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Grounding a turntable (Read 558 times)
Melvin
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Grounding a turntable
05/02/19 at 02:47:39
 
Hey guys. I decided to purchase an entry-level turntable (Music Hall MMF-1.5) after all these years without one .. I can resist no longer. It's due to arrive tomorrow and I'm pretty excited. For now I intend on using the built-in phono preamp and connect to the free input on the SE84UFO. The Music Hall manual states the ground wire needs to attach to the amp/receiver/ect. and I'm kind of clueless here. Without a ground connection on the Zen how do I accomplish this? I'm sure this is a basic question for most of you but I really am clueless and don't want to mess anything up. Some guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #1 - 05/02/19 at 03:15:12
 
I donít know about how you will earth that table but are you sure the preamp puts out 2 volts? If it doesnít then you wonít enjoy much volume with the Zen.
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Melvin
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #2 - 05/02/19 at 03:28:34
 
Thanks for mentioning this. I'm not sure to be honest. I fully expect to purchase a separate phono preamp but was hoping the built-in would be ok for the time being. Of course adding a phono preamp would solve the ground question as well. Funny though, I thought tables with built-in preamps didn't need to be grounded but the manual suggests otherwise, unless I'm reading it wrong.
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Melvin
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #3 - 05/02/19 at 03:41:51
 
Thinking more on this I suppose I'm going to have to put my linestage/preamp back in the system if I want to listen to vinyl. Or buy one of Steve's. I really like the sound without a preamp in the mix. OY.
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jslateiv
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #4 - 05/02/19 at 14:06:49
 
The spec's on the MMF1.5 show a Line level output between 90-216mv.    Going into a anSE84 directly your gonna be behind the 8-ball so to speak.   Now depending upon how sensitive your speakers are you maybe able to enjoy some good sound at a decent volume but most likely not be able to make it play loud. It would be a best case if your speakers are in the +95db/sens.   As far as grounding,  try without.  If there is no hum or no offensive/obtrusive hum then your fine without the grounding.  The option is primarily there help mitigate hum when the table/arm pickup magnetic fields from other sources like the TT motor, etc...   May not be an issue,...   If it is,  you should be able to run the ground wire form the TT to any other grounded area,  doesn't even necessarily need to be the amp.  You could terminate the end of a ground wire and stick it directly into the ground plug/slot of an outlet or any other area that is grounded.   I would however keep the ground away from terminating on the ground sleeve of an RCA.
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Melvin
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #5 - 05/02/19 at 15:08:35
 
@jslateiv .. thank you. I'll try it without adding my line stage back into the mix but at least I understand this now. My speakers are rated at 94.5 efficiency so I have a bit of hope. As to the ground, I emailed Music Hall this morning and got a swift response back from Roy himself (nice touch). He explained when using the on-board preamp there is no need to ground. It would have been helpful if they stated this in their manual but, it's all good. Can't wait to hear the new table.
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jslateiv
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #6 - 05/02/19 at 15:50:38
 
Excellent,  yes,for quieter listening you may be ok.   I thought that was kinda weird about needing a ground with a phono pre out,  but hey, I've def. run across stranger things in this hobby,  :o   Glad you got a quick response!  Best,
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slop
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #7 - 05/02/19 at 18:20:00
 
I bet it's gonna sound great right into the zen, sans pre amp. Vinyl always sounds quieter to me than digital and it always sounds better 😊
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #8 - 05/02/19 at 18:56:12
 
Iím afraid you wonít realize the Zenís potential until you connect it to a real phono preamp that puts out at least 2 volts.
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Melvin
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #9 - 05/02/19 at 19:12:56
 
@Rivieraranch .. would you care to recommend a couple for me to check out? i'd like to stay under say, $300. Under $200 would be even better. Thanks.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #10 - 05/02/19 at 21:17:43
 
Many better than I could chime in here.
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HockessinKid
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #11 - 05/02/19 at 21:35:12
 
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Lonely Raven PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 (or) Nottingham Interspace (heavy platter) TT w/ Dynavector 20X2LO + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25 > CSP3-25 preamp > Zen Mystery Amp > Omega SAHO XRS speakers > ZenWave Audio, TWL, & Acoustic BBQ cables.
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slop
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #12 - 05/02/19 at 22:41:57
 
My friend has a lounge audio which he runs directly into the zen with excellent results. That might be a winner if you can find it used. As Rivierarach said - there is no replacement for absent volts
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Melvin
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #13 - 05/02/19 at 23:18:22
 
Thanks guys.
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Archie
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #14 - 05/03/19 at 01:07:20
 
I too looked up the specs for this TT and if I read them right you might get 1/4 Volt out of it. †The cart has a very low output for a MM and the phono stage can't have much gain. †Even with a 5mV cart and a ZP3, you only get about 1/2 volt. †I use a CSP3 and a ZR2 after my phono stage to bring the voltage up. †There may be no way around the math. †Even an average separate phono stage with that cart won't get you there. †I forget the actual number but with a 5mV cart, I think you need a phono stage with mid to upper 50s db gain. †Steve's amps generally take 2 volts to reach full power whereas I think 1 volt is more typical. †That may be why this question keeps coming up.
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Melvin
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #15 - 05/03/19 at 02:10:00
 
Well, I got the table all set up and connected direct to the Zen. Surprisingly, the volume is more than adequate for me. The volume dial on the Zen needs to be turned up significantly more than when playing digital, which is expected. BTW, I set this up temporarily in a less-than-ideal spot (6' from the amp) until I figure out a permanent configuration.

