I used the Concerto on my JMW 12.5 arm and VPI table and did not experience any additional surface noise. I'd check your alignment again with a good set up disc and also the tracking force. I think I ran mine at 1.9 gram tracking force. I had the VTA set at level since by ear it sounded good at this setting. On real thin records I set it down about 4mm to smooth the lean sound that could result. I still found the imaging good on this cartridge and enjoyed the leading edge attack but it still gave a great sound stage in my system. For the money a very nice cartridge that leans just a tad to the warm side of neutral, but not by much. Not as lean as my old Van den hul. The higher the VTA the more air but also leaner. The lower the VTA the duller the sound. I actually made very small 2mm movements up in VTA until the bass started to lose definition, then back it down until the bass sounds natural again. Small moves up or down on VTA can make a big difference. I like moving up first, then back off. Some advise three different reference LPs, one thin, one 180gram, then a normal thickness and average between the three setting to dial in a good all around setting. Good luck; this is the fun part of analog.