Just added full LP playback


I've just added a new LP playback to my system.   It sounds very nice, but...........

re: Pro-ject Classic, Hana SL , Musical Surroundings Phonomona II+
My digital is Chord Qutest with Roon as comparison 

so,  I’m finding the playback being somewhat sibilant and bass shy , as compared to digital 
yes, I’m only about 25-30 hrs of break-in and working on adding albums to add 

what would be the suggested steps for remediation of the SQ 

The cartridge may be riding too high in the rear (VTA).

If so, you then would lower the tonearm height.

An easy test for this (if you don't have a thicker mat) is to place an an LP under the one you are playing, which effectively lowers the rear of the cartridge when playing the record.

Probably best to check/reset the tracking force if you have a scale.

Adjusting the arm height on my old SME arm is a PITA so I use a second "shim" mat for super thin LP's (which are typically 70's imports from Europe).

Not a big deal as they are but a very small percentage of my LP library.


Frozentundra, this should be an easy fix. The Hana's have certain characteristics that you need to understand to get them to operate at their best. First is that they are not the best trackers. Rated at 70um, this is not terrible but not great. Tracking will improve as the cartridge loosens up a bit. I would run this cartridge at 2.1 or 2.2 grams. Next is these are very stiff cartridges. Compliance is rated at 10 X 10 (-6) cm/dyne. Your arm is too light for this cartridge which is killing your bass and adding to your tracking problems. Fortunately the fix is easy. Soundsmith sells a set of cartridge screws of various masses. https://sound-smith.com/accessories/ez-mount-cartridge-screws
Start with the lightest ones and work your way up. The best way to do this is to get at test record with a resonance track on it. You want to get down as close to 8 Hz as you can without going under. The more weight you add the lower the resonance frequency will go. Don't forget to watch your VTF. I would shoot for 2.1 gms. If the sibilance stops stay there. At 100 hours the tracking will be as good as it is going to get and it should be good enough to cruise through all but the silliest groove velocities. 
Changing VTA will effect your high frequency performance more so with fine line styli like the shibata you have. If you raise or lower the tonearm too far in either direction you will roll off the high end as the stylus will no longer fit into the highest frequency modulations. It will just ride over the top of them and this is in either direction but going up too far can get very dangerous with the really sharp profiles like the Gyger S and Replicant 100. These can dig right into the vinyl like a chisel if you raise the back of the arm too far. For someone without a USB microscope (you can see and measure the SRA) best is always to keep the arm perfectly parallel to the record. By all means add a record and see if you can hear a difference. In the old days with changers we use to stack 10 records!
I always set mine with a USB microscope to 92 degrees and forget about it. 

First fix VTA, as DeKay is probably right. As you lower it down the sound will become more and more balanced. You will know you have gone too far when you start to lose top end detail and the bass and overall sound becomes too warm and round.

Then fine tune VTF. For this you need to stay within the manufacturers range but anything within that range is fair game. So go with what sounds best. This will not be as big a difference as VTA but every little bit....

Finally, experiment with loading. High values are called low load, low values are high load. The more you load a cartridge the more you lower the top end compared to the bass. The difference can be huge. But do VTA and VTF first.
Bass on LPs is often compromised to accommodate the physical medium. CDs and other digital media don't have this problem. 
  • @mijostyn

Hey guys I don’t mean to hijack the OP here but I have the same cartridge and wonder if my tonearm is too light? My table is the Clearaudio Concept with the stock Concept magnetic bering tonearm. I originally purchased them from Needle Doctor here in Minneapolis (sadly they went belly up prior to the pandemic) and was told this should be a good pairing. Should I be looking at adding some weight via heavier head shell screws? Thanks!!
The tonearm on the pro-ject the classic has an effective mass of 13.5 grams, so medium mass. It is not too light for the hana cartridge. I run the EL version on the classic and it sounds great. I do agree, the hardware that comes with the hana’s (aluminum bolts) should be replaced for stainless steel allen head bolts, a bit heavier. The hana only weighs 5 grams. Also, if you read the manual or look at pro-ject’s website for the classic...they do recommend a different counterweight for very light cartridges. However, the counterweight that comes with the table is marginally within acceptable limits for the cartridge. The arm can easily be balanced as is. Also, the hana’s seemingly prefer to be run ass down, from my experience. The cartridge just sounds sweeter this way. Lastly, I would not load the cartridge below 400 ohms. Follow the recommendation for 400 or higher. I load mine anywhere from 400 to 500 ohms which it seems to like. Sometimes sibilance is in the recording itself, dependent on the pressing. I’ve proved this, as I own 5 turntables and the recordings effected with sibilance can be heard on all 5 turntables and cartridge combos. Not to say that both VTF/VTA as well as proper alignment can’t reduce it. It will take experimentation to find out. By the way, the pro-jec the classic is an outstanding turntable for the money. I also own the SB version with the built in speed box. Fremer likes it too.

