My new cartridge sounds like a broken record


Hey everyone,

Some quick background - I have an Acoustic Signature Wow XL turntable with their TA-700 tonearm.  I've been trying out cartridges in the $200-$500 range with it:  Shelter 201, Sumiko Moonstone, and most recently a Goldring 2100.  I love the Goldring, and I'd happily settle on it as my long term cartridge if it weren't for one problem.  The cartridge skips frequently and repeats the same passage over and over.  

The effective mass of the tonearm is 10.2 gr, and the Goldring is right in the sweet spot in terms of resonance (according to the chart on vinylengine.com.  The cart weighs 7.4 grams with a dynamic compliance of 16 @ 10hz.  Before this, I was using the Hana EL, which is a bit lighter but with similar compliance (5 gr., dynamic compliance 17 @ 10 hz).  The Shelter weighs 6.2 gr. (no compliance stated) and the Moonstone weighs 6.5 gr. with a dynamic compliance of 12 (but this is at 100 hz), so it's probably closer to 18-24.

None of the other cartridges skip, except on the scratches that I'm already aware of on a few of my albums.  The Goldring skips on about 50% of records, even brand new ones, pristine and recently-cleaned discs, etc.  When it doesn't skip it sounds fantastic.  So it seems to be aligned well.  I tried raising the tracking force to about 10% over the max recommended, but that made no difference.  Just to be sure there wasn't something amiss with the tonearm I reinstalled the other cartridges, and they played fine.    

Was hoping someone might have an idea of what is causing this.  Do I have some kind of mismatch that I'm not aware of?  Any other similar experiences out there?  I appreciate any thought you might have.  

Thanks,Scott
smrex13
No - I checked that and even watched the arm as it was skipping to make sure it wasn't being impeded in some way.  Everything was clear.
Try cleaning the stylus with a Mr Muscle pad. Drop stylus down and lift using cue lever a few times. Do not move pad.
Post removed 
I have a stylus cleaner that works well.  I've even checked the stylus with a microscope to make sure it's clean.  The antiskate is the basic string and weight, and I've tried it at every setting with this cartridge.  Doesn't make any difference with the skipping.  I'm just totally baffled.
Dear @smrex13 : Seems to me that the problem could be in the cartridge it self in the cartridge suspension or between the stylus tip and cantilever and if it’s new you have to ask a claim to your seller.

But if you have a near friend from you with a different analog rig then try it there your cartridge and see what happens before the claim I’m talking about.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.
I would likely agree with Raul here if ALL the other carts play fine hardly likely to be the AS.

If the suspension is faulty , maybe too stiff or semi collapsed already and so has very little movement available I can see it doing the bunny hop depending on the energy in the grooves being played.

Op, do you have any albums with really quiet soft tracks to test the theory on?
You have never mentioned tracking force you’re using for this cartridge, this is number 1 thing to check and adjust. Use digital scale to make sure the tracking force is correct according to manufacturer specs. Set anti-skating to zero and compare. Try another cartridge if you have one to make sure it is not the tonearm. Buy Hi-Fi Test LP to adjust anti-skating correctly. Clean your stylus tip with a brush and look at it with magnified glass, make sure the cantilever is not damaged and the stylus is not damaged.
chakster
You have never mentioned tracking force you’re using for this cartridge, this is number 1 thing to check and adjust ...
He said he tried raising VTF to 10 percent over the recommended maximum, which should put him at 2.2 grams. So that doesn't seem to be the issue, provided he's measured it accurately. I think Raul may be correct that the problem is in the cartridge itself, such as the suspension.

If the OP bought this cartridge new, he should check with his dealer for a suggestion. If he bought the cartridge used, then all bets are off.
I had only one cartridge with similar problem, it was brand new Ortofon SPU on my Schick tonearm. Another SPU was fine on the same arm, so i returned the new cartridge to the seller for full refund and since that day never seen anything like that on any cartridge in my big collection. 
@chakster

Start OT

Please, I’m still anxiously waiting for you to photocopy the assembly model for Sony’s PUA 7 for me if is possible.
I hope you don’t forget, many thanks.

End OT
@best-groove

I’m still anxiously waiting for you to photocopy the assembly model for Sony’s PUA 7 for me if is possible.


Do you mean this one ? I sold the arm to another a’gon member last month rising funds for my Ikeda IT-345. But if you need actual scan of the original SONY protractor i can ask him to make a digital copy for you.
Do you mean this one ?

Yes, exactly that. Would a photocopy be possible to obtain?
I can't find anything on the web.
Many thanks. :)
smrex 13, in this regard never believe specs. Get your self a Hi Fi News test record and check the resonance frequency and adjust the anti skate according to the record. MUCH more accurate. I sound just like a stuck record:)

Mike
Thank you to everyone for taking the time to respond.  This afternoon I decided to start from scratch to make sure everything was in good working order.  I took the tonearm mount off and then reinstalled it.  I discovered that there were two circular pieces of metal as the base (one inside the other)  that were kept from moving by a small set screw. That screw/adjustment wasn't mentioned anywhere in the set up instructions.  Sure enough, it had worked itself loose, and the tonearm base was not nearly as solid as it should have been.  It was allowing some up and down and back and forth movement.  I tightened everything up and put the tonearm back in.  I used my Feickert protractor to very carefully set up the cartridge.  I set the antiskate as precisely as possible, and I measured the VTF as 1.95 on my digital stylus gauge.

