Re: crackles and pops...
I found something out about vinyl playback, through reading and experience building my own RIAA eq amp (phono preamp).
The ticks and clicks on a record can produce levels +20dB above the musical peaks in the program material. How a phono preamp deals with this is crucial
. If the phono preamp overloads, and it has a time-constant from RC couplings, the circuit can suffer 'blocking.' Basically, if the circuit overloads, it charges the capacitor(s) in the RC coupling(s). The RC time constant might be on the order of 200 milliseconds, but the cap might take several times that to discharge. While the capacitor is discharging, no signal can pass through the amp
. What this does is to exaggerate the clicks and pops from the record, and make them very, very annoying.
If you make a phono preamp that has lots and lots of headroom, and is very stable (feedback loops don't go crazy during short overloads), then the clicks and pops are not nearly as aggravating. I took a pretty standard phono preamp and with the help of some knowledgeable guys on the innerwebs, altered the circuit to give it much more headroom, so that the individual stages could never be overloaded by the output from a phono cartridge. The result? Ticks and clicks are barely noticeable. They just don't get in the way of the music, unless the record is really trashed.
Anyway, that helped me see how the observed behavior of an apparently properly working circuit could result in subjectively unpleasant results. This stuff is more complicated than it at first appears.
My first turntable was a Dual sumthin-or-other that chewed up every record it played. It was terrible. It was about 1975, and I thought a German-made turntable would be better than a Japanese-made one. Man was I wrong about that
! Before that I had a GE Wildcat
My brother bought a Technics belt-drive with an S-shaped arm (with a Marantz integrated amp and Dynaco A25 speakers). That was a great starter setup for the time.