So, does it still look level after visual inspection? I use a level that's 1 and 3/4 inch long which I place at the top of the pivoting point (that area is a flat surface on my toan arm) of the tone arm while playing a record to see if the azimuth is set level. The head shell does look very level and it is at the very best sounding spot that I can hear. BTW, where can I get a Fozgometer?
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So, for the cantilever canted to the left or right, what's the solution? The cantilever on my Soundsmith Aida cart appears to be very, very slightly canted to the left (toward the center of the record) but is perfectly straight. I have a test record but without voltmeter it is very difficult to hear whether the output varies between the L and R channels. The test tone sounds fine and even. I tried leveling the head shell but then the bottom of the cart doesn't look parallel to the record surface. In the end, I went with Fremer's advice and used a mirror to make sure the cantilever itself is perpendicular to the record surface. Not surprisingly, the head shell is not parallel now.
Seconding the first poster's question: what was your ultimate setting? The cantilever perpendicular to the record surface, head shell parallel to the record surface, or something in between? And how does this device work? Would a voltmeter be equally precise in your opinion?
Elizabeth, I always enjoy your advice. Do you know how to precisely use a voltmeter (or a multimeter I can get for about $20 from Ace Hardware) to adjust azimuth?
I was told you put the leads to the speaker's terminal but mine are bi-wired and I'm still confused about the DC/AC current selection. I checked out the Fozgometer and it looks very straightforward to use; so straightforward in fact that I'd be probably willing to spend $250 to get the damn azimuth right once and for all...
Actusreus - use your amps terminals rather than your speakers. With a voltmeter set to AC, the 5V setting should do nicely. Also you will need a test record. Below is a link to an A'gon write-up I did a while back - there is nothing unique about it. I've only seen pictures of the Fozgometer, but using it will involve essentially the same technique as a voltmeter and the latter will be less expensive.
Some cartridges more than others are sensitive to less than optimal azimuth. Unless you have a Graham or Triplanar or other tonearm sporting a good azimuth adjustment interface, then adjustment can be a bit fiddley but once you've done the voltmeter technique a couple times, its pretty easy to iterate across multiple adjustments to fine tune the crosstalk and get things nicely dialed in. Dougolsen gives a good description of the characteristic benefits of proper azimuth. I find it worth the effort to get the readings so I can gauge if adjustment is needed and have the peace of mind in knowing. Good luck with your cartridge setup!
Using a voltmeter to adjust azimuth
I first realized the importance of proper azimuth adjustment when someone demonstrated it to me using his Triplanar tonearm. From that point forward, I lusted for a Triplanar. For a very good treatise on azimuth, how to adjust it, why you are adjusting it, what to expect, etc, I recommend a search of the Vinyl Asylum archives for long posts by B Kearns and by V Khomenko (sp?). Those guys are my bible on this subject.
By the way, I own a now antique Signet Cartridge Analyzer which, if you have the right test LP and a Triplanar, makes setting azimuth a breeze, using the direct output of the cartridge itself, which eliminates the possible effects of downstream amplification. But the Signet does not quite have enough input sensitivity for a modern LOMC cartridge output. It needs an antecedent gain stage.
I am a proponent of using your ears rather than instrumentation for adjusting azimuth. There seems to be a lot of angst about getting this adjustment "right". I assert that "right" is when it sounds best, regardless of what the technical parameters may be. I suspect that in most but not all cases an instrument guided alignment will also deliver the best sound. But since the only thing that matters is the sound, why take the detour into instrumentation.
With good line contact stylus it is very easy to hear when azimuth is properly adjusted. For most people I think it is quite unlikely that using an instrument will result better sound. And there is a distinct possibility that an instrument alignment could produce worse sound.
Some cartridges are considerably less sensitive to exact azimuth and VTA adjustment. Instrumentation does make adjustment easier in this case, but what does it accomplish other than to ease audio neurosis? If you have a cartridge where you can not hear the difference between close and exact then exact adjustment buys you exactly nothing.
Oh, yes and our ears are free.
Dear Teres, You make a good point, mostly because with most all the cartridges that I have ever bothered to align electrically, there IS no one "correct" setting. Usually I have ended up choosing a setting that gives seemingly the least possible crosstalk in each channel, but as those two values (R into L vs L into R) are virtually never exactly equal, one still needs to use one's judgement. I guess I just don't trust my ears enough to do it all by ear. I generally start with an electrically determined setting and then fiddle with it a little more "by ear".
