The problem with a great turntable...

The problem with a great turntable...

Postby husafreak » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:26 am

A while back I commented here that I was happy with my new Scout 2 turntable because I had achieved a system with a similar sound quality coming from my TT and CD front ends. Don't get me wrong, I often found the TT to be a better source, but in the main I was happy that they were both "simpatico". Now after a couple years of tweaks and upgrades to my Scout 2 I find my CD rig leaving me completely flat. There is just no reason for me to listen to CD's at home in my living room anymore.
This really happened after the installation of a JMW9-3D 9" arm on my table. I took a couple of hours today to really listen critically and see if I was dreaming or hearing clearly. I grabbed a few albums that I had played recently and the CD's that I have had for years. I compared the Alan Parsons Project I Robot Album, CD, Music On Vinyl LP, and MoFi 45 rpm LP. Then the Dances With Wolves CD with the 45 rpm LP. Then the my Harmonium Debut CD and the Classic Reissues LP. And finally rocking out with a Phish Hoist CD and the recent LP release. I could have added some jazz or more classical music but the end result was just so obvious, the vinyl killed even the best CD's on my rig.
In every instance the CD presentation lacked depth, soundstage width and height were limited, instruments were less well defined and less real sounding, liquidity and "air" were just not happening, and worst of all the crescendos or musical high points were marred by a congestion and hardness that robbed me of the very thing it should have provided. I am being hard on my digital front end but I know what I heard. I listen to digital more than vinyl. I travel and I drive and I wander around with headphones or earbuds in and I am happy to enjoy my music. But honestly, my turntable just sounds sublime. The new 3D arm has changed everything. I finally left my digits in the dust with that change.
I would like to make another observation. In the last few years, after replacing my old HW19 with the Scout 2, and during this recent infatuation with vinyl in the marketplace, I have purchased quite a few high dollar vinyl reissues and new releases. I was more or less happy with most of those purchases but I often felt I was chasing something intangible. With the 3D arm many of those records have bloomed. I am going back and dragging out a lot of new or reissued LP's that got a play and a shrug and this time around they are getting an A HA! A good example would be MoFi's Carly Simon Tapestry album, it sounded OK when I got it but with the new arm I can clearly hear Joni Mitchell and James Taylor accompanying Carly. They sound just like themselves! This just wasn't possible before. Yeah, you could hear them but now it is almost spooky. So yes, the albums that I expected to sound better now clearly sound better. There is no question. This is the essence of a revealing component.
Well, I thought I would share my observations. Maybe it's not the arm, maybe I just finally got my VTA correct, LOL. I guess I could invest in a new digital front end, maybe there is something wrong with mine. I'l list the components for what that is worth.
Digital: Musical Fidelity M1CDT Transport / Theta DS Pro Prime II DSP / Kimber silver interconnect
Analog: Scout 2 / JMW9-3D arm / Sumiko BB / Phoenix Falcon PSU / VPI Periphery Ring / HRX Record Weight / Timbernation on Target wall mount stand / Ortofon cable
Last edited by husafreak on Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
VPI Scout 2/JMW9-3D arm/Sumiko Blackbird/VPI Periphery Ring/HRX record weight/Pheonix Falcon PSU/Timber Nation Maple Isolation Platform/Target Wall Stand/VPI HW-16.5/Ortofon 6NX-TSW-1010/Krell KSL/KSL phono/KST/XLOPro/Harbeth SHL5+
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Re: The problem with a great turntable...

Postby Brf » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:18 am

Great post!

I absolutely love reading these types of posts whereby the user describes their pure enjoyment that their system provides. This is what the hobby is all about.
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Re: The problem with a great turntable...

Postby billo » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:20 am

Carole King might be upset though... :D
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Re: The problem with a great turntable...

Postby mreeter » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:56 am

husafreak, It looks like you have a very good Digital set-up! For your Scout II/Vinyl to surpass it, is saying something.

The 3D Arm brought to my set-up the sound and tone that I had been craving. Detailed, yet smooth as Buttha! It would take a very large investment in a Digital source to outperform a properly set-up TT/3D Arm.
Last edited by mreeter on Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
VPI Classic Signature SE
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Rogue Audio Ares "Magnum" Phono Preamp
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Re: The problem with a great turntable...

Postby Dorian » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:08 pm

My digital "rig" consists of a Google Chromecast Audio device plugged into one of my Integrated Amp's inputs, so not really a fair comparison, but my analog rig sure kills it!
VPI Prime #959 & Outer Ring| SoundSmith MIMC Star | Herron VTPH-2A | Primaluna DiaLogue Premium HP Integrated | KEF LS-50s | Phoenix Eagle & Roadrunner | Audio Sensibility Cables | Symposium Ultra | AQ Niagara 1000 | Stillpoints LPI | Focal Clear
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Re: The problem with a great turntable...

Postby spinblackcircle » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:30 pm

Dorian wrote:My digital "rig" consists of a Google Chromecast Audio device plugged into one of my Integrated Amp's inputs, so not really a fair comparison, but my analog rig sure kills it!


Exactly like mine! I sold my SACD player, I only had a few and all my CDs are on a NAS. Someday I might add a better DAC to it but I don't use it enough to justify.
VPI Prime/Grado Reference Master, VPI 16.5 RCM, Audio Research LP1, Audio Research VSI60, Martin Logan Electromotion ESL, ClearDay and Audio Sensibility Cables
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Re: The problem with a great turntable...

Postby Dorian » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:34 pm

spinblackcircle wrote:Exactly like mine! I sold my SACD player, I only had a few and all my CDs are on a NAS. Someday I might add a better DAC to it but I don't use it enough to justify.

I only use digital for background music when we have people over, and for $35 the Chromecast fits the bill nicely. But it obviously pales in comparison to the analog chain.
VPI Prime #959 & Outer Ring| SoundSmith MIMC Star | Herron VTPH-2A | Primaluna DiaLogue Premium HP Integrated | KEF LS-50s | Phoenix Eagle & Roadrunner | Audio Sensibility Cables | Symposium Ultra | AQ Niagara 1000 | Stillpoints LPI | Focal Clear
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Re: The problem with a great turntable...

Postby DonFrio » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:25 pm

i spent a few hours last week comparing my scoutmaster with mofi master tracker cart and clear audio phono pre to lossless digital sources played out of a mac mini. Both went to a bryston sp2 preamp which was also the DAC and a pair of Innersound electrostats. On a few digital recordings it could get close but most were easily eclipsed by the analog versions. Im very much a fan of digital and own a recording studio that is all digital after the mic preamp. It was a very eye opening test to see how much better my analog has become.
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Re: The problem with a great turntable...

Postby tony22 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:54 pm

My digital rig has always bested my analog playback until I got the Classic 3, where they were fighting it out like two heavyweights in the ring, with the VPI edging it out by just a hair on any given day. The Avenger is better still, but my digital gear can still be called good company for the 'table. I can happily listen to either.
Pass XP-20, AVA 600R, Shahinian Diapasons, PS Audio DMP & DS, VPI Avenger with 12" 3DR, Benz SL and L2, SS Zephyr Mk.2, Ortofon Quintet Mono, Pass XP-15, Logitech Touch, RSA Haley and PSA conditioning, PAD and AZ cables.
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Re: The problem with a great turntable...

Postby longbowbbs » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:24 am

I have been enjoying regular shoot outs between the Prime Sig with Candenza Bronze and the PS Audio DS and DMP. Unlike most battles there is a winner every time, Me! hen I am using a really nice recording with the Prime Sig it is hard to not listen to the whole side regardless of what is on though. Sweet music.
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