Sibilance -- that last little bit...

I have the ever so slightest bit of sibilance toward the end of some LP's.

The Lp's themselves are minty, so I know it isn't the Lp's. (more than one LP rules that out.)

Striving for that last lil touch is gonna drive me nuts!

I have a Well Tempered Classic V, and the arm is a real pain in the ass to set up. Anti skate comes to mind, but that is a real pain-- grrr. Then again more VTF comes to mind as well.

The cart is at the higher end of the recommended VTF -- 1.8 grams.

Any insight is greatly appreciated.

But in the mean time, is really does sound pretty sweet.

Thanks in advance.


A new cart is in the works--- but ya know the upgrade-itis bug.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
I'm hoping someone with more technical experience than I, like Twl or Albert Porter, chimes in, but as I recall the Well-Tempered has a "dished" platter, where the middle is slightly lower than the outer edge of the record when you apply the clamp, could that have something to do with your problem? I never noticed anything quite like you describe when I owned my old Well-Tempered, though. Also, could this be some form of inner groove distortion?
Sounds like a tricky situation; you might achieve some better setup results with the HiFi News & Record Review test record, stylus alignment protractor, Wally Tools etc. With a cantankerous arm like that you'll need better than the existing guesswork setup method.
Could it be anti-skate issues or off center spindle holes?
These issues can play havoc toward the end of an lp side.
I hear only two issues:

1. Cartridge went bad
2. Damaged pivot on the arm.

Try another cartridge to make sure that yours is OK or not.
if you've really dialed in the vta, i'd suggest you need to mess with the azimuth. rcprince also makes a very good point, tho slight sibilance produced by the "variable vta's" of less-than-level platters can be at least partially ameliorated by making sure all other variables are correctly set. plus, don't get hung up on a single lp for testing. i use a variety of music but particularly rely on more-or-less unaccompanied female voices to adjust vta and azimuth.
"I have the ever so slightest bit of sibilance toward the end of some LP's."

This sounds to me like plain old end-of-side distortion. If the cartridge is perfectly aligned then it may be inherent in the LPs. Which protractor do you use ?

Have you played any of the offending LPs on a "reference table" at a friend or dealer to see if the problem might be in the LPs. It may be worth doing this before spending much time effort and money on what might be a futile mission.
Since you did not volunteer it, let's guess. Grado?
Here's a link to another post that mentions the same problem.

I have a WT classic and don't have the issue. I used a WT protractor for cart alignment, and the a hifi news test record to set up the cartridge for azimuth and anti skate, etc. The test record was very good for the anti skate. Another A-gon member (red) posted a good method for setting up the azimuth due to the dished platter. hook up a tape player or cd burner (anything with a left/right channel sound meter) and use the 300hz track to adjust the azimuth until both channels are equal levels. Its surprising how the cartridge appears to lean right, but both channels on the sound meter have the same output.

Let us know how it works out.
Gibson 58, I have to question this method of setting azimuth. If the cartridge output is not perfectly matched, channel to channel, you will be correcting the wrong thing. Maybe that's why you are leaning to the right. Try just doing it by placing a toothpick on the headshell, or placing a small mirror on the platter itself.
Try examining the needle, head on, with a magnifier to see if it appears perpendicular to the cartridge base and/or headshell top. If not, I believe you need to adjust azimuth until the needle is perpendicular to the record/platter surface. Adjusting the cartridge base and/or headshell top in this case would not result in the proper azimuth.

I have noticed needles that are not set properly in the cantilever by up to several degrees and this can make a discernable difference in the quality of the sound. The relationship of the needle to the record in azimuth and SRA is everything.

It's possible that alignment, VTF or SRA are contributing to your problem. But if you've adjusted them without reducing end-of-side mistracing then you may simply have reached the performance limits of your equipment. Since the WT is a very well-damped arm and table, suspicion begins to fall on the cartridge.

Some cartridges are worse than others at tracing those challenging inner grooves. No amount of adjusting will overcome that. Inquiring minds want an answer to Marakanetz' very pertinent question. Of course if Viridian's guess was correct, 'nuff said! I could guess some others too.

Seantaylor99's supposition that the LP's may be to blame seems unlikely since you're hearing the problem on multiple LP's. I have LP's that give many cartridges fits, but the LP's aren't faulty - just difficult. My two most recent rigs play them all with great clarity. This clarity only arrived when I changed cartridges.
A superior way to set azimuth by measurement is to play a groove with info on one channel only, and compare the voltage output on each channel. Then play a groove with info on the other channel only and again compare voltage output on each channel. Adjust azimuth until the measured crosstalk voltage is the same on both channels. This compensates for uneven output levels in the cartridge (very likely, as Viridian states) or anywhere else in the system.

