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TDK

This sucks.

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OK so you wanna know what really sucks? (Even if you don't I'm still gonna vent my spleen, sorry).....

 

I'm in the process of 'ripping' all my vinyl, and it's one hell of a project. I'm about 1300 records in (of 2500 in total) and about 300 records ago I started on my 12" collection - doing everything in order.

 

Anyway when I swapped out from LP's to the 12" singles (about 300 rips ago), I removed the MC cart (Cadenza Black) and replaced it with a MM (2M Black), reason being I didn't want to beat up my $3000 cart on 12" singles - I'll beat up my $1k MM cart instead!

 

Checked all levels, all meters looked fine - nothing clipping on the outputs. Started recording... 300 12" singles in....

 

I should point out at this stage I do all my ripping to an external device, a Tascam DA-3000, so nothing touches software until I later open it up in Audition or whatever. Again all output levels well below clipping, mostly peaking at around -3dB.

 

300 records in I wanted to send one of the files to a friend so I open it up in Audition to do some minor edits. Peaks are at  -3dB as shown on the meter live when recording, but the damn waveform looks brickwalled.

 

Before.thumb.JPG.41f0adc761431ceb2c3e71a5e1b207d6.JPG

 

 

So I think it's just one bad example as most 12" singles are loud and this one's quite modern (relatively modern EDM track).... My immediate assumption was this was a brickwalled track before it was laid down onto vinyl, as is the case of most modern music.

 

So I re-rip the same vinyl via the MC cart, and low and behold a lovely dynamic waveform. No clips.

 

After.thumb.JPG.8704abeb3c4c8ff62b88dead328b2d4a.JPG

 

Insert very aggrevated emoji here.

 

The output of the 2M Black is providing a clipped waveform when played through the McIntosh C2600 and onto the DA-3000. At what point I don't know, but I'm very aggravated. It actually sounds fine, but you can't deny it. It looks like a brickwalled CD.

 

I just deleted 300 rips and am starting again using the MC. About 2 months worth of work down the toilet.

 

I guess the 12" singles will sound better ripped on the MC, but my poor Cadenza is going to take a beating...

 

Ortofon/McIntosh (or whoever/whatever was responsible for this) I hate you. I can only guess it's the MM phono stage in the McIntosh combined with the relatively high output of the 2M black. Oh dear.

 

And here is the really funny thing (If you can call it that). Adjusting the input gain on the MM input on the McIntosh to -4dB (defaults at 0dB) does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the output to the Tascam. The waveforms are 100% identical. Double oh dear Mr McIntosh. Something is fuxored somewhere. Most likely the MM Phono stage I'm guessing, or the 2M Black is providing it with too much signal perhaps?

 

Email to McIntosh HQ pending.

 

I now need to re-record to 300 12" singles all over again, starting with 2 Unlimited and getting as far as Boogie Pimps before I get back to where I was.

 

Show me some love, community. I'm feeling a bit tender right now. I have to listen to all those Boney M 12" singles all over again.

 

Edited by TDK
Added sad images.

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Guest Muon N'

That would be frustrating.

 

Just as a possible indicator that may help you to narrow things down, while not the Black, but very close. I did a fair few rips a few years ago with a 2M Bronze, and while I had to lower the recording level a little in Audacity as my modified version of the EAR MM stage circuit is somewhat too hot compared to most MM stages, I didn't have this issue.

 

So I'd at a guess based on this, It's not so much the 2M Blacks output level.................. Something else is a major culprit here.

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7 minutes ago, Muon N' said:

That would be frustrating.

 

Just as a possible indicator that may help you to narrow things down, while not the Black, but very close. I did a fair few rips a few years ago with a 2M Bronze, and while I had to lower the recording level a little in Audacity as my modified version of the EAR MM stage circuit is somewhat too hot compared to most MM stages, I didn't have this issue.

 

So I'd at a guess based on this, It's not so much the 2M Blacks output level.................. Something else is a major culprit here.

Thanks...

 

I've written to McIntosh to see if they can help. I suspect the gain on the MM stage might simply be too hot, or perhaps the 2M black is just too loud or who knows, maybe the cart is defective (doubtful).

