Sorry - a couple more newbie analog questions

I did a search on this but couldn't find answers pertaining directly to my situation so here it goes...

Stupid question #1) When changing records should I turn the player off, or can I change on the fly? My paranoid half is telling me that I might be damaging the other side of the record and/or the motor. I am not using a clamp.

Stupid question #2) When a cartridge is still breaking in what ways does it sound bad? I am noticing sometimes, not always, high frequencies distort - high, loud, short piano or violin notes. Is this normal break in or do I not have the cartrdige set up properly. (Goldring Elektra/Rega RB250) The VTF is set at the top end of the suggested range, 2 grams. The cartridge is factory pre-set, when I checked the alignment with the paper thingy it looks okay. Could this distortion be a software issue, most of my lps are pretty old and I am still waiting for my disc doctor kit. The cartridge has about 20 hours on it.

Thanks in advance!
Tooter, I agree with Slate1: there are no stupid questions. I'm glad to see you asking!

Your concern about about changing records on the fly is appropriate, and I think Slate1 is spot on in his reply to you. They key factor is whether you can gently levitate the LP off the platter without the underside of the LP dragging (which would not be a good thing under any circumstances).

As to the high frequency distortion, it could be the cartridge still breaking in (the cantilever suspension material still limbering up). Or, it could be that the LP needs cleaning. Or, it could be that the VTA is set just a bit low for those LPs (my vote for most likely candidate after cleaning). Or, it could be that the LP is damaged from prior cartridge mis-tracking. All of these conditions could result in the occasional high frequency distortion you describe.
To follow on Rushton's last paragraph, it could be that some of the other set up criteria aren't spot on, i.e. asmuth and overhang. If your cartridge is properly set up you shouldn't hear much if any distortion. Brightness, lack of bass, for lack of a better word musicality, unless the problem is in the records.

I'm going to disagree with the others about removing records without stopping the TT. Forgetting the fact that this begs for an accident of some type, the mat will be sweeping the record as you pick it up and put it down which can cause static electricity, which can produce unnecessary noise. Better to take your time, relax and enjoy the music.
Thanks everyone. Actually I do have a rubbery mat, it's a Herbie's mat so maybe I should turn it off everytime. I was also concerned if turning the motor on and off every album side would be taxing it.

As for the distortion it doesn't happen on all of my records but it does happen on a good percentage of them, say 1 out of every 4. I should have mentioned that the phono preamp is also new, Creek OBH18, and doesn't exactly have a great reputation for warm upper frequency range. If the problem doesn't subside after I have some more hours on it or with cleaning I may have to focus more on the cartridge setup, although the reason I bought this table (Goldring GR1) is that it's supposed to be pretty plug-n-play. The only thing i can easily adjust is the VTF.

I'll also have to do more research about Slate1's suggestion about overloading/heardroom issues. I kind of chose the Creek 'blind'.

Thanks everyone. Keep the suggestions coming.
Records which have been played alot on mass-market turntables, with possibly mistracking cartridges, can cause this high frequency distortion to be permanently on the records.

If this practically never happens on a new LP, and only the older ones, then it is very likely damaged records causing this noise.
Twl - a lot of my records (so far) are used classical $1 "specials" I see in my local Manhattan record shops so you are likely right about the software issue although several of my new rereleased Dylan albums also distort on the high harmonica stuff. (Although I suspect this might the actual recording, not the record).

After everything settles/plays in and the lps get cleaned properly the next area for me to learn more about is how to identify the problematic LPs at the store so I don't buy them! Any tips about picking LPs? I seem to remember a thread about this ... off to the archives.