The Mike Moffat (#2 at Schiit) Blog

Discussion in 'Schiit' started by baldr, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    Some things that have gone through my mind since LP playback has come back in fashion, but I thought I would sound like a smartass if I voiced my thoughts. Maybe I will sound like a smartass...

    I was 16 years old in 1972. LPs were the only choice - RtR was too expensive, pre-recorded cassette and 8-Track did not sound good enough. I had a part time job and was able to put most of my earnings into my stereo and LPs. I bought a Dual 1219 turntable, Shure M91E cartridge, Marantz 1060 integrated amplifier and AR 2ax speakers and stands. I used the Watts record and stylus cleaning products. I handled and stored my records properly. I set up the stereo properly. It wasn't TOTL but I was really happy with it.

    The dealer wanted to charge me to install the cartridge. I decided to do it myself. I went to a deep discount dealer and did not get (nor really want) any advice on anything. The only sources of information were the manuals and stereo magazines (on every rack) back then. It never seemed laborious nor confusing. I just did what I needed to do to get the results I wanted.

    LP playback has progressed a lot since back then and it can be much more complicated. But it doesn't seem like it has to be. The LPs that I have from back then still sound like new. I have a few surviving cassettes that I made on that system when I was 17 to refresh my memory. They sound really good. The LPs and that rather modest turntable/cartridge sound better than any digital I have heard. (I have not heard SOTA anything, btw.)

    LP playback has never seemed that difficult. Maybe it was the era that I grew up in and the lack of options available. And I had that base of experience to build on as time and technology progressed.

    (On the other hand, I will usually listen to digital if I am not going to sit down in the sweet spot and immerse myself in the experience.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    It's like stick shifts. I learned to drive on a stick and have always driven stick. No one drives stick anymore. (I am so glad my wife can drive stick, and both my kids have expressed interest). Automatics are for when I am lazy. Driving stick isn't that hard, but it does take a little practice.

    With turntables, these immediate concerns come to mind:
    1. Crushing the canteliver / suspension while setting VTF. Moved the counterweight in too much. Ooops.
    2. Learning how to carefully use pliers to attach tonearm wire leads to the cart, and knowing what wire goes where.
    3. Initial learning curve in dealing with cueing and moving the tonearm, especially with unipivots. People will freak out from the wobble.
    4. Learning a way around the table to avoid accidents, like getting a shirt sleeve caught on the needle and ripping the canteliver off. Yes these things happen.
    The thing that's changed the most since when I was a kid is more knowledge and adjustability of stuff like VTA, VTF, azumith, alignments, etc. And that people don't read manauls anymore. I'm not sure a 4x6 quick start guide will work will turntables.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  3. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    When I was starting out, VTA and azimuth were not discussed.

    I never had any experience with unipivot tonearms or adjusting azumith (I've checked it with a mirror though). I've only adjusted VTA by ear. I was nervous as hell using pliers to attach tonearm wire leads to the cartridge. (I always lucked out though.)

    I learned to drive on a car with a 3-speed manual on the column and a horrible clutch. I was delighted when I got to feel a proper clutch and a "four on the floor." And I have never owned an vehicle with an automatic transmission. :) But I get your point.

    @Marvey - Do you use anti-skate with your unipivot?
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  4. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    Those starting off should probably use a good sounding, inexpensive conical with a flat response like the Shure M35X. That way alignment is simplified and the the stiff suspension will help with the unipivot learning curve. If the table/arm is good and has all it's issues worked out, even a cheap cartridge will sing on it.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    VPI provides the option but HW has always recommended against it. I actually ended up using it.
     
  6. schiit

    schiit SchiitHead

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    If we ever do a turntable, I'll try to convince Mike to do a setup video. Rina can do the video editing and apply bleeps where needed. Or not.
     
  7. powermatic

    powermatic Friend

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    HW's 'no antiskate' platform is just odd, and contrary in a flat-earth, I-shall-now-ignore-scientific-fact-and-suggest-you-do-the-same way. I don't get it.

    Here are Peter Ledermann's (SoundSmith) thoughts on antiskate, with his methodology for application. Yeah, the process is very experience, art, and 'feel' based ("...very slowly...", etc.) but that's because there are so many variables involved. And frankly, art, experience, and feel are at least half of setting up a TT:

    http://www.sound-smith.com/do-i-need-anti-skating.html

    Also: you can buy blank records so you don't have to use the run-out at the end of a normal record.
     
  8. powermatic

    powermatic Friend

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    "Maybe kinda rude..."

    That's not rude. That's just telling the truth. Vinyl is a lot of fussy, pissy, frustrating, and sometimes just boring-ass (I'm looking at you Record Cleaning) work, unless you're just putting on a show for your pals. I try to warn people-for instance this rando who wanted a one-post instructutorial on Record Playing Upkeep, Maintenance, And Repair:

    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...urntable-newbie-phillips-777-setup-help.3407/

    A-probably just a kid, but never got a return reply
    B-couldn't help but note that the senior and wiser members just ignored him.:rolleyes:

    Point being: if you ever do get into the market, I'd love to see the kind of direct honesty you outlined above. It would save a lot of people from being poorer and disappointed-er.
     
