Ortofon Red Sound Issue

I bought the Isoacoustics ZaZen isolation platform for my turntable and was evaluating the changes to the sound quality.  There was more depth and clarity, but then I realized there was a horrible sound not associated with the music.  It sounded like a metal ball bearing being scraped/rolled down a metal pipe. It is loudest and more pronounced on the lead-in to any record.  I even opened a brand new record, un-used, and it had the same sound on lead in.  As you go further in, the sound is less if not completely gone.

Is this a stylus alignment issue, or a damaged stylus?

I recently did have to fix an issue with the turntable that affected the weight settings I had set and had to re-weigh the stylus's down force.


Doesn't sound like a damaged stylus or alignment.  A damaged stylus would sound bad at all times.  The tonearm bearings maybe?  Swap the cart and see if the problem persists.


I figured it out, finally.  It was the tonearm.  I had accidentally knocked the counter weight and it nearly doubled the downforce to 2.8 from 1.8.

I remeasured the cartridge orientation. I was using a magnifier to look at the stylus as it tracked the groove.  I turned the sound down to almost all the way off and I still heard the noise.  As I got closer, I realized it was coming from the tonearm.  I measured the downforce and it was way off.  As soon as I set it back to 1.8, it was super clean.

So it was the sound of the needle digging into the grooves :(.  It was actual grinding noise that the stylus was picking up and feeding into the speakers as well.

Thanks for the suggestion. :)