Sibilance issues with vinyl rig


howdy
I've recently gotten into vinyl, investing quite heavily, and coming away unimpressed and frustrated.
the problem is sibilance...I find some albums almost unbearable, and if not unbearable, not terribly pleasant to listen to. On other albums, there is a sibilant 'cast' - even surface noise, and tick and pops have a hollow, pitched up characteristic to them that is unlike I've experienced listening to other systems. When people say 'vinyl sounds way better than cd's', I wonder what the hell they're talking about, or what it is that I'm doing wrong.
I should list out my system quickly just in case there's some familiarity within the membership and perhaps a quick fix, and also to see where I'm at in this hobby:
Rega Saturn cd player
Modwright swl9.0se pre amp
Cary audio slm 70 mono blocks
Totem model 1's
totem thunder sub
running springs haley power conditioning
harmonic tech cabling throughout
vinyl rig:
vpi scoutmaster with jmw-9 signature tonearm and single flywheel motor upgrade and vpi sds
benz micro ace low output mc cartridge
sim audio lp5.3 phono stage
harmonic tech magic cables (used) between turntable and phono stage, and between the phono stage and Modwright pre (new)...I've noted this as the magic cables are newer than what's in the rest of the system.
The lp5.3 phono stage is used, I'm the third owner
The cartridge was new....the turntable, cartridge and magic cables to the phono stage have about 100-150 hours on them now.
I'm quite happy with the cd playback...the saturn was the best under $5000 player I'd auditioned, save for one, and that is in the company of krell, copland, meridian, etc...so in general the system as a whole performs rather well...and no sibilance issues with cd playback.
I set up the turntable myself, following Michael Fremer's dvd in which he demo'd the setup of a scoutmaster. I do have a nice digital stylus gauge, and have purchased the soundsmith counterintuitive to assist with the difficulty of setting the tracking force/azimuth on this tonearm. I can't say I'm an expert at setup, but in listening there are no other issues (left/right balance, tracking erors, etc), so I figure I'm 90% there.
I've tried every resistive setting on the lp5.3. I've tried lowering the output, but I already need to set the volume at 4-5 out of 10 to get where the volume is equal to what 3 out of 10 provides using cd playback, and it didn't solve my problem anyway (thought the sibilance might be caused overloading the rest of the signal path..btw, the benz has an output of .4mv). I fiddled with vta, and found little if any difference. I meticulously clean my records (most of which are brand new) before playing, put them in rice paper sleeves, and use the requisite record and stylus cleaning brushes...in other words, I'm meticulous and thorough. I listen to a huge variety of music, and have extreme familiarity with some (admittedly not all) of the albums - I know how they should sound...ironically, it's the ones I'm familiar with that bother me the most. I do assume the new components should be broken in by now, and either way, there has been little or no change since the initial setting up.
I've invested a chunk of money time and effort, and expected the vinyl rig to sound at least as good as the cd, but I'm disappointed....would really appreciate any input...help!
josephwol
Joesph my opinion is that your new to vinyl. And since you are brought up in a digital age. No matter what setup you have you are not going to enjoy vinyl period. Clicks ticks and pops and surface noise's are just part of this medium and no expense will take those little annoyances away. Yes some of the better rigs will medicate them but they are still there. For me growing up with vinyl and the little things that bother many newbies just will go over my head. And the nostalgia of spinning vinyl with its glories comes out in a more open warm sound that digital just doesn't do. I have a digital CD/sacd player and enjoy playing but my vinyl rig spins more.You have a good table and I think you should stop comparing it to your digital setup. And listen more closely to what it does so very right. Then compare it to your digital player and listen to what it does so very wrong.The best with your quest for good sound.
You will never be able to match the output of phono with cd to the exact same level. As far as your phono problem it sounds that you have an arm cartridge mismatch. Try raking the tonearm in rear as far as you can ,that will usually fix sibilance problem. There are so many things in the phono chain is why many people stick with cd's but when you do get it correct there is nothing better.
I would try a tube phono stage instead of the simaudio moon solid state unit and I would experiment with different cartridges, some cartridges have much more sibilance and are thus much harsher than others. You have to experiment until u get the sound just right. you might want to experiment with cables also, some are much smoother than others.

Could you be more specific as to what method and products you are using to clean the records?
It's not coincidental that threads involving mistracking and sibilance have the jmw-9 as a common factor.

