Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

the thin end of the wedge
KryptosRSA
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Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by KryptosRSA » 24 Oct 2019 08:14

My first post on the forum so want to first to say hi to everyone! Only got into enjoying vinyl this year and it has been a great experience.

Recently I upgraded to a Rega Planar 6 with the Ania MC. I love the way it sounds with my setup but do have one question.

On some records I get distortion when there are vocals and sibilants are used. I have read a LOT online and believe this to be what is referred to as sibilance. It only happens with vocals and not any musical high sounds.

It seems to be mostly on the left channel but my hearing is left biased so that is difficult to say 100% sure. I also only notice it really when listening on headphones (Sennheiser HD Pro 280). On speakers (Sonus Faber Concertinos) I do not notice anything that detracts from the music.

What is weird is that it happens on ALL records I own of one artist (Nick Cave) and then some others but then I have many records where there is nothing (Lana del Rey, Handsome Family etc etc).

I would have put it down to bad masters/pressings if I did not read online that this is usually attributed to the cart setup itself.

I have tried adjusting the VTF and the anti-skate. I can get it reduced a little but in these records it does not go away. Currently I have VTF at 1.9 (I have tried 1.8, 1.85 and 2.00) and the anti skate around 1.5 as I read online that the Rega anti skate has to be a little lower than 1:1.

I have checked with the supplied alignment tool and the cart seems to be aligned well.

I have a Moon LP 110 v2 phono stage and the gain is set at 60 dB.

Should I continue trying to find a culprit or is this down to some pressings and the way it is? I am happy to leave well enough alone if I know there is not something faulty in my setup.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Erin1
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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by Erin1 » 24 Oct 2019 13:18

Did the dealer install the cartridge or did you install it?

Possibly, wrong alignment is the culprit, OR the diamond is not not mounted straight. Perhaps take it back to the dealer to be checked.

Alternatively, you may just be super fussy?
Elliptical stylus don't trace grooves quite as well as a finer profile diamond, and so they can sometimes depending on many factors, show up sibilants more than CD or a finer profile diamond.

Also, perhaps the loading of the cartridge is not appropriate. Try a lower impedance loading?

patient_ot
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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by patient_ot » 24 Oct 2019 16:29

Erin1 wrote:
24 Oct 2019 13:18


Alternatively, you may just be super fussy?
Elliptical stylus don't trace grooves quite as well as a finer profile diamond, and so they can sometimes depending on many factors, show up sibilants more than CD or a finer profile diamond.
Yup. Elliptical styli are kryptonite to someone that is highly sensitive to sibilance and IGD and owns a lot of hotly cut/narrow inner groove records. Many people are not so fussy. Unfortunately I am in the former camp. If you are in the latter camp, consider yourself lucky.

Bufo Bill
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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by Bufo Bill » 24 Oct 2019 21:54

Hi, I had a similar problem with my set up. I tried everything I could think of to no avail. Then I bought a stylus pressure gauge and found I had not been setting enough pressure, despite my best efforts to set up correctly.
This is a very simple attempt to answer your problem from my own limited experience, please don't be offended if it was the first thing you tried! :-)
Regards from Bill.

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by Erin1 » 25 Oct 2019 01:33

patient_ot wrote:
24 Oct 2019 16:29
Erin1 wrote:
24 Oct 2019 13:18


Alternatively, you may just be super fussy?
Elliptical stylus don't trace grooves quite as well as a finer profile diamond, and so they can sometimes depending on many factors, show up sibilants more than CD or a finer profile diamond.
Yup. Elliptical styli are kryptonite to someone that is highly sensitive to sibilance and IGD and owns a lot of hotly cut/narrow inner groove records. Many people are not so fussy. Unfortunately I am in the former camp. If you are in the latter camp, consider yourself lucky.
I've got a feeling the OP needs to get a cartridge with microline stylus.

One more suggestion is to clean the stylus with a brush after each side....
And also a liquid cleaner like AT-607

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by KryptosRSA » 26 Oct 2019 19:22

Hey thanks for the replies everyone.

So the mention of the impedance made me look.

The vendor had set my Moon on 475 ohm impedance and 0pf capacitance.

Then I checked the Rega site and the Ania asks for 100 ohm and 1000pf. So it seems that was all wrong.

I have now set it to 100 ohm and 450pf (which is the max the Moon will go to).

Will see how that goes and report back.

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by KryptosRSA » 27 Oct 2019 12:30

So here’s how it went.

I changed the settings on the phono stage and the sibilance issues have improved. Also by going to 1.9 grams VTF and messing with the anti skate I got better than it was.

