Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fun With Plasti-Clay

One very easy tweak to perform on old turntables, especially the cheap-ass ones, is to pack the innards with molding putty. Plasti-Clay (hope I'm spelling that right) is a perfect example of this. As the era of vinyl records gave way to compact disc, the market was flooded with countless plastic turntables. These were nowhere near as well built as the monsters of the late '70s and early '80s, and they probably did as much to cement the death of LPs as anything from the digital side. Still, there are many great turntables to find for little to no money - $100 or less, I mean.

Plastic is a terrible material for turntables, because of their resonance and vibration problems. It's clearly the bottom of the totem pole, before fiberboard, hard wood, and other exotic materials like marble and metal. All these vibrations compromise your sound, and result in a poorer turntable. It doesn't help that most of these models are hollow and empty. But watch at how you can change that, only with a few pounds of molding clay.

See that?! That's insane. It also yields shocking results. When you want great music on the cheap, that is, without spending a grand on a Rega or Pro-Ject (or more!), you need every trick in the book.

You can probably try this on some cheap, old Technics that's always available in rummage sales and thrift stores. You'll likely pay only a few bucks for one, certainly never over $100. Perform this Plasti-Clay surgery and suddenly your table will sound much....much better. Then throw a decent phono cartridge - I always recommend the Audio Technica 440mla - and prepare to be amazed.

This trick should work on any turntable that has empty space inside the board, so feel free to experiement and see what that does for you.

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