Expert cartridge/tonearm set-up - house calls in London?

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Have just managed to get my vinyl-based hifi system up and running again after 8 years in storage. Just before setting it all up, I brought my turntable in to a well-regarded hifi retailer to get them to check it over and make sure it was all good to go.

However, after only a couple of hours of playing records, I've discovered that vinyl records with more information on them, and a short lead-out groove, consistently end up with the needle skipping/jumping. This has happened on at least three different LPs now, and, at first, I thought it was a problem with the pressings, even though I couldn't see any scratches on the record.

Then I realised that the problem always happened at roughly the same point - once the needle gets around 3/4 of the way towards the centre (measured along the record's radius). It hasn't been an issue on some records, as these tend to be double albums, with only a few tracks per side and a very long lead-out groove, hence it's taken me a little while to see what's been happening..

The arm is an SME V and cartridge is a Koetsu Urushi, mounted on a Pink Triangle PT TOO that has been given a Funk Firm Anniversary upgrade.

Since I started listening again, I have also wondered if the L-R balance I'm experiencing (generally biased towards RH side, so I tend to have to tweak the balance to the left to get the soundstage centred) could be due to incorrect cartridge set-up?

Rather than packaging everything up again and transporting to a dealer, I would much prefer to have someone who knows what they're doing and has the correct tools come to see if they can sort out the arm/cartridge..

Do such people exist? Where do I find someone who can help? Am based in Hackney, North London..



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Hi J

I think I know what your problem may be, are you using a spacer between your Koetsu and SME if not ,then I think you will find that the tapered arm tube is

rubbing on the edge of the record once the arm has reached two thirds of the way across the record . the Koetsu body is not deep enough on its own to get

the correct VTA on a PT with a SME V


try raising the height of the arm a little

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But if you need to keep the arm parallel with the playing surface, a packer between the cart and headshell may be required.

I could maybe come over to assist.

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Whereabouts in London are you, are you within Zone 1-3? I could come over to have a look if I don't have to go out of zone. Do you have a tracking force gauge? It probably is the arm rubbing the platter but it may also be the tracking force and anti skate are a bit messed up. I assume you are happy with the setting of the head shell and the SME IV is aligned correctly. I assume the deck is actually level. Do you have a spirit level?

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