Always the discussion about the horrible sound of MP3, very interestingly quite often from sound engineers in clubs that have unfavorably room acoustics plus a shit p.a. installed.
I heard enough terrible MP3 files in my life but I learned that it mostly is from crappy converter software, wrong adjustment of the settings or terrible original material (as rotten vinyl recorded with bad equipment or even worse like rips from ultra-compressed Youtube clips or such). With good equipment, knowledge and a bit of passion, a high quality MP3 does sound: Good!
The sound of a vinyl record is a story on it’s own. Digital always means reduced mechanical scanning (digital “stairsteps” no matter how fine), on the other hand theres so much additional disturbance sources in the vinyl audio chain: stylus, preamp, interference, feedback, dust, wow & flutter (disability to hold the correct speed that is) wich we are so used to that we actually see some of the imperfections as “warm sound”, I indeed do so.
So do you believe you can hear the difference between uncompressed high-definition audio, a 320kbps MP3 and a super-compressed 128kbps file? The american National Public Radio, NPR created a test. Turn up the volume and give it a try!
With a proper headphone plugged right in to my (totally average soundcard) laptop, I guessed 3 WAV’s out of 6, the other 3 were 320 files. And to be honest: with Neil Young it was random that i didn’t chose the 128kbps file…
My claim: MP3’s bad image seems to be much imaginantion, a lot of wannabe expert knowledge plus tons of poor converting – but not much substance.
good to your records + sounds great + sticks in the groove
There’s no ad-financed links or no other reason (as every other post on my site) but the one that I’m quite exited about the following I wanna share with you !!
The Nagaoka MP-110 is widely known as a budget top quality phono system for it’s neutral to warm sound and silky treble, plus the fact that it’s needle seems to be very generous to hide some slight scratches & worn vinylgrooves. That is why I bougght one to digitalize my records the best way my budget allowed me. It’s price isca. €130.00but check Ebay for €117,00 incl headshell at some japanese sellers likethisgentleman.
But on top of that, as I accidentially found out and tested for 2 months now: This is a perfect choice for Dj-use, esecially for those who play vintage and worthy records!
For decades now I was totally happy with the Stanton Stanton 890SA/FS model for it’s warm sound and most of all for being so protective to the records – and the extraordinary loud volume. I always apprechiated the Shure Whitelabel for the warm and detailled sound and the Grado Dj-200 for the complexity.With Grado it is a question of taste (as every thing concerning the senses certainly are) but i never liked it’s treble neither, but most important: the way it tortures records whle back-cueing is brutal! Shure M44-7 sounds hard but is one league with Stanton for low recordwear, still the most important point for me! So they are all great …. for a dj cartridge. Ortofon Concordes may have developped over the years but appart from easy installation i never liked the thin and dead sound and especially the heavy recordwear. Generally all mentioned cartridges just cannot keep up with the lovely ad detailled sound Nagaoka MP-110 produces. It is simply a different level!
Although it’s an elliptical stylus, the recordwear is absolute minimum, so to say on one level with the Shure M44-7 and Stanton 890SA/FS or better.
It’s praised in most hifi forums for being such a great sounding thing for such little money. It actually seems to share this position meanwhle with the legendary Denon DL-110 (a great sounding system wich is in no way suitable for dj’ing). It’s always ridiculous to derscibe sound, but the best way to do so: Music sounds simply more lovely than before, no matter how long you listen. A good comparisson with another reliable cartridge, the Stanton 680 (very similar to the mentioned Stanton 890) is here
With good internet connection & quality headphones you might get an impression (the details in the treble!)
When it comes to turntabelism the Shure wins by far for it’s skipping resistance, no question. The MP-110 does all cueing, backspinning and a little wicky-wicky-scratching thingy with ease. Remember it is a hifi system, so the metal that holds the diamond (cantilever) is less stff as a dj-one would be and the recommended / ideal weight adjustment is 1,5 – 2 grams. But when you’re not scratching until the needle starts smoking the system behaves just fine. To put on some extra weight for heayily warped records works but don’t forget to get back to your 2 grams for the next record since the cantilever starts to sag down at heavier weights – not good for the recordwear (especially while backspinning)
Club dj’s know the problem concerning vinyl (or better the turntables & dj booths) can produce bass feedback at loud volumes, especially since most sound engineers in clubs have lost their knowledge about turntable setup and maintenance. So, one of the most important: Nagaoka’s feedback sensitivity seems to be better than all the mentioned cartridges! Remember it is always depending on the material and built of the dj booth, the shape of the venue, where the subwoofers are placed, how worn the tonearm fixation is … and maybe a dozend other details, so it cannot be a general result, but I have used them Nagaoka’s in maybe a dozend different situations by now and it is an über-positive impression so far.
