Sound Distortion - Help Needed Please

Oxfordian

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Hi everyone,

I have a problem with my system, I have lost the nice sound that I had and am trying to get it back but to no avail.

What did I do? - I tidied my little listening room, got in some new boxes for my vinyl records and repositioned the HiFi rack to the middle of the wall with the new vinyl boxes left and right of the HiFi rack.

Having had everything apart all the kit was replaced ensuring that it was level and cables routed carefully and lastly the turntable was levelled, tonearm balanced and the tracking weight set to 1.80g for the Goldring 1042, anti skate put to close to 2 on the Rega RB330 scale.

Since I have done this I cannot get a decent sound out of my ATC SCM 7's when playing the turntable, for LP's like Eva Cassidy's Nightbird the piano sounds as though the speakers are broken so distorted is the sound, but when I play the CD of the same album the sound is much much better and the distortion is gone.

The speakers are 15" from the rear wall and 12" from the sides, there is nothing close to them they are in free space, I have tried moving the speakers out as far as 20" from the back wall and as close as 12" to the wall.

My belief is that somewhere along the line the TT has developed a fault or the cartridge is faulty/misaligned, this is the only thing that I can come up with as the music sounds just fine on CD.

I would welcome any suggestions or advise on what to do or what could be wrong.


Thanks in anticipation.
 
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Oxfordian

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Probably finger trouble with the decimal point, but if your tracking weight is really 180g you might as well chuck that vinyl
as it will have been trashed !!!


Doh............

Feeling very very stupid, I'll go and stand in the corner with my dunce's cap on.

Post now amended.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Not sure why you needed to rebalance the tonearm and reset tracking weight and antiskate. If moving around the room, just clip the arm to the rest and (if cautious) fit the stylus guard.

Two immediate thoughts:-
1. Did you connect the turntable into the correct inputs on the amp?
2. Recheck the tracking, and set the antiskate to no more than 1 (as Rega rather overdo the setting)
3. Check stylus for fluff and bits. When did you last clean it?

That’s three for the price of two! Check no 3 first, it’s easiest!
 

Al ears

Well-known member
Not sure why you needed to rebalance the tonearm and reset tracking weight and antiskate. If moving around the room, just clip the arm to the rest and (if cautious) fit the stylus guard.

Two immediate thoughts:-
1. Did you connect the turntable into the correct inputs on the amp?
2. Recheck the tracking, and set the antiskate to no more than 1 (as Rega rather overdo the setting)
3. Check stylus for fluff and bits. When did you last clean it?

That’s three for the price of two! Check no 3 first, it’s easiest!
My thoughts exactly, especially the anti skate setting.
Was wondering when he said had everything apart was the cartridge actually removed from the tonearm?
If so check the wiring to cartridge and cables from / to the phono preamp as it's unlikely the turntable itself has a fault.
 
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Oxfordian

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Not sure why you needed to rebalance the tonearm and reset tracking weight and antiskate. If moving around the room, just clip the arm to the rest and (if cautious) fit the stylus guard.

Two immediate thoughts:-
1. Did you connect the turntable into the correct inputs on the amp?
2. Recheck the tracking, and set the antiskate to no more than 1 (as Rega rather overdo the setting)
3. Check stylus for fluff and bits. When did you last clean it?

That’s three for the price of two! Check no 3 first, it’s easiest!
Thanks for the feedback;

I simply decided to reset the TT after moving stuff around, the counterweight may well have been knocked so just thought it would be the logical thing to do.

1. Yes connections are okay - LP's play fine until the artist really gets going, along with Eva Cassidy another example is Diana Krall - Live in Paris, during the first song on side 1 there is a piano solo and in parts the sound is so distorted it is all but unlistenable too, I thought that it was the LP at first but having played it on another system the LP plays just fine.

2. Thanks for the tip - will set the AS to 1 and ignore Rega - nothing to lose by trying.

3. Stylus is around 3 months old, it was fine before I decided on a tidy up, it is cleaned after every LP is played to keep the fluff at bay.
 