Time after time.

Mcfly, hello.
I would try to engage the services of a good tt setup person to help you through these issues. BTW, a lot of records just sound like crap, so it may not be your tt or setup. An experienced setup person can sort this out for you. I think that if someone is attempting vinyl for the first time, they stick with a plug and play unit like the Rega or Music Hall, where the cartridges are matched to the arm and everything comes set up.
Just went through this issue in another thread with VPI JMW-9. You need to try weighting the headshell with a 5gm nickel applied with double-sided padded tape. That will increase the inertial mass of the arm to better control the cartridge. It should flesh out mid-range and LF and smooth treble with no loss of detail.
You are in danger. Best to give up all vinyl, it will forever not measure up to digital. Just enjoy the music and give the gear a rest.
Yes, I'm seeing the trends as well in regards to VPI Tonearms. Both the noted issues of sibilance, or mistracking, and also the proponents, and naysayers of the brand.

I'm sorry I've never owned a JMW Tonearm to be of highly specific help, but if this was another brand of arm, forumites here would be making the standard recommendations, and that's about all I can do, is apply those for possible answers.

Many have been surprised by the fact that their Stylus, which was thought to be clean, really wasn't. A dry Stylus Brush does little good to properly remove baked on residues. With that said, and if you are not using a product like the White Mr Clean Magic Eraser, I suggest you search the archives here.

Others will suggest your accuracy of VTA, VTF, Azimuth.

One suspect cause I believe may be hampering many VPI owners, is the accuracy of their Cartidge Alignment Tools?
That, and the seeming confusion-debate of what the proper distances of overhang should be for these Arms? And with that said, what tools will be the best choice?

If, there can be misinterpretation with any said Alignment Tools,(Protractors)then I believe no matter ehat else one may try to alleviate sonic problems, their success may not be optimally achieved.

Many here seem to have had very good results with the MintLP Best Protractor, and I have this tool myself.

There is virtually no margin for misinterpretation with this tool. Once it is used properly, you will have no doubt that this tool has improved your sound. I've yet to read about any user who has said it hadn't.

Without knowing your alignment is spot on accurate, the paths to achieving great sound will be a guessing game that may never be resolved.

Other VPI owners will hopefully chime in, that have switched from the VPI Jig to the MintLP Tractor, and can further comment about their findings, and the differences in overhang, and zenith angle results.

When I acquired my own MintLP Tractor, I found I was off by about .5mm by other methods, and some will tell you this is a quite considerable distance to be off, if you are wishing to extract the best sonics from a Cartridge.

The MintLP Tractors are Arm specific, meaning Yip in Hong Kong makes it for your Table-Arm combo. Hope this helps. Mark
Markd51 is right on about the MintLP. I suspect no matter how close you think your cartridge-arm setup is, it's most likely not close enough to get the lowest signal-to-noise possible with the JMW 9 arm. David Garrettson I think, may be on to something too. I just got a catalogue from Mapleshade Audio, and they have developed a brass headshell weight and addtional brass counterweight to provide more mass at the headshell. While not VPI specific, it might be a good solution, but a nickel would be a whole lot cheaper.

If Dave says this is a good solution, you can take it to the bank as far as I'm concerned. I'll try it myself. Thanks Dave!

Best of luck,
Dan
I have a Scout JMW 9 Tonearm combo with a Benz Cartridge. Sadly I must say that I have heard records that tracked perfectly all the way through, not on my Scout JMW 9.

One thing I have learned from talking to other analog lovers and listening for a long time is my Benz needs the VTA setting on the JMW 9 to be very low, almost as low as it will go on my tonearm. Assuming your cartridge is aligned properly and isolated, try to get the top of the cartridge parallel with the record surface. That shoud be your starting point, not what VPI tells you about the tonearm being parallel to the record.

You may want to try MM or MI cartridges as they for the most part track a little better. I have never tried one and it might sound great, you may be suprised. Make sure that the compliance is right. The effective mass of the JMW 9 is under 8 grams. Probably a medium to higher compliance MM cart will be somewhat better. I do feel your pain. You can get it to track better, but it will most likely never be perfect, especially during crescendos.

Benz cartridges need a medium to high mass arm to sound their best as it says right in the specs. The JMW 9 is neither. That was my mistake.

I have been at it for a long time. I have the Mint.

