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Beograms vs other decks.

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beaker
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beaker Posted: Tue, Nov 4 2014 8:44 PM
I've never been a huge vinyl fan, infact most of my turntables have either been sold on or only kept as they complete the system but this is starting to change as I have now started buying some records. The problem is I have had for years an old Dual 601 record deck which sounds better than any Beogram I have.

The Dual has a Shure V15 mk3 with its original stylus which does seem to be quite well regarded and its same age as my BG6000 but it sounds much nicer. I've tried different cartridges on the Beogram but none sound as good as the old ugly Dual. I suppose it could be that I need a new or rebuilt cartridge for my Beograms or does anyone else find that despite there looks there are better decks out there than the Beograms which can be had cheaply.
Dave Farr
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Hi Beaker,

it is as ugly as hell but the combination of the Dual 601 and the Shure V15 MkIII is actually very good.  How much of that is due solely to the cartridge (which is widely recognised as being very good) - or the amp it's playing through I'm not sure.  I actually have a Dual 721 and love that one too.

They can be bought for almost pennies and are available a lot in Germany/France which is where I've bought the 20 or so Dual TT's I have:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-Hifi-Plattenspieler-belt-drive-Turntable-Dual-CS-601-/271655139890?pt=Radio_TV_Musik&hash=item3f3fe87a32

The 601 also has it's motor issues, especially on the earlier models with speeds being all over the place.

One question is, which Beograms do you have to compare it against apart from your BG6000?  I doubt it will hold up to a properly set-up BG4000 or even 5000/5005 with good cartridges and in which way is it 'nicer'?  Again, that may be due to what you drive it through as well, and the condition of the cartridges.

Will be interesting to hear other views.

Dave.

chartz
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chartz replied on Wed, Nov 5 2014 6:12 AM

Hi,

I have à Dual 601 too (with the rare integrated RIAA preamp).

While I feel that it is a fair deck, I think it is not up to a Beogram 4000, or even a 5005. My 601 has its original cartridge - an Ortofon - with a new stylus, and sounds a little dull, but with great bass, and clears the most difficult tracks with ease.

I've had better experiences with Ortofons though. I remember an el cheapo FF15XE sounding great on a DD Technics, some 30 years ago.

What would it sound like with a Shure? Well, I was always bored with the V15V I had, so much so that I gave it to a friend. I will always give a Shure cartridge a wide berth when I see one!

A matter of taste, perhaps.

You should listen to a Beogram 8000 equipped with a Soundsmith cartridge! So yes, it is quite possible that your B&O cartridges need new tips.

Jacques

beaker
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beaker replied on Wed, Nov 5 2014 7:46 AM
I don't have many Beograms to compare it with but have in the past had most types (60's 3000's excepted) and none have sounded as nice. There is the possibility that it's the cartridges on the Beograms. Do B&o cartridges age worse than those from other manufactures? As said the Shure is from approx 1975 and has its original stylus so is a similar age or older than most MMC*** type cartridges.

The Dual deck itself isn't exactly wonderful looking and does have the usual speed problem in that occasionally it will start at 45rpm even if 33rpm is selected. A quick stop then start sorts that out then the speed is steady.

Most of the time I'm listening through my 80's Bm6000 and Bv Pentas. I suppose the point of this is to try and persuade myself that getting a new or rebuilt cartridge will be worth it and it will sound better than the ugly beat up Dual.
Dave Farr
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Hi Beaker,

for the outlay - and once you've done it, the cartridge should last a lifetime, I'd get your B&O cartridge rebuilt.  You can then fully experience the B&O deck at its best.  Then you can also make a fair comparison and decide which TT you want to make most use of.

You read the forum as much as most others so you're aware of the suspension issues with aged B&O cartridges.  Not unique to B&O and let's face it, if the suspension doesn't fail, the diamond will give up at some stage on any cartridge and need replacing anyway so is not investment free.  I have about 20 cartridges waiting to go to Axel for work as all have failed over time.  It's a consumable.

It will be worth it.  Whether it sounds better will be up to your ears.  I guess so as the BM6000 and Pentas is a nice combination.  The BG will be the icing on the cake.  If you don't do it, you may regret it later or at the very least, not know what you're missing!

Dave.

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bramble replied on Wed, Nov 5 2014 11:30 AM
I have a bg8500 with mmc3 ( which I love ) and it looks sleek . I also own a technics sl dl1 direct drive.

And to be fair the technics t/t is a far better put together bit of kit compared to the beogram with a warmer sound !but not a sharp as beogram Big Smile

But I just enjoy them, I could look at the beogram all day.

