Common Ground Review
No matter what your record player you owe it to yourself to read this if any of the following apply:
Looking to upgrade your record player in any way?Acquiring a record player power supply upgrade?Renewing or changing your record deck AC or DC motor?
The next stage in our quest is much simpler, but will start to cost money, the single most effective way to increase detail retrieval, reduce speed fluctuation and thereby increase enjoyment, is to pay attention to the way the platter is driven. It must be as smooth as possible with little or no variation or vibration.
There are four distinct methods to achieve this, two of which are to replace the existing motor, third to include a record player power supply to the existing or upgraded turntable AC motor, or fourthly to remove the record deck motor and mount it on a sled completely isolated from the record deck, this fourth option is also applicable with any other record player motor upgrade that is chosen.
Upgrade Using Existing Record Deck Motor
Very simple this one, mounting the record player motor free of the chassis on a sled or plinth is a very effective way of isolating the vibrating record players motor. Also buying and fitting a proprietary motor power supply, will make the record deck motor run much more smoothly, quietly and with far greater speed accuracy than with the supplied, rather rudimentary version. The most cost effective replacement being the Avondale Audio ‘Taps’ more costly and no more effective versions are available from Linn and Naim.
Upgrade The Motor
The existing turntable motor supplied on most record decks is generally very cheap, it does the job of turning the platter but tends to be a bit rough, better examples of turntable AC motors can be had for very little money and will show a greater degree of accuracy with higher torque and lower vibration, let me just reflect a little, the reason for trying to reduce vibration transmitted through the belt is quite simple, any extra vibration at the stylus tip that is not generated by the groove will be injurious to the final sound from the speakers, in other words some of the detail you are hearing is motor noise, not music, and an awful lot of what you are not hearing, is being buried by record deck motor noise.
Make no mistake, the single most important upgrade you can ever make to any record deck concerns the turntable motor drive. So allied to this motor change carry out the preceding upgrades as well.
There is another turntable motor change that takes all preceding to new heights, albeit cannot be done in stages, is considerably more costly, and requires a greater level of commitment. The low voltage, battery driven DC motor for record players, (which will be available in kit form) answer nearly all of the criteria for a highly stable, virtually vibration free turntable motor drive, the writer has occasioned all of the upgrades described in this article, and has been delighted with the success of them all, each one has rewarded with more detail, better pace and timing, much greater bandwidth and most importantly a much more enjoyable music experience. Unfortunately nothing can prepare you for the total shock of going DC, in a word GOBSMACKING.
There are details in recordings that I have never imagined as being present, there is tuneful subsonic bass, and new heights that were previously unscaled, the whole music experience has taken on a new meaning, my humble Systemdek record player competes and in many cases far outperforms some of the dearest and best engineered record decks ever conceived.