I'm in Teres' camp at the moment. I purchased a Wallyskater a few years ago and found the method helped ball park a setting, but listening led me tweak it - YMMV.
I also remember seeing the lissajous patterns back in the days. I like Elizabeth's idea of a PC based o'scope. Michael Fremer reviewed just such a product - Dr. Feickert's Adjust+ in Stereophile's Oct. 2008 issue. Mikey liked it, conditionally. The manual was poorly translated from the original German. When/if the manual was re-written in plain English, he'd highly recommend it. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be in their web archives.
The article mentioned the cost was $250 with a Pro version available at $399. It measures phase angle, crosstalk, speed, wow, flutter, S/N, harmonic distortion, tonearm resonance and frequency response using a test LP (included) and high quality sound card (not included).
For more details: http://www.adjustplus.de/index.php?lang=english
It's unlikely it will ever hit my priority list, but it looks to be the best method at the moment. Until that time, my ears do just fine.
Relax, have a just released Founder's KBS (extremely limited) and listen to some Dead...
Sometimes I wonder if the reason some tonearms are more sensitive than others in azimuth and VTA adjustment is because the arrangement of the vertical bearings. Arms without offset angled at the bearing will have a greater effect when changing VTA will result in changing azimuth, vise-versa. Arms like Rega, SME V, etc.. have bearings angled approximately 23 degrees to match the headshell angle are, I believe, less sensitive to VTA and azimuth settings. Arms like Clearaudio Satisfy, Origin Live, etc.. that have no offset angle at the bearing are probably more sensitive to azimuth and VTA settings. The only true unipivot arm that has this offset angle is the pre-Phantom Graham models.
Just a hunch.
Dear Hiho, I am not sure what you mean. Any well designed tonearm should have no play in the bearings, regardless of the offset angle. Unipivots are uniquely likely to induce a variation in cartridge azimuth during play, because they can potentially rotate around the pivot, and need to be designed so as to avoid or reduce that problem, vis the Graham. But the prime reason for a need to adjust azimuth is the variability among cartridges in the accuracy of the alignment of the motor with the external boundaries of the cartridge body. If that were always perfect, one could just align with a mirror. Possibly I have misunderstood you, and if so I apologize.
It has nothing to do with play in the bearing. Just take a look from the top view at the ubiquitous Rega RB-300 and notice the vertical bearings angled at 23 degrees from the armtube that also matches the same offset angle at the cartridge, also 23 degrees. It's a geometric issue. Any pivot tonearm that does not have this angle when changing VTA the azimuth also changes with it. To illustrate my point, just imagine the cartridge is mounted at 90 degrees from the straight armtube and when you change the azimuth, the VTA changes with it. Take a look at bearing arrangement in all pivot arms around you and notice how the bearings are angled approximately 23 in relation to the armtube, including the Triplanar that you have - although the azimuth adjustment of the Triplanar is by rotating the armtube so it would affect the VTA. Again, it's a geometric issue and has nothing to do with bearing quality. I hope this makes sense.
I personally prefer tonearms that provide azimuth adjustment that takes this offset angle relationship into consideration. Only the Graham arms, Basis Vector, Continuum Copperhead & Cobra, Well Tempered Arm, and few others have this feature. Of course any arm with detachable headshell can use something like a Sumiko headshell that's rotatable.
Essentially, I think Hiho is saying that to adjust azimuth without altering VTA, the adjustment must be made downstream from the ~23 degree offset angle that is typically built into the geometry of fixed bearing tonearms. (It's not always 23 degrees; I own two tonearms, the Kenwood L07D tonearm and the Dynavector DV505 where that angle is less than 23 degrees.) If you adjust azimuth by twisting the arm upstream from the bend, then you are also changing VTA. Is that correct, Hiho?
Never having seen any of the tonearms Hiho mentions as exceptions, I don't readily understand how they work, unless the headshell itself twists about its own axis, as in the case of a removable headshell with built-in azimuth adjustment capability. The newer Reed tonearms also avoid this issue by allowing azimuth adjustment right at the headshell, but this adds several grams in terms of effective mass.