Let's hope b&o get back to designing turntables again (soon)Big Smile

Beovision 7 40 mk 5 ,beovision 6x3,   beosound 3000, beogram 3300 , 2 x lc2, 2 x beocom 1401, beocom 6000 x 2,  5 x beo4, 

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beaker
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beaker replied on Wed, Nov 5 2014 12:01 PM

This could be opening a can of worms but are Beograms a bit "form over function". Personally I think that all the post 4000 series tangentials are very plasticy and not particularly well built. Even my Dual is a lot more substantial than any Beogram from the 80's onwards. Just look at the platter on some of those decks, its just a thin bit of pressed metal.

They 100% are more more beatiful than most decks and far easier to use with a lot of them being remote controllabe but are they actually good sounding decks? Because of the inability of using different cartridges on them its hard to tell. I know that you could use the MMC's with an adaptor on other makes of turntable, has anyone ever heard this? Is it that they are really good cartridges on average decks so they sound pretty good?

Dont get me wrong I wont be getting rid of my Beograms, but from a purely sonic perspective how good actually are they. Even in the 60'swhen B&O wanted a top quality deck for their top of the range system they didnt build one, they just phoned up Thorens!

 

Lee
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Lee replied on Wed, Nov 5 2014 12:58 PM

Personally I have used many different decks from various manufacturers, ranging from cheap plastic builds to turntables with huge heavy platters and expensive tonearms, and one thing I have learned is that once you get to a certain point most of the upgrades are just snake oil. As long as you have a quiet bearing, a stable speed and a decent pick-up it will sound good. B&O could have continued to build crazy spec turntables but it think they realised its pointless. My Beogram 5005 with rebuilt mmc2 sounds as good as I've heard. And its easy to set up correctly. No protractors, azimuth setting, overhang etc to worry about. And no tracking error due to it being tangential.

Just my 2p worth.... 

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Wed, Nov 5 2014 3:21 PM

Good observations Lee. On the one hand, as opposed to electronics and CD players and such, turntables and cartridges and arms are all electro-mechanical resonant systems, and are subject to a lot of real differences due to the complex nature of matching arm mass and resonance, cartridge compliance, alignment, etc. On the other, the fact it's about impossible to do a rapid A/B or even single blind proper test means that people can and will imagine a lot more differences than actually exist either. Some of the described changes, particularly the magnitude of them, always seemed suspect to me in reviews.

Back in the day where I worked we had this Micro Seiki turntable, gorgeous thing, huge thick aluminum platter with legs/pods that stuck out on three sides that you could mount up to 3 arms on. That was the closest thing I've seen to being able to do a rapid playback switch and it wasn't perfect. I still suspect that the majority of differences heard were due to the cartridges more than the arms, as long as the arm wasn't totally wrong for the cartridge.

Of course, if you came to about any technical person today who knew nothing about audio and said, we have two ways to go here, we can digitize the music, store it on a durable media, read the digital bitstream and convert it into analog audio, or we can press these little wiggly grooves into a plastic disc, and drag a small needle on the end of a piece of tiny metal attached to magnets and wire and recover the audio that way. Guess which one actually makes sense? Stick out tongue It's just that Edison wasn't very good at digital design...

Jeff

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Cooker
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Cooker replied on Thu, Nov 6 2014 12:46 AM

Ofcourse top of the range Beograms are excellant!! But compare apples to apples. 

Yes, some of the lesser Beograms were cheaply made, hence why the COST CHEAPER.

A properly restored and overhauled Beogram 4000 series (4000,02,04,6000) and the 8002 will hold their own and then some against other machines costing the same if not more. No heavy platter??? That would defeat the idea behind the suspension system.

The people that could afford B&O back then, wouldn't of been happy forking out all that money and then having to be a "slave" to the turntable with setup and changing needles etc. What B&O did, was make the BEST machine that recquired the least human interference. There are compromises when you do this, but what they achieved is amazing. You could place the turntable practically anywhere as the suspension system was that good and even on the same shelf as a speaker didn't harm it that much. You could change out cartridges in a matter of seconds and then just reset the weight gauge. Done, sorted in less then a minute. Not being a slave to the turntable is what its all about. You are the boss. You want to place it in a certain place, no worries. You want to pause it in the middle of a record, no worries, you can't be bothered cleaning the tip after each play? Well that's why there is a self cleaning brush on the 8000/8002 that does it for you. Again, not being a slave to the turntable. Tangential tracking was used to ensure the best quality from no interfearance. Awesome looks were just bonuses. B&O's top models were no fuss record players that held their own against the same price full manual setups. Just what a rich B&O customer of the time would of wanted. Remote control use? Well you arnt a slave, your the boss so ofcourse 😉

If you have a top of the range B&O turntable that is in perfect working order, your using the top needle or recommended needle for it (Soundsmith does brand new needles so no excuse), you are playing it through B&O's recommended amp for it (8002 uses Beomaster 8000 etc), using decent speakers (preferably top range B&O from the era of the Amp) and you reckon that it doesn't sound great.......well.....this site may be visited by children so I can't elaborate.

