|Standard intro and disclaimer|
High resolution digital recordings of hifi system upgrades can be used for subsequent comparison to provide a more reliable method of assessment than trying to apply and assess the update at the same time. Other benefits are the possibility of external validation of conclusions, and letting others hear the kind of changes that are possible for a given level of effort or expenditure.
It should be understood that no assessments are being made with regard to the relative performance of analogue vs high-resolution digital.
To avoid any copyright issues I’m restricting my recordings to 1 minute for vocal work, and 2 minutes for classical. My test recordings are as follows.
Female vocal, easy listening
Male vocal, pop
There has been much debate about the relative merits of AC and DC turntable motors. In this test I assess the changes due to fitting the funk firm V-Drive DC motor upgrade to a Pink Triangle export.
The turntables under test were
- Pink Triangle PT TOO (AC motor)
- Pink Triangle Export (with DC motor upgrade)
In both cases the same SME IV tonearm, Dynavector DV10x5 high output MC cartridge and Graham Slee gram amp 2 SE phono stage were used. When testing the Export, the bearing and platter were transferred across from the PT TOO to reduce the number of variables in the test.
Before each test session, the turntable was warmed up by playing one side of an album.
The phono stage was left running for 30 minutes before the start of the test.
Recordings hve been captured as 24bit, 96kHz WAV files using a SoundBlaster X-fi PCMCIA soundcard and a Dell Inspiron laptop.
For each turntable :
- Ensure that the downforce and arm height settings are set to the same values.
- Make the recordings listed above.
Caveat: these are high resolution recordings taken from a high performance audio system, and are intended for download. The differences are unlikely to be audible through the embedded player and typical computer speakers.
Arm height front 13.5mm, rear 13.5mm
|dont know why – pt too|
|cold cold heart – pt too|
|Im allright – pt too|
|paper walls – pt too|
|Schubert-D485 – pt too|
Arm height front 13.5mm, rear 13.5mm
|dont know why – export||The export is definitely brighter in the treble and seems punchier in the bass too. Bass depth seems about the same. There is more emphasis on ‘s’ sounds with the export, but it feels like it is revealing what is there rather than causing it, as the CD version clearly has this emphasis too. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it sibilance. I’ve always thought that there is something attractive about the way the pt too handles female vocals, but I think the export tonal balance is more even.
One minus point though; it feels to me that in a couple of places on this recording the export speed is drifting a little.
|cold cold heart – export||The extra body to voices is quite attractive on the pt too, but the overall balance is a little dark and bass-dominated in my system. The export sounds more evenly balanced with more air in the treble and subtle percussive string details more apparent.|
|Im allright – export||Export definitiely preferable here, the voice being a bit overpowering in the pt too recording. the bass has slightly
less power but has equal depth and the recording feels tauter and punchier.
|Paper walls – export||The pt too has a little more body to the voice which is nice, and more powerful and solid sounding bass, very low frequencies being more noticeable. However, the upper bass can become a little overpowering on this track. The export bass is better matched with the rest of the recording (although missing a little low frequency power) and the treble has a nice amount of additional detail on guitar strings and cymbals, but is never overpowering.|
|Schubert-D485 – export||I think that the export is probably a flatter frequency response, and listening carefully I think the bass does go as deep, however the lower frequencies do have more solidity with the pt too, and strings a bit more body. Both are nice.|
There were very obvious changes to the overall tonal balance of the system when moving to the turntable with the DC motor. It should be noted that while every effort was made to keep the number of variables in this test to a minimum, the two turntables have different top plate materials, slightly different rear suspension setups and different belts. I didn’t move the motor into the PT TOO because I didn’t have time to fit it properly. The general consensus in discussions on other forums is that the PT TOO and standard Export (AC motor) sound very similar.