Author Topic: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link  (Read 5768 times)

eman

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The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« on: June 16, 2015, 07:03:15 AM »
Hi All:

 
   I know some of you won't like the thread title and will disagree. Well I can tell you I spent too much time and money collecting records to put any of mine on one of these. First I'll never put a stack of records and use a changer. Second I'm not putting those tonearms that typically (but not always) track at 3-5 grams and hav e an inferior needle even if new. Then there is the sound from these cartridges and whether the original or a new old stock a ceramic cart isn't going to come close to sounding as good as a good mag cart and even an inexpensive mag phono pre.

   I'm my MM I took out the Collaro and found a linear tracking Technics to fit in that small space. Wow what a difference. I always remove the stockers and upgrade the TT. Now I do save the original changer and usually rebuild it too should I sell it or give it away. I have a couple of Telefunkens now and removed the original and put in a Garrard Lab 80 from a Wurlitzer SS console. The Wurlitzer had that nice Lab 80, speaker boxes w/ a port but terrible SS electronics.

So I don't expect to convert anyone just stating my preference.

624Magnificent

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2015, 08:16:46 AM »
I enjoy my magnetic turntables and I enjoy my ceramic record changers. There are many myths that have been perpetuated especially in forums.

One of them is that ceramic cartridges ruin records because of tracking pressure. It is true that some cheaper or early units track at 10 grams or even more. These can damage your vinyl. Some of the new, cheap, turntables that are on the market today fall into this category. A properly adjusted tonearm on a record changer such as a collaro, tracking at 5 grams or so, will not damage your vinyl.

Another myth is the idea that record changers damage records. Early changers in the era of 78's were not particularly nice to records. 78's are fragile and shellac based, using them on a changer is risky. The more modern changers in the 50's and 60's from the larger more reputable companies like Zenith, Magnavox, RCA etc are relatively gentle. Modern vinyl, post WWII, is pretty robust and designed to handle being used on a changer. In the 1950's most record companies added a ridge at the edge of the record, this ridge is higher than the rest of the record and is intended to keep the ridges of one record from rubbing on the next in a changer. Some early LP's don't have this but they are fairly rare.

The third most common myth is that ceramic cartridges don't sound as good as magnetic. Well that is true but not as true as you might think. A ceramic cartridge can only produce frequencies up to 12 or 15 kHz and there is some attenuation at these high frequencies. A magnetic cartridge can produce up to 20 kHz or higher. Very few instruments or notes actually exceed 12 kHz. A magnetic cartridge can be crisper and produce more frequencies but a ceramic can be extremely enjoyable. Part of the charm of consoles is that they can have both. Early tube models have the warmth of ceramic and later solid state units have the accuracy of magnetic.

There's a wonderful website about record changers that can answer many of your questions and show you which changers to seek or avoid. Read the various tabs its very informative.


http://midimagic.sgc-hosting.com/safchang.htm

http://midimagic.sgc-hosting.com/changers.htm
Tom

electra225

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2015, 08:17:34 AM »
Often in error.  Seldom in doubt.
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

Consoleman

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2015, 08:18:17 AM »
I take the middle ground by putting a magnetic cartridge on the changer and lighten up the tracking force. That way you get the looks and stacking ability with better sound and less record wear. I don't think stacking harms the records but I don't put my best ones on the changer.


It's a matter of personal preference between conserving the console as is or resto-modding. I try to make changes reversable if I do them.
Mark

spiritofradio

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2015, 09:22:03 AM »
I think this comes down to " what are you listening to?"

Personally, I don't see any sense in playing anything printed after '69 on vinyl.  growing up in the 70's and 80's, I can name 99% of the songs played on the 'classic rock' or 'oldies' radio stations in 5 notes or less.  ( remember Name That Tune?  awesome game show).  So.... I've heard them umpteenmilion times and don't need to spend time and energy getting MM/MC cartrdiges on a Dual 1009 tracking at weight of 5 molecules because the vinyl they are printed on is thin enough to see through.
What I do like to play, is 50's and 60's stuff that is almost always printed on heavy gauge vinyl and sounds spectacular on ceramic cartridges.  A magnetic cartridge isn't going to make Blueberry Hill, mastered in mono, sound any better.

