Thanks, everyone, for your helpful responses! A few direct replies:
@Mark84 I didn’t even know there was Naim-centric speaker cable, that’s crazy. And while I’m sure it won’t help me with this issue, I’m wondering (independently) if it’s really worth $500??? Any chance you could clarify how, exactly, it improves playback? (Oh, and no, I don’t get the same sibilance issue when streaming, so it’s clearly phono-related…)
@KiwiMarra Yeah, my deck is perfectly level and was set up by a renowned pro shop. I don’t think this is a cart setup issue… I think I might just be super sensitive to sibilance and the the elliptical shape of the stylus on the Ania causes a good amount, while the speakers I’m using (Dynaudio Evoke 10s) are especially unforgiving. I think I might be stuck with this until I wear out the cart?
@Richieroo Again, I think this is less of a setup issue, as I’ve been pretty careful about alignment and loading. I’m going to swap out the cable to see if it has any affect, but as I previously mentioned… I think it’s just the combination of speakers / stylus that I’m using.
@gthack I currently clean with Onzow Zerodust (the sticky pad thing) and occasionally I will use a stiff, wet brush (AM Clean Sound). It’s not just new records – it’s just on records where the mastering is especially hot and the dynamic range is poor. So the sibilance is there on the recording (I can hear it when i play digital versions), but it gets taken to unpleasant levels when.
A few records that are especially bad: Def Leppard’s “Hysteria,” Dave Matthews “Under the Table and Dreaming,” Squeeze “Argybargy” (cue joke about how those records are just bad, period. ha.)
Stuff like Jazz at the Pawnshop, Hugh Masekela’s “Hope” or anything by Steely Dan sounds as it should (fantastic fidelity).
Ultimately, again, I think I might just have to deal with it until I upgrade the whole system in a year or two…