This is from the Galen Carol audio website:

A tonearm whose effective mass is rated at 10 grams or below is considered low mass (e.g. early SME’s, Grace 747 etc.). A tonearm whose effective mass is rated between 11 and 25 grams is considered moderate mass (e.g. SME 309, IV, IV-Vi, V, Triplanar, Graham). Arms above 25 grams of mass are high mass in nature (Eminent Technology, Dynavector).
From stereophile:

The Hana EL's compliance of 10 x 10–6cm/dyne appeared to perfectly match the effective mass of my SME M2-9 tonearm ($1099), the combination exhibiting a moderate resonance at 9.5Hz. The EL tracked everything on Shure's Era IV Audio Obstacle Course test LP and never seemed to overstimulate the arm or bearings.

Series M2-9 is the standard arm having a pivot-stylus dimension of 233.2 mm (9.18�) and will therefore be the one most frequently used. Typical effective mass 9.5 grams.

This should prove that the 13.5 gram tonearm present on The Classic by pro-ject is Not too light a tonearm for use with the Hana EL/SL cartridge. 
Stereophile observed zero negative effects with the 9.5 gram SME arm and the hana. 
Not to beat a dead horse, but here it is used on the classic sb turntable in the Positive feedback review. 
I'm going to side bar this a bit, but I have a Nova III phonostage by musical surroundings. Once you get your cartridge dialed in, look into the linear power supply as an upgrade. It really helped to define instruments better, helped with separation and brought more resolution to imaging for me. Expensive for what it is, but worth it. 
Welcome aboard!. Don’t give up, you will get it right, and be glad you did, it’s worth the work.

1st: your preamp. It comes from the factory setup for MM cartridges, it needs to be re-configured for your cartridge’s 0.5mv signal strength and it’s 30 ohm coil impedance.


gain, chart page 4: 40db from factory for MM, top line 1-8 all off.
try 56db gain, 1 in, 2,3,4 off

load, also preset for MM. 1-7 off, 8 on
try top line, 30 ohm setting, 2,3,4,5,6 on; 7,8 off

Gotta change these settings for both l and r channels, it is a dual mono design.

Now how is it?

If problem persists: it’s something else to do with your TT/cartridge’s physical setup.

IF it is just the VTA, you can adjust it easily enough, your manual, step 11, pages 10,11


Still a problem?

Any TT only beats digital when it is very carefully and correctly set up. There is a lot involved/some tools needed, you received alignment protractor and stylus gauge in the box.

level platter; Alignment of arm; cartridge: overhang distance/two null points alignment/tracking force/anti-skate/azimuth/VTA (vertical tracking angle, which is adjusted by raising and lowering the arm post. rock steady platform to start, if isolation needed, solve that independently.

Who/when Setup?

Factory, store, a friend on site, yourself, someone needs to verify, after it is in place, that all is correct. You will benefit forever by acquiring the needed low cost tools, and skills yourself.

Verify Differences:

Do you have the same music, CD and LP? You mention streaming, I use factory CD, factory LP for comparisons. CD version omits any TT issues: Thus amount/sound of bass, mids, highs are correct, to compare TT to.

I use this excellently recorded music to verify system l/r balance (both l/r volume and lack of any frequency shifting l/r) then compare CD/LP after I carefully set up my TT


Side 2, tracks 2 and 3, all 3 guitarists play. Not only CD to LP comparison, these 2 tracks are a big help with final anti-skate adjustment after all else is correct, listen for distinct l/r guitars and audience vol l/r. more or less anti-skate will effect both l/r and it will make the center guitar less distinct, perhaps a bit off center l or r.

anti-skate: start with what the manual says, but use known music and your ears to refine.

