Dynavector XV1s loading & phono


Hi.

For those of you that have owned the XV1s, just curious as to what phono stage you are using with yours (or have used) and what loading you are putting on it to make it sound great!

I have got a XV1s at the moment, but with the Cary PH301mkII tube phono stage, have never got it to sound great. I was using the XV1s on LP12/Valhalla/Ittok II/rignmat anniversary. The default loading for MC on the Cary is 680 ohms. I modified it to make it about 150 ohms which did make a substatial improvment, however, sound was still very dull, undynamic, muffled, very unexciting.

I have heard the TeKaitorua (next model down) on a Oracle/smeIv setup going thorough a very modest solidstage phono/integrated setup and that gave extraordinary results! Likewise with the Lyra Titan, used through a solid stage Lyra Connosieur phono stage was absolutely amazing. Some people have replaced their Titan's with the XV1s! I don't think I'm hearing anything close to what the XV1s is capable of at all.

I think it is something with my front end analogue setup as my CD playback sounds spectacular, WAY better than the XV1s/Cary combo in every way. Since I have blamed the Cary for the poor match with the XV1s, I have since replaced the unit with the Kondo M7 phono - but as this is just a standard phono stage, I have had to revert back to my very modest MM Linn K18II cartridge. The Linn/Kondo setup is better than the XV1s/Cary in every respect - probably equal to that of CD playback in my system. To use the XV1s with the M7, will require step up transformers.

Question is:
1) What sort of loading are you guys out there using with the XV1s and on what phono? Tube or solidstate?
2) Is my deck/arm/PS combo the main cause of the poor sound from the vinyl?
3) What stepup transformers would one recommmend to match with the M7 - there is obviously the Kondo SFz ... any other worthy contenders?

Thanks a lot for all you guys help.

Regards
David
linnmaster
Hi David, I am surprised at the difficulty you are having with the XV1s. I have had many carts in my system and the XV is clearly one of the best I have used. Loading should be around the 100 to 150 ohm area.
Of course VTF, VTA etc. all need fine tuning to get the best out of any cart.
I have had great success using a Supratek Grange and most recently an Einstein line stage with the Einstein balanced phono stage. The Grange is an all tube design as is the Einstein line stage. The Einstein phono stage is SS.
My table is the Galibier Gavia with Tri-planar VII and Schroeder Reference SQ arms. I suspect that if all set up parameters are OK the problem is with the table. The XV is a great cart. that will provide fantastic vinyl playback well beyond that of CD.
Hi David,
I have the XV1s on a Vpi table going into a Cary Phono Pre(latest and current model), and it sounds great. I think your problem might be from not having enough gain from your Phono Pre. The XV1s w/ .3mv output requires a Phono Pre w/ around 60db of gain.
Try Artemis Labs PL-1 high gain tube phono stage. It works well with XV1s and Te Kaitora Rua on SME tone arms.
www.artemislabs.com
As Docsavage said, I too am surprised at your experience with the XV-1s and can't help but wonder if there is either a defect in the cartridge or problem or mismatch in your set-up. I use an Aesthetix Io Signature phono stage on an SME 30 (w/SME IV.vi arm) and have the XV-1s loaded at 200 ohms to great effect. Like Docsavage, I have had top of the line Clearaudio, van den Hul, Cardas, Shelter and Lyra cartridges in my system and the XV-1s is one of the best if not the best overall that I have had. For SURE, "dull, undynamic, muffled, very unexciting" are not words associated with the XV-1s even if one is not necessarily a fan of the cartridge.

Good luck trouble shooting.
Dear David: +++++ " ) What sort of loading are you guys out there using with the XV1s and on what phono? Tube or solidstate? " +++++

I'm using 100 Ohms and just trying 75 Ohms, with both sounds great ( I have to hear more time with the 75 Ohms to stay sure about ), tube or SS?: it does not matters always that the Phonolinepreamp be accurate ( RIAA eq. ), high active gain and low noise/distortion.

+++++ " Is my deck/arm/PS combo the main cause of the poor sound from the vinyl? " +++++
I think that maybe your tonearm is not the best match for the XV-1 but maybe too the LP12 is not up to the task ( I can't be sure because the last LP12 that I heard was many years ago ).

