A question for the Pro's in setting up analog good

I purchased a Musical surroundings Phono Amp and a Music Hall MMF7 Table and arm which are on stereophiles list and also have pretty good private praise from audiogon and other sources, the combo has not been set up yet...

Question 1= I have a 47k rated cartridge of the MM variety, my phono amp is adjustable but should I set it at the 40k or 50k? I do not believe it is capable of doing exactly 47k....

Question 2= the cartridge is 1.5g recommended tracking weight... So should I experiment and go heavier to like 2g? what will the rule of thumb be, higher weight = better bass or what is the supposed effect?

Question 3(maybe)= Also, I have never had a table to know what VTA is? I guess it adjusts the height of the entire arm, so what is the goal with this adjustment, to get it parallel as possible while actually playing the LP? what effects will occur moving it up and down? (again for example better bass, worse bass, tradeoffs?)

I do have a shure stylus gauge and used it to set up a temporary table before the new purchases, with your basic alignment mirror for the whole cartridge setup and do know how to use them pretty well, I actually got the temp table sounding good and working perfectly no skips or anything, so now I just would like a decent understanding of what is gonna happen adjusting the parameter one way or the other and there effects, just in case It sounds like I am lacking in something what will correct it if you know what I mean. Like if the Bass is weak is more weight on the cart. the answer by going up a 1/4g, or changing the impeadance in the phono amp down to 40k vs. 50k going to fix it?

The phono amp does have gain adjustment too, but I know pretty much how that will work and this one is very good at the 40db setting as it sits.

Thanks and sorry for a long post
1: Set it to 50k although you probably wouldn't hear much difference between 40k and 50k. You could try both positions and stick with the one that sounds best to you.

2: tracking weight affects the ability of the stylus to track the record groove without distortion or skipping. It should not alter the frequency balance significantly. If you want to err on the high side of the recommended force I'd go to 1.6 or maybe 1.7, but not higher than that because raising the weight excessively could damage both the cartridge suspension and your records.

3: Recommended VTA angles vary from cartridge to cartridge. Some cartridges like to have the arm tipped up at the rear while other cartridges prefer the opposite. Either way, it shouldn't be too far from level while playing the record. Check with the cartridge manufacturer for their specific recommendation for your particular cartridge. Generally, MM cartridges are less sensitive to VTA issues than MC cartridges but proper adjustment can still make an audible difference.

4: You can also check the alignment of the cartridge with an alignment gauge to ensure minimal tracking error.

5: It wouldn't hurt to check the speed of the platter with a strobe disc if your tt has provision for speed adjustment.

6: The turntable's suspension and the type of rack and location of the rack (in the room) that supports the turntable can make significant differences in the way the turntable performs.

You should try to locate and read articles on proper turntable setup if you really want quality results. A lot of folks get subpar performance from their turntables because their attention to detail is poor, or they have overlooked some vital aspect of proper setup...
Sounds good, thats basically what I was looking for.. I plan to keep it simple, so 1.6g tops is the kinda thing I was looking for. Vta I will run it level as possible and then simply adjust the tracking weight when its in position of its final vta for now, Although I do not know what the suggested Vta is on my cart. I am not so sure it says anything in the specs about that. Thanks
Hi again, Matrix.

Here is a link that many of the A'gon experts turned me on to so I'll pass it along. Sorry, I'm too lazy to turn this into a hyper link. There is alot of very good information here and will answer your questions about adjustments and the effects.

Ahh, that link is very good, thing is I think my cart. only has one setting listed not a range, it just states 1.5g, not 1.5-1.8g or anything like that so I guess just get it set a 1.5g period right? Thanks

Great answers from Plato and Dan_ed.

If you'll mention which cartridge you have, it's possible that others are familiar with it. They could offer VTA and VTF suggestions specific to that cartridge.

The FAQ's on Vinyl Asylum contain many articles on turntable setup. All are interesting and most are accurate. If nothing else they offer a broad cross-section of ideas and techniques.

Enjoy the new rig!
I'm guessing that the 1.5 listing is for a nominal force. You could try a few tenths above and below that without much worry, say 1.3 to 1.7. But you may want to just leave at 1.5 while you dial in VTA. Just remeber that a few small changes in VTA will not affect VTF too much, but more than that and you should re-check VTF.

Another trick I used on the MMF 7, and on my Basis Vector, to help adjust VTA is to use playing cards as shims. The Project has two set screws holding it so you can shim one side, tighten the screw on the other side, then remove the cards and tighten the remaining screw. There are varying opinions on how tight the set screws should be. Personally, I don't like to tighten them anymore than it takes to keep the arm in place. Snug and no more. Others have reported that they get better bass with the screws tighter.
Hi, I would just like to ad this, with VTA normally if the tonearm is raised too high the sound will be bright and bass weak, if it's too low the sound will be dull and a tad bass heavy. You may also want to pick up a cartalign tool for adjustment of the tonearm. Hope this helps. I would start with the stylus parallel to the record, this should be pretty close.
I talked with Walker via your link, and his best advice(the guy on the phone) is to set the table at 1.5 vtf and go parallel with the VTA to the cart. and table if that is the tables recommended manual spec, let it play for a whole album, then adjust the Vta UP a little at a time playing the same track over and over till you hear the bass start to lose a little, then at that point back the Vta down slightly back to before you heard the bass suffer, then go about .1 vtf Heavier to get a little deeper bass back again possibly and keep going up .1 to see if it will get even more and more bass and snap further into focus overall, then when you go to far you will know and back it down again to the last setting, but if you go .3 or so up then it would be best to do the VTA again to fine tweak it, but if not going more than a notch or so on the tracking weight you will be very close to its best and leave the VTA alone, but I also asked about the MM vs. MC debate with VTA not haveing much effect on MM, but he believes it could still have its benifits to treat it this way as with an MC... I get it more or less but it will obviously take a good hour plus to tune it by ear further this way, we will see....
I have a plethora of turntable setup links hanging off of the support page on my website.

Go to the "Arm and Cartridge Setup" section on this page:


Also, check there for links to brilliant articles by both John Chapman (Bent Audio) and Jim Hagerman about cartridge loading.

About cartridge loading, the short answer is if you have an MM cartridge, get close to 47K and be done. With an MC cartridge, read the above articles.