So how about that record swap idea someone brought up?!  I'll trade you my 70's stuff for some Perez Prado and Bill Black's Combo :)
~~~and did you exchange.......
a 'walk-on' part in a war.....
for a lead role, in a cage?~~~

Consoleman

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 09:28:31 AM »
I think this comes down to " what are you listening to?"

Personally, I don't see any sense in playing anything printed after '69 on vinyl.  growing up in the 70's and 80's, I can name 99% of the songs played on the 'classic rock' or 'oldies' radio stations in 5 notes or less.  ( remember Name That Tune?  awesome game show).  So.... I've heard them umpteenmilion times and don't need to spend time and energy getting MM/MC cartrdiges on a Dual 1009 tracking at weight of 5 molecules because the vinyl they are printed on is thin enough to see through.
What I do like to play, is 50's and 60's stuff that is almost always printed on heavy gauge vinyl and sounds spectacular on ceramic cartridges.  A magnetic cartridge isn't going to make Blueberry Hill, mastered in mono, sound any better.

So how about that record swap idea someone brought up?!  I'll trade you my 70's stuff for some Perez Prado and Bill Black's Combo :)

I don't think you've ever heard a great 78 system with a magnetic cartridge.

I would say that mastering expertise and attention to sound quality declined in the 70s. I know of one highly regarded mastering engineer who thinks sound quality peaked in the 78 era. But I've never heard a correlation between record thickness and sound quality. Thick and thin can sound great or terrible.
Mark

624Magnificent

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2015, 09:39:20 AM »
78's are great! I found a Jelly Roll Morton and a couple Fats Waller 78's the other day at a yard sale. Treasure hunting for gems is fun!!
Tom

spiritofradio

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 10:01:52 AM »
78's are great! I found a Jelly Roll Morton and a couple Fats Waller 78's the other day at a yard sale. Treasure hunting for gems is fun!!
I have Jelly Roll, but on 33 only...... would love it on 78.    I made the mistake of playing 78's on my RCA RP-211 and the drop broke my glen miller in the mood and Pennsylvania 6 5000......  I will only play my 78's on my model 56 Webster Chicago now.  That baby has about 1/2 inch of flock on the platter and a brand new P-51 mono ceramic cartridge from Gary...nice soft landing and powerful clear sound out of that Stromberg Carlson amp.
~~~and did you exchange.......
a 'walk-on' part in a war.....
for a lead role, in a cage?~~~

AMP82-01-00

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2015, 10:02:54 AM »
I enjoy them all. I like hearing jimi Hendrix on a console with the ceramic cart. I believe I ruined a record playing it way too much though.

I have a couple newer Magnavox component turntables that I enjoy too.  another favorite is early 80's Technics turntables. for the price they are hard to beat.

old pioneers sound great. I have a miracord  elac 50 I need to get working. the one my friend has sounds great!!

I say experiment and see what is music to your ears. for me I like thundering bass and crisp highs and a clear mid range. I like to think im very picky on sound.



how many times do you go to a event or party and want to adjust the sound? granted most PA speakers suck anyways.

David        "If it ain't interesting, its really just boring"

bastardbus

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2015, 11:47:00 AM »
I don't think anyone on here is against MM carts at all.  What I think is most folks are against is hacking up antique machines to install modern turntables in them.

Myself, I don't give a hoot what you do....it is your machine and if you want to chop it up and burn it in the fire place, go ahead.

That being said... if you want to have an old console why not enjoy it for what it is and how it was originally designed, other wise why do you own it?  You can always have another set up with a nice receiver and component turntable too or better yet use the aux input on your console to run a spare component turntable through your `50s console.