+++++ " What stepup transformers would one recommmend to match with the M7 - there is obviously the Kondo SFz ... any other worthy contenders? " +++++

None, IMHO all the step up transformers ( it does not matters design or price ) make heavy degradation to the cartridge signal: please stay far away!!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul.
It could easily be "tube" related.
Best of luck.
David,

Like Fmpnd, I use an Aesthetix Io Signature phono stage, but my table/arm is an SME 20/2 with Graham Phantom arm. I'm running Io gain wide open with 100 ohm loading on the XV-1s. The sound is wonderful, and I have never had any problems with the XV-1s. The first 20 hours, it was nothing special, but it began to open up after 20 hours and kep getting better and better until about 100 to 110 hours. It has about 150 hours on it now and the changes since 100 hours are not very significant.

Good luck sorting out the problem.

Ed
I had a similar experience w. my XV-1s. The people I know w. success use a Phantom or VPI arm. It can also be phono stage. Not a price issue though. It is a matching issue. It also takes forever to break in. How many hours do you have on it? It needs about 200 in some cases.
I'm getting incredible results using the XV1S on the Dynavector 507II and Grand Prix table. I'm using the dartzeel pre-amp with 60db gain set at 480 ohms. I'm afraid that besides the sound of your Cary phono, your front end is not up to the capabilities of your cartridge.
Hi David,

I have a few inexpensive suggestions I'd like you to try, and please reply to this thread with your findings. There's no objective reason for an XV-1s to sound shut-in and undynamic on your rig.

1. Tracking Force:

Play with this first. It's something you can do at home and at little to no expense.

You will need a scale with .01 gram sensitivity. .1 gram will not do. Cartridges of this caliber will speak with a different voice, with as little as a .05 gram change, and the rounding error in a .1 gram sensitivity scale will not give you repeatable results.

Run the Dynavector and track it anywhere from 1.85 to 2.0 grams. IGNORE the advice about tracking at 2.5 grams. I have found in my personal cartridge (Schröder Reference and Triplanar tonearms on my turntables) has a sweet spot of about 1.87 grams. As I work my way to 1.92, the dynamics and pace suffer.

Comments you find referencing tracking the XV-1s at 2.5 on this forum and elsewhere are ill-informed, to put it kindly. In 5 different XV-1s based setups, the median tracking force has centered in on 1.90 grams.

The Dynavector importer agrees with me about this.

If you surf the archives, you will find numerous posts from both myself as well as Doug Deacon on the topic. In short, you want to track on the razor's edge ... the point slightly heavier than where you mis-track and NO MORE.

When you track at too heavy a force, not only will you lose dynamics, but the sense of pace will slow down. I kid you not.

2. Turntable Setup.

We all know about Linns and their sensitivity to suspension setup. I suggest you take your LP12 in for a suspension tune-up. The Dynavector, while extraordinarily dynamic is also very smooth. It may well be that what you had been previously perceiving as dynamics was more a system resonance or other "nasty". The revealing (and yet well behaved) nature of the Dynavector may be trying to tell you something.

If there is one sonic bias the Linn has, it's to present an "impression" of dynamics, so I'd definitely look into your setup.

3. Electronics and Loading.

Much as I'd love to sell you an Artemis phono stage, I'd like you to try to demo some other fine units too - including but not limited to the Hagerman Trumpet, Nick Doshi's Alap, and either an Art Audio or Kevin Carter's kit version of this phono stage, available through K&K audio. Kevin imports the Lundahl iron.

Yes, many of these units are not easily demoed, but an effort on your part to find some of them will be rewarded. Depending on where you live, I'm sure that members of this forum can help you out with this.

I strongly disagree with comments you read on this forum about the flaws inherent in step-up transformers, in spite of the high performance level set by some units which eschew them. This forum was recently polluted with several threads on this topic, so I won't go into that topic here. This is however another case of being able to achieve excellent results via many different architectures. It's all in the design and execution - not the architecture. Listen for results, and let the engineers argue it out.

While I would most certainly look into electronics first, the Lundahl transformers (LL 9206 from K&K Audio) are quite nice, and the Intact Audio custom wound trannies are extraordinary.

Your loading is in the ballpark for an XV-1s, which makes me think that there is more to your problem. I've seen XV-1s' loaded anywhere from 35 to 150 ohms, and certainly the higher side of the spectrum will favor dynamics rather than suppress them.

It is for this reason that your comment about favoring a reduction from 680 to 150 ohms puzzles me a bit. I fear you may be trying to address too many variables at once. It's easy to get lost.