For many, the Scout JMW 9 may be all they ever need, but if you are like me, in time you will ultimately want more performance.

The thing I don't like is if I don't want a VPI JMW 9, I feel like I am stuck. That is not a good thing. I would love to put a Fidelity Research, Hadcock, Moerch, or whatever on this table. There is just not enough room without getting into big time mods and I am not sure it is worth the effort in the end.
To follow up on Markd51's comments I use a MintLP Tractor with my Scout, JMW9 arm and Dynavector 20X L cartridge. It's a very exacting procedure and takes some time to do it right but I have not had any of the issues the OP is having. I use the twisted tonearm cable anti skate recommended by VPI plus the VTF is on the high side of the Dyn recommendation (2.2 gram). I did compare the alignment between the Mint Tractor and the VPI jig and the overhang is a couple of millimeters longer with the Mint Tractor. Zenith was close between the two but again slightly different. I can't say that alignment is the issue the OP is having but after using the devise correctly you become pretty confident that the system is dead on. But more importantly it sounds great.

Based on what you are hearing I find it hard to believe that there isn't something amiss with your system or set up, like alignment for example versus just not having the "ear" for analog. I've been digital most of my life and when I go from vinyl back to digital I can't help but get the feeling that digital (though more detailed in my system) is made up of a bunch of pieces and parts versus the flow of analog on my rather modest table. Good luck.
"jmw-9 signature tonearm"

See my thread "Kleos Sibilance" . I suspect your cartridge is not compatible with the 9 Sig. Maybe somebody can do the math for us. VPI does have headshell weights you might be able to get them to send you. As mentioned in my thread, my Shelter 501 II works pretty good with the VPI headshell weight, my Kleos wants more weight and even then is more sibilant than the Shelter. Hopefully my Sota Star/SME 309 will be here this week.

Good Luck,
Robert
PS: Would be interested if you get better results with the Mint LP.
Jose, I looked back, and didn't see any mention of what your vertical tracking force was? What is it? And how old is the Cartridge?

Generally, the Benz Cartridges are very versatile, superb trackers. I've never owned the new ones with the new micro line stylus, but I suspect Benz Micro didn't take a step backward. Mark
Joseph - I've been through this exact same scenario, same table, same problem.

Your problem is not setup related. No matter how much fussing you do with VTA, VTF, alignment, anti-skate, etc. you are not going to fix the mistracking and the sibilance.

Your problem, without any doubt, is you are hitting the limits of the tonearm and cartridge combination's tracking ability. Any form of the JMW-9 arm is going to mistrack with the vast majority of moving coil cartridges.

You can try adding weight to the headshell as Rob has mentioned, but it won't fix things. It might help a bit, but I'm guessing that you actually want to really address the problem.

The best tracking moving coil cartridge that I've found is the Audio Technica AT33PTG. When I tried this cartridge while I still had my Scoutmaster/JMW9sig it about cut the sibilance distortion that I was hearing in half.

If you want to keep your tonearm, you're definitely going to need a different cartridge, and it's probably going to need to be a moving magnet cartridge. Alternatively, take a look at the Soundsmith cartridges. They are supposed to be really good at tracking, and there is one that is special made for VPI tonearms. I haven't tried it myself, but I think you've got a really good shot at clean tracking with this cartridge:

Soundsmith/VPI Zephyr
http://www.musicdirect.com/product/89170

If you want to keep your Benz cartridge (which is a nice cart btw) and have the ability to use other moving coils without tracking error, then you need a new tonearm. The VPI tables are not particular friendly to other tonearms. You would likely need to have it drilled to use another arm, but I do believe that the older style Rega arms are pretty much plug and play. If I were getting a Rega arm however, I would want their newer 3-point mount, which would require drilling.

Switching the table/arm setup entirely is another option. I switched to the Michell Orbe with a Tecnoarm, running with the Audio Technica AT33PTG, and tracking the sibilants nice and cleanly now, even the inner grooves.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

"Soundsmith/VPI Zephyr"

Goatwuss speak wisely.

Notice the over 10 gram weight of the Zephyr. Few, if any, moving coils are that heavy. In fact, almost no other cartridge is that heavy. Unacceptable design flaw on HW's part IMHO. And something we should have been told about. As I mentioned in my Kleos Sibilance thread, I had a VPI tech tell me they like carts that are 11 grams!!