I put on Richard and Linda Thompson's "Shoot Out the Lights" and lifted the tonearm.  The arm movement was smoother and more precise.  The powerful drum beats at the beginning of the song sounded clearer, and the guitar strums had a longer decay.  This is great!  Richard Thompson's voice sounded deep and resonant.  "In the dark, who can see his face?  In the dark, who can rea....in the dark who can rea...in the dark who can rea...."   DAMN IT!!  Must be the cartridge suspension as everything else seems dialed in.  Glad I was able to tighten up the tonearm mount, as that should benefit any cartridge.  

The Goldring 2100 has a replaceable stylus, so I may order a new stylus and see if that solves the problem.  If not, it's back to auditioning cartridges.  Will keep y'all posted, and thanks again for all your help.

Sincerely, Scott
So on quiter less energetic pieces of music it behaves itself?
If so it probably is the cartridge suspension in some aspect.
@uberwaltz - I haven't noticed whether it skips on higher energy passages or not.  However, it just made it through a mellow jazz album with no problem, and it sounded great.  I also tried an older record that has some imperfections.  My other carts will play it, but there's some obvioius pops and clicks.  The Goldring skipped and started repeating almost immediately.
Its not antiskate.....I would send the cartridge to Soundsmith or similar and get their opinion.
Wachtout fot to mutch antiskating. Try a decent weight minimum of 2 gr. Better to mutch than less.. And for futher improvement set a small weight unther the cartridge or there a weight skrews for this solution. It helped me and it sounds really great now!!
It is apparent and obvious that this cartridge is defective or damaged it should be returned to the dealer promptly for refund or replacement.
I would absolutely get a replacement cartridge. Not just stylus, but entire cart & stylus, just in case. You don’t wanna bring in any possible variables. FWIW, I’ve been running a Goldring 1022, and love it. 
Best of Luck! - Nick 
smrex, if you want to find out what is going on spend 20 bucks and get the darn test record. You can not set up a turntable without one. Do not believe specs or the sales on the tonearm. They are frequently wrong.

Mike
Sorry to hear the troubles. You are welcome to trade it in for top $ and get a Transfiguration cartridge Axia. You won't look back. 

Typically a compliance mismatch is the issue with what you are facing.

jjaudiosolutions.com


My suggestion- do yourself a favor and get a Soundsmith cartridge. I tried a few carts, some I liked, some were just so-so. I bit the bullet and extended my budget to get the Zephyr MIMC Star. Holy crap! THIS is what I was looking for! 
Now, if you want to keep the budget lower, you can, but I strongly suggest a stretch. You won't be disappointed.
The most interesting thing is that all of my crusty, crackly, poppy, records are now not only playable, but enjoyable! Amazing! My record collection expanded instantly, and garage sale finds now can be treasure instead of trash. It has to do with his application of resonance control and stylus profile shape. 
Good luck!
An easy way to rule out antiskate is to place the stylus on a blank band (most test disks have this). If it remains in the middle or even move slowly from the center of the blank band to the edge, you are OK. If it flies to the inner or outer edge, this is your problem. Remember that with the fishing line/weight, the loop has to go to the correct groove (usually the middle one) where it attaches to the tonearm. Good luck.
I don't want to insult you; but have you looked parallel to the LP to make sure the Goldring is not bottoming out on small warps. Does it require a different VTA than your other cartridges?

Other than that, I agree that you should get it replaced by the seller.
Well, unfortunately, my turntable motor died, so cartridge issues are all moot at this point...
So, very interesting finding with the Goldring on a different turntable (the power supply on my Acoustic Signature turntable failed so I have to send it in for repairs).

This morning I dug out my old VPI Traveler turntable from storage and set it up.  Out of curiosity I installed the Goldring 2100.  And it works perfectly!  It sails through tough passages and powers right through scratches with no skipping.  It sounds fantastic.  I have it set at the same tracking force -1.75 - that I had on the other table (using the same digital scale to measure it).  I guess there was some type of compliance mismatch or other issue with the combination of the Goldring and the TA-700 tonearm.  At least I didn't go through the trouble of trying to return the Goldring only to find out that the replacement wouldn't work on the AS table.  I appreciate all the help and great insight you all gave me.

And the little Traveler with the Goldring is a damn fine combo! 

Thanks again, Scott
In terms of performance, the weight of tome arm cartridge etc, etc mean nothing. The only thing that maters is the recommended tracking weight, tone arm alignment, VTA and and tracking force. If it is skipping or mis-behaving, there is something wrong in one of these three things; otherwise is a damaged stylus. Double check and make sure that when set at zero G. that the arm floats level. If it does not, turn the weight adj. right or left until it does, recalibrate to zero and re-set weight and tracking force. I know it sounds stupid, but is a common and sometimes costly mistake in set up......Jim