Optimizing TNT, Triplanar, Transfiguration Temper

I'm writing because of a combination of frustration and potential in my turntable set-up. I have never gotten the sound from the system that I expected, but feel that I am beginning to glimpse the potential of achieving it. I have made some changes recently that have led to more changes that have brought me closer to what I have heard from other systems with similar components. I am hoping someone can guide me toward finally obtaining the basic qualities that I'm looking for and I can fine-tune from there.
What I have heard before from lesser components and am not getting is the sound of the transients jumping off the record. I thought this problem was merely from the characteristics of the Transfiguration Temper Supreme, but with some modifications of the table I am beginning to hear it and wanted to see if I could bring it out further.
Let me back-track and tell you my components and what modifications I have made so far. I am running a VPI TNT upgraded to 4 (w/ the rectangle cutout for the motor), with the original motor and just added an SDS (which made the biggest improvement), a Wheaton Triplanar tonearm upgraded to VI, and a Transfiguration Temper Supreme cartridge.
When I upgraded to the SDS, the timing and solidity of the sound improved dramatically. I then found that using a single belt directly from the motor to the table actually outperformed the three-pully design originally designed for the table, perhaps with some trade-offs, i.e. voices sound clearer and better-defined, but piano may have a little less air and realism.
Finally, the table sits behind the speakers, particularly the left speaker. Moving the speaker forward a few inches seemed to significantly clean up the sound, so vibrations from the back of the (B & W 803) speaker may be muddying the water. My other components are Spectral DMC-20 and DMA-180 and MIT/Spectral reference cables.
Like I said, I am glimpsing the potential of this setup, and the music is starting to clean up and jump off the record, but it's just not quite there. I feel like I'm missing something simple and would like advice before making a lot of changes. I think I've set the cartridge up properly with regard to alignment, azimuth, VTA and no anti-skate. I have not removed the damping trough yet, and that is the next thing I was thinking to try. I am planning to try to further isolate the table from the speakers - the cable lengths prevent me from totally moving the preamp and turntable. I was also considering using different belts or string/dental floss etc. Another possibility is investing in a single-motor flywheel, which also would not use the three pulleys included with the TNT turntable. But, I feel that there is something simple and straightforward with the front-end that I am missing. Any advice?
IMO transients can be seriously impaired by vibrational feedback (and noisy turntable mechanics and speed stability).

I'm not clear exactly which TNT model yours started at, but I achieved quieter backgrounds and better transient reproduction by firstly putting my TNT-1 on a sandbox platform and (later) changing out the the original sprung feet for the 'ball' suspension pods.
Both these changes moved the TNT towards a more neutral sound.
I've read that removing the TNT suspension altogether - using Symposium 'rollerblock' isolators in conjuction with the Symposium isolation platform is a big step in neutrality and transient performance (according to the author of the article). But I haven't heard/compared these to my (cheaper) setup.

Moving from the (somewhat noisy) original motor to the single motor/flywheel also made gains in quieter backgrounds and more explicit transients.
I suspect that the rim-drive option could take could take transient performance even further.

Having said all that, if transient performance is one of your highest priorities, perhaps you should also investigate different turntable options for your Triplanar/Transfiguration.
Try making a simple isolation stand and see if it helps. Just take a piece of plywood or other, thick sheet material big enough to support your table, and put it on a bicycle innertube. Inflate just enough to raise the plywood and turntable up off your shelf. See how it sounds, add air, keep doing until you are satisfied and record the pressure. then make a little box to hold the tube and you have built your own, Townshend Seismic Sink. Multiple layers add to the isolation.
I also have a Temper, on a Moerch DP6 arm and a VPI based table. Here's what I can suggest.

1) Table isolation is paramount. I made a DIY Ginko by placing the table on a 1" maple butcher block and putting 8-10 squash balls between it and the shelf.

2) This cartridge is finicky to setup, so double and triple check everything, especially VTA. When setting this realize it is a Shibata stylus which means the high frequency waves in the groove need to be perfectly aligned with the angle of that stylus edge. So listen for the leading edge transients being clean and sharply defined. If you do this the bass will fall into place too.

