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  • Can a phono cable cause mistracking?

    As some of you may know, I recently added the Morrow Audio PH5 phono cable and have been very pleased so far. However, a few days ago I cued up the Classic Records vinyl of Sarah McLachlan - Solice, and I discovered some serious mistracking or what I think is mistracking. For those of you who own this reissue you will know that it's very dynamic and has some serious low end. I've never before noticed anything abnormal with playback on this album, which leads me to thinking it must be the cable.

    On average I play my vinyl between -20dB/-25dB and if I really want to rock out I set it at -15dB, but never more. I've never experienced any issues with any of my vinyl at these levels. What I'm hearing can best be described as a heavy rumble or thudding when it comes to very low frequency passages. There is no skipping that I can make out nor do I visually detect any odd tracking movements. In order to play this LP without issue it needs to be dialed back to -25dB and that's just not acceptable to me.

    I'm also thinking it could be a combination of the PH5 cable and possibly that my TT needs more vibration and/or isolation control. I'm just making a stab in the dark here though.

    Hopefully I can find a solution, but that will depend on some advice or thoughts from you. I sincerely welcome your input, so let 'er rip!

    Thanks,
    Johnny
    Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

  • #2
    I use a fairly heavy Harmonic Technology cable on my unsprung VPI Aries, and I notice that the weight hanging off the tonearm RCA connectors is significant. Here's why I notice: The turntable sits on a Gingko Cloud platform, and unless the cable is dressed properly for support, the weight of the cable can actually change the leveling of the platter a bit by titling the softly-sprung Gingko Cloud platform. If you have a turntable with suspension of some kind, I can see how the level might change with heavy tonearm cabling.

    Not sure what you mean by "minus 15db"; in actual dB measurement, for comparison with others that is, how loud are you cranking things? This would give some idea of the sort of acoustical feedback situation you might have (a situation that in my case I was trying to address with the Gingko Cloud).
    Lyra Kleos SL, Dynavector XX-2MKII, VPI JMW 10.5i, VPI Aries, VPI SDS, ModWright PH-150 Reference Phono, Sony HAP-Z1ES server, McIntosh MR80, McIntosh C2300, McIntosh MC352, Vandersteen 5A, PS Audio P10, Bright Star Audio Rack of Gibraltar. Cables: Shunyata Cobra Ztron IC, PS Audio Statement AC, Synergistic Research AC, Harmonic Tech Silver Phono, Cable Research Labs Silver IC, Audioquest Gibraltar bi-wire.

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    • #3
      I doubt a change from one phono cable to another could cause a cartridge to mistrack. Does this happen only with this particular LP? If so then it is likely the LP itself. Mistracking would not be visible to the naked eye, the movements are much to small. It is possible that the cartridge isn't capable of tracking certain cuts, or the LP is defective, or that it is mechanical noise from the table (less likely if it is the only LP this occurs on). The new cable may allow more low frequency transfer which allows this to be audible.

      I've noticed that some of the McLachlan recordings have a lot of deep synth bass which could possibly cause mistracking. The LP could also be defective. You may want to double check your cartridge alignment and tracking force. You could try playing the LP on someone else's system to see if it is unique to your setup. But if the problem is unique to that LP, it's probably that LP.

      Oh, and as Goheelz mentions, insure your table is not pulled off level by the cable.

      Comment


      • #4
        Is there a significant difference in mechanical rigidity between your new and old phono cables? maybe the new cables are much more flexible/compliant allowing the table to vibrate more easily?
        Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Goheelz View Post
          I use a fairly heavy Harmonic Technology cable on my unsprung VPI Aries, and I notice that the weight hanging off the tonearm RCA connectors is significant. Here's why I notice: The turntable sits on a Gingko Cloud platform, and unless the cable is dressed properly for support, the weight of the cable can actually change the leveling of the platter a bit by titling the softly-sprung Gingko Cloud platform. If you have a turntable with suspension of some kind, I can see how the level might change with heavy tonearm cabling.

          Not sure what you mean by "minus 15db"; in actual dB measurement, for comparison with others that is, how loud are you cranking things? This would give some idea of the sort of acoustical feedback situation you might have (a situation that in my case I was trying to address with the Gingko Cloud).
          It's definitely not the weight of the cable, so I can eliminate the possibility of that being an issue. One of the previous cables I used (Valab/King) were considerably heavier.