I think I see. If it is what I'm thinking then Hiho's premise would apply to fixed bearing arms that also cant the headshell. Nothing new here. Even so, the fact that there is a small range for either adjustment to be made without significant change to the other parameter should be known by the user of the tonearm.
I recently spend a few weeks with new tonearm prototype that has true on-the-fly azimuth adjustment. This really makes setting AZ correctly by ear a no brainer. I found that, like VTA, many albums that I play seem indifferent to AZ tweaking. For others it is like that cheesy Bose commercial where the picture of the tiny system grows into a much larger one. The sound presentation change was very much like that when AZ was correct.
Congratulations on advancing to "adjusting by listening", and on learning to hear the difference azimuth adjustment makes.
Like Teres I used to use electronic equipment to adjust azimuth. After sessions with several cartridges I realized I could adjust just as accurately while listening to music, not to mention faster and with less fuss. You described EXACTLY what to listen for, IME.
Good that you discovered levelling the headshell doesn't help much. No one plays grooves with a headshell, we play them with a stylus and few styli are vertical to the necessary degree of accuracy. Levelling the headshell's usually a time-wasting distraction. Roughing in by eye is best done by making the stylus look vertical with a mirror and magnifier. After that the fine tuning is by ear and the headshell ends up wherever it ends up.
VTF, VTA/SRA and antiskating are also all best adjusted by listening to music. The more practiced we get the fewer measurements and test records we need.
P.S. Hiho is correct. I described his observation by analogy many years ago on VA. Azimuth changes with vertical arm angle on any tonearm with an offset headshell. It's unavoidable.
As I said, approximately 23 degrees for typical Rega 9 inch arm and offset angle decreases as the arm gets longer. Lewm is right that azimuth can be adjusted at the headshell on its own axis. However, not many tonearms allow azimuth adjustment at the pivot area WITH the offset angle built in; that's why I dropped those few names.
Don't worry, this is not a knock on arms that don't have this feature as long as you pay attention to adjustment and can get good result and that's all that matters. Enjoy the music.
I think a close study of the Graham Phantom will explain this geometric issue better. Sorry for being so clumsy at explaining in writing.
Notice the bearing angle to the azimuth adjuster on the "magnaglide". This angle matches the angle at the headshell so when you change the azimuth of the pivot, the azimuth of the cartridge changes with it. (I know the Phantom is a quasi-unipivot so it requires outside support to avoid azimuth rocking)
Michael Fremer reviewed just such a product - Dr. Feickert's Adjust+ in Stereophile's Oct. 2008 issue. Mikey liked it, conditionally. The manual was poorly translated from the original German. When/if the manual was re-written in plain English, he'd highly recommend it. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be in their web archives.The better translated manual was available by the time Fremer's article was published.
The prices are in Euros, not dollars, so the cost is quite a bit more. The pro version which I use on clients' systems measures all those parameters, while the standard version does not but includes the azimuth measurements.
With regard to azimuth, the Feickert software measures phase response and crosstalk. The former correlates better to what we hear and the transfer function is used to determine it.
Because I get phone calls and emails asking if I sell the software, I should clarify that it is only sold direct.
While I too am a proponent of using your ears to get azimuth right, I think that people need to be shown what a locked in azimuth adjustment sounds like.
So, either a tool or a mentor can help you find a baseline, after which your ears tell the rest of the story.
One thing that Joel learned in the development of the Talea tonearm, is that azimuth that measures well at 200 Hz (minimum cross talk), measures slightly differently at 1kHz.
Analog is a wiggly world, and resonances manifest in the strangest of ways.
So, what frequency to use for this? The frequency of your music collection ... of course ;-)
Thom @ Galibier
The Shure and Audioquest test LPs, both of which contain bands for setting azimuth in conjunction with the Signet Cartridge Analyzer, generate a pure test tone of 1kHz, first in one channel only and then in the other channel only. I think anywhere from 500Hz to 2kHz is a good average frequency representative of "music". Otherwise, one would indeed go nuts with this azimuth thing. Indeed, it may be too late for all of us.
So, do we listen in a wiggly world or do we use an objective test? Well, both... which may lead us to the enlightened state Lew mentioned.
Thom makes a valid point: having an objective standard to navigate through the wiggliness can indeed help train our ears.
My Wally Analog Shop (which measures crosstalk at 1kHz) did that. After 2 hours I got crosstalk optimized and played some music. The improvements were clear, quite as the OP described. This objective test trained my ears to listen through the wiggles.
