Its crap like this that turns people off records. Reality is, the correct amount of anti-skate varies tremendously across a record and from record to record for the simple fact that groove modulation is the single biggest factor in anti-skate, and its constantly changing. Fortunately the sonic effect is so inaudible no one ever notices! Anti-skate is such a nothing burger VPI has been getting away with their hokey twisted wire trick since like forever. Only every once in a while someone has it so extremely far off they get tracking problems. For this we're supposed to spend $250??!
But lots of guys without much experience look at this kind of stuff, and it all looks so necessary, and so they decide who needs a format that requires $1500 worth of stuff and a degree in engineering? Or they get a rig and then sit there all helpless begging for someone "professional" to please come set it up.
But I guess there is no money in free alignment pdf downloads, and no limit to the money some guys have to burn, so we can look forward to many more years of ever increasing uselessness from this Wally guy, whether Mike buys stock in it or not.
I partly agree with MC, in that there IS no "correct" amount of anti-skate, because the skating force is a constantly varying quantity, as the stylus traverses the LP. However, "some" amount of anti-skate is advisable, because all pivoted tonearms that are mounted such that the stylus overhangs the spindle will generate a skating force. So, if you ought to have some anti-skate, and since anti-skate cannot be adjusted during play, we all take a wild guess. Without knowing for sure, I would guess that the amount of anti-skate I use is about 10% of VTF, as Mijostyn so meticulously measured and applied. But what I do to determine the amount of AS is listen to the lead-in grooves with zero AS. This will usually generate some obvious R channel distortion. (The skating force is at or near maximum at the outermost and innermost grooves.) I then add AS little by little until the R channel settles in and sounds like the L channel. Then I light up a doobie. The idea that I would spend $250 for an AS gauge is laughable, not because I don't like expensive gadgets but because there is no such thing as "correct" AS, except, if your lucky, for brief moments across the surface of the LP.
The accepted value is 9 to 11 percent of VTF at the start of the record decreasing slightly towards the center. The biggest variable is velocity (modulation.) The higher the velocity the higher the friction. You can only shoot for an average value.
Millercarbon is prone to extremes, "varies tremendously across the record." This makes him difficult to believe. 9 to 11 % is not tremendous.
Lewm, anti skate can be adjusted to an extent during play. The geometry of many antiskating devises automatically lowers the anti skating force slightly as the arm traverses toward the center. I used the same method by listening. It takes some fiddling to get it right. This method puts you where you want to be easily while setting up the arm. Psychologically it is nice to work to a number. But whatever. The main point is that you can do exactly what the Wallyskater does without spending $250. It is a product without a market. Rube Goldberg could not have done better.
There is video, I forget where i saw it, that demonstrates when you have adequately set anti-skate. It depicts the stylus in the dead wax, run-out groove, moving towards the label slowly. If it moves to quickly, you have too little anti-skate. I just follow the instructions provided with both cartridge and turntable and set and forget it.
Audioguy, the problem with that method is, what is slowly.
Clearthinker, I agree in theory using the term tangential tracker. Every "parallel" tracker I have ever seen is compromised usually severely to the point that the best of the light pivoted tonearms sound better. However, Reed and Schroder figured out how to do it right. My next arm is going to be a Schroder LT and I will be done with anti skating forever.
My thinking exactly wolfie62. There is something satisfying about working to a number vs haphazard ways. The people who are complaining probably do not have a digital VTF gauge. There is general agreement that the anti skating force should be 10% +-1%. This certainly beats listening to a test record and a lot faster:)
I will only go so far as using my $14 azimuth/overhang protractor when I swap carts. If I am tracking at 1.5 grams, I set my AS to 1.5 grams. I know I must sound pretty barbaric to true audiophiles, but after 45 years in the hobby, I found this amount of TT futzing to be adequite.
Probably why I stream 95% of the time. I'm tired of letting my equipment OCD to get in the way of listening to the music.
