This could happen because as the stylus first touches the grooves it has hardly any tracking force on it until it settles in to its set tracking force.
You might try lowering the stylus closer to the first music grooves. The edge of the records has a pretty sever bump and if the stylus lands there it will tend to skid inward.
That's a great table/arm and a great cartridge. The the platter perfectly level? Or did adjusting the suspension cause it not to be level?
On the din possibly effecting this...could be a issue with the wiring inside the arm. If the din has been spun around a few times maybe there is a little torque on the wire? I'd be careful here, the wires inside a delicate.
Also, is all the arm bolts tightened? Maybe something is loose and when you twist the din your also twisting the arm?
Also a light VTF could cause this.
Sounds_real_audio may be right...and it's none of the above...
Make sure your arm is far enough to the right when resting, the arm rest can "nudge" the arm wand inwards when lowering it
I would check the level of the table and VTF like others have said. I have a SME IV.Vi and set the anti-skate to 1/2 of the tracking force of 1.7, so mine is set to about .85 or even less, my scale goes from zero to three. I set the needle down quite close to the starting track to avoid any skipping but I'd say this is a common practice on all TT's. I have no tracking problems and it sounds great.
Check the position of the tonearm while at rest. There is a template for this. If the arm is not at the right angle in relation to the table, anti-skate will be screwed up.
Another thing that you should check is whether the cartridge is absolutely horizontal. If it is leaning one way or the other, the stylus will not enter the groove properly and will slip. When I leveled the cartridge on my system, it catches the groove with ease...every time...on every record.
Thanks a lot everybody.
The table is in level, and I have adjusted the suspension to make sure sub chassis, top chassis and platter is in level. I will try to lower the stylus closer to the first track, the thing is I have never had this issue on my other turntable (Avid Acutus Reference SP/Dynavector DV507MKII) neither with the XV-1s or the Jan Allaerts MC2 Finish Gold (I will try the JA on the SME soon).
My SME V comes with detachable headshell, so I have the opportunity to adjust aziumuth, but it doesn't seems to help or worsen this issue.
I have also played with different momentum when tightening the different bolts and yes, the arm is resting in the right position. I have been careful when tightening the bolts making sure the pillar is vertical (if you tighten one bolt to much before tighten the other after adjusting VTA it's possible to get the arm out of level).
I will check out the cable dressing again.
I thought all SME V's were fixed headshells! The SME IV.V has a removeable headshell. Also, check the fluid in the damper.
The behavior described in the OP is normal on any properly set up rig (assuming a pivoting tonearm and an offset cartridge mount).
Fact: when a stylus contacts a spinning LP surface, skating forces immediately act to pull the tonearm inward
Fact: LP's with inward sloping lead-in ramps exacerbate this tendency, since gravity reinforces the skating force
Fact: if these forces are not resisted, the arm will swing inward
Resistance to this inward motion may be provided by:
a) friction between stylus and LP,
b) friction in the tonearm bearings,
c) outward bias applied by the anti-skate mechanism, and/or
d) friction between the tonearm and its cueing support.
Regarding (a), an ungrooved LP surface offers little resistance to inward movement. Stylus-vinyl friction, therefore, does little to impede inward motion until the stylus locks into a groove.
Regarding (b), friction from the arm bearings will be lower on tonearms of higher build quality, so the best tonearms will tend to swing in fastest.
Regarding (c), adjusting anti-skating to compensate for skating forces before the stylus finds the groove will result in excessive anti-skating for in-groove conditions, which is what matters when playing music. Anti-skating should be adjusted to optimize playback, not as a cueing aid.
The solution is to utilize (d) by learning to cue effectively. Don't just flip the cueing lever down and walk away. Maintain control of the stylus until it locks into a groove.
In your own words, you "have to be most careful when lowering the arm to avoid skipping". That's exactly right.
I own an SME V and Doug's explanation above is what I experience. I manually lower the arm very slowly into the lead groove, rarely if ever allowing the arm to leave the cueing support. Once the stylus hits the vinyl and moves into the lead groove, I finish lowering the cueing lever. I use very little anti-skate force and my stylus rarely skips.
Another issue with the SME tables is the washer placed under the LP at the spindle. This raises the LP above the surface of the platter. The record clamp then pushes the LP down (at the edge of the label) as it is tightened resulting in better record/platter contact. However, the inner part of the LP, usually the area after the last lead out groove is sloped up toward the spindle (because of the washer) and this results in the stylus traveling "up hill" at the end. I am not enough of a physicist to know if this effects anti-skate forces.
Audioquest4life: I own an SME IV.Vi arm. It does not have a removable headshell.
Thanks for the clarification. I always thought that the V series was one of the few with a fixed headshell.
Thanks a lot Dougdeacon and Peterayer, this was great reading.
Audioquest4life: You can get the SME V with a detachable headshell. This will make the arm less rigid of course, but the advantage is you can adjust aziumth (and take of the headshell when mounting a cartridge). Here are som pictures http://www.hifisentralen.no/forum/index.php/topic,21378.660.html
Hi, that table looks like a 20/12 and a 312s arm in the photo...however I can't see the model #....
Hello Jfrech. That's just the angle, it's a standard SME 20/2 with SME V-Detachable.
HI, you're right. I saw the 3rd pic and that kinda looks like a 20/12 but the platter is off...making it appear wider...thanks
This sounds EXACTLY like some "problems" I've been having with an assortment of tables, arms and cartridges which have passed in and out of my system over the past 2 years. To be more precise, I've had Avid Volvere and Oracle Delphi V and VI tables, 2 SME Vs, one Graham Phantom, and multiple cartridges including Benz Ruby, Zyx UNIverse, Dynavector XV-1s and Ortofon MC A90. In every case I have had EXACTLY the same issues you are describing - with the added caveat that some of the combos gave me tracking issues in the right channel. With my current set-up (Delphi VI, Phantom and A90) I seem to be getting the best overall tracking performance but only with more than max antiskating and the DIN connector rotated all the way counterclockwise. All in all, skipping in the lead-in groove was worst with the XV-1s (the issue you're having) and tracking was worst with the UNIverse - the issue always appearing to be related to excessive skating force causing skipping ahead or mistracking.
Anyways, I've worked with and examined this issue in ridiculous amounts of detail and basically have come to a conclusion similar to Doug. Now I'm just enjoying the music!