Anti Skating adjustment

Hi, I was reading a response to a thread concerning anti skating adjustment. I was hoping someone could give me some advise. I just recently purchased a retipped Monster Cable Genesis 1000MkII while I send my Sigmas Genesis 2000MkII for a new stylus. Anyway, when lowering the new cartridge down on a protractor the cantilever deflects left. I have checked and recheck table balance and azimuth in the horizontal plane. All appears ok. The antiskating seems not to affect the deflection while lowering the cartridge onto the protractor. I have adjust antiskating with the Cardas "balancing plateau" track as well as a Hi Fi News test record. The antiskating adjustment does impact the tonearm movement when rotating a record but not when just lowering the cartridge onto the protractor. When lowering onto a record the deflection is still there but less noticable.
The retipping appears to maybe have affected the compliance of the cartridge. My turntable is an extensively modified AR ES-1 with all of George Merrill mods with an delrin/acrylic clamp and aluminum periphery ring, the tonearm is an Audioquest PT-9.
So when the anti skate is set to 0 you still get some deflection?
The anti-skating will always cause the cantilever to deflect when lowered statically. Adjust the anti-skate for minimum L/R deflection when lowered on a spinning record.
First make sure your arm wiring is not putting any torque on the arm. Check for this by setting the balance to neutral with no anti-skate and blow on the catridge to check for up & down and lateral freedom of movement. If all is well, and you still have deflection with minimum anti-skate, then your re-tipped catridge may have bad rubber damping or possible bad retip geometry.
Thanks Oldears! I totally agree and suspect that either the suspension (piano wire tension) has somehow been affected or the damper material is causing it. Soundsmith retipped the cartridge with a ruby cantilever just recently from the original diamond coated boron type. The length of the cantilever appears a little longer than the original and the compliance seems to be higher, although if just the cantilever/stylus was changed, I would think that the suspension would not have been affected. The A/S does appear to work correctly when spinning a "flat" track like the Cardas record. I will recheck again. I never really gave this much attention to all this until this cartridge came along.
Should one make VTF, overhang, zeneth, and azimuth alignments with no A/S then after all is setup then adjust A/S? Then adjust A/S (or bias)with either a test record (which checks for distortion only at 300Hz) or as Soundsmith recommends by listening to a mono track and adjusting for least or equal bleed through on the "empty" channel? In the past I would set VTF and A/S the same (as Jelco/Audioquest recommends) then set physical orientation and then recheck VTF after that? The last adjustment would be VTA.
Yep, I just rechecked the bias with no VTF (balanced) and the A/S dial set to 0 produces no horizontal movement when "blowing" straight down on the headshell from above. Just a slight amount movement on the dial does start to move the tonearm away from the spindle. I set the VTF at 1.7grams with digital gauge and with A/S dial at zero there is still deflection easily seen. The sylus tip geometry is correct or at least looks straight down and vertical in relationship with the cantilever. It has to be the suspension!! I just bought this cartridge on Audiogon from an owner who had the retip service conducted by Soundsmith just recently. I would think that Peter at Soundsmith would check the suspension on arrival and before shipment out. I can't see how one would damage the suspension (previous owner) and not break the ruby cantilever. Oh loss!
Imho abd experience the antiskating force is if not the same a little bit less than the vtf.

As the Vta the perfect way to get it right is begining from a standard point (arm paralel to the platter) and move up and down. With the A/S vegining from the vtf number and increase or decrease simply listening.

Forget to use the non-groove vinyl procedure because it is not right. It simply doesn't work
My anti skate force is about 1/10th of my VTF.

There is not a single "correct" anti-skate force. It is always an approximation that gives "better" performance given a constantly changing set of variables. Yes, listening is the best way to set anti-skate force, but it isn't the most helpful advice.

There are many "tricks" to help best determine this approximation. My personal favorite is steady the cartridge near the outer edge of a blank CD-R (similar to the blank LP method). I believe this is the method suggested by both Peter Ledermann and Frank Schroder (but my espresso hasn't kicked in, so my memory may be foggy).
Correcting an error in an earlier post, VTA is set with the top surface of the cartridge parallel to the platter.

Not the tonearm.

1-. This cdr test is not valid because the skating force is applyed to the grooves, if you hae no grooves you have no information about skating force. Another reason is that for example SME arms always go to the center with this cdr test even if you add all the antiskating force to te arm.

2-. Probably it depends on the cartridge/arm relation BUT imho with all the cartridges i have had the a/s force was really really near to the vtf value. I think when this value is not near the vtf probably the problem is in the arm (age), the azimuth adjustment, etc...

