Turntable sounds so much better when...

Hi i have a Pioneer pl-510-turntable and when i loosen the screw about a full turn, at the headshell/tonearm connection the sound is Amazingly better!! The Bass tighter then ever...Highs so crisp and Clear...soundstage much improved...im baffled...??!! I have a Denon DL-110 cartridge..PLEASE help me understand..Thank-you Richard
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Curious to hear (other) members' responses. I have no idea why. I actually expected the opposite.
It's all about the vibrations and resonances, and then magnifying a tiny signal. Without any other info, I assume you found a better torque setting for the materials being used in your turntable setup.  Another quarter turn and it may start getting worse. But it sounds like it was torqued too high before.  

final answer 8^0 
Thanks..and maybe it's allowing the stylus to position itself in the vinyl better!
I wont Complain it's so Great..!!
It reduces stress/pressure to slightly loosen screws. 
Is there a rubber grommet at the connection? As I recall there is, hence overtightening would remove the damping effect of this grommet.

Reminds me of my experience tightening the cartridge bolts on my headshell (traditionally one of those places where they say tighten as much as you can) and then realizing that a carbon fiber headshell deforms when over stressed - needless to say one lesson I shall not be repeating
Yes folkfreak there is a rubber grommet, I am just So amazed at the sonic difference i discovered by accident mind you...By loosening that lock nut...
Has to be by far the best Tweek i have
Ever found Bar none..I suggest everyone
Should at least Try it that has a removable headshell!! Wow..
vinylholic, are you talking about loosening the collar that fixes a removable headshell to the end of the arm wand, or are you talking about loosening the screws that hold the cartridge on the headshell, or what?  

There are two kinds of dogma's. The religious kind and scientific

kind. The later are ''caused'' by Kant with his ''absolute truth''.

However according to Popper all theories are refutable. In our

case there are two ''concepts'' which are questioned: rigidity and

energy  transfer.  I am dogmatic in the sense that I would never

use rubber ring between the headshell and the armwand while

 both sides assume a coupling between them which can't be tighten

''to mach''.

Hi Lewm..the collar between armwand and headshell is what i have loosened to
Be in Vinyl Nirvana as never before.
Thank-you nandric that makes sense...
I’m with Nandric on this one. Definitely worth trying it without the rubber ring,
Curious to read your comments on this.


There’s an aspect about vibration control (when we are talking about resonances in materials, not electrical connections) that often seems to escape universal recognition and that is just that the tighter the connecting fastener that joins two surfaces, the greater the tendency for both material parts to (vibrationally) act as one. IOW, the more rigid the structure is, the more it will tend to ring, like a bell. Rigid structures are, in our day-to-day experience anyway, good for stability and from that we tend to conclude that stable=damped. And in the lowest frequencies of motion that is demonstrably true (think of, say, the visible swaying back and forth in a tall, rickety gear rack), but in higher and higher frequencies of motion the wavelengths are very short and they do indeed begin to become more problematic for interfering with frequencies both in and above the audio band.

Backing off a fully tightened screw, as you’ve discovered, means that the two parts will now partially vibrate as two separate frequencies that are "blurred" or "smeared" together, no longer presenting a single, unified resonant frequency that would in fact be of higher amplitude than the reduced amalgam of frequencies now being spread out over a broader frequency range.

In the ongoing "isolation-vs-spiked" component/speaker debate, any attempt to make a truly rigid structure, must then make for a way to either damp or "drain away" the resulting tendency of the structure to ring at higher frequencies. We could of course make a totally rigid structure and then physically damp it by applying some absorbing material (sorbothane, blutac, dynamat, etc) to it, but (for the two-parts-joined-by-one-fastener analogy anyway), practically speaking, why bother - since it is sufficient to make a structure tight enough to be stable at lower frequencies, but also loosened just enough to be damped at higher ones. And, as you’ve discovered, tuning by ear is best.

