classic rock lps on VPI

I've detailed in previous posts my dislike for the sound of mediocre recorded rock lps on my VPI Scoutmaster with JMW 10.5i.

I have elicited opinions about a second tt setup with a Thorens TD160 for rock recordings and VPI for the rest. I'm not sure I want to go this way.

So, in an effort to use the VPI for both types of recordings, I've returned to seeking a mod program for the VPI that will allow for pleasant listening to both the rock and the rest of my already excellent sounding lps.

I've had some very excellent suggestions for a second tonearm wand that will be used exclusively for the rock recordings. I can get it either custom wired with Cardas wire, or the standard Discovery cable. At this point I am pointing towards the Cardas, as I've heard its warmer in the mids. I also thought the Discovery cable was a bit closed in on top on my previous JMW 9 tonearm, ie. the Cardas. Any thoughts on this?

As for cartridge, at this point I'm pointing towards either a Sumiko Blue Point Special MkIII, or Denon 103R, possibly modded with wood body. My only concern with the Denon would be low compliance. May not match up well with the 10.5i tonearm? Any suggestions here?

Finally, I've had suggestions for the Mini HR-X feet, adding a bit of spaciousness, warmth, refinement. Any feedback on these?

Thanks, Scott

I was taken with the Wally tractor and many of his tools after seeing the Fremer video as well. I orderred about $500 of equipment from him in person which he said he had in stock. Unfortunately, 3 months latter I still had no merchandise from him. Luckily, the check hadn't cleared so I cancelled it. It's a shame he's that unreliable because the tools look useful. Go with the mintLP and save some frustration. I may do the same as I'm not sure how much I trust the VPI jig. It never seems to lay flat and I wonder if bending it as Fremer suggests distorts the results somewhat. The one Wally tool I'd like to have is the analogue shop to make electronic azimuth setting easier and more accurate.
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Just another chiming in to agree w/Stiltskin's comments about the Valhalla slow burn in. Give it time.

There's no reason why classic rock LPs shouldn't sound great on your setup. Something is wrong. What about those particular LPs bothers you?

FWIW, I find many of my older rock LPs are beat up, garage sale finds. IME, the ZYX cart, w/its contact line stylus does a better job of minimizing surface noise than the Shelter cart I've previously owned. Have you tried any different carts, and found the same problem w/rock albums on all of them when played via 10.5&VPI? Also, I've heard the 103R on a JMW9 and its a decent combination; not great but decent. Cheers,

Spencer, as previously mentioned, they sound compressed. Lousy microdynamics, small soundstage, nothing like live music and/or quality recordings, they are simply lifeless and boring. There are no tonal imbalances or spotlit frequency abberations. I've heard the exact same variability in cds as well, so it really doesn't surprise me. Read the thread I posted on lp quality, some people more expert than I, have some interesting insights.

I did enjoy these lps more on a lower resolution setup (Thorens TD160, Sumiko Blue Point Special). I suspect this was because that setup sort of homogenized all my recordings, the good ones didn't sound as good as they were capable of sounding, the bad ones didn't sound as bad as they were capable of sounding. Sometimes resolution hurts!