Cooker
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Cooker replied on Thu, Nov 6 2014 12:58 AM

EDIT ABOVE POST,

INSERT,

"Your using the top needle or recommended needle for it THAT IS IN PERFECT WORKING ORDER, not some 30 year old cartridge that even if is new in the box is most likely stuffed from age anyway, (Soundsmith does brand new needles so no excuse)"

Yes, even an original brand new in the box MMC1 can sound shocking as it has most likely deteriorated over the decades. This has been well documented via tests, this is not a debate.

If your needle isn't upto scratch, don't be a tight ***! Get either a brand new or repaired needle from Sound Smith or a repaired one from a reputable repairer.

The needle is so important, it's what draws the music out, don't compromise on it.

DMacri
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DMacri replied on Thu, Nov 6 2014 11:25 AM
I'm glad you mentioned the isolation. That was a major point for me. I've had lots of issues with Dual and Technics turntables in the past. I could hear my foot falls through the speakers as I approached the turntable to flip record sides - I had to tip toe, like I was sneaking up on them. No such foolishness with my BG5005, or even with the TX I had before it. Add the ease of use and ability to control remotely, and it's decided for me. Of course, what's the point if it sounds horrible? While I haven't tried the MMC 2 or MMC 1 yet, the others in the range sound great. If you're looking for a bit of validation, I think Stereophile had a review of one of the Soundsmith cartridges that appear to be based on the B&O design and they were favorable.

Dom

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Cooker
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Cooker replied on Thu, Nov 6 2014 11:55 AM

Yes I remember reading that review. It was soundsmiths version/replica of the MMC1, the SMMC1. I remember them praising it and saying it was one of the best in the price range and even superior to more expensive cartridges.

Peter
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Peter replied on Thu, Nov 6 2014 7:54 PM

Not so sure here!! I think the Beograms are good decks but they are not truly great. I have had almost every type since the Beogram 1000 and the best deck I have is the Beogram 3000 Thorens which is not really a Beogram at all. The bass extension is much better than any other Beogram - I have a good 4000 which the 3000 took over from - and it is simply better even with an SP2 cartridge, admittedly with a custom stylus from Axel/Frede. The 4000 is easier to use, better looking and very shock resistant and I love it. But the 3000 is a better sounding deck by a country mile even to my ageing ears!

Peter

Cooker
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Cooker replied on Fri, Nov 7 2014 1:00 AM

As far as a completly automatic turntable goes, they are great.

As I said earlier, there are compromises when making such a machine.

A full analog/semi manual decent quality expensive turntable will be better and should be better sonicly. Same as a pure Mono cartridge will sound better on Mono recordings then a Stereo one playing a Mono record. There is a compromise. 

A bit cheeky comparing it to a Beogram 3000 Thorens. An excellant standalone turntable and one of the best for price. Its a completly differant concept compared to the tangential drive machines though and now days worth twice as much!

You've got to look at the Tangentials for what they are, not what they arnt. When you do, you will see how great they are.

If your still not convinced, audio reviews from the era will concur.

Søren Mexico
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Somehow I am a little confused here, I have never had problems with any B&O TT, no rumble no other noises, any of my BGs Rx2, TX2, BG 1000, 1202, 2404, 5000, no side noises. only what the needle picks up. My 1000 and 1202 plays excellent for their age and the time they were constructed, The BG 5000 (pizza) best of all with a MMC2, through BM 5000 (pizza), you wont find a TT where you will be able to hear the difference, between the BG 5000 and the BG TX with a MMC2 attached, and any other TT, with high quality cartridges attached, in a blind test. There is only noise coming from drive or sound patch in any TT, that may give problems, any other noise will come from the rest of your equipment, in the B&Os with MMC cartridges correctly adjusted,  there are no disturbing sounds coming from the BG, This tested though a BM 4400.

