - at least, according to their on-line history.
The only legitimate reason to use a record today is that it imparts a unique tonal quality that you like. Will a Jony Ive player do that? I doubt it. Photos of the LP12-50 on the web site suffer from low quality digital upsampling so we're off to a bad start.
I'm glad I can get by with FLAC. (Played from solid state storage so the drives don't
skip crash on the bass)
We're not provided with any tech details and I don't think this product is worth the time searching. The first thing that hits is the tone arm. I can't see any means of ensuring full dynamic balancing for starters. Quite unlike the 1x SME Mk I and 2x MkII arms I bought about 60 years ago. I wonder how the turntable is driven, by "rubber band" or pulley? What design steps have been implemented to minimise motor noise? How is the turntable frame isolated from its mounting box? I suspect without proof that this item would be accurately reproduce the footsteps of the user walking around it.Nothing about the quality of the pickup cartridge and stylus type.
Far better product and huge savings made by obtaining a Garrard 301 and Mk II SME arm and Shure 15 cartridge from eBay. Parts for these are STILL being manufactured 60 years later and a total refurbishment of the 301 possible very cheaply.
The cost of this offering is just nuts and suggests that there are some very wealthy audiophiles out there with more money than sense. After they purchase 1 or more of these things it's comforting to think they'll have less money than sense.
Ah, yes, the Garrard 301. That does have rubber between the motor and the platter, but at least it's squashed, not stretched.
Someone should make a new idler-driven turntable. They could even make an updated version of the Collaro "Conquest" changer, with its theatrical trick of measuring the record by raising the tonearm and bumping the it against the edge of the stack (and then maybe it could even do a second pass using an optical sensor to locate the breaks between tracks). Motors are cheap enough now for it to be worth using a separate one (or more?) to power the change cycle.
Yes, I know it should be attached directly to the wall but not all of us live alone.
I still have an LP with a big scratch across it from when our then male (7kg+) cat tried to bat at the tone arm (despite the cover over the turntable - int was very much his dump stat) and knocked the turntable sideways.
I miss that cat. *Really* laid back unless someone foolishly gave him catnip..
Hi! It's a Firebird Studio. I don't think I like it very much but it has been my main and then only ax for almost two decades, I think. I grew up and had a family so it's been sorely neglected (as have any skills I might have once had), but the kids are now saying they want to play so it might come out this weekend if I can restring it.
My dad has a still-working "Murphy" turntable & integrated (mono, but with stereo capability) valve amp. It's a bit quiet and some of the pots are a bit crackly, but it sounds quite good for all that and it plays 78s on one side of the needle, and 45, 33¹/₃ and 16²/₃ on the other side. He even had some of the slow records at one point but they seem to have disappeared over the years. He's most cross about having to sell his 'original' Glenn Miller records in the 1960s. No idea how or when he got them as he was still in school during the 1940s but it's the one thing he really regrets doing back then.
Don't forget to seperate the floor that the turntable rests on from the rest of the house, with its own foundation!
Also, what about the power cables that feed supply to the house itself...?
Factor in the age of the listener, and the fact that your ability to hear top end frequency decreases with age
Audiophile hifi is a perfect example of the law of diminishing returns, if ever there was one.
Don't forget to seperate the floor that the turntable rests on from the rest of the house, with its own foundation!
You mock, but that's more-or-less how the studios were built at the radio station I worked for. The actual studio boxes (through the airlock, behind the triple-glazed, angled-pane windows) were separated from the rest of the building by brick pillars down to their own "foundations" if you like, lumps of neoprene on top of those and a cast concrete* floor slab on top of the neoprene. In the AM studio (where even in the late 1990s we played quite a lot of vinyl), the original IBA grade turntables (sorry, really can't remember the models) were on concrete paving slabs, on wooden plinths filled with sand, on another concrete paver, on the concrete floor slab.
In the FM studio, by the end, it was mostly SL1200 or SL1200 mkII on the sidepods.