CD version, proves your system is balanced, you will here all 3 guitarists distinctly, strong center, very distinct l and r. Good? Great!

Now, LP version. Hear the sibilants/weak bass problem still? Balance, imaging, as distinct as the CD version? These 2 tracks reveal when it is wrong, and wonderfully when it is right!

I can tell you, my LP version, on my very carefully setup TT (i’m 72, lots of setup experience and all low cost needed tools) beats the CD, certainly no sibilants/weak bass.

Enough Bass: I’m interested in the subtleties of Jazz Bass and drums more than canons, so I use these two:



mids, I go to Cassandra Wilson’s voice (another to get both CD/LP versions)


Eurythmics, Sade, Kodo Drummers, and the damn 1812 canons.



Audioguy85, buy a Hi Fi news test record and run the resonance test tracks. You will find the warble starting above 12 Hz. You have to stop making assumptions and learn to measure the performance of your system on your own. The OP complains of lack luster bass. No review that I have read says this of the Hana. The Hana being a typical Japanese MC cartridge was designed for their favorite heavy tonearms. The OPs arm will run best with cartridges in and around 15 X 10 (-6) cm/dyne like Ortofons and Lyras. Jeff, the screws are not expensive. If you get them please tell us what you discover in using them. It would help this discussion in a major way. This is where the truth is :)
Paulgardner, yes, you might benefit from some additional weight. You can get the afore mentioned Soundsmith screws an play around empirically or spend a little more and get a test record to get an idea where you are. I prefer having a test record. I don't like guessing. I have subwoofers that run perfectly flat down to 18 Hz and have found with a number of cartridges that running your tonearm resonance frequency down at 8 Hz produces the best bass performance, as good as high resolution digital.
It is important to remember that between 8 and 16 Hz is an entire octave!

Thanks for starting this thread, learning a great deal here. I am also tinkering with Vinyl and recently put together following setup,

Thorens - TD1601 with TP 92 tonearm, Hana ML, Parasound - Zphono XRM Phono Preamplifier.

The setup is far from being completely ‘dialed in’ but I am being patient with the process and figuring things out.
Mijostyn, thanks for the info, but I have no issues with my Hana EL and pro-ject the classic combo. My bass is fine and I have wonderful detail retrieval. My post or reply was to point out that people with far more knowledge and experience, ie stereophile and others, have used the hana el on arms that are of less effective mass than that of the pro-ject carbon arm (13.5 grams). The only issue that can arise with the above combo is the stock counterweight. The existing counterweight is fine with the hana if you use heavier hardware other than what came with the hana. Otherwise, pro-ject recommends the use of an alternate counterweight, I believe the model 282. What you give up is the good looks of the polished chrome finish and anti resonant material of the stock counterweight, as the alternate counterweight is black and has no anti resonant material. The hana is considered a lower mid compliance cartridge. The Denon 103 to compare is a Low compliance cartridge. Although. Some have also used it in the above tonearm to good effect. In fact there is a review of the music hall mmf-9.3 equipped with the lighter pro-ject arm (11 grams) whereas the reviewer also utilized the Denon 103 with no ill
Effects. As I said, I have had no issues with the hana and the 9 inch carbon arm.
Audioguy, I am thrilled that you are happy with your system but Jeff is not happy with his and I am doing my best to help him out. You obviously do not need it and I am not trying to help you in any way shape or form. You are the one who interpolated yourself into this discussion but since you are here you might consider getting yourself a set of these screws. They are really sharp looking and who knows, someday you might get yourself a Koetsu and really need them.

I’ll be trying suggestions , I’ve adjusted all the loadings and ended at 380 ohm & 200 pf 

I’ll try double album height , tonight,  For VTA

I’ll working on getting bass heavy albums to try 

The 3 albums , I started with , are 1970’s. I got for $6.12 
might be yucky recordings Dan fogleburg, Tim weisburg & gino vinelli 
buy, WOW    They were very quiet !!!!

leveled and put granite under TT to see
not much help 

The journey begins !  As I knew it would, and take some time , and effort just like the rest of the system It could be my digital setup is so much better ?
( see if that comment strikes you guys up ! Lol) 



sweet looking setup 
my compliments 

is the Thorens a suspended table ?

