2

I sometimes run into some records that sound distorted when hitting certain frequencies. Like in this case: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dpsgnbwd45pmgad/001%20Scene%201.wav?dl=0
The example above comes from a record on which most of the songs sound ok except some parts. I tried the record on two different turntables one with an external phono preamp and one with an internal one and the problem is present in both cases.

6
  • Almost sounds like it’s not the record. Could you be hitting the ADC/audio interface too hard? Nov 2, 2021 at 23:46
  • What brand & model cartridge/stylus is on each turntable? Lots of low-medium quality cartridges fail to handle high slew-rate sections, such as a loud piano strike. Next, how are you listening -- via direct analog amps, or are you digitizing before playing back? Nov 3, 2021 at 15:06
  • As a side note - I've found the piano solos on Yes's song South Side of the Sky an excellent torture test for stylii (and the nuke bomb blast at the start, too) Nov 3, 2021 at 15:13
  • @ToddWilcox I guess that's out of the question since I tried it with two different setups: turntable with builtin amp + headphones and then recorded the snippet I linked above with another turntable with external amp trough a sampler. I could hear the same distortion in both cases.
    – Nick Dima
    Nov 3, 2021 at 17:53
  • 1
    I was pointing at the thing that both amps were plugged into. Whether it’s an audio interface or line in on your computer. The turntable and phono preamp are not the only parts of the signal chain that can create distortion. Nov 3, 2021 at 23:21

2 Answers 2

4

There are any number of reasons. It can happen that such distortions are in the original master tape. When tens of thousands of copies of the record are pressed, the stamper can slowly wear out. Playing a record wears it out a little bit. A high-quality magnetic cartridge does very little damage, but a record played 100 times using a crystal or ceramic cartridge will be worn down enough to sound distorted. Finally, you can get distortion if your stylus is worn out or if it is not properly tracking in the groove.

Did you get these records used? My guess is the previous owner played them too many times on a cheap record player.

I have a copy of the record "Around the World in 80 Days", and the previous owner must have loved the track "India Countryside." It's a good demo record for showing the difference between a track that was rarely played and a track that was played hundreds of times.

3
  • Yes, the record is used but in very good condition. There are almost no physical marks of usage.
    – Nick Dima
    Nov 2, 2021 at 23:01
  • 1
    @NickDima invisible damage doesn't mean that the record is fine. It's still possible that the previous owner(s) had a very bad needle or heavy support that finally damaged the disc. Records are played through physical contact, which can wear off the microscopic differences within the groove (those responsible of the good affinity to the original recording) after long, repeated playing or excessive stress, causing degradation of the signal: every time the record is played, huge amounts of atoms are actually scratched off from the disc surface (especially if it's not cleaned/washed). Nov 3, 2021 at 1:21
  • Also consider that album came out in 1979. That year there was an oil crisis. During oil crises the cost of vinyl was high and record companies sometimes started using low- quality recycled vinyl. Nov 5, 2021 at 18:11
0

Couldn t we say that vinyl records by default distort in some level?

and that the reason why some distort more than others is because of their recording?

im not talking about their original recording but the vinyl recording.

The distortion seems to occur when the volume of the music increases

This doesnt happen with cassettes as far as i know

The quality of the vinyl records is far from being perfect. Im not saying that cassettes are perfect or necessarily better than vinyls, it just that they don t have the clicks pops and noticeable distortion to my ears, and dont have the wow problem as vinyl records when the inner hole is misplaced. Im a vinyl lover don t take me wrong.

Im playing classical records right now that have never been played before and they all have the same problem, so regardless if the record is impeccable and has never been played, it still distorts and have the other noises which are inherent in every vinyl record like clicks pop and hisses.

Listening to Vivaldi on vinyl is sinonymous of distortion because of its typical increased volume composition pattern.

Would we say that ceramic cardriges always damage records by default? regardless if they are played with the right tracking force and not excedding the 6 or 7 grams?

is it the shape of the stylus? The material of the stylus? the tracking force? the lack of anti/skatng in most record players that use ceramic cardriges?

If so would we say that all the record players before the first record player with tracking force adjustment antiskating and non ceramic cardriges, actually damaged the records?

Do the cardriges like DJ ones damage records because of their increased tracking force?

Why would the manufacturer recommend a tracking force raging from 3 grams to 7 grams? why using more tracking force than 3 grams for it it already works well with 3 grams?

New contributor
זימן מרקוס is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.