*the floor was a solid slab but the walls and roof were an odd concrete / chicken wire / straw mix which was somewhat awkward to drill, if you had to
I’ve seen pics of such an upgrade for the speaker bases. The owner cut a roughly 1 sq metre hole in his floor and removed the concrete below as a column down to a depth. Not sure where he stopped, DPC maybe. Then with something in place to separate the existing concrete base from the new he poured in a column of concrete back up to just below floorboard level, and fixed a custom plinth of steel base with granite upper to the top of that new support. Full credit, it looked magnificent, and sat with a small gap between the floorboards and the granite. Plonking the speakers on that gave him the requisite results; speakers on a very solid base instead of wooden flooring, effectively isolated from the house.
A little more practical - I had a non-functional fireplace removed and used part of the enormous space to build a sealed subwoofer enclosure. The hardest part is finding a new low frequency subwoofer every ~12 years. Most of them of them are heavy, rigidly suspended, and tuned for 40 Hz using the resonance of a small enclosure. Efficiency drops to nothing around 20Hz. Large enclosure and infinite baffle subs are practically built-to-order. Sometimes they're called "home theater" subs now.
Ives would say that it sounds amazing and there's nothing like it. I'll say it sounds amazing and there's no record player that will like it.
...sealed subwoofer enclosure...
Subwoofers should be vented. Apart from increasing the low bass response it also reduces wear where the cone meets the rubber surround.
When next replacing the speaker consider PA suppliers rather than overpriced HiFi suppliers. A 15" bass bin speaker would probably do the job a treat and should last a lot longer.
How about - and I'm sure I've mentioned this in a previous article - they use some sort of special coding on the vinyl to correct for any dust particles? They could maybe use some type of modulation, perhaps involving pulses that represent the waveform, and being binary in nature, it would be able to reproduce the sound every time with less chance of error. Then, they could make the pickup a laser instead of a mechanical pickup. Finally, they could make the disc smaller and more manageable, and protect it behind a plastic substrate.
It could be called a Petite Disc or something. Nah, it'll never catch on.
"Linn’s all-new Bedrok™ plinth technology; formed of orthogonal layers of beech placed under extreme pressure to create an entirely new, solid and massive material."
H'mmm. On my desk I have a really posh coaster. It's made from an offcut of basically extremely dense plywood - I think beech layers that have been bonded and compressed under high pressure. The material was developed in WW2 for aircraft parts, notably control panels, to reduce the need for metal, which could be better used for other bits.
I'm blowed if I can remember the name but if I come up with anything I'll pop back.
Well, a little digging and I can say it's called Jabroc, invented and manufactured by Jabroc Ltd and is definitely a highly compressed laminate of beech veneers. My great grandfather, Wallace, was making templates to produce pressings for aircraft consoles, possibly for De la Rue.
My Jony Ive-designed wireless toilet is the envy of all my friends who poop. It is stylish, fits my butt perfectly, and allows me to play video games for hours on end without leaving the bathroom. In fact, I think I'll live in here.
Truly, Jony is the Michaelangelo of tech gear design.
Many years ago, with my first couple of months wages in the bank, I went to see Thomas Heinitz in Moscow Road, Bayswater, then the top audio equipment shop in London. I wanted a tyrntable and was determined to spend as much as I could. Mt Heinitz sat me down in front of the six foot tall electrostatic speakers in the shop and set up behind me a couple of turntables with the records synced. 'I will switch from one to the other and you must tell me if you can hear any difference,' he said. I listened and after a long few minutes decided that I couldn't hear any difference between the two. 'Now turn round.' There was a Sondek LP12 and next to it a )realitively) cheapo turntable. The interesting thing was that he had put a box of matches under the felt on the platter of the cheap one and that set the record at a very odd angle, with the tone arm riding along like a small boat in a heavy sea. He advised me to buy the cheap one. (That shows how long ago it was.)