Static electricity is a big problem when the humidity is low. I'm having this problem right now when removing the lp from the platter it makes a big pop.
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If your digital sounds ok, then you can probably rule out the speakers and integrated amp as having any issue, and it’s difficult to imagine that your phono stage was somehow damaged by this incident.
That leaves your phono cartridge as the most likely suspect, especially because you state that the stylus sometimes sticks to the "cleaning bubble" that you use to clean it. That really shouldn’t happen. Can you tell us what cleaning product you are using?
I’d inspect the cantilever closely and check cartridge alignment from the ground up, as if it were a fresh install, and then listen to the result.
And I’m sure you don’t want to hear this, but I’d do whatever necessary to fix the "pop" made by your turntable motor. That shouldn’t happen, either.
Thanks for the reply!
The cleaning product I use to clean the stylus is ZeroDust. You lay down the stylus onto the sticky material and immediately lift it back up. Dust and dirt on the stylus sticks to the Zerodust material.
I found the problem. I first realigned the cartridge with no luck. I then discovered the nut securing the tonearm to the tonearm base was loose. It took less than 1/2 turn to tighten it, ...bam... problem solved!
I suspect the nut was already loose and the power button pop was the straw that broke the camel's back.
"You are plainly too obsessed.", says the man with 3,400 plus posts (not that there anything wrong with that)! You should be proud! Isn't obsession a prerequisite to being an audiophile? Until one has a capable rig and allows themselves the gift of nearly crying at hearing emotional and moving detail, depth, clarity and realism of analog, i.e., the air flowing over Stan Getz, saxophone reed or Ella's soft attack of the letters S and T in "At Last" (Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, Speak Love) ..... you may likely never understand the sinking feeling of loosing that analog magic at the pop of a power button!
I am not sure this has anything to do with static charge build-up. If you solder a .01uF ceramic capacitor across the switch that seems to be implicated, that will eliminate popping due to the switch. Also, as someone else said, and despite the fact that you now feel everything is OK, you may want to check your tweeters. One of them may have been damaged. How do you suppose that the "power button pop" and the loose screw are connected? I am at a loss.
I don’t know anything for sure. And I don’t want to imply the pop loosened the nut. I suspect vibrations over time caused it to loosen. I am suggesting vibrations from pop was the straw the broke the camels back. Again, I really don’t know. All I can share is that after I tightened the nut, all is normal.
No Blown tweeters, at least as I can tell. (is there a way to test them other than placing your ear up to them?).
Now you know everything I know about this.
A possible explanation would be that a ground from the tonearm was secured by the arm base mounting, and when it was loose it caused the pop you experienced when switching the motor. Once you secured the mount the ground connection was made resolving the problem. In any case glad that you found the cause and no damage was done.
The pop could damage any downstream component, but I doubt that you've such problem yet.
The value of the stock suppressing capacitor across the switch is too low for your system. The stock capacitor is .001 uF which works fine with most the systems out there. Changing it to .01 uF usually solve the pop problem.
However, if you are not handy with a soldering iron, please contact VPI to ask for a replacement board with the new value capacitor installed.
Hope that helps.