  9. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    I'm a bit surprised here. Aren't acrylic platters the better overall?


    Even if Schiit don't go down the TT route, it'd be awesome for SBAF to provide materials/instructions on stuff like changing cartridge and all the fiddly alignment business. Seems like this ain't for the faint-hearted... I'm currently looking at a Pro-Ject or U-Turn in the near future, but got a cold shower when I realized just what changing a cartridge would imply in terms of instruments and skills.
     
  10. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    Acrylic platters also ring, are harder to machine accurately, but given the right context do work well. There are a decent number of good tables that use acrylic, but platters are flavor of the monthy things. As to skills for vinyl, it's different things. There is more to do, but changes in sound are very discernible. SBAF tends to Koresh opinion, but with turntables and speaker setups, it's a wide vast dark ocean of possibility, and sinking is a very real danger, so you kinda gotta learn to like the journey, I think.
     
  11. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    If you are interested in installing a cartridge in one of those turntables you will need a small screwdriver, a small mirror and a $40 MOBILE FIDELITY - Geo-Disc Stylus Alignment Protractor. I was surprised at how well those work. Just follow the instructions on the disc. I have installed several cartridges with one and then checked with a DB Protractor and it was spot on each time.

    I think that people could read what some are doing while taking LP playback to a very high level (which is so cool to me, btw) and it could be confusing to someone wanting to start out in LP playback or stay at a lower level. That lower level can sound really good and be pretty simple.

    It is just a matter of how far one wants to take it, kind of like most things in audio.

    (Edited out an unnecessary reference.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  12. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

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    I am too. My arm came with a protractor, and I was never happy with the the sound. On a lark I tried a Mofi Geodisc, and it move the arm a 16th of an inch back, and the setup started to sing. Never again will I look down at the MoFi tractor.
     
  13. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I for one greatly enjoyed Mike's rant here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/784471/what-a-long-strange-trip-its-been-robert-hunter/1635#post_13162286

     
  14. baldr

    baldr Schiit-sterer

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    I was recently asked where I stood on analog vs. Digital, not only to which I like to listen, but what I like to design and build. The oversimplified answer is yes to both. So where does that lead?



    Well, back in the early 1980's I was selling my protos for the early Theta Digital stuff. I did this in pre-Theta days, because the company was not yet formed.



    I found myself at the receiving end of hate to laughter from the audio conservatives, particularly in light of my reputation at the time of being a very early manufacturer in the tube renaissance movement, give that early solid state sounded like hemorrhoidal ass with noise. Well, I suppose those folks were at least trying to conserve analog, even well before anyone else even began to consider the possible artistic nature of digital recordings.



    From then up to a few years ago, probably 95% of my time has been spent on digital products. (Lately I have been distracted with the Manhattan project. In fact, Ivana just sent me some code to try.) Fair enough. But I have never given up on analog. Ever. They are both incredibly fun to build. They are definitely fun to play with.



    If you forgive the Freudian analogies: Sometimes you just want a low-maintenance, get out what you put in, easy going, well programmed humanoid, is always there when you need her, kinda mistress. There she is, digital. Damn good repeatable sound. But then again sometimes you really need an impossibly hard to live with, more maintenance required than a 747, round heeled, drop dead gorgeous except for that mole on her face, sword swallowing, owns a liquor store, on psych meds, howl at the moon, terabitch on her good days mistress. Yup, that's analog. I know, I know, but sometimes it's worth it.
     
  15. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

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    Mike, are you saying Vinyl is like a mid-life crisis love affair?

    Because that'd make a lot of sense with how I perceive it from the vinyl lover's comments.
     
  16. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

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    What's funny is I almost think of it the opposite: vinyl just works for me. Computers, digital, etc. are always needing updates, charging and are buggy.

    Case in point: My Internet went out (it was Comcastic) and I just said "screw it" and put on vinyl because at least that always works.
     
  17. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

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    Hahaha fair enough Findley. Though I don't need Internet for my music fix. It's a lot like vinyl actually: a lot of hassle at first to set up, then resist the urge to change anything unless absolutely necessary. Anything else and it gets to be a bag of hurt.
     
  18. MrButchi

    MrButchi Gear Master Europe

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  19. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

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    I say this as someone who's worked in software for around 10-15 years: There is nothing that software can't ruin. So while in my thirties, I'm old and jaded.

    That said, yes, buying a DAC and a USB cord is much easier than setting up a turntable. I just trust it *waaaaaaay* less.
     
  20. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

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    I think we have gone fairly farer than usb cord to dac, at this point. but I digress.
     

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