3) Replace the VPI rubber belt with silk thread. You have an SDS so you can adjust the speed to compensate for the smaller diameter of the thread. This change was huge for PRAT and detail retrieval IMO. Here's a source for thread (in any color you choose - try #2, 3 and 4 sizes:


4) Damping - I found that minimal damping is warranted. Too much and things get flat and squishy sounding with reduced dynamics.

5) Cartridge loading. I load mine at 220 or 470, depending ... higher values produce a more open tonality but sometimes this can be a bit too sharp with some recordings so I tone down to 220 for those.

6) Anti skate - it is important to set this properly. No anti skate means you are missing something that should be there IMO. Here's an explaination of how I set it.

Anti skate can be set by ear. Find a recore with some vocals and some decent dynamics. Then set the force to zero. This works best with someone helping you, but you can do it yourself if you're patient.

Listen to the right channel and you should hear it almost lower in dynamic volume than the left (a bit recessed). Slowly turn the tracking force up, I mean very slowly a wee bit at a time. Eventually you should start to hear the right channel coming up and getting closer to what the left channel is producing dynamically. Then as you get higher you should hear both channels sounding more dynamic and just better and better. Move the anti-skate up very slowly now.

At last you will hear a fairly dramatic drop off in the quality of both channels. You have now gone a wee bit too far. Back it off a notch and you have optomized your anti-skate.
Thanks for your comments. I believe the turntable started as series 3, but not 100% sure as I bought it used. It has the dual solid pieces fused together for the basic platform, with the rectangular cutout. I upgraded to the ball suspension pods. It sits on a TNT stand filled with sand. I don't have a lot of money to spend at this time, so I think a different table is out of the question at this point.
Tobes, how big a difference did the single motor flywheel make? I understand they are phasing it out, so if I'm going to buy one, I need to get it now. Also, I thought about the motor sitting directly on the stand being a source of vibration, as it is not isolated like the table. I don't know of any solution to this, as any feet that I'm aware of would put it too high.
Manitunc, I had thought of the innertube solution for other components, but I'm skeptical that it will make a big difference since the table is already on the air-filled ball suspension pods. Although, I worked in an electrophysiology lab where we use air tables, so I know what a difference they make in vibration control, as we worked with microelectrodes under a microscope.
Tobes, I wasn't aware of the Symposium 'rollerblock' isolators, but they might be worth investigating further. Not sure how expensive they are.
Regarding other tables, the comparison I am making is to a HW-19 with Wheaton Triplanar and Benz Micro Glider, which should in theory have worse performance than my setup. So, I'm not sure why I getting inferior performance. I'm still wondering if it has something to do with the table being behind the speaker (about 2 1/2 feet). I'm also thinking some sort of acoustic absorber between the two might help.
Ptmconsulting, thanks also for your reply. We must have posted nearly simultaneously. I will be investigating these fixes over the next few days/week, but I have one initial question. What do you mean by minimal damping? Did you remove the damping trough?
I have a Moerch DP6, not a Triplaner. Can;t speak to the TP arm, but my Moerch sounded best with very little or no damping goo. Far more lively and much better to my ears. I would suggest using damping sparingly on any arm - it seems to suck the life out of the music.
While I haven't heard a Temper in my system (I also have TriPlanar), I don't believe most Trannys would benefit from damping and I'd definitely remove the trough. You should hear a lower sound floor and more low level detail. Not so much benefit on transients in my system, but certainly no harm.

While you're at it, remove the A/S mechanism as an experiment. The improvements in my setup were similar to removing the damping trough, though subtler. If you're not using it it's just an unnecessary resonance trap.

Importantly, you didn't say whether you've optimized VTF or if so, how. Excessive VTF (like excessive antiskate) saps transient speed and dynamics very quickly. With my ZYX UNIverse if I'm just .01-.02g above optimal VTF I lose some snap, just as you described.

Try fine tuning VTF so that you're playing JUST BARELY above the mistracking point (like .01-.03g above). That's where I play all the best LOMC's I've used. Any less downforce and bass weakens before actual mistracking begins. Any more downforce and HFs go soft and micro-dynamics and transient leading edges start getting smothered. You need to find the zone between these problems and play there.