I was tempted to try the upgrade to the 10.5 arm which probably does work better with modern carts. Supposed the Classic can handle modern carts and it has a version of the 10.5.

Good luck,
Robert
>>02-06-11: Robob
Notice the over 10 gram weight of the Zephyr. Few, if any, moving coils are that heavy<<

That's baloney.

There are 8 Koetsus and 3 Dynavectors that weigh 11 grams or more.

The Zu/Denon weighs 14 grams.

I'm sure there are more.
Joseph, I have the Scoutmaster and JMW 9 Sig., and it is simply splendid. It smokes digital, good digital. What you have is either a arm-cartridge mismatch or phono preamp mismatch to the cartridge. One possibility is the table setup. This table has to be extremely level, and on a high mass stand. You need a very stable turntable stand that has a lot of mass plus spikes. The table is prone to feedback if it is on a flimsy stand. My stand is about 200 lbs. loaded with weight. I can set a marble in the center and it doesn't move at all. I can jump up and down by the table and no change in sound....a cement floor, not wood. A wood floor is another animal entirely. It is very liquid, dynamic, open, detailed, and I have had the VPI Aries, 10.5, HW19 MK IV, MKIII, MKII, Linn LP12, AR, and this is by far the best. The cartridge I use is the Audio Technica AT 150MLX, and it is a great match for the arm and table. I use MM preamp phono from Quicksilver. Don't give up on this table arm. It is a good combo. If you are in the BAY area of CA, I can help on an afternoon for a fee of some cold dark beer. Enjoy, Jallen
"That's baloney."

Glad to see you are mellowing.

"There are 8 Koetsus and 3 Dynavectors that weigh 11 grams or more.

The Zu/Denon weighs 14 grams."

I sit corrected. None of those are on my wish list so I did not notice. Most of the good ones I am interested in are much lighter.

Thanks for setting me straight,
Robert
apparently I've doing been doing something wrong all these years--because once set-up properly, I've never had sibilance or tracking problems with the JMW-9 arm.
I had a JMW9 (memorial, not sig) arm a few years ago & when I changed it out to a schroder arm, away went the sibilance.
Some LP's have sibilance no matter what you do to the system.
so maybe pick up some other copies & try them out.
I am using the JMW 10.5i with a Benz Ebony LP cartridge. It was set up using the MINT protractor. I have no sibilance problems...it tracks everything I've ever put in its path. The turntable is the Supercoutmaster rim drive. I found that replacing the mini-feet with Bearpaws made a huge difference for the better.
I have a JMW 10.5i with a Benz Ebony LP installed. I used the MINT protractor in setting it up. It tracks everything I've thrown at it without difficulties. I am using a Superscoutmaster/Rim Drive and found that replacing the mini-feet with Bearpaws made a very positive improvement.
>>02-06-11: Robob
Glad to see you are mellowing.<<

Well, I'm glad to see you're learning.

Slowly.
hey guys
thanks for all the responses...yowsa.
It will take a while to digest, and yes I will investigate all the suggestions...except the ones about replacing everything...?
A few comments:
The table is level and on a heavy stand, and I have played more than a couple of albums...probably over a hundred thus far. There is a sibilant 'cast' to all, and of course, some offend more than others. Some waaaaay more. If it was only an issue with a few, I wouldn't have posted at all.
Schipo, the problem is sibilance not tics and pops (notice no mention of this in my op)...and by the way, I am almost 50, and had a turntable years ago...and I don't like mp3's :).
Dgarrettson: I do have the headshell weight you've suggested, I could not get the proper tracking force without it, which now sits at about 2g.
I do have the VTA quite low, still no luck.
I've been cleaning all (mostly new) records with the spin-clean system...the cartridge is brand new as I noted, so it is probably still pretty clean.
And as far as the phono stage, I really doubt if the Sim would be offensive...
I'm still thinking it's a break in issue, I've experienced this before. I will keep at it, and give it another 100 hours or so, and then it's off to the experts...
Audiofeil...?
I've discussed this issue not only this time around, but before with others, as to why there seems to be no clear cut answer as to why sibilance problems are noted, and have now all of a sudden seem to be commonplace with a JMW Arm.

I don't recall ever reading such in the past, and the JMW seemed always praised as a very good Arm. So what changed?