I own a WallySkater tool. I am not some novice. I have been setting up turntables for over 50 years. I have attended many seminars over the years, listening to many experts in the industry talk about setup and design of their turntables and tonearms. I find the WallySkater to be a very important tool in my setup kit. There is nothing on the market that can tell you what effect tonearm bearing and internal wiring have on your tonearm’s anti-skate when it is set to zero. Every tonearm is different and all have some percentage of anti-skate. The only way to check it is with a WallySkater tool. My present arm is a Graham Phantom II, at zero setting it has a little less than 1%. I had a Jelco 750 when set to zero had 2.5%. The last VPI JMW 12 I owned had 1.5% and that was with NO twist in the wire. So as you can see without that knowledge you would already be off when setting anti-skate.
Yes everybody is right that there is no perfect setting because anti-skate decreases as you go across the record. The WallySkater allows you to know what the percentage is at the beginning, middle and end of the record and you can adjust for those differences to be more consistent across the album. You can’t judge that by ear. When setting anti-skate on your tonearm, how accurate is that dial you are turning or when you move that weight and string to a certain position. Do you really know what you are setting it at. Without a WallySkater tool you are just guessing.
Some people are happy with setting up a cartridge with a printout from a pdf file. Some set VTF with just the scale markings on the tonearm weight. Some set the Azimuth by ear and some set anti-skate by a dial or a weight or by sight. That is ok, if you are happy doing things that way good for you, enjoy the music. But if you want to optimize the performance of your turntable, get maximum life from your cartridge and put minimal wear on the record groove, invest in some good setup tools.
I have a question, would you want your mechanic to align your car’s front end with a flashlight taped to the front tire pointing at the garage door and a yardstick to measure or would you rather him use an alignment rack with lasers, precision scales and levels to do the job ? Which do you think would give the better outcome?
Isn't the aim of anti-skate to prevent the mistracking that would occur if unequal groove-wall contact was applied during highly modulated passages? Isn’t this solvable by a small increase in downforce such that the “weak side” never fell below the trackability needed to negotiate the passage? That was the opinion of Edgar Vilchur of ARXA fame. The mania for low tracking forces has passed into dimly remembered history and with it the fear that 2.5mN was going to wear out your vinyl.
Motown, once you confirm that your tone scale is accurate then absolutely use it.
Benjie, The digital stylus force gauge used in the way I described is more accurate than the WallySkater's gradations. It is a far more elegant and less expensive way to do it than a plastic contraption that costs you $250.
The stylus force gauge is a lot easier to set up also.
drrsytliff, I am not suggesting that you do not use accurate tools for set up. I am suggesting the right tools especially ones that do no stress the budget. I hate to suggest this but due to the tools you are using your cartridge stands a good chance of being out of alignment.
I would think this has to be set up once per cart type on an arm. If it is so important to the listener then pay someone to setup your tt right. If you buy a different cart pay them again. Most people pay $75 for an oil change on a typical car or $500 on a Mercedes. Most mechanical things require maintenance. Unless you have several carts I say pay for the setup and enjoy your music.
I like the directions that came with an old pal's Grace tonearm and cartridge. Look at the stylus and adjust the anti-skate until the cantilever stays straight when playing. We did this, and guess what? Some recordings, such as Sheffield D to D, require re-adjustment from lesser grooved LP's, and moreso from old mono recordings.
After Many years I finally found the proper way to set anti skate and all the rest. . I found this info from Sean @ Zu Audio from whom I bought a precision Denon 103 Art Dudley's favorite and mine. First Level the Table .Second you must buy a 33 blank record then set tracking force. Next do stylus/ groove alignment using inner and outer groove using a Shure alignment indexing tool that buts up to spindle or template that came with your arm ( inner and outer ) . This tool can also be found on the Web. On the blank record set the arm in the middle and set your anti skate it so it stays in the middle where the grooves would be while turntable is spinning. This will assure your anti skate is perfect. This will also allow you to set up Vertical tracking angle perfectly by looking at the reflection while record is stationary that you observe on the shiny blank record. When proper the reflection will show both angles as the same this is called Orthogonally correct and will look like a perfect V...
