THE EQUIPMENT: Pro-Ject X2 table Sumiko Amethyst cartridge Pro-Ject Phono Box S2 phono stage Marantz PM7005 THE SITUATION: Simply put: I am experiencing a great deal of shrillness and exaggerated treble in my setup. This is surprising to me as review after review of the Amethyst describes it as warm and smooth. I'm experiencing spitty, harsh highs, most notably on hi hats, rides and sibilant vocals. I love the sound of the cartridge otherwise and it sounds totally excellent across the rest of the frequency range. But the high treble exaggeration is a real bummer. I've ruled out speaker placement/room stuff as doing an A/B with streaming audio (Qobuz, Apple Music) sounds completely correct... and my turntable is definitely much, much brighter sounding. This is across dozens of records in every genre and every quality of pressing imaginable. I seem to have everything set to Sumiko's specs... input impedance at 47k, combined capacitance (tonearm+cable+phono stage) is around 160pF (recommended:100pF-200pF), VTF at 2.2g, VTA slightly tail down. I know that this topic has been covered here and there across this forum, but I've searched high and low and tried a whole lot of solutions to no avail. So, if anybody has some advice for me here, I'd be very grateful. THINGS I HAVE TRIED: - Quadruple-checking my alignment/overhang with protractor (cartridge seems to track more or less perfectly) - Adjusting VTA (does not seem to have an effect) - Adjusting VTF (played around with 1.7g-2.3g, and though the sonic character does change, these harsh highs are always present) - Switching to low capacitance cable (initially used the Pro-Ject Connect It E, which is 130pF, now using .5 meter Blue Jeans LC-1, capacitance should be around 25pF now) - switching between the external Pro Jet phono stage and the internal phono stage in the Marantz - increasing capacitance on phono stage to 220pF all the way up to 400pF (counterintuitive, but thought it was worth a try) Thank you!