Hi-Fi News Test Record
Hi-Fi News & Record Review Analogue Test LPThis is the successor to the original Hi-Fi News Test LP. The original tracks have been re-cut with a frequency sweep track added and the Pink Noise tracks extended. The new 17-track version is an even finer pressing than the original.
Here's the information on the first version:
This British audio publication pressed this straightforward LP of analog setup tests and signals with the average audiophile in mind. Tests include channel balance, phasing, bias setting, pink noise, tracking ability, cartridge/arm lateral resonance test and cartridge alignment. Includes cartridge alignment tool.
The package includes detailed notes, a set-up 'Bible' courtesy of John Crabbe, locked grooves between tests, pristine virgin vinyl pressings and - best of all - audible and visible cues rather than a need for test gear. Side one contains nine tracks for L/R channel identification, phase, channel balance (-20dB pink noise L+R), the same again for the left channel only and the right channel only and four different tracks for setting bias, increasing in 2dB steps. All these tests require are your ears, but the instructions will guide you through every step.
Side Two features seven tracks which cover tracking ability, cartridge/arm resonance and cartridge alignment. Tracking ability is assessed through three sections, all using a 300Hz signal (L+R, +15dB). The three tracks are positioned as the first, middle and last tracks so you can gauge performance across the whole arc of travel. (Or line of travel, if you're the lucky owner of a tangential arm...) The two cartridge/arm resonance tests consist of test sweeps with pilot tones, and you'll actually see the arm misbehaving if there's any horrible mismatch in your set-up. The cartridge alignment test allows you to adjust the azimuth for minimum output, through a 300Hz vertical L-R signal at +6dB. Lastly, there's a track to show residual noise, consisting of unmodulated grooves. And this one will prove to be a real party trick if you use an idler-drive deck and none of your friends are willing to believe it's a quiet runner...
Ratings & Reviews
I recently purchased the Hi-Fi News test record along with a new stylus for my Grado G cartridge. I bought my turntable/cartridge in the early 1980's. At the time of purchase back then a technician at the audio store set-up the turntable using a test record and oscilloscope. The optimum settings ended up being a lot different than the manufacturers recommendations. I just mounted the new stylus and set the tracking force and anti-skate back to the manufacturers recommendations as a starting point. I then used the Hi-Fi News test record to set-up the turntable with just my ears (no scope). After completing the procedure, the settings ended up being VERY close to the one's the technician arrived at back in the 80's. This was the expected result given I did not change the cartridge. The Hi-Fi News test record was well worth the expense and I highly recommend it. In a matter of 20 minutes I had my turntable optimally set up again, and it sounds great.
This record really helped me set up and verify things like channel balance, azimuth, tracking weight, and especially bias correction / anti-skate. It also helps check the resonant frequencies of the cartidge / tonearm combo.
by Daniel Thomas
A Test LP is absolutely essential for getting the most out of your stereo system. This can be used to fine-tune your phono cartridge's alignment, and test the resonance frequencies between cart and tonearm. A protractor is also included and is simple to use. Overall, this Test LP is a MUST for every turntable junkie.
I highly recommend this product for maximizing your turntable. I am a huge fan of vinyl but a bit of a novice w/ regards to the mechanics of turntables. I have owned a Techniques 1650 player for as long as I can remember. I acquired it from my father (its 30 years old) When I began to update my sound system I also upgraded my phono cartridge, and the Hi Fi Test LP was invaluable.