Blank Vinyl Records - 12 Inch BLACK VINYLBLANK VINYL RECORD, Gotta Groove RecordsSold by: Gottagrooverecs Bought from Amazon. So beside the index tool and Shure Tracking Force gauge this is all you will ever need to get a perfectly set up cartridge without spending a lot of money and you will be Astounded by the sound you hear. I'm 76 better late than never LOL..
Blank vinyl records are a bad way to do this. The tip of the stylus digs into the vinyl creating it's own groove. Try it and then look at the record under the light and you will see the groove! It will over estimate the amount of anti skating required.
I discovered that digital stylus gauges will not reliable measure weight horizontally even with the tare adjusted. But I have created a solution to that problem. Stay tuned. I intend on beating Wally Skater at it's own game!!
Always apply less than VTF, how much less depends from groove modulation, stylus shape, suspension, arm.
I never use a blank record or a test one-not real situations.
With Zyx 4DU on SME V i found with 2gr. VTF, 1gr. max. antiskate will do the job with no issues. I can easily re-adjust during play if wished to. Would a tool like wallyskater provide an optimal situation? I believe it would be close in minimizing the AS compromise but would not eliminate it. Though it should be one of those tools that will impress a lot some people when aligning a cartridge.
The Wallyskater will scare the heck out of most people, kill em dead when they see the price for a few pieces of plastic and some string. It does work but there are easier ways to estimate the antiskating force which should be between 9 to 11% of the VTF. If you are tracking at 2 grams the anti skating force should be around .2 grams at the stylus. The Wally Skater figures this out with a little clever trigonometry. I measure it with my digital stylus force gauge and a little trickery.
If the idea works with the digital VTF scale on its side to tell you the accurate amount of pressure then I say it is an interesting idea to see if your anti-skate system is accurate with its numbers. I’ve done some testing on Rega TT and the anti-skate was better closer to 1 than 1.7 using their magnetic Anti-Skate system. I now have the threaded line on the Acoustic Signature arm. I think in the past Fremmer has said you want a little less than more. The one thing is this would have to be tested while the tt is playing just like you test adjust speed while playing. A lot of people thinks their tt plays fast. If you test the speed without dropping the arm and playing a record you do not see what affect drag has on the speed. The same thing can be said for Anti-Skate. I say go for 9%. I think it’s funny how many people worry about getting anti-skate perfect and their tt isn’t even level. Forget about your super levels. Get yourself a good ball bearing. Gravity does not lie. Also, if you live in climates where it freezes be like Santa and check it twice a year that is. Frost heave can make your tt not level. I’m now using a Shibata stylus so it all matters. Please check your tt for level. I bought a small pack of ball bearings and gave the extras to some friends who have tt. All of their tt were not level including mine. Good luck everyone and Merry Christmas. Yes, I said Merry Christmas!
Where does the 10% rule come from? I’ve heard it too, but I don’t know where or when. Let’s keep in mind also that there is no one value of AS that is correct at all times for all recordings. Ergo the analogy to aligning the suspension of an automobile is not compelling. Close is good enough and is likely to be exactly correct at certain moments.
The 10% rule comes from the number of audiophiles who overthink even the simplest thing to the point it is complicated to incomprehensibility. Then after making something as simple as playing a record darn near impossible they wonder why more don't want to be audiophiles.
The 10% rule also applies to the amount of time spent enjoying music vs measuring and calibrating. Also 10% is the correct amount to spend on your turntable, the other 90% of course being Wallytracker calibration jigs.
@lewm , I believe the 10% figure came from a Shure study as representing the best average value. I have seen it mentioned in several places. You can probably talk to someone at Wally Tools about it. As far as I can tell it works fine. I set it at 10% and forget about it. I have watched the cantilever with a USB microscope and it does not deviate as it touches the record at three locations so it is certainly in the ballpark.
The WallySkater is another great tool to have in your analog toolbox.
in my analog system getting the antiskate set with the WallySkater made a very noticeable difference, for the good.
the Wally tools might be to much money for some folks but I have $55K in my analog system so getting the best setup tools is important to me.
I suggest that analog folks get a group together to buy some tools or be nice to someone who has one and borrow the setup tools.
