When I play a record, the left channel is much louder than the right channel? How can I test the cartridge to see if it is the source of the level imbalance?
Remove the wires from the rear of the phono cartridge and exchange the wires as follows:
Move L wire to R terminal
Move LG wire to RG terminal
Move R wire to L terminal
Move RG wire to LG terminal.
If the output level imbalance is within the cartridge body, it will move to the other channel with this test. In that case, replacing the cartridge body is required.
If the output level imbalance remains in the same channel, the problem is NOT in the cartridge but in the signal chain AFTER the cartridge output.
The output level specification for many cartridges is plus/minus 2 dB. Meaning the output level of the Right channel can be 2 dB less or 2 dB greater than the Left channel and still meet factory specifications.
Mechanical adjustments, such as alignment, anti-skate, tracking weight, have minimal effect on output level.