Funny thing-at the same time that I was listening and before kicking over the can of seltzer, I was reading my new issue of S'Phile and Art Dudley's column on a new after market bearing he liked for his 301. He mentioned the flawed methodology of making multiple changes to a system at once. He mentioned loosening his four bolts that fasten his 301 chassis to the plinth with positive results. I did the same. So who knows for sure, but I have little doubt that removing the large rug made the vast majority of the difference.
I am still scratching my head as to why a livelier room would seemingly deaden the sound of my TD124 though. And then back to the multiple potential variables, my VdH Crimson is just breaking in with maybe 30 hours on it, whereas the Cadenza Bronze probably has 120 hours on it. When Brian Walsh came over, the VdH was brand new and the Ortofon had maybe 80 hours on it. With the area rug in place, the Ortofon sounded better while Brian was still present to listen to the results of his work and the two decks have been making a slow convergence in SQ in favor of the 301 ever since.
Also on the same topic of variables, if you study the two pics of my system closely you will see a slight difference. I moved the Aurender that was on left rack to the middle rack behind my amp where you can no longer see it and moved my AMR DP777 DAC to the left rack, second shelf instead of behind my amp. I got rid of my Uptone Audio Regen and my digital now goes directly from the Aurender to my DAC via WW Starlight Plat 7. So the middle system photo is the more up to date photo. This too made a big difference for the better.