Where that zone is exactly and how wide it is varies from one individual cartridge to the next. Each cartridge is unique and at this level you can't fine tune by using a test record or sticking to recommended ranges. Optimal VTF changes constantly, not only with the weather but even (once you learn how to listen for it) from LP to LP. Try fine tuning that before spending any money.

I replaced the VPI minifeet on many models of VPI turntables. Each time there was a huge improvement in sound. My caveat is that I haven't tried it on your model TNT, but I can't see how it wouldn't follow the the same preformance as my Supersoutmaster/Rim Drive. All VPI turntables need a very solid path to the middle of the earth. The VPI feet have "give" in them which is awful for the turntable...the reason that Gingko platforms/rubber balls are awful (yes they are). An easy replacement for the minifeet are Bearpaws (Vermontaudio.com). I have no financial connection in any way to Dan, but the improvement in the VPI table is extraordinay with the addition of these things and the elimination of the "giving" feet.
In tests done by Townshend and others, the effect of adding more seismic sinks was cumlative. So if there was a 10 db reduction in outside noise with one, there was a 20 db reduction with two, etc. this only works in the lower ranges. Townshend did offer multiple layer sinks. I can tell you that my Rock 3 had a very quite background and very tuneful bass that I attribute to the built in seismic sink as well as the tonearm trough.
Dougdeacon, thanks for the advice on VTF. You forced me to re-check it...and to my surprise, the rubber o-rings I had used to fine-tune the VTF had rotted and failed! Furthermore, I had always been told to use near the max tracking force tolerated. So in sum, I was way off. I also recently read to use the largest counterweight pushed all the way forward, and the next largest possible pushed as far forward as possible. I realized I was using the next size down, so I switched and re-adjusted. I'm not sure I have tweaked it maximally yet, but there's already a dramatic improvement! Thanks again. Now on to the other tweaks...
Ptmconsulting is spot on w/r to the benefit of replacing the stock VPI elastic belt with thread drive. An intermediate flywheel will further improve speed stability by enabling a more grippy wrap of thread around a larger circumference of the motor and flywheel pulleys. The flywheel will also provide a noise break between the motor and the platter.

You were correct to discard the three pulley system.
12-09-11: Ctlphd
Tobes, how big a difference did the single motor flywheel make? I understand they are phasing it out, so if I'm going to buy one, I need to get it now. Also, I thought about the motor sitting directly on the stand being a source of vibration, as it is not isolated like the table. I don't know of any solution to this, as any feet that I'm aware of would put it too high.

I wouldn't say it was dramatic but I thought it a very worthwhile improvement at the time (over my original motor setup - HERE).
Howver, for a similar outlay, you may get a better result with the rim drive option - but I haven't heard that.

In regards to isolation of the motor - you'll need to experiment with this. When I coupled my old TNT motor with solid cones to the same wooden plinth as the table there was a large transference of motor vibration to the table (via the plinth). The rubber feet were much better.
Though I now use the quieter motor/flywheel with split motor/table plinths - where both plinths are damped into the sandbox via aluminium fins - I have persisted with the rubber feet. A stethoscope applied to the turntable plinth confirms the excellent isolation. I have very 'black' quiet backgrounds.

Symposium claim they got marked improvements by coupling the TNT motor/flywheel to their 'Ultra' platform using their 'precision couplers' - See here.
I haven't heard the Symposium stuff, and one must always be wary of manufacturer claims, but I'm interested in the approach. It's something I may investigate.

Whether the direct coupling approach works will be heavily dependent on the platform used and it's isolation from the outsides world. Coupling works both ways.

FWIW, in general, I don't like any spongy rubber feet under components. I feel they smear the sound.
Tobes, I also have the TNT motor and flywheel on split plinths with aluminum fins into sand. Thread drive is a major improvement over the VPI belts, however when the thread drive is tensioned correctly it reveals the instablity of the stock rubber motor feet. In my set-up 3x brass Audiopoints under the motor was an improvement over the rubber feet.
Dgarretson, thanks for the tip - thread drive is something on my agenda to try.
I have experimented briefly with dental floss. This sounded pretty good but then I started to get slippage and speed stability went out the window (I was using it from both the motor to flywheel and flyweel to platter).
I think silk thread should be more a bit more 'grippy'(?)....I just haven't gotten around to trying it.
I'll also try the solid cones again under the motor/flywheel unit, since my setup has changed since doing so.
Cheers, Paul
Thanks for all the tips everyone. Unfortunately, something's now wrong with my pre-amp or amp and probably going to have to send one to the shop. I'll get back to you when things are up and running again.