After that, when changing cartridges I'd adjust by listening first, then confirm with the Wally. Having learned what to listen for, my by-ear settings became acceptably reliable and the Wally a waste of time; but it wasn't entirely so in the beginning.
Today, my reference cartridge produces so little crosstalk that the Wally can barely measure it. Using it would largely be a waste of time.
As Lew said, it's too late for most of us - but perhaps we can protect the newbies, if only by providing an object lesson.
I use a CD as a mirror, a magnifier with a handle, and Petzl's best head lamp made for night climbing-- all multi-purpose tools that do the job, assuming good eyesight. At close magnification you can see two images of the cantilever down into the mirror, which helps in determining correct line of sight.
Thanks to everyone for a terrifically informative thread.
Joel came over last night to spin some vinyl and optimize my Talea : ^ ))) with his new Mint LP tractor. (More impressions of the Talea to follow soon...) We spent some time dialing in azimuth using a mono Ella Fitzgerald LP and I was able to learn Joel's method. Joel focused on a specific tone (bells) and made a series of adjustments. When dialed in to our mutual satisfaction, Ella became a more palpable and relaxed presence in the room.
This (naturally) led to a discussion of what is the proper tone to optimize and should you try to utilize more than one frequency band to properly set azimuth??? Joel had written about this on his website...http://www.durand-tonearms.com/index.php?p=1_9_Azimuth-talk. Independent of Joel, I was listening for a different tone and yet we arrived at the same azimuth setting for both frequencies.
BTW, the "on the fly" azimuth adjustment of the Talea is a great feature. Very easy to use and reproducible.
Agree about the ease of the Talea's azimuth adjustment. Perhaps even more important, it doesn't compromise the rigidity of the armwand in any way. I'm looking forward to your lengthier impressions. We only had the protoype for a day and were VERY impressed. It beat the cr** out of our present tonearm.
The proper tone to optimize is obvious - use the one you hear best! For crosstalk, consider that the ear determines the directionality and distance of sounds at mostly upper-mid to high frequencies, so that's what we should listen for. Trying to assess the direction or image size of a bass drum or tuba is much harder than doing the same for a trumpet, bell or soprano.
Bells are especially good for this because they have a tendency to ring (heh!) if not reproduced very accurately. Any lack of clarity will be audible as distorted phase response, as mentioned by Essentialaudio. Paul and I have a few oddball LP's (okay, just stop thinking that!) with natural percussion instruments in the upper register. They're excellent for dialing in azimuth, provided you enjoy 12th C. Andalusian dance music.
I would have to agree that the Talea "beat the cr** out of our [shared] present tonearm".
I actually prefer 11th C. Andalusian dance music myself ; - ) , but after listening last evening, agree with your observation that bells are good for dialing in azimuth.
I've been trying to type my impressions of the Talea but find myself unable to tear myself away from the glorious music to write...imagine that!
Interesting. I have question for you all.
I'm about the setup my new table and I use a phono stage with dual independent volume controls (flat gain mic preamp in to PC).
Do I need to generate a loopback (since I use a PC) with a digitally generated test tone, or is the tone on an LP going to be one the LP perfectly balanced on both channels?
See what I'm getting at?
My thought is to use a multimeter to make sure the output is the same first, then physically adjust azimuth.
Azimuth adjustment is not about achieving balanced output between channels, nor is it correct to alter preamp channel balance before adjusting it. Preamp channel balance should be set wherever you normally listen to achieve sonic balance in your listening room.
Unless I misunderstand your post, you may be starting from a false assumption.
Dear Dr. Cilantro,
What Doug said. Azimuth is about crosstalk between channels, the amount of the signal in the L channel that appears in the R channel, and vice-versa. It is not about channel balance. In fact, even at extremes of azimuth, the voltage output per channel will change very very little, by about 1db in my actual experiment.
Your friend, Dr. Habanero
If one had a voltmeter sensitive enough to measure voltage directly off the cartridge pins or tonearm wires then there would be no need to equalize voltage output across channels prior to measuring crosstalk.
I thought the reason for achieving (roughly) equal voltage output across channels by adjusting channel balance was to address voltage imbalances arising downstream from the pre-amp as known at the point where the voltage measurement is taken, eg at the amps output terminals.
