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Turntable system problem


My problem is in regards to a flaw with my turntable system. I run a record player through a Yamaha RX-V493 receiver and dual speakers. Everything was working fine for the couple years I've been using the setup until I disassembled it to put in storage for the summer and then tried to reassemble it. I couldn't recall exactly how I configured everything the last time but had a general idea.

I wasn't getting any sound when I played the records until I realized that it only works on certain effects settings - my receiver has different settings such as Concert Hall, Stadium, Disco, etc. - and even then each setting worked with varying degrees of quality. The only setting that works somewhat well is Disco, and the only one that doesn't produce ANY sound at all is the "effects off" setting - the only one I ever even want to use. I think I've tried all the different wiring combinations possible that connect the two speakers into the receiver. The only change I've gotten is that the Dolby Pro Logic effect setting (and only this setting) works when I wire the speakers in what I think is called "center" mode (rather than rear, it appears). This seems logical because the instruction manual for the receiver suggested that the unit works best when used with 4-5 surround sound speakers, and I think the Dolby Pro Logic setting is a 5-speaker setup that involves a center speaker while the other 4 do not. I should mention that even though I'm getting perhaps the best sound out of this configuration (either that or Disco), it still does not sound quite right.

Aside from trying different wiring configurations, here's what I've done to try to isolate the problem. First, I bought a new turntable, and ended up with the same problem that occurred with my original turntable. So, I eliminated the turntable as the source of the problem. I then bought a similar Yamaha receiver (RX-V592 as opposed to the RX-V493 I already had) from someone on Craigslist and again the system would not produce sound under the standard "effects off" setting and only clearly under Disco, or Dolby Pro Logic when wired in center mode, so the problem was not a defective receiver either. Today I tried using new speaker wiring to no avail. At this point I figure the problem is either with the speakers, which are probably 25 years old, or in my setup configuration. The latter seems more likely, as I can't imagine why speakers that emit somewhat clear sound under certain settings would be causing the kind of problem I'm experiencing.

I would have assumed that my problem was the result of an incompatibility between the number of speakers I'm using (two) and the type of setup the receiver is suggested to work with (4-5 surround sound speakers), but they've been working fine for me for two years and for even longer when my dad used the system.

Any ideas as to why I wouldn't be able to get my system to work neither consistently nor properly for all the effects settings - or, most importantly, to work for the desired "effects off" setting at all? If I haven't given a broad enough picture of the components I'm using I can try to elaborate on any specific issues that catch anyone's attention. I can also try to provide a PDF of the Yamaha instruction manual if that would help.

I really appreciate your taking the time to read this. My turntable and LP collection have great sentimental value to me - I inherited both from my dad - and I've also invested a lot of my own money in new records over the last year or so. Trying to troubleshoot this whole thing is causing a lot of aggravation and taking up too much time that I should be devoting to studying (although I do sometimes enjoy using it as a nice procrastination tool). I would be so grateful if anyone could help me out with this.

Thanks again,

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Unless I'm missing something in your description, your problem is simple: You need an riaa phono preamp between your turntable and your receiver.

Modern receivers do not offer "phono" line inputs and therefore do provide the amplification required to bring up the line level of the turntable. The result is low or no volume which is what you are essentially describing here.

Just google "riaa phono preamp" and you can either make one for $30 or buy one from $100 to over $10,000 (handmade tube goodness).



Posted on Dec 13, 2008

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Make sure the system is set up for 2-channel stereo only. Then, make sure the speakers are connected to Front Left and Front Right. That should clear everything up.

Posted on Sep 27, 2008

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Appreciate the additional information.

To recap what you need is a receiver that can accommodate:
4 - Pioneer S-DF1-K (15-100W, 8 ohms)
1 - Pioneer PD-F407 25 Disc CD Player
1 - Pioneer CT-300 dual tape deck
1 - Kenwood KD-491F turntable

Possible choices are (keeping in mind that the power output should be less if not equal to 100 watts and a turntable/phono input):
i. Onkyo TX-8522 Stereo Receiver;
ii. Yamaha RX-397 100 Watt Natural Sound AM/FM Stereo Receiver;
iii. Sony STR DE695 AV receiver;
iv. Teac AG-790 200 Watt Stereo Receiver;
v. Denon AVR 888 - AV receiver - 7.1 channel.

Some of the above also includes feature(s) to hook up to your video system. Some may even require a fifth speaker (subwoofer).

Incidentally, you can also choose another brand/model even without a turntable/phono input. As initially posted, a turntable/phone to line level pre-amplifier is only required. Here are some examples:
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b. Pyle® Pro PP999 Phono Preamplifier;
c. Pro-Ject Phono Box Turntable Preamplifier;
d. Radial J33 RIAA Turntable Preamp Direct Box

Good luck with your project.

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