Sorry to hear about the new preamp/amp problem. If it ain't one thing...

Your sonic description of missing jump and snap made excessive VTF an easy guess, glad that helped. Those O-rings do fail after a while. I've replaced mine a couple of times.
I had always been told to use near the max tracking force tolerated.
That's appropriate advice for neophytes, who often use insufficient VTF in a mis-guided attempt to reduce friction. Too often, their stylus chatters around in the groove, doing 1,000X more damage than an extra gram of downforce ever could. Playing near the max prevents the worst of all disasters, destroying one's vinyl, but it also prevents hearing the most that a good cartridge can give.

A few years ago Raul was visiting us. We played LP's all afternoon. After a 1-2 hour dinner break we started up again and the music was decidedly duller: no weight, no oomph. I walked over to the Triplanar and slid an O-ring toward the counterweight by no more than the thickness of the O-ring itself.

BANG! All the life came back. Even Raul was surprised that such a tiny change made such a big difference. My .01g digital scale can't even measure the change from that small an adjustment.

This particular VTF adjustment was only needed because of the dinner break, which had allowed the cartridge to cool down and the suspension to stiffen. A hair more downforce was needed to optimize it. As we advance to higher levels of equipment the performance we demand increases, naturally. So does the care we must take to achieve it.

Hope the other thing works out.
Ptmconsulting, you said for cartridge loading:
I load mine at 220 or 470,depending... higher values produce a more open tonality but sometimes this can be a bit too sharp with some recordings so I tone down to 220 for those.
I thought you were supposed to try to match the impedences for loading. Temper's impedence is listed as 7 ohms, and my Spectral preamp allows for 10, 30, 100... I have tried others, but thought 30 was a good compromise, as 10 dropped the output significantly but sounded more open and airy. 30 dropped the output much less, and higher than that seemed to be a little brighter and less airy. Maybe I was thinking about that wrong and I was actually damping the cartridge too much. I will try going up again (once I get my preamp back), but what is your (and others) opinion on this? Also, do you think a separate phono preamp is warrented? The Spectral has a separate dedicated card as an addition for this.
Ctlphd, cartridge loading is indirectly related to the impedance of the cartridge. If you have a low output MC, the loading has to do with the inductance of the cartridge and the capacitance of the cable, and whether or not your preamp is sensitive to RF.

IOW, the loading does not do anything at audio frequencies. It affects radio frequencies instead. The inductance of the cartridge and the capacitance of the cable form a tuned RF circuit. The resistive load is used to reduce the effectiveness (Q) of this circuit. Once set to the right value, there will no longer be any bursts of RF energy applied to the input of the phono section.

A typical loading value BTW, will be about 10x the impedance of the cartridge, but this should only be considered a starting point.

Now if the phono section does not care about RF, you will hear hardly any difference with loading other than volume.

From what I have seen here it would be a very good idea to get more distance between the speaker and 'table. I would expect the Spectral to allow for some fairly long cables without too much trouble.
I was always told to start at the high end (e.g. 44k unloaded) and work my way down in values (loaded) until things snap into place. I found this balance to be between 220 and 470 for me (I have a switch on my Hagerman Piccolo step up that allows me to choose between several values easily). A loading of 30 would certainly make your transients sound dulled.
Since the preamp only seems to be acting up when it gets hot, and Spectral is going on holiday until the beginning of the year, I decided to go ahead and try a couple of things. I changed the cartridge load to 100 Ohms, which opened up the sound and increased the gain, as well as improving transients and details. I didn't go up higher, as the next step is 800 Ohms, which seems to high given previous comments.
Next, I replaced the stock rubber belt with silk thread. This really reduced the noise floor and provided even more details. I'm not sure of the optimal distance or tension to have on the thread, so input would be appreciated.
After these two changes, the sound still lacked a little in the dynamics, so I backed off slightly in the VTF. This provided significant improvement. I have ordered an Audio Additives digital stylus force guage to better estimate this force, but I plan to fine tune it by ear.
Finally, with all these changes, small changes make bigger differences, so I'm going to have to fine tune VTA, azimuth, and reassess whether or not to use anti-skate or remove the whole thing along with the damping trough.
With regard to longer cables and hence getting the table away from the speakers, the problem is not whether the Spectral will handle it (it has the possibility of using balanced cables as well), but the expense of reference MIT cables, which Spectral requires due to its ultra-wide bandwidth. I am also still considering altering the suspension, but I need to do these things step-by-step.
Glad to hear that your changes moved things in the right direction. I agree with removing the damping trough, that just seemed to kill the dynamics on my arm.

