the first thing i would do is clearly identify what is out of balance. don't assume anything.
play a mono Lp. you know it's got equal outputs on each side.
the easiest way to do this is to start with the speakers, then the amp, then the preamp, then the phono stage, then the phono cable, and then the cartridge. or do it in reverse order starting with the cartridge since you suspect it is cartridge related.
to check the cartridge reverse the wires to your cartridge pins.
red and green wires should be put on the white and blue pins and visa versa. if the imbalance switches to the other side it is cartridge or arm related.
you simply switch the right and left channels at each step. if the imbalance switches to the other side at a particular step you've isolated the problem. if it never changes you have no problem with imbalance in your system. something in your room could be causing the problem or your software.
i had this happen to me once; my amps have an impedence switch on the back for each channel. you change it depending on the type of cables that are used. i had accidently bumped that switch on one side which caused an imbalance. it was sure a head scratcher for awhile.
Are your phonostage, preamp and amp SS or Tube?
I have encountered this before (search my post here and on audioasylum) and it took me a great deal of time (and money) to solve it, but it could be as simple as replacing a tube in my preamp.
If your CD and Tuner play without imbalance, it's MORE LIKELY the analog source is the culprit BUT dont rule out the Preamp.
First, try to isolate the component that causes the problem: Test the source by switching your tonearm cable (L and R) at the input of the phonostage to see if the problem switches channel. If it does, then we'll go from there. If not, put back the tonearm cable in the right position and then switch the cable from the preamp to the amp.
If your phonostage or preamp are using tubes, try to switch the tubes around OR replace them.
My preamp uses tubes and the CD and other sources were playing great, only the analog chain causeed this problem. I tried everything and failed, then one day I decided to replace the tubes and everything worked correctly
You might say if the CD /Tuner work OK with the preamp and If the turntable & phonostage are problem free, then they should work fine too..but in my case, it DID NOT. Dont ask me why...I just dont know..but I replaced the tube and it worked! Weird huh?
I had the same problem recently. It was a bad tube in my phono stage.
What phono stage are you using? Does it have tubes?
If I remember correctly, the inner groove is the right channel. So, tilting the arm to the left may have exasperated the problem.
Likewise, play with anti-skate. Anti-skate correction is somewhat equivalent to brain surgery with a dull butter knife - its not an exact science. I have always found that less is better in this department.
Sbrown: I'm pretty sure that the inner groove corresponds to the L channel, not the other way around.
Tilting the arm left and right adjusts Azimuth and this is used to optimize Channel Crosstalk, NOT channel imbalance which Smoffatt is experiencing.
In this situation, Anti-skating will only have minimal effect on channel imbalance.
Adjusting Azimuth and Anti-Skating wont cure this problem. Unless we can isolate the source (cartridge, tonearm cable, phonostage, phonostage interconnect or preamp) and go from there, tweaking cartridge setup wont go far in term of resolving this issue.
reversing the cartridge leads will either confirm or eliminate whether it's a cartridge/arm issue or not.
from there you either examine the rest of the signal path or consider the various cartridge and arm issues that have been mentioned.
messing around with arm set-up issues prior to confirming that the channel imbalance is actually in the cartridge is likely to be very frustrating in the long run.
first things first. isolate the problem. don't assume. reversing the cartridge leads and then putting them back should not affect set-up; it quick and simple.
Dear Smoffatt: Additional of what other persons already posted make sure the cartridge is right wired to the tonearm ( blue with blue, white with white and the like. ).
If you have another cartridge or can borrow one then try it and see what happen.
IF the trouble persist hen the phono stage is the culprit and if no trouble then the XV-1 is out of specs. I assume that your tonearm is wired in correct way ( IC. ).
You mentioned a crosstalk severe problem, could be but is very rare on cartridges of this top level as could be too different channel output level.
I think that after check the wiring testing the system with a different cartridge can help to aisle the problem.
Regards and enjoy the music,
This won't cure your main problem of channel imbalance, but I think you also said you have more crosstalk from on one side vs the other. It could be that when you played with azimuth in order to try to cure your channel imbalance, you threw it out of whack, resulting in the finding that you have more crosstalk on one side than the other. Azimuth adjustment should be able to fix that, once the main problem is identified and cured. It's also possible that the apparent crosstalk problem is entirely secondary to the imbalance issue; the lack of gain in the affected channel also makes crosstalk less audible in that channel. The best way to check crosstalk is to play a mono signal into the L channel only (for example) and listen to the R channel output, only. Then reverse the process.
Thank You all. I will reverse the cartridge leads as suggested and see what happens. Stay tuned!!!!!
However, I have looked at the cantilever through a 12X magnifier. Although the cantilever is straight as an arrow, the styli is not pointing straight down. It appears to be tilted slightly to the right towards the outer groove.
The cantilever may have rotated on its axis ever so slightly counter clockwise, hence the styli pointing to the right. This is a cartridge i bought used here on Agon a year or so ago but never got to mounting it until i replaced my SME V with the Phantom.
ARC Ref2 MKI
ARC Ref Phono
Both with GNSC Reference Mods.
All tubes are NOS Amperex 7308 PQ white label.
UPDATE: I have switched the cartridge leads and now the "louder" channel is the left one. Reconnected the wires correctly and the louder channel is the right one again.
This would indicate a defective cartridge where the output level is much different in one channel vs the other. Visual inspection confirms that the styli (not the cantilever) is crooked to the right towards the outer groove.
I need a new cartridge.
Thank You all for responding.
Smoffatt, it is not uncommon for a needle to be slighty tilted to the right or left of perpendicular of the cantilever or cartridge body. Before giving up and getting a new cartridge, try adjusting the azimuth such that the needle is perpendicular to the record. This will cause it to read both right and left channel information equally despite the cantilever being slighty off. You will need a high power lense aimed head on to the cartridge with a good light to do this. An older 35mm camera telephoto lens works quite well.