Remember, don’t assume from that beautiful, expensive, factory-assembled amplifier you’ve seen that the manufacturer must have sonically had a good reason for making all the fasteners in it death-grip tight. They do not do that for reasons of sound quality. They do that solely for a durable product (certainly for shipping reasons) and to create in the mind of the buyer the impression of good (solid!) design. Although, I will say that, if you intend to take this idea further in the future, super-tight-fitting, CNC-machined parts with just about zero play or "slop" in their fit, even without fasteners in place, may be harder to adjust to a comfortable zone of blurred frequencies between parts than can be done with more usual tolerances. But, in any case you may come to find that there may be any number of things that manufacturers do for reasons that have in fact little to do with sound, but try not to let that throw you too much - you can never go too far wrong if you insist on asking the right questions - even if it’s true that the right questions are the ones that often have to be asked for a bit longer.


There is no such thing as ''certainty'' in our hobby so the most of

us are gullible. That is to say we believe that ''something else'' is

better than what we already own . This explains the present

prices of the MC carts (among other prices).

Addition, Skeptic A: '' one thing is for sure my friend ;nothing is for sure ''.

Skeptic B: ''Are you sure about that?''

"There is no such thing as 'certainty' in our hobby." 

No, there isn't...at least I'm pretty sure anyway.
Thank-you all gentlemen!! So Great for
You to take the time...And John..wow
I understand what you painstakingly
Wrote for me..And have come to realize
To trust my ears,and to allow that, to be
My final decision, on the music my 
System produces..and to be open
And responsive of the various factors,
Mechanical and Otherwise that gets
It there..Richard
"And have come to realize
To trust my ears,and to allow that, to be
My final decision, on the music my
System produces..and to be open
And responsive of the various factors,
Mechanical and Otherwise that gets
It there."

Here Here! That's Always the most important thing!

Had no reliable way to gauge how much you already knew on the topic per se, although I didn't want to lose others in whatever possible contribution I might be making as well, but I would never presume to try to 'define' all the boundaries of a technical subject, was more hoping to present an array of related ideas at one time for whatever anyone wanted to make of it, is all. My bad if I failed to make that clear!
No..no..John your post was awesome....
That's what i like about this forum
People genuinely care to share their
Input and knowledge..Regards Richard
@ivan_nosnibor Where Where?
Oh...no worries then. Thanks for the kind words.

I suppose I was briefly tripping over nandric’s last post thinking maybe he was referring to me specifically?? (which was ok if he was) but I take it now that he either meant it in general or had someone else in mind (and that Richard’s post at 7:04 might be echoing that). Sorry for any confusion...it’s way late for me though, I work 2nd shift so I’m turning in. Cheers to all.
Audiophile: "Doctor, it sounds good when I do this..."
Doctor: "Then keep doing it..."
This is all weird, but...Maybe with the headshell tightened you are getting mechanical vibrations that you may not know about causing distortion. Loosening the headshell may be dealing with some of those vibrations. You may receive even greater nirvana by tightening things up again, and dealing with possible mechanical noise coming from below. This of course is pure speculation.
Thanks Kenny, i will continue to dabble and learn more and more Via my Ears..

The biggest frustration by inventors is the case when their

experiments by which something new is discovered can't be

reproduced by others with the same result. However this is or

should be the usual practice. One can of course complain by

his mom who will declare those others for ''nitwits'' or ''envious

scum'' . I mention my mom deliberately because my dad always

believed the others more.

Dear @vinylholicmusic: " Please help me understand "". Well I think that no one rigth now has the true about.

@ivan_nosnibor post can be true or not at all because the relationship between the TT mat/LP surface/ stylus tip / cantilever/ cartridge body characteristics / headshell / screws-nuts to hold cartridge-headshell / tonearm collar / tonearm arm wand material and damping levels / tonearm bearing / tonearm arm board / etc, etc, is extremely complex to be sure what is happening down there to achieve the kind of sound you are talking about.