I don't have experience with Cary's RIAA stages, but I have found that their power amps to tend toward a dark, shut-in sound and work well to compensate for aggressive speakers. Perhaps this design philosophy / aesthetic transfers to their RIAA stages? I don't know. Only a comparison in your system help you learn more about this.

As Sirspeedy points out, some tube swaps would be instructive.

My main point however is that you may well be working through come conflicting problems and hence, losing your baseline. You may be experiencing a loss of dynamics through your phono stage and hence you are dissatisfied as you load your XV-1s down to 150 (reducing dynamics). At the same time, the XV-1s is likely correctly telling you that 680 is too high. Herein lies your conflict.

Once you have addressed item #s 1 and 2, I'd look into demoing phono stages. This may point you toward an answer.

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
Thom,you are being way to conservative regarding perceptions of .05 gms,in downforce on a very good system!I am sure you did so,for a reason,but .02 is more on par with my own experiences.How obsessed are we?I admit to being afflicted,as well.
Actually,in retrospect,this REALLY shows how "amazing" some of these new analog products are becomming!!
Best!
I agree with Thom's comments. I think you should first try optimizing the VTF per Thoms's suggestions.
Hello all,

Thank you to all your responses. In response to various contirbutions above:

Nickt: The Cary PH301mkII unit has 62dB of gain. With the XV1s/Cary and my linestage (TRL Plat. Reference tube dual mono), I was having to turn the volume knobs to about 2-3 o'clock positions to get it somewhat loud. Is this normal or is it telling me something?

Rauliruegas: I was thinking that maybe the Linn Ittok II arm is not the best match, and that probably goes for the deck. With the weight of the XV1s, I could not seem to get enough antiskate on the arm using the dial. At maximum, the needle would pull hard towards the centre of the spinning record. I set up the XV1s nulling the points at 67mm and 112mm(?) - can't remeber off the top of my head. I do have plans to upgrade the deck and arm. I have had my desires set on the SPJ LaLuce/SPJ Lyla arm for some time. But with several new discoveries recently such as Raven Acustic and arms such as the DaVinci 12", I might be having second thoughts. This upgrade would still be a while away as I have MC problem that needs to be sorted out first.

Thom_mackris: I tend to disagree with the stepup transfomer method of getting good sounding results from a descent MC too. The Cary 301mkII phono had Jensen (I think) step up transformers used in them, and I know many other "world best" designs that also follow this path. Davinci Audio, Audio Note Kondo are two that I can think of now. I have Cary 300B CAD-300se tube mono blocks fitted with WE 300B tubes driving the mid on BW DM6's and I love how they sound. To me they don't sound dark and shut in - but then again, I have not had much chance to compare with others. I use the Audion 300B Golden Nights fitted with Sophia Globe Meshplate to drive the treble, and that gives a lot of detail and HF extension that I appreciate. Using the Audio on the mid gave me results that were too glarey and revieling and fatiguing to listen to. Maybe telling me somehthing about my setup? With regards to the LP12 setup, I think it's pretty good. I did it myself - took a long time - but I feel I have got the suspension up-down-only. A technician is only human as well and there is no magic in adjustment of the suspension. They might be quicker - but the end result I feel is not much difference. With regards to the tracking force, I will have to get a stylus guage first. With my previous experience with the more modest Linn K18II, I had always used the dial on the Linn arm. I could hear differences between 0.5g using the dial, but have never thought going down to 0.1g would be necessary. Looks like MC setup is a winding path - which I am currently experiencing. I have read about the 2.5g + tracking force on the XV1s, but I have never done that for the safety of the XV1s. I did however set it to the maximum 2.2g (or there abouts as I was only using the dial) and found the heavier setting was preferrable to 1.8/2.0 as a very very crude generalisation. Where I live, there is no demo of such units that you mention unless I buy first. New Zealand does not have a big market for high-end audio. I don't plan on reverting back to the XV1s at current as I am loving the Kondo M7 with the modest Linn K18II. Am looking at selling the Cary unit to help with back account dilemas after the purchase of the M7.

sirspeedy70680@earthlink.net: Tube related? Maybe, but the Audio Note Kondo M7 sounds every bit better than the Cary ever did when I had the Linn K18II MM cartridge running through that too!

Cipherjuris: I picked up the XV1s from a fellow Agon'er with 50 hours on the MC. Now I'm guessing maybe 150 hours as a rough ball park as I don't monitor my listing hours - I tend to enjoy the music without paperwork. I'm pretty sure that the MC is not faulty and the seller seemed pretty genuine and that the reason for his sale was not enough gain on his Hovland preamp system.

