Or your tonearm/cartridge alignment is off.
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Raul, it is something that I "found" with my previous turntable set-up. The "question" is something I could tell you(you being someone who is having difficulty setting up things, or is forced to use test records for this.). The "question" also is something to stimulate thinking into what anti-skate does or should do. I'm currently listening to what VTF does(close to, or within the manufacturer's specifications). My Linn Archiv cartridge has the advantage of 3 holes, so much of its alignment should be correct. I believe that VTF affects bass performance, mostly. I will post my findings here, when I am done. I'm doing this mostly to help people who might need some guidance on what to listen for. It's probably been posted elsewhere. BTW, as far as anti-skate, I believe that you have to settle for less than optimum playback on that last song.
I believe that you have to settle for less than optimum playback on that last song.
Not true, not true at all. But I will agree that it depends on the table, tonearm, cartridge being used and how it is all set up. If you are hearing a noticeable degradation on the last track something is not setup right. I suggest you start by verifying that the pivot-to-spindle distance is indeed correct both at the outer edge of an LP and as close as you can get to the spindle. A good arc-style protractor would be a great place to start.
Less than optimum playback is most likely due to one of 2 factors.
1. Tonearm/cartridge combination. This is the most critical match in your analog front end. Only the amplifier/speaker combination is more important in a system.
2. Cartridge alignment. Sorry to say that many hobbyists and even some dealers don't do it correctly. It's not something you knock off in 20 or 30 minutes. It's not unusual to spend 3-5 hours or even more getting it right.
Anti-skating is an "icing on the cake" setting. It's efficacy is also dependent on the tonearm and cartridge used. I have a dozen cartridges here; depending on the tonearm, some are very susceptible to minimal anti-skating changes while others seem impervious to larger settings.
I don't use anti-skate at all. Those who do use it set it at the same or near the VTF you are using. I find it does nothing to better my setup. The purpose of anti-skate is to balance the inward force of the tonearm which comes from the cartridge's offset angle. This force is constantly changing with the loudness of the tone, the complexity of the tone, the sylus shape, etc. It therefore cannot be accurately adjust since at each point on the record it changes. Some tonearms don't have this adjustment at all because the mechanism that provides anti-skate on the arm can often create resonances etc. The choice of coarse is yours, but as I said before, I just don't use it.
I use anti-skate and don't set it anywhere near to my VTF setting. That idea of setting AS to the same setting as VTF was/is another boat load of crap many dealers and a few manufacturers promoted because they didn't know what the hell they were doing or it just didn't matter with the cheezy arm/cart combo in use.
Stringreen, I'm sure that you overlooked or took for granted that Ghost_rider knew that the main purpose of anti-skate is to counteract the inward pull on the arm that the record exerts as it gets to the inner grooves. If you look at the inner part of the record, the circles made by the cutter-head become smaller, as compared to the outer grooves. This exerts a bigger force inward on the tonearm and cartridge. In fact, I believe that "Hi-Fi Answers" (Alvin Gold, Jimmy Hughes, David Prackel, Keith Howard where are you?) measured the total harmonic distortion(THD)in the inner grooves as being much greater than the THD in the outer grooves.
Jaybo's comment about the last song being less dynamic as an audio trick is correct, I believe. Dan_ed, what a system you have! I would think that owning a Basis arm allows you to ask Conti(the ultimate Analog perfectionist) about anti-skate. Ghost_rider, what I do about anti-skate, tracking force(VTF), and vertical tracking angle(VTA) is to look up the manufacturers specifications, and also look at what reviews or owners have to say. Then, I use those as a guide, or I keep them in mind while I try to fine tune them by ear. That's why I started this thread-to give a guide to people(in my case, what it would sound like, if you do it by ear). I'm sure Raul could give some advice here, but I'm not sure he could dumb it down for the everyday person(includes me). Ghost_rider, I believe that the standard answer on anti-skate is to set it to the the same value as the tracking force(2 grams downforce=the 2 setting on anti-skate). The initial controversy, in my mind, came from Harry Pearson's review of the original Koetsu Rosewood-in which he found the best anti-skate value was much less the specified value.
VPI's official word is that no anti-skating is the best anti-skating. Harry does make a gizo that can be adjusted for force and where on the record that force accumulates. That is to say, it can add force at the end of the record, add force at the beginning of the record, or any place on the record depending on how it's set up. Again...for my cartridge Benz Ebony LP, and my VPI tonearm...10.5i, no anti-skate sounds best to my ears.