As a fact your cartridge/TT/tonearm does not """  that the tighter the connecting fastener that joins two surfaces, the greater the tendency for both material parts to (vibrationally) act as one """, it can't do it for those to many links in that overall chain.

Have I a true explanation ?, no I have not because ( between other things. ) I'm not listening to your system to figure what changes happened and if those changes in reality/true were for the better. Yes, your ears said it but those are your ears.

Try to explain your " fact " is almost imposible because that so complex vibration/resonances generated in between de whole " chain ".

You posted something realy interesting because I used in my system when the tonearm/removable headshell can't be moved of azymuth position:

"""  .and maybe it's allowing the stylus to position itself in the vinyl better! """

that could be because exist no perfect alignment between removable headshell trhough the arm collar. In theory when both are gas tigth connected the alignment is " perfect " with no azymuth deviation.
Now, the extremely critical alignment between the cartridge stylus tip and the LP grooves has to be " perfect " but this never exist in pivoted tonearms not even with LT ones.
A " minute " azymuth change makes differences for the better ( as you experienced. ) or for the worse.
As I said I used that trick in the past.

Anyway the important issue is that you are happy as never before. Good !.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Thank-you R. I have had this Turntable for years it's 1978 model..Never did i hear it Better untill 2 days ago...I am just delighted at the improvement..including absoulty No Sibblince in songs that was very present.i.e.Peter Gabriel "So" Richard
All you guys have been incredibly helpfull to me with understanding the reasoning why...And to think i was unsure of posting for fear of being rejected i guess. Thanks All.. Please at least try this if you have a removable headshell..and let us know..Richard
Sounds like when you loosen the head arm connection you are cutting it off from a direct connection of the negative, stifling, resonance that takes place in the arm itself.  The cartridge sends micro vibrations down the arm and that arm when locked tight fights how the cartridge wants to vibrate. The principle is like the old Victrolas that used to amplify the needle vibrations  into a big horn.  So.. You are decoupling the arm (to a degree) that has resonances that fight the cartridge from flowing optimally.
Sounds similar to the "not too tight" motto for the tonearm armboard nut on the Rega RB300/250, if over tightened the sound became deadened. Another thing might be the MC cartridge sending vibration back down the tonearm (I think more than an MM cart?)
You should pursue all of the previously mentioned advise items. I have a Pioneer PL-530 and am the original owner. Bought it new in the 70's. There are numerous issues that can arise with tables of this vintage, such as speed variations, tonearm return point, strobe performance, etc. I'm not sure how similar your 510 is to my 530 but there are probably many common components that each share.
One advise thing I didn't see mentioned is possible cracking of the plastic tonearm base (if the 510 is of this construction). This is very common with Pioneer tables of this vintage.
First test is to grasp the tonearm between the head shell and pivot and push and pull toward and away from the pivot. Gently. Use no great force. Notice if you feel any play at all no matter how slight. If you do then inspect the tonearm base. There are a lot of Google results on how to fix this problem. Even if you do not detect any play in the arm I would still not rule out that problem.
Best of luck.

Too much torque and like others need to trust your ears!  How many cartridges have you tried?  I like Avid turntable but they are pricey but their entry level is damn good! 
I learned early in my audiophile times (ca. 1980) to really "fix these bolts and screws", to a degree - the idea in principle - just before deforming the material (which I never quite did).
I had to unlearn that - first initiated by a systematic listening session comparing different RCA connectors. I found that the lock-collar RCAs started to sound kind of stressed in an over-NFB-like quality, and shift the tonality up, tonality was screwed up. There was a certain, very light torque the RCA collars need for optimal sound.
From then on I started to check every screw (when doing a new setup, and when in the mood to compare). Whenever I compared screw torque the position with minimal torque sounded best (for me, to my ears, in my system), specially in cartridge and tonearm fixing. My brass cartridge screws on my ET2.5 arm start to brittle up the sound at about 30 degree more torque from a setting where the cartridge just stops slipping on the headshell from enough friction.This is for me my empirical systematic experience, ie. "my experienced truth".
To grasp theoretically what is happening is that while it would be desirable to have all combined parts of an arm eg. to move as one (which would mean more fixing) screw fixings between parts potentially creates stress. Just imagine a guitar string: To have it resonate as minimal as possible (and still have it lined up) you have to release the tension almost completely until practically slack. Increasing the string tension stores more and more potential energy into a resonant element, increasing the sustain (higher Q). And screws and metal parts are highly resonant.

