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!
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.
I wouldn't try switching LP's without turning the motor off with the Herbie's mat in place.

One thing you can do to really help out the motor and, especially, the belt life is give the platter a light spin with your finger before turning the motor on. A majority of the stress a motor undergoes is when it's trying to get that heavy platter up to speed from a dead stop.

The Goldring table is basically a Rega P2 table isn't it? If memory serves it's got the RB-250 arm on it. I would think that Goldring would make sure the VTA is correct with the Elektra. Interestingly enough - that's the same cartridge that was on my first "better" turntable, a Music Hall MMF-2.

Maybe some others have got the same Dylan LP's you've got and could check to see if it's in the pressing. One of the LP's that I've recently listened to that had this problem was a newer 180g pressing of an early Black Sabbath album (keep your comments to yourself please....)during a sustained very loud bass note.
Turn it off 'till you get used to handling LP's. Come to think of it, 'taint no reason to ever not turn it off. Sometime, someday, you'll either: drop the thing and have it hurled off onto the floor, or worse, on it's way down to the floor, the LP will make a detour and trash your cartridge stylus.

The other problem, IMHO & IME, is just basic record cleaning. Vinyl is often a bit overated in some areas, but the one thing in my X decades of dealing with it, is that it is a lot tougher than a lot of people give it credit for. And, to optimize it, requires a significant time investment in the cleaning procedure.

Wet wash, vac dry. And I've recently adjusted my procedures per Mikey Fremer's Tracking Angle article on cleaning.