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damian

Turntables with straight arms - how bad?

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Hi all, 

I've been invited to DJ at a thing where I know the turntables are of the straight-arm variety, similar to this one - 

str8150_angle__16475.1302025683.1280.128

I've read more than once that this is far from ideal, I'm somewhat familiar with tonearm geometry, alignment, null points, tracking error etc. and I can see why. But I haven't actually *used* this sort of turntable before. My concern right now is whether to go ahead or politely refuse to DJ, which will come across as a bit of a sh*t thing to do as I've been invited by a close friend. I always take my own styli with me and those are properly align and get properly set up with a tracking force gauge and etc. when I get to the place - but with these arms, all bets are off. They're flawed from the get-go, at least on paper. 

I don't have any grotesquely expensive 45s but that doesn't mean I won't be sorry if they get shredded by these decks. Especially considering that most of them are styrene. 

I was wondering what your experiences have been, have you ever had a record trashed by one of these - would truly appreciate any opinions/comments. 

Thanks! 

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I had one of those for home play and never had to worry. Now I've come to terms with those modern sound systems and so for best choice I had to go back to the old "S" arm. The only thing for the straight arm is to have either a thin enough needle (I use to go for the Shure White label on my straight arm) or an "conical" needle but then you'll need a heavy mass straight arm since those are for low compliant cartridges. All that to say that I never encountered problems with those straight arms and I do take my own headshell-cartridges (still those white label ones) where I go an play. Now it depends what cartridges you take with you...

Edited by tlscapital
confusion in my head !

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Thanks man. Nah, the cartridges I use are good quality and the styli in good condition - I used to 'collect' cartridges a few years back, well not really but I do have two cigar boxes full of them! So I have quite a few to choose from. These days I use a Stanton 680AL (spherical) and an Ortofon Pro S, and they both sound great and are gentle on records... so the carts/styli themselves shouldn't be a problem. Thanks for posting. 

Edited by damian

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A cartridge set up for a striaght arm is different than an S shape arm see below

 
calibratstanton.jpg
 
Otherwise, if you are using the Technics headshell you will need to use your caliper to measure where the cartridge should be tightened.
 
handcaliper.jpg
 
 
calibratetechnics.jpg

Measure from the back of the headshell slot to the start of the mounting screw when adjusting.  (as shown above)  There is little forgiveness in the sound quality if you are too far forward or back.

Once on point, tighten down the headshell mounting screws tightly, slide in the diamond shaped needles, (N44-7) mount the stylus on the tone arm, and you are done!  Now get your scratch on!

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Yes, I've seen that - but then this other page says the contrary - don't angle the cartridges it only makes it worse: http://www.kabusa.com/str8_doc.htm

All of these different opinions are the reason I'd love to have some real-world experiences, i.e. have you played your 45s on one of these, how did it go - do they sound any worse because of it - etc. 

 

Thanks! 

PS also notice that the closing phrase on what you posted is 'get your scratch on!' 

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Hi all, 

I've been invited to DJ at a thing where I know the turntables are of the straight-arm variety, similar to this one - 

str8150_angle__16475.1302025683.1280.128

I've read more than once that this is far from ideal, I'm somewhat familiar with tonearm geometry, alignment, null points, tracking error etc. and I can see why. But I haven't actually *used* this sort of turntable before. My concern right now is whether to go ahead or politely refuse to DJ, which will come across as a bit of a sh*t thing to do as I've been invited by a close friend. I always take my own styli with me and those are properly align and get properly set up with a tracking force gauge and etc. when I get to the place - but with these arms, all bets are off. They're flawed from the get-go, at least on paper. 

I don't have any grotesquely expensive 45s but that doesn't mean I won't be sorry if they get shredded by these decks. Especially considering that most of them are styrene. 

I was wondering what your experiences have been, have you ever had a record trashed by one of these - would truly appreciate any opinions/comments. 

Thanks! 

Sorry I dont get what the fuss is all about here I think you are being a bit pedantic ?

Surely the part that is in contact with the record is the extreme end of the stylii,  what shape is the end of the stylii, surely it is conicle if you look at it under a magnifying glass. So if you have an upturned cone in a vee shape groove and the cone shape remains in the vertical plane what effect has the horizontal angle of the tone arm got to do with possibly damaging the record groove ?

