Posted on July 19, 2019 at 9:56 pm

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Is it worth buying a good capsule for a turntable?

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One of the most common upgrades for a turntable that you don’t want to change is a new capsule. And one of the questions users ask at this point is:

What can a good phono capsule offer me?

In short: to reach even untouched areas of vinyl. This increases the level of detail obtained.

How is it possible that there are virgin zones in a vinyl that you have heard a thousand times?

Because there are parts of the furrow that your needle did not reach, but a better one can reach and read, assuming an immediate increase in the level of detail. This is the extension of a vinyl furrow:


As you can see, this is a V-shaped crevice, which extends in a spiral along the face of the vinyl and whose walls are equivalent to the two stereo channels. One of them, placed inversely so that the needle can read both at the same time. The turntables convert the movement of the needle into electrical signals that reflect the variations of the furrow, so both the furrow and the capsule that includes it are key pieces of the plate says BlueBuzzMusic.


Do vinyls break down when you hear them many times?


Listening to a vinyl record many times does not damage it, since the needle passes delicately over it and the heat of friction is not enough to wear it out or deform it. Nor does the furrow become deeper, as the tip of the needle does not reach the bottom of the furrow.


Therefore, when the vinyl is damaged is usually due to undulating due to incorrect storage or because they have been scratched with an unnatural movement of the needle because of the user. This is why audiophiles prefer vinyl from 180 gr onwards, as a higher grammage also means greater durability but not better sound.



What is the difference between MM and MC capsules?



The MM (Moving Magnet) turntable capsules have the magnet in charge of altering the electrical signal that will then be converted into the sound signal in the cantilever, the moving part of the needle. Their main benefit is that they get more output, i.e. the sound signal they get is more powerful.


On the other hand, the MC (Moving Coil) capsules, have magnets outside the cantilever, giving rise to a signal generally more tenuous. However, there are exceptions such as the GRADO Labs Phono Capsules which, an evolved variation of MC capsule and achieves a high output thanks to its exclusive technology developed after more than 60 years of family experience.


What kind of output do turntables have?



The phono output of the capsules is always balanced, with four channels, two for each of the stereo channels and the same track in reverse.


Except in the case of a pre-amplifier (such as the USB-1 Music Hall), the phono output is so tenuous that it is essential to use a Phono Preamplifier such as Cambridge CP1 or CP2, or the MOON LP110.




What are the different types of needles and why are there so many models? Do I change only the needle?



In the MC capsules it is impossible to change the needle, as this would also change the coil, while in the MM is possible to be the magnet susceptible to change.


The different shapes of the needles – elliptical, conical, linear, shibata, etc. – refer to the cut that has been given to the diamond and all obey different technologies. In general, it is better to buy a capsule with its own needle, as the manufacturer will have taken care of getting the most suitable one for its technology.


Although it is tempting to experiment with details such as the distance from the diamond to the horizontal rotation axis, the way the diamond attacks the vinyl in a perpendicular way in horizontal and vertical, the right weight to correctly suspend the cantilever and the needle itself to get better sound, is something that only professionals and experienced audiophiles should do. If the terms mentioned above sound like Chinese to you, it will be better to leave it in the hands of the technician not to disconnect your plate when you tried to do the opposite, as turntables are very delicate machines.



What makes a turntable good?


The best turntables manage to create a detailed and definite signal, which is not corrupted despite its extreme delicacy until it leaves the turntable to be in the hands of the previous one.


An example is the MMF-11.1 Music Hall, which has a quadruple plinth to keep the pieces separate while preserving the integrity of the signal. The motor is located in its own well cushioned plinth so that its vibration is harmless to the sound it produces. The axle bearing is located in another plinth, guaranteeing a uniform rotation of the platter, which does not result in signal alteration. The whole arm-capsule is in the upper plinth, part of the rest. In this way the signal, transmitted by high purity copper circuitry that preserves its dynamism and assisted at the beginning by the carbon arm that provides less vibration for a more reliable reading, reproduces every detail hidden in the vinyl disc.



However, MMF-11.1 is a top of the range and Music Hall has models of all kinds, including the USB-1 that can digitize the music you have in LP, passing it to the computer, if you have discovered that vinyl is not your thing but you do not want to lose your collection.

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