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Vinyl Sibilance & Balance

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
What do you have to do in order to reduce (or eliminate) the distortion that occurs on sibilance like 's's, and high hats/cymbals? Is it just a dirty record or do I need to fix something on my table?

Also it seems the left channel is louder than the right, what causes that?
post #2 of 9
Swap the PHONO/RCA leads over from the TT to the Pre-Amp to see if the problem lies with the TT or the pre-amp. If the fault follows the lead swap, the the problem is at th TT end, and visa versa.
If it is with the TT, check that the azimuth adjustment of the cartridge is correct. I have had screws going loose on me over time or with seasonal temperature changes.

The sibilance problem can be due to various reasons. Is your needle reasonably new? MM or MC? MC tends to have a wider headroom, which can overload a lesser PHONO pre-amp. And if you have a pre-amp with a less than satisfactory RIAA curve, you can get HF compression problems.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply, StanleyB.

It seems it was only this particular record that the left seemed louder than the right. I've tried other records, and the balance seems normal. I guess the record was just mixed badly. On loud midrange sounds it distorts also.

On other records, the music sounds really good with no problems.

I bought this table new from amazon.com months ago, an Audio Technica AT-PL120. It's the first turn table I've ever bought, let alone used, so I don't know the technical aspects of turn tables. I do know that it has an onboard phono preamp.

I still don't know if I've set up the tracking correctly despite all the guides I've followed, snice sometimes I can set the force pretty high, then pretty low & I hear no difference at all.
post #4 of 9
so is the sibilance problem only on the one disc? Either the disc has been damaged by a pooly setup system causing sibilance (many second hand records have this problem, or no treble at all), or it was a mastering error like in the 30th anev ed of Dark Side of the Moon Vinyl
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garbz
so is the sibilance problem only on the one disc? Either the disc has been damaged by a pooly setup system causing sibilance (many second hand records have this problem, or no treble at all), or it was a mastering error like in the 30th anev ed of Dark Side of the Moon Vinyl
Oh, good. I thought I just had a faulty copy!

Thanks for clarifying, man.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garbz
so is the sibilance problem only on the one disc? Either the disc has been damaged by a pooly setup system causing sibilance (many second hand records have this problem, or no treble at all), or it was a mastering error like in the 30th anev ed of Dark Side of the Moon Vinyl
The sibilance problem seems to be throughout all records, however, on used records it is much more severe. It seems on used records the distortion is pretty bad on midrange vocals, loud passages, and cymbal crashes. On newly opened (e.g., sealed) records, there is only slight distortion in the sibilance region. These records sound fine as far as the 'curve' is concerned. So I know the table can put out some treble. Does distortion have anything to do with a tracking force too high or too low? Or what specific things cause it, keeping in mind that there is nothing wrong with the parts of the turn table?

When I bought the table, I bought that Shure gage tracking force, a carbon fiber brush, and a quart of disc doctor quick wash. I haven't even opened the disc doctor solution yet. I bought all this stuff months ago, was about to hop into vinyl, then all of a sudden I got uninterested (after about a week) & didn't even touch the turn table. Then the other day I happen to drive by the record shop, bought a couple of records, and now I'm back into vinyl. I'm just not sure I have everything configured correctly, which is my primary goal.
post #7 of 9
Many things can cause sibilance problem it seems.

I am not an expert, but here are the few instances that caused excessive distortions.
1. a wrong VTA on an arm
2. some arm,cartriges and phonostage are prone to produce more high frequency distortion than others
3. inner groove distortion. An arm can't track the inside track properly
4. a phonostage overloading a preamp ( when a stand-alone phono is used )
5. an entire system is too revealing for a poorly adjusted turntable ( a system balance is off )
6. some records are just that. Bright and have lots of distortions in treble area. Poor mastering/manufacturing
7. a record is permanently damaged ( often in used records ) by past owners using a ****** pick up. You can damage a record from using worn out cartriges and so forth. Once grooves are gone, they are pretty much shot and nothing you can do about it.
8. a gain or impedance mismatch between phonostage and a cartridge
post #8 of 9

I know it's a little late, but I had horrible sibilance on some of my records when I used my homemade vinyl cleaning solution.  It went away after using the Diskwasher D4+ cleaner.

post #9 of 9

Don't use fluids on your records. It takes the dust and makes it mud while the brush pushes it down where it matters. No fluid unless you can vacuum or rinse it off with clean water. Cleaning solutions should also not contain isopropal alcohol.

 

Distortion could be from a worn out damper in the cartridge, the record being damaged due to mistracking by previous play, too low a tracking force. More is generally better as not losing contact with a groove does less damage than rattling about. Check your antiskate on the run off grooves. A slight movement in is usually about right. VTA matter sonicall but has to be way off to cause noticable distortion. Also make sure you don't have a high output cartridge running into a gain stage made for low output moving coils.

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