Output volume is “average” (5mV) equal as the notorious in-house Ortofon OM Pro S (6mV) but not as loud as Shure M44 (9,5 mV), Ortofon Nightclub (9,5 mV), Ortofon Q-Bert (11mV) or, the loudest, Stanton 890 (12mV). This can lead to quite different volume-levels when you combine Serato / CD or other media in your dj set but actually that does not matter at all as long as you know what a gain knob does, but actually sharing the booth along with other dj’s who set everything to the max: it might cause a problem.
Also not perfect is the fact that you don’t see the needle tip very good. This will take you maybe one or two extra revolutions of backspinning while cueing each record.
Availability: you should get replacement forever since Nagaoka’s main business is replacement needles for all kinds of discontinued cratridges.
Replacement needles are €79,00 street price (Nov 2018) that means twice as expensive as Shure and nearly hafway to the Grado (€180,00). I don’t want to put this fact down but usually you do need to replace your stylus every 500 to 1000 hours. Calculate 2 turntables = 2 cartridges = each playing out half the time, plus the nescessary cueing per record. That equals ca. 300-600 club sets of 2 hours each or 100-200 6-hour marathons. Think of your records and recordwear before you have a thought on saving some 40 bucks on styli.
I haven’t tried the Taruya models yet (and I know I should soon do so!) as well as Nagaoka’s special dj cartridges called DJ-03HD MM (they seem to be very exotic nowadays at least outside of Japan, Anybody with exerience for that? Please let me know if so!) but overall the Nagaoka is the best choice i found in my 30+ years of quite intensive searching for a perfect Dj-cartridge so far.
PLUS: – better sound than all existing dj-cartridges i ever tried (and those were a lot) – very low recordwear – very good feedback insensibillity
MINUS – not the loudest – stylus tip not well visible – costy replacement needles
Varia Instruments, a swiss manufacturer known for their rotary mixers, just released a platter-weight that includes a slide-out 45 adapter. Interesting detail seems to be the sticky rubber texture that is claimed to let you control the records by handling the weight. Cost CHF 89.00 (aprox € 75.00 or $ 89.00) plus shipping
After years of research and endless fine adjusting efforts in his mad scientist castle, Atomic Cafe‘s Roland Schunk is about to start his line of hi-class vinyl record storage furniture soon on his website.
Expect nothing else than great looking and hyperfunctional phono furniture and accessoires, handcrafted of the finest materials.
Just bought a new set of Beyerdynamic DT770’s on te manufacturer’s website as b-stock and they attached a set of free Custom Street headphones.
Solid built, extremely good in isolating the ambience around which is essential for loud clubs since: You can mix much better when the volume of your headphone is at a low volume (after you checked the tune, just in the phase of blending two tracks). If you never experienced that: Try it, you’ll be surprised!
Anyway, Custom Street headset has a solid, durable construction, sounds loud and nicely neutral (as long as you don’t turn on that very affective bass boost) comes with a detatchable 1 m cable (changeable with any 3,5 mm cable on the market) and a gig bag (plus some nerdy things to “style” your ear cups.
Wyh am I mentioning this? Because the thing costr regularely €120.00 it seems they didn’t suceed to marked that model and now you can find it for €40.00 Which makes it the cheapest serious dj headphone around. Be quick if you wanna catch one!
Try your luck searching them since they’re sold out at the manufacturer now (Nov 2018)
Most club owners don’t care about a decent dj booth. That was always the case and since digital got more and more standard, a proper set up turntable became a true rarity. Seen the strangest constuctions (such as the wobbly “freefloat absorber”), a pile of toilet paper rolls or half squash-balls under each 1210-foot to name a few. All of them not really a solution. I started searching for a useful gadget that works and is sized suitable for transport i found those “Media Shock Resonance Absorbers“. What can I say: They do their job! In some locations you can’t help at all anymore but in most cases they kill bass feedback efficiently. And at ca. €20,00 they are really not overpriced.
This is the only stylus-case i ever found in a no-nonsense size for traveling. You can download the data from thingiverse.com and get it printed on any 3D printer. I have this case since 2013 and can’t complain at all. 3D online print services are all over the place nowadays, so if you don’t have access to a printer you’ll find a company.