Surface Noise - another question

On a scale of 1 to 10, my surface noise is about a '1' (1 is low, 10 is high). I have a TNT Jr. w/super platter and upgraded flywheel motor (VPI belts), JMW 10.0 arm, a Benz Glider (High output-not the new 'S' - about 8 years old but probably only 200 hrs on it), Cardas Phono cables, and an innersound phono stage (not set to high gain, 47k ohms, 100 micro farad capacatance setting). I use the Living Voice Carbon record mat and BDR record clamp. I am referring to basically new records, cleaned w/VPI 16.5 with Walker Audio 3 step (or Needle Dr fluid), and Milty Zero Stat. Stylus is always cleaned with either magic eraser or Needle Dr. or the Zero Dust and cartridge is recently degaussed. Rig is as perfectly leveled as possible, on a Billy Bags Pro Stand. VTF set to high side of mfg recommendation - 2.2 grams; speed dead on (VPI SDS, KAB Strobe), VTA is dialed in as all is in focus and azimuth must be pretty close to dead on as my soundstage is spot on. Here is my question - how can I get the surface noise down? (I have heard rigs with NO surface noise). Assuming records are in as perfect condition as you can get, do you think it is the cartridge that is giving me the little surface noise; phono stage? Other? (New TT?)

Appeciate the input of the vinyl gurus - I'm sure you have the answer.
turn to digital...its the medium get used to it. Or you could buy an lp laser tt and an Laser Turntable Declicker removes pops clicks from vinyl. Thats what they good luck on your quest
Only some records in near perfect condition deliver virtually no surface noise.

For most records in the real world, surface noise is part of the game. If you do not hear it on a particular rig, then either it (along with part of the actual recorded signal) is being filtered or the record is a particularly good one in particularly good condition.

Surface noise can be tricky to distinguish from other kinds of background noise that can result from the system itself. Surface noise is typically more variable from record to record and also at different locations on a particular record where as other types of system induced background noise will be heard more consistently regardless of what is playing.
I have a great digital rig. Vinyl is just...alive.
If the noise is from the phono stage then it would be audible with the volume up even when the stylus is not on an LP, so that should be easy to determine. If it's actually coming from the stylus/LP interface, then I've found that the use of Stylast before playing an LP can significantly reduce surface noise. It's a lubricant that also claims to increase stylus life (but I'd rather not get into a debate about that!) I also agree that a certain amount of noise is inherent to the process of LP playback, but stylus profile, alignment accuracy, and obviously the condition of the vinyl will all affect the level of noise experienced.
It may be the Benz Cartridge . Even though it has low hours of use , the Suspension could be dried out . This could [ would ] cause the Surface Noise to be more pronounced .

The cartridge seems to be the WEAK LINK in your system anyway . An up-grade is in order , possibly to a Low Out-Put Moving Coil .
Thanks, guys. I did suspect the cartridge. An upgrade we shall do.
Your problem is strange. I say so because I have virtualy the same set up you do. TNT 3.0 modified, superplatter, outer ring, SDS, Graham B-44, Clearaudio Stradivari, KAB etc. and on and on.
My Lp`s are DEAD QUIET, I have NO surface noise at all, they are as dead quiet as CD`s. People are amazed that they can`t hear anything when when I drop the stylus.
I suspect the cartridge/arm, that area, your "surface noise" may not be that, What you are calling surface noise may be static that is generated by the cartridge as it tracks, perhaps poor grounding, can you try another cartridge?, if the noise lessens even a bit it will point in the direction of the problem.
Do not listen to people that tell you to go to CD`s, their hearing is destroyed and they are doomed to wonder the Earth looking for garage sale Cd`s.
hate to say this, but it could be the room. In fact, it could just be dust drifting on the platter. I find that I sometimes get that problem and spend a lot of time keeping dust away from the equipment area. It looks like you have carpet and curtains (great for sound deadening) that can trap dust, and then release it when you disturb it.

Just a thougt, if everything else is working great.
Won't leave vinyl anytime. I do listen to digital but vinyl is better. I just did some tweaking and looks like my vtf was a little light. Listening now. I think better.

Surface noise is just that. It isn't static or the phono stage. I think my problem is licked with the vtf adjustment. I dialed in vta and forgot to go back and check vtf. Thanks, everyone.
Can't imagine that entire LP, both sides, can go without any pop or click. I suppose if anyone claim that LP can play as CD, it means absolutely ZERO pops, clicks etc. Even with moderate volume levels. Am I right?
If the issue is surface noise, an upgrade will accomplish nothing except decrease your funds.

If the issue is with the gear not performing well and creating noise, then fix it but be sure to isolate where the noise is coming from beforehand otherwise your efforts may be in vain.

Do not believe anybody who tells you their vinyl is as quiet as CDs. Their vinyl may be exceptionally quiet (for vinyl) but will never match CD in this regard. Anybody who says it can or does is either deluded and/or has hearing issues.
Have found that when my vinyl rig is dialed in including VTA & VTF, that the surface noise is less than when not optimized.
There are some bad pressings too. Even greatest rig can't play such vinyl without additional noise.
"Have found that when my vinyl rig is dialed in including VTA & VTF, that the surface noise is less than when not optimized."