I was told a suspended table would not have the bass of a heavy damped turntable ? 

I noticed the ML has a brass plate ? Is that so its For heavier tonearms ?       
 How did you start with the ML ? 

Thanks for the compliments. Thorens TD1601 sub-chassis is mounted on three conical springs thus allowing its platter to float vertically. I don’t think I’ve experienced any loss in the bass region with this table.

RE: Sibilant. @audioguy85 advise is spot on. I did experience lot of sibilance when I first set my table out of the box. I played with counterweight adjustment and got rid of the sibilance. Fortunately, the VTA adjustment and cart was done by the seller (MusicDirect). As much I am enjoying this turntable, it’s not without its flaws. I picked the electrical lift and auto-shut off option with TD1601 and it is probably the most noisy part of the operation, otherwise the table is dead quiet.

I have another table (Dr. Feickert - Volare) coming in couple of weeks. Let’s see which one I end up keeping :-)

The choice of Hana cart was based on one of my dear friend recommendation. I did read the online reviews which are very positive about the brand. Initially I was leaning towards Hana SL but after speaking to my consultant at Music Direct, he highly recommended the ML (Low Output) over SL. The Hana ML uses higher-specifications parts, extra-pure copper wiring and a nude microline stylus. The brass plate along with Delrin body provides better dampening over SL.
I mostly listen to jazz genre so I prefer a relax and slightly warm sound. With Hana ML music simply flows, the soundstage is so relaxed and expansive that all of the detail in my favorite recordings are easily heard and silky smooth. With this cart, you can easily discern the differences between vinyl at 33 and 45rpm speed. Absolutely no regrets with ML.

If I may, I would like to recommend couple of accessories if you plan to continue exploring vinyl playback.

1) Clean your records with cleaning solution (even the new one’s) and they will sound so much better with minimal ticks and pops. I bought new records and they were noisy even after cleaning with Carbon Fiber Anti-Static Record Brush. I bought this kit from Amazon, everything you need it’s included,


2) Pick up Mo-Fi Record Inner Sleeves. These sleeves make it so easy to slide your record in and out and keep them static-free. Those cheap paper sleeves are royal pain in the rear 😆


Enjoy the journey!

“ the Hana prefers to be run ass down “

can you explain this a bit more ?
if sibilance( slight) and looking for more bass,  how does this relate 

still trying stuff and they do make differences 

no mention of cabling ?  I’m using low capacitance project cable to phono pre and cheap radio shack rca’s 

most of my cabling is Kimber kable hero & monocle 

Lp analog appears to be tweekers delight!




All of my cabling is by Audio Envy. I am using their Prestige RCA interconnects between my TT, phono and Integrated. The cable has incredible low mass, capacitance of 4.2pF per foot. And a generic zip cord for grounding. I did order my phono cable from AE and expecting it early next week.


Kimber Kables are pretty good too :-)
Jeff, MC cartridges do not care about capacitance. That is a MM problem. But, it is always a good idea to use high quality cable with good connections. For turntables it is always best to keep the cable as short as possible. Kimber Kable makes excellent products. I use their speaker wire exclusively (but , what a royal PITA to terminate). 
I would set your tonearm so that the head shell mounting surface is perfectly parallel to the record surface. I use 180 gm records for this. With a well manufactured cartridge at the recommended VTF this should put the stylus rack angle at 92 degrees. As with tonearm resonance if you really want to know for sure what is going on you need the right tool to measure it. In this case a relatively inexpensive USB microscope and a plexiglass protractor will do the trick. 
Properly suspended and isolated turntables outperform fixed turntables in every way including bass. You can make any fixed turntable better just by placing it on a good isolation base. Good ones are very expensive so IMHO it is always best to start off with a good suspended table.  
Don't forget those screws!
I added a 2nd LP as .120 pad and raised( lowered) VTA by 4 degrees. ( audio advisors set to 92 degrees)
The bass was definitely, better 

Sibilance was worse , As I think I need to increase tracking force ! As next 

Anyway, I played my LP vs Roon and , yep , LP is light bass 

4 degrees is a hell of change for VTA 
I guess perfect alignment is not so critical, after all the conversations I’ve read 

I should have figured since all the alignment stuff is visual and subjective , with no Dial indicators and such 
I’ll keep playing , great suggestions