 

I'm going to have to find an external phono stage to prove it one way or another. 

 

Sigh. 

 

Remind me why the world went digital audio again?

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Guest Muon N'

2M Black - Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec.  -  5 mV

 

2M Bronze - Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec.  -  5 mV

 

The Mac Pre Amp's MM phono stage by spec'...

PHONO VOLTAGE GAIN: Moving Magnet: 40dB

 

I used my Bronze with a MM phono stage that had a MM gain of 50dB and only needed to drop the default recording level in Audacity by about 10% to 15% to avoid clipping on modern recordings like Lana Del Rey's Born to Die LP.

If meters and levels during recording was OK, then I would be looking at the  Tascam DA-3000, if it was not during the recording process and viewed before the process those indicators don't tell us much.

 

Anyway, you are on the right track by swapping components out with others one at a time, It's how troubleshooting is often done.

 

I'm sure you will narrow it down.

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Guest Muon N'

Cadenza Black -Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec. - 0,33 mV

Mac' Pre MC gain -Voltage Gain (Moving Coil) 60dB

 

2M Black - Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec.  -  5 mV

Mac Pre  MM gain - Voltage Gain: Moving Magnet: 40dB

 

OK, there is a big difference in gain with the MM cart and the Mac', compared to the MC cart and the Mac'.

 

But the levels on the Tascam should have indicated this too high level during recording.

 

I'm very curious what was going on myself now :/

 

Edit: though I was no maths prodigy :lol:

 

 

Edited by Muon N'

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I figured it out.. Oh FFS...

 

OK so here's the thing...

 

I'm running Unbalanced to Balanced cables from the amp into the Tascam. No reason other than they are nicest set of spare cables I had left..

 

The more mathematically educated amongst you may already know the problem.

 

Anyway, I had the gain on the Tascam set to +12dB because previously I was recording from a MC cart. This indicated levels no higher than -2dB on the Tascam's meters.


When I put the MM in and monitored levels on the Tascam, it also showed no higher than -2dB, so I thought I was golden even though in fact the input volume levels were WAY higher (why Tascam, why?)

 

So here's the problem.....

 

The Tascam was getting confused by the fact that unbalanced voltages were coming into the balanced inputs. Even though the meter was telling me all was sweet, the dB gain setting on the inputs were overdriving what was coming in - even though, strangely, nothing was being recorded higher than -2dB....  Clearly I'm misunderstanding. Changing the gain does move the meters, but they never go over -2dB, even when you are distorting the crap out of your input.

 

Somebody with better knowledge of input voltages can explain this to me... Why an overdriven input didn't show up as (or was recorded as) clipping at 0dB is beyond me. 

 

No wonder my meters on the Tascam NEVER get over -2dB even when being completely overdriven.

 

Software bug in the Tascam or user numpty?

 

Same record with the MM cart with the input gain now set to 4dB as opposed to 12dB... 

 

Fixed.thumb.JPG.84355d833ea68303601e171056e68343.JPG

 

Now to re-record 300 records.

 

Edit: Big shout out to the guys in McIntosh head office. I had them replying to me in an email within 5 mins of me sending off my query. 

 

 

 

Edited by TDK

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Great thread.  Very interesting but once explained it does make some sense to me but once someone chimes in with input voltage explanation i'll be keen to read it also.

Glad to hear you got this sorted, and top shelf customer service from Macintosh by the sound of it.

Out of curiosity, do you notice a large audible or sound signature difference moving from your Cadenza Black to the 2M Black in your recordings?

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2 hours ago, 08Boss302 said:

Great thread.  Very interesting but once explained it does make some sense to me but once someone chimes in with input voltage explanation i'll be keen to read it also.

Glad to hear you got this sorted, and top shelf customer service from Macintosh by the sound of it.

Out of curiosity, do you notice a large audible or sound signature difference moving from your Cadenza Black to the 2M Black in your recordings?

I'm going to write to Tascam next as the nerd in me really needs to get to the bottom of this.