Now, the question is .. will adding my line stage back into the mix improve the sound quality? I suppose I'll need to try it at some point. For the time being I think I'll just listen to some music and get used to this new addition. Probably a prudent thing to do at this point. Thank you for your input gentlemen. Much appreciated.
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pursuitofnow
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #16 - 05/03/19 at 02:28:51
 
A line stage with adjustable gain like the ZSTAGE for example will improve the sound, or at least it does in my system. You get more body, girth, dynamics, and volume. I especially like to use a lot of voltage going into these amps at lower listening levels. You get all the detail without any fatigue what so ever.
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Melvin
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #17 - 05/03/19 at 02:44:31
 
The ZSTAGE is an intriguing option! It appeals to me much more than using my solid state preamp. Thanks for mentioning.
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slop
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #18 - 05/03/19 at 13:22:43
 
figured it may surprise you for the better (:
and it will get better as the cartridge breaks-in! i
an excellent phono pre is definitely a step in the right direction for the future.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #19 - 05/03/19 at 13:49:28
 
When you turn the ZSTAGE up the sound feels wider, fatter and more dynamic. As opposed to merely increasing volume.
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Archie
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #20 - 05/03/19 at 16:08:31
 
If you want to add just one component I recommend a ZROCK2.  You'll get additional gain and an unbelievable bloom to the lows and mids.
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Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
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ZR2 (25th A Mods)
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #21 - 05/03/19 at 17:34:21
 
I thought that the Zrock was mainly to improve the bass for listening to classic rock. How different is it from a ZSTAGE or a CSP3?
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Lon
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #22 - 05/03/19 at 17:45:29
 
The ZROCK2 is a secret weapon unleashed on the audio world. It adds gain such as a ZSTAGE. And it adds it with adjustable EQ, two different curves.

I had no idea how it would transform my systems, wouldn't even have known how to hope for what it does as it is sort of an unexplored audio world until it was unleashed on the world by Steve. Read the ZROCK2 forum Jim for all the user impressions. It does allow more bass for classic rock, but I don't listen to much of that so it's great that it does so much more for so many different musical (or video sound) styles. It adds gain, it adds weight, it adds body, it enhances subtle details. It's a game changer, in either the basic mode or the incredible 25th Anniversary modded hot rod version. I wouldn't be without one now, it improves everything. It's not at all dissimilar to the ZSTAGE or CSP preamps, those do similar things but without the EQ adjustment. I've always needed that EQ adjustment potential and tried to get it many different ways--the ZROCK2 is the elegant and efficient way to achieve that.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #23 - 05/03/19 at 20:01:28
 
I recall when I asked Ziggy a question about the Zrock, he said, "just get it."
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Melvin
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #24 - 05/04/19 at 13:14:58
 
The ZROCK is another nice option. Thanks for mentioning.

So far so good with this new little adventure of mine. The sound has improved quite a bit since my first listen (burn-in?). Along with some new vinyl I hope to find some used gems so I purchased a Spin Clean and some MoFi anti-static sleeves. The Spin Clean worked very nicely on the 1st few used LP's I picked up .. big difference. I've also discovered the wonders the Magic Eraser to clean the stylus. Right now, Cat Stevens decided to drop by and play some music. Lucky me.
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Archie
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #25 - 05/04/19 at 17:19:41
 
I completely concur on the ZR2. †It makes everything better. †While the other gain stages, including the CSP3, increase overall density, the ZR2 does that plus fills in missing frequency response. †I think the guys experimenting with Super Tweeters are attempting the same thing but at the other end of the frequency spectrum.
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Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
HR1s (Upgrd - top & bass drivers & X-ovr)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under everything.
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Melvin
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Posts: 59
Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #26 - 05/05/19 at 16:29:40
 
OK .. more input needed from you guys if you don't mind.

As an experiment I decided to add my preamp (PS Audio Trio P200) into the mix to see if I'd hear an improvement with the turntable. Well, I'm happy to say it makes a big difference .. volume, weight, scale, dynamics .. everything, just like some have mentioned. As a bonus, I now have a remote for volume.

The other side of the equation is digital doesn't sound quite a good through the preamp as DAC to amp direct. Seems to me I can have both but I thought I'd check before proceeding. So, DAC direct into 1 input on the amp and preamp to the other. Toggle to switch sources. Yes? Or am I mistaken and not seeing an obvious problem? I've been in this hobby for quite some time but never faced this dilemma before. Thank you gentlemen.



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pursuitofnow
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #27 - 05/05/19 at 17:26:02
 
You got it. I used to run two paths (digital, analog) into my SE84UFO using the input switch to select between them.
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PS Audio DirectStream DAC
ZBIT > ZROCK2-25th > SE84UFO3-25th
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Zenwave D4, ZSTYX
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Melvin
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Posts: 59
Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #28 - 05/05/19 at 18:08:16
 
Thank you @persuitofnow. This makes me very happy! I suppose I could have lived with the DAC connected to the preamp (it doesn't sound bad) but I'm glad I don't have to. There's just something special about that direct connection .. kind of haunting really. It's already been reconfigured. Best of both worlds.
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Archie
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Re: Grounding a turntable
Reply #29 - 05/05/19 at 18:13:56
 
I have a similar result with my CSP3 in the chain.  I've tried it both ways and the pre wins hands down.  The ZR2 adds goodness on top of that.  I admit though that I've never tried the TT and ZR2 without the CSP3.
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Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
HR1s (Upgrd - top & bass drivers & X-ovr)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under everything.
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