Keep playing and adjusting. This is a top notch cartridge and, as such, it is very finicky to setup and get perfect. But when you do ...
Just to make sure I'm in the right ballpark on VTA, I started with the base of the Temper cartridge approximately parallel to the record and adjusted up and down with the Triplanar by ear from there, until the high frequencies locked in and then the lows. The difference I get between a standard LP and a 200 g LP is about half a turn on the dial (i.e. 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock). Does that sound about right?
Here's a write up by Jon Risch on VTA/SRA. I only wish I could find the picture that makes this all obvious. Basically the pointy sidewall of the Shibata stylus as to align perfectly with the angle of the cut in the record groove. Listen to high frequency tones for this, like triangles and vibes. When that aligns properly all should lock in, including the bass.

"Getting the stylus contact line to line up with the HF modulations of the groove wall is similar to aligning a tape haed to the recorded waves on the magnetic tape: you want them to be totally parallel with one another. When a fine line stylus is not aligned with the groove wall in terms of matching the SRA to the record walls groove angle as cut by the cutting stylus, then the footprint of the stylus will be riding over more than a single HF groove wiggle at a time. This results in a loss of HF's, and a blurring in time of the recovered signal, just like on a tape deck. If that was all that occurred, then incorrect SRA would be rather benign.

However, the situation for the groove wall is not like that of the tape deck, the groove wall and stylus are a mechanical interface whereby the groove wall modulations can torque on the stylus edge as it passes over the modulations at a rake angle that is not the same. This tends to generate spurious signals that are not harmonically related to the original signal, and the torquing tends to cause the intrisnic cartridge cantilever/moving system resonances to be excited and stimulated. The result: hash and HF frazzle that reaches surprisingly low in the audio band due to intermodulation with the signals being recovered from the record groove."
More progress. I removed the damping trough, and that things cleaned up more. Instruments sound more natural, voices are clear and more distinct. I also received the Audio Additives Stylus Force Gauge. I was in the 1.9 range initially. I backed off to about 1.75, which improved the dynamics but was a little light in the bass and tonal textures. So, I went up to about 1.835, and things really locked in. I also reset the azimuth and VTF (the latter which I change with each record). I'm finding that I really like the silk thread as well over the rubber belt. Everything's just smoother and more detailed. Overall, things are finally very listenable and approaching the level which I expect from this table, arm, cartridge combination. The main thing I'm thinking of now is that I still have to decide whether to stick with this motor and get some sort of isolation for it or change to the single motor flywheel. I'm not convinced that having an additional belt even with the heavier flywheel is an optimal solution. As I'm writing this, I'm listening to Leonard Cohen's "Songs from the Road" and the voices (particularly his) and instruments sound so rich, natural, and detailed that I am very pleased with the setup right now. Thanks everyone for your help, and enjoy the holidays as I do with wonderful music!
Glad to hear it is all working out. This is a finicky cartridge, to be sure, but it is well worth the effort to get it right.

Merry Christmas.

Dgarretson said:
In my set-up 3x brass Audiopoints under the motor was an improvement over the rubber feet.
Which Audiopoints do you use? Do they screw into the bottom of the motor in place of the rubber feet?
I used three stick-on .2 APs without the companion APCD2 cups. BTW if you plan on living with the TNT for awhile, acquiring a standalone flywheel is worthwhile. The flywheel provides three improvements: increased inertial mass, a noise break for AC motor cogging effects transmitted through the drive-train, and better traction for the thread around a wider circumference of the motor pulley.

