A pitch too High!


Recently, I damaged the V2 MM cartridge of Clearaudio Concept Wood turntable, so had it changed with a Grado Prestige Blue. The VTF for V2 is 2.2g while Grado blue stands at 1.5g. I took someone’s help to fix this. He even made azimuth adjustments and it sounded fine. But I soon realised that the sound had become thinner, voice being the primary indicator and just before the stylus landed on the record, it skipped back a bit then hit the record. Sometimes the tonearm would skip all the way out of the record, backwards. I called the guy back, and he felt the VTF should be fixed to around 2g to avoid the backward skip. He did so and that problem was licked and it seemed the voice thinning issue had also vanished. But last night, I put on the first pressing of Aretha Franklin Amazing Grace, and all along I found her pitch way higher, it was all too high pitched and uncomfortable. Seemed the bass had gone missing a little. On my Boulder 866, I could immediately hear the difference when the track was played through Roon. It was not as high pitched, thin as it sounded on analogue. I intend to call the guy again but wanted to know from experts here as to what the issue could be.
Previewterrible
Assuming nothing has changed on the VTF, it sounds like your VTA may be too high. In other words, your tonearm may be too high at the rear. Check to see if the arm is parallel to the record.
It’s also possible that your new Grado needs some time to run in. Give it 50 hours to settle down and lose the edginess. When you say high pitched, do you mean strident, lot of treble in the tonal balance? A pitch change would be an increase in the frequencies of the notes caused by an increase in platter speed.
Yes, I do mean more trebly, sharper than when compared to the same song playing from a digital source. Along with the voice, everything sounds a little sharper than the digital source. The guy who fixed the new cartridge just came back with the same response as yours, he thought I should let it run for 70 hours before assuming the cartridge is not compatible. 

I am running the record at its correct RPM so the pitch change should not occur.

To my naked eye, the tonearm does not seem to be sloping down at all.
Yeah, let it bed in a little. You might also be hearing more detail and transient speed from the vinyl than you’ve been getting from your digital source.
It’s also possible that you’re simply hearing the limitations of a relatively inexpensive cartridge. Grados have always been a bit of an enigma, not being the greatest trackers. 

terrible

The VTF for V2 is 2.2g while Grado blue stands at 1.5g ... he felt the VTF should be fixed to around 2g to avoid the backward skip. He did so and that problem was licked ...
Something is amiss. There is just no way that a phono cartridge should require a VTF that far in excess of its manufacturer’s recommendation. Anyone who would suggest otherwise is not much of an expert, imo.

I think your cartridge is ether defective or improperly installed.
Pitch is an incorrect term unless there is no issue with speed.
Set your anti-skating to zero and add tracking force, every new cartridge must be used with slightly higher tracking force during warm-up period. Your tonearm must be parallel to the record. Check the tracking force with digital scale to make sure your VTF is correct. Grado cartridge does not skip, you can check with a test record.
Did you set the overhang correctly and the two-point alignment, then the azimuth? All of these factor into how a cartridge sounds! When all that is done the phono stage is the next factor - they are not all equal! Some do poorly on high frequencies. 
"...There is just no way that a phono cartridge should require a VTF that far in excess of its manufacturer’s recommendation..."

Depends if your table can track low numbers. Often there is some marketing games because people think a low tracking force is a better product.  
Dear @terrible : Which is the phono stage unit you use with?

R.
Until the problem is sorted out, consider staying away from using any records you value.
I think the issue ihere is that you are not doing your own setup. If you did, you would soon know what affects what. If someone tells you the answer it’s like getting govt cheese. You can only value what you earn.
^^THIS!

just before the stylus landed on the record, it skipped back a bit then hit the record. Sometimes the tonearm would skip all the way out of the record, backwards. 

WTF? Explain. How does it skip BEFORE hitting the record???! Cartridge body hit the record? What do you mean "back a bit"? If it skipped to the outside that indicates excessive anti-skate. Did your setup guru change anti-skate? See above- you need to be doing this yourself in order to understand what is going on!
Sometimes the tonearm would skip all the way out of the record, backwards.
 
