Thursday, 25 April 2013

Revolving discs

In what might be the final post in the current series I recently changed another part of my stereo system recently.
I'll save the long story of how this system got put together but as far as amplification went I was having problems going loud with my loud speakers with a Tubed power amplifier and control unit (the bit that selects what you play from) so it was replaced by a much powerful solid state integrated one (in plain speak the control unit bit and power amplifier in one unit)  made by Rotel. The thing about this unit was it didn't have an input designed for a record deck to plugged straight in.
Currently it has a Stanton 681EEE cartridge in it and it need something to make its output much bigger and adjust the sound from the cartridge so it matches that the record was cut with (when you cut a record you reduce the low notes and increase the high ones to reduce surface noise and increase playing time). I had such a unit by Hart Electronics but the output was too high causing distortion and even putting reducers in the output leads didn't quite cure it all as I think it was getting a little distorted in its internal circuits.
As it happened Rotel made a unit specifically for my integrated amplifier and a few similar products whose output matched exactly the sort it's input stage was designed for.

 It needless to say is a perfect visual match for my integrated amplifier.
The unit can handle standard Moving magnet as well as dearer Moving Coil cartridges selected using a switch at the rear. Its previous owner was only selling it cos he had another similar unit so it was spare.
After quickly plugging the wires in and connecting the grounding tag on the record deck to a special connector on the unit, I tried a few records I know well. The obvious thing was the loss of a niggling feeling of harshness in the louder passages where the other unit was close to overloading, sweeter high notes and a better sense of where in a stereo mix the different instruments are located in space.
To be honest, had I of planned to have gotten this amplifier first I'd of gotten this unit straightaway.
It makes listening to records old or new ones such as David Bowie's recent The Next Day that I have on vinyl so much more enjoyable.
I did notice a little hum but that's due to a lead in my head-shell being a bit worn having swapped it out for another one so I've ordered a new headshell and will get cartridge remounted to it.

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