New to vinyl question

I recently added a turntable to my system, mostly so I could play old records of my father's that formed my early introduction to music. I got what I think is a pretty good turntable, a Music Hall Stealth with an Ortofun Blue cartridge. I'm playing it through my Rogue Sphinx 2, hooked up to a Mytek Brooklyn Amp through Focal Aria 926 speakers. None of this equipment is the highest end available, but it's always sounded great when streaming from my BlueSound Node 2. When i first played some records, particularly jazz and classical, I really enjoyed the sound, though in not sure I prefer it to streaming digital in all contexts. I definitely think the vinyl sounds great for acoustic instruments and vocals, particularly female vocals. But after a little time playing some old Cream and Hendrix records (in new or like-new condition), I noticed pretty significant distortion particularly in the bass. I'm wondering if this is some issue of improper setup or just an artifact of analog reproduction. The sound I'm hearing on the bass lines in particular sounds like clipping i think. But I'm not playing at high volume and it doesn’t happen when I play the same track from a streamed source at the same volume. Any ideas for what I'm heading? I'm hesitant to expand my record collection until I get the issue figured out. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. 


A new copy of Electric Ladyland is the one that’s sounding really distorted (and not just the intended distortion). But my Stevie Wonder and Graceland and various jazz records with pronounced bass sound great in comparison. The Cream records are older and sound pretty good, just maybe a bit less full in the bass than I’ve been used to in digital I think. They sound like i remember them from when i was a kid listening in my dad old system. Is it possible that I just got a bad copy of Electric Ladyland? The reviews of the version I thought i was getting are pretty good from what I can tell. But i don’t know how to tell which pressing it is, just that it’s marked 2010 Sony Legacy.

While jason_b is in fact pointing you to the root of many analog evils, i think you are simply hearing the bad quality of most pressings, especially after much use.

Sorry, but unless you spend a mint and buy all new, specialty pressings, really good digital will trounce analog every time.  Of course very few have heard really good digital since it demands paying attention to things like isolation between noisy digital components - not necessarily a big monetary expense, but an investment in understanding and time.


One great pressings any of my three tables (significantly higher end, with decades of care and improvements) sound fantastic. On 95% of my records tho, they sound like, well, i prefer to listen to Tidal through Roon, Consistently. By a lot.


Realism from a tweek who's been down the vinyl road long before it was trendy, and just in the last year brought a great old table back from the edge.




If you had complained about any record but Hendrix I would dig into set-up issues like has been suggested. But Cream and Hendrix were often distorted before ever going onto tape. Also, LPs have dynamic range issues the lower you go and the cutting engineer had to monitor that carefully when passages got really loud. If you look at a record, the wider grooves are loud passages. Dont throw all LPs out because of this. One other caveat, Before you buy new records of old recordings, ask yourself what they are mastered from. Remember Sony lost a huge number of master tapes for the whole industry in a storage fire a few years ago and a lot of new stuff is being mastered from anything they could find, which sometimes is the CD.

Lots of terrible advice here ^^^!!

Distortion in the bass is not from mistracking, and an expensive LC or Shibata or MR isn’t going to fix it. The Blue elliptical tip is fine!

And other records sound fine. A tiny bit of off-alignment won’t cause these issues, either. 

Sounds like clipping? Maybe your phono preamp really IS clipping. 

Just take care of your basics first! Proper record cleaning. Proper VTF. Proper antiskate setting.