 I think there are two ways of looking at the angle of the tone arm, If you have a bent tone arm such that when it is cued up at the start then the cartridge/stylii appears tangential to the grooves. However when this shape of arm gets to the end of the record the cartridge/stylii is turned 'inwards'. The Stanton deck above just simply does the opposite, the tone arm cartridge/stylii will be turned 'outwards' as the record is cued up BUT the tone arm angle will improve and cartridge/stylii become tangential as the playing of the record progresses. The tone arm pivot point (opposite end to the stylii) is fixed therefore there will always be a sweep angle, this is obviously greater on an LP or a 12"  

 

        

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Sorry I dont get what the fuss is all about here I think you are being a bit pedantic ?

Surely the part that is in contact with the record is the extreme end of the stylii,  what shape is the end of the stylii, surely it is conicle if you look at it under a magnifying glass. So if you have an upturned cone in a vee shape groove and the cone shape remains in the vertical plane what effect has the horizontal angle of the tone arm got to do with possibly damaging the record groove ?

 I think there are two ways of looking at the angle of the tone arm, If you have a bent tone arm such that when it is cued up at the start then the cartridge/stylii appears tangential to the grooves. However when this shape of arm gets to the end of the record the cartridge/stylii is turned 'inwards'. The Stanton deck above just simply does the opposite, the tone arm cartridge/stylii will be turned 'outwards' as the record is cued up BUT the tone arm angle will improve and cartridge/stylii become tangential as the playing of the record progresses. The tone arm pivot point (opposite end to the stylii) is fixed therefore there will always be a sweep angle, this is obviously greater on an LP or a 12"  

 

        

Not all stylus are "conical" like you suppose. It's much more than a "pedantic" idea when it comes to sound and match those USA 45's that we want to share with justice (good sound) and care (not to disembowel the 45's) !

I thought wrong and safe (cheaper end) for many years as what can be a good sound set-up. But with time, comparaison and accepting to question myself, I'm getting there and can understand why at times I couldn't get a satisfying sound home. It takes money and nerdy (that's the "painful" part) researches if you don't understand naturally those technical issues (which I still don't really). But if you look at those drawings here, you'll see that they are different shapes of stylus and you'll understand that they will read the grooves differently and that there are reasons why some were used in such or such context and/or for such or such support like 78 rpm's, 33 rpm's...

55d0ca1c85543_Capture_dcran_2015-08-16__

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You know what, there is no point in any of this. I'll delete the thread now, thanks. I'll play them with a rusty nail and I'm sure they'll be fine. Cheers. 

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I had a Stanton deck like the one shown for a few years.  It did no damage to my records but I have since changed to a Rega deck, this also has a straight arm but the geometry is better than the Stanton which is better suited to scratching.

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You know what, there is no point in any of this. I'll delete the thread now, thanks. I'll play them with a rusty nail and I'm sure they'll be fine. Cheers. 

No need for the dee dums. You had some decent replies from some like minded people and a few replies from people who don't get it. What's the problem?

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hi Damian, I've been running the Dundee club for nearly 15 years using Stanton Str 8, like your first pic, providing you set the carts like Triode picture then the stylus tracks perfectly, they even  have indictor lines for the correct angle.

 

alan

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hi Damian, I've been running the Dundee club for nearly 15 years using Stanton Str 8, like your first pic, providing you set the carts like Triode picture then the stylus tracks perfectly, they even  have indictor lines for the correct angle.

 

alan

Still dont agree that the stylus ever tracks 'perfectly' even with the set up as you talk about above because as I said the tone arm is fixed at one end and has to sweep across the record therefore the tracking angle will vary from start to finish of the record. Sure the set up can 'optimise' the tracking to give the shallowest variation in tangential angle but using a conical stylii I think in the cartridge assembly would give the best audible reproduction and least chance of record groove damage.

At the end of the day I think the most important thing is to ensure that what ever decks your using and who ever they belong to if the owners of these decks have rare records then the chances are that if they are resonsible they will ensure that the bits touching the records will be in good condition so there should be no damage to your records or there's.

