Help, I'm going crazy with vinyl noise

I recently changed from an Aesthitix IO phono stage thru a Placette passive to an Ortofon MC step up transformer through a VTL Deluxe MM preamp (financial resons) and a Wilson Benesch Analog rig. Sounds good except every time the cartridge goes over a warp, and I mean even a teeny tiny warp, I get a scratching sound from one channel. It is loud enough to be heard when music is playing and IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY!

This new set up has more energy at higher frequencies, cymbals and bells are louder but they sound natural and in balance with the rest of the music. The scratching may have been there before and the former set up masked it, or maybe it is just coincidence but I suspect it is just being revealed by this new set up.

I have adjusted antiskating, tracking force, and azimuth from one extreme to the other but it has no effect. Lowering VTA has a slight effect but with the back all the way down it is still very noticeable. I know it is the trurntable because switching the leads into the transformer switches the noise.

I don't have another cartridge to try and this one cost around $3000 so I can't afford to just get another one unless I'm sure this one is bad. I had it rebuilt by Wilson Benesch a while back and it seemed to be fine until now.

Sorry for the length but I thought too much detail was better than not enough. Any thoughts? I considered bad bearings in the arm hanging up when it goes vertical but it is a uni pivot variation that they claim will last forever. My best guess is that something is rubbing in the cartridge when it makes a vertical excursion.
Try a different loading for the cartridge. When using step up transformers, the loading is usually set at the transformer input, at a value that is approximately 1/2 of what you would set on the direct input to the preamp. In other words, if your cartridge is asking for a 47k load for direct into the preamp, like a Benz, try about 22k load at the transformer input instead. This will even out the hot high ends that sometimes occur with Benz cartridges, and may cure the problem. Having the load set too high, will accentuate the high end, causing more noticeable noise problems. Just a guess.
Thanks TWL, but this is an MC that is designed for a transformer load of < 20 ohms, according to the spec sheet. I have tried 2 different transformers with loads of <10 ohms and one switchable from 40 to 100 ohms. No help.

Besides, it is not a noise that should be there but is just too bright, it is definitely a distortion caused by the vertical movement. I can watch the arm track a warp and occurs in sync with the warp.

Keep those guesses coming though, I am out of ideas other than replacing the cartridge.
do you have another cartridge to try? might indicate that is where the problem is generating from. kurt
I have another guess here. Some phono amps do not have a subsonic filter built-in and the extreme low frequency caused by the warp may have overloaded the input of your preamp. To test this theory you can either hook in a subsonic filter or hook in an attenuator to reduce the input to the preamp and see if the distortion goes away.
Again, this is just my guess without seeing your problem with my own eyes.
I recommend an SACD player with good Redbook playback. That's how most of the plebe gets its music anyway and they didn't have to downgrade. Amazing that those one dollar used vinyl albums actually require $45,000.00 of table, arm, cart, preamp to play "without" noise... I know, I know, the music is luscious and there are very few warped records and very few records with surface noise. I just happen to be the only unlucky so and so whose new album purchases over the years have yielded so many warped and noisy albums I lost count. Then the good ones get noisier with every play, but that's because vinyl is best described as "perfect sound for a short while".
Thanks for the advice Pbb. It is good to know that somebody is out there beating the "perfect sound forever" gong. I actually have a DVD-A player that I enjoy using to listen to the 10 discs I was interested in buying that I don't already have on some other media. I see there are also probably a good 20 or 30 SACD discs I would be interested in buying that aren't reissues of things I have so I may get one of those players too. Now if I can just figure out how to transfer these 3000 LPs, most not available on DVD-A or SACD, to one of those perfect formats I'll be in business.
Herman, you have managed to by-pass CDs completely? Amazing, they have been around for more than twenty years.
try to connect directly with no step-up transformer.
i know that you'll have large issues with gain but at least(just for test) you're going to hear something and it'll tell you if the noise is comming from the cartridge or from transformer...
I'm not sure I understand what happened when you "switched the leads to the transformer" but I would have switched speakers to see if the sound moved or stayed with the speaker. The general description of your problem sounds like a speaker voice coil rubbing when the ultra low frequency modulation due to the record warp drives the cone to its maximum travel.

By the way, all records are warped, but some are more warped than others. Because of the limited music catalog for the new media discs, it is important to get a player which handles both DVD-A and SACD. I have found a fair number of discs to buy. And there's nothing wrong with buying a DVD-A or SACD remastering of an old recording. They are some of the best, and you can compare your old vinyl with the disc and come to realize that fundamentally better technology, even if imperfect, has overtaken excellent implementation of the old technology.
Thanks so far the suggestions.

Marakanetz, I have tried another transformer so that eliminates it as the culprit. I built a simple high pass filter to eliminate subsonic frequencies, no help. I am now pretty well convinced that something is wrong with the cartridge. DRAT!

Pbb, I was pulling your chain a bit, I do have quite a few Cds that I listen to and enjoy. Probably a thousand or so that are not available on vinyl. There is too much good music that is available on digital only and I am unwilling to limit my listening to music issued only on vinyl. Besides, it is really hard to play a record in my car.

Eldartford, I switched the leads out of the turntable into the transformer. So if the scratching stayed on the same side it had to be after the turntable. Since it moved it means it was coming from the turntable. I agree that a multi format player is probably the wisest choice for digital. However, that still does not get past the problem of limited software. Most of what I would want that has been reissued I have on vinyl. It may be interesting to compare the 2 formats but I would rather spend my money on something new to me than another reissue of an old classic.
Herman, assuming you've reversed or swapped-out all the connectors (including headshell leads) as a diagnostic precaution, I would have to guess that since what you changed was the pre-preamplifier/preamplifier chain, you might have engendered a slight overload problem somewhere in the gain structure. Infrasonic info could then result in clipping distortion products yielding the 'scratching' sound you actually hear. Why this would manifest itself in only one channel is hard to say, but since you report that reversing the TT leads reverses the symptom, there could be a response imbalance within your cartridge which could be innocuous under other circumstances (such as with your gear before). I assume your subsonic filter was inserted after the VTL - if so, try inserting it after the step-up and see what happens (just keep your volume control turned down at first, as putting the filter before the preamplifier could add a lot of other noise).

Either that, or as you say, your cartridge is screwed up...Best of luck! :-)
I think your cartridge is making contact with the warp part of the vinyl.

I would suggest that you set your tonearm higher(VTA) to see what happen.

Use the same warp vinyl for testing. If noise is gone, problem solved.....
In case anyone is interested, I found the problem. The sound had gotten much worse so I took off the cartridge to inspect it. My eyes aren't that good and I can't see the stylus very well when it is mounted. I gently pulled on the cantilever and it slid out of the tube it was mounted in. It didn't break, I can slide it back in. I guess the adhesive they used gave up and it was free to move about.

I'm not real happy about it but at least I can send it back for repair.
Either that, or chewing gum ought to fix it...sorry to hear that's the problem, but glad you figured it out - and time to get a spare cart! :-)