I am hearing excessive popping, crackling, or distortion through my speakers.
∙ Is this problem occurring across all your records? Damaged, dirty, or defective vinyl often leads to excessive surface noise.
∙ Are you regularly cleaning your records with a record brush? Dust and debris can quickly accumulate in record grooves. New records are not always clean! In fact, there is often a ton of debris on new vinyl. Make sure you use a record brush before you put the needle down on a new record.
∙ Make sure that there is no dust or debris on your stylus. You can learn more about cleaning your stylus here.
∙ When a cartridge is brand new, the stylus suspension can be a bit stiff. This can lead to amplified surface noise and slightly "harsh" sound. If your stylus is still new, give it 15-20 hours to fully break-in. Surface noise will usually decrease during the break-in period.