Collecting Vintage B&O is not a hobby, its a lifestyle.

beaker
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beaker replied on Fri, Nov 7 2014 8:50 AM
I would be interested to know if anyone on here has the ability to do a back to back test on a Beogram and another halfway decent turntable using the same MMC cartridge with an adaptor, just to give us a comparison.

Dave Farr
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beaker:
I would be interested to know if anyone on here has the ability to do a back to back test on a Beogram and another halfway decent turntable using the same MMC cartridge with an adaptor, just to give us a comparison.

 

You'd really have to do a blind trial with an unbiased person to do that.  Most of us being fans of B&O will have a placebo effect whereby we will possibly be biased towards the B&O TT.

It's also subjective.  If you did the test with 2 people, one may say 'A is better than B' but the second may say 'B is better than A' as we all hear things differently.  It may also depend on which amp is used as an amp may suit the characteristics of one TT over the other.

MMC cartridges are really optimised for use on a B&O TT so the test isn't really fair anyway.

I agree, it would be interesting but then it's only one persons view so not that valuable.  A good discussion though.

Dave.

Andrew
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Andrew replied on Fri, Nov 7 2014 9:31 AM

I use a Projekt Genie Mk3 with ortofon cartridge, decent preamp and hooked up to BM6500 feeding S60's, the room has high ceilings and is carpeted and on another house a late 70's Beogram 1500 with MC20s hooked upto BM5500 and S45, lower ceilings and floor boards. In both speakers are attached to the walls.

The Genie sounds clearer but the 1500 has more bass and is a darn site easier to use - no messing around with the belt when you want to play singles, no having to align the cartridge and no feedback from the floors - the project looks good next to the BM6500 but I actually prefer the ease and use of the BG1500 and in many ways the simple look. The BG1500 cost me peanuts compared to the Genie

So much depends on what you listen too, how you listen and where not mention the environment. Totally different having a few people round for drinks and sticking a record on compared to sitting in between two speakers for a proper listening session.

I had a 4002 once and regret selling it for £100 at the time as I thought it looked old fashioned! That was one of the best decks I've had along with the original Beogram TX

DMacri
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DMacri replied on Fri, Nov 7 2014 9:43 AM
Peter:

The bass extension is much better than any other Beogram - I have a good 4000 which the 3000 took over from - and it is simply better even with an SP2 cartridge, admittedly with a custom stylus from Axel/Frede. The 4000 is easier to use, better looking and very shock resistant and I love it. But the 3000 is a better sounding deck by a country mile even to my ageing ears!

Peter

This is something I always wondered about. How does the turntable positively affect the presence or lack of bass? I would think the most influence in the audio signal, in order, would be the cartridge, the tone arm, the suspension, and then the platter/motor system. I realize there is a natural resonance to the cartridge/tone arm system to be accounted for, so the compliance, and weight of each part must be in harmony. Even then, I would think you would be looking to ensure there is nothing added to the signal by the base of the turntable - no speed variation, rumble, or noise from the motor being transferred to the record surface. I have read about this in audio magazines for years, but I just don't understand the physics involved.

Dom

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BeoTom replied on Fri, Nov 7 2014 3:14 PM

Back in the day (70's/80's), B&O seemed to have made a business selling their cartridges separately for use with any (brand) turntable, at least in the US market. Their cartridges came with a universal phono adaptor for use with non-B&O tables. They also advertised just their cartridge line-up in audio magazines. I still have a one of those ads somewhere. I'm wondering, was this just a US market thing, or did they do this in all markets? Because of this, I've never considered B&O cartridges to be "optimized" for just B&O tables. That's just IMHO though! :)

I still have a review of the Beogram 8000, when it first came out by the US magazine Stereo Review. It's been a long time since I've read the article, but I remember it being a very positive review, and that they ranked it up there among the best of tables. In addition to giving their opinion, I think they also ran it through their "lab" test, reporting the tech spec results from the test. I'll have to dig around and see if I can find that article. It was a good read!

Peter
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Peter replied on Fri, Nov 7 2014 3:49 PM

DMacri:
Peter:

 

The bass extension is much better than any other Beogram - I have a good 4000 which the 3000 took over from - and it is simply better even with an SP2 cartridge, admittedly with a custom stylus from Axel/Frede. The 4000 is easier to use, better looking and very shock resistant and I love it. But the 3000 is a better sounding deck by a country mile even to my ageing ears!