Doctorcilantro didn't say that adjusting azimuth was about achieving balanced output channels. I understood his statement to say he would adjust channel balance prior to adjusting azimuth.
Of course this may all be moot if you believe one cannot measure channel crosstalk at a given frequency and adjust it using instrumentation.
Unless my understanding is off base (quite possible, thank you for your patience) and one can indeed not measure crosstalk and changes made to it by azimuth adjustment, then I'm inclined to believe that the 'ears vs instruments' debate is a false dichotomy and neither is an 'advance' over the other. I heard no one claim that use of an instrument assures better results than careful listening. Setup procedures are not a zero-sum game and ears and instruments are not mutually exclusive techniques.
Use your eyes too. Regardless of how 'good' you think it sounds, if your stylus (or even your cartridge) visibly is canted at an angle, something may be askew with internal motor position or elsewhere in your system. Attaining proper azimuth is also about reducing potential groove damage.
Heaven forfend our cochleae are not gain level neutral and constant from day to day. Regardless of one's golden capacity, I find instruments properly used tend to aid rather than hinder. They can also let you know if results achieved solely by listening are aligned or not with what measurement says. Once you've learned, maybe you no longer need them, but a second opinion rarely hurts.
Yours truly, Professor Pesto
I was wondering if anyone could give a succinct (if possible) tutorial on how to use an analog multimeter to adjust azimuth for someone with no engineering background (in other words, azimuth for dummies as it were). In the alternative, perhaps someone could point me to such a resource. I have Fremer's tt set-up DVD but it's useless in this regard. It would be greatly appreciated.
I think this is what it boils down to. Please anyone correct me if I am off base:
(1) You need a test LP that has a band where signal of a known frequency is recorded for one channel only. Lets say it's the R channel. Play the band and measure V in the R channel. Now play that same band and measure V in the L channel. That V represents crosstalk of R channel information into the L channel. The difference in V can be converted to db. Formulae are on the internet.
(2) Do the exact same thing, only this time play another band on your test LP that drives only the L channel at the same frequency,. Measure V in the L channel and V in the R channel and again calculate the difference in db.
(3) Adjust azimuth so that you get the largest possible absolute values of db for both sides. It's always a compromise.
Thank you Lewn. This certainly gives me a better idea. I am also confused with how and where to insert the leads in the system and DC vs AC voltage on the multimeter. Do I insert them in the amp's speaker terminals or in the speakers' terminals? Do I remove the speaker wire completely when doing this? Any risk damaging anything while messing with the leads? Moreover, I recall Fremer talking about low voltage and high voltage for each channel. I am a fast learner but need to master the basics first...
I have Fremer's tt set-up DVD but it's useless in this regard. It would be greatly appreciated.
I have not seen MF's video but I believe it comes with a .pdf file that describes the same technique you can read here. Recommended reading it is. At the end of the .pdf are forms from Wally Malewicz for recording your azimuth measurements in a logical way and converting them from volts to dB volts. You might want to print out those forms to use while making adjustments.
As noted earlier, set the volt meter for AC and 5 volts (or less). Measure from the amp's terminals. Remove the speaker wire from the amp when taking measurements with the voltmeter. (You can measure from the speaker terminals, but that means you get to listen to the 1kHz test tone while doing so - I'd rather set azimuth, then listen to music to refine azimuth.) Don't short across the amp's terminals; that is, keep the voltmeter probes separated without metal touching both terminals at the same time.
The needle or digital readout on the voltmeter can jump around a bit, so you'll want to gauge an average - the devices you can purchase such as the Wally azimuth box, and possibly the Fazgometer (?) include a high and low-pass filters to help eliminate this.
Once you get used to playing the tone for each channel, reading the voltmeter and recording your measurements, you'll find it makes sense. Take your time making the azimuth adjustment in v. small increments, followed by a set of measurements to see the result of the adjustment. It may take a couple attempts to gauge that you're adjusting the stylus so as to diminish crosstalk. Once you get to a sweet spot you should hear what the guys are saying to listen for when adjusting by ear. Then you can tweak by listening. Going forward, your ears will know what proper azimuth setup sounds like. Some cartridges are more rewarding of the effort than others. On my Transfiguration cartridge careful attention to azimuth reduced smearing and made a significant improvement in focus. Take it slow and have fun dialing in your rig!