Again, "all the way out of the record"? All the way to the outside? Or does "out of the record" mean up, up and away? Is the record warped? What is going on here anyway?
I have given up on the idea of doing it myself, I am just not up to it. Lets leave it there. 

I am using a Boulder 508 Phonostage. And yes I did check that the tonearm is parallel to the record. The gentleman who brought up the VTF also checked the 2 point alignment and adjusted the azimuth (if that's what it's called. On the anti-skating bit, Clearaudio advises not to mess with it as it comes adjusted from the factory.

When the VTF was set to 1.5g, one noticed that just before hitting the record, the tonearm would move back a tiny bit before hitting the record. It was an odd movement and it was deduced by the fellow who set it up as an issue with the VTF and he increased it to 2g. That sorted the tiny backwards movement. He also checked everything else after that and found it to be working fine. We heard a Leonard Cohen record and the bass that had disappeared came back up and the music sounded fine. Till two days later I put in the first pressing of Aretha Franklin's Amazing Grace, and it sounded sharper than I remembered her voice.   
Can guys suggest a good test LP and gear I could personally use to get this working properly?
He decreased the tracking force without adjusting the anti skating which is why it was skipping backwards. It sounds thin because the suspension is compressed under the two grams. Back off on the tracking force to 1.5 grams and lighten the antiskating so that the arm drifts slowly towards the spindle when you place it between grooves in the run out area. The head shell should be perfectly horizontal to a 150 gram record and the stylus should be perfectly perpendicular to the record as viewed from the front.
@chakster Thank you for this

@mijostyn You are absolutely correct, he set the Grado tracking force to 1.5g, the first time he did it. He did not touch the anti-skating because Clearaudio recommends we do not. I think I have read somewhere that it is set to medium and works for 2g VTF. 

It sounds thin because the suspension is compressed under the two grams
 Can you elaborate on this? I did not understand this.

Back off on the tracking force to 1.5 grams and lighten the antiskating...
I know it's right below the turntable but no clue which side to turn to increase or decrease. A little hesitant to do it because I might mess it up.



Dear @terrible :  I don't know how many LPs you own but I know is that that Grado is an entry level cartridge as it's that Clearaudio tonearm. Sooner or latter like today the problem comes out.

If you want to be serious about LPs reproduction you need to be serious too in the level of your analog rig and most important than this is that you try to improve your very low/poor knowledge and skills levels to make your self the overall TT/cartridge/tonearm/phono stage set up.

You have the " problem " you bougth it and nothing else. You can't ask oranges to a stone, rigth?

R.
@rauliruegas I own about 200 LPs and I don’t think because Grado is an an entry level cartridge and Satisfy a beginners’ tonearm, I am facing these problems. I just want my rig to give the reproduction it should. You have read my situation incompetently.

As for knowledge,  everybody starts somewhere and there’s plenty to be had on the interwebs. But I don’t see myself setting up a system, but I’ll surely go for a significantly better turntable soon. In the meantime, I think the one I have is good enough to understand more about analogue. 
Ok, then start to learn and don't be angry because my " incompetently " understood. 

To each his own. No problem with me, it's you who own those items.

R.
OP,
Kudos for not letting anyone denigrate your system or level of understanding, especially when they offer no constructive advice in return.  For the record, the $2000 Clearaudio Satisfy tonearm is continuously wired, well designed, highly resolving and far from just an entry level tonearm.

- There are some great suggestions above on how to proceed, esp. on returning to first principles with vtf , etc. 

- If you are at all still concerned about actual pitch, your turntable speed can be easily verified with a free phone app, RPM, and adjusted if needed.

- It seems you were pleased with your previous setup before cartridge problem.  If all else fails, you may need to examine whether this Grado is actually a good fit, or maybe not? 

