Short accross the left channel of my turntable setup

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by anthos314, Mar 3, 2019.

  1. anthos314

    anthos314 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Dunkerque, France
    Hi everyone,

    I have a Michell Gyrodec with SME IV tonearm and Ortofon 2m Black which is connected to a Lehmann Black Cube se ii pre-amp, which in turn is connected to my Hegel Röst.
    All through the last few years I have had an imbalance problem (left channel weaker, especially when seen on Adobe Audition).
    I have tried everything: setting up and re-setting up the turntable, levelling it, then replacing elements.
    Cartridge: It was a Bronze at first, then I acquired a Black. Same problem, even slightly worse.
    Tonearm and turntable: I had a Project xperience acryl. Now I have a Gyrodec. Same problem.
    Pre and amp: I used to have an Aura Vita with integrated phono stage. Now I have the setup I listed above. Same problem.

    Believe me I have tried everything.
    Somebody on another forum hinted that it might be a short problem accross my left channel. I was not sure before this weekend, when I connected my turntable to an old AKAI AM2400 I had upstairs (40 years of age!).
    Surprise! The imbalance was gone.

    I tried again with the Lehmann + Röst: the imbalance came back.
    Therefore I very cautiously connected an mp3 player to them, to see if that was an ongoing issue that had inexplicably escaped me through the last two years. But everything was fine.

    So it seems my turntable IS able to read vinyls perfectly in the end. And that the real problem lies with its interaction with the preamp + amp. In addition, the fact that it had problems with the Aura AND my current setup (but not with the Akai) seems to indicate that modern wiring causes problems...?

    Has anyone had the same problem, and how can I solve it? Is it a grounding issue? Should I try linking my ground wire to something else than the pre-amp?

    Thank you very much for your help!
  2. anthos314

    anthos314 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Dunkerque, France
    Tonight I had another go but found out that the Akai is faulty. The imbalance problem is still there, exactly the same.
    I am now seriously thinking about getting another cart. From another brand. Too bad since I have always found the 2m Black great.
  3. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Are you sure that both sets dipswitches on the SEII are in the same position? What you’re describing sounds exactly like a phono preamp with different settings for each channel.
  4. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    SF Bay Area, USA
    Normally the first thing to do when troubleshooting this issue is to swap left and right wiring on the cartridge to determine whether the problem is the cartridge or something else, if it changes to the other channel it's the cartridge, if not it is something else. Then, if not the cartridge, move down the line to the next component and swap cables.

    The 2M Black is specified with channel balance of 1dB @ 1KHz.
  5. anthos314

    anthos314 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Dunkerque, France
    Thank you for your help everyone.
    @Agitater: I have tried with my preamp,as well as the akai, the aura vita and even the yamaha amp at a dealer's. Same problem. So I'd rule the amplification out I guess.
    @Davey: I have swapped the leads at the back of the cart many times... the weaker channel always switches sides when I switch the leads.
    So this seems to point to the cartridge. This is a difference of about 2 dB I would say. Been doing my head in for years now.
  6. GyroSE

    GyroSE Forum Resident

    Then the cart is the problem. Get a new one and maybe do an upgrade at the same time, there’s a certain synergy between Benz Micro carts, Michell decks and SME tonearms. Maybe the Benz Micro ACE would be something for you?
  7. anthos314

    anthos314 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Dunkerque, France
    Thank you very much for the advice. I have no brick-and-mortar dealer around me selling Benz Micro but I would be happy to test one. I will try and test the HanaSL in one month when I am on the West Coast.
    What is really strange about it is the fact that a 2m Bronze, a 2m Black and a 2m Red had the same problem. Slightly better with the 2m Bronze and Red, but I might have been hallucinating. Maybe I should just give up on the Ortofon 2m line and try something else.

    At least when listening to the Rega last year I had evidence that it wasn't my hearing nor my records that were at fault here.
  8. anthos314

    anthos314 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Dunkerque, France
    Hi everyone,

    Last week I had a listening session with both my 2m Black and my hifi guy's Hana SL (would have considered Benz but nobody had any in stock). With the Hana everything is dead centre.

    Not only is the imaging dead centre, but during the session, when the Black sounded dull and lifeless, the Hana opened up the sound with much better bass, tighter highs and better tracked mids.

    Turns out the problem was in the cartridges all along... I doubt it has anything to do with the Ortofon 2m line (with it being my third so far with the same problem), but my retailer suggested the cause might be the website I bought them from (anybody ever had a problem with the Hifi Phono House website? Their service is totally fine but might their stock contain a range of faulty carts?).

    Now I am one happy man.

    Thanks again for your help everyone!

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