Help with uninspiring sound with my turntable.

Can anyone give me some suggestions what to do to improve my vinyl sound - I purchased a Wilson Benesch TT with their .05 arm and a Sumiko Celebration cartridge here on Audiogon. I have a Mac c500t pre-amp that is still breaking in . The sound quality is lac-luster, and particularly annoying is the vocals can sound "crunchy" and extremely edgy. I don't know how many hours the cartridge has on it. I have tried different loading impedance's - but something is so off I would really appreciate any ideas. I listen to Jazz and Rock albums mostly. Thanks for your input!
The alignment is most likely incorrect. That has to be corrected before you do anything else.
Alignment is a good suggestion, but don't expect much until the Pre is broken in.
Does your pre-amp have a MC/MM setting? Are you using the correct setting?
Make sure its aligned properly and give it time to break in and get used to it.
check that your Vta is correct. If your arm is quite a bit higher in the back then this might be your problem. If it is closer to parallel to the platter them most likely not.
Thank you for the suggestions, my pre-amp does have MM and a MC input and I have set the impedance loading at 100ohms (per sumiko)and I am using the MC input. My cartridge is close to level not up in the back, so I think my VTA is Close. What alignment tools would be the best but won't break the bank? I think it is some other adjustment - I dont understand my anti skate either.

Thanks again!
If you search the Linn site, there is a template in a .pdf file you can print, put on your table and use easily to align the cartridge.

Anti skate generally should match the tracking force. For example if the tonearm is adjusted so the tracking force is 2 grams, then in general the anti skate should also be set to 2 grams.
I agree on all the posters above, including the breakin comment. I used to own a full circle, act arm and a lyra cartridge years ago before I went to my SME.

I think that unipivot arm is very tough to set up. And hence maybe contributing to your issues. I am not sure I ever had mine set up properly.

My dealer has a full circle in stock, I've heard his a few times and it sounds great. So I know it's not the table. (He is using a cardas heart cartidge)
Thanks again for the responses. As far as my anti-skate - it is a wire with a weight. where the wire attaches to the tone arm can be moved to different groves to change the effect, but I have no idea how to tell how much counter force each grove represents. I bought this TT used so I do not have a manual to explain this. Does anyone know this arm well enough to give me an idea?
Mapman, you may want to try less anti-skate tahn what is the norm. i do it by ear and have made pretty big improvements in the sound. my tracking force is 2.1 grams and I've found it to sound the best at .9 grams anti scrape.
You also may want to try different loading for your MC.
I have 2 MC's, I use 100ohms for 1 and 1000 ohms for the other. Wire type, cable lenth and connectors can all effect loading.
You can the MM input to try 47k loading with out changing the MC loading.
Loading has alot to do with the dynamics.


I used to own the Wilson-Benesch Full Circle with the A.C.T. 2 tonearm, Sumiko Blackbird cartridge and Graham Slee Era V phono preamp and the sound was extremely clean and articulate. Sibilants had no distortion whatsoever.

I purchased that turntable new from Music Direct and they were kind enough to do the cartridge alignment for me.

I sold the table few years ago, but I still have the protractor that the table comes with. It is basically a disc with a mark point for the overhang and a single null point.

I highly recommend to get the Mint Tractor. You should also look into the Mint Tractor thread to get more information and tips on how to get the best out this amazing tool.

I have a PDF file of the manual, which I'll email to you. You'll be able to set the anti-skating with this manual, as well as the azimuth.
Thanks again for all the ideas - I am now able to enjoy listening to my vinyl. The issues were Tracking force, alignment, leveling surface that the TT was sitting on and stylus cleaning.

I am very grateful for Audiogon and its members - It has played such an important role in building my 2 channel system which I get so much enjoyment from.

Best regards,

Greg Roberts.
Good news! Glad it's sounding good now.

I can relate. I just worked through an issue with my turntable that some others have experienced similarly that could be a common thing worth mentioning in case it applies for you.

I was picking up a low level buzz/hum on my phono despite the fact that everything appeared grounded properly. I only noticed it recently after moving a larger pair of full range speakers into a relatively small listening room.

The problem was the pre-amp was sitting directly on top of a new amp that I had put in the system a few months back and the proximity of the amp was producing some sort of inductance issue with the phono section in the preamp.

I only noticed the problem when music was not playing and the volume was up, but I suspect it negatively impacted the sound quality when playing as well when occurring even though it was not directly audible.

The solution was to separate the amp from pre-amp by 15" or so.

Just something to keep in mind perhaps should a similar problem ever arise.
That is a very common problem...and one should always remember to keep the amp and preamp far from each other.