- If you get to that point, you are probably at the right place for a wealth (flood?) of cartridge upgrade recommendations.


terrible, you have a scale for measuring tracking force. Set it to 1.5 with the counterweight. The anti skate mechanism is magnetic and is that knob to the right of the main bearing. I can't tell by looking at the pictures it it is attracting or repelling the tonearm. The instructions will tell you that. You adjust that knob so that the arm drifts very slowly towards the spindle when you place it between grooves in the run out area. 

The cartridge has a suspension like a car. If you bottom out a cars suspension you get a very rough ride. As the suspension compresses beyond a certain point the suspension gets stiffer and it's resonance frequency rises. When a manufacturer gives you a tracking force range what he is telling you is that is the force the cartridges suspension works best at. Don't argue! I usually put might right in the middle.
Dear @sandstone  : I'm not denigrating nothing but posting facts. Do you know about Boulder electronics? I know in deep and know not only its price and that Grado cartridge is an entry level mated with non entry level system. Facts are facts. I don't accept that cartridge not even by free.

Kudos to you by your low knowledge levels, at least what you showed in this thread and other threads.

As I said : to each his own.

R.
@mijostyn I know how to set VTF, I even have the scale. Where it gets a little complicated for me is the anti-skating adjustment on a Clearaudio Concept turntable. Unlike say an SME tonearm where it is a knob within the contraption, antiskating in Concept is under the turntable which if I am not mistaken requires an allen key to adjust. And it does not have numbers and I don't know which side to turn it. Just scared I'll screw it up. And Clearaudio does not recomend anyone other than their authorised folks mess with this. I am reading up on VTA and have even ordered the HiFi news test LP.

Thank you for explaining cartridge suspension.

@sandstone Just downloaded the app. Going to use it soon.

Thank you all for the help. I am starting on it, to the extent I can.
It is unlikely you will damage the arm. With a stylus cover on and the lift arm raised. Turn the adjustment all the way in one direction. With the table level get a sense of how the arm wants to drift backwards. With the anti skate off it will not drift at all. Now turn the adjustment all the way in the other direction. Do not force. Get a sense again what the tonearm wants to do. With the anti skate all the way up the arm will want to drift vigorously backwards. Now you know which direction is "on" and "off."
You set your anti skate as I mentioned above. Look for videos on how to set up your arm. It is highly unusual for a company to make setting up an arm so difficult as we tend to change cartridges at least once in a while. 
@terrible  I think something else might be afoot. Its well known that the cartridge will have an electrical resonance; if a MM high output cartridge the inductance of the cartridge will be high enough that the resonance may well be inside the audio band.

This depends heavily on the capacitance of the tonearm cable; for that reason tonearm cables are usually low capacitance. In addition, the cable is usually only about a meter because the longer the cable the more capacitance.


With MM cartridges (unlike LOMC cartridges, where the loading is affecting the preamp rather than the cartridge), loading is important, since loading will help deal with that resonance. You may well be hearing that resonance as brightness- when I've used similar Grados, I've always had to load them to get the brightness gone.

Before messing with all the tracking stuff I'd look into this. BTW if you want to know more about this see:
http://hagtech.com/loading



Terrible-- I used to have a Concept, and I asked about adjusting the antiskate (which does not require a wrench, although it is a bit tedious).  This is from Mike at Musical Surroundings:

"If you are above the turntable, looking down on the tonearm, then a
counter-clockwise rotation will increase anti-skate. Conversely, if you
are underneath the turntable, looking up at the knob, then a clockwise
rotation will increase anti-skate and vice-versa."

It is easy to overdo the AS on this table/arm, start with very small increments. 
@terrible,  It sounds like your tonearm may be an older version of Satisfy.  Otherwise, there actually is an anti-skate knob lateral to the pivot for easy adjustment on the fly.  
+1 @mijostyn
Dear @terrible : What's really " terrible " is what  those two gentlemans ( one applaud to the other. That one follower is @sandstone  to atma. ) know nothing about Grado cartridges that is not MM but MI with very low inductance value around 40mH and what was posted certainly is totally false for your Grado cartridge. Go figure ! ! and are the " experts " here.

