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Stock Needle vs. shure M44-7 + Pyle PP444 (objective comparison)

This comparison includes a needle and tonearm comparison table, spectrums, and a tap test video.

Turntable 1:
-stock Numark PT01 USB

Turntable 2:
-modified Numark PT01 USB
3D printed tonearm
-shure M44-7 cartridge and needle
Pyle PP444 stereo phono preamp (requires preamp mod)

notes:
-data was taken to objectively compare the stock ceramic needle and tonearm to a 3D printed tonearm with M44-7 needle and Pyle PP444 preamp on a Numark PT01
-data includes output level testing using a “Cardas Frequency Sweep and Burn-In Record” as source material
-audio data is taken with an Audio Precision APx515 audio analyzer
-The Pyle PP444 phono preamp was chosen for it’s very low cost, and +9V (single rail) operation
-a much higher quality preamp can be used if desired
-top level view, the data says that the output level is similar between turntable 1 and turntable 2
-the m44-7 has a bit more low end
-the ceramic needle has a bit more high end
-the m44-7 is louder with a 1kHz tone audio source
-the ceramic needle is louder with a pink noise audio source
-the ceramic needle has a lower noise floor when the platter is moving
-the m44-7 has a lower noise floor when the patter is not moving
-the m44-7 has less record wear
-the m44-7 has better anti-skate performance when bouncing (i.e. more likely to land back on the correct skipless scratch section of the record)
platter bars will help with bounce performance for both needles

-Needle and Tonearm Comparison Data
1. See the Needle and Tonearm Comparison Table, and associated spectrums

Needle and Tonearm Comparison Table

Test Description Ceramic Needle (mVrms) M44-7 with Pyle PP444 Preamp (mVrms)
Channel 1 Channel 2 Channel 1 Channel 2
1kHz tone, full volume, flat EQ 245 219 307 276
1kHz tone, full volume, Hi EQ 284 251 364 327
1kHz tone, full volume, Low EQ 198 176 276 242
Tonarm docked, no input (noise floor test) 0.752 0.735 0.407 0.397
Tonearm undocked, no input (noise floor test, platter moving) 1.63 1.69 7.78 7.1
Pink Noise, full volume, flat EQ 505 451 322 327
Pink Noise, full volume, Hi EQ 673 585 351 363
Pink Noise, full volume, Low EQ 293 214 285 280

 

table notes:
-all data taken with Audio Precision APx515
-both turntables were wall powered for all tests
-the 1kHz and pink noise audio source was generated by playing source material from the “Cardas Frequency Sweep and Burn-In Record” vinyl record
-“Cermaic Needle” refers to the Numark PT01 stock needle
-“M44-7” refers to a shure M44-7 cartridge mounted on a 3D printed tonearm
-“with Pyle PP44” refers to a modified Numark PT01, where the existing preamp is bypassed, and a Pyle PP444 is installed in it’s place
-“flat EQ” refers the tone control knob in center position
-“Hi EQ” refers to the tone control knob in “High” position
-“Low EQ” refers to the tone control knob in the “Low” position

-Spectrums
2. See spectrums

Ceramic Needle, 1kHz Tone, Full Volume
Ceramic Needle, 1kHz Tone, Full Volume

M44-7 plus Pyle PP444, 1kHz Tone, Full Volume
M44-7 plus Pyle PP444, 1kHz Tone, Full Volume
Ceramic Needle, Pink Noise, Full Volume
Ceramic Needle, Pink Noise, Full Volume
M44-7 plus Pyle PP444, Pink Noise, Full Volume
M44-7 plus Pyle PP444, Pink Noise, Full Volume

-Bounce Performance
3. See the tap test video

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