End of Record Distortion

I have a Denon DP59l turntaple with a Denon cart. on some records the sound gets distorted towards the end of the side. Which cartridge angle do I need to adjust to fix this, and what tool do I have to have.
Re-aligning your cartridge may or may not help. It depends on whether the problem is caused by poor groove tracing or by stylus/groove mis-alignment.

Try increasing VTF a bit. This might help improve groove tracing.

The adjustments most likely to help with stylus/groove alignment are overhang and zenith. Overhang is adjusted by sliding the cartridge forward or back in the headshell. Zenith is adjusted by rotating the cartridge clockwise or counter-clockwise in the headshell. As you can imagine, changing one of these often changes the other.

The tool you need for both of these adjustments is a cartridge alignment protractor. There are several good ones, but which one is best depends on the geometry of your tonearm. I'm unfamiliar with your TT/arm so telling you which protractor I like would be fairly meaningless. In general, if your arm is compatible, a two-point alignment will reduce end-of-side distortion better than a one-point alignment. In every case, aligning the cantilever should produce better results than just aligning the cartridge body. This argues for a mirrored protractor like the TurnTableBasics or Wally Tractor.

However, alignment and adjustment may not be enough. Some cartridges won't trace inner grooves cleanly. Groove modulations become tighter as the groove spirals inward, so it becomes progressively more difficult for the stylus and cantilever to trace them. Alto and soprano vocals, massed violins and "pure" instruments like recorders are particularly revealing of this problem.

IME low-compliance cartridges with conical or elliptical styli (like many Denons) do not trace as well as mid-compliance cartridges with line contact styli. I had insoluble end-of-side distortions with two Shelters. Neither of my ZYX cartridges has those problems.
Hi Thinkat,

I use a modified Denon DP59L. I found the anti-skate adjustment to be a little too much, and got better sound when I backed it off. I have a Grado The Statement cartridge, which I track at the recommended 1.5 grams. The anti-skate is set at just under 1 gram. I also set the Q-Dampener to darn near zero. Also, when is the last time you lubricated -- just a little, now -- the bearing shaft and the well at the bottom of the spindle? Shrink-wrapping the tonearm also provided better sound.

Doug ... do you think these adjustments -- especially the anti-skate -- could be involved in the end of record noise Thinkat is experiencing?

Best regards,
Hi Paul,

AS affects groove tracing of course, but all it does is alter the balance of stylus pressure between the two groove walls. If the distortion is worse on one channel than the other then AS would be the first thing to try. I didn't get that impression from Thinkat's post so that's why I didn't mention it.

There's no harm in trying of course, especially if AS is as easy to adjust on the DP-59L as it is on most arms. If the distortion is worse on the L channel, reduce AS. If it's worse on the R channel, increase AS.

Damping the tonearm could certainly help. If the armtube is resonant controlling it is essential, if you can find a way that works. People have tried all kinds of arm wraps on all sorts of arms, often to good effect. This increases the arm's effective mass of course, so there's a possible downside in terms of warp tracking and/or arm/cartridge matching. Nothing's easy in this stupid relic of a playback system that we all love too much!

What is the Q-Dampener? I don't know these tables at all.

Lubricating the bearing from time to time seems sensible, perhaps even vital depending on the bearing design. I rather doubt it would affect end of side distortion though. A badly under-lubricated bearing might make the table more vulnerable to stylus drag. That would be most audible on outer grooves.

BTW, since you have one of these tables can you recommend a compatible two-point alignment protractor? He definitely needs to check his cartridge alignment.
Someone just posted on VA that changing mats and/or clamps on his MMF 5 resulted in changing levels of inner groove distortion.

I expect that the combination which sounded best did so because it reduced intra-vinyl resonances best. This in turn gave the stylus a quieter environment, which allowed it to trace those difficult grooves more cleanly.