Dgarretson said:
BTW if you plan on living with the TNT for awhile, acquiring a standalone flywheel is worthwhile. The flywheel provides three improvements: increased inertial mass, a noise break for AC motor cogging effects transmitted through the drive-train, and better traction for the thread around a wider circumference of the motor pulley.
So, you're recommending a standalone flywheel rather than the single motor flywheel? I know VPI used to make one, but I don't think they do anymore. Does anyone else? I looked on this site and didn't see any for sale. Do you recommend the stand-alone flywheel over the single motor flywheel design? If I remember right, the flywheel is about the same size as the original motor, so it probably gives more inertial mass than the all-in-one system. The problem I foresee is that my table is just big enough to hold the table and single motor or maybe single motor-flywheel combination. I seem to remember an extension or something to hold the separate motor, but that doesn't seem ideal for stability. Do you have any recommendations in that regard? I suppose I could put a larger and heavier base on top of or instead of my current base.
If you are using thread you will not be getting the "traction" that the old rubber belt provides. I know I need to give my platter a push start to get it moving.

With a separate flywheel the problem is exacerbated I would imaging, requiring a push on the flywheel and a push on the platter if there are strings all-round. I just run the string from the motor flywheel to the platter, and put a brass weight against the string where it comes off the motor pullet before it connects with the platter to adjust tension.
Ctlphd, Sorry, I failed to distinguish between the single-motor flywheel and the older standalone flywheel. If using thread drive I wouldn't bother with a single-motor flywheel, as it provides no method for adjusting thread tension between the two without resorting to a DIY tensioning pulley similar to ptmconsulting or my custom TNT. With a standalone flywheel the thread tension can be easily adjusted by shifting the flywheel.

I find that with the thread properly tensioned there is no need to give the platter a push at start-up.
I screwed it up again! I still had the anti-skate slightly on (no weight but the fishing line still connected to the lever) which was evidently providing some effect since when I removed it completely the tracking on inner tracks was lost. I've tried re-adjusting the cartridge to no avail. Can anyone help diagnose the problem, as I'd prefer not to use the anti-skate but this is obviously not working?
If a cartridge needs A/S to track cleanly then you should use it. Even if you prefer the sound without it, as I do, the improvement isn't worth mistracking and permanent vinyl damage.

I began playing without A/S when my cartridge relaxed enough not to need it. As with VTF, SRA or any other parameter, the cartridge tells you where to set A/S, you don't tell it.
Read my explanation on how to set AS properly (above). When set correctly it will sound better than with nothing.

We're in agreement as to methodology. I've posted essentially the same method for years (viz., play real music, get VTF dialed in with A/S at zero, then increase A/S in TINY increments whilst listening for sonic differences).

With respect, however, we differ as to our cartridges, our systems and what we hear and value.

In my system, with my cartridges, A/S does sometimes marginally affect R vs. L balance/weight/dynamics as you described. However, even the tiniest possible amount of A/S slows transients, reduces micro-dynamics and raises the sound floor. Any R vs. L improvement is swamped by these sonic penalties, not to mention the resonance trap effects of the device itself.

Again, this is just my experience. It's no more or less valid than yours. Cartridges vary. Systems vary. Listeners vary. I wouldn't presume to tell you that because zero A/S sounds best for me that it will necessarily sound best for you.
Another complication. Putting the anti-skate back on didn't solve the problem, so I contacted Tri Mai at Triplanar who was very helpful. I had this problem years ago, but thought it was solved. Apparently, when I removed the arm to remove the damping trough, the wires running from the bottom tube on the tonearm were pulled slightly tight, putting tension on the arm and causing pulling and vibration, especially when the arm neared the center of the record. Tri suggested pulling the wires slightly loose thereby relieving the tension and allowing the wires to float as free as possible. My first attempt caused things to be much worse, and subsequent attempts improved things but were not perfect, and the wires seem to quickly slip. I had an upgrade somewhere between 5 and 10 years back, but apparently this was not fixed with that upgrade. Before spending another nearly $1500 for another upgrade, I wanted to find if anyone had dealt with this before successfully and how. Also, does the most recent upgrade completely solve this, and if so, how? I initially thought much of my problems were in the cartridge, but this made me realize that it may be more the tonearm, as slight changes make HUGE differences.
>>12-27-11: Ptmconsulting
Read my explanation on how to set AS properly (above). When set correctly it will sound better than with nothing<<


I have 6 tonearms here and employ anti-skating on only one.

