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Old 06-06-2009, 07:52 PM
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Default My first turntable setup.

Ok, I've finally crossed over into the dark side of vinyl.

I've decided to start out with the Clearaudio Performance TT with Satisfy Carbon tonearm and based on the recommendation of Alberto, the Clearaudio Maestro Wood cartridge.

My original plan was to start out with a more "serious" turntable but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to "get my feet wet" with a more reasonable priced TT just to see what's what with vinyl and if I will stick with it or not. I figured it would not a big deal if I decided not to stick with vinyl but a $20k TT would hurt quite a bit if that was the case. A more reasonable TT/Arm/Cart would also allow me to get some experience with the proper setup and not have to sweat while setting up a $4k cartridge. Of course this also gives me time to go out and audition more TTs to pick the one I will stick with for years to come.

Just a brief impression of the overall quality of this rather reasonably priced Clearaudio TT and tonearm.


I think for the money, this table offers very good quality and design. The excellent ceramic/magnetic bearing is very smooth and the whole platter "floats" on air with the repelling/opposing magnets built into the ceramic bearing assembly. The platter/bearing fit is also very precise with no visible run-out in both the vertical and horizontal planes.

The Satisfy Carbon Tonearm also seems to be well built for the money, the installation went smooth and easy and I like the design of the head-shell that allows to mount and adjust the cartridge with just one screw instead of having to play around with two. Anyone who has setup cartridges before will probably agree. The pivot bearings and the cuing mechanism is also buttery smooth.

The plinth is also not only good looking but seems to be of appropriate mass for the platter, designed with resonance control in mind and comes with decent quality, adjustable feet with clear rubber vibration isolation points. This makes leveling the TT a breeze and the package offers enough weight/heft to be a sturdy, fairly non-resonant platform for the tonearm/cart to do their work of extracting the music from the grooves.

Overall, the build quality, looks, motor and tonearm are a great value for the money. I've seen much cheaper looking/build quality at this price.

The guys at Clearaudio even included a great sounding classical music Opus 3 LP for the owner to try on the new TT.



This was my first attempt at tonearm/cartridge setup. Not as bad as I thought it would be. The excellent Dr.Feickert Protractor made the whole process much easier and much more precise. The included Clearaudio Protractor was pretty much useless as you will see later on. Overall, the whole install took me about 5 hours since I had no one to help me and this was all completely foreign to me. I think the second time around it would take less than half the time.


Here are some pics of the setup that I took along the way. I don't want to bore you with the turntable setup since it is straight forward and not rocket science but will include a few of the more tedious cartridge mounting.


Tonearm mounted and cartridge mounting/setup is in progress. The rod you see is the Feickert protractor being aligned to the tonearm pivot point. It really helped that the Satisfy tonearm has a "dimple" that tells you precisely where the pivot point is. VTA has been set at this point.




Next is the overhang adjustment.




Next was the actual geometry and the null points setup. I chose the Loefgren geometry which Dr.Feickert seems to favor and compared to the Baerwald on the other side of the setup disc.






After a little, ok, a lot of tweaking the cartridge mount in the tonearm, it looks like it is finally aligned pretty good. This is what tests your patience and you have to be careful through the whole process. Both the overhead and straight on shots confirm that both the cartridge body and more importantly the cantilever/stylus are aligned.

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Main System:


Amplification: Luxman L-590AX Mark II.
Luxman D-06u SACD.
Roon/Tidal.
Bryston BDP-Pi

PrimaLuna Dialogue HP EL34

Speakers: Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary




Headphones:

ZMF Auteur Blackwood

Headphone Amplification: Audeze Deckard, PrimaLuna Dialogue HP, Luxman L-590AX Mark II, Woo Audio WA6

Source/DAC. Roon/Tidal.

Last edited by PHC1; 06-06-2009 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:53 PM
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Continued...



Vertical Tracking Force (VTF) is confirmed to be spot on for the recommended weight.




A quick check to make sure the stylus survived my unexperienced hands and setup.





Time to spin some vinul. Finally.....



__________________
Serge

Main System:


Amplification: Luxman L-590AX Mark II.
Luxman D-06u SACD.
Roon/Tidal.
Bryston BDP-Pi

PrimaLuna Dialogue HP EL34

Speakers: Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary




Headphones:

ZMF Auteur Blackwood

Headphone Amplification: Audeze Deckard, PrimaLuna Dialogue HP, Luxman L-590AX Mark II, Woo Audio WA6

Source/DAC. Roon/Tidal.