""  used similar Grados, I've always had to load them to get the brightness gone.  ""

Fortunatelly for you OP your Boulder electronics is very good designs and your Grado resonance is around 60khz-70khz and not like the electronics used by atmasp...that needs  that load. as stated ! ! ! .

R.
@rauliruegas  Raul, you could be a little more diplomatic about it.
Dear @mijostyn : Thank's appreciated.

R.
Is your tonearm still lowering toward the outside of your record? Is the curved bar that the tonearm sits on when you raise and lower it level? Might wanna check it.
Turntable setup is very basic. Take your time and you’ll figure it out. 
For the record, we use a Grado (wood body, low output) here at Atma-Sphere. I've run Grado cartridges many times off and on over the years. For test purposes when mastering LPs, I use a Grado Gold mounted to a Technics SL1200 to see if a regular common turntable can track the cut made.


The simple fact is Raul is clueless about my personal life and simply has no idea of what he was talking about. I've used more Grado cartridges than all the others I've used put together!


While it is true that the Grado site lists a rather low inductance (lower by an order of magnitude from what you would expect to see in a high output MM cartridge; I've not measured one of the high output units but I'd not be surprised if this is a typo), the simple fact is they respond quite nicely to loading. When a high output MM cartridge was all I used, I would load the Grados (as many of my friends did) at about 10KOhms with no capacitive loading at all. A few years ago I had a Transfiguration LOMC cartridge fail (one channel died) and sent if back for repairs. After a few days I was Jonesing for tunes and the only cartridge I had on hand was a Grado Green. Since the Triplanar is very adjustable and thus easy to set up, I installed the Green and took some care doing it. To my surprise it tracked beautifully. But it was a bit bright. So I loaded it at 10KOhms and the up front in your face brightness was gone- at that point its tonality was identical to the Transfiguration, which was at that time a $4500 cartridge.


IOW I speak from direct experience.
I use professional Grado DJ200i cartridges for about 15 years with standard 47k Ohms loading (or with optional 100k Ohms loading). Tracking force is about 2g. The DJ200i model is equal to the Grado Black series as far as I know, but with different styli made for professional use (with higher tracking force). In the main system my reference Grado is rare XTZ model. Those cartridges are definitely not bright.

Maybe your stylus is damaged? You can try another stylus, professional styli are compatible with your Grado too. If you want to use higher tracking force you can always buy DJ100i or DJ200i styli.
Post removed 
Assuming your arm or cart isn't defective, I reckon your 'guy' hasn't a clue what he's doing.  Every time he touches it, it gets worse.
Get in someone sensible to check everything over and re-set.

By the way, I auditioned the Boulder in my room for three weeks.  I found its sound rather thin and clinical.  Digital shall we say.  I didn't buy it.
You may well be hearing that resonance as brightness- when I've used similar Grados, I've always had to load them to get the brightness gone.
@atmasphere what do you mean by 'load' them? The link you gave me is way beyond what I can comprehend.

@mijostyn I did some of the things you asked me to do. I decreased the tonearm height because I felt it was sloping down towards the cartridge end when it was placed on the LP. I got the VTF to 1.5g and the arm would ride back, similar on 1.8 and 2g. Then I tried it with the tonearm at various different positions, till I lost track of whether I was increasing or decreasing from the original mark.  I finally reached a height with the tonearm where the tonearm would not retrace out of the LP. I then checked to see if the tonearm was parallel to the record when the stylus was touching the record. It was parallel and I played with VTF till I locked it at 2g where the cartridge would not retrace out of the LP. Also once the last track got over, the tonearm moved towards the spindle and stayed at the run-out area. However, the sound did not change much, Leonard Cohen - Live in London was way more bass-ier on Roon through the digital output of Boulder 866.