Larry H

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2015, 12:35:53 PM »
Didn't Magnavox design their electronics around a .5 volt ceramic cartridge?  I believe they did.  Sure, automatic record changers aren't as gentle on records as high end turntables, but seeing them work and change records automatically makes it all worth it. Besides, who wants to manually play every single LP record?  I know I don't.
--Larry

bastardbus

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2015, 01:29:56 PM »
What is also funny is in some cases I think a ceramic sounds as good if not better then a MM.  Again...in certain cases and this is usually when dealing with a machine designed for a ceramic cart.  Here is some video on that topic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgoU8Y1e1eU

eman

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2015, 01:39:11 PM »
I think this comes down to " what are you listening to?"

Personally, I don't see any sense in playing anything printed after '69 on vinyl.  growing up in the 70's and 80's, I can name 99% of the songs played on the 'classic rock' or 'oldies' radio stations in 5 notes or less.  ( remember Name That Tune?  awesome game show).  So.... I've heard them umpteenmilion times and don't need to spend time and energy getting MM/MC cartrdiges on a Dual 1009 tracking at weight of 5 molecules because the vinyl they are printed on is thin enough to see through.
What I do like to play, is 50's and 60's stuff that is almost always printed on heavy gauge vinyl and sounds spectacular on ceramic cartridges.  A magnetic cartridge isn't going to make Blueberry Hill, mastered in mono, sound any better.

So how about that record swap idea someone brought up?!  I'll trade you my 70's stuff for some Perez Prado and Bill Black's Combo :)

I don't think you've ever heard a great 78 system with a magnetic cartridge.

I would say that mastering expertise and attention to sound quality declined in the 70s. I know of one highly regarded mastering engineer who thinks sound quality peaked in the 78 era. But I've never heard a correlation between record thickness and sound quality. Thick and thin can sound great or terrible.




I'm a Grado dealer and have set up many nice 78 rigs. Grado supports 78's, has good carts and both type of styli. I knew this thread would go this way.


E
T


eman

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2015, 01:50:35 PM »
I don't think anyone on here is against MM carts at all.  What I think is most folks are against is hacking up antique machines to install modern turntables in them.

Myself, I don't give a hoot what you do....it is your machine and if you want to chop it up and burn it in the fire place, go ahead.

That being said... if you want to have an old console why not enjoy it for what it is and how it was originally designed, other wise why do you own it?  You can always have another set up with a nice receiver and component turntable too or better yet use the aux input on your console to run a spare component turntable through your `50s console.


I own it because I like it. It sounds much better  w/ a mag phono compared to even the better changers. Even ones I've totally rebuilt, new idler,new cart even from VM etc don't so close to as good as even a run of the mill TT w/ a mag phono. On my MM I can put it back to that horrible Collaro w/ the crappy piezo electric cart that sounds inferior and has a stylus tip when new that is NOT nearly as good as even a cheap modern elliptical mag cart. I'm not putting my records on something with a conical tip tracking at 5 grams sorry. I've seen people damage records just removing a stack from a changer much less what stacking does. I bought used records for over 20 years a s a buyer for a store. When you look at that many records and gather data and make correlations you see a pattern. Ceramic cart changers are inferior. Period.

I like high end audio and have a modest TT rig/cart and tube phono pre valued at  probably $3K retail and it doesn't make me real happy either. Once you've heard the ridiculous $50K-125K rigs you get ruined for the lower end things. A good phono rig on a tube console (no SS consoles for me) can sound very very good. Not a ceramic.

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eman

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Re: The Ceramic Cartridge Changer-The Consoles Weakest Link
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2015, 01:56:28 PM »
Again as someone new hear this is not an I'm right, you're wrong. I'm 55 and have been in audio for over 35 years. I have a great ear (which costs me $$ to satisfy) and a long background in vinyl. As I said I'm a Grado dealer and a few other brands and do a lot of both higher end TT as well as ceramic changer repair/rebuild.

When you look at everything as I see it with vinyl costing what it does today I really feel a good console deserves a good modern TT with a mag phono and a good mag phono pre. I don't think anyone that disagrees is wrong, it's just how I feel.

Look back at the first sentence in my original post.


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