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Oxfordian

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My thoughts exactly, especially the anti skate setting.
Was wondering when he said had everything apart was the cartridge actually removed from the tonearm?
If so check the wiring to cartridge and cables from / to the phono preamp as it's unlikely the turntable itself has a fault.
The cartridge stayed on the arm, not removed, I have checked that all the connections are in place and they are all nice and tight on the pins.

Going to adjust the AS and have a listen.

Thanks for the input.
 

Al ears

Well-known member
Thanks for the feedback;

I simply decided to reset the TT after moving stuff around, the counterweight may well have been knocked so just thought it would be the logical thing to do.

1. Yes connections are okay - LP's play fine until the artist really gets going, along with Eva Cassidy another example is Diana Krall - Live in Paris, during the first song on side 1 there is a piano solo and in parts the sound is so distorted it is all but unlistenable too, I thought that it was the LP at first but having played it on another system the LP plays just fine.

2. Thanks for the tip - will set the AS to 1 and ignore Rega - nothing to lose by trying.

3. Stylus is around 3 months old, it was fine before I decided on a tidy up, it is cleaned after every LP is played to keep the fluff at bay.
so did you disconnect wires to the cartridge or cables to the phono preamp?
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Thanks for the feedback;

I simply decided to reset the TT after moving stuff around, the counterweight may well have been knocked so just thought it would be the logical thing to do.

1. Yes connections are okay - LP's play fine until the artist really gets going, along with Eva Cassidy another example is Diana Krall - Live in Paris, during the first song on side 1 there is a piano solo and in parts the sound is so distorted it is all but unlistenable too, I thought that it was the LP at first but having played it on another system the LP plays just fine.

2. Thanks for the tip - will set the AS to 1 and ignore Rega - nothing to lose by trying.

3. Stylus is around 3 months old, it was fine before I decided on a tidy up, it is cleaned after every LP is played to keep the fluff at bay.
Well unless you find something obvious, maybe the cartridge got damaged?

What you describe sounds like mistracking, a mechanical thing. That often points to a dirty stylus, wrong tracking weight (too light), or stylus damage.

Oh, and please carefully check the stylus assembly is firmly fitted and hasn’t slid forward slightly.

Does your arm have the rotating ring to set tracking force? Or do you count rotations of the counterweight. Do you you have a tracking force gauge to check with?

Is the distortion mainly in one channel, if so, which one?
 
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Oxfordian

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Well unless you find something obvious, maybe the cartridge got damaged?

What you describe sounds like mistracking, a mechanical thing. That often points to a dirty stylus, wrong tracking weight (too light), or stylus damage.

Oh, carefully check the stylus assembly is firmly fitted and hasn’t slid forward slightly.

Does your arm have the rotating ring to set tracking force? Or do you count rotations of the counterweight. Do you you have a tracking force gauge to check with?

Is the distortion mainly in one channel, if so, which one?
I am inclined to agree on the mechanical thing, if the same LP plays fine on CD but not on vinyl I can rule out any issues with Amp and Speakers, I have also swapped out the Black Cube for the original Rega Fono but the issue still exists.

The cartridge has been checked and all is nice and tight.

The RB330 does have the rotating ring, and yes I have a TF gauge.

The distortion comes out of both speakers, when the pianist gets into their stride it starts to sound like Uncle Albert on the upright at the Nags Head in 'Only Fools and Horses'.

My setting up of the arm/cartridge is as follows;

1. Wind the TF and AS to Zero
2. Check that the arm is floating if not adjust counterweight until the arm is floating and level.
3. Adjust TF using rotary dial and scales until the weight on the scale is around 1.8 -1.85g
4. Adjust AS to 1 (new position as shown above)
5. Sit back relax and enjoy the music - well hopefully

If I've missed anything or doing stuff in the wrong order/wrong way please let me know.

I think I'm going to box the TT and get it couriered to my HiFi store, they are willing to give the deck a look over and check everything, I'm going round in circles with it at the moment so I guess that there is nothing to loose by them checking things out..

Thanks for your help.
 

twinkletoes

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Not familiar with your phono amp or even if you’re using an outboard phono amp or not but have you inadvertently adjusted any dip switches/loading in the process of moving things about.

have you switched form Mm- MC for example?