On the anti-skate, my sense is that Clearaudio Concept is set for 2g VTF as the original cartridge MM V2 needed a VTF of 2 -2.2g. I am thinking maybe either the Grado needs more running in or maybe I don't like the sound. Would a Sumiko MP200 work better?

I am enclosing some pics of stuff I did, trying to rectify the turntable sound. The RPM seems to be higher.

http://www.imagebam.com/view/ME4RE9N
https://www.imagebam.com/view/ME4RE9S
https://www.imagebam.com/view/ME4RE9T
Terrible, you need to track that cartridge at 1.5 grams. 2 grams is way too heavy for it. If you can not learn to adjust the antiskating then you will need to buy a cartridge that tracks at two grams.

Those are disappointing numbers for a modern turntable if they are correct. Using the same app I get 33.33 rpm at 0.03 % wow and flutter.
My table has adjustable speed.  
https://www.vandenhul.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Phono_FAQ.pdf
Very helpful info. Dr. VdH recommends having the counterweight end 7 - 9mm higher and there’s a setup order. I followed his instructions and my turntable is set up perfectly. 
The image below has the anti-skating explanation for Clearaudion Concept. Does turning towards the green arrow mean lesser anti-skate?

https://www.imagebam.com/view/ME4REUFhttp://

How many turns approximately to reach adequate anti-skate for 1.5g? If someone has done this before on this machine, please do let me know. Because clearly, 2g VTF is not working soundwise.

@mijostyn I’ll probably send the RPM readings to Clearaudio. And see what they have to say. I am going to try the anti-skate tomorrow, if I get some direction on this. Would Sumiko MP 200 work? It has a prescribed VTF between 1.5 to 2g.

My table has adjustable speed.
What do you mean by that? You mean options of 33, 45 and 78? My turntable has that too. How do I correct the RPM?
@terrible I think you have no idea what you are doing. You have to learn the basics, find tutorial how to adjust and use a turntable and a cartridge, there are plenty if them on youtube. Learn and adjust by yourself! 

Make sure your stylus is not defective, swap styli (not cartridges). If you can’t adjust one cartridge why do you think you need another cartridge?



"What do you mean by that? You mean options of 33, 45 and 78? My turntable has that too. How do I correct the RPM?"

@terrible,  On the rear of your Concept turntable you will find three rpm adjustment screws, one for each speed setting.  Select the one for 33 and set it as close to 33.33 as you can achieve.  It will take some patience but by using the RPM app for feedback you should be able to get quite close.  This will very likely improve the "pitch" issue you mentioned.
I put on the first pressing of Aretha Franklin Amazing Grace, and all along I found her pitch way higher, it was all too high pitched and uncomfortable. Seemed the bass had gone missing a little. On my Boulder 866, I could immediately hear the difference when the track was played through Roon. It was not as high pitched, thin as it sounded on analogue.

Do you understand that talking about pitch of the notes you’re referring to the rotation speed of the platter ? The higher the speed the higher the pitch note. The pitch is correct at 33 1/3 and 45 rpm 

Some people don’t understand why there is a pitch control on High-End turntables.

FOR EXAMPLE
JVC/Victor engineers explained very well why there is a special pitch control on TT-101:

"The pitch, "A" is standardized at 440Hz according to international standards, and is the standard for all western musical instruments. In other words, the tuning of all instruments of the orchestra is based on this pitch. But in reality, the basic tuning pitch of each orchestra differs due to the instrumentation and individual characteristics of each orchestra, as well as the personality of the conductor. The diagram shows such differences by orchestra. Most of the pitches range within +/- 6Hz of 400Hz. To reproduce these subtly different pitches, a quality turntable with highly accurate rotation is required. Another important requirement is the possibility of minute speed adjustment. If the speed of a turntable could be adjusted to the individual pitch used by an orchestra while at the same time remaining controlled by a quartz-locked servo system, the benefits of flexibility and precision would be significant from a musicological viewpoint. For this reason the TT-101 is equipped with built-in speed-control facilities which can adjust the pitch in 1Hz steps within a range of +/- 6Hz or 440Hz. The difference of pitches between master tape recorders and disc record cutting machines has been intentionally ignored before but now the speed of a record can be adjusted to match the original pitch of the orchestra, even if the master was recorded differently from the original performance. For example, a performance of the NHK Symphony Orchestra on the record can be adjusted to match the pitch of the same performance on a record by the London Symphony Orchestra, for the enjoyment of critical comparison."