I talked to Peter today concerning the cartridge and he is willing to look at it again with a new RA#. Don't know how this occurred, but the suspension or dampers seems to be the problem. I don't know enough about the internal construction of this cartridge but it should be very similar to the ZYX cartridges today since Nakatsuka-san built them. I have heard that he does not use any rubber dampers and that age should not be an issue, but I'm not sure. What this has brought up though is the Anti-skating factor. I think we all should check our tonearms with balancing for zero VTF and setting A/S to zero to ensure that there is no residual side movement of the tonearm. I always set the VTF and A/S the same as Jelco/Audioquest recommends for the PT-9. With the VTF and A/S set at say 1.5 grams (minimum tracking force for this cartridge) there is a substantial side movement toward the edge of platter. I still think that the flat surface tracks for antiskating on the Cardas and HiFi News records in the center of the LP is a good starting point, then either a bias track of some old Shure test records, or Peter's recommendation for equal crosstalk of the silent track while playing a mono track between channels is a good method. I do think that A/S should not be the same as VTF and much lower.
Not valid? If you say so.

But, back to the OP, you be better off consulting a tonearm designer and a cartridge manufacturer than an audio forum on anti-skate. You'll get 11 opinions from 10 members.
It seems that too many of you get over excited about Anti-Skate. It is not nearly as important...or even important at all. Simply add a very tiny bit of anti-skate if it makes you feel less nervous. The force that one corrects with anti-skate is constantly changing with distance the cartridge is from the spindle, the angle of the cartridge relative to the groove, the loudness of that particular area of the record, the lightly or heavily scoring of that particular area of the record, and I'm sure other factors as well. There are those that also say that anti-skate mechanisms themselves can adversly affect tonearm performance, and that they should be disabled.

Regarding Yesfan's cartridge...send it back to be rechecked/repaired. Personally, I would only accept perfection.
Dear Pojuojuo,
I recently did some internet research on this subject. Most mathematical calculations of AS show that the force applied needs to be but a fraction of the VTF, in agreement with what Nrenter says. If you found otherwise with your cartridge in your tonearm, other factors may be at play. For one thing, you might want to check that your tonearm mounting board is level and plane parallel to the surface of the platter.

However, in my house, in my system, I do find there is some benefit to applying some low amount of AS. Usually I just set AS to the bare minimum above zero and forget it thereafter.
Thanks for your inputs...

The fact is that as I said with ALL the SME models if you play a non groove vinyl always the arm goes to the center of the spindle so this cdr test is not valid, even it is not a clue. I also said that a/s force is added into the grooves and if you have no grooves you can't evaluate anything, this is the reason of the a/s tracks in some vinyls like Hifi news test record I have.

As Stringreen said before a/s is constantly changing but you should try to get the best sound possible, at least in my system if I change the a/s force I lose everything
Hi Pojuojuo, I agree with what Lew stated. But to have some
tangible orientation I use the Image HIFI test record with
tracking ability test. With 70 mu without any buzz from the
R. channel I am complete satisfy and this is in accordance
with an advice from Van den Hul from years ago.

Pojuojuo, I agree with you, a test LP with no grooves cannot generate any skating force that is like the skating force we are trying to cancel. Skating force is due to friction between the stylus tip and the groove walls, which is why it is a moving target (variable) throughout the course of playing an LP. No groove, no skating force. So, we all agree on that.
Lewm might agree with himself, but he now needs to explain how a non-adjusted cartridge/tonearm can skate across the surface of an ungrooved record. If he doesn't believe this he can try it. He needs to acquaint himself with the physics of frictional forces and the intracacies of vector algebra to avoid making totally incorrect statements like this. Note that my observation does not necessarily promote the use of ungrooved records to set the optimum anti-skating force.
Regards, Maclogan: It's called centripetal force, a concept that's been around almost since that famous event when the apple clonked Mr. Newton on the head. The engagement of the stylus in the groove contributes to additional friction, sometimes simple phenomena (or simple minds like mine) don't need to be distracted by algebraic formulas for comprehension. Otherwise I agree, we'd all do well to get our facts right.

Personal approach is to listen for the "phantom center channel", or when the stylus is equally involved with both sides of the groove. My stylus, records and ears thank me for doing so, it's much less wearing on all of them.

Have fun & seasons greetings.

Anti skate can be set by ear. Find a record with some vocals and some decent dynamics. Then set the force to zero. This works best with someone helping you, but you can do it yourself if you're patient.

Listen to the right channel and you should hear it almost lower in dynamic volume than the left (a bit recessed). Slowly turn the tracking force up, I mean very slowly a wee bit at a time. Eventually you should start to hear the right channel coming up and getting closer to what the left channel is producing dynamically. Then as you get higher you should hear both channels sounding more dynamic and just better and better. Move the anti-skate up very slowly now.

At last you will hear a fairly dramatic drop off in the quality of both channels. You have now gone a wee bit too far. Back it off a notch and you have optomized your anti-skate.