This is getting pretty confused. Has anyone read any analysis, theoretical or actual measurement, that shows that skating force is higher when playing the inner groove? Distortion generally will be higher because the grooves make progressively sharper turns as the diameter of the record gets smaller, but, I don't see why skating force gets higher. The offset angle does not change, so the variable is friction between the stylus and the groove wall which is, as Stringreen noted, determined by stylus shape and the modulation of the groove which is something generally not dependent on the diameter of the record.
As for the force setting on tonearms, the units for antiskating force are arbitrary, often using numbers intended to correspond with tracking force utilized, but not measuring force by any standard units. You can choose to follow the manufacturer's recommendation or set it by ear.
I use a test record with musical signals that are at progressively higher modulation levels (Shure Obstacle Course Test record). At some point, the cartridge will start mistracking, more so in one channel than the other. I adjust antiskating to even out such distortion. I have found with my Vector arm and Lyra Titan cartridge, with my Graham 1.5t arm and various cartridges, with a friends Graham Phantom arm and Transfiguration Orpheus cartridge, and a friend's SME 309 and Transfiguration Orpheus cartridge, the optimum antiskating force is significantly LESS than the manufacturer's recommendation.
I can't say there is any universal finding here, but I am not surprised when others find that lower values of antiskating work well. I personally haven't tried no antiskating, but, I am not surprised that some owners and manufacturers actually prefer no antiskating.
Larri, you have progessively smaller circles as you get closer to the end of the record. The speed is constant. You have a fixed pivot(bearings)far away. If you think about it, the force generated inward towards the spindle would be greater as you get to the inner part of the record. These really aren't circles, otherwise the same passage would repeat. They lead towards the spindle. So you have this big circle(per se) on the outer part of the record. There is not a great inward pull here. You have this small circle on the inner part of the record. These aren't circles-they all lead to the spindle. The pull inward towards the spindle is much greater with the small circles. I believe if you think about it, the differences in the inward pulling would be obvious. This isn't a scientific explanation, because maybe what you are counteracting with anti-skate is the acceleration of the inward pulling. I believe VPI uses a uni-pivot arm, which might use a knife edge instead of one set of bearings(which also means it doesn't have the top bearing). This combination(with maybe a little viscous damping)might negate the need for anti-skate. I could be wrong, but isn't the Graham arm also uni-pivot?
Ghost_rider, I looked up your Sumiko Black Pearl, and Sumiko's recommendation on that cartridge is to use the same amount of anti-skate as the tracking force(recommended tracking force is 2 grams, and the range is 1.5 to 2 grams). I assume your dealer did this. If you want to fine-tune the anti-skate, I suggest you ask yourself if records sound better maybe on the last 3 songs than on the first 2. By better, I don't mean that the bass sounds better, or any of that audiophile b.s.. What I mean is, do you enjoy those tracks more, or do you have more of a sense of ease on those tracks. If that is the case, then you have too much anti-skate(by too much, I mean a tiny, tiny bit). Just barely lower the anti-skate, then listen. Does it make the whole record sound better to you? If so, you have improved the anti-skate setting. What you are doing is actually balancing the channels, I believe. I would experiment like this, until you can hear the differences that changing anti-skate make-then you will know how to fine-tune anti-skate.
The skating force has nothing to do with the diameter of the record. It has to do with the fact that the drag of the stylus in the groove is pulling backwards along a line tangent to the groove (along the same line as the cantilever), but that is not the same line as from the stylus to the pivot because of the offset angle of the cartridge. If you did a vector analysis, you would see that there is a vector component that is inward. If there is somehow greater drag toward the inner groove, then yes, there should also be a bigger vector component of antiskating. I just don't see a reason to expect appreciably greater drag at the inner grooves.
Greater distortion in the inner groove is most likely the product of the physical compression of the waveform, described by the groove, into a smaller space. This is why some early proposals for records had the stylus playing from the inside out. Because music typically has its peak volume (climax) at the end of the piece, it made sense to put those wide swinging grooves at the outside diameter where they would not be so compressed into a smaller space.
Assuming correct alignment, inner groove distortion is generally the result of:
1. Resonance and improper tonearm damping.
2. Reduced groove velocity at the inner grooves. On a record the average outer groove starts at 11.5 inches diameter and the inner groove at 5.8 diameter. So, the inner groove is 50.4 percent the linear velocity of the outer groove. Put another way, if someone handed you a record that ran at 16.8rpm you wouldn't you expect the outer groove to sound great. That's the effective velocity of the inner groove if it were to run at the outer part of a record spinning at 16.8 rpm.
