Not Enjoying My Turntable

I purchased a u-turn orbit plus six months back to get into the experience of vinyl and collecting again. So far I have enjoyed the process of album buying and the tactile experience of vinyl. However, I just am not happy with the sound. Generally I have always enjoyed playing music with the treble turned up. Maybe because of some hearing loss I don't know. Also, I have had some problems with the turntable. The needle skips and to me the sound is muffled.

I am sure I could fix some of these problems with a equalizer and some troubleshooting with the turntable but am I just chasing the dragon here? In short am I doing something wrong.
A314efbe a69d 43dd bfb1 eba4ed342183brimel1974
You have some kind of problem if your stylus routinely skips, probably related to setup. Are you sure your VTF, antiskate and VTA are good? As a next step, those are worth verifying.
If your cartridge skips look at the needle tip for dust, you need $10 Carbon Fibre Brush to clean your record surface on the platter each time before you will play it. To clean the stylus tip you need THIS 

are you using the phono preamp built into the table, or an external preamp?  Also, as stated above, it sounds like the geometry might be off on the cartridge set up.  Is the phono preamp set correctly for the cartridge?

What's the rest of the system?  Are  you comparing apples to apples for sound, or do you have a $5k digital set up, and comparing it to a sub $400 vinyl rig?
How/where is the tt set up? Is it isolated properly?
Sell the analog stuff ....get the best level of Tidal streaming. Boom ! highs come back.

Maybe ask an hi-fi enthusiast friend to help you set up your record player.  The skipping and the muffled sound may have different causes that are not obviously unless someone takes a look at your setup physically.  Just have some beers around !
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I jumped on the u-turn bandwagon when they first launched. Liked their story, made in the USA and all. The table not so much. You can find much much better at the same or slightly higher price point. 

Don't give up, but don't chase a fix that you won't probably realize if you choose to keep the orbit.

Skips and muffled sound suggest dirty stylus, very dirty even.
Too much tracking force can also cause skips, but not muffled sound, I guess. I played with anti-skate with my set up, from min. to max. Sound was changing significantly but there were no skips.
Before giving up on vinyl, I would try an RPM 1 set up by someone with experience (which does mean a local dealer - I've seen the results of shipping turntables). Quantization noise does not exist with live music. I experience an ease with analog missing with even the very best digital.
@brimel1974 ,
Don't get too frustrated by the suggestion if they seem over your head. Try to follow one at a time and ask detailed questions if you are stuck. Good basic advice given to get on the right track:
1. make sure table is truly level, testing with bubble level. 
2. make sure you have a clean stylus and clean dust off each side before playing.
3. check tracking force and anti-skate settings
4. report back on progress or lack thereof, including answering the questions about the gear used. Include cartridge model or better yet, it's output level, as well as model or specs of the phono stage, integrated amp or receiver you are using.
People here have solved similar and trickier problems thousands of times. Cheers,
If you don't know your way around this stuff, I would bring the t/t to a dealer for a look through. 
You see this increasingly so lately.
Unfortunately back in the 70,s vinyl replay could near enough be plug and play and even though better setup would obviously help we really had nothing much to compare it to bar the radio so yes it sounded good( at the time).

Now for those trying to return to vinyl with CD and streaming and dacs that perform exceptional for a low price point it can highlight all the deficiency that was always present but we never knew ( or cared?).

So a $500 entry to vinyl is highly unlikely to get even close to a $500 digital setup .
Can it be made to sound decent?
Sure it can, but is not going to be plug and play and still will likely sound somewhat jaded against the digital.

It is just part of the times we live in.
I too tried to enjoy vinyl again. But I experienced the same muffled sound and lack of dynamics and my needle didn’t skip.  And Yes, I was comparing a 5k setup to a 1.5k turntable with a not very expensive external phone pre-amp.  But it became clear the additional cost and return of the hated ticks and pops would be an outright ridiculous use of my savings to return me back to my teenage years.  I have finally achieved better sq than I did with my first system in high school.  It costs 20 times more which seems ridiculous, but finally the realization of great music with thousands of albums at my finger tips and no ticks and pops is realized.   

It’s a wonderful hobby and I would own an expensive analog setup if it could afford it, but for now I am more than content and proud of what I have. 
A sign of god to throw it away
Getting really good sound from a turntable setup requires a level of involvement and effort that in my opinion only pays off if you actually enjoy doing that stuff (the tactile and involvement part of playing records).  I don't think it's so much the amount of $ spent (over a certain minimum) but the care of setup, alignment, record cleanliness, proper electrical matching of components.  Its a delicate chain. I've gotten really good sound from inexpensive turntables and cartridges but its hours and hours spent on alignment, cleaning, tuning etc.  But I love doing it.  Don't enjoy that level of involvement? Just go digital.
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@elizabeth Don't sell yourself short, you ARE recognized genius. At a minimum, acknowledged pragmatic enthusiast.

