Eliminating hum on a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Turntable - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 121 Old 01-22-2014, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Just picked up one of these as my Revox B795 is in for surgery.

First impressions were very good in terms of fit and finish, relatively easy to set up.

My Revox was whisper quiet so I immediately noticed an audible hum emanating from the turntable upon motor startup; this is with no record on the platter and the arm in its holder, no music playing with my headphones off. The noise was audible from 6 feet away. Putting the dust cover down mutes it somewhat but still audible.

Putting on the headphones and dropping the needle showed low level hum upon needle drop; not horrible, but not whisper quiet like my Revox.

Putting a sound deadening mat under the turntable did nothing and the hum was audible even if you lifted up the turntable in your hands with no record playing.

Ran this by Marc at Soundscape here in Santa Rosa where I bought it and he passed on my concern to Pro-Ject and Jesse, the Western Regional Sales Manager told me to remove the two Motor Mount screwst screws from the silver armature holding the motor drive. Please note, these are not "transport screws" which most turntables without a platter suspension system don't need.

This did indeed completely eliminate the audible hum from standing next to the turntable but made the hum over headphones upon needle drop significantly worse.

Marc suggested I put the Motor Mount screws back but loosely; this did nothing other than make a horrible sound when the metal armature touched the loose transport screws.

I did, however, find a solution that rendered the turntable hum free either over headphones or by standing next to the turntable.

Picked up some 5/32" neoprene washers from Home Depot;http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-5-32-in-Black-Neoprene-Washer-4-Pack-815718/204225895

Used two of them under the Motor Mount screws and screwed the Motor Mount screws down snuggly onto their rubber bushings, (loosely does not work), just enough to only slightly deform the washers.

EDIT: In further experimentation using two neporene washers per side with a #6 SAE Brass Washer on top of each side screwed down mid tight using the motor mount screws further improved results; again, screw down only tightly enough that the washers barely deform.

This completely clamps down the silver armature and eliminates metal to metal contact between the silver armature and the metal Motor Mount screws.

Photos attached of the washers installed under the two Motor Mount screws.

Hope this helps someone out there.

Without the "fix" the hum was disappointing.

With the fix the hum is completely and utterly gone.

Now the turntable is simply the best price/value out there IMHO.

Cartridge sounds great as well after years of only using Ortofon Moving Coils, (MC20II and Samba).

100_1412.JPG 601k .JPG file

100_1413.JPG 600k .JPG file

EDIT: another source of hum is the low quality RCA cables delivered with the unit that do not fit tightly on the plugs. Changing to tighter fitting cables made another major improvement. Between the neoprene washer which eliminated audible hum standing next to the table and reduced hum through the tonearm, and improved RCA cables which eliminated any hint of hum through the tonearm you can make an audible improvement in the TT for very little money.
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post #2 of 121 Old 01-23-2014, 06:44 AM
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Good detective work; it's no fun when a new toy doesn't work right!
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post #3 of 121 Old 01-23-2014, 06:59 AM
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This is a known issue with the Debut, but you certainly have come up with the simplest and most elegant solution o/\o
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post #4 of 121 Old 01-23-2014, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Jesse said he'd send the fix "up the line."

Sadly I don't expect this very quick and easy solution to be incorporated in their sketchy manual, the FAQ's on their website and definitely not a running change on their assembly line.

Just the way corporations seem to work these days even though it has to cost them a good deal of money and hassle to troubleshoot a relatively well known issue with no corporate solution, (or even an admission that there IS a problem), and I have to believe a lot of experienced turntable owners would simply return the thing with all those associated costs.

Someone new to vinyl would likely just shrug and think, "I guess they're supposed to hum a bit" and have a less than satisfying experience that can be fixed for less than a buck at Home Depot and less than 5 minutes with a screwdriver.

If you subscribe to other Vinyl related forums please pass along the fix.

Happy listening all.
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post #5 of 121 Old 01-23-2014, 12:25 PM
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With the fix the hum is completely and utterly gone.

Now the turntable is simply the best price/value out there IMHO.
To me, a product you have to finish manufacturing yourself is not a particularly good value, unless it's advertised as DIY and a lot cheaper than comparable products.

Maybe Pro-Ject should partner with Ikea.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #6 of 121 Old 01-23-2014, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

To me, a product you have to finish manufacturing yourself is not a particularly good value, unless it's advertised as DIY and a lot cheaper than comparable products.

Maybe Pro-Ject should partner with Ikea.

I've owned 6 or 7 turntables in my life.

The only one that had better fit and finish was my beloved old Sony PSX75.