But it is still there and only on the left channel and only on very selected recordings.

A recording I heard it on yesterday is clean now but Nick Cave still suffers. The weird thing is I have the song Red Right Hand on two different records. One has it as last track on the side and one as third. And both songs exhibit the same sibilance issues. But both are Mute Records pressings while other records with very clear S sounds exhibit no issues.

The only thing that remains to do is to go test the records on the Ania at the store again. But I cannot for the life of me imagine that this is not related to the pressings. Otherwise I’d have it on all records to some degree wouldn’t I?

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by Pauw » 27 Oct 2019 14:12

Are the records where you get distortion, new or have they been played on another deck?

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by KryptosRSA » 27 Oct 2019 15:43

Hmmm that’s a hard one. I had a Teac TN-300 before for a few months. As far as I can remember it also has happened on records that were brand new and that have not also been played on Teac before. But I am not 100% sure.

I do think that I heard the sound even on speakers yesterday with a brand new record but after changing the impedance and listening on headphones that record sounded fine.

Those are a lot of “I think”s I know but the whole thing is pretty random.

Just to be clear the effect I am experiencing here is only really noticeable on headphones. The effect can be described as filling the left channel with the S sound, even when the vocals are centered. Where other records with really pronounced S sounds are perfectly formed and centred.

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by Pauw » 27 Oct 2019 15:57

The idea of distortion on one channel only suggest two things too me ...damage due to a earlier cartridge being mis aligned or a record that has been played with the wrong anti-skate force. Both would not show up on the system that is causing the damage ....instead they would show up on a better aligned system and on headphones ...that is more revealing. I find that on quite a few second hand albums I acquire that this pattern is common and I believe it is due to the problem I described earlier in this post.

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by Umberto_V » 27 Oct 2019 17:08

I have a few records i got second hand that experience severe sibilance towards the inner groove. This is probably because they have been played with a poorly aligned or poor quality stylus or misaligned anti-skate. Newer records very rarely exhibit sibilance. I have a Dynavector XX2 Mk2 cartridge.

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by KryptosRSA » 27 Oct 2019 20:07

Thanks again for the replies I think I am ready to close off this investigation for now.

I just listened to a Nick Cave record that I bought yesterday. While my system is very revealing of sibilant sounds and they do seem to fill more of the stereo image than other sounds (the Ania coupled with a Naim Uniti Star which is very clear), I did not notice those gross left channel distortions of the other Nick Cave records. I am going to put this down to my old Teac having damaged some of the records. I know I played with much to heavy VTF for a while till I got a scale and started knowing what I was doing and I never paid attention to anti skate.

So, unless I get another new record that exhibits the problem, I am going to put it down to the old record player ruining some of my records.

As for the Dynavector cartridge mentioned. That really looks like a beauty. However it’s double the cost of my Ania so I would very much expect it to play better than what I have installed :)

For what it is worth I did get to fix the settings on my phono stage a bit. Let’s hope my new records stay sssssssilent....

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by patient_ot » 27 Oct 2019 22:49

When you're talking about sibilance on a specific record, it's important to be as specific as possible...

Was the record new or used?

Country of origin? Year? Label? Catalog number? Cutting engineer?

And so on.

Records aren't all cut at the same level. Some records have less space near the deadwax and are cut hot which can give some cartridges trouble. Some singers sing with natural sibilance in their voices.

Re: used records, it's true that sometimes you can get a used record where the inner grooves are damaged from a poorly tracking cartridge or worn out stylus. Nothing to do there but get another copy of the record.

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by KryptosRSA » 28 Oct 2019 10:43

That’s good info thanks.

Amazing how much one has to take into account here.

What I can say after this whole thing is that my Ania seems more sensitive to this on the left channel regardless.

BUT the more I read here the more I think this is the way it is. Yeah maybe there is something very small that can be improved if I were to manage to exchange it but I think it could just as easily get worse...

Being prone to over obsess over things like this I want to be very careful to not end going down this road too far as I know where it ends. Not enjoying the awesome system I have or getting the next and next more expensive thing and then finding fault with them.

Unless you folk think there is a good reason to return this Ania for another I think I am going to “live with it”.

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Re: Rega Ania question: Sibilance or bad pressings?

Post by Pauw » 28 Oct 2019 10:49

I think living with it is a good idea......"Being prone to over obsess over things like this " this hobby can be very hard if you do this and very expensive.....never forget....the aim should always be to enjoy the music and not too obsess too much.

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