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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an old Technics turntable I've inherited, and it sounds pretty good, but not spectacular. I've heard other people's vinyl setups sound much better.


My main problem though, is high frequency distortion in loud passages. In quiet passages, highs sound pretty good, detailed, clean. But in loud passages they distort. I adjusted the weight adjustment on the tonearm all the way up (so the cartridge is heavier), and this improved things, but it's still there. I am worried about all the added pressure wearing things out, and it still doesn't fix the problem.


What is causing this?
 

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What cartridge are you using? Have you replaced it or the stylus recently? By "all the way up" do you mean to the cartridge's recommended maximum setting, or higher than that? (The latter is not a good idea.)
 

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In addition to the question, 'What cartridge?', what are you using for your phono pre? If the output of the cartridge is hot enough, and the phono pre is cheap enough.... well, you get the idea.



I had the same problem for a while, but a better quality phono pre took care of that.
 

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IOW, there are many possible explanations. We need more information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The table is a Technics SL-QD33, the cartridge is unknown, I guess the original one it came with. I just replaced the needle about a month ago. The counterweight adjustment has a range labeled 1.0-1.5, I am all the way up past 1.5 as far as it can go, which makes things significantly better than the other extreme which is unlistenable.


I am going into a Denon 5308ci which has a phono input, and in the manual says for a MM cartridge so I think I should be okay there? I suppose it could be overdriving the phonostage of the receiver, but I find this unlikely since it is only on high frequencies and bass is not clipping or distorted at all, and because I have to turn the volume up significantly on the receiver since the phono source is quiet. But I suppose it's possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Since I don't know the cartridge, I don't know its recommended setting. I was kind of thinking of ditching the table altogether and getting a real turntable, but if I can get it singing, that would be fantastic. I kind of have the feeling it's a setup issue, or I just need to get a whole new cartridge. Unfortunately there really isn't much of any adjustments on this table that I'm aware of, I need to dig up more info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There are no markings on the cartridge except what looks like a T4P or a TAP logo, and an adjustment or mounting screw of unknown purpose.
 

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Unless you want to destroy the vinyl that you're playing, make sure that the table is set up properly (you're clearly not there right now). That means perfect alignment (get a good tool - this is hands-down the best I've ever used), perfect weight ("cranking it up" is a disastrous thing to do), perfect counter-weight, and the proper VTA.


And before you start that, consider what cartridge you want to use as that's what affects the end sonic result that you'll get. The AT440MLa is widely considered the best budget cartridge in the world. It tracks better than anything else you can buy and is pretty darned exciting.
 

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It very well could be your pre. My distortion was also highs only. Remember, the actual frequency response on the record itself is decidedly non-linear. Check this out. "A record is cut with the low frequencies reduced and the high frequencies boosted, and on playback the opposite occurs. The result is a flat frequency response, but with noise such as hiss and clicks arising from the surface of the medium itself much attenuated."

It sounds like the output of your new cart is just a bit hot for the pre.

Oh, I also agree with soundlovr's comments about getting the table back to specs, before damage is done.
 

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Quote:
The counterweight adjustment has a range labeled 1.0-1.5, I am all the way up past 1.5 as far as it can go,

First things first: DO NOT DO THIS!!! Playing records above the recommended tracking weight of the cartridge is a sure vinyl-killer.


It seems pretty likely that your problem is with your cartridge, so start by getting a new one. Your table takes p-mount carts. Here's a pretty comprehensive list of options. I wouldn't spend more than $60-70 on a p-mount, and if you're unsure about how long you intend to keep this table, you might want to just get something cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, I will take my TT in to my local shop and have it looked at and setup properly, and probably replace the cartridge if that's a problem. If I'm overdriving the preamp, I'll have to replace that with an outboard one.


Good point about the RIAA curve, I hadn't considered that, and it does make sense. I kind of hope it's the cartridge though, frankly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
replaced the stylus again (the one on there was brand new, but I guess something on it was messed) and that seemed to do it. good news. Sounds pretty good. I still might consider dropping a new cartridge in there for better sound, but it sounds pretty decent as it is now.
 
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