In today's money when I bought it new it would be about $1,100.

The hum issue has never once been mentioned in reviews so perhaps it's not universal.

I ride motorcycles; I'm used to tweaking them to make them work...sometimes thousands of dollars worth of tweaking! biggrin.gif
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post #7 of 121 Old 01-23-2014, 01:15 PM
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I've owned 6 or 7 turntables in my life.

The only one that had better fit and finish was my beloved old Sony PSX75.

In today's money when I bought it new it would be about $1,100.
I've owned $150 turntables that didn't have a hum issue. To me, audio quality is a lot more important than "fit and finish." Perhaps Pro-Ject is putting too much emphasis on the latter.
Quote:
The hum issue has never once been mentioned in reviews so perhaps it's not universal.
Perhaps, but earlier, someone said this:
Quote:
This is a known issue with the Debut

And you were probably right about this:
Quote:
Sadly I don't expect this very quick and easy solution to be incorporated in their sketchy manual, the FAQ's on their website and definitely not a running change on their assembly line.

By the way:
Quote:
Just the way corporations seem to work these days
No, real corporations recall defective products, or offer refunds. GM does not tell its car buyers to loosen a few screws.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #8 of 121 Old 01-23-2014, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post

I ride motorcycles; I'm used to tweaking them to make them work...sometimes thousands of dollars worth of tweaking! biggrin.gif

Bad analogy. I too used to ride. I'd bet the tweaking is for performance, not to make a brand new bike fire up and run when you push the button.

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post #9 of 121 Old 01-23-2014, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by citizen arcane View Post

Bad analogy. I too used to ride. I'd bet the tweaking is for performance, not to make a brand new bike fire up and run when you push the button.

Well, the TT played records just fine and perhaps the hum wouldn't be noticed by some.

You'd be surprised about bikes.

It took $2,000 in upgrades to the suspension and the fueling to make my old TL1000S ride able, and the first BMW F800ST I bought had ABS that would activate over bumps while braking in the dry and added 8 feet to your expected stopping distance if you were unlucky enough to get the right series of events to happen that tricked the ABS computer.

Traded that ABS bike in for one without and couldn't be happier.

BOTH of the F800ST's believe it or not also had a problem with the bike not recognizing the key with a built in microchip.

Go to start the bike, push the button and nothing; just a warning flashing on the dash.

They both eventually DID start up after much frustration, but other owners weren't so lucky and had to have their bike towed in, (free via BMW, but still a pain in the ass).

BMW denied there was a systemic problem.

After 2 years of denial there finally was a recall.

I wouldn't put the hum problem on the TT at anything like the level of those kind of problems.

The "fix" for the hum problem is simple and costs less than a buck if your Pro-Ject Debut Carbon even has the issue.

Love my Pro-Ject, loved the TL1000S despite the fixes needed, love my current F800ST but wouldn't recommend a F800 to anyone as now they come stock with ABS, can't get one without it, and it still sucks in the braking department according to reviews I've read.

I can also recommend the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge that came with the TT as an excellent choice for someone looking to spend about 100 bucks on a medium high compliance cartridge.
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post #10 of 121 Old 01-23-2014, 03:41 PM
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The transport screws MUST BE COMPLETELY REMOVED FROM THE TURNTABLE!!!!!!

Anyone who told you anything different is an absolute idiot!!!!

If you do not remove the transport screws completely, the motor suspension is interfered with and cannot function as designed. Keeping them on there is ridiculously dumb.

If you still have a hum problem after removing them, you may need to run a ground wire from turntable to amplifier chassis, or there may be a need to put sorbothane pads under the turntable feet.
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post #11 of 121 Old 01-23-2014, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The transport screws MUST BE COMPLETELY REMOVED FROM THE TURNTABLE!!!!!!

Anyone who told you anything different is an idiot!!!!

If you do not remove the transport screws, the motor suspension is interfered with and cannot function as designed.


I edited my original post as the screws in question are not "transport screws" at all but Motor Mount screws.

Transport screws are often not used on single play turntables as they often do not have a suspension system for the platter assembly. A true "transport screw" bolts the platter assembly down to the base of the unit for transportation and indeed lowers the height of the entire turntable platter on some turntables and therefore must be removed or loosened to allow the platter suspension to work properly and for the platter assembly to be at the correct height for playing.

Removing the Motor Mount screws on the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is most assuredly NOT part of the setup in the manual and removing them results in completely unacceptable hum through the tonearm.