Ideally, you would measure the voltage output where the cartridge attaches to the phono stage. This is really unlikely to work well for the unamplified signal direct from a LOMC cartridge, so the next best thing would be to measure the voltage at the output of the phono stage. I personally would not do it at the output of the amplifier, as someone else suggested further up the thread, because there are so many other variables in the chain that could lead to an inaccurate idea of what the cartridge is actually doing. If you have a discrete phono stage, put the red lead into the hole for the center pin of the RCA plug and your black lead on ground (the outer barrel of the female RCA plug or the chassis, at the output of the phono stage). If you have a built-in phono stage in your linestage, then you might have to take off the casing and find the leads that go from the phono section to the linestage section.
Indeed, the most important thing to do when dialing azimuth is to find a particular sound (or a few sounds) in the recording that you can focus on and use for reference. It's not magic science, but it takes patience and focus--just like aligning a cartridge on a fine line--ever got frustrated with that?...
As Doug says, mid to high freq sounds work better than low sounds. Spend some time with a small excerpt of a mono recording (2-3 minutes); listen to it first several times to really hear everything that's going on in that excerpt. Once you've determined the instrument you want to focus on, you can start changing the azimuth setting. Without this preparatory step, you could be spending a long time wondering what to listen to.
There's no short cut here, unfortunately. But that's the fun of it, because the more you hear, the more you enjoy music, with or without azimuth!
Using a multimeter without the high- and low-pass filters Lew mentioned will probably produce unreliable results. Surface noise from the unmodulated groove wall will be part of the signal. That will look like crosstalk to the meter. Scope users would filter for this of course.
The Wally Analog Shop is just a box containing filters around 1kHz, resistors to simulate a speaker load, speaker terminals as inputs and connections for a multimeter. It takes the output from your amp by plugging your speaker cables into it. That's less than ideal as Lew suggested, since you're measuring crosstalk for the entire amplification chain. OTOH, everybody has speaker cables so it works in every system. Further, a high level signal is easier for a meter to read. If I had to measure at my phono outputs the crosstalk from my best LOMC would be too small to measure or adjust accurately, at least at the resolution of my meter. Measuring at the amp outputs is simple and practical, if slightly "wiggly".
If we're going to fine tune by ear we're going to be adjusting for the crosstalk of the entire system anyway, so...
I guess my thinking was to balance my phono stage (uncommon for most I guess) so that when I do the Ultimate Test Record azimuth test, and won't have to worry that my phono stage is not introducing any error into the test.
I got a little confused; I am using the UTR and I forgot they have left/right channel only for azimuth. I'd like to set it up first with UTR, then listen to music (before/after):
General Reference Level
This 1 kHz reference tone will allow you to establish a base level for all measurements.
Track 1 1Khz reference tone 7cm/s Mono, in phase (Lateral)
Basic reference for all measurements, adjust meter for maximum convenience (in the studio 0VU).
Adjust preamp channel balance for equal output.
Also used to check the offset angle of the photo cartridge; L&R signals should be exactly in phase as displayed on an oscilloscope.
Track 2 1kHz reference level Left channel only
Measure Right channel output.
Track 3 1kHz reference level Right channel only
Measure Left channel output.
The object is to sit the stylus exactly perpendicular in the groove.
Twist cartridge about its radial axis until the measurements from Track 2 and Track 3 are equal or very close to equal for both channels.
Dear Doug, the OP asked how to do it with a multimeter. And that;s the question I tried to answer. Such devices do not have filters, true, but I was just trying to describe how one could do it with HIS tools, not the best way possible. Also, it is not far-fetched to assume that surface noise in the unmodulated groove wall would be about the same for the two bands on the test LP needed to make the determination and would hence cancel each other out, give or take a db here or there. The result would be a falsely high idea of the amount of crosstalk but it would still permit adjustment to obtain minima.
In reality, to adjust azimuth I have only ever used my Signet Cartridge Analyzer and my scope occasionally plugged into it. (It has a scope output.) I am not really familiar with these new fangled devices made by Wally, Dr. Feickert, etc. Do they utilize the amplifier outputs? Do you personally do it that way, notwithstanding that you do it by ear as well? After all the brouhaha around azimuth here and on the Grandezza thread, it is interesting for me to learn how those who have the luxury of azimuth adjustment actually do the adjusting.
