ZYX UNIverse X-SB 0.24 sounding "too much"

Hello everyone.

Recently acquired UNIverse x-sb 0.24 and using it on a Naitais Lenco L75 + Ringmat Anniversary with SME3012R arm and it sounds "too much". Comparing to the XV1s (tracking at 2.10), it sounds "too much", female vocals are too much. Another way to put it is too dynamic(?). It's doesn't sound worse than the XV1s, but very very different. Currently tracking at 1.95 or there abouts. Any ideas? Adjustment, tweak issue or loading, or tracking angle?

Rest of vinyl front end is Audio Note M7 with Bent MU 1:20 Silver transformers. Universe loaded to about 110 ohms. XV1s run on open load 125 ohms.


I'm reminded that my BentAudio Mu's are the copper wired version, and that your silver ones are more transparent by all reports of those who've heard both. Take that into account in your decision.

Doug, definitely. I have the oppourtunity to try one out so I can determine if that's actually what's causing grief. If I get similar results with the ZYX pre pre, then it must be arm/table/cartridge mismatch. Right?

Thanks heaps.
That's an overly simple assumption. The sonic problem you described could be caused by many things.

There's no obvious reason to suspect an arm/cart mismatch. The UNIverse is actually quite forgiving as to tonearms. It sends less stray energy into the arm than many cartridges and your arm is of a suitable effective mass. It's possible, but I don't think it's likely.

Arm/table mismatches are rare and usually involve heavy arms messing up the springs on a suspended table, not your situation at all. High mass, unsprung tables can handle pretty much any arm that will fit.

For the female vocal problems you described I'd suspect, in no particular order:
- cartridge too new/not relaxed yet
- phono stage overload/slewing distortions (have to try another to know)
- cartridge not properly aligned with Mint or Wally protractor (no acceptable substitutes AFAIK)
- VTF not properly fine tuned (.01-.02g above the mistracking point)
- VTA not properly fine tuned (cartridge close to level or a hair tail-down)
- Antiskate not properly fine tuned (reduced to near zero)
- Resonances being excited in the platter and/or idler drive mechanism (haven't heard a Lenco, no idea what level of performance it's capable of)

We used to have problems like yours with certain passages, but as our system and setup improved those problems have been eliminated. The problem was not the cartridge. Today, no female vocalist on any LP fails to play well and cleanly, whether opera, jazz, blues, pop or whatever. But you have to work at it and everything in the system has to be right.
I agree with Doug. In our community we have a blind Audiophile, he is really good with listening, he has a lot of carts, latest was the top Clearaudio and today one of my friends installed a UNIverse in his System, he simply couldn't believe the difference to his former ones (XV-1s included), he asked to leave it in his home for loan.
Cartridge/Phonostage matching can be simple, but it can be the other way too..
Doug wrote a few Settings to check, but from my experience none is so dominant, that it transforms the Sound from wrong to great.
The UNIverse is one of the most forgiving carts, to make it sound bad, one has to work on it.
Thanks for your further input Doug and Syntax. I guess I'll continue to work at it ... I'm reminded of a saying that can be related to so many things in this world. "Good things take time." It was on a fine cheese commerical :)

Hope you all had a good Easter.