There is (should be) a small metal eyelet attached to the black shield on the arm cable. This eyelet should be fixed to the tonearm mounting plate with a screw, using the small threaded hole in the plate. Stabilizing the arm cable there stops it sliding around.

Once you've locked the shield end of the cable down, dress the free wires between the shield and the hole in the armtube so that the arm swings to the spindle and back with no drag or tautness and without the wires snagging.
Once you've locked the shield end of the cable down, dress the free wires between the shield and the hole in the armtube so that the arm swings to the spindle and back with no drag or tautness and without the wires snagging.

What do you mean by dress the free wires?
I have 6 tonearms here and employ anti-skating on only one.>>

OK, I stand corrected. Anti-skate seems to make a nice improvement on my tonearm without any loss of detail. In fact, it seems to bring out more detail and clarity. We all know all things are not equal in the audio world and all ears hear and prioritize things differently. I should know better than to make any absolute statements after all this time :)
That last paragraph from Ptmconsulting rang a bell inside my head. When I was dialing in anti-skate with a gimballed arm(not unipivot), and I tried to equalize the sound in both channels, I lost my excitement for listening to music. I then put the anti-skate back where it was(these were extremely tiny adjustments.). This situation was confirmed with some very obscure research I found on the internet. It makes sense, though. Should you be using anti-skate to adjust for tiny differences in turntable levelling, acoustics, slight differences in driver makeup, etc.? I believe in listening enough to determine just what anti-skate actually does(when you just slightly change it, both in increasing and decreasing it). Now, of course, you have to have it very close to it's optimum setting, before you do this.

Note: I am not saying that Ctlphd's problem is anti-skate.
When I said "that last paragraph", I meant the last paragraph from Ptmconsulting's first post here on 12/09/11-the one under his 6).
What do you mean by dress the free wires?
For "dress", substitute, "arrange". Sorry for the lingo. ;)
Well ptm, I believe anti-skate is unnecessary when:
1. A high quality tonearm is used. I'm not talking Rega 301 or JMW-9 here. The arm using anti-skate in my systems is a stock Technics SL1210 M5G. I use this table for my vintage moving magnets. Some need AS and others don't.
2. The arm is aligned very precisely. I can't tell you how many arms I've checked that are misaligned. Proper alignment is critical.

So the arm and alignment are key IMO.

And I can prove it here if you'd like a listen.
Well, I've got a Moerch DP6 arm, and I find that some amount of anti-skate is necessary for me and when adjusted properly it improves the sound of my finicky MC cartridge. Maybe it's just a matter of whether a cartridge is susceptable to this adjustment or not.

The DP6 also has a progressive anti skate, so the amount of anti skate is varied as it approaches the center of the record. That is the right way to implement it since the forces to be countered vary with the distance to the center and the circumferance of the groove.
I think I’ve worked out the main problems with the cartridge-arm-table. The rubber covering between the cable and the tonearm had come loose at the junction with the cable sleeve, and every time I pushed it in, the tension on the wires going into the tonearm became too much and it put tension on the arm itself. Once I was able to determine this and fix it, it became evident that the cartridge still wasn’t tracking. So, I bit the bullet and traded in my cartridge for the Transfiguration Phoenix. I just installed the cartridge, and the tracking problems are resolved. I still feel that I have some minor adjustments to make, but for the most part, things really cleaned up, focused, and I don’t hear any of the obvious tracking problems. Of note, the new cartridge output is 0.4 mV (vs. 0.2 mV of the TS).

