Help re: inner groove sibilance on Nott. Spacedeck


Recently bought a used Nottingham spacedeck with the older metal spacearm.

I am unable to get rid of inner groove sibilance/distortion. This is occuring on all my records - new ones and old ones. I am using a Denon 103R cartridge that I had mounted on a Rega 25. Phono stage is supratek Syrah. I had no problems with sibilance on the rega table. I have VTF set at 2.5 grams, and I have checked alignment several times with more than one protractor - it is spot on. VTA is roughly parallel, and I have tried antiskate in various increments. Always inner-groove sibilance and distortion on the dynamics.

Anyone have an idea of what the problem could be?

Also - do you think I could be damaging my records while playing them like this?


Sorry you didn't get any responses, and I wish I could be of more help. I Would think it would have to do with you cartridge or phono stage. Are you driving the pre really high to get your listeing level? Any chance the stylus is dirty? Does it happen at all frequencies or is it specific?

I hear this myself from time to time and wonder what the cause could be. It would be nice if one of the gurus could chime in.
I had inner groove distortion with my Denon 103R on my Well Tempered. Even with checked and rechecked alignment, the distortion remained. It turned out the mounting just had too much play in it - apparently a common problem with the mounting scheme on the old WT arms. I changed the cartridge mount so that I could get higher torque on the mounting screws, and all inner groove problems went away, plus I gained much better focus and tighter bass. I'm guessing that low compliance cartidges such as the 103R are particularly sensitive to sturdy mounting. My Shure V15 in the original dodgy mounting had no trouble at all.

I can think of two things to check on your spacearm.I have an Innerspace with similar arm and the nature of the Nottingham pivot shaft,bearing and wiring make it imperative that all the elements are working together.The wiring comes down through the armtube and down next to the slender armtube shaft,through a hole in back of the shaft into the base.If the arm hasn't been carefully handled the wiring can easily bind up inside at the pivot bearing causing every adjustment made to be way off as the arm moves accross a record .The arm should move freely.Also there's a set screw on top of the armtube that is used to adjust the clearence and amount of 'play' at the pivot bearing.With the armtube level and at rest ease the screw in untill it just stops,then back it off about an 1/8 turn.This should give the proper clearence.
Armstrod -

By mounting do you just mean the screws holding the cartridge in place? Are you simply recommending tightening those screws?


The way the Well Tempered arm was set up, I had to completely change the way the cartridge mounted. Originally, the cartridge mounted to an aluminum crossmember, which in turn mounted with one screw to a slot on the end of the armwand. The threaded hole in the crossmember was stripped out to where there was play between it and the armwand. I changed it to where one of the cartridge mounting screws goes directly through the slot in the armwand, so that with proper torque the mounting is now very rigid.

So the answer is, maybe you need to do more than just tighten the cartridge mounting screws. If your arm has a conventional headshell, and the headshell doesn't fit tightly into the armwand, you may end up with the same problem I did no matter how tight your cartridge screws are. Seems to me everything from the cartridge all the way back to the bearings needs to be pretty rigid, whether you have gimbals, a unipivot, or strings like my Well Tempered.

I see you're selling your entire rig. Are you throwing in the towel on the inner groove distortion problem?

Armstrod -

Yes, I'm selling the combo. I was able to get rid of the inner groove sibiliance by removing the arm and cartridge, and re-setting and aligning the cartridge. I also tweaked the pivot screw as mar00 recommended. I'm still not sure what was the cause of the sibiliance - whether it was the pivot screw or some other alignment config, but thankfully it is gone, I appreciate everyone's help.

Reason for my sale is entirely about $$$. As much as I love the table, I've got to save my pennies for a down payment on my first house. I'll get by with a lesser table for the time being until I can afford another Spacedeck.

If you're considering the rig (which is priced quite competitively IMHO) I'll give you a personal guarantee that you won't experience inner-groove sibilance.
It's a beautiful rig and a great deal, but I'm still pretty happy with my Well Tempered and am only beginning to tweak. You might want to consider keeping the 103R - they're increasingly hard to find, and when you get back into vinyl it would be a great starting place. Good luck with your sale.