 

How can it be that an overdriven signal that is being clipped does not show up on the Tascam as being overdriven - that's the whole point of having the meters. However much you crank it up, +6dB on the amp and +12dB on the Tascam, the meters never read (or lay down in the recording) more than -2dB, ever, yet the wave is distorted. Crazy.

 

Anyway yes, to answer your question the Cadenza MC and the 2M Black MM do sound quite different. It's not necessarily a 'better or worse' thing, but they are different and they (can be) better than the other depending on what type of music you're listening to.

 

The 2M black is much more bombastic, particularly in the bass. The sound is also 'fuller'. I suspect this is due to longer resonance than frequency response. The cadenza is far more subtle in bringing out detail, however it does lack the 'oomph' that the 2M black does. The black is great for dance/disco/EDM whereas the Cadenza is really good for 'audiophile' vocals or high DR classical pressings etc.

 

It's impossible to describe the sound without sounding like a wanky audio reviewer, but they do sound different. I can't say which I prefer, it really depends on the situation and what you're playing. Both are exceptional sounding carts.

 

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Well, it's better to discover the issue now rather than at the end of your 2,500 albums...I guess...

 

Awesome response from  McIntosh BTW, there's plenty who wouldn't even respond to such an inquiry.

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53 minutes ago, Kaynin said:

Well, it's better to discover the issue now rather than at the end of your 2,500 albums...I guess...

 

Awesome response from  McIntosh BTW, there's plenty who wouldn't even respond to such an inquiry.

Yeah when I called their HQ in the US, I was put straight through to a tech guy (the phone only rang once) who was more than happy to spend the time to talk to me, but when I explained I needed to go into detail with screen grabs etc he was more than happy to supply his direct email address.

 

I got a reply from a colleague of his within 5 mins of sending off the email, as he'd looped a few people into the conversation.

 

It ended up being no fault of theirs at all, but the speed/friendliness of the turnaround was outstanding.

 

Let's see if I get the same thing from Tascam!

 

It's my own damned fault I suppose. I should have verified in software what the Tascam was claiming to be doing.

 

The thing that really has me beat is why the meter on the Tascam shows no higher recording than the -2dB (ever), so in theory nothing should be clipping. It's like the input source dB gain and the peak of what can be recorded are completely disconnected. Whatever you do, nothing higher than -2dB gets recorded, yet you can still drive the input source to oblivion.  I drove all the sources and gains to peak this morning to verify, and the meter on the Tascam just sits hard and fast on -2dB.

 

So what are the meters for Tascam? How can your input source metering not correspond to what is being actually being recorded.  If the inputs are being overdriven and distorted, surely the whole point of the meter on the recorder is to show you this.

 

Let's see what Tascam have to say.

 

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Guest Muon N'

Often turns out to be something more simple, we often tend to look deeper and miss the real issue, glad you worked it out.

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28 minutes ago, Muon N' said:

Often turns out to be something more simple, we often tend to look deeper and miss the real issue, glad you worked it out.

I made the mistake of trusting the meters on what is meant to be a professional level digital recorder :(

 

I'm sure there will be an explanation. I'm going to guess it _might_ have something to with me running unbalanced - balanced cables and the Tascam is getting confused with the source. Still doesn't explain why a clipped input signal doesn't drive the meters/recording into the red though.

 

Email has gone out to Tascam. Reply pending!

 

Thx fellas.

 

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2 hours ago, TDK said:

I made the mistake of trusting the meters on what is meant to be a professional level digital recorder :(

 

I'm sure there will be an explanation. I'm going to guess it _might_ have something to with me running unbalanced - balanced cables and the Tascam is getting confused with the source. Still doesn't explain why a clipped input signal doesn't drive the meters/recording into the red though.

 

Email has gone out to Tascam. Reply pending!

 

Thx fellas.

 

I wonder if that Peak/Clear button has something to do with it.

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1 hour ago, Wimbo said:

I wonder if that Peak/Clear button has something to do with it.

 

Nope.... That just clears the peak hold, which I've got set to 2 seconds anyway.