Years ago, when I was using nothing but MM Cartridges, and some fairly decent AT, and Shure Models, I never seemed to notice much in the way of artifacts, and in truth, I never had a protractor, just those miserably cheap $2 plastic Stylus Alignment Gauges. Never noticed much in the way of break in either with these. They sounded good fresh from the box, and changed little as they got some hours on them.

But enter the MC, and here's where things started to become complicated. The amassing of tools of all sorts, and the OCD setting in.

Even with my own ZYX Airy 3X fresh from the box, I experienced some sibilance on certain tracks, as one example was Tony Bennet spitting a little too much into the Mic on the tune "San Francisco".

It was my error though, erroneously thinking I could follow some other poster's recommendations of setting VTF to 1.86g right off the bat, with a fresh out of the box Airy 3 Cartridge. Increasing VTF to an even 2.0g solved that problem when the cartridge was new.

And as others here have taught me, to not ever assume what might work for others, especially as an optimum VTF setting, will then optimally work for you.

These MC's will need some break in time, and about all I can add, is analog is a medium which of course is not plug and play. Something may be assumed to be correct, such as a Stylus Force Gauge, but can be something that is overlooked, and in error. One needs to confirm accuracy of such tools, to at least know if you are setting the Cartridge at say 2.0g, that it is truly indeed 2.0g, and not some huge error, like actually being 1.5g.

That although one should trust their ears to optimum settings of VTF, one still should know accurately that they are in the ballpark range of VTF per manufacturer's given specs. I would bet many have been fooled with less than accurate set up tools.

This is just one example I cite. There can be others as well. Take VTA as another example. I too have been fooled by thinking I was at a neutral VTA, and was actually quite far from it. While not all cartridges may optimally work at neutral VTA, it should be a baseline from which to go from.
Mark
>>02-07-11: Josephwol
Audiofeil...?<<

My recommendation?

Get rid of it.

Life's too short.
The 9 inch JMW is not a good choice for MC cartridges. It simply is not good enough for this. The 10 inch JMW arm is much better in this regard. JMW 9 may be fine for MM, I am going to try this. I am planning to upgrade down the road. I just like the way the Benz sounds and it is hard to give up. I would have to think that the mistracking that is occuring cannot be good for my records

I had the JMW 9 and Scout in to have it professionally analyzed about a year ago. They could not believe how poorly the JMW 9 tracked with the MC cartridge and pretty much told me (trying to be nice about it) that the Benz was too much cartridge for the arm. They did not say that MM cartridges would not sound as good or better than MC cartridges, he just said they inherently require different things (more Mass)and different tonearm designs to sound their best. They recommended a MM cartridge for the JMW 9 on the spot. I was not willing to see the light at the time. I thought I must be doing something wrong.

I had an audiophile friend come over as he knows how to set up a table. He has a thirty year old table that tracks absolutely amazing. The sound is so solid, deep, and detailed. I am a little jeolous as I never believed a record could sound so good.

It is possible, very possible. I am now a believer.

He also told me time for a MM cartridge or a new setup.

I guess MM cartridges can be very good and are worth looking into.
You mention very little about the software side of your analog setup as opposed to the hardware. Any vinyl after 1984 is very likely digitally processed and no better than the CD. Unless you are committed to collecting from high quality 1940 - 1984 issues, I would suggest sticking to digital as you will never experience what analog was really capable of.
The 9 inch JMW is not a good choice for MC cartridges. It simply is not good enough for this. The 10 inch JMW arm is much better in this regard. JMW 9 may be fine for MM, I am going to try this. I am planning to upgrade down the road. I just like the way the Benz sounds and it is hard to give up. I would have to think that the mistracking that is occuring cannot be good for my records

I had the JMW 9 and Scout in to have it professionally analyzed about a year ago. They could not believe how poorly the JMW 9 tracked with the MC cartridge and pretty much told me (trying to be nice about it) that the Benz was too much cartridge for the arm. They did not say that MM cartridges would not sound as good or better than MC cartridges, he just said they inherently require different things (more Mass)and different tonearm designs to sound their best. They recommended a MM cartridge for the JMW 9 on the spot. I was not willing to see the light at the time. I thought I must be doing something wrong.

I had an audiophile friend come over as he knows how to set up a table. He has a thirty year old table that tracks absolutely amazing. The sound is so solid, deep, and detailed. I am a little jeolous as I never believed a record could sound so good.