Using a DMM that has hold capability can also help when doing this without filters. You are most likely seeing the noise peaks, but it is still ok enough to find a good starting point with the meter method. But I have found this to be only a crutch. It does get in the park but tuning by ear is what nails it, IME.
I'm sure Feikert's tools do an excellent job, but for most of us hobbyists the cost isn't justifiable.
Theres all types of tools that can get you close but theres no substitute for playing music and getting/finding that final super spot. Its like getting VTA right the stage opens up and the sounds become open and theres air between them. I believe we are so much into gadgets that we forgot we have the best tools and there free right in our body our brain and ears.
Take the time and effort get it close by leveling or measurement and then play a good mono record and when the stage opens up and the music sounds wide and deep you have it and your ears will tell you so. Now play a well recorded stereo record and be amazed. Its not hard it just takes time and the return for your effort is priceless.
Take it from someone who believed in looking at measurements with there eyes instead of listening to sounds with my ears when doing critical adjustments necessary with such a small signal/voltage delivered by our cartridges.
Stltrains you are so right but the world looks for simple solutions and when the marketing campaign starts knowledge or belief in its own virtues is no more the choice. This product is triggered as the overall solution to the vinyl challenges. God beware me! You need to have a closer look at the sales efforts currently going on and you will join me in saying- this product is good for the ones believing in the product...
I now tested the Fozgometer. Yes - it works. Also the channel balancing is a good feature. But - as I assumed - it is not very precise. The needle of the meter scale is moving in between 2 -5 gradations during the reading of the signal from the delivered TestLp. Even Musical Surroundings admits that a 12.5% deviance is acceptable.
So it is a good tool maybe for the beginner or people who never cared about the Azimuth. And it gives a good feeling for not so much money...
Below are results I achieved with my VPI Classic 3 and Dynavector XX-2 MKII. In the specification the XX-2 MKII channel balance is specified as 1 db at 1khz. The Cartridge was aligned with a MINTLP protractor custom made by YIP for the table. I have done multiple alignments with the Mintlp, and I spent some time getting it right on with a 10x loupe. I used the multimeter method at the preamp output for the test and a test record which has right and left tracks only. As you can see, with a perfectly flat headshell, my total crosstalk was -55.64db with a separation of 3.15db, which is over the 1 db spec. I needed to get the right channel with less crosstalk. I tried tilting towards the left channel, which did not lower the right channel crosstalk, it actually increased it. When tilting towards the right channel the crosstalk between the 2 channels started to converge. On the last measurement you can see I was able to achieve a total combined crosstalk of -58.94 with a separation of 0db with a 0.94 degree tilt towards the right channel. Of interest is the total combined crosstalk went down by 3.41db by tilting 0.94 degrees and the left channel was not affected at all relative to the headshell flat crosstalk. The crosstalk remained at -29.47, but I was able to decrease the right channel be 3.41 db.
Channel V1 V2 crosstalk (db) Channel V1 V2 crosstalk (db) Azimuth (degrees) total separation
Left 4.72 0.16 -29.40 Right 4.72 0.25 -25.52 0.19 Tilt Left channel -54.92 3.88
Left 4.69 0.20 -27.40 Right 4.69 0.27 -24.80 0.19 Tilt Left channel -52.20 2.61
Left 4.72 0.19 -27.90 Right 4.72 0.28 -24.54 0.75 Tilt Left channel -52.44 3.37
Left 4.72 0.16 -29.40 Right 4.72 0.23 -26.24 0.00 Flat headshell -55.64 3.15
Left 4.69 0.16 -29.34 Right 4.69 0.23 -26.19 0.38 Tilt right channel -55.53 3.15
Left 4.72 0.15 -29.96 Right 4.72 0.21 -27.03 0.38 Tilt right channel -56.99 2.92
Left 4.72 0.16 -29.40 Right 4.72 0.20 -27.46 0.56 Tilt right channel -56.85 1.94
Left 7.14 0.22 -30.23 Right 7.14 0.31 -27.25 0.56 Tilt right channel -57.47 2.98
Left 7.14 0.22 -30.23 Right 7.14 0.29 -27.83 0.75 Tilt right channel -58.05 2.40
Left 7.14 0.24 -29.47 Right 7.14 0.24 -29.47 0.94 Tilt right channel -58.94 0.00