That could produce some distortion.
 
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nopiano

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I am inclined to agree on the mechanical thing, if the same LP plays fine on CD but not on vinyl I can rule out any issues with Amp and Speakers, I have also swapped out the Black Cube for the original Rega Fono but the issue still exists.

The cartridge has been checked and all is nice and tight.

The RB330 does have the rotating ring, and yes I have a TF gauge.

The distortion comes out of both speakers, when the pianist gets into their stride it starts to sound like Uncle Albert on the upright at the Nags Head in 'Only Fools and Horses'.

My setting up of the arm/cartridge is as follows;

1. Wind the TF and AS to Zero
2. Check that the arm is floating if not adjust counterweight until the arm is floating and level.
3. Adjust TF using rotary dial and scales until the weight on the scale is around 1.8 -1.85g
4. Adjust AS to 1 (new position as shown above)
5. Sit back relax and enjoy the music - well hopefully

If I've missed anything or doing stuff in the wrong order/wrong way please let me know.

I think I'm going to box the TT and get it couriered to my HiFi store, they are willing to give the deck a look over and check everything, I'm going round in circles with it at the moment so I guess that there is nothing to loose by them checking things out..

Thanks for your help.
That’s all exactly what to do. Can only think the stylus tip has been damaged. Do you have a little loupe or viewer you can examine it with? If it looks ok, maybe try one track with the full 2 grams tracking force. You’ll know straightaway. It should sail along at 1.8g but worth a try.

It’s in a normal warm room, isn’t it? Only because now autumn has arrived, in a chilly outbuilding the cartridge will be ‘stiffer’.

Shame you have to ship the deck. If you can‘t try it out locally, are you ok with preparing for shipping - e.g.Removing counterweight, protecting stylus etc?

I know you’re not in Oxford, but can’t recall is it Kent or Essex? Another option is to bravely order a new stylus, because everything else must be ok, mustn’t it? (If I could find my old 1006 I could send you that to try as they’re interchangeable styli)
 
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Al ears

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I can only suggest double checking the cable connections that were removed previously as the turntable doesn't have a seperate earth wire, you have done everything else.
If you can send the phono preamp with the turntable just in case it is that that is the issue.H
Aldo, do you know anyone else that has a hifi set-up that would let you connect your turntable to?
 

Oxfordian

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Not familiar with your phono amp or even if you’re using an outboard phono amp or not but have you inadvertently adjusted any dip switches/loading in the process of moving things about.

have you switched form Mm- MC for example?

That could produce some distortion.
Hi,

No I have always been a MM guy, I have checked the MC settings on the Lehmann Black Cube and all are off, the Rega Fono has no MC capability.

Thanks for getting involved.
 

twinkletoes

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Hi,

No I have always been a MM guy, I have checked the MC settings on the Lehmann Black Cube and all are off, the Rega Fono has no MC capability.

Thanks for getting involved.
It’s one of those things without being there it’s hard to spitball ideas and trouble shoot. It will probably turn out to be such a silly little thing, normally is with me! I’m sure you’ll get it sorted my friend
 
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Oxfordian

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If you have the same issue using a different phono preamp then it would seem the cartridge or wiring to same is the problem.
I agree, everything points to the cartridge being the issue, either by being damaged, faulty or not installed properly.

I am going to order some alignment tools off the internet and then check if the cartridge has been set up properly, any suggestions on what to get, a quick look suggests prices range from £7.50 through to £800+, I guess that a simple basic tool should suffice.
 

nopiano

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I agree, everything points to the cartridge being the issue, either by being damaged, faulty or not installed properly.

I am going to order some alignment tools off the internet and then check if the cartridge has been set up properly, any suggestions on what to get, a quick look suggests prices range from £7.50 through to £800+, I guess that a simple basic tool should suffice.
Honestly that is pointless. You know how it should sound. Unless the cartridge is completely askew, which you’d have noticed immediately, that’s not the reason.

You could post a few pictures here though, in case something is obvious to us that you’ve overlooked.

