Clearaudio Emotion lacks dynamics

I just received a used Clearaudio Emotion with Virtuoso cart. I've realigned the cartridge using the provided alignment card, and that appears to be normal (alignment and overhang). I've used a stylus pressure gauge to ensure that I'm tracking around 2 grams (the suggested tracking for the Virtuoso Wood). However, the seems to be lacking bass and dynamics. Everything sounds flat, dynamically. One thing I have noticed is that the back end of the tone arm (the end with the counterweight) seems to be LOWER than the end with the cartridge while playing albums. Could this be the source of my problem? This is the one thing I haven't tried to adjust so far, mainly because it seems like it's the most difficult to do.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Yes it could. Its called VTA vertical tracking angle and it can have significant impact on the sound.
Well my concern with adjusting this is that there is a screw on the tonearm base that lines up with a hole in the right side of the plinth. I'm not quite sure how to raise the back end of the tonearm without causing that screw to become misaligned with the hole in the plinth. Anyone out there with a Clearaudio Emotion/Satisfy Tonearm that can advise?

You can also call Musical Surroundings. They are the distributor for Clearaudio.
If the tonearm setup with the Emotion is the same as the Marantz TT-15 (which I think it is), simply keep one hand on the base of the arm while you loosen the set screw a bit. Raise the arm up through the plinth a bit and then re-tighten the screw.

I think that a good idea would be to use a machinist's ruler to measure where the arm is at before you make an adjustment, just to have a baseline. I measure from the bottom of the block of the tonearm lift to the plinth. With the Marantz, they have you place the tonearm weight under the block to set the height of the arm. I think that I measured this out to be about 22/32nds. I'm assuming that you're using a Clearaudio cart - If not, that could be another reason your arm might appear "off" as some carts are taller than others. If you are using a mat, you'll also need to compensate for that.

By following the directions that came with the Marantz, I also found the arm to sit a bit low on the tail end as you described. I experimented with raising the arm a bit higher, trying to get the armtube parallel to the record. In the end, I think that I ended up splitting the difference between that setting and the manufacturer's recommendation.

Is the cartridge broken in yet?

I have not found my Marantz/Clearaudio combo to have as much going on in the bottom end bloom as my Linn Lp-12/Basik/10x5 setup, however I do feel that it has a flatter response with more detail in the top end. I picked up the Linn as a 2nd TT because I felt that the Marantz was missing "something", but going back and forth between the two tables and listening did help me to fine tune the VTA on the Marantz a bit.

Hope this helps.
I'm using a Bellari VP129, and the input impedance is 50k Ohm. Both my Goldring 1012gx (previous cart) and the Virtuoso Wood have a load resistance of 47k Ohm, so I'm not so sure that is the problem.
OOPS! Re-read your post and saw that you are in fact using the Virtuoso cart. Start with a baseline measurement and work from there.

Not sure what phono stage you are using or what type of TT/Cart you may have been using before, but if you were used to listening to a cart with a fairly high-output, the Virtuoso at 3.6mv may not have as much "poop." Just a thought...
Roblanger's instructions are correct - the VTA is very easy to adjust. While I don't have the Emotion TT, I do have a Satisfy arm which is the same. The VTA set screw on the Emotion is in the plinth. You need a wrench (I assume a hex key) or screwdriver to loosen/tighten that. Use your hand to grasp the base of the arm and raise/lower it into position. Usually you want to sight the arm so it's perfectly parallel with the platter. If you start with that you can fine tune it.Sometimes it helps to have a set of shims such as a deck of cards to hold the arm height in place as you're sighting it. Be careful not to strip the set screw or the hole in the plinth.
I don't know if this is true for all tables, but I have found record players to be very dependent on where they sit. You probably have your new table set up the way your old table sounded best, which may not be working as well as it did before. You also need to give yourself some time to adjust to the new table to accurately guage its strengths and weaknesses.
Thanks for all the helpful input. I am going to use the advice to fine tune my VTA this afternoon and I'll report back. But one thing I just did that made a HUGE improvement was change my cabling. I was using a pair of Silver Sonics to go from the Clearaudio to the Bellari. I took those out, and I'm now using all copper from Clearaudio to Bellari (Straightwire Chorus) and copper from the Bellari to the amplifier (Kimbre Timbre). It almost seems as if silver cables can make the sound a bit "restricted" but they can provide more clearity in the high end.

Yes the cartridge is very worn in because I purchased used from a member here on Audiogon who estimated about 350-400 hours on the cart. And yes the Goldring has an output of 6.5 mV which is almost double the output of the Virtuoso.

One thing I have noticed about this table though is that it's horrible at isolating vibrations; the mmf-5.1 did a better job at that. This may require me to come up with better isolation feet or something.
Part of the reason that I went with the Marantz over the stock Emotion was the feet. The Marantz feet have alot more mass. I'm using a Target wall shelf, but there are a number of other options for isolation.

Glad to hear that cabling solved some of your issues.
I have a satisfy arm and getting the VTA correct can make a very big difference. I set mine (arm/cart level to the LP) for heavier/thicker records and then use a thin felt mat with thinner records. I see now why having an easy way to recalibrate VTA would be a very nice feature. Also, the anti-skate adjustment seems to also make a difference and having it adjusted to about 1/2 of the bolt thread works best on my set-up.
Hope you'vesolved your problem already, but Iwas told by the guys at Elusivedisc - folks I bought my Emotion from, to use the the round level disc that comes with it to set the spacing and then screw the arm in via the platter
Ok my VTA adjustments were a success. The sound is much more locked in now. Bass response has improved greatly. I think my cart alignment is good, but the cantilever almost seems to be a bit bent in relation to the cartridge body. At first I did my alignment according to the cartridge body, but learned that that isn't a good idea. I realigned making sure the cantilever was in line with the grid, which yielded much better results. I still don't feel that I'm tuned in 100%, maybe more like 90% there. I still have to play around with tracking force and whatnot. Overall I now really enjoy the sound of this setup.

Oh one more question....if I'm hearing distortion on the highs on some albums (ones that I know are not damaged), does this indicate that the anti-skate needs adjusted?
Either anti-skate or tracking force needs to be adjusted. If its equally in both channels, you may need a bit more tracking force. Otherwise look to AS. Many here have found that manufacturers recommendations on AS are too high.
I think that you would be safe going as high as 2.2 grams tracking with that cart (I think the range is 2 to 2.5 grams).

You may already be doing this, but I found the Zerostat to be of great help when I started working with essentially the same TT setup as yours. I've also had good luck using the none-felt/speed mat.
Well I've been playing around with the tracking force a bit, increasing it little by little, and it appears to have helped some, but I still have the same problem distortion, more so when playing the inside of a record. My problem is that my Shure stylus pressure gauge is so old, I'm not sure how entirely accurate it is. I'm afraid I'll end up tracking way too heavy. Could this also be from an alignment issue? I used the provided Clearaudio alignment chart, and I believe I have the stylus alignment right on, but the only problem is that the tonearm doesn't completely line up with the line lines on the chart. It appears as though when I do put the tone arm in the lines exactly, that it would be almost impossible for me to get the stylus to land on the "cross hair."