Checking Anti-Skate?

Does anyone know of an anti-skate measuring device? Years ago, I obtained an "unpressed" LP. No grooves. This would allow me to put the turntable in rotation, lower the tonearm, and basically watch whether the tonearm would skate in either direction on the vinyl surface. I would make anti-skate adjustments accordingly until the arm would remain stable. It worked.

Then, I lent it somebody. You know that story.

Is there something out there I don't know about that would allow me to fine tune anti-skate?

I use a DB protractor for cartridge alignment, a Shure stylus pressure gauge, and a laser for setting VTA.

Help me out here guys, Thanks.
I'm not going to answer your question, but I am going to recommend you replace the DB protractor with the Wally Tractor. It's gives much better results. Also, how do you use a laser to set VTA?
Also, testing on a blank disc is invalid. Skating force is related to groove pressures/overhang. What you see with a blank disc is merely centrifugal force.
Some of the early 45rpm one-side pressings (remastered Blue in Orbit, for example) have a smooth un-grooved back side. But this is not the right way to set anti-skate because the skating force changes depending on the friction between the styles and the groove. The anti-skate force you need during normal playback is very different from the amount you set on an un-grooved surface.
Onhwy61, I actually use a 360 degree rotary builders level. I place it on the rack next to the turntable, set the height of the laser to the centerline of the tonearm (at the gimbal), then raise or lower the back of the arm, setting VTA. I can then confirm the adjustments by tilting the head of the builders level to match the angle of the tonearm. It then provides me with a measurement in degrees.

It is incredibly accurate. Although my ears are what actually confirm my adjustments, the laser is a great way to dial it in and get you in the ballpark.

And, you are not going to answer my question or just don't have any info on a measuring device?

I'm always nice to you......??????
Sidssp, I know it's not right. But at the time, it was the only method I had. That's why I'm looking for a measuring device. Does one exist?
In the old days a table manual always said to adjust the VTF to the mfg specs than use the same setting for anti-skate. Problem being that neither of the dials were very accurate.

I use a test record but you can also come close by looking at the stylus/cantilever head on through a magnifying glass while playing a record. Check to see if it is perpedicular to the record or if it is leaning one way or the other. You can use the edge of the cartridge as a guide if you KNOW that the edges are perpendicular to the headshell and the azimuth is dead on. Otherwise, try to see if it is straight up and down to the record and then dial it in by ear.
The skating setting is always a compromise between the lead and final grooves. I set mine by hovering the tonearm over the middle of the LP, raising and lowering the arm to see what direction it wants to go, then setting the skating where it tends to remain stationary. The stylus never even touches the record. Not precise, but hey, it's vinyl!
Can't answer what I don't know. Thanks for the laser info. I think I'll give it a try.
Setting anti-skating force is not an exact science. WallySkater is probably the most well known device. I have not used it because it is pricy. The next best solution is to use a test record like the one from HiFi News and Review (HFNR). But again, it is not an exact science but you should be able to achieve better results than using a blank record.

You might want to do a search on the HFNR test record. It has been discussed before.
1. See the thornes white paper on antiskating. The correct value is 14% of the tracking force.


2. Use the Wally tractor method. This equates to approximately 12% of tracking force.

Hope this helps, both methods are valid and work.
Another method is to listen for the best soundstage. Start with too little and work your way up. When you get enough antiskate, the image will "bloom" noticeably.
Skating force depends on a whole lot of things...where you are on the record...groove modulation...vertical tracking force, and more. You can only set it for best overall results. (That's why linear tracking arms were invented).

Shure put out a test record specifically designed for testing phono pickup performance. Beg, borrow or steal the record, or buy it if it is still made, and use it to optimize all variables of pickup installation.

In my experience the main benefit of antiskating force is to permit the pickup to track at a lower downforce. If you increase the downforce a bit most good pickups will track OK without any antiskating, but that isn't good for the record. When I first got into this hobby good pickups typically used 5 to 6 grams of downforce, and few arms had any provision for antiskating.
Sidssp, The Wally tool IS the tool I was looking for. I can confirm every adjustment on this table except for anti-skate.
Great info, Thanks.

Onhwy61, The laser level was something I came up with while remodeling my house. I purchased the tool to assist throughout the remodeling process. It's a very cool tool. The house is very cool also. Before I purchased it, it was featured on a television show on HGTV. The name of the show was "This Old Piece Of Shit". But, it's gettin' there.

Eldartford, 5-6 grams of stylus pressure? Was that one of those turntables with the crank on the side?

And also, I recognize the Shure test disc that you suggested. In fact, I think I know of someone who still has it. I forgot all about it. You know his phone will be ringin'.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, I really do appreciate it. Ed.
5 grams was the recommended downforce for the GE pickup (Monophonic) that was commonly used in the 1950's. Other pickups were similar. 5 grams was easy to set because a US Nickle coin is 5 grams, exactly. You could calibrate your finger with the coin and then put the pickup on the finger.
Eldartford, What would that tracking weight convert to in pennies?

And is there such a thing as Audiophile quality nickels? Like maybe cryo treated? : )
Buscis2...Back then there were enough real improvements to be made that people didn't need to get worked up over magic speaker wire and cryogenicly processed wall outlets.
In perusing a catalog I happened to note that pickups designed for DJs still track at 5 to 6 grams. Of course DJs do terrible things to their pickups so they need to be built like tanks.
It almost like turning your turntable into a record lathe. I wonder if you see small vinyl shavings curling up behind the stylus while your tracking at that pressure? : )