clicks & pops


New member
Mar 11, 2011
Hi all

I've recently upgraded my analog rig from Project Xpression III tt + MF V-LPS phono pre (which was my first ever analog rig), to Unison Research Giro tt + Pathos InTheGroove mkII phono pre (as can be seen from the sig). the new set-up plays very well. however, I'm not setting up this thread to boast with my new trophy but to ask you, more experienced vinyl lovers, for an advice.

it was real pain for me (blame novice in me) to set the arm (it's Clearaudio Satisfy CF) correctly. and even though the TT plays well now I'm still wondering if there's something to be amended. my worries are constantly fuelled by the fact that on the beginning of almost every record, regardless old or brand new, I have some pops now and then. they are loud enough to really bother me. then they disappear somewhere about 2nd track to reappear at the end, not as loud though. plus, I'm getting a feeling of slight mid range congestion and distortion and high frequencies roll-off towards the and of the record. are these symptoms normal? I think not since the Project played flawlessly since new and I didn't have any feeling something's wrong. I should note Project came with pre-fitted and set-up Ortofon 2M Red.

I believe I did everything as required. cart is aligned according to the supplied template as it should be. suggested tracking force is applied (2,2g). and I think VTA is set correctly too although here I was trusting my eyes only since I couldn't find any precision instrument showing me if the arm is exactly parallel or not (any hint in this regard?). could fiddling with antiscating help? so far it's set at low amount of force since I was getting a feeling that the arm was pushed outwards with more antiscating. I can't think of anything else I might adjust.... pls help!


Well-known member
I'm not sure that anything immediately occurs other than these clicks might be static, rather than any defect on the record - because it seems consistent from record to record. At the beginning sometimes decks will earth a bit of excess static, but it is rare to re-occur at the end. When you end a side, do you stop the TT, or leave it rotating? And does the LP crackle slightly as you touch the centre hole with your thumb or finger, as that would be static.

The other thing that I suggest you re-check is your tracking force. The range is quoted as 1.6 to 2.0 grammes, with optimum at 1.8 so you are rather over that at 2.2g. See here:-

Re VTA, your eyes are fine as the few instruments I've seen are wierd and often model specific. A bit of lined paper (e.g. graph paper) might help, held perpendicular to record surface - while not rotating! And a nice bright light nearby (I use a torch). I've seen some people photograph the arm and study the image on their PC screen, but that is unlikely to be necessary with a normal cartridge such as you and I use.

Your description of under biasing sounds correct. And HF does roll off and distortion increase towards end of side, as the grooves are effectively compressed towards the middle of an LP. Obviously hard to say if you're just being more critical now, or something is up. Do lower the tracking force and retry, however.

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
Take the worst offender and have it cleaned professionally. Harder to find than I thought it would be, but there's one here. If that improves the situation, that could be your issue, and it may be worth investing in a cleaner (I found the Knosti Disco Antistat very good indeed) and a whole load of anti-static inner sleeves like those from Nagaoka.


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