Dear Maclogan, I really don't know what you are talking about. The fact that the cartridge seeks the spindle on a rotating ungrooved LP does not in any way disprove my statement that it is not a good idea to set anti-skate using an ungrooved LP. The skating force is due first and foremost to groove friction (acting in concert with the lack of tangency between the cantilever and the groove). If you don't have grooves, you don't have the skating force that we are interested in canceling. I did not say that there is NO force, just not skating force. On a smooth surface there is still some friction between the vinyl and the stylus tip, and the tip/cantilever are still not perfectly perpendicular to the radius of the LP (what I meant by "tangent"), so yes, there is a centripetal force present. But no groove walls. So, what's the problem? (In fact, skating force is also a centripetal force, just different in magnitude from what you get when there are no grooves, which is my whole point.)

I would not wish to misinform anyone, so if someone sees an error in what I wrote, I am more than happy to acknowledge that and glad to be corrected, if you can convince me.
The skating force that acts on a stylus to cause the arm to swing towards the spindle is generated by the friction between stylus and record. It acts along an axis which is tangent to the curve at the point where the stylus meets the record.

If there is no groove, then that simply means the amount and nature of the friction force is different depending on the stylus profile and how much, or how little, it digs into the blank record surface.

In other words the stylus will skate if there is VTF and the arm has overhang, unless something stops it.

The point to remember is that the stylus is stopped from skating by the inner groove, not constrained by the outer

When playing an LP, with enough VTF the stylus will stay in the groove, but there will still be unequal downforce on each channel. With antiskate applied, these forces can be equalised. That"s the way it is.

There is always a skating force. Depending on arm length and stylus, it will usually be from 10 to 30 % of VTF. The force varies across the record, so it might change from say 20 to 30 % of VTF from outer to inner groove in the case of a 9" arm.

If, with particular set ups, users prefer not to use antiskate, then they presumably feel the trade off is worth it. This doesn't mean there is no skating force.

The centripetal force In terms of the arm, which is the rotating part in this context, not the cartridge, would be that acting from stylus to arm pivot in reaction to its opposite component which is supplied by the friction on the stylus. The remaining component of that friction force acts to rotate the arm, and is the skating force we all know and love...
Hence, with a sensitive higher end cartridge you should be able to hear a difference as skating force is removed and applied, and you can optomize it by ear (as I stated above), which is all that really matters anyway regardless of the math.

Dropping a stylus on a grooveless record is not optomizing anything with regards to the music and what you hear, and can actually be worse than using no anti-skating at all (per the info above).
Agreed. I do it by ear. With no AS at all, I hear a dominance of the R channel output and some distortion in that channel. I add AS to the point where the image seems to centralize and the distortion disappears. That endpoint usually requires only very little in the way of AS.
Lewm, do you mean dominance in the left channel with no AS? Skating force is towards the centre, inner wall of groove (left channel). AS provides a force towards the outer groove wall (right channel).
There is an interesting take on setting AS here: Guru setup method
Tobes, I was reporting what I actually did hear. But you have reminded me that on the day I made that observation, the tonearm leads may have been crossed. I just read the Vacuum State reference you kindly provided. What I hear is not quite like what they describe but the endpoint is the same. The sad message from Vacuum State is that one needs to be fiddling with AS all the time for all LPs, if the sweet spot is as elusive as they say it is.
I haven't tried all the 'guru' setup tips - and I definitely don't adjust VTA with the precision suggested in the article - but I found the antiskate adjustment method useful.
I've found it important to adjust antiskate and azimuth in an iterative manner. As I dial in azimuth I find I can reduce antiskate and the soundspace becomes bigger, more cohesive and the music more compelling and alive. Very small adjustments to azimuth make a difference IME (or perhaps that's due to the stylus shape I'm using?).
I sent the cartridge with the suspected suspension problem to Peter at Soundsmith. I have verified no problems with turntable or tonearm by mounting different cartridges and they don't exhibit any problems. My original post was concerning antiskating and it's possible effect with this cartridges weird cantilever deflection when applying VTF.
Peter said that he can't duplicate the problem but it's definitely got one!
I just wanted to say a big thanks to everyone involved with this thread.

Because of the controversy I revisited my AS setup on my SME V and am very glad that I did! As others have stated, your ear and taste is the final arbiter.

For the last few hours I've been fiddling with my VTF, AS and the damper on the SME V and am more than pleased with the results! A good afternoon's work with my reference vinyl!

Cheers from sunny London!

I would email Audiofool and get his opinion...he knows what is the best thing for everyone.
Not true soundsreally.

But I know a lot more than you.

So anytime you want to go one on one for cash anything analog, you let me know. You don't have the balls.

But if you decide to play, bring your checkbook.