As for step up transformer hunting, has anyone had any experiece with the Davinci Audio Stepups? I know they exist, but I only hear aobut their arms. Also, Bent Audio Mu Silver's, will they be a good match for the M7. I thought of keeping to the silver with the analgoue front end. The Bent Audio Mu's are a lot cheaper than the matching Kondo Sfz, but how much different in sound quality? Likewise with the Davinci Audio Stepups - don't even know how much THEY cost.

Thanks all.

Regards
David
Hi Speedy one ..

I agree with Thom's comments. I think you should first try optimizing the VTF per Thoms's suggestions.

I didn't want to scare the poor felow, but yes ... you dragged it out of me (grin). .02 is definitely in the realm of audibility.

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
Bkonig, aren't you a Dyna, darTzeel, and Grand Prix dealer?

Disclosure????
Dear Bkonig: 480 Ohms ?, my God. I know very well Dartzeel unit ( good one ) and if you need 480 Ohms to achieve a good XV-1 performance IMHO you are in trouble elsewhere in your audio system.

Regards and enjoy the music.
raul.
Dear Thom: With all respect to you but IMHO you need to read these links about SUT's:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1130451054&openflup&5&4#5

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1138829438&openflup&41&4#41

What you are reading here are facts not a " simple opinion ".
You are not helping to the MUSIC sound reproduction supporting SUT's and the most critical issue is that you are not helping to any of us that are looking for the best quality sound reproduction in our audio systems. You are telling the people that already invest thousands of thousand ( big dollars ) in TT/tonearm and cartridges that put in hand of a terrible/patch SUT the delicate/beloved cartridge signal, incredible from a TT designer!!!!!!??????

Like I told you I respect your opinion but I must totally disagree. Thom you have to " work " with facts and you don't have any single one to support SUT's and you don't have it because does not exist. IMHO you use it because you need it and you need it because you make wrong choices about low output MC cartridges with tube Phonopreamp, but this subject can't mean it that a SUT is better that a well designed high gain Phonolinepreamp: absolutely not!!!!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul.
Dear Raul,

I take issue with your incessant proselytizing about the evils of step-up transformers.

The fact that you embrace a particular architecture means only that after years of dedication, you have arrived at a solution which works well for you and certainly for many others. This is something to be proud of.

Your fine product however, in NO WAY invalidates alternative system architectures.

There are many of us here - the great unwashed - who in our holistic view of musical reproduction can best connect with music by using vacuum tubes as a conduit to Nirvana.

If the "compromise" in using a vacuum tube based RIAA involves using a step-up transformer, we are fine with that, because in the end, we are making a connection, and this is what it's all about.

Surely, there are some very fine hybrids circuits which minimize our exposure to silicon and dispense with step-ups.

In the end, it's not the architecture, but the end result - connecting with music.

I realize that you are trying to be helpful to the original poster, and I respect your sincerity, but please, please, please ... don't speak in absolutes. Reality cannot be mapped in a linear manner.

Thom @ Galibier
Raul, in your links, I don't see much that I would ackowledge as being "facts."

To address your comments one by one, yes, distortions will be generated at the core of an SUT, but distortions are also being generated in any MM or MC cartridge (both in the signal core and in other places). In your recent posts you have noted a preference for cartridges that measure to be poorer than normal in terms of distortion. If you clearly can like cartridges that measure to have higher-than-normal levels of distortion, why are you afraid of distortion in the SUT?

Bandwidth of an SUT may not go down to DC, but I have a test transformer on my bench that measures dead-flat down to 10Hz, with a -3dB roll-off of 1Hz. The top end is dead-flat to at least 30kHz (the top-end response after that depends on the load). Far better than any loudspeaker, for sure.

True, an SUT has a reactive electrical component, but so does any cartridge that has an inductive output (all of them) when you use it with an interconnect cable that has capacitance (again all of them). The audibility of the resulting electrical resonance is directly related to the inductance of the cartridge (high inductance plus cable capacitance means a resonance that may be close to the audible band and can be measured and heard directly, while low inductance means a resonance that remains at RF frequencies, and shouldn't be directly audible unless your phono stage has linearity problems at RF frequencies and IMD subsequently allows the electrical resonance to fold down into the audible band). At least with a stepup transformer, you can physically place it close to the phono stage and keep the interconnect cables ultra-short (thereby reducing capacitances). With a high-inductance cartridge like an MM, you need to keep the cable long (therefore meaning high capacitance), and this will give you an electrical resonance that is far more likely to be directly audible and also measureable in the audible band. This is why, although high-inductance cartridges like MMs make life easy for many phono stages due to the high signal voltage, many audiophiles still prefer low-inductance MCs, even if they need to use stepup transformers into low-gain phono stages. FWIW, every MM that I've listened to and thought sounded acceptable had low inductance.

