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Turntables and Vinyl Discuss all facets of vinyl, including players, stylii, care and maintenance, and of course... records.

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Old 08-13-2017, 06:42 PM
4Head 4Head is offline
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Spin New to vinyl!

Hi! I'm not so new to the forums LOL, but I am certainly new to vinyl records. My dad and I share a studio in downtown Navasota Texas, and downstairs is an antique shop (they consider us staff LOL) with lots and lots of cool things. Now, I found a PERFECT condition Victrola from the 40's... it was $800, so, um, nope! I had always wanted to get into records. They have huge baskets of cool vinyl. I did not own a record player, so I thought, now would be the perfect time to look for one! So, I came across a good ol' Audiotronics 304E record player for $45. Bundled with some Duke Ellington records, too! Not bad. So, brought it to the counter, and the lady (who is also my great friend) said she'd give me $20 off. $25 total, no tax! Awesome. Took it upstairs and plugged it in, and immediately it starts turning. Wonderful. I put the record on (I'm 13, most kids my age have Crapley (Crosley) turdtables) and it sounds great. Volume knob might need some cleaning, it crackles when you turn it. Other than that, it is an incredible little player. It's built really well, almost completely out of metal, so I am wondering if it's commercial. I am incredibly happy with this! What are some tips and tricks you vinyl experts have?
  #2  
Old 08-13-2017, 07:05 PM
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I'm not an expert but firstly enjoy it as you are doing. Try and get a manual if you don't have one so that you can adjust the basics. www.vinylengine.com might have an owners manual for it. I have an old grammaphone and old 78's and that in and of itself is a real blast. Have fun and enjoy.
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:50 PM
john from seattle john from seattle is online now
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I just did a quick Google search and yes, it's a record player found in school, or were until they were gotten rid of, and it's very late in the game for that even, judging by the style of the tone arm itself.

It's a modern straight aluminum tube arm with a fixed plastic head shell that held the cart, a ceramic unit with flippable stylus that went from 78 to 33.3/45rpm records, and used a standard 89T needle as a replacement.

These are likely idler drive, meaning they have a rubber wheel that goes between the motor and the inner platter rim to drive it.

This one is likely transistor/solid state.

In the past, these had all metal arms that were cast and later pressed plastic arms were used in I think the 80's and this arm looks to be the last or latest iteration of the arm.

Good and rugged they are, but if you are seeking better sound, best to upgrade when you can to even a budget component turntable, even a good used one and get a receiver, vintage with a phono stage in it and some speakers for a significant improvement in sound down the line.

In the meantime, you've got something to play records on so enjoy!
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  #4  
Old 08-13-2017, 09:16 PM
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"Turdtables"

I love that! I'm gonna use that, if you don't mind.

Welcome to vinyl!
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:21 PM
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I also did a quick search online and found it was a unit that was used in schools. I have a V-M school record player from 1973 and it is built like a tank. Spring loaded feet, pause control, 4 speeds, power indicator light, metal speaker grill and corner protectors, a lock for the tone arm, schematic diagram pasted to the underside of the lid, a microphone jack to use the amplifier as a PA system, a headphone jack, and a power cord thick enough to run a clothes dryer. I recently ordered a new combination LP/78 flip over stylus. I use mine to transfer 78 rpm records to cassette. The heavier tone arm is not ideal for expensive hard to find albums but since you're just starting out and probably won't be buying unopened mono copies of Sgt. Pepper I think you'll do okay and it's not a bad way to become familiar with the hobby. Just to be on the safe side I would replace the flip over stylus as they're not very expensive ($20 or less in many cases), give everything a good cleaning, and you should be fine. It always makes me glad to find someone young like you who is taking an interest in vinyl and kudos for being a Tapeheads member.
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Last edited by Flick; 08-14-2017 at 10:35 AM.
  #6  
Old 08-14-2017, 08:53 PM
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Thank you for the welcome! Yes, please feel free to use "turdtables" however you want, just came to mind when I thought Crosley :P
I am very glad this is commercial grade and rugged. I need something strong to play my records on :D So what tips do you guys have? No, not the needles lol, like little tricks. Playing them wet, I've tried that, I hear no difference
  #7  
Old 08-15-2017, 09:08 AM
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Can't think of any "tricks" really... I would say get a nice platter mat that works for you. It can make things more convienient (static cling with felt mat to an album) or improve the sound or change it slightly as in rubber or cork. Experimenting with the little things and listen... it can be fun.