I believe the "i"(Larry) has it.
It's worth mentioning that the anti skate scale on some older arms are marked to differentiate between the stylus drag of conical and eliptical stylus profiles. It is interesting to me in the light of some of the comments above and elswhere that when I use a test record similar to the one mentioned above that a high anti-skate force is often required to even out the mistracking distortion between the cahnnels as instructed.
Audiofeil raised an interesting point about the effective velocity being reduced for the inner groove. When I said earlier that there was no obvious reason why skating force should be different for the inner groove, I did not consider the change in velocity. This is obviously a big difference between inner and outer grooves (funny how things are so obvious once someone else thinks it up).
But, I am less certain about whether the lower inner groove velocity would increase or decrease skating force.
From my own experience, whenever I found asymmetric distortion (one channel more than the other) when playing the inner groove, it has lead me to decrease antiskating. While this suggests that skating forces are lower for the inner groove, it could also be the case that my arm does not apply the same force at all positions and has simply increased antiskating too much for the inner groove position. Greater minds are needed here.
My Moerch DP6 has a string on a spring kind of anti-skate mechanism that is progressive in nature. It pulls on a point attached to the base of the tonearm, so that the force exerted increases as the tonearm base pivots and the arm moves more toward the center.
Basically I've found that setting the anti skate so that that the needle falls exactly in the same groove when raised and lowered again (using an outer groove) sets it pretty much perfectly to my ears. There is virtually no anti skate on the outer groove and a bit more on the inner groove as the tonearm pivots and the anti-skate string/spring is pulled taughter.
Don't know if this is any use to anyone, but I thought I'd share.
SonofJim...Yup, when I removed the whole device, the sound really popped. I suspect that there is a resonance from the gizmo, like (all?) others which is why Harry doesn't like the devices at all. Never the less...if you find no anti-skate to your liking, (I know it's a pain), but remove it and listen...you can always replace it again.
Hmm,is there any wonder why a good LTT arm sounds so good?
Anti-skate issues? Nope! Inner groove distortions? Nope! Mnay folks going to the lengths to have/experience this kind of music presentation(yeah,it "presents" music a good deal differently than the pivoting crowd,like me,is used to)? Nope!
Folks owning the better Linear Arms selling them soon?
UM, NO WAY!!!
For the uninitiated,go hear a good set-up utilizing a superb LTT arm and be "amazed"!!
Bring familiar LP's,and don't worry about the hassle of traveling, to experience what the best LTT's bring to the table......"You're going to be well rewarded,and you will listen a bit differently to your own system"!
Just imagine:This anti-skate issue is "only" one component of "correct" LP replay.Not to mention tracking error/distortions just vanish with a good Linear Arm,if set up well.
I've heard the benefits of a superior linear design on SO many occassions that I've gotten spoiled,yet still come back to my unipivot....Why?...Because I'm lazy,and freely admit to rationalization,like SO many of us!
The best Linear Arms are costly,and a bit of a hassle to set up,and maintain.What they bring to the table is absolutely "addictive",if you actually have been listening to "good" LP's for a "long" time.
Some,like the Forsell,and "maybe"(it may still be sold in small quantities)the fabulous Air Tangent(some feel this arm was light in bass...."not" if you went the extra mile,and replaced the standard pump,amongst some other things)) are no longer made,but do appear on the used market.....BUY THEM!!!
Then send me a nice bottle of Barolo as a thank you gift -:)
To me,they are like "pre-war" Martin Acoustic Guitars.Once you've heard them "do" their thing,you know it's not going to get any better than this!Especially if you've owned a few pivots over the years,and have spun a load of LP's.
Usually I'd add IMO....This time it's just plain "fact"!
Hear what I'm talking about!Ask a lucky(smart) owner to let you give his rig a listen!
Maybe a nice/classy guy like Albert Porter(I believe he has a Walker)can be coaxed into renting out his listening room and system while he's at RMAF next week? It won't be cheap though -:)
If I remember my basic physics ('ats a real loooong shot) friction is a force applied in direct opposition to velocity. So, less velocity, less friction, less amplitude to the force vector in the inward direction. (see Larryi's post on headshell angle) And, it is somewhat intuitive that if the entire lp surface is moving at the same speed, some little guy (or one of those vw micro-bus players) has to run faster at the outer edge to keep up with his buddy who is running at the edge of the lp label. Crap, just stare at an LP spinning on your table and you'll soon see this.