I removed them at the suggestion of the Regional Sales Manager as that often cures hum issues with the older Pro-Ject Debut with an aluminum arm but, in my case, it made things much much worse with the carbon fiber arm.

My solution was considered a good one by the Regional Sales Manager of Pro-Ject and results in no hum whatsoever.

Do you have the turntable?

If you remove the Motor Mount screws and place your finger on the silver armature there is considerable motor vibration which results in the hum.

If you place the tip of a screwdriver on the armature with the Motor Mount screws removed it sounds like a Dremel, the same sound it makes if you leave the screws in but not tightened down.

Hope that clarifies things.
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post #12 of 121 Old 01-25-2014, 10:46 AM
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Thanks man! I did this this am and it stopped the hum from my carbon. I'm amazed. I really thought I was going to have to send it back.
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post #13 of 121 Old 01-25-2014, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by frenchgulch View Post

Thanks man! I did this this am and it stopped the hum from my carbon. I'm amazed. I really thought I was going to have to send it back.

Hey, you made my day!

Enjoy.

EDIT: Achieved even better results by using two of the neoprene washers on each side with a #6 SAE Brass Washer on top of each side screwed down mid tight using the motor mount screws.
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post #14 of 121 Old 02-02-2014, 04:58 AM
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Awesome tip and it really did lower the hum noise.

How much did you crank down the screws? I know you said tight but it seems like they can really squish down the neoprene washers and whatever that soft stuff that is underneath the bracket already.

I didn't want to make them too tight because of that.

Thanks again for the tip!
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post #15 of 121 Old 02-02-2014, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by abwcr View Post

Awesome tip and it really did lower the hum noise.

How much did you crank down the screws? I know you said tight but it seems like they can really squish down the neoprene washers and whatever that soft stuff that is underneath the bracket already.

I didn't want to make them too tight because of that.

Thanks again for the tip!

I'd say tight enough to clamp the motor armature to the large rubber bushings below without deforming the little neoprene washers above too much.

That is why in version 2.0 of this "fix" I used two neoprene washers per side, (heck, the bag came with four total so why not use them), with a #6 SAE metal washer on each side...obviously you can use a metric equivalent of that SAE washer.

So glad this has helped others with noisy tables...not all of them are apparently but I'm confident even the quiet ones will be quieter with this fix.
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post #16 of 121 Old 03-21-2014, 10:04 AM
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As a new owner of this exact turntable I am happy to have found this thread with a solution, I too had a hum issue that was not overbearing but just there enough to be annoying.

 

2 bucks at lowe's and about 30 seconds of work later, the hum was gone !

 

Sometimes the internet is indeed good for something, endless high fives to the thread starter for posting this.

scottnewell and Jericoholic like this.
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post #17 of 121 Old 03-28-2014, 07:32 AM
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Looks like I'm making a trip to the Depot today. This problem has bugged me ever since I got my Carbon almost 2 years ago. Can't wait to see if it works. Totally not looking forward to re-doing all my needledrops though! tongue.gif
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post #18 of 121 Old 03-28-2014, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DBMethos View Post

Looks like I'm making a trip to the Depot today. This problem has bugged me ever since I got my Carbon almost 2 years ago. Can't wait to see if it works. Totally not looking forward to re-doing all my needledrops though! tongue.gif

I digitized some of my vinyl before I figured out the fix but those recordings aren't that bad because as the hum was most noticeable between songs I edited in total silence which was an unnecessary PITA.

With the "fix" the sound between tracks is completely inaudible and no editing of the soundwave required.

Hope it works for you; don't know why it wouldn't, (unless you still have the stock RCA cables that is...those were also contributing to the hum as the fit so loosely on the terminals).
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post #19 of 121 Old 04-16-2014, 05:59 PM
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I edited my original post as the screws in question are not "transport screws" at all but Motor Mount screws.

Removing the Motor Mount screws on the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is most assuredly NOT part of the setup in the manual and removing them results in completely unacceptable hum through the tonearm.
.

I'm not so sure.

Here's what is actually in the manual.

There is picture showing the parts of the turntable. The two screws in question are each marked with a number "1".

In the accompanying parts list, part "1" is described as "motor transportation screw."

At the end of the first paragraph under "set-up" it reads, "remove the two red transport screws (1), which secure the motor (22) during transportation."

Now, whether your approach solved your specific problem is a different issue, but the Pro-Ject factory clearly thinks of these two screws as "transit screws."

