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Vinyl Playback — Frequently Asked Questions
Troubleshooting and Maintenance
Troubleshooting
—The music comes out all distorted
—Why does inner groove distortion happen?
—Can I fix inner groove distortion by fine tuning my pickup cartridge's alignment?
—I have replaced my stylus, and now I am experiencing inner groove distortion! Help!
—There is annoying sibilance during playback. How do I fix it?
—I've had no problems at all, didn't change a thing, and now I've got sibilance or mistracking where there were none. How do I get my good sound back?
—I am experiencing static, help!
—My turntable is humming!
—I've changed the stylus and now my MM cartridge is really quiet

Maintenance
—How do I clean my stylus?
—How do I check tonearm bearings for slack?

Setup and Alignment
Things You Need
—What do I need to mount the cartridge correctly?
—Which scale is the best? How about Shure's? Ortofon's?
—Which alignment protractor should I use?
—Should I get a test LP? Which one is best?

Mounting the Cartridge
—Mounting the cartridge on the tonearm is just too hard. Is there an easier way?
—How precisely do I have to align the cartridge? Will a 0.5 mm error make a difference?
—How tight do I need to screw the cartridge to the headshell?
—How important is VTA? How precise should I set it and how?
—How do I set up the azimuth right?

Matching with a Preamplifier
—How do I set capacitive and resistive loading for a moving magnet (MM) cartridge?
—How do I set capacitive and resistive loading for a moving coil (MC) cartridge?
—Why does capacitive and resistive loading of MM cartridge matter so much?

General Knowledge
Cartridges
—What's the difference between MI and MM cartridges? Do they have different sonic signatures? Is MI better?
—Are MC (moving coil) cartridges always better than all other types?
—Is the cartridge with the lowest moving mass always better?
—How long does the stylus last? How do I know it's time to change it?
—Is it true that advanced styli last longer than simple ones?
—Do more advanced stylus shapes need better alignment? I heard that Shibata-type styli are very hard to align right.
—Do styli have expiry date? Do cartridges?

Tonearms
—Is a tonearm with many adjustments better?
—Which tonearm type is better, straight or curved?
—The tonearm should be as light as possible, right?
—Are 12" tonearms better than the 9" ones?
—Are linear tracking tonearms superior to the pivoting types?
—Do I need to match my cartridge to the tonearm effective mass?
—How do I choose a cartridge for my existing turntable?

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