I'm just surprised as Hell that Audiofeil remembered this fact! (jest kiddin' Bill!)
To take this a step farther, this is exactly why tonearms like the Basis Vector and TriPlanar and probably some others I'm not thinking of, use a fulcrum approach to AS. That is, both of these arms use a device that lifts a weight extended out an arm or lever. At the outer edge the lever is at or below horizontal which is where the opposing force of the weight on the lever is the greatest. As the arm tracks across the LP towards the inner groove the lever is pulled to a higher and higher angle and the force of opposition provided by the weight is diminished in relation to this angle (cos x) of the lever with respect to horizontal. As an angle approaches 90 degrees, or complete vertical, the opposing force of the weight approaches zero.
Anyway, my recommendation is to use little or no AS. Listen for mistracking in the right channel and then apply only enough AS to stop the mistracking. If you can't apply enough AS to counter the mistracking then the LP is possibly damaged. Now try adding a few tenths of a gram in VTF to see if that will stop the distortion. If it does, then go back and let up on AS. I think one can see the process developing here.
But all of this assumes that the stylus is aligned as close to perfect as possible. The larger the error, the more the amplitude of the inward vector. So the goal is to eliminate alignment error which should help eliminate the need for AS.
Theoretically, there should not be a change in friction between inner and outer grooves based on 'linear' speed at the stylus. With dry friction, only the interface between the two surfaces and the amount of vertical weight affect friction.
Since VTF is the same for inner and outer grooves, and its the same stylus on the same vynil, there should be no change in friction merely due to different 'speeds' at varying diamters on a record.
Albert has decided to move on from the Walker for yet to be clarified reasons. Perhaps he is enamored enough with the results he is getting from his modified Technics SP10 mk II and SME 312S that he feels compelled to downsize. Personally, I preferred the Walker by a long shot when I visited him in March.
I am wondering if you will have the opportunity to compare the Kuzma linear tracking arm with their new pivoted arm. I've seen the linear arm demonstrated by Frank Kuzma at a show and was quite impressed by the build quality (I also personally like Mr. Kuzma).
I am also interested in comparisons of linear tracking with long arms that minimize tracking error. While the long arms don't completely eliminate geometric tracking error, and don't eliminate skating force, they have an advantage over very short linear tracking arms -- the VTA does not change appreciably with changes in thickness of records. I don't change VTA for different records, yet, when setting up my arm, I noticed significant changes in sound from quite small changes in VTA. To me, VTA is a bigger issue than exact antiskating (or no antiskating).
Dan_ed, I'm not sure you meant for your car analogy to be applied this way, but here goes. Try driving a car in smaller and smaller circles. Which way, outward or inward, does the car want to go? I was hoping here to simplify anti-skate so the beginner could experiment. Yes, I know cantilever stiffness and other things have an effect. I also know(and I believe Conti's arm is unipivot also)that anti-skate is different on uni-pivot's. But, I was not trying to preach to the learned. We have kids getting into vinyl. We have people setting their anti-skate with the anti-skate records(which may or may not work), and thinking that their anti-skate is perfect. And that's not even mentioning azimuth, VTF, and VTA. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy this discussion, but we also want/need other people to join us.
Yes, the car leans to the outside because of centrifugal force is pulling it that way. So why doesn't the car go flying off to the outside? Friction, the force acting between the tires and road surface. Overcome that and you skid out. But, I digress.
The Vector is a modified uni-pivot. It is that small bearing that keeps the pivoting in only 1 direction, looking from a line drawn through the bearing and perpendicular to the tonearm.
Larryi,regarding my being in a position to compare the "fascinating" Kuzma 4 Point to their own Air Line....I doubt that is going to happen,unless I get lucky.
I "have" absolutely been able to make a meaningful comparison of the superb Air Tangent and then it's replacement of a 12.6 unipivot(I hope my "opinion" helps you).All at a close friend's home,and I've heard both arms in the exact set up a load of times.I know the differences each brought to "that" system.Actually,Im more familiar with "that" system than my own as of late!
I LOVED the "specific" Air Tangent my friend had(it had some mods,including a huge and different pump mechanism than the usual A.T.'s in the field).
To me,and sorry to the other folks for going off topic,but Larryi did ask....