I have found that you also need to remove the two rubber domes that sit under the motor support arms (they're not "armatures") to get it to be quiet. The idea is that the motor will be suspended solely by the rubber o-ring. This is almost identical to the way older Rega turntables suspended the motor.
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post #20 of 121 Old 04-17-2014, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shinri View Post

I'm not so sure.

Here's what is actually in the manual.

There is picture showing the parts of the turntable. The two screws in question are each marked with a number "1".

In the accompanying parts list, part "1" is described as "motor transportation screw."

At the end of the first paragraph under "set-up" it reads, "remove the two red transport screws (1), which secure the motor (22) during transportation."

Now, whether your approach solved your specific problem is a different issue, but the Pro-Ject factory clearly thinks of these two screws as "transit screws."

I have found that you also need to remove the two rubber domes that sit under the motor support arms (they're not "armatures") to get it to be quiet. The idea is that the motor will be suspended solely by the rubber o-ring. This is almost identical to the way older Rega turntables suspended the motor.

I'm not sure which manual you're talking about but here is a PDF of the exact manual I got with my Project Debut Carbon.

http://www.project-audio.com/inhalt/en/manual/manual_debutcarbon.pdf

There are no transport screws mentioned in the manual and they were not referred to as transport screws by the Area Manager from Project that tried to help me, (but couldn't).

In the manual the screws are not referred to at all but the areas that they are connected are indeed labeled "1" in the parts list.

What do they call these two areas labelled "1" in the parts list?

They call them "Motor brackets with Sorbothane Pads."

They certainly don't tell you to remove the "Sorbothane Pads" and the Area Manager from Project told me specifically NOT to remove them.

And guess what, you don't have to.

If you have hum, try my simple solution which was approved by the Area Manager from Project...I would not suggest you try a solution as suggested by Shinri which, in my personal experience, was specifically warned against by the company's representative.

He told me to remove the screws, (which actually made things worse as per my first post), but to under no circumstance remove the rubber bushings...which are called "Sorbothane Pads" in the manual.

I'm guessing you run the risk of voiding your warranty by going to the unnecessary lengths Shinri suggests.

BTW, the only mention of causes of "hum" in the FAQ section of the attached manual is this basic one: "No earth connection from cartridge or arm or arm cable to amplifier, or earth loop."
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post #21 of 121 Old 04-17-2014, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post


In the manual the screws are not referred to at all but the areas that they are connected are indeed labeled "1" in the parts list.

What do they call these two areas labelled "1" in the parts list?

They call them "Motor brackets with Sorbothane Pads."

They certainly don't tell you to remove the "Sorbothane Pads" and the Area Manager from Project told me specifically NOT to remove them.

If you have hum, try my simple solution which was approved by the Area Manager from Project...I would not suggest you try a solution as suggested by Shinri which, in my personal experience, was specifically warned against by the company's representative.

He told me to remove the screws, (which actually made things worse as per my first post), but to under no circumstance remove the rubber bushings...which are called "Sorbothane Pads" in the manual.

I'm guessing you run the risk of voiding your warranty by going to the unnecessary lengths Shinri suggests.

Sheesh. I was just trying to suggest a helpful solution that worked for me, and I get attacked. confused.gif

If you read any of the other Debut manuals at the Pro-Ject site, and you will see that they are exactly as I described in my earlier comment.

Here's the Debut III manual. Same drawing, same exact layout, only they clearly refer to "1" as "transportation screws."

http://www.project-audio.com/inhalt/en/manual/manual_debut.pdf

It's funny that you give dire warnings about how removing the Sobothane domes could "void your warranty," when you yourself told everyone to go buy unauthorized aftermarket parts at Home Depot and install them on the turntable! Once you have removed the "transportation screws," the Sorbothane domes simply lift out. There is no adhesive or anything else holding them in place. If my solution doesn't work for you, you can simply stick them back where they came from. There are no warranty issues.

I'm not sure who "Jesse" is, but I suspect that he works for importer Sumiko, not for Pro-Ject directly. I don't believe that Pro-Ject have any direct company employees in the USA.

Just why Pro-Ject has changed their tune on how they are referring to the screws isn't clear to me. It seems like they are struggling a bit with finding a good solution to the motor noise issues with the Debut models. I'll try to remember to ask Heinz Lichtenegger the next time I see him.
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post #22 of 121 Old 04-17-2014, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shinri View Post

Sheesh. I was just trying to suggest a helpful solution that worked for me, and I get attacked. confused.gif

If you read any of the other Debut manuals at the Pro-Ject site, and you will see that they are exactly as I described in my earlier comment.