@joenies , I brought up the idea of renting the tools out. Collecting the purchase price of the tools then refunding all but 10% plus shipping on their return. It did not go anywhere. We do have woodworking clubs that fund a single workshop that everyone uses. I suppose you could form an analog club. $50 admission fee and 25 people would do it. I would get the Wally Skater, the Wally Reference and a Smartractor.
Nah! But MC, your avatar Einstein said something to the effect that one should first choose the simplest hypothesis to explain an observation, but not one that is “too simple”. We both agree that there is a skating force and that we need a little anti-skate. It would be too simple to ignore it. I just refuse to be bothered to measure it.
I personally set up my arm using the AJ Conti method of the "moving more slowly towards the label" method. But I find it somewhat odd that so many of you, who I would wager have a minimum of 5-10k+ invested in an analog rig, draw the line at this $250 accessory. Especially when it actually works and seems easy enough to use. How many people here bought that 1/4 oz of contact fluid for $300? It's supposedly very good.
The OP has a good way of setting anti skate. I will try the OP method in the coming days. Suggest everyone try it. You have nothing to lose and maybe you can get some improvement.
I agree with “chayro” some people won’t purchase a $250+ tool , but if you are spending $5K+ on a cartridge and do your own setup, these type of tools are worth it.
Have a great holiday season.
Cant believe all the negative Nancy's on this thread.
The OP provided an interesting methodology to measure antiskate force.
The methodology can be used for whatever you believe antiskate should be 10%, 20% or whatever.
Van den hul specifies a recommended antiskate value for his cartridges.
Furthermore one of the most positive aspects of this methodology is that you can use it to verify how accurate your antiskate mechanism is on your tonearm.
From my discussions years ago with the like of Van Den Hul and John Garrott of the Garrott Bros, uneven stylus wear from incorrect level of antiskate is a common problem.
Any suggestions on how to get it right should be a positive.
I was re-reading this thread, just because I have recently been wrestling with setting AS for a very low VTF, recommended 1.0g, for my B&O MMC1. Mounted on my Triplanar. To Mijostyn: I would like to measure AS by your method, but just from reading your description of the method in the OP, I am not sure how you did it. What does it mean to set the fingerlift "in the crosshairs"? My VTF gauge has no crosshairs; nor does it have any other sort of optical sights. Can you post some photos? Right now I am using two nuts from my tool stash, each weighing about 1g, tucked up as close as possible against the vertical arm of the AS mechanism on the TP. The weight that comes with the TP weighs 5g, and that seemed to be too much AS. (We are talking about AS weights mounted near the pivot; as Mijo rightly pointed out, what counts is the AS force at the stylus tip, which is near to the fingerlift on the headshell.)
Also, in November, 2020, Crustycoot wrote: "Isn’t the aim of anti-skate to prevent the mistracking that would occur if unequal groove-wall contact was applied during highly modulated passages? Isn’t this solvable by a small increase in downforce such that the “weak side” never fell below the trackability needed to negotiate the passage? That was the opinion of Edgar Vilchur of ARXA fame."
Vilchur may belong on any Mount Rushmore of historically important audio personages, but if he said what CC says he said, he was very wrong and probably trying to wiggle around why the tonearm on the ARXA has no antiskate adjustment. The root cause of the skating force is friction between the stylus tip and the groove. That force is most dependent upon VTF, given that in all cases the stylus is diamond and the groove is vinyl. (The materials determine the coefficient of friction which is also in the equation for friction.) The more VTF, the more friction, the greater the skating force. Any attempt to ameliorate the skating force effect by increasing VTF would only make the problem worse. So I hope no one out there took Crusty’s (or Vilchur’s) advice seriously.
I read it that all you do is balance the arm vertically to zero so that it floats.
Use your scales at 90degree hold out at the edge of the platter with the scale just above, and then if you apply antiskate the arm will pull towards the scale.
Using the finger lift hitting the scale is close enough to the stylus tip to get a good idea of how much antiskate to use.
If your weight is too heavy just use a small nut for testing ( weigh it on scales ).
Then I would suggest ordering a small one from Triplanar once you have worked out the optimum weight.
