I've owned many turntables over the years, spent far too much money on them (certainly from my wife's perspective anyway!), and 'wasted' hours and hours of my life trying to extract the best performance out of them. And of all the things which I've found make a difference the following have had the greatest impact at least from what I have found: - weight of platter: without doubt the more mass the platter has had the more consistent and neutral has been the playback. - motor torque: especially allied to a decent platter mass, this seems to have a dramatic effect on overall presentation and musical stability. - effective grounding: seems to affect many things - surface noise, tonal balance, uncoloured vocals, background hum, static build-up (loud pops, record static when removing from platter after playback). I found that running a wire from the ground point on my amp to the mains ground made a huge difference here over just running the wire from turntable ground to the amp grounding point. - turntable isolation and levelling: getting both of these right in my experience is at least as important as fine tuning cartridge alignment in terms of VTF, VTA, azimuth, etc. - clean records: dirty records renders most cartridge fine tuning as largely pointless Obviously there are many other things, especially with regards to system matching, but I would suggest that until you've got the above points right then you're never going to get the best results from whatever setup it is you're running.