Hey guys. Total noob here! I am having a problem with my Continental II (mono 100 selection) that I recently purchased. The unit is overall is good working order, but I've been trying to do a few tweaks to get the most out of it. I bought one of the service manuals from ebay and have been going through the setup steps on the turntable to make sure I'm tracking at the correct force, etc.
My problem is that I can't seem to find the right vertical force to efficiently play all records in the machine. If I use a stylus gauge and set the force to the correct spec (Pickering NP/AC cartridge and conical .07 mil stylus-- VTF 3-7g) The stylus seems to reluctantly enter the lead in track of the record, or not at all. Also it tends to randomly skip at certain points in a record. This problem is much worse on stereo records vs. mono records. I've even set it at the high end of the range, so I really feel like I should have adequate tracking force. Also, in general stereo records just don't seem as loud, or to sound as good as mono records--I know it's a mono machine, but I figure they should sound pretty close.
Okay, then if I just increase it to the point where it doesn't skip and stays in the groove the whole time, I know I'm way beyond the proper range. When doing that, I can tell that the platter is actually slowed down a bit by the extra resistance, and on stereo records the sound is not good. Everything works if I do it this way, but I can't imagine that's right.
The problem really got bad when I ordered a replacement stylus with a new conical tip. I could tell the old one was quite worn, so I thought that may be the source of the problem. Actually that made it much more pronounced and now when playing the stereo records at the force required to track them, there is a scratchy sound that sounds like radio static. I believe it is actually the stylus tip digging out the groove in the record! Again, if I set it in the proper specs, the stylus will skate on me, and sometimes will not catch the lead in/lead out groove.
I really don't know what to do about this, and I'm hoping someone can help me. I will point out that in my messing with this, I discovered that my unit is missing the "bias spring" that I think works as an antiskating mechanism, so I know this could be partially to blame. Also, the Pickering cartridge sits well below the position of the original cartridge, which was mostly nestled within the headshell/tonearm. This changes the angle the tonearm sits at during playback, so I don't know if that makes an inappropriate force. I also made sure the unit was perfectly leveled just to make sure that it wasn't related to that issue.
Any help would be much appreciated!