If it helps, I have DJ'd on and off for 40 years and have only ONCE had damage done to 2 Styrene records (The DJ equipment belonged to a non soulie who hand'nt got a clue about rare soul records) so I ended up with a f**ked Cindy Scott Veep and Dynamics Top ten issues :( 

Anyway I dont know why your too worried, that copy of Big Frank and the Essence on your SS picture looks

well F**ked :wicked:    

Edited by hammie

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Sorry I dont get what the fuss is all about here I think you are being a bit pedantic ?

Surely the part that is in contact with the record is the extreme end of the stylii,  what shape is the end of the stylii, surely it is conicle if you look at it under a magnifying glass. So if you have an upturned cone in a vee shape groove and the cone shape remains in the vertical plane what effect has the horizontal angle of the tone arm got to do with possibly damaging the record groove ?

 I think there are two ways of looking at the angle of the tone arm, If you have a bent tone arm such that when it is cued up at the start then the cartridge/stylii appears tangential to the grooves. However when this shape of arm gets to the end of the record the cartridge/stylii is turned 'inwards'. The Stanton deck above just simply does the opposite, the tone arm cartridge/stylii will be turned 'outwards' as the record is cued up BUT the tone arm angle will improve and cartridge/stylii become tangential as the playing of the record progresses. The tone arm pivot point (opposite end to the stylii) is fixed therefore there will always be a sweep angle, this is obviously greater on an LP or a 12"  

 

        

Hammie is right in what he says as whatever sort of arm you use, the stylus tip will not be parallel to the groove for the duration of the track. There is a type of record player that tracks linearly across the disc and this would avert the issue that concerns you but this sort of device is not for DJ use in public. I do not think you have anything to worry about providing the tracking weight is set as low as possible. Perhaps consider vinyl only, as opposed to styrene, when DJing, as the records generally have greater fidelity. Finally, check the stylus after each play to see if grunge deposits from cleaning fluids need removing.

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If these straight arms give no ill effects, why have tone arms been angled since they were first invented? 

I thought these arms were designed for scratching?

I personally wouldn't be playing my vinyl on one.

I have seen plenty of these decks being used with the cart set straight in the head shell. Many users don't read instructions unfortunately. You only have to Dj at a few do's to see how many decks are set up completely wrong.

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When I used to run Winsford nighters. The setting up of the equipment was left entirely to the guys we hired from. Can't even remember if they where straight or s shaped arm's. No one ever complained about stylus wear of the records or the set up. Don't ever remember anybody taking and using their own cartridges.

Just play your tunes and enjoy the experience.

Steve

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Most of the high-end audiophile tonearms are straight. The Technics-type tone arm is actually laughed at by most hi-fi buffs. The idea of a straight arm mangling your records is misguided.

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Those are straight arms with an overhang and an offset angle, even if the arm tube is straight. The straight arms on DJ-type turntables are underhung (meaning that the stylus tip would not reach the turntable spindle if you were to move the arm all the way to the centre) and have no offset angle whatsoever. You can read more about that here: http://www.kabusa.com/str8_doc.htm. Cheers. 

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If these straight arms give no ill effects, why have tone arms been angled since they were first invented? 

I thought these arms were designed for scratching?

I personally wouldn't be playing my vinyl on one.

I have seen plenty of these decks being used with the cart set straight in the head shell. Many users don't read instructions unfortunately. You only have to Dj at a few do's to see how many decks are set up completely wrong.

I've got a Pro-ject deck at home.  This has a straight tone arm, although the head shell is offset at about 45 degrees.

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I've got a Pro-ject deck at home.  This has a straight tone arm, although the head shell is offset at about 45 degrees.

Exactly, all tone arms were angled until these scratch decks appeared.

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Those are straight arms with an overhang and an offset angle, even if the arm tube is straight. The straight arms on DJ-type turntables are underhung (meaning that the stylus tip would not reach the turntable spindle if you were to move the arm all the way to the centre) and have no offset angle whatsoever. You can read more about that here: http://www.kabusa.com/str8_doc.htm. Cheers. 