Wally's Analog Shop works in this fashion. Of course if the cartridge is truly wonky then forget measuring. Set azimuth by eye to keep the stylus vertical and buy a new cartridge.

The Cardas record has L-only and R-only test tones suitable for this method.
I think Seandtaylor99 said it best as being end of the record groove noise.
I've recently gone through this myself and questioned my setup. I worked like the dickens to get it better and aligned better and low and behold my records now sound great!! Until the last song of some lp's that is.
I took these same LP's to a friends with an HRX, JMW12.5 and Benz LP, Asthetix pre.....same noise. Yep the records sound great until INNER GROOVE DISTORTION hits!
Remedy....compact disc! All the time it takes to get things just right eats up valuble listening time.
Thanks for the great responses!

Silly me, I had the cartridge in my original post but edited it out by accident Grrr

Dynavector 10x4

I am using the Well Tempered Protractor and the Hi Fi News test record through both speakers, and headphones to do the setup. (I do notice that he null points of the paper protractor from the HFN record are different than that of the Well Tempered.)

Yes, a new cartridge is ready to burn a hole in my wallet, but I need to wait for a little while.

Well, now I really have some more food for thought on this, and am going to see what becomes of this--

I really am being anal about this, because the sibilance is verry minor, but I seem to get bit by the perfect bug alot, close relative of the upgrade bug!


I remember reading about the optimum method of settimg azimuth by measuring the voltage between channels as you describe.

I tried to measure the output voltage at the output of my table, as well as at the output of my monoblocks. With my voltmeter set @ 400Mv DC and I get nothing.

Anyone have any ideas as to what I am doing wrong ?

I took these same LP's to a friends with an HRX, JMW12.5 and Benz LP, Asthetix pre.....same noise. Yep the records sound great until INNER GROOVE DISTORTION hits!
Remedy....compact disc!
Begging to differ. The remedy is a better groove tracer than a Benz LP.

I'm unfamiliar with the 10x4 so can't say whether it can trace really tough inner grooves cleanly or not. I know a ZYX Airy 2 and above can, and that Benz's, Denons, Grados and Shelters cannot. They don't have the stylus profile for it.

I'm also unfamiliar with the WT protractor but I own the HFN record and its paper protractor. It's pretty poor stuff. If your arm is compatible with Baerwald alignment you should consider springing for a Wally Tractor or trying the poor man's version, the TurntableBasics. Either one should be superior to any paper protractor. The mirrored surface makes sighting and squaring the cantilever and squaring the azimuth of the stylus easier and more accurate.
An alternate consideration may be, that if the records evince this distortion on other rigs, perhaps the inner grooves have been damaged by previous playings.
True enough, though IME inner groove mistracing and physical groove damage sound very different.
I see where you are coming from Doug, but he describes the problem as "sibilance". Do you think that would indicate mistracking or groove damage?
Focusedfx, Does this sibilance seem to be equally strong through both channels? If it appears more in one channel, I would attack the anti-skate issue. I had a WT Classic 'arm for a couple of years and found it to be difficult to work with for anti-skate. I ended up with too much anti-skate because the other parameters were right in that setting.

The lack of a precisely determined pivot point, a suspended, partially floating paddle in damping fluid probably all contribute to small changes in geometry during play. It's a tricky 'arm, although a very satisfying one when married to the right cartridge, etc.

Could cartridge compliance vs. effective 'arm mass play a greater role in the inner grooves because of the viscous fluid being "moved" more by the rotation of the 'arm? Maybe a better cartridge compliance/effective mass match would help. Last I spoke to WT, they really liked the Sumiko cart's.

(I used the Dynavector 10X4 and Benz Glider with the WT Classic with good results. No inner groove sibilance. But...that was some time ago.)
Just an update:

I have had this table and arm setup before I had to disassemble it for a move. Same records, same system etc. Never any sibilance at all-- I do remember it took me forever to get set properly.

I guess I am just not being patient enough.

I am re-thinking what is happening here and I am betting it will be fairly straight forward, although time consuming, to get correct.

I have spent a good part of this early morning at A.J. Van den Hul's website, and have decided to concentrate on azimuth as well as sra (which means checking and re-checking everything :)) Then being prepared to do it all again and...

The only thing that makes this so difficult is that any time I make even the slightest adjustment to any part of the setup ie: Vtf or Vta or ... I have to wait for the arm to stabilize in the silicon well. I can adjust VTA on the fly, so this is one thing in my favor.

Whew, instead of making this post into a novel, I'd better get busy! I am devoting today to getting this thing as dialed in as I can.

That said, the sibilance is so minute I could just live with it --- naw!

Thanks to everyone for the great input!! it is much appreciated.

I will update soon,

Happy Listening,