If whatever experiment can't be repeated by others with the same

result than such experiment should be counted as worthless.

Nandric, im not sure what your last post means! Forgive me, please elaborate.
please, Nandric ;-)
(sound of folding old knees, and downfall to earth following...)
??? Pegasus im sooo confused..are you guys joking with each other...

Many truths are actually tests of hypotheses where the scientist seeks to prove that no relationship is wrong, not that one is right. This is especially true in the social sciences. Often one convincing finding can break the paradigm.

In audio, many want to think that total harmonic distortion is a go judge of and amplifier. Since I've heard amps with low such distortion that sound awful, I reject this. Basically, it is to each his own in audio and this is greatly harmed by the internet killing off dealers. Shows help somewhat but dealers have more time to break in equipment and to treat their room.

Now basically 'trial and error' is the only way. I use 1/2" thin silver cups-11 of them placed at certain locations my room. I have had many room treatments that these Zilpexs greatly improve on. I really have never heard of an explanation of these. He tried all sorts of metals, all sorts of sizes, and all sorts of locations, until he found the best.
Absolutes are never absolute, simply conveniences.  Hi-end is subject to brainwashing and group think the same as any other facet of culture, big or small. As example, it is true that metal platters ring, but a good engineer designs a TT to channel the ring to the feet, and not smear the sound.  Good quality perspex does not magically make a clear sounding TT, the whole thing has to be designed to work with the platter of choice. there are good sounding TT with both materials; no absolutes. Check everything for yourself--surprises abound. In this case, I would agree you have de-coupled resonance. Good luck and have fun!!!
Many interesting thoughts here in the posts above.....the whole time I was reading I was thinking about the late Tom Fletcher, who many of you know was the originator of the Nottingham Analogue Studios fine line of turntables (of which I am fortunate to own one), who believed the issue of "tight" was important enough to mention in step 1 of his set up tips in the dealer manual:  "You should tighten just enough to hold in place," referring to all the "little screws, grubs and bolts when setting up a turntable." His perspective on over-tightening was that "this will raise the frequency of the turntable thereby exaggerating surface noise and making the table bright and strident." 

OP, it may very well be that your relaxing the tightness between your headshell and tonearm goes directly to this part of his commentary.....I know that it makes a noticeable difference on my TT.....took me a while to source that dealer manual, but once I did and carefully digested it, I went about re-tightening (read as "loosening" a bit) all the various screws involved and found the sound to open up quite a bit and become far more pleasing. 

Just passing along some of the knowledge I've discovered after nearly 6 years of owning this very wonderful TT although I have also noticed some challenging idiosyncrasies that are yet to be solved.....getting to know your TT is part of the joy, in my opinion, especially when you find aspects that contribute to what your ears tell you is "better" sound!  And it certainly appears that you have made such a discovery.....listen on, and bask in the beauty of what you hear!

All that said, I would also echo some of the other posters who suggest that this procedure likely affected your cartridge position/setup in a happy way......it would be interesting for you to get some really top-notch alignment tools and compare what you get with the cart in the present, desirable position to the outcome upon tightening it as it was before your "aha" moment!  Have some fun and let us know if you perform this test.
Advocating for something your Passionate about is Easy..
Getting others to see your point is sometimes Difficult! Richard Dunn
I've got a screw loose and I'm feeling great!
"I've got a screw loose and I'm feeling great!"

And you probably sound really, really good too!!!