Here's the Debut III manual. Same drawing, same exact layout, only they clearly refer to "1" as "transportation screws."

http://www.project-audio.com/inhalt/en/manual/manual_debut.pdf

It's funny that you give dire warnings about how removing the Sobothane domes could "void your warranty," when you yourself told everyone to go buy unauthorized aftermarket parts at Home Depot and install them on the turntable! Once you have removed the "transportation screws," the Sorbothane domes simply lift out. There is no adhesive or anything else holding them in place. If my solution doesn't work for you, you can simply stick them back where they came from. There are no warranty issues.

I'm not sure who "Jesse" is, but I suspect that he works for importer Sumiko, not for Pro-Ject directly. I don't believe that Pro-Ject have any direct company employees in the USA.

Just why Pro-Ject has changed their tune on how they are referring to the screws isn't clear to me. It seems like they are struggling a bit with finding a good solution to the motor noise issues with the Debut models. I'll try to remember to ask Heinz Lichtenegger the next time I see him.

No attack meant, if you took it that way I apologize.

Perhaps they changed the term "transport screws," and the suggestion to remove them, because some people, like me, found that if you remove them it can make matters worse.

In the manual you provided there is no mention of "Sorbothane pads," though I'm sure they are similar to those on the Carbon, and there is no mention of removing them, (or a caution that doing so would be a bad idea for that matter).

If you have a direct contact with ProJect it sure would be nice if they could further clarify this matter.

Certainly my solution involves no removal of any parts and a simple addition of some sound absorbing washers so not sure how that could deemed a drastic use of "unauthorized" parts.

I think we can both agree that ProJect could do a better job helping customers with this well known issue rather than just saying "check the ground."
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post #23 of 121 Old 04-17-2014, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Update, did a little research on Sorbothane Pads and what they are used for and they are clearly used for reducing vibration during operation of audio components.

http://www.sorbothane.com/blog/a-good-damping-material-audio-and-electronics/

Further digging came up for this "fix" of earlier ProJect turntables which, for 25 English Pounds mind you, gave you isolating grommets similar to the Sorbothane Pads that came with the Carbon.

http://www.henleydesigns.co.uk/S/E%20Upgrade%20Kit-p841

http://www.henleydesigns.co.uk/assets/_managed/product/files/SEUpgradeKitInstallationGuide1.pdf

So it would seem that removing them is not the consensus thing to do which is what I was told by the Project representative.

In my case, however, those pads alone didn't do the job until I followed the procedure in my first post.

But if removing them worked for Shinri it would seem that does no harm as the older Project turntable did not have them at all.
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post #24 of 121 Old 04-24-2014, 02:35 PM
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Man this looks great can't wait to try it bc it's been driving me insane!
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post #25 of 121 Old 04-24-2014, 02:48 PM
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I do have one question before I give it a go when you replaced the RCA's that came with the TT did you use a separate ground wire for grounding (the ones provided came w a ground wire connected to the RCA set).
Thanks!!
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post #26 of 121 Old 04-25-2014, 09:24 AM
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Ok I read this tip yesterday, tried today and awesome success!!! Couldn't find the beveled washers but used 4 stacked neoprene washer plus brass washers on top and replaced RCA cables and the improvement is astounding THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
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post #27 of 121 Old 04-25-2014, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottnewell View Post

I do have one question before I give it a go when you replaced the RCA's that came with the TT did you use a separate ground wire for grounding (the ones provided came w a ground wire connected to the RCA set).
Thanks!!
Disregard this I just peeled the ground away from the RCA cables and reused it
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post #28 of 121 Old 04-27-2014, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottnewell View Post

I do have one question before I give it a go when you replaced the RCA's that came with the TT did you use a separate ground wire for grounding (the ones provided came w a ground wire connected to the RCA set).
Thanks!!

Yes, I pulled off the ground wire and tossed the old RCA's that are pretty much worthless; at least mine were as they did not fit snugly and added to the hum problem.
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post #29 of 121 Old 04-27-2014, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottnewell View Post

Ok I read this tip yesterday, tried today and awesome success!!! Couldn't find the beveled washers but used 4 stacked neoprene washer plus brass washers on top and replaced RCA cables and the improvement is astounding THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Awesome!
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post #30 of 121 Old 05-06-2014, 04:03 AM
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Hi - I have this problem with my debut Carbon as well, but just wanted to confirm that this is an "electrical" hum as opposed to a "mechanical" hum?  I'm guessing that as you heard it in your headphones that it's electrical at heart, even if its source is mechanical?

 

 I'm really hoping your fix will work as I love the TT but not the hum! 

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