I’ve attached an old pic of my Rega arm, where you can see the cartridge is ‘square’.

IMG_1236.png
 
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WayneKerr

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I agree, everything points to the cartridge being the issue, either by being damaged, faulty or not installed properly.

I am going to order some alignment tools off the internet and then check if the cartridge has been set up properly, any suggestions on what to get, a quick look suggests prices range from £7.50 through to £800+, I guess that a simple basic tool should suffice.
Can't help you out with your sound issue Oxfordian, but my best guess would be cart or stylus related.

However, if you love your turntable then it's a good idea to invest in some decent tools for the future: alignment protractor, loupe, digital scales, stylus brush, small screwdriver, tweezers, bubble level, triangle ruler. It's a ruddy fiddly job but I used to really enjoy setting up a new cartridge and dialling it in :)

I've actually got a Dr Feickert protractor which is rather good - shame you don't live closer as you'd be more than welcome to borrow it.
 
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Al ears

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Can't help you out with your sound issue Oxfordian, but my best guess would be cart or stylus related.

However, if you love your turntable then it's a good idea to invest in some decent tools for the future: alignment protractor, loupe, digital scales, stylus brush, small screwdriver, tweezers, bubble level, triangle ruler. It's a ruddy fiddly job but I used to really enjoy setting up a new cartridge and dialling it in :)

I've actually got a Dr Feickert protractor which is rather good - shame you don't live closer as you'd be more than welcome to borrow it.
A basic Dr Feickert protector came with my turntable but a simpler mirrored protector should be sufficient.
 
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Oxfordian

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Can't help you out with your sound issue Oxfordian, but my best guess would be cart or stylus related.

However, if you love your turntable then it's a good idea to invest in some decent tools for the future: alignment protractor, loupe, digital scales, stylus brush, small screwdriver, tweezers, bubble level, triangle ruler. It's a ruddy fiddly job but I used to really enjoy setting up a new cartridge and dialling it in :)

I've actually got a Dr Feickert protractor which is rather good - shame you don't live closer as you'd be more than welcome to borrow it.
I do prefer to hear my music via a vinyl source, nothing wrong with CD but vinyl is my first choice.

It would be sensible to have some basic kit to help with cartridge/stylus set-up, especially as I hope to have a decent TT for many years to come. At present I have nothing other than a set of digital scales, I'll get some kit organised in the coming days.
 
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Oxfordian

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Update

I have been contemplating what to do with my truculent turntable over the last few weeks, skip it, set fire to it, send it back to the store where I got it from, all were thoughts that crossed my mind during a number of e-mail and phone conversations with the store that I bought it from.

Eventually I decided to pack it up and send it back to the store for them to have a listen and see what could be wrong.

At least that was until last night, when I went to book a courier to collect the box at take it to the store.

Get it insured were the instructions that rang in my ears after informing the store it was coming back to them. Basic cost for the parcel was around £15 (ex VAT) to collect and deliver the following day, what's the insurance for £1600 of Turntable, Cartridges, Phono Stage and Power Supply, £75 (ex VAT), now I'm looking at a shipping cost of over £110 each way. Eek!!!

I paused, and decided to sleep on it.

This morning I decided that I was going to put the TT back to how it was before it was upgraded, so this afternoon, that is what I did.

It was a bit fiddly, I clearly need to invest in some proper Hifi tools to do these jobs but I managed okay.

Then the key bit, how did the TT sound? Well I have to say bloody superb, better than it had recently with the upgraded cartridge in place. Looking forward to hearing my LP's again.

Now I have to have a conversation with the HiFi store, I wonder how that is going to go.
 
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Oxfordian

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What were the upgrades Oxfordian?
Sorry, should have said.

Elys cartridge replaced with a Goldring 1042 and a Lehmann Black Cube (s/h) replacing the Rega Fono.

The Black Cube is still in place and sounds just fine, the 1042 is now back in it’s case and the Elys is on the tone arm.

And, the spacer added to lift the arm has been removed.

In essence the P3 is now back to as it was when I bought it, the addition is the Black Cube.
 

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