Alignment and resolution problem.

I've set up my grado gold cartridge as perfectly as I can on my mmf 2.1 using the alignment tool, set my VTA and VTF and azimuth as good as they can get. However, LP's tend to start out sounding good, but as the arm tracks inward toward the last two or three tracks, the sound gets grainy and sibilant, especially vocals. Is there something wrong with my cartridge that could be causing this problem or has anyone else even heard of this problem? Thanks guys,

Hi Keith,

Here's a very good and detailed review of and setup/installation instructions for the Music Hall MMF-2.1 turntable...maybe you might find it helpful:

Well, there are several things that could be going on. Of course, there is tracking error, which is generally more noticeable on the inner tracks. There is anti-skate force that is an approximate setting, and usually needs more force at the inner tracks than at the outer, and very few arms account for this. Or you could just need to tweak your alignment.

If you wan't to do that, you can read up about alignments on the web. If you make your null points at a different spot with a different alignment, maybe you will like it better. However, the general result is that you just move the problem from one area of the record to another.

Also, you might just be very sensitive to this problem, and might need to eventually go to a linear tracking arm with no tracking error, or a long 12" pivot arm with less tracking error. The longer the arm on a pivot arm, the less tracking error it has.
OK this is really driving me nuts! I've got the same problem with my new table, a VPI HW-19 Jr. Obviously I've got something screwed up. Is it possible my alignment tool is inaccurate cause I've got it dialed in just about perfectly. Its the mirrored alignment tool. Thanks,


My TTB seems to be fine, but it took me a lot of tries to learn how to use it to best effect.

For the longest time I was looking down on the cantilever at about a 45 degree angle. I was lining up the reflected cantilever with the real one through the grid and it's reflection. The problem with this method is that the angles are too steep and small errors are hard to see.

Inner groove distortion was still bugging me so I kept at it. I finally achieved better results by looking at the actual cantilever from a much lower angle, just 10 degrees or so above the glass. I use the grid and its reflection to make sure I'm viewing from dead center. Then I look at the real cantilever to see if it's square to the grid. From my low viewing angle I can't even see the reflected cantilever and I don't need to. Low angle viewing makes it easier (for me) to see if the cantilever is square. Try it.

You need to do this through a magnifier of course. I have decent closeup vision but that's not good enough for this job.

Finally, as Twl said, you may just be very sensitive to this kind of distortion. I am and it drives me nuts. I've managed to get it to a pretty low level but it's still there on some records, mostly in dynamic female vocals. Still, I got through Brunnhilde and her sisters in Solti's 'Die Walkure' the other night perfectly clean. Also a magnificently recorded and pressed FFrr of Ashkenazy playing Chopin. Those are two of my toughest records for this problem. The toughest of all is Alfred Deller's counter-tenor. Ella Fitzgerald had nothing on him for shattering glass, or eardrums!

Hope this helped. If not, at least we shared the pain.

Thanks for the help, I guess I'll go get a cheap magnifying glass and work on it. You're right though in that some recordings are good and some are terrible, particularly with vocals. My Fleetwood Mac starts to sound terrible on Stevie Nicks' voice by the time I get to the last track. I put on a little Blue Eyes and he sounds great all the way through. I did do some playing with the anti-skate yesterday and things are getting better, but it is good to know I'm not alone.

Keith, if you have a 35mm camera with removable lenses, try taking a 50mm or shorter lens off the camera body and looking through that (backwards). It works really well.