Just checked my old Revolver turntable which also has a straight tonearm.  On both this and my Pro-ject, the tip of the stylus reaches a good inch past the spindle.  Mass, I believe, is a major factor, straight tonearms need to be longer than an S shaped arm to have a similar mass.

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Those are straight arms with an overhang and an offset angle, even if the arm tube is straight. The straight arms on DJ-type turntables are underhung (meaning that the stylus tip would not reach the turntable spindle if you were to move the arm all the way to the centre) and have no offset angle whatsoever. You can read more about that here: http://www.kabusa.com/str8_doc.htm. Cheers. 

If you read that link, you would be a bit dim to play valuable 45's on a straight tone arm.

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Yeah, well. That's theory. What I was (am) looking for is real-world experience from people who've actually done so, that's what I was hoping to get from this thread.

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If you read that link, you would be a bit dim to play valuable 45's on a straight tone arm.

Straight tone arms in themselves aren't a problem as the link makes clear - 'Were discussing Scratch DJ straight pivoted underhung tonearms, not linear tracking straight tonearms nor straight tonearms with proper overhang and the offset angle in the headshell'.
I've used a pro-ject turntable with a straight tonearm for years and suffered no ill effects.

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Straight tone arms in themselves aren't a problem as the link makes clear - 'Were discussing Scratch DJ straight pivoted underhung tonearms, not linear tracking straight tonearms nor straight tonearms with proper overhang and the offset angle in the headshell'.
I've used a pro-ject turntable with a straight tonearm for years and suffered no ill effects.

yes but the head shell is angled on those decks. Straight tone arm with the straight head shell and straight cart = knackered 45's

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Most of the high-end audiophile tonearms are straight. The Technics-type tone arm is actually laughed at by most hi-fi buffs. The idea of a straight arm mangling your records is misguided.

yes but they all have an angled head shell/cart. 

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I played with straights one night and at least 4 records ended up jumping roughly in exact same location.  If the cartridge is as straight as the arm, this will happen because I noticed the stylus bending as it played towards centre. This will stress one side of the groove and feck your record, I wouldn't use them again!

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Those are straight arms with an overhang and an offset angle, even if the arm tube is straight. The straight arms on DJ-type turntables are underhung (meaning that the stylus tip would not reach the turntable spindle if you were to move the arm all the way to the centre) and have no offset angle whatsoever. You can read more about that here: http://www.kabusa.com/str8_doc.htm. Cheers. 

Sorry, I should have read the original post fully. I think the points you make are all sound. The turntable pictured is really a novelty item not suitable for playing adequately or without risk of damage.

 

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The straightness of the arm is not your worry, some of the greatest record decks ever made employed staright arms. You should be far more concerned as to whether the deck has been correctly set up - tracking force, arm weight etc. and the state of the stylus, they are the things that will damage your vinyl.

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To be fair, If you look at the Stanton deck in the top picture you can see by the screw positions that the cartridge has been set up 'angled in'

to the centre spindle try to attain a tangential position for the stylii in the record grooves.  

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Blimey........I just play mine.......some of 'em are 50 yrs old....I don't reckon whoever originally owned 'em bothered about arms and depths etc etc

This springs to mind

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Yeah I can understand what you mean but the experience of finding out that a record you spun the night before now sounds all fuzzy (had it happen, fortunately the records weren't anything valuable) is not a nice one... 

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and not forgetting the fact that unless you are playing stone mint records you have no idea idea what concrete mixer they were played on in the past, lets face it, probably most average detroit households in the dim and distant past did not have cutting edge turntables or gave a scooby about domed styli or arm angle, they have lasted this long, you won't kill them now unless you just abuse them

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Hi Andy, yes of course that is true too, but the flip to that would be that people back then could go out and buy another copy for maybe a few dollars at most (and as many times as they wanted to, too.. just walk into their friendly neighborhood store) - hardly comparable to waiting for months sometimes for a copy to pop up on Ebay and paying some of the sums that are being paid now for those same records. Still I see your point and yes, it is true that some of those '60s pressing could really take a beating and still shine when played on a proper rig. Cheers! 

Edited by damian

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