Antiskate issue.

I had just found out using a test record that my antiskate was way to much. I used close to the tracking force. I know I probably damaged some of my records. I have around 300 hours on the Benz L2. Have I damaged my cartridge also??? I am not an expert at setting up a TT and I made a mistake on this. I have a DP protractor and the set up procedures for the Graham 2.2. I also have an Acoustic Signiture Final Tool. Oh read this. I emailed the factory about a small speed variation. You can adjust it. Less than one minute later I get a call from them!!!!! Talk about service.
Dear Blueranger: I don't think that you really make a damage to your records and certainly not to your cartridge.

As you say: what a service from Acoustic Signature !!!! Yes it is to easy to fine adjust the speed variation either 33 or 45 rpm: the pots are at hand in the power supply.

Regards and enjoy the music.
You probably didn't hurt records or cartridge at "close to the tracking force" but you don't need anywhere that much. It's a "hangover" rule from the days of elliptical styli and low VTF MM cartridges.

The L2 has a high enough compliance (fairly squishy suspension) that you ought to be able to adjust the AS visually. View the cartridge head on with a bright light on it. As you lower the stylus into the groove, if there's too little AS, the cantilever will appear to deflect outward toward the edge of the record. Too little, it will appear to deflect inward. When the AS is just right, it will not deflect either way. Today most MC carts need much lower AS than the old "equal to the tracking force" rule. Van den Hul recommends 1/3 of the tracking force for his cartridges, or more accurately, cartridges with a van den Hul stylus in them.

Don't get frustrated if you're not sure you have it perfect. Close is close enough. If you want to be compulsive, you can put on a vocal soloist or solo guitar, set the preamp to "mono" if possible, and adjust the AS very slightly up or down endlessly until you feel the imaging is perfect.
Thanks for your answers. I did not want my new cartridge wore out before its time. I will try thr mono test. Thanks

Here's another effective way to set AS:

1. First, make sure VTF is set properly. Skating force varies with VTF, so adjusting AS first is backwards. Start with AS at 1/2 of VTF and then use music to adjust VTF as follows:

- too light and bass weakens or the cartridge mistracks
- too heavy and highs weaken or microdynamic detail is muffled

Optimal VTF changes with the weather, so it's important to do adjust by listening. A scale only gets you in the ballpark.

2. Reduce AS to the lowest available setting (but not zero).

3. Play music. Start with a fairly non-dynamic passage and move to more dynamic ones in steps. Listen for R channel mistracking or distortion. If/when you get it, increase AS by a very small amount. Replay the passage, increasing AS in tiny amounts until you're sure it's playing cleanly.

4. Repeat step 3 as often as necessary until you can play the most dynamic, difficult-to-track passages in your collection. This will be a good AS setting.

(IME, the toughest music to track is well recorded opera vocals and solo piano. If you can track a tenor singing full blast without losing HF detail on a solo harpsichord, your VTF and AS are well dialed in.)

You'll probably end up with an AS setting far below 1/2 of VTF. If you enjoy sonic experiments, take note of the good setting you discovered and then push it back to 1/2x or even 1x VTF. Listen to some music. It will probably sound a bit lifeless. Now return to the good lower setting and enjoy the music more!


P.S. As Nsgarch noted, there can never be a "perfect" AS setting. The skating force varies with each LP and also with your position on the record (inner grooves vs. outer). This is one reason test records are fairly useless for adjusting AS, and also why it's pointless to go crazy over it. The AS setting determined by the method above prevents groove damage while optimizing the musical performance of the cartridge.
I was around in the days of "elliptical styli and low VTF MM cartridges" and I never heard of anything like the VTF value for anti-skating. I remember a 1/3 or 1/4 rule of thumb.

Before I adopted linear tracking (which avoids the skating force problem) I adjusted mine so as to enable tracking of a tracking test record at the lowest VTF. Easy to do. Doesn't require a flashlight or good eyesight!
My memory is that when tonearm manufacturers began adding antiskate to their tonearms, in the form of springs or strings with weights, their instructions always said to set the antiskate (force) to match the VTF. The reason I put "force" in parentheses is because it was never clear to me, and still isn't, that those AS scales on tonearm dials/weights refer to an actual measurement of sideways force, or whether they're just arbitrary numbers.

Anyway, when the cartridge had a high enough compliance to actually see the deflection, there was no problem just doing it visually, it was so obvious, and that was that. I never ran across the 1/3 figure until I read A.J. van den Hul's very informative and extensive phono faq page -- updated in 2003:

Tracking at the lowest possible VTF is also something that belongs to the MM/elliptical stylus era. I'm not sure why, but perhaps it had to do with the extremely high compliance of those cartridges and the ultra lightweight tonearms of the time. A typical Shure cartridge tracked at .75-1.5 gm, and the cool thing was to get them to track at .5 gm, especially if you had a great lightweight tonearm like the old Infinity Black Widow!

While times and designs change, physics remains constant. Today's MC cartridges have lower compliance, higher tracking force and micro-ridge styli. And everyone now seems to have discovered that they track better at the high end of their VTF range rather than the low end. That, along with careful SRA adjustment, results in less groove wear, counterintuitive as that may seem to some. But the more extensive use of MC cartridges now, is IMO what has made antiskating adjustment a more important issue than it used to be.
Dear Eldartford: I agree with neil about the AS/VTF subject, well, I'm not " remembering ": I'm using " old " design MM and in almost all operation manuals the manufacturer recomended same AS/VTF, either with eliptical/spheric or micro ridge stylus.

Neil, reading to all my tonearm operation manuals I understand that the value of the AS is refered like a weight: in grs.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Rauliruegas...I don't have an old owners manual to look at, but I do remember the 1/3 to 1/4 ratio of AS/VTF. This must have come from the Empire TT or Shure pickups that I used. But, don't we all agree that AS equal to VTF would be way too much? After all we got along for many years without any AS at all.
Thanks all.
Dear Eldartford: Yes, we agree that equal is too much.

Regards and enjoy the music.
>> And everyone now seems to have discovered that they track better at the high end of their VTF range rather than the low end. <<

Well, just think of me as salmon swimming upstream on this point. My system is extremely revealing and dynamic. There is no doubt in my mind that a setting of just enough VTF to avoid mistraking is so much better sounding than tracking at the high-end. At these lighter setting everything is much more delicate and detailed. Not just highs, but bass as well. Same goes for AS. I'm finding that Linda Ronstadt's (? spelling) booming mouth works pretty well for finding the limit with AS.