I can’t say yet that I am totally thrilled with the cartridge yet, though. While the big problems essentially vanished, I feel that a slight amount of openness and detail that I previously appreciated in the Temper Supreme is missing. I suspect some of this is that the cartridge needs to be broken in. Also, as I said I probably need to fine-tune things. But, it may also not be quite up to par with the original Temper Supreme. Although the price point is similar to the TS, I think the more expensive Orpheus may have been more the replacement for the TS (I just can’t afford it right now). The problem I was having with the rapid transient attacks seems significantly improved with the new cartridge, but there just aren’t as many layers of detail as I might like. Does this sound like a break-in issue that will likely improve over time? Or, need for adjustments? Or, do you think the cartridge is just not going to give the ultimate performance? How long does it take to break in a cartridge?
I just tried putting a slight amount of anti-skate on, and to my surprise this made a big difference. Some of the clarity, smoothness, and details that I felt I had lost in switching from the Transfiguration Temper Supreme to the Phoenix suddenly returned. Voice and instrument timbers became more realistic. Even more surprising to me, the soundstage expanded significantly. Even before this occurred, I felt the pace and rhythmicity was more accurate with the Phoenix than with the Temper Supreme, and the cartridge just seems more stable. It's still early to say, but I may end up liking this cartridge more than I initially thought.
I am extremely interested in the comparison between the two, especially if you can actually trade between them for an accurate compare. The Temper is indeed getting a bit long in the tooth, being 10+ years old (but still sounding great). Not sure of the difference in design between the Phoenix and the Temper and what the "improvements" might be.
At this point, I don't have an easy way to swap the cartridges back and forth, but I am extremely familiar with the Temper Supreme sound and am getting a feel for the Phoenix. If I get up enough interest/desire to switch back to the TS, I'll let you know, as this would certainly be a good comparison.
Just a couple of initial thoughts now that I’ve been listening to this cartridge for a while. On the positive, it’s a very listenable cartridge, very smooth and liquid with good attack on transients. On the negative side, it doesn't seem quite as detailed as the Temper Supreme. For example, with the Phoenix, it seems that the main line of the song or singer’s voice becomes a little bigger than life or at least bigger than the background. I don’t know what kind of music you listen to, but an album I’m very familiar with is REM ‘Out of Time’. For example, on ‘Shiny Happy People’, Kate Pierson’s harmony is kind of lost behind Michael Stipe’s lead with the Phoenix. With the TS, she was right there beside Michael. She’s more in the background with the Phoenix. On the other hand, in a way the Phoenix seems a little more integrated and rhythmic. Also, I'm sure the Phoenix isn't broken in yet, as it does seem to be improving as I continue to listen. I will let you know more as I learn more. My initial suspicion is that there are pros and cons/tradeoffs of both, and moreover that the Orpheus probably has the strengths of both and less of their weaknesses. I should say also that my Transfiguration Supreme is certainly 'long in the tooth', more like 15 years old, re-tipped once and re-built once, so the comparison isn't totally fair. I'm now certain that this is the reason for the problems I was having with the whole setup before.
I just changed the cartridge loading from 100 to 300 ohms, and my previous complaints about the details lacking, over-emphasis of the primary vocals, etc. seem to have disappeared. I guess I was over-damping the Phoenix with the same load that worked fine for the Temper Supreme. This is only the first recording I've tested, 'Eric Clapton Unplugged', but if it's any indication, this is going to be a fine cartridge.
Correction: 'I just changed the cartridge loading from 100 to 800 ohms...' (not 300 ohms). After listening several hours, the improvement persists. With the exception of my preamp still giving me problems intermittently, I can say that I have very little to complain about now, and I can just sit back and enjoy the music! Regarding the cartridge, it's very neutral, rhythmic, engaging, solid, and really just gets out of the way of the music. It's neutrality and openness are very similar to the Temper Supreme, but the solidity, rhythmicity, and presence all surpass the qualities of my (old) TS. Also, the soundstage is more consistently impressive and especially deeper than the TS. It still may not have the attack or flashiness that some cartridges do, but the transients are fast, detailed, and accurate and in no way lacking. I just don't think it adds punch to the playback, and this is a good thing. I'm sure the cartridge isn't completely broken in yet, as it still seems to be getting better and better and more open the longer I play it.