The A.T.(as run at my friend) "is" the finest audio component I've ever experienced!Mainly because of how it allowed a vinyl rig to "allow for a certain presentation",and for the obvious loss of some intangibles when it was gone from the set-up.Even though the replacement arm is quite fine,now.
I am not able to describe this actually.You really had to hear this,and many of our friends loved it,and miss it.But do accept the re-worked alternative.....Yeah,I'm wiping my eyes as I keyboard this -:)
Larryi,I assume you'd like some specifics.....
The 12.6 replacement(a VPI,soon to be the new 12.7)also sports the Titan-i.Everything remained the same,so I could easily perceive the differences.Trust me,the system was quite good regarding equip(CJ ART,etc).
Originally the 12.6 was a big disappointment!I did not have the heart to mention "that" to my friend(I'm much braver on the web,but that's not really "me").Of course all of the "group" thought there was a big downgrade.
There was no longer the "amazing" sense of "relaxed body and textures" that the A.T. brought to the set-up.
This factor alone had a huge impact on everything, now being more hi-fi like.Still,if you'd not heard the LT you might not be disappointed.Or if you only like power rock,it would be fine.
We listen to Classical and old Jazz mostly(there are many subtleties on much of the discs my friend likes to play for us which showcase his full range,beautifully textured and super detailed system)though I am on a big "Avante Garde Classical" kick,for the last few years.I guess it's not a "kick" anymore.
I'd had ten years of "two" different A.T. configurations there.I actually was amazed that my pal(someone who'd coached me on LP collecting,and music for decades)who had/has real "cred" could "not" hear the downgrade.So I thought!
There was a "totally" different way the bass pitch definition impacted everything in the music.Along with,what I assume(still a good guess)was the possibility of "now" hearing the inner groove distortions,which were not previously present.Of course,the fact that there was "now" a contact bearing did not help.In comparison,it was sort of slightly pinched sounding.Only compared to what came before,IMO.
Still,my pal had a secret agenda(thank God)because "he" is well connected to some very skilled and knowledgable folks.....So....
About four months later,riding into town like some kind of "hired gun", came the likes of one Richard Foster(he lives in Canada,my pal in Brooklyn).He is an amazing and capable fellow(writes for HiFi Plus,btw).
Richard is a good natured guy(loves to "talk" the hobby)who has the most spectacular LP collection in existence(that I know of at least).An obsessed LP collector,and I'm not kidding(I mean it as a compliment).He also is blessed with amazingly good hearing,and the ability/patience to go "hands on" with much componentry.He has years of "quality" experience.
Fortunately he too had the A.T.(a move forced it to go elsewhere).He now has the 12.7 which my friend Sid is about to get.....So,after much deliberations and sweat(alot) he changed things in the set-up of the arm/table/cartridge.Btw,they are best friends.
He did a "great" job,because there was now a "big" improvement in virtually all areas I'd been so disappointed with before.The system now sounds great,by any standard!!My pal is getting a bit long in the toothe,and wanted to make Lp replay easier.He just did not want to deal with the LT maintence cycle any longer,and knew he could be happy with the VPI,as he'd always liked their stuff.I can respect that....But...
In all honesty,to me there is simply "nothing" like experiencing a very good,full range, high resolution set-up employing one of the "elite" linear arms!I admit I've been more than satisfied with my Grahams(and they are fabulous)but that is because I am a little lacking in patience these days(for good reasons)and "lazy"!I don't want to go through the "care and feeding" of an LT!Well,the cash outlay too.
If I had more time(maybe if retired)I'd certainly think about it,because a LT is an incredible "beast"....Tame it,and you're into another level of sound.
That's my feelings!!However it "must" be one of the "better" LT designs.Some are not going to get you to where I've been!Virtually everyone I know,who've experienced them or owned them in the past,agree there's some serious intangibles they bring to the "listening table".Let's face it,we're all here because we like to feed our ears!-:)
Sirspeedy, I find your story fascinating and very much on topic, as a linear arm has no anti-skate. Larryi, I forgot(or didn't think of) the stylus is being dragged inward like you described(Is it yelling and screaming the whole way?). I do think, though,that the general principle still holds for anti-skate. Audiofeil(and others) has made some interesting points. For instance, there are 2 points where a normal tonearm/cartridge are at its optimum, and one thought I had was maybe getting the anti-skate correct between the inner point and the end of the record may have some merit. Ultimately, we have to use our ears(while paying attention to specs., what others have experienced, and/or theories).