No thanks. If obsession drove me to buy something like that, I would hope family and friends would hold an intervention.
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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.