No doubt a properly tracking stylus will produce less noise.

In this case, the noise may occur when the stylus is operating in the groove, but in this case the issue is again the setup of the gear producing more noise while tracking the groove, not surface noise inherent in the record.
Better arm and cartridge.

Both are simple average.
I have heard two vinyl rigs which were absolutely dead quiet. Definitely as quiet as cd. Both were the dps tables. Different tonearms, cartridge and phono stage but absolutely no surface noise. It is attainable.
The rigs may be dead quiet but records as a whole are not.

CDs are dead quiet pretty much all of the time.

Again good quality records in good shape may be very quiet to the extent that noise is a non-issue but these represent only a portion of records out there today as a whole.

I do not understand how anybody can deny these facts?

Also, I do not think the quantitatively measured noise levels of even the best phono rigs can match that of even average CD equivalents. I could be wrong but I think this is something that is substantiated by specifications and measurements even if too subtle to be apparent to many human ears perhaps.
Here you go. Great article about Michael Fremer's system. Costs $350.000 and still got some pops.
Roole: I find it completely imposible that you detect no ticks, pops or clicks of any kind. I like to ask where do you buy your vinyl from? Must be from the emperor with no clothes.
One thing that has not been mentioned here is the role the phono preamp plays in surface noise.

Many phono sections use loop negative feedback to execute the RIAA curve and control distortion. These preamps will be found to play surface noise to a much greater degree than a phono section that runs zero feedback.

This is due to a ringing phenomena that can occur in the electronics. It can cause the ticks and pops to be several times their actual duration on the LP surface.

If the phono section is zero feedback with passive EQ, the surface noise can be kept so low that one can easily be fooled into thinking there is no surface artifact at all!

There is also the phenomena of cartridge loading. With low output moving coils, the ringing artifacts of the undamped coils of the cartridge occur at ultrasonic frequencies. In addition, the cable capacitance can interact with the inductance of the cartridge to form a tuned radio-frequency circuit. The result is very much like RF being injected into the front end of the preamp!

This can result in a variety of behaviors, depending on the stability of the preamp. An unstable preamp will have excessive high frequency artifact; this can be tamed by the exactly correct cartridge loading resistor that damps the ultrasonic ringing. This is why cartridge loading is so critical with some preamps.

Now its a simple fact that feedback in electronics is a **destabilizing** feature of design. Conversely zero feedback designs are inherently stable. So if you have a zero feedback phono section, likely you will find that the loading of the cartridge is not critical, although it may affect overall noise.

It is the loading aspect when dealing with a phono section with feedback that can explain why one system is quiet while another of the same components is not.

If done correctly, the LP can seem to be every bit (no pun intended) as quiet as digital :)
Schipo, I wrote "I can't imagine LP without any pop or click"...
Roole my mistake. I should have directed my statement to Lwerner...
Another thing that may emphasize surface noise is a piece of equipment that has a 3db peak,at or near the surface noise.A cartridge,speaker,amp,or other gear are +/-3db quite often.A system that has very little noise might have a -3db dip in the noise area of the frequency response.
Hifihvn, great piece of info. I never thought about that. I have found that the cartridge makes the most difference in quiet for me. I recently got a higher output cartridge, that is better shielded, and man, everything has gotten MUCH quieter.
Thanks, Ralph. That was exactly what I was looking for.
Cerrot, have you tried load resistances that are much lower than the 47K you are using? And have you tried various load capacitance settings?

Along the lines of Ralph's excellent post, those values will directly affect both the frequency and the amplitude of the ultrasonic resonant peak he referred to.

It's hard to be more specific or quantitative without knowing the inductance of the cartridge, but after plugging various values into the calculators at the Hagerman site I wouldn't be surprised if something in the area of 10K to 20K, and the minimum possible capacitance setting, proved helpful.

On another note, I want to say that it seems to me that a lot of the reason that opinions diverge on the objectionability of lp tics, pops, and surface noise is probably that people are listening to different kinds of music. Assuming equal pressing quality, those noises will obviously be much more noticeable and objectionable on a well recorded classical symphony, with wide dynamic range, than on a dynamically compressed rock recording having a dynamic range of just a few db.

-- Al
Al, thanks. I will play with the settings. Thanks.
The only records that are completely quiet are those I bought in high school and played once to record to cassette. Put in archival sleeves and then they were then misplaced for 15+ years, recently found last year.
What a difference 2/10th's of a gram makes! I set vtf at 2.0 instead of 2.2 and surface noise is absolutely gone. (not talking ticks & pops but the sound of the record surface passing under the stylus). Having an incredible time playing records. Just played my 1983 Linda ondstadt "Whats New" and it was dead quiet (with the exception of a tick or two).

Thanks, everyone. Appreciate all of your input.
The only time I hear surface noise is if a record is scratched, or isn't clean, or if the stylus needs replacing (a good indicator if you're in need of a re-tip).

Other than those there's no surface noise at all - records are completely silent (err.. apart form the music.. ahem!).
My rig with the new Soundsmith cartridge is pretty near dead quiet as well. Thank you Michael Fremer for the suggestion several months back.