My remaining question about Mijostyn's method is whether the typical Chinese-made digital VTF gauge is accurate when used in the vertical, rather than the horizontal orientation. I am trying to figure out how one would test for that. Or maybe Mijo tested for that. If so, how?
For the above reason, I have been conjuring a different method also using a digital VTF gauge that permits the scale to measure in the horizontal orientation. Place, say, a 5g weight on the scale. Place the scale with the weight on its pan to the left of the headshell or between the headshell and the spindle. Attach a thread to the 5g weight that pulls vertically on the weight and then goes over a pulley so the thread can travel in the horizontal direction and attach to the headshell. Now exert the AS force on the headshell. The reading on the scale should go downward from its baseline reading, e.g., "5g" will appear to lose weight. The difference between the no AS reading and the AS applied reading should equal the AS pull in g. Haven't yet figured out how to stabilize the headshell during this operation.
Hi Lew, (BTW the no pun intended was pretty funny)
I have the Technics SL-1200G with stock tonerarm and a DL-301mk2 Denon MC cart on a common (forgot the brand) headhshell.
I used the Technics provided gauge to mount the cart, the arm obviously follows Stevenson, based on Technics they recommend IIRC to set AS same as VTF? so VTF goes from 1.2 to 1.6 for that specific cart.
Using the HiFi news record, it has different tracks which you use to confirm all parameters like resonance frequency and others and the sound will tell you pretty much where it sounds best
I set the VTF to 1.4, for that VTF the test track for AS sounds best with no high pitching sounds at 1.6 - 1.8, which is more than what Technics recommends but it sounds best like that.
The stylus is slightly slanted to one side and the cart is aligned with the HS, maybe I should align the stylus and make it straight with the HS / tonearm?
Anyway that's the method ... if it is valid or not I don't really know, it sound terrific with the cheap Denon I can tell you that
@lewm , You bet. I tried to read vertical with two different gauges and both would not function this way. They have to be horizontal which is why I built the Gizmo the way it is. Don't try it with a cheap bearing. It will not give you repeatable measurements. You have to use a dry instrument bearing.
I think it was you who asked where the 10% figure came from and I found out.
AS Force = sin(headshell angle) X VTF X kinetic coefficient of friction
@luisma31 , I have the HFN analog test record. The problem with this method is in order to get the cartridge to miss track audibly you have to use very high groove velocities. This then over estimates the antiskating required for your average passage. The blank record trick also over estimates the anti skating force because the very tip of the stylus digs into the vinyl increasing the frictional force. Play a blank record then look at it under the light and you will see the spiral scratch.
The most accurate way to set your average antiskating force is to trust the math and shoot for 9 to 11% of VTF. 10% is a nice round number. You can do this by measuring it directly which is what I do or spend $250 and get a Wally Skater. It works. It just seems to be a bit much for a few pieces of acrylic and a string. You can get a digital stylus force gauge for $30. But, you have to change the force vector from horizontal to vertical.
That equation is bogus IF it defines “headshell angle”= headshell offset angle. In which case the skating force would be a constant which we know it is not. However, if headshell angle is defined as (tracking angle error + headshell offset angle), maybe it makes sense. Gotta think about it a little more but that seems to work.
I was interested in your response re how you use the scale. Dover explained your method, or as I understood his explanation of your method, as one in which you hold the scale vertically against the fingerlift on the headshell, with VTF set to zero and the arm floating. From your last post, I gather that is not the case. So what is your method, exactly? Did you try anything akin to my idea?
Luisma, Depends upon how the AS device on your particular tonearm is graduated. I have often wondered about this. For vintage Japanese tonearms and some modern ones that have magnetic antiskate devices, we typically see the dial marked in whole numbers: 1,2,3, etc. And the owners manual will often tell the user to set the AS device to a value equal to VTF. This gives some of us the impression that AS should equal VTF. But I wonder if in at least some cases, the manufacturer marks the dial as a guide only. In other words, for dial marking of "2", you get an amount of AS that the manufacturer thinks is correct for VTF =2g. But the AS may be much lower in gm of force than an actual 2g. So when you say you are setting at 1.6 for a VTF = 1.4g, I don't think it necessarily means you are using 1.6g of AS.