Strangest Phono Sound I Ever Heard

First of all, Happy TG.  Yesterday, the strangest thing happened with my TT.  I have a Basis 2001 with a Transfiguration Orpheus, running to a Linn Linto.  I've had this setup for well over 7 years without any problems, although I did change the cart once.  So the other day I put on a record and I get this strange sound in the right speaker, almost like mistracking and it started happening consistently.  I checked all the connections and they were noiseless.  I even changed the input on my integrated amp, which works perfectly with my digital.  So I figure maybe the cartridge is messed up so I change the cartridge and when I am doing the alignment, I notice an excessive amount of anti-skate, even though I have it set to minimum.  So I take the counterweight off the anti-skate and it seems better.  I install the new cart and It is making the same mistracking sound in the right channel. Plus, I am getting a sound that sounds like a motorcycle speeding up and slowing down in the right speaker.  It is definitely not a 60-cycle hum.  It sounds like a recording of a motorcycle varying in speed.  I shook all the connections and nothing was loose.  The weirdest thing I've ever heard out of an audio system.  Any ideas?  Again, have a good holiday.  


Check the tonearm leads where they pass near the pivot. You may have drag there. Also check that the arm wand is not fouling the cue device.

Sounds like some kind of oscillation.  Have you tried what happens if you switch left and right input of the Linto? Is the oscillation in the left speaker if you do this? If that's the case  I would first check the power supply of the Linn Linto.

As the digital source works fine with the rest of your system I would bet that the problem must be found in the phono stage. If something is wrong with the anti-skating it could actually amplify some problem that was already latent in the phono stage but hasn't shown up before.


@apogeum - Good catch.  I reversed the tt leads and the same sound stayed right.  So it has to be the Linto I think. As for the anti-skate, I checked the tonearm leads and the cue and I didn't see anything.  I ordered a cheap $129 Pro-Ject MM/MC phono stage from Amazon just to totally eliminate the Linto while I see if it can be repaired or it's not worth it.  It's a very decent phono stage on the used market. 

I agree about the phono pre and motorboating. Haven't heard that term in many years, but it fits the description. Hope you get it repaired since you like the result's when things are right.

You might try this. BASIS is a top tier company founded and run but one of the best engineers in the business. Why don't you try contacting them and lay your issue out to them in full. 

If nothing else, they may have a suggestion that will help set you in the right direction to discover and cure the problem, or they may possibly know the source of the ailment.

I think I'd start there rather talking to a bunch of totally disassociated people.

As you have eliminated the Turntable, it might be prudent to swap over the interconnects between the Linto & Integrated, just to eliminate those, also repeat the excercise into another input, if the results stay the same, then it’s almost definitely the Linto that’s at fault.





So I got the $129 Pro-ject phono stage from Amazon and everything works perfect.  I'm sure I'm the only one in the world using a $5k cartridge with a $129 phono stage.  I'm a little embarrassed to say it doesn't sound horrible at all. You should get one to keep as a spare when your 10k unit craps out and you send it out for repairs. Thank you for your sound suggestions. And @axpert - you're absolutely correct.  Basis is a top-notch company, but before I send the arm into them for a checkup I figured I'd ask if anyone here had the same problem. BTW - AJ had a very different approach to setting anti-skate if you watch his DVD.  He made some great products. 

Why worry about the tonearm? If I am following correctly, you’ve proven the problem resides with your preamp.

Sounds like you narrowed it down to the phono stage. While you are working on that, if your 2001 is the one I think it is, the silicone damping fluid in the pods can evaporate over time. This happens so slowly it is hard to notice. Check and see. Another cheap yet effective tune-up, the Origin Live belt and Cartridge Enabler. Finally, if you have an old aftermarket power cord laying around open the motor and solder it in place of the factory black rubber power cord. Any aftermarket cord will be an improvement. This was my very first turntable mod when I did it on my Basis some nearly 30 years ago.

Nice table, you can do a lot with it. These things won't cost much but will sound like they did.

Don't forget, I had the Basis. Silk thread was an improvement. How many different things did you try to come to that conclusion? And, you said difficult. Not impossible. So you must have tried something better. What was it?

You had a Basis, when did the late great AJ Conti invent that particular belt ? are you sure you had the frozen belt ?  You lather up about gear before you have actually heard it…. spare me the lecture…..