dimanche 12 février 2017

Oil test for LP12

The black oil is the best for the most recent LP12, other oil can do harm on the bearing and so on. How many times we have been reading these things but we strongly feel between the lines that such affirmations come out from an ideology more then from a real test. It is true I have never seen testin oil for the LP12 but a lot of discussion about it.
So I gave them a try. Like many of you using the LP12 I have been using the standard black oil without going deep to the soninc problem of the oil itself. But now that I have tried I can tell you : the nature of oil have a marked effect on the sound of your LP12! This was to be expected since it changes in a way or another the nature of the friction of the main bearing.

I have tried for this comparative the standard Linn black oil the VDH special turntable spindle oil and the VDH TLFII.

Changing from the Linn black to the VDH special spindle the difference was very marked. The high frequencies were highlighted but not in an aggressive way, the bass got very tight and the propulsion of the music grew up, yes it was pushing. The sound got closer to a Xerxes. What was lost in this clean as a wistle sound was a certain feeling of relaxation and working on timbric differentiations.

Putting the black oil back and things got back to where I was used to. Lost was the pushing force of the VDH special spindle oil but music got more organic in its presentation. 
The VDH special spindle oil is made for not very tight tollerance bearings so maybe the LP12 has a too tight tollerance for this kind of oil? Or the resulting sound is equivalent to a sound with a tighter tollerance bearing? I don't know, I just tell you about the sound it comes out of it.

Then I have changed the black oil for the VDH TLFII. 
Now things got interesting. The differences were less marked then passing from the black oil to the VDH special spindle oil; the caracter of the sound kepts its basic nature but music was really flowing better. This is very strange to expain but it was very obvious. In comparison to the Linn black oil the timbres were better differentiated without for this reason having any shift in the tonality spectrum. This was expecially evident in the reproduction of the nylon guitar strings and also in violins. Voices had just a slight more inflection in their expressivness and a slight more relaxed expression. But things were globally better.
Another extremely strange thing was that the sound got more constant. In a same LP if with the black oil there were songs that you were wondering they had been recorded in a worse way than others, with the TLFII this did not happen. I think this is because the timbre of the instruments were more complete and with this there is a wider margin of musical satisfaction even when things are less then perfect. It is like having a little bit more money. You have more margin to get to zero.

Another thing is that using the VDH TLFII I could reduce the loading of my used cartridge. If with the black oil I had felt the best loading for a certain cartridge was for example 500ohm, using the VDH TLFII I could go to 1000. It is not that 500 was not working any more, I wrote my findings using the same load for each oil,  it is just I could load less without loosing the coherence of the sound. And being able to loading less without sonic negatives can give you some advantages if not the one to be able to choose without punishment.

I think, and I could be probably wrong, that we need to load a cartridge also to compensate the vibrations coming from the rest of the playback system.

So the VDH TLFII will be the oil for my LP12. With no Tiger Paw Tranquility.

PS: I have used also the Tiger Paw Tranquility to test these different oils thinking that since the load on the bearing with it is reduced the sound of the oil could be different. And so it was! The VDH special spindle oil was surely the best. It showed the black Linn oil to produce a slight bluring on the medium bass frequencies. Dynamic contrast was better, sound was tighter but not contracted, it got closer to a Naim standard. Tight and more deep bass, hi frequencies very well contained in their harmonics structure, and more dense. Expecially the timing character was more complex, less simplified. It was more evident the contrast between the melodic flowing and the rithmic pulse. I could be able to reduce the loading of the cartridge (even get to 47Kohm!) with no adverse effect like I could do using the VDH TLFII without the Tranquility.
The VDH TLFII with the Tranquility was almost on the same level then the black Linn one. A touch too free flowing a la Luxman 70s. Loosing a little grip that the Linn oil had and that the VDH special spindle had to even a greater degree.

VDH Special spindle oil will be my oil with my Linn LP12 fitted with a Tiger Paw Tranquility.

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