Expensive vinyl rig - still not performing ;-

Hi Folks:
I purchased a vinyl rig about four months ago comprising a Teres 135 turntable kit, an Origin Live Silver tonearm and a Shelter 501MkII Low Output MC Cartridge. I'm using a Supratek Syrah phono stage section.

I'm confident that each of the componets is very respectable and should work well with each other, but something is not working right - the sound is at a lower par compared to my CD player (YBA CD1a). The soundstage is weaker, less airy, there is some apparent sibilence with vocals, and complex passages tend to be rended in a somewhat muddled fashion. Overall, I'm confident that something is wrong. In the absense of my ability to make comparisons with other components to try and identify the weak point, I'm kind of at a loss. I've tried changing vta, tracking force etc but such tweaking is not the issue really. Overall, I'd be really keen to lend my table to a vinyl nut with some good components to compare it to and so identify what's wrong, or have someone come to my house and maybe determine the issue. I'm having my Shelter repaired/touched up due to another issue, but upon it's return, I'm keen to pursue any suggestions any of you may have. (I'm in Los Altos, Ca, in Silicon Valley). I kind of took the plunge from CD into the vinyl realm with nothing but faith that I would see the light (and it's still dark so far, alas) Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have!!!!
Greetings, I have a mini audio club going in the greater South Bay/San Jose/Monterey area (stressing mini) because it is just 3 of us (and frankly I would not even call it a club... let's just call it a group) that got together recently and did some DAC comparisons. See my Ayre CDP review.

Anyway, one of us lives in Monterey (me), another lives in Aptos, and the other lives in Redwood City.

Maybe you would like to get together with us and do some listening. I would be interested in hearing your system. One of us is getting a Supertek preamp soon. We may be able to help you out with your vinyl problem. I am not the vinyl expert though (I have a non tweaky Rega P9 TT, heh heh).

This goes for any other Audiogoners in the greater South Bay/San Jose/Monterey area.

Just drop me an email.

I'd recommend re-checking the spindle-to-pivot distance(223mm), and then the cartridge alignment with a cartridge protractor. Then make the VTF setting about 1.8g. Then play with the VTA a little, to clear up the sibilance. The sibilance and congestion are probably tracking issues, and the above would normally cure them.
As far as the soundstage and air are concerned, that sounds like a situation that could be either cartridge loading, or possibly even the stand that the TT is placed on. It should be low to the floor, on a rigid high-mass stand. Equipment racks are not suitable, and will definitely reduce the sound quality if you use the TT on them.

I am now using a Shelter 501 on my OL Silver arm, and I assure you that I have absolutely no sibilance problems at all, and my soundstage is 14 feet wide and 8 feet deep, with the proper recordings.

I have the stock OL wiring in my tonearm, and have nothing different than you do, except I now have the wood base that does deepen bass response and smooths things up a bit.

Beyond that, I cannot understand what the problem would be. There is no earthly reason that I can think of that would be causing such low performance of that TT.

Is there anything out of the ordinary that you think is at all abnormal about anything else? Like do you have to turn the volume up real high when using the TT? Are you sure you are plugged into the right phono input on the preamp? Are you sure the loading is at 100 ohms, and not 10? Is there any clue about something that seems strange?
Tok20000, the talk of DAC comparisons scares me a bit, being more a vinyl nut, but I'd have interest in kibitzing over audio. Saratoga, here.
Call Brian at the Analog Room in San Jose and see if he can fix your turntable problem. Maybe you could bring it in and have him adjust it etc., maybe even connect it to one of his systems, get it right, then bring it home to enjoy. Good luck.
I've spoken to Brian and while he knows some of the folks who designed the Teres, he isn't large on them. likely, though, he can help if it is a setup issue.
You haven't mentioned if you assembled this yourself, or had a dealer put it together. If the latter, I'd be all over his case.

It totally sounds like a setup/alignment prob, or a bum cart. Shelter carts are - to me - the new kid on the block, and the current buzz. IOW, I've never heard of them before until here. Which doesn't really mean too much, since any cart can go south, but you may have trouble finding a dealer experienced in setting them up.