It is possible, very possible. I am now a believer.

He also told me time for a MM cartridge or a new setup.

I guess MM cartridges can be very good and are worth looking into.
Sure Bill, I agree, get rid of it, go for gold, buy a TriPlanar, a Talea, an SME V, Graham Phantom, or better yet, should he buy one of the Arms-Tables you sell?

I'm running a $3450 list ZYX Airy 3X SB Cartridge on what;s considered a POS AQ PT-9 Arm, that cost me a whopping $374 on closeout from Elusive Disc, and have no issues. None at all.

Am I extracting from this Cartridge the sonics that a TriPlanar Arm could extract> I just might be very close.
No, it doesn't have VTA on the fly, should I need such?
If I do, then I think I've either gotten too anal, too involved with worry, and then maybe it's either time to yank the plug on analog, or yank the .357 and blow my brains out.

The wonderment I have, is how can an Arm, costing 5 times the price of my lowly AQ Arm exhibit such problems?

Is it a mis-understanding, and lack of knowledge to set up a Unipivot Arm?

I've noted that even in the past, that fellas like Doug D seeming to have issues with certain cartridges on the Unipivot.

Is this then a flawed design? ISn't the Shroder, Morch, and some other highly regarded arms, including the ones you sell Unipivots?

Then, may I ask, what sets these revered Arms apart from the VPI JMW?

As I would fathom an educated guess, Jim Davis at MusicDirect is probably the largest VPI Dealer in the country, probably sells more VPI Tables-Arms in one month, than the remainder of dealers do in the entire USA. How is it, that VPI, and places like Musicdirect have continued success?

No company is perfect, and perhaps the one major gripe I could find with a company like VPI, since they're relatively small, is the lack of elaborate instructions-manuals for their equipment. IMO. they probably could be better.

I would welcome-encourage some intelligent reasons why an Arm such as the Hadcock is superior?

Please don't take this as any slam, or knocking an Arm like the Hadcock. From what I've seen, although I've never sampled-heard such an Arm, it does appear to be very well made.

Note that I'm not either looking to win friends, nor make enemies with this post, and my thoughts Bill. I wish to learn, as others do. What makes the JMW Arm a totally worthless piece of hardware, can you elaborate?

I'd like to continue to use this forum as a source, and trade of information, and accurate knowledge. Mark
"I've discussed this issue not only this time around, but before with others, as to why there seems to be no clear cut answer as to why sibilance problems are noted, and have now all of a sudden seem to be commonplace with a JMW Arm.

I don't recall ever reading such in the past, and the JMW seemed always praised as a very good Arm. So what changed?"

One of the things I haven't seen mentioned is that there are more of them. The VPI's are quite popular. Probably 1st or 2nd selling brand. Secondly, more of us are trying cartridges that are not a good match for the arm.

BTW, as I mentioned in my Kleos thread, increasing the VTF will help in some cases. In my case, J. Carr is picky about the VTF on the Kleos so more force is not an option.

I would have to agree with Audiofeil and say get rid of the 9 sig. Too bad Fremer and HP, etc. are not warning folks.

Y'all be cool:-)
Calm down Mark.

Life's too short.
Life's too short to be offended by priggish gear snobs :-)
It is not that the JMW 9 is terrible. It is just not the best choice for MC cartridges. VPI's longer arms are better for them. Mark, nobody is saying you have to spend tons to get great performance, although the better arms usually do cost more. Maybe some older arms could really perform pretty well and better some of the newer designs.

I do wish I had more options armwise for the Scout. Maybe I do and just don't know it. If I did, I am sure I would have heard it by now. Maybe my next table will be able to accommodate more than one arm.

I made the mistake for the cartridge I purchased. I just wish someone at that moment would have offered me other options. I did not know and it is an expensive learning experience for me.
Save yourself time and money. Get a inexpensive Grado and see how that works. It just might surprise you. You can always sell it if that does not work.
Tzh21Y...I do not agree. I had a 9 sig on my table before I installed the 10.5i...truth be told, there is very little difference. My Benz Ebony LP worked well in that arm as well.
Well, I can say is I have had my table professionally looked at. Synopsis: We checked everything with a scope, cartridge analyzer, test record, had a friend who knows how to set up tables come over and they all said the same thing, the benz needs more mass. Maybe I am just very picky. My friends table sounds fantastic and he is the one who came over and set mine up. It sounded no different than when I used the Mint LP. The only thing that has made a little difference is azimuth ajustment and VTA, helped a little. The ebony is a $$$$.%% cartridge, maybe it has a better suspension? I Don't know. Maybe my cartridge is faulty. That would be 2 Benz's in a row with problems. Not likely.