          My IA is calibrated in MINUS dB the louder the volume is set. At -15dB it plays fairly loud, but without causing any room issues. I use this level maybe 20% of the time.
          Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Rust View Post
            I doubt a change from one phono cable to another could cause a cartridge to mistrack. Does this happen only with this particular LP? If so then it is likely the LP itself. Mistracking would not be visible to the naked eye, the movements are much to small. It is possible that the cartridge isn't capable of tracking certain cuts, or the LP is defective, or that it is mechanical noise from the table (less likely if it is the only LP this occurs on). The new cable may allow more low frequency transfer which allows this to be audible.

            I've noticed that some of the McLachlan recordings have a lot of deep synth bass which could possibly cause mistracking. The LP could also be defective. You may want to double check your cartridge alignment and tracking force. You could try playing the LP on someone else's system to see if it is unique to your setup. But if the problem is unique to that LP, it's probably that LP.

            Oh, and as Goheelz mentions, insure your table is not pulled off level by the cable.
            I haven't tried her other LP's yet, but I'm quite sure it's not the LP itself as this record has been played through various systems of varying quality and this is the first time I've experienced the issue.I think, like you suggested or thought, that the cable is allowing more low frequency signals.
            Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
              Is there a significant difference in mechanical rigidity between your new and old phono cables? maybe the new cables are much more flexible/compliant allowing the table to vibrate more easily?
              I don't know what you mean by mechanical rigidity. I haven't noticed any physical differences.
              Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post

                I haven't tried her other LP's yet, but I'm quite sure it's not the LP itself as this record has been played through various systems of varying quality and this is the first time I've experienced the issue.I think, like you suggested or thought, that the cable is allowing more low frequency signals.
                regarding frequency responses of cables, ususally the most common differences would be in the highs due to differences in capacitance. It would be very unusual for one cable to pass more lows than another relatively speaking.
                Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post

                  I don't know what you mean by mechanical rigidity. I haven't noticed any physical differences.
                  was the old cable physically stiffer?
                  Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                  Comment


                • #10
                  Johnny-How about posting a picture of your table and the tonearm cable that shows how the tonearm cable is hooked up and routed?
                  Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by mep View Post
                    Johnny-How about posting a picture of your table and the tonearm cable that shows how the tonearm cable is hooked up and routed?
                    That's gonna be tough (if not impossible) as my rack is only about a foot from the wall and I couldn't take a shot of both component connections together. I assure you though it's not the connections as I have a clean line (and securely & accurately connected) going between the TT and the IA. It's not a cable stress issue.
                    Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Does your new cable actually plug into the bottom of your arm or is is your phono cable terminated on both ends with RCA connectors.
                      Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                      Comment


                      • Johnny Vinyl
                        Johnny Vinyl commented
                        Editing a comment
                        RCA connectors on both ends. The arm wiring goes to a junction box attached to the bottom of the plinth. The phono cable is attached to it.

                    • #13
                      Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
                      As some of you may know, I recently added the Morrow Audio PH5 phono cable and have been very pleased so far. However, a few days ago I cued up the Classic Records vinyl of Sarah McLachlan - Solice, and I discovered some serious mistracking or what I think is mistracking. For those of you who own this reissue you will know that it's very dynamic and has some serious low end. I've never before noticed anything abnormal with playback on this album, which leads me to thinking it must be the cable.

                      On average I play my vinyl between -20dB/-25dB and if I really want to rock out I set it at -15dB, but never more. I've never experienced any issues with any of my vinyl at these levels. What I'm hearing can best be described as a heavy rumble or thudding when it comes to very low frequency passages. There is no skipping that I can make out nor do I visually detect any odd tracking movements. In order to play this LP without issue it needs to be dialed back to -25dB and that's just not acceptable to me.

                      I'm also thinking it could be a combination of the PH5 cable and possibly that my TT needs more vibration and/or isolation control. I'm just making a stab in the dark here though.

                      Hopefully I can find a solution, but that will depend on some advice or thoughts from you. I sincerely welcome your input, so let 'er rip!

                      Thanks,
                      Johnny
                      Could it be you are getting more bass from your system and you are getting feedback that way?

                      Did you try for the hell of it going back to your old cable?
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                      -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                        Could it be you are getting more bass from your system and you are getting feedback that way?

                        Did you try for the hell of it going back to your old cable?
                        I am indeed getting more bass, but I don't know how feedback plays into that.

                        Putting the old cables back was already in the back of my mind, so I'll be doing that today. I'm also going to give the other CR reissues of Sarah's albums a spin.
                        Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post

                          I am indeed getting more bass, but I don't know how feedback plays into that.

                          Putting the old cables back was already in the back of my mind, so I'll be doing that today. I'm also going to give the other CR reissues of Sarah's albums a spin.
                          You are now getting low frequencies that are disturbing the table.
                          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                          ________________________________________

                          -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                          -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                          -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                          Comment

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