No idea which clamps/mats work best with these Denons, but that's another avenue worth exploring.
Hey Doug and Thinkat,

I haven't used a protractor on this 'table. I intially used the Denon-supplied alignment tool, and then used the MFSL Geo Disc for fine tuning.

I didn't like the Denon-supplied mat. I tried Sorbothane (formerly sold by Audioquest), but that seemed to suck the life out of the music. I ended up pulling the cast metal platter out and turning it upside down. On the perimeter there is a series of "wells." I glued 1/2" Sorbothane into the wells, and then filled the remaining space with GE Silicone II. I then glued 1/8" Sorbothane to the more "interior" section of the platter's underside. I also glued more Sorbothane to the inside of the plinth's side and bottom. For the mat, I first applied the self-adhesive cork sold by VPI, and then topped with the Ringmat. I lightly apply the KAB record clamp.

Removing the feet and replacing with cones helped too. The cones sit in cups; the cups sit on 1/8" Sorbothane; the 1/8" Sorbothane sits on 1.75" inch thick granite; the granite sits on 4 rounds of 1/2" thick Sorbothane; and that Sorbothane (finally) sits on the shelf. The bottom half of the motor is wrapped in a clay-like, vibration-absorbing polymer material.

The knock on direct drive is that you can't isolate the motor, and it generates vibration and noise. This is true. But if you can tame those vibrations, the system works well -- depending on the build quality of the 'table, of course. This 'table has spot-on speed accuracy with vanishingly little wow.

Doug, I mentioned lubricating the shaft and bearing well because I wondered if it was possible, if the shaft were generating noise, that the cartridge would pick it up as it moved closer to the shaft, and generate some "end of record noise." The Q-damping is a misguided attempt to dampen the tonearm assembly; it ends up just muffling the sound.

Best regards,
All the angles and forces make for an interesting discussion, but maybe your stylus is just picking up dust. Well, actually it's not a question of whether there is dust, but rather how much.

Surely you clean off the stylus before you begin to play each LP. This implies that you recognize the existance of dust.
some records? Any of them "simply Vinyl" 180 gram....?
I have two "Dire Straits" lps, "Brothers in Arms", and "Love over Gold". Both lps are dead quiet until the very end of the last song, side two, of both lps. As the music fades out there is a distorted static sound just before the lead out on the records.
Is that static sound worse in the left channel? If so, and assuming that cleaning does not help, I'd suspect a pressing flaw. That sound can be caused by the vinyl not flowing fully down into the L channel groove modulations, typically because the temp was too low when they started pressing that copy. It tends to happen on the L channel because that is the inner groove wall. The molten vinyl is pressed from the center outward. If it's not hot enough to flow smoothly it can skip over part of the downward slope as it moves past the groove and leave a gap.
Dougdeacon, I just checked, it is comming thru the right channel. "brothers in Arms" is the most noticeable of the two lps. The noise is kind of like a distorted clickady click sound. But different from the sound of a scratch. The area on the vinyl appears slightly different than the rest of the last song. I always clean a new album before playing it. I repeated cleaning the two lps, but made no difference.
My set up is correct. I have checked it with "Hi-Fi News" Analog Test lp. It is the fault of the two lps. What you said makes sense.
Thanks for the info. By the way you have a very nice system.
I was just about to send this thread ,I decided to take a closer look at the lp "BnA". I watched the label to get a reference to the noise. I then took the lp and looked at it closely under a bright light, slightly moving the record side to side. Walla two very small indentation,dimples, in the vinyl close together.
Thinkat, I was going thru Agon turntables and I seen a Denon DP-59L. Does your table have a end of record auto lift feature? You mentioned that a few records the sound was distorted near the end. Have you noticed if the distorted albums are longer in time than the lps that are not distorted. Could it be a mechanical problem? If the table does have an auto left feature how is it triggered?
Thinkat, I just read my thread again, I am sure you figured out what I was trying to say. I noticed I left out the word tonearm. End of record play auto tonearm lift.
i have the same turntable with the same problem.
did you ever come to a conclusion/fix?