@gorgeousstyle When it comes to ticks and pops one can't underestimate the impact of super clean records and controlling static electricity via humidification and anti-static brushes. You don't need to spend a bunch of money, but you've got to actively attack those issues. It makes all the difference. Cheers,
I don’t know how many people realize that if the tonearm and cartridge geometry is off by only 1/10 degree distortion doubles. What chance has the ordinary Joe Blow have? 😳 No wonder so many people in the first wave gave up on analog and went to CD at the very first opportunity.
Aligning cartridge by ear is theoretically possible but would take a lot of time unless you got very lucky. I thought about it but abandoned this idea.
If someone doesn't tolerate ticks and pops and crackles and scraping and whatever at all, better not go into vinyl. The best sounding pressings I have are not in best condition, but I prefer listening to them to other copies that I have that sound worse, even slightly worse.
I don't really enjoy vinyl routine but I do what must be done, besides, I am a tape man not vinyl man. Records do feel better than tape, though.
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My advice is to forget about analogue.  Start with as good as a CD player as you can afford, then get a good-to-great DAC, and subscribe to Tidal Hifi.  Otherwise, you are wasting you money.  
I sure hope the OP realizes Elizabeth is kidding about the vacuum cleaner. Everyone knows you clean records with a pressure washer.
Are some posts fake? I mean were they created just to get people to engage?  So that the forum appears to have value?
I have seen many posts similar to this one.  OP was on Feb 22nd. Many people have taken their time to post a response and even to ask the OP some questions. But no response.
Times have sure changed. Medical clinics have converted to disposable instruments and are getting rid of their autoclaves.  I was able to get one for less than $2 grand!   I can just fit a 12-inch record in it (leaning it on a slant so that both sides are exposed to the effects).  Awesome.  
I have VPI Scout with Ortofon 2m black going into a Decware all tube phono pre, then to Parasound separates or even Marantz separates if I move the interconnects. It's not Mac equipment by any means, but it's good enough for me and about all I can afford or want to spend on gear. That said I can a/b to death playing an LP and a 4 year old iPad playing Spotify going to a 50 dollar blue tooth receiver connected to the Parasound. No diffidence in sound, absolutely none!  At best vinyl sounds as good, but for me it doesn't blow away cd or even streaming. But I do like all that is involved in playing vinyl so take it for what its worth.

@elizabeth  You say things sound 'fine' with your method of set up but it can certainly sound BETTER .... I'd like to suggest you look at Peter Lederman's videos at his website

I recently had a problem with overhang ... I was short of the mark by about 3 cm's .... had to get a new headshell to reach the correct placement ... but when I did ... what a difference~! Everything was tighter, more focused, yet highly resolving, warm and musical. If one spends just a little time and is patient, benefits are reaped.

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I think we can all agree that playing vinyl records has become a 'cultural' fad. A sure sign it has entered the mainstream is the sheer number of tv commercials that are riddled with turntables. The 'climax' always seems to be that close up shot of a stylus about to hit the record as if to say: 'now something really meaningful is about to take place'. By association the purchase of the product being advertised (just about every lifestyle product you care to mention) will be just as meaningful as that stylus about to hit home.....

Obviously this has absolutely nothing to do with sound quality and - no offense - neither does a $300 turntable. High quality vinyl playback requires real commitment and fairly deep pockets to reach a level that surpasses digital (either on CD or download). If you have neither, don't go there. I'm not being elitist, its simply a fact of life.

If the OP is serious about sound quality and not just about enjoying the tactile sensation of holding a LP sleeve or vinyl disc or being mesmerized by looking at that descending stylus, he should throw away this device, make another U-turn and think about how far he or his wallet is willing to go. If he's willing to add one zero to his $300 'orbit', he'll be in business and should return to this forum for advise. There are plenty of enthousiasts (more than he'll bargain for) happy to help him make some choices that will give him a taste of what we're on about here. 

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Is this the same Elizabeth who on a very recent post admitted to spending 3k on AC duplex outlets?

Surely that was chasing a deeper shade of green grass?

Or was that the wake up AHA moment of ceasing to throw money down MoneyPit Road?
This is what happens when people stove pipe. In audio everything is relative. There are no absolutes. But in order to better judge where one is on the scale 1 to whatever it is usually helpful, if not absolutely necessary, to get out and listen to a lot of other systems. That’s the best way to avoid having blinders on. Check it out. You might be surprised. It might be heaven and it might be hell. 😬
I said no such thing. But if you think you can get 'audiophile' sound reproduction with a $300 turntable I would kindly suggest you put that vacuum cleaner on your ear and suck out whatever's stuck in there. 

Actually very well said Geoff.

I am always concerned my rig is not good enough or could be much better.
Audiophillia Nervosa for sure!

However of late I have had opportunity to listen to some other decent rigs at other people’s houses.

This has made me rescale my rig in terms of sq and vfm.


So it is a good thing indeed.

Good job really as with just putting a new roof on the house the spendy fund is rather shallow ... lol

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Can't you read? The OP says he's not happy with the sound and he's wondering if an equalizer or troubleshooting with the turntable might fix his problems. I've merely suggested that fiddling with a $300 turntable is not going to bring him any closer to that dragon. He'll need a bigger boat......

While $300 is not a lot for a vinyl setup, it does sound like there is something seriously wrong in the set up whether it be mechanical ( vta, vtf, azimuth etc) or electrical ( loading, mismatch etc).

What I think Elizabeth was driving at was the possibility that the OP maybe able to improve what they have with some judicious set up moves.

Of course it is still only going to be as good a sound as a $300 rig can hope to produce but there maybe enough to improve that the OP will be at least content.

After "upgrading" my Sota Star Vacuum turntable with SME IV arm to a Triangle Art Maestro turntable with Zeus Cartridge, after the initial setup the needle skipped quite often and the turntable was set up using all the high tech gear by the manufacturer himself.

The cause cause was..... wait for it.... the location and isolation wasn't right.

My Sota was a suspension design and where it was placed, it didn't skip with the low frequency energy transmitting from the speakers.

However, the Maestro on the other hand was a suspension less design and although it weighs 80 pounds, I had to move it and put it on a well isolated rack and lo and behold, no more skipping.

Wasn't dirt on the needle.

First test is to walk heavily and see if it translate onto the album.  Or turn the music down and see if it skips then. 

I am now a believer in proper turntable setup, location and isolation.