Need advice with Koetsu Black Goldline


I wanted to check out Koetsu so I bought the entry level Black Goldline. I'm having problems with tracking. The Koetsu is mounted on a Clearaudio Magnify tonearm with a Clearaudio Performance TT and a McIntosh MP 2000 phono preamp. The problem is that the Koetsu is extremely sensitive to even the slightest warp of an album or any other typical defect you could expect with vintage vinyl. What generally happens is that there are tracking problems with the first song, but after that, the Koetsu generally performs ok, although it seems extremely sensitive to any other vinyl defects. If I mount a different cartridge, I do not experience any similar problems with the same albums.

I have the VTF set to 1.90 and the cartridge is aligned using the Mobile Fidelity Geo Disk. I need some advice about the VTA. Unfortunately, the Performance does not allow of VTA adjustments on the fly. I have to loosen a screw and manually adjust the VTA by hand. It’s virtually impossible to make micro changes to the VTA. Also, how do I determine how much the cartridge should extend beyond the head shell? I have the following cartridges, all of which perform well my set-up: Shelter 5000, Soundsmith Paua, Lyra Kleos and Kiseki Purple Heart. 

My initial thought was that the Koetsu seemed lighter than the other cartridges, and though Clearaudio doesn't publish the effective mass of it's tonearms, I've been able to learn that the Magnify is on the lower end of the spectrum and very light. However; upon checking the weight of the other cartridges, I've learned that the Koetsu is basically the same weight as my Kleos, which performs well with the Magnify. I've considered using a one gram shim, but I got an email from Koetsu advising me against doing this. I’m starting to think that the Koetsu just isn’t a good match for the Magnify.  I would appreciate any guidance that could be provided.

Thank you

I have one. Fabulous cartridge.

Lower the cart down onto a stationary record. Look real close at the space between the cart and the record. It should be just about perfectly parallel. If not, you're just gonna have to adjust VTA until it is. This is a good thing. The harder you have to work at stuff like this the more it drives home the importance of thoroughly researching before buying. Easy on the fly VTA adjustment is essential. Especially if you have more than one cartridge. You will never make this mistake again. 

Now its perfectly parallel. Put on a record that has this problem. Stationary. Rotate slowly by hand watching this same clearance under the cart. Keep in mind that rotating slow like this is different than playing. Rotating slow the cantilever has time to lift the whole cart up when a warp comes along. When playing it comes faster and can compress the cantilever enough to make contact with the cart body, and that would of course cause mistracking. Even not touching, the body is very flat, air pressure could be enough to briefly reduce VTF enough to mis track.

The best solution is a record clamp and washer like you will see on the Miller Carbon. Look close at the pictures. The black washer holds the center of the record up just slightly above the level of the platter. The clamp is dished out and pushes the record down onto the platter so the outside edge contacts first. The record is forced to lay flat. Even warped records lay perfectly flat.

You can build one like I did or buy, just be sure to use it with a washer, which is really easy to make- or even use an ordinary metal washer, which is what I did for a while before going to carbon fiber.

Try increasing tracking force to 2.5 grams. Also tonearm may be too light for the low compliance Koetsu. This will result in a resonance above 8 hz. Bad for tracking non-flat LPs.