 

I'm going to try some regular RCA unbalanced cables into the RCA unbalanced inputs (as opposed to the Balanced inputs) this evening to see if that changes anything... I ran out of time last night.. Missus thinks I'm insane - mucking around with recording gear at 2am with multiple needle drops of Boney M 12" singles... 🤪 

 

My bet is it has to be the balanced-unbalanced thing. It's expecting different input voltages than what it's getting and it's dropping its bundle.

 

If that's not it then I give up. I'll just record MC at +12dB and MM at +4dB and I'll be good. I'll just need to remember that -2dB display on the Tascam is actually 0dB and the device will NEVER show you when you're clipping. Stupid.

 

Still p*ssed off I need to re-record 300 records - but the quest must go on.

 

Those high dynamic, beautiful sounding waveforms you get from vinyl vs what you get out of CD/spotify/downloads are reminding me why I do this.

 

It's a beautiful sound.

 

After2.JPG.0a9ec6ce456fe581a9c1ac9a84ee247b.JPG

Edited by TDK

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Waiting to go home to test the RCA-RCA setup, but hours of google searching yielded this..

 

Ouch.

 

This is professional grade audio gear? This just can't be right.

 

Tascam1.JPG.10828965d83697a5c5c804c558fba9e8.JPG

 

Tascam2.JPG.5df1c911f773508892807fd82551c00d.JPG

 

If true, the following condition is impossible:

 

da-3000_p_front.thumb.jpg.393a7c6a836cdfccc21ff775f570ac4c.jpg

My brain is dividing by zero right now.

 

Edited by TDK

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Guest Muon N'

Balanced is usually hotter, at least in pro gear, normally you have a 5v line level compared to 2v line level when looking at pro gear vs home audio, as far as I understand it.

 

The higher line level in pro gear is because they often are transferring the signal over longer distances, again as I understand it only.

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3 minutes ago, Muon N' said:

Balanced is usually hotter, at least in pro gear, normally you have a 5v line level compared to 2v line level when looking at pro gear vs home audio, as far as I understand it.

 

The higher line level in pro gear is because they often are transferring the signal over longer distances, again as I understand it only.

 

Cheers.. Will know soon enough! If I see 0db/+Ovr displayed when using RCA-RCA then I know it's a confused recorder.

 

Just doesn't make sense why an overdriven input doesn't show up as clipping on the recorder, but who knows. Some weird calibration issue at play, possibly.

 

Either way I'll have my answer in a few hours!

 

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Guest Muon N'
2 minutes ago, TDK said:

Just doesn't make sense why an overdriven input doesn't show up as clipping on the recorder, but who knows. Some weird calibration issue at play, possibly.

Yeah, doesn't make sense to me either :/

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45 minutes ago, TDK said:

...My brain is dividing by zero right now.

A wonderful description 😄  - from your descriptions I can understand why you feel like that. 

 

It's a bugger at needing to rerecord your 300 singles, but try to look at it as an opportunity to enjoy listening to them again. 

 

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16 hours ago, TDK said:

Thanks...

 

I've written to McIntosh to see if they can help. I suspect the gain on the MM stage might simply be too hot, or perhaps the 2M black is just too loud or who knows, maybe the cart is defective (doubtful).

 

I'm going to have to find an external phono stage to prove it one way or another. 

 

Sigh. 

 

Remind me why the world went digital audio again?

yep could be 2M black just too hot on the output just what a shame with the effort. you cant blame the tascam i have the uh7000 that i use for ripping and it does a gorgeous job but fed with my ortofon jubilee van my arc phono. 

 

be nothing saving the 300 rips but it woudl be good to get bottom off. at worst maybe a stand alone phono with adjustable gain. isnt the level on the tascam DA3000 adjustable . ... I can adjust input level on uh7000 to make sure not clipping. :) 

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10 minutes ago, betty boop said:

yep could be 2M black just too hot on the output just what a shame with the effort. you cant blame the tascam i have the uh7000 that i use for ripping and it does a gorgeous job but fed with my ortofon jubilee van my arc phono. 

 

be nothing saving the 300 rips but it woudl be good to get bottom off. at worst maybe a stand alone phono with adjustable gain. isnt the level on the tascam DA3000 adjustable . ... I can adjust input level on uh7000 to make sure not clipping. :) 

 

hi  bettyboop...