 

Peter

 

 

 

This is something I always wondered about. How does the turntable positively affect the presence or lack of bass? I would think the most influence in the audio signal, in order, would be the cartridge, the tone arm, the suspension, and then the platter/motor system. I realize there is a natural resonance to the cartridge/tone arm system to be accounted for, so the compliance, and weight of each part must be in harmony. Even then, I would think you would be looking to ensure there is nothing added to the signal by the base of the turntable - no speed variation, rumble, or noise from the motor being transferred to the record surface. I have read about this in audio magazines for years, but I just don't understand the physics involved.

I actually agree with you - although I find MMC cartridges actually sound pretty similar except for the lower models which are more likely to demonstrate sibilance. I have no idea why decks sound different though in the case of the 4000 and 3000 I think the record support must have some relevance. All my Beograms apart from the 3000 sound remarkably similar. I definitely could not tell them apart in a blind test with any confidence.  I actually wondered whether the 3000 was actually demonstrating a resonance at lower frequencies giving the impression of better bass but I don't think so.

Peter

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I am suffering déjà vu!

Many years ago, in the late 70s/early 80s there was a major re-think on record playing which was led by the supporters of the Linn Sondek. They argued that the principal determinant of the quality of the reproduction of a record was not the cartridge or the pickup arm but the turntable itself. This view gained huge credibility and was one aspect of what was termed generically as the 'subjectivity' debate. Scientific and objective measurement of technical and electronic performance meant little - it was the ears that mattered most. A whole new dictionary of terms, most of which were pretty meaningless, came into use to describe the sound quality of particular pieces of equipment.

Just before this debate really started I had a Beogram 4000 with the original SP15. This cartridge was highly regarded by the saner elements of the HiFi press and was often used in an SME 3009 arm, considered at the time to be probably the best pick up arm in the world. I arranged with a local dealer for a direct comparison between my Beogram and a Thorens 125 fitted with an SME arm and SP15. I appreciate this wasn't a blind test but I was listening without any preconceived ideas as to which would sound better.

I listened for over two hours to a selection of music I knew well through some decent amplification and a pair of very revealing hybrid electrostatic speakers (B&W DM70s).

I remember the Thorens SME combination as being 'better' but not to the point where I wanted to ditch the Beogram. Overall the Beogram offered more - out of the box set up, excellent ergonomics and design and very acceptable music reproduction.

Two years later I bought a Linn - but regretted it after 12 months of constantly worrying about whether it was set up properly. Even though it had the classic suspended sub-chassis and belt drive like the Beogram it wasn't as well insulated fro external vibrations and I spent a small fortune on spiked tables and goodness knows what in an effort to isolate it properly

My experience - and it probably says more about me than about turntables - is that the more you worry about this stuff the less you enjoy the music. And that is, after all, what this is about. I enjoy my music more with B&O because I stop worrying about the equipment.

Cleve
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Peter replied on Fri, Nov 7 2014 10:52 PM

Agree with you and one of the reasons I have B&O. However the 3000 has no complex suspension - I have mine mounted on a sturdy shelf attached to a stone wall so it is immune to vibration - the 4000 is far prettier though and much easier to use.

Peter

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Cooker replied on Fri, Nov 7 2014 11:55 PM

Excellant summary Cleve!

That is exactly the thinking behind the Tangentials. Make the customer as comfortable and at ease as possible because the machine takes care of everything.

If you want the Absolute Best in sound reproduction then yes, spend a fortune on a full manual turntable, pre amp, amp, cartridge and then spend hours setting it up and yes, you probably will have a better sounding setup then an out the box tangential B&O table, but at a considerable extra cost, stress, worry and maintaince.

Repeating myself (sound like a parrot), if you look at the Tangentials for what they are, they are an amazing machine. The 8002 is my favourite and in my opinion the pinnacle of B&O turntables. 

 

Christian Christensen
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Well, for me it is easy.

Tangential have made me enjoy all the inner tracks in a way i have never done before.
decades of frustration why innertracks always sounded more unclear 

Once the tangetiall begram was installed, so many records inner tracks was a relief to listen to.

I have heard better pickups then MMC2, but that is only on the first tracks.

Music is more important then the sound, so correct playback of the innertracks is way more important then the pickup, stylus.

Cant event understand why people seriously into vinyl play even consider something else then tengetiell. 

Btw even an old SP14 in a good shape can sound absolutly fantastic, outplaying many modern very expensive pickups.....but once you get to the inner tracks..... 

My re-capped M75 are my precious diamonds.

Andrew
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Andrew replied on Sun, Nov 9 2014 7:09 PM

Actually Christian raises a good point - I have noticed that too with the Tangential record decks - completely clear all the way through with no distortion - probably my project turntable is not set up properly

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