Last edited by PHC1; 06-06-2009 at 08:00 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-06-2009, 07:58 PM
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I am awaiting the MintLP protractor from Hong Kong, it is supposed to be the best there is for cartridge setup. I'll let you know if I find any differences in geometry or sound.
__________________
Serge

Main System:


Amplification: Luxman L-590AX Mark II.
Luxman D-06u SACD.
Roon/Tidal.
Bryston BDP-Pi

PrimaLuna Dialogue HP EL34

Speakers: Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary




Headphones:

ZMF Auteur Blackwood

Headphone Amplification: Audeze Deckard, PrimaLuna Dialogue HP, Luxman L-590AX Mark II, Woo Audio WA6

Source/DAC. Roon/Tidal.
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  #4  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:07 PM
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Masterlu Masterlu is online now
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Extremely good post Serge!

Well documented (always) & excellent pics for those newbies (like me).

Enjoy the Darkside! :lsabre:
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Reference System: ACCUPHASE A250 AMPS, C3850 PRE-AMP, DP950 CD/SACD TRANSPORT, DC950 DIGITAL PROCESSOR, DG-58 DIGITAL EQUALIZER, T1200 FM STEREO TUNER, PS1230 POWER SUPPLY, HRS-SXR CUSTOM RACK w/ M3X SHELVES, TAD REFERENCE ONE MK2 LOUDSPEAKERS, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
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Analog Rig: CLEARAUDIO INNOVATION WOOD, UNIVERSAL ARM w/ Da VINCI' CART, 2nd UNIVERSAL ARM w/ GOLDFINGER STATEMENT CART, HRS-MXR REFERENCE RACK-GLOSS BLACK w/ M3X SHELVES, AESTHETIX RHEA SIG PHONO-PRE, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Reference System: BURMESTER 911MK3 AMP(3), 088 PRE-AMP, 089 CD PLAYER, 100 PHONO PRE-AMP, 948 POWER CONDITIONER, AVID ACUTUS REFERENCE SP TT, GRAHAM PHANTOM II SUPREME ARM, BENZ MICRO LP-S CART, GRANDIOSO P1/D1 STACK, G01X RUBIDIUM MASTER CLOCK, N05 NETWORK PLAYER, SILENZIO, HRS-SXR CUSTOM RACK w/ M3X SHELVES, SONUS FABER AIDA SPEAKERS, JL FATHOM F113v2 SUBS(2) SOUND ANCHOR STANDS(2) PS AUDIO P20, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES

Library System: GRANDIOSO M1 MONOBLOCK AMPS, C1 LINESTAGE PRE-AMP, K1 CD/SACD PLAYER, G1 MASTER RUBIDIUM CLOCK, E02 PHONO-PRE, SILENZIO, AERIAL ACOUSTICS 20T V2, AERIAL SW12 SUBS(2), CANTON REF K1’s, VPI HRX TT w/ SDS POWER SUPPLY, ORTOFON CADENZA BLACK CART, KLAUDIO RCM, SHUNYATA DENALI 6000T/PS8, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Bryston/Esoteric System: ESOTERIC C02-X PRE-AMP, P-02X TRANSPORT, D02-X DAC, G02-X CLOCK, BRYSTON 28B3 CUBED MONOBLOCK AMPS, BIT-15(2) AMR-DP777-SE DAC, SILENZIO, TAD REFERENCE ONE MK2 LOUDSPEAKERS, QUADRASPIRE RACK, WIREWORLD PLATINUM CABLES
Accuphase/Canton System: ACCUPHASE E-650 INTEGRATED, DP750 CD/SACD PLAYER, T1200 FM STEREO TUNER, PS530 POWER SUPPLY, CANTON REF K3’s, CANTON REF K5’s, SILENZIO, HRS MXR REFERENCE MAHOGHANY RACK w/ M3X2 SHELVES, WIREWORLD GOLD CABLES
Bryston Active System: BP26 PRE-AMP, MPS2 POWER SUPPLY, BAX-1 CROSSOVER, BDA-3 DAC, BDP-3 PLAYER, BCD-3 CD PLAYER, BIT15(2), MODEL T ACTIVE SPEAKERS, 21B3 CUBED AMPS, SILENZIO, TARGET RACK, WIREWORLD SILVER CABLES
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterlu View Post
Extremely good post Serge!

