Pretty big assertion there gdb!!! About as true as substituting the words "sound system" or "CD player" for turntable. I don't have superhuman hearing and I am most certainly not a dog either, but to suggest that these 2 classes of people are the only ones who can hear any difference is basically fighting words to a lifelong vinyl guy (I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, so here comes the rant)! We really do have a fundemental difference of opinion here, so don't take this personally, it isn't.gdb wrote:I think that there is a lot of "The Emperor's New Clothes" silliness attached to the turntable cult, and if a table is capable of rotating a record at the proper speed and has a decent cart./stylus set to the correct tracking force,only canines and people with superhuman hearing are going to be able to discern a big difference between a $200 and a $4000 setup! Let me know if you are at all interested and CHEERS ! gdb
A $200 turntable will work just fine in a $500 to $700 system which just doesn't have the resolution and low noise floor necessary to hear any difference. Generally speaking substituting a $500 turntable for the $200 one will make a small difference, but nowhere near the difference it would make in a $1200 system. For a $4000 turntable to make a difference you would need a sound system into the 5 figure range.
The sound differences are as numerous as the reasons for them. How precise the actual turntable speed is one factor; how consistent it is is another, how much motor vibration makes it trough the drive system is another, how well and at what frequencies the base resonnances are absorbed, tone arm geometry, compliance, weight, vertical tracking angle, offset, tonearm pivot friction, tone arm bearing vibrations, platter bearing vibrations, anti-skating effectiveness, total tonearm mass, effective tonearm mass, tonearm counterweight isolation, headshell stiffness and resonnance, tonearm wiring capacitance, cartridge weight, cartridge compliance, tracking force, stylus shape, cantelever stiffness and resonnance, cartridge type, cartridge/tonearm interaction and resonnance frequency, platter damping, mass and inertia... you want me to go on?
I've experimented around with dozens of turntables here in my home and in stereo shop showrooms and can very clearly hear the differences between turntables, tonearms and cartridges, even to the point of being able to tell blindfolded if the turntable is direct drive or belt drive, has an S shaped tonearm and if the cartridge is a moving coil or moving magnet type.
One recent experience was a few months ago comparing my Technics SL-D2, a Technics SL-1200 Mk II and my Thorens TD-104 and TP-16 tonearm using 3 identical ADC XML Mk II cartridges. The SL-1200 has a much more sophisticated direct drive system and suspension than the SL-D2 but an almost identical tonearm (in fact all the S shaped tonearms on far eastern turntables came from 1 single factory and are all identical, differing only in the headshell and tonearm pivot bearings) As expected both of the Technics sounded similar with the SL-1200 enjoying a clear advantage in motor noise and isolation from external vibration. Neither of them came even close to the Thorens in these 2 areas. The sound was definitely lacking in clarity in the upper ranges and a bit muddy in the lows on both Technics; very much similar in fact when compared to the Thorens which was crystal clear and richly detailled. Now remember that all 3 turntables were using identical cartridges with NOS styli. Even my tone deaf, MP3 listening caregiver could hear clear differences among all 3 turntables.
Now, as far as price goes, the SL-D2 originally retailled for around $200 + $200 for the cartridge, the SL-1200 Mk II for a bit over $1000 and the Thorens for about $450. The only area that the SL-1200 was better than the Thorens was in speed regulation, otherwise, they were like night and day as far as I was concerned. So, if you cannot hear these differences, it does not mean that they do not exist, only that you have never been able to experience them under the proper conditions in the right system.
I've conducted litterally dozens of these comparative listening tests on turntables over the years and for me, nothing yet beats the warm sound of vinyl.