A few days ago I broke down the main system, gave everything a good clean and tighten, and then rebuilt the Fraim and the system. Everything looked good and playing some digital files from the Uniti Core through the DAC showed that it was all sounding really good, even just after switch on.
Only a couple of issues; first was that the rubber feet on my Meridian 200 had started to go gooey, so I’ve removed it from the system and now removed the gooey feet so I can remedy it with some replacements. With the Core in place, I’m not entirely sure I’ll be putting it back into the system. We’ll see…
The main issue was that vinyl replay seemed to have taken a step back a notch or two. It was good in its way, rhythmically superb still, but something had happened to slightly dull the sound, and the wonderful sense of inner detail was missing. It was good, but no longer special. So yesterday evening I spent time trying to see what might be the issue. I gave the stylus a good clean, checked that the deck was all level and the cables well dressed. I double checked the Superline position and cable dressing. I played the latest reissue of Richard & Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out The Lights. It started off well, if not quite as engaging as I remembered. But by the time I reached A Man in Need, all of a sudden there was a sort of fuzzy distortion that appeared from time to time, and as the song progressed just got worse and worse. Aaargh!
Maybe it was a big fluff ball - a quick check of the stylus and all looked fine. A look at the vinyl under a strong light and no stitching or fill issues. Oh dear, my heart sank, surely not a component failure in the electronics? A quick play of a digital file showed all was still OK. Hmmm… the Superline?? Another LP grabbed from the nearest stack, and the same fuzzy distortion every now and then. Yikes, it must be the Superline
So… tentatively I decided to do a quick check of the Superline connections and that’s when I realised that the locking RCA collars on the Rega RB1000 tonearm cable weren’t done up as tightly as I thought. I re-tightened them, this time ensuring they were done up as tightly as possible. I know that the Next Gen RCA sockets can be a bit tricky with non-Next-Gen Plugs, and so a plug with a locking collar should be tightened up as far as possible to avoid a poor contact. I put Shoot Out The Lights back on the platter and cued up. Wow! what a difference! The magic was back! And all because the locking RCA plugs weren’t done up quite tight enough on the Next-Gen sockets.
So, if you’re using a deck with RCA phono sockets together with a Superline, and you think the sound is a bit lacking, go and check how well the plugs are connecting to the contacts the sockets.