But as you think of any questions you can't get the answers to, post them and fellow TH's will oblige.

If you can't hear a difference playing wet, that leads me to think you have cleaned your vinyl and periodically your stylus? Some tricks and personal methods with regards to cleaning for sure. Most ideal situation is you can hear past the noise of vinyl and filter that out. Some can do it better than others and would say that you kind of train your vinyl listening brain... IMHO.

Just enjoy the music, and the hunt for it too. I often preview an album on Spotify or YouTube, and if I like it enough I'll go on the hunt for it.

It really is nice to see people your age enjoying a format(s) that most laugh at, and those who do will never know what they are missing! Just smile, cause' you will. ;)
  #8  
Old 08-15-2017, 06:30 PM
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Exactly! Most kids my age either think "whats vineill?" or they have a Crudley/Crapley/Scossley/Crotchley (I can think of many more) turdtable, play a record a few times then think "well shit records dont last long" because Crosleys have heavy tracking force and can possibly ruin records! In addition, they'll also think records sound like sh!t, because of their Crosley, but they won't bother with a better player. The sound from this 304E is just enough for me, it's clear rich and bright. Was at the antique shop downstairs today, found one of my favorite songs on vinyl (Say You Love Me by Fleetwood Mac) so I immediately ran back up to get my wallet, tumble down the stairs, and bought it! When I listen to vinyl, I forget it's even a record. I tune out the snap crackle pop (we all know that belongs in a cereal bowl!) and I hear just what I want to hear. I've developed the "vinyl ear". No wonder vinyl is coming back. All we need are GOOD RECORD PLAYERS! Most people will play it on their Crotchley (yes that's my favorite one ) and think "Well this sounds like shit! Make it obsolete again!!!"
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Old 08-15-2017, 06:31 PM
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I've also modded mine a bit to 2.5 to 3.5 grams of tracking force, and I calibrated the platter when I repaired it.
  #10  
Old 08-15-2017, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Head View Post
I've also modded mine a bit to 2.5 to 3.5 grams of tracking force, and I calibrated the platter when I repaired it.
What was it before you modded it?
  #11  
Old 08-17-2017, 07:38 PM
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4.2 grams of force
  #12  
Old 08-18-2017, 10:14 AM
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Next investment should be a cheap vinyl cleaning system (i.e. SpinClean MKII) and a chunk of Magic Eraser for dipping the stylus into for cleaning.
  #13  
Old 08-26-2017, 04:09 PM
sonyandredbull sonyandredbull is offline
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I concur with the cleaning comment. The automated record cleaners can get expensive, but I highly recommend the following two items in any case:

https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technic...dp/B0009IGAPW/

https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technic...dp/B01GE1ZOPY/
  #14  
Old 08-27-2017, 08:59 PM
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It's certainly a good idea to have a dust cleaner/anti-static brush. But they don't do much for dirt that is packed down into the grooves. That requires deep cleaning...which can be done manually or with a machine.

Also, it's great that you - like many, many younger folks - have discovered how enjoyable records can be. Keep in mind that for some of those who've started with Crosley's or other very low end players, it is just a first step on their journey. It might be better to encourage rather than ridicule them. Heck, my first record player was an all in one that played only 45s and sounded about like a little transistor radio.

Some of those lower end units (though not Crosley) probably sound at least as good as your Audiotronic...and everyone has to start somewhere. I think you're a little too early on the curve to take on the dreaded vinyl snobbery syndrome.
  #15  
Old 08-28-2017, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcbluesman View Post
Also, it's great that you - like many, many younger folks - have discovered how enjoyable records can be. Keep in mind that for some of those who've started with Crosley's or other very low end players, it is just a first step on their journey. It might be better to encourage rather than ridicule them. Heck, my first record player was an all in one that played only 45s and sounded about like a little transistor radio.

