I was listening to Unrest's lovely Imperial f.f.r.r. on my turntable* the other day while doing some work and I thought, man, this album holds up pretty well, but it sounds like Mark Robinson has a gigantic gap between his front teeth - the sibilance is crazy, especially on the song "Suki," which is pretty much just him saying esses over and over again. Maybe he does have a gap - I forget? But it never sounded that bad. So I took out my newer and relatively fancy Grado cartridge (hooray for the P-mount system making cartridge swaps quick and easy) and swapped in my cheap old AT92E cartridge, and all of a sudden he sounds like he just got back from getting his braces taken off.
So I may have to go down the cartridge rabbit hole. NOS P-mount cartridge impulse-purchased from that internet auction site. Spending money on stupid incremental quality increases seems like a good middle-aged way to close out this terrible year.
Side note: I have decided that I am going to go with the flow and call records "vinyls" because I am convinced that it will make me less of an old fart. I will ride this vampire energy while listening to my old-fart 90s indie-rock vinyls on my *super awesome Technics SL-M2 turntable that I bought at a Deadhead yard sale. Love that thing, at least now that I've temporarily sorted out the sibilance issue. Let's see how this time capsule obsolete cartridge sorts out my vinyls issues. I'll still fly the CD flag and choose to purchase compact discs, because it is stupid to have to spend more money to have more stupid things to worry about, but it is nice to have a good way to listen to all these dumb big vinyls that I have all around my office.