The "A" key of a piano in your home is usually tuned to 440Hz. When you practice the piano while playing back a record, you can adjust the pitch of the record, to be in perfect tune with your piano.


what do you mean by 'load' them? The link you gave me is way beyond what I can comprehend.
@terrible  "loading" of a cartridge is where a resistance is placed in parallel with the output of the cartridge; IOW from the signal to ground. Many phono preamps have provisions for this. Any high output cartridge will have a peak in its output at a particular frequency which will be at the upper end of the audio band or well past it. The link I provided has the technical explanations of why. Even if the peak is at 40KHz, there is a phenomena called 'phase shift'  which can introduce brightness artifacts in the audio band.


The resistor is inexpensive. The value is probably around 10K Ohms. This is assuming that your tonearm cable is actually meant for phonograph use (such cables are low capacitance to keep the peak as high as possible). If you are using a regular audio cable, you might consider finding one that is low capacitance instead (which is not expensive).


@chakster Of course I don’t know what i am doing. But I am trying to learn as I go along. Those who are explaining things to me in a simple fashion are helping me get there, and i am truly grateful. I have gone through many videos and that’s probably why i am doing stuff I never imagined I would. You too should try doing things you don’t know anything about might just make you a little more helpful. The reason I am thinking of another cartridge like Nagaoka MP200 is because @mijostyn suggested maybe I should get something with 2g VTF. This could be the alternative to decreasing anti-skate.

And probably the right word is scale and not pitch?

@sandstone Thank you for letting me know, tomorrow I’ll check out the RPM adjustment screws. Since you are familiar with this turntable could you respond to my query:

The image below has the anti-skating explanation for Clearaudion Concept. Does turning towards the green arrow mean lesser anti-skate?

https://www.imagebam.com/view/ME4REUFhttp://

How many turns approximately to reach adequate anti-skate for 1.5g? If someone has done this before on this machine, please do let me know. Because clearly, 2g VTF is not working soundwise.

@terrible,
- I just wanted to emphasize that your turntable speed is fully adjustable via the three set screws on the rear, one for each of 33, 45, and 78.  You measured a speed that is 10% over spec.  No cartridge selection or other adjustment can compensate for this effect on pitch, so use your RPM app to reset it and go from there.

- On these turntables, your phono cable is actually a continuous extension of your tonearm wiring, through to the RCA connectors and is entirely suitable.
Post removed 
The reason I am thinking of another cartridge like Nagaoka MP200 is because @mijostyn suggested maybe I should get something with 2g VTF. This could be the alternative to decreasing anti-skate.


Tracking force DOESN’T MATTER at all.
1.5 or 2g is absolutely irrelevant, every cartridge has a range of tracking force to work with. You can’t damage Grado cart with its aluminum cantilever if your tracking force is slightly higher. Increasing tracking force to the maximum (within manufacturer recommended range) is normal for a new cartridge during suspension warm-up period (20-50 hrs).

You need a digital scale to verify tracking force.

As I told you before you can change just the stylus on your Grado, there are compatible styli to work with higher tracking force (if needed).

But first of all: set your anti-skating to ZERO if your cartridge skip backwards, because this is the anti-skating force. And LEVEL your turntable platter.

ALSO: You might have some dirt on your stylus tip and it can be a reason for skipping and bad sound, clean your stylus tip with stylus cleaning brush (dry) and use carbon-fiber brush to clean your records.

Very low tracking force, too much anti-skating and dirty stylus can can your vinyl playback simply impossible. If your stylus is damaged buy another Grado stylus (it’s cheaper than new cartridge).