Please Help With Sibilance

Please Help With Sibilance

Postby Dizastical » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:26 pm

I have a Prime with a Soundsmith Zephyr MK iii. It has about 20 hours on it right now. I have set it up according to soundsmiths recommendations as far as anti skate, VTF, VTA and azimuth go. I have realigned the cart twice with my DR. Feickert protractor using the baerwald method. My tonearm is slightly tail down with azimuth perfectly level with the lower body of the cart per Peter L's recommendation. I get a wight difference of .15 grams of force due to my digital scale height and have tried the following tracking forces all with the headshell perfectly level....
2.35 = excessive bass, overpowering midrange, slight sibilance, medium sound stage, no instrument separation.
2.25 = full bass, great midrange, Strong sibilance, medium sound stage, ok instrument separation.
2.15 = Huge overpowering deep bass, full midrange, very bad sibilance, huge soundstage way beyond speakers, amazing instrument separation, amazing detail.

I have tried all these settings with headshell level and tail down up to 1.5 turns on VTA tower. Right now I am listening to the VTF at 2.15 with slight tail down by 1 full rotation on VTA tower. This gives me the best soundstage I have ever had BUT.... The bass is way too overpowering and the sibilance Im getting is very harsh. Ive messed with anti skate, lowered VTA, rechecked alignment. I can not get this thing dialed in to save my life! Any help sorting this out would be great! I love the detail, width and depth of the sound stage so I do not want to lose that but I can not handle the sibulance and excessive amount of bass. Thanks in advance guys.
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Re: Please Help With Sibilance

Postby mreeter » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:42 pm

What have you got the cartridge loaded at? If those parameters are o.k. then it might just need some more break-in time. My original VPI Zephyr took about 50-75 hours to come about.
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Re: Please Help With Sibilance

Postby tom collins » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:23 pm

my suggestion as well, 20 hours is not nearly enough. wait at least 50 before trying to make a judgment. just keep going and trust that it will be as you want it in the end.
TNT6HR, rim drive, superplat, outer ring + center weight, 12.0 arm, base and 12.7 armwand, SDS, SRA platform; Delos, Zu, Grado ME+ carts; Musical Surroundings Nova 2, custom SUT; Cary 30i prototype EL34 integrated amp; Devore Gibbon 8 speakers; PSB sub.
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Re: Please Help With Sibilance

Postby billo » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:39 pm

My instinct would be to raise the VTA to control the bass, then experiment. Realign the cantilever so it's a barely perceptible split hair not parallel to the Feickert.
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Re: Please Help With Sibilance

Postby JimmyL » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:47 pm

billo wrote:My instinct would be to raise the VTA to control the bass, then experiment. Realign the cantilever so it's a barely perceptible split hair not parallel to the Feickert.


+1.
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Re: Please Help With Sibilance

Postby Golear » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:56 pm

I agree about break-in. When I got my SoundSmith Zephyr MIMC *, the sound was initially very bad. I didn't have sibilance but the bass was very uncontrolled and the whole thing sounded like it was underwater. My dealer assured me that the sound would improve after about 40 LPs. I kept track, and the sound only really opened up after about 120 LPs.

I'm not sure about "tail down", though. I'd set the cartridge level, and try a "nose down" position. But only after the cartridge has had a chance to break-in.

I'd also check the stylus - sometimes a piece of dirt might be wedged against the stylus. I think the SoundSmith suggests lowering, then raising the stylus onto a small piece of Blu-Tac. I have a thin piece of Blu-Tac fixed on an old LP and use the arm cueing device.
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Re: Please Help With Sibilance

Postby Orchids1 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:12 pm

I would continue to look for reasons other than that the cartridge hasn’t broken in. I’ve owned 3 different SoundSmith cartridges, each of which sounded good right out of the box. Of course, they sounded better over time, but none of them ever sounded bad. Rich
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Re: Please Help With Sibilance

Postby Dizastical » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:30 pm

billo wrote:My instinct would be to raise the VTA to control the bass, then experiment. Realign the cantilever so it's a barely perceptible split hair not parallel to the Feickert.


Can you please explain what you mean by this? ----->"Realign the cantilever so it's a barely perceptible split hair not parallel to the Feickert"

Thanks for all the help guys.
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Re: Please Help With Sibilance

Postby tom collins » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:59 pm

What cartridge did you use before? It could be a matter of a difference vs. a problem. I stand by my advice to break in. I have had many cartridges and without exception, they took time to settle in. I just bought a new tube driven phono pre. Out of the box, it sounded like dog duty. Now, at about 30 hours, it is starting to sound good but not great but with some moments of greatness. I am not going to make any judgement until 100 hours. This is one reason I try to buy used but carefully cared for gear or demos. Unfortunately, this phono pre is never for sale used. The same goes for any new piece of gear.
I have had equipment by Cary, Modwright, VPI, Berning, Arcam, Sony, Oppo, Nottingham, Rega, Benz Micro, Clearaudio, Soundsmith, Lyra, Wilson Benesch, Zu Audio, Grado and Peachtree, some in multiples, some I can't remember anymore and it has been true for every piece that was new. With cartridges, it has been true to a lesser extent for ones that I just had not used in a while and reinstalled. Try to let the process run its course.
Break-in is a tough job but you have to do it.
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Re: Please Help With Sibilance

Postby Gary1955 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:46 pm

I suggest calling Peter Lederman at Soundsmith and discuss the issue directly with him.
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