Mind you, normally and by preference, I also prefer to design with and use fully active amplification when it comes to phono equalizers. However, I know from first-hand experience that it is possible to design a stepup transformer that at least measures pretty well and sounds reasonable. And let us not forget that there are many phono equalizers that audiophiles like and already own that would benefit substantially from some extra gain with small noise penalty (and also in some cases, benefit from judicious band-pass filtering). Both of these are attributes that a stepup transformer can easily provide. Let's not insist that audiophiles throw out their existing phono amplifiers just to satisfy a technical argument which doesn't appear to be on such solid foundations.

regards, jonathan carr
Raul you are certainly entitled to your opinions but it is disingenuous telling anybody else they are wrong. Their opinions are equally valid.

You may have more toys than most of us but it does not mean you are smarter than some of us.
Raul please lay off your dogmatic opposition to step up transformers. We all know you have a vested (commercial) interest in your Essential design (which uses solid state for MC gain).

I have heard Thom's system for something like 40 hours, and if the theoretical disadvantages of SUTs that you state are audible, they were not apparent in Thom's system.

My view is that whatever phase anomalies are introduced by a SUT, they are orders of magnitude less than the phase havoc wreaked by the average speaker crossover.

I agree with Thom, that it's futile to generalize about topologies - it's all in the execution. There are good and bad MM and MC cartridges, tube and solid state amps, horn and open baffle speakers, ad infinitum.
Dear Jonathan: +++++ " To address your comments one by one, yes, distortions will be generated at the core of an SUT, but distortions are also being generated in any MM or MC cartridge (both in the signal core and in other places). " +++++

My point is that I don't have to tolerate additional SUT distortions if exist a better way to go. I don't want to add unnecessary distortions, I'm to mantain at the lower possible level all kind of distortions/noises coming from everywhere. I can't do nothing with the own cartridge distortions ( other than a precise set up ) but I can eliminate the SUT distortions that are really bad.

+++++ " In your recent posts you have noted a preference for cartridges that measure to be poorer than normal in terms of distortion... " +++++

Jonathan, you have to hear the MM Technics cartridge ( maybe you own? ) to understand why I appreciate so much its very high quality performance.

+++++ " Bandwidth of an SUT may not go down to DC, but I have a test transformer on my bench that measures dead-flat down to 10Hz, with a -3dB roll-off of 1Hz. The top end is dead-flat to at least 30kHz (the top-end response after that depends on the load). Far better than any loudspeaker, for sure. " +++++

The issue is not if is better than a speaker, the subject is that it is not enough bandwidth against an active design and the active design has a lot lot lower distortions than the SUT any one including this that you own.

+++++ " Mind you, normally and by preference, I also prefer to design with and use fully active amplification when it comes to phono equalizers. However, I know from first-hand experience that it is possible to design a stepup transformer that at least measures pretty well and sounds reasonable. " +++++

Finally we agree: your preference is through active amplification, this is all about and this is my subject: well designed high gain active amplification!!!!

+++++ " Let's not insist that audiophiles throw out their existing phono amplifiers just to satisfy a technical argument which doesn't appear to be on such solid foundations. " +++++

I can't understand you, first you told me that you prefer active amplification and here you told me that " there is no such solid foundations ".

I know that your first statement ( active amplification ) is what you prefer because I could not understand that a very well respected cartridge designer can " think " in favor of SUT's, certainly not because you and us ( customers ) want the best quality performance from those beloved cartridges.

The subject here it is not if you or any one ( including me ) has the " right " point of view, the subject is how any one could take out the best of a low output cartridge: through an active amplification or through a SUT. It is obvious for you and for me that it is through active amplification.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul.
If you're looking for a nice step-up transformer and don't want to break the bank the K&K step-up that uses Lundahl transformers is a bargain ($300 assembled). I used one with a Hagerman Trumpet phono stage with great results. Made me forget all about upgrading to the Bent unit (a great unit but at 2+ x the cost of the K&K).
Dear Flyingred: +++++ " Raul please lay off your dogmatic opposition to step up transformers. We all know you have a vested (commercial) interest in your Essential design (which uses solid state for MC gain). " +++++

If you look to the links that I posted to Thom yo can read that the date of that SUT post was: 10-27-05 ., I'm talking about SUT's ( against its use ) by more than ten years from now ( a way very long very long time before the Essential ).