I'd recomend Elliot at the Tweak Shop in Santa Rosa, but he doesn't handle any of those products...
The Analogue Room is probably your best bet... Especially if you shop for vinyl there. And if you do not, you should go there and pick up some excellent new (or used) vinyl. It is not cheap there, but hey, it's San Jose where only the air is cheap... And you pay for that with having to look at a city that is one very large suburb that has more population than San Fransisco but with one hundreth the character (of San Fran).

1.is your turntable PERFECTLY leveled?
2.did you check if the armboard with platter on the one plane?
3.is your platter rotates free?
4.is your turntable coupled to the heavy and rigid stand?
If there is sibilence, it's probably VTA.
Hey, John, I was just on the Teres forum, and it appears that some folks don't have the black washer in the right place when using the clamp. The black washer is placed onto the spindle first and stays there. The records are placed on top of this washer to make the clamp work properly. If you don't have this washer it the right place, it will cause the record to not be properly coupled with the platter when you have the clamp tightened down. I don't know if you have this in the right place or not, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
I have one of the early 135 kits (actually before it had that name). It is awesome but requires great care in setup. There are few "commercial" decks out there that are gonna better it and if they do, will be waaay more expensive than the Teres.

Check here for mine

Please get in touch as to discuss here is way too difficult.

Not every Analog combination has to sound better than a CD Player, maybe it is ok and your CD is better.
Another point is, does your phono preamp has the right setting for the Shelter ?
You'll need to register but overall you'll recieve knowledgeable tips from not only people who have these tables but also from those who actually developed the thing. IMHO your best bet.

I agree something isn't right with your setup or you wouldn't be able to make a comparison to cd.

Trust me, there is hope.
Hi Folks:
Thanks so much for all the pointers. Yes, I've looked at pretty much every issue above (VTA, distance to spindle,leveling, tracking force, cartridge loading, positioning of cartridge, wiring etc), and I think it's really something faulty rather than more tweaking. Although, my current set up has the turntable quite high (on the top of a five shelfh rack),and while level, is likley not very rigid. With so much stuff in my room, it's proven difficult to get better positioning of the table. I think that placement, while important, wouldn't really make the improvement I think I should hear though - I think it's something else. Anyway, once I get my Shelter back, I'll let you know how things go.

Tek2000 - many thnanks for offering to meet up to troubleshoot. Yes, that would be great. I'll be in touch when I get Shelter back. I'd like to see what others may think of my system too (apart from the YBA, Teres and Supratek, I have Audio Physic Virgo MkII speakers, Blue Circle BC2 hybrid monoblocks with FIM Gold Power Cords, other cabling is 47Labs OTA Sakura throughout). The Supratek really is a gem, by the way - it killed the Sonic Frontiers Line 3 I had, which I was happy with till the Supratek came along. I can't wait to see what Mick builds next. Cheers.
Holy *&#$. I got my Shelter 501Mk2 back from Japan after I had sent it in for repair/adjustment. Now my vinyl rig has made its appearence. I think I'm all set. It's sounding big, rich and effortless. I guess the cartridge was likely the issue at fault, and now it's all there. Well, just wanted to share the word. Thanks folks for the advice and words of wisdom. I do believe I now see the vinyl light at the end of the tunnel. Cheers,
It sounds like you are at the end of the tunnel.
You have yourself a very nice rig.
Outlier, how does that phono section sound in the Syrah?

Yummy, eh?
Outlier, just wondering how much is a retip, or rebuild for the 501. I just got my 501 two days ago. I am still waiting for my silver arm and origin live table to arrive from England before I mount it. Should be about 1 more week.
Will let you guys know how it performs in due course.
Roni, I've heard it costs about $250, not sure.

Brother, when that arm gets here, and you fire up that rig, you are in for a major treat!
Asa: yea, the Syrah phono stage does sound great. I can't say how it compares to others though, as this is my first venture into the vinyl realm. Still, I've been so happy with the Syrah as a linestage (compared to my previous SF Line 3 and Bryston BP20), and the phono stage would seem to reflect comparable quality. I'd love to upgrade to the Cortese, but am also tempted to see what new design Mick may come out with and try that.

Rockinroni: I'm not sure what the retip cost would be. My cartridge ended up with the cantilever getting a little lose, so I sent it back for repair/touch up. I think there was something at fault with it all along, as it's only when I got it back that my rig first began to sing.