The moving magnet is probably the way to go. I had a blue point on my table a while ago and it trounced the benz in tracking. It just did not sound like the benz.

Maybe the pivot to spindle length is off on my table. I would not know what to measure, they don't list any of these critical specs. All they say is it is a drop in for the Rega RB300, so I guess I have to guess that it is the same as the Rega.

"The moving magnet is probably the way to go."

It is not MM/MI vs MC. It is weight and compliance that are the issues. And yes, some of us are more sensitive to sibilance. I also hear presence peaks(maybe not as much as when younger) that others strain to hear.

BTW, in my thread someone mentioned LP playback more susceptible to sibilance than CD. I have found the opposite to be true. Particularly with low density/bit rate digital such as CD I hear more sibilance than a properly tracking LP system. My V15 Vmxr is not sibilant in a cheapie Project 2.1. This is not limited to music, I am watching twit.tv and since they went to a digital mixer their output is often terribly sibilant.

Y'all be cool,
Robert
About the only observations, and conclusions I can come to is this:

Analog can be a PITA when there's a problem. It can be a major hassle isolating the weak links, or where the problems are originating at? It can amount to a lot of time invested, and a lot of hair pulling.

In regards to the possibility of two Benz Cartridges in a row being bad, I'll agree, that it is highly unlikely, but the only way to ever know for sure is to run those two cartridges in another set up.

In regards to who is right, and who is wrong, that may be something none of us can clearly determine, as we are not physically present. Whether any of our influences would be a helpful factor in the set up, and alleviation of such anomalies being experienced is also an unknown?

If I have seemed to disagree with any one poster in this thread, and I'm specifically referring to mr Bill, those were truthfully not my intentions to disagree, but to offer some possible helpful tips from the relatively small experience I have, nothing more.

I don;t think anyone will disagree that a Unipivot Arm is harder to set up versus other solid mounted designs.

When something like this goes wrong, everything becomes suspect. And when all parameters, and avenues have been explored, all stones turned, and still no cigar, then I have to agree with Bill 100%, it is time to move on, and have yourself something that makes you happy. Mark


I think your 'spin-clean' may be at the root of the problem,if residual cleaning solution is staying on the record it has been indicated a problem in the past in forums. Buy a couple of records at a store that has a good vacuum cleaner and get them cleaned before you take them home. I would not discount it. I have bought a bunch of extremely clean looking records from a show vendor in 3 separate shows and every single one of them hissed. Unfortunately my vpi wasn't able to fully eleviate the problem. Or buy a new rocord and dont clean it before use with the spin clean.
Anyone else notice that vinyl posts get significantly more responses than digital. My guess is that vinylista's invest more time, money and emotion than do digital people but when you arrive the place is so much fulfilling.
Update. A friend of mine brought his Benz Glider over and set it up on my table. It tracks perfect. This is the first time I have heard this kind of performance on my Scout JMW 9. Now I know that it is not the table or arm. Maybe there is something wrong with my cartridge. It is just tracking perfectly. I cannot believe it. I just may see if I can keep it. I guess this vindicates VPI for me anyways. No sibilance or inner groove distortion at all. my friend should go into business doing this.. He could make a lot of people very happy. My table tracks very similar to his right now. I am amazed.

The area that confused me is that I had 2 benz cartridges in a row set up by the shop that did the exact same thing performance wise. The exact same troubles. Then my friend brings over this Glider and it is perfect. Go figure. I am enjoying my vinyl rig for the very first time. It took him all of a half hour. We used the Mint LP and the VPI tonearm weight.
I took of the the headshell weight and it sounds better.

One think I always noticed with my H2 is the the diamond would point towards the spindle. The cartridge body would be perpendicular with the record surface but not the diamond. I read on here somewhere that it is common and that it can be adjusted. I would adjust the azimuth with the counterweight but I could never seem to get it perfect. The Glider looks pretty straight and maybe that is one of the reasons for the poor tracking in the past.