Well documented (always) & excellent pics for those newbies (like me).

Enjoy the Darkside! :lsabre:
There are four things a man must do in his life... Build a house, raise a family, plant a tree and setup a turntable. Now I feel more or less complete....
__________________
Serge

Main System:


Amplification: Luxman L-590AX Mark II.
Luxman D-06u SACD.
Roon/Tidal.
Bryston BDP-Pi

PrimaLuna Dialogue HP EL34

Speakers: Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary




Headphones:

ZMF Auteur Blackwood

Headphone Amplification: Audeze Deckard, PrimaLuna Dialogue HP, Luxman L-590AX Mark II, Woo Audio WA6

Source/DAC. Roon/Tidal.
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  #6  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:55 PM
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Great post Serge. I love the way you documented and photographed your set-up. I am going to post on your post on Vinyl Asylum because this is one heck of a great post for turntable geeks.

Considering that the Clearaudio Maestro sells for $1K by itself (and worth every penny IMO), getting that table and that tonearm for $1K is a killer, KILLER, deal. No offense to the Rega P3/Pro-Ject folks, but at similar prices there's no question in my mind what table I'd rather own in the $1K category.

Beautiful set-up and great post!

Alberto
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:55 PM
gregswaim gregswaim is offline
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Gotta love that carbon fiber tonearm! The Pro-Ject 9cc on my LP12 is also carbon fiber- I'm keeping it for a long while for sure.
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  #8  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alberto View Post
Great post Serge. I love the way you documented and photographed your set-up. I am going to post on your post on Vinyl Asylum because this is one heck of a great post for turntable geeks.

Considering that the Clearaudio Maestro sells for $1K by itself (and worth every penny IMO), getting that table and that tonearm for $1K is a killer, KILLER, deal. No offense to the Rega P3/Pro-Ject folks, but at similar prices there's no question in my mind what table I'd rather own in the $1K category.

Beautiful set-up and great post!

Alberto
Alberto, I know we talked about the Clearaudio Emotion package but I decided to go up a notch for the "Performance series". This table/arm retails for $2800, of course I paid much less. What the performance brings is a sandwiched plinth, thicker platter and a ceramic/magnetic bearing that floats the platter. I felt it was worth the extra $$$ over the Emotion.
__________________
Serge

Main System:


Amplification: Luxman L-590AX Mark II.
Luxman D-06u SACD.
Roon/Tidal.
Bryston BDP-Pi

PrimaLuna Dialogue HP EL34

Speakers: Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary




Headphones:

ZMF Auteur Blackwood

Headphone Amplification: Audeze Deckard, PrimaLuna Dialogue HP, Luxman L-590AX Mark II, Woo Audio WA6

Source/DAC. Roon/Tidal.
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  #9  
Old 06-06-2009, 09:01 PM
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PHC1 PHC1 is online now
It's not just the music!


 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregswaim View Post
Gotta love that carbon fiber tonearm! The Pro-Ject 9cc on my LP12 is also carbon fiber- I'm keeping it for a long while for sure.
Not a bad tonearm considering the price. Sounds great so far. No VTA on the fly but most of my albums so far are the same 180g so no big deal.
__________________
Serge

Main System:


Amplification: Luxman L-590AX Mark II.
Luxman D-06u SACD.
Roon/Tidal.
Bryston BDP-Pi

PrimaLuna Dialogue HP EL34

Speakers: Harbeth 30.2 40th Anniversary




Headphones:

ZMF Auteur Blackwood

Headphone Amplification: Audeze Deckard, PrimaLuna Dialogue HP, Luxman L-590AX Mark II, Woo Audio WA6

Source/DAC. Roon/Tidal.
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  #10  
Old 06-06-2009, 09:09 PM
gregswaim gregswaim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHC1 View Post
Not a bad tonearm considering the price. Sounds great so far. No VTA on the fly but most of my albums so far are the same 180g so no big deal.
Lots of arms out there- you might want to hold onto it for a while even if you upgrade to a better table later on. Mine retails for $1200. The next step for me is the Linn Ekos SE($5000.00). There's a improvement with the SE but not a big one. It will allow me to use more exotic pickups(because of much better tracking)with confidence like the MC Lyra Olympos- $10,200.00.
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