Some of those lower end units (though not Crosley) probably sound at least as good as your Audiotronic...and everyone has to start somewhere. I think you're a little too early on the curve to take on the dreaded vinyl snobbery syndrome.
Well said
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Old 08-28-2017, 01:15 AM
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Basic personal hygiene

Right.
I wouldn't worry about playing records wet, or other bits 'n' pieces of vinyl voodoo floating around.
Do invest in a basic cleaning system (@hajidub) and a cleaning brush (@kcbluesman).
Always handle records by the edges, always put them back in the sleeve when you're done playing. Don't eat/ drink in the vicinity of an LP etc. - y'know, the basics.
Get the best cartridge you can afford and make sure the needle is in good condition (I generally do not trust needles on used cartridges, unless I know the person who sold/ gave it to me). A worn/ damaged needle will mess up your precious LPs more than dirt.
When I was in high school (early eighties....), I had a Garrard turntable - a suitcase model, with the speakers acting as the suitcase cover. I installed a counterweight "system" to get the tracking force down to ca. 2 grams. But 3 grams is fine. My other grandfather had a Philips turntable where the tracking force was around 10 grams.

As to snaps and crackles - the human brain is amazing in filtering out unwanted noise. That's part of the magic of vinyl - you don't really mind the non-musical stuff after a while.
  #17  
Old 08-28-2017, 10:48 AM
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I have an Audiotronics 304A. I use it for 78rpm.
  #18  
Old 08-28-2017, 11:54 AM
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To kind of mirror what others have already said, you're probably safer with the Audiotronics, but quality wise it may not be much of a step above a Crosley/Ion/Pyle, etc with a ceramic cartridge and generic red stylus. But hey, everyone starts somewhere and I got a good start with that stuff too.

That being said, there's much more quality to be had. I went from the red stylus stuff to a TEAC and Audio-Technica belt drive table with a simple Audio-Technica dual magnet conical stylus. Even better than the Crosley kind of stuff, but then I moved up to an Elac idle drive table with a NOS Audio Technica magnetic cartridge and diamond stylus. From that I went to a Realistic Lab-290 with a Shure cartridge with diamond stylus which I still use. You'd be amazed how much better vinyl sounds just by using a diamond stylus after hearing anything below it.

As a guy who was where you once were, here's the advice I wish I would have had at your age (I'm 27 now):

1. Get a good record cleaning brush and some cleaning fluid. Don't use those cheapo anti-static carbon fiber brushes or brushes that use felt-like material. You'll want a brush that actually pulls dirt and dust from the grooves and lifts it off the record. The best brushes use a velvet-like fabric. The Audio-Technica AT6012 is your best bet. I have an older version of this brush and can't praise it enough. I use their cleaning fluid, which works great, but Caig (the makers of DeoxIT) has just come out with their own cleaning fluid - more than twice the amount for the same price - which is anti-static. A good brush and fluid such as this will eliminate a lot of noise. I've never used a Spin Clean or anything like that - they may work fine, but I know firsthand that this brush actually deep cleans the grooves and is harmless.

2. Get a good turntable that has an adjustable tone arm and removable headshell for cartridge upgrading. It doesn't have to be a new record player to sound great. Brands like Realistic tend to be overlooked and can be bought cheap and the quality is top notch.

3. A good place to buy new belts is turntableneedles.com - You can also get good needles there too, all at a great price, but better priced needles come from Needledaddy on Ebay.

4. When lubricating your turntable use quality stuff like Super Lube Synthetic Grease, 3-in-1 Motor Oil (blue label), and Super Lube Synthetic oil. When cleaning electronic contacts and pots/faders use DeoxIT D5 and Fader Lube F5.

Now you just need to try cassettes!
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Last edited by RockSolid87; 08-28-2017 at 11:56 AM.
  #19  
Old 08-28-2017, 12:47 PM
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There is a big difference between surface cleaning and deep cleaning. Deep cleaning is not something that you can do with a quick pass of a brush and some fluid.

For best performance, vinyl - especially used vinyl - needs a deep cleaning...generally, only once, assuming you then take care of it after that. Surface cleaning removes surface dust and static. The AT brush is fine for surface cleaning.
  #20  
Old 08-29-2017, 02:47 AM
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I think a velvet brush like Discwasher combines de-dusting with some aspects of deep cleaning - the fibres are denser and probably go deeper into the groove than a typical "eyelash" carbon fibre brush, I would think.
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