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Distortion during playback of some vinyl

i purchased a very nice vintage Pioneer Pl-560 turntable w/ a Grado GT cartridge. During the playing of some records i hear distortion from mainly the left channel. I have adjusted all aspects of the turntable ie; leveling' azimuth, balancing the tonearm, etc. I guess what I'm trying to determine could this be due to the cartridge failing or is something else the culprit. Hoping some one can give me some insight.

Shawn

Distortion during playback of some vinyl

Reply #1
i purchased a very nice vintage Pioneer Pl-560 turntable w/ a Grado GT cartridge. During the playing of some records i hear distortion from mainly the left channel. I have adjusted all aspects of the turntable ie; leveling' azimuth, balancing the tonearm, etc. I guess what I'm trying to determine could this be due to the cartridge failing or is something else the culprit. Hoping some one can give me some insight.

It's possible that the stylus is damaged/worn on one side. If you can take a look at it with a high magnification lens, check that it looks symmetrical when viewed head-on. Since you bought this deck used, it might be a good idea to replace the stylus in any case, unless you know for sure its history. A worn/damaged stylus is the quickest way to destroy your LPs.

OK, assuming you have a stylus in good condition, then more distortion on one channel than the other is typical of incorrect azimuth (which you say you've checked) or incorrect anti-skating. If there is more distortion on the left, then the anti-skating is likely to be too high (assuming that the channels are correctly wired). Try setting the tracking force to the maximum recommended (I did a quick search but couldn't find what this is for the Grado GT), then adjust anti-skating afterwards. If there is more distortion on the right channel, increase the anti-skating; if there is more distortion on the left, decrease it. You're aiming for an equal amount of distortion (ideally none!) on both channels, when playing the middle section of an LP. You'll find that the distorion balance might shift at the outside and/or inside of the LP, depending on the way that anti-skating is implemented, so set it optimum in the middle so as to get the least imbalance across the LP.

Distortion during playback of some vinyl

Reply #2
I had a lot of channel imbalance trouble once from a new cartridge that turned out to have a twisted cantilever, pointing the tip of the stylus somewhat towards the inside groove. This is more-or-less an azimuth error but few tonearms have any azimuth adjustment. It was not possible for me to tell what was going on from the normal alignment procedure. Eventually I found it with the cartridge off the tone arm where I could look at it with a 16X lens from straight on at the front. Even then it took me a while to recognize the problem.

Re: Distortion during playback of some vinyl

Reply #3
i purchased a very nice vintage Pioneer Pl-560 turntable w/ a Grado GT cartridge. During the playing of some records i hear distortion from mainly the left channel. I have adjusted all aspects of the turntable ie; leveling' azimuth, balancing the tonearm, etc. I guess what I'm trying to determine could this be due to the cartridge failing or is something else the culprit. Hoping some one can give me some insight.

Shawn
did you manage to fix the problem i have just bought a pl560 same problem

Re: Distortion during playback of some vinyl

Reply #4
Congratulations, you just replied to someone who hasn't visited this forum since 2006.

Re: Distortion during playback of some vinyl

Reply #5
Well it saves starting a new thread about an old but reoccurring problem.
Kevin Graf :: aka Speedskater

Re: Distortion during playback of some vinyl

Reply #6
Quote
did you manage to fix the problem i have just bought a pl560 same problem

This also sounds like it could be an anti-skating problem. 
If your tonearm has an anti-skate dial the general rule can be summarised as "buzzing in the right channel indicates that more anti-skating force is required, whereas buzzing in the left channel indicates that less anti-skating force is required."

Excerpted from Audiophilia's "A Beginners Guide to Cartridge Setup"

Re: Distortion during playback of some vinyl

Reply #7
Quote
i have just bought a pl560 same problem
Or it could be the record itself, or an old degraded stylus/cartridge, or too-light or too-heavy tracking force.   Or, it could be your preamp or something else in your electronics.

First, I'd try a couple of different records.   With a reasonably-good setup the record is the weak link.

Then if it's bad with all/most records swap the left & right connections into the preamp to make sure the problem is somewhere in the turntable.

Then, if stylus force and anti-skating adjustments don't fix it you probably need a new cartridge.   

Just remember, this is old analog technology so don't expect "CD quality".  ;)   Some noise and occasional distortion is to be expected. 


 

 
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