 

That's not the issue I'm afraid (you may not have read that far in the thread yet).. the levels are adjustable, and this fixes the issue - however it appears the display levels on the Tascam are completely incorrect, or at best they're showing the recording levels and NOT the input levels (which I would have assumed to be the same). if you overdrive the inputs, it distorts - yet it records with a max yield of -2dB and everything on the display appears as if it's receiving  unclipped audio.

 

By overdriving the input accidentally, the Tascam wasn't showing it, which I presumed it would... Even if you belt the inputs, nothing over -2dB shows on the meters, and it never shows it's being over driven.

 

What this means effectively is, you can slowly turn up the gain and it never shows anything above -2dB even when the signal is being clipped to hell.

 

Something stinks in the state of Denmark.

 

Before.JPG.bd4f8e00f15b864b8da186faf3e4edf5.JPG

 

See above. Recorded signal (output) is not clipped. It maxes at -2dB and this is the same as shown on the meters.

 

Input signal however is clipped to hell. This is because I was inputting at +12dB. I thought it was fine because it was metering at a max of -2dB.


Turns out it was distorting the input but the output file, as such, was "fine". So no clipping was being shown on the meters even though the input signal was being destroyed.

 

Crazy town.

 

Edited by TDK

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16 minutes ago, TDK said:

 

hi  bettyboop...

 

That's not the issue I'm afraid (you may not have read that far in the thread yet).. the levels are adjustable, and this fixes the issue - however it appears the display levels on the Tascam are completely incorrect, or at best they're showing the recording levels and NOT the input levels (which I would have assumed to be the same). if you overdrive the inputs, it distorts - yet it records with a max yield of -2dB.

 

By overdriving the input accidentally, the Tascam wasn't showing it, which I presumed it would... Even if you belt the inputs, nothing over -2dB shows on the meters, and it never shows it's being over driven.

 

What this means effectively is, you can slowly turn up the gain and it never shows anything above -2dB even when the signal is being clipped to hell.

 

Something stinks in the state of Denmark.

 

Before.JPG.bd4f8e00f15b864b8da186faf3e4edf5.JPG

I have only made it through a few posts at the start sorry, just wondering were you using something like vinyl studio ? as that has check level ? and shows clipping as well before you hit record :) I definitely recall a level on the tascam i could play wiht and could clip and wind back so wouldn't ? 

https://tascam.com/us/product/uh-7000/top

 

because i have a couple of options with an outboard phono stage, i remember playing around with both straight off the phono stage and also off the 2ch pre amp i have which output at line level. in end i just ended up coming off the pre amp to save unplugging the phono pre when wanted to use. 

 

ID see if can borrow a phono pre even if a rudimentary one with some gain settings. perhaps put a want to borrow out and hopefully get to bottom of it !

 

:)

 

ps vinyl studio screen see the level and clipping and also monitor levels 

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 7.31.43 pm.png

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21 hours ago, TDK said:

I have to listen to all those Boney M 12" singles all over again.

I understand the Tascam going into distortion having to listen to Boney M.

My brain does too.

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Just now, wartman said:

I understand the Tascam going into distortion having to listen to Boney M.

My brain does too.

reminds me to pull out those boneyM LPs   :D 

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Well boil my tangerines and colour me purple.

 

When feeding source from RCA and going to RCA, as opposed to using a RCA - Balanced cable, the damn thing works exactly as it should.

 

Setting the trim does precisely what you would expect, and it's showing levels exactly as you would expect. It shows when it's clipping and it's recording the waveform exactly as it's metering it.

 

Tascam.jpg.598e647bbbeb5f3a12f7616db8b868bd.jpg

 

Something really weird is going on when sending an unbalanced level signal into the balanced inputs. It doesn't make sense, but I don't care. It's now doing what it's meant to and it's metering accurately.

 

I'm still waiting on a reply from our friends at Tascam, maybe they can explain why its acting like this. I'm going with confusion on the part of the recorder.

 

 

 

Edited by TDK

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