+++++ " I have heard Thom's system for something like 40 hours, and if the theoretical disadvantages of SUTs that you state are audible, they were not apparent in Thom's system. " +++++

I have heard too ( a month ago ), I reserve my opinion about for the moment.



+++++ " My view is that whatever phase anomalies are introduced by a SUT, they are orders of magnitude less than the phase havoc wreaked by the average speaker crossover. " +++++

Yes, I agree but that fact can't tell me that because of that I don't have to worry about other " small " and very critical distortions at the analog source chain: I have to and I do care about specially with the cartridge signal that goes through a phonolinepreamp, if I can I will try ( always ) to put at minimum all the distortions/noises at the source because after that we only could wait that that distortions/noises go higher. Maybe you can tolerate this but I absolutely NO!!!!!!

Yes, maybe I'm dogmatic about SUT's and the reason is because I take care and I care to achieve for me the best quality sound reproduction from analog/digital source and trying to put at minimum those terrible distortions/noises/frequency shift is one ( between others ) way to make it.

Flyingred, I respect your opinion but my advise ( till today ) to everyone is to stay away far away from SUT's. Now, I'm not the only one that thinks in this way: fortunately there are several designs that today don't use SUT's anymore, high gain active amplification in both sides: tube and SS designs and you and all of us have to be extremely happy that that " trend " design is already happening because is in favor of the MUSIC and in favor to improve the quality sound reproduction, good for that!!!!

I don't think that any music lover ( like you and me ) could be against that welcomed fact.

Regards and enjoy the music.

Raul.

Jcarr,it is post "material" like your previous one that causes me to realize how little I actually know,about the stuff I own.As well as stuff I respect,having heard ALOT.Technically,that is!!My ONLY resource of knowledge comes from the "practical" side of listening to,and playing with what I own,and hear at good friends' homes.Using material I am familiar with,in the form of some fine LP's(some cd's too,btw).
Much more can be learned by someone like myself,if guys like YOU could post more often.Of course,then,"novices" like me would be posting "alot" less.That surely would make some folks happy,and I'd have no problemo "READING" YOU" in my spare time.!Thanks for the great insight!-:)
Best!
Dear Thom: +++++ " we are making a connection, and this is what it's all about. " +++++

I agree with this because that's what I'm looking and that I already achieve but that I always will try to improve.

The difference between you/other people like you and me is that you are extremely tolerant ( distortions/noises/frequency shifts/etc ) with the sound reproduction and I don't.

When I attend to a classical concerto I'm very happy always and when some one ask me about the performance I speak of thw whole performance but I speak too of errors ( if were make it )in some small " stages " that I can't tolerate, unfortunately I can't do nothing about but I could make something about in the audio systems and certainly I do.

The difference too is that I prefer to be connected to the MUSIC with out distortion/noises and you prefer to stay connected with a lot of distortions and noises ( I hope this is not your dogma. ). The good news is that today you have several options to be connected ( enjoying it ) to the MUSIC with out those distortions and noises.

You know that I have a very high respect for you but this does not means that I can'T disagree with you and that I don't try to help any one that want/need help.

One question: two audio systems ( everything the same, not similar but the same and both extremely well set up. ) one with very low distortions/noises the other one with high distortions/noises: which one do you prefer? which one do you think has better quality sound reproduction? which one is truer to the recording? which one will be nearest to the live event?

Thom, nothing is perfect and different persons that looks for perfection could choose different approaches. I always looking for the perfect path to the MUSIC through my audio system and one way to be nearer to that path is lowering any kind of distortion/noise/frequency anomalies.

Maybe the time to come when you hear my system ( I already invited more than one time to do it and I make now again. Btw, everyone of you are welcome any time you can: seriously, it will be interesting for all of us ) you could understand my way of thinking.

Regards and enjoy the music.

Raul.
Jonathan,

You never fail to inject a voice of reason and perspective into any dialog you enter.

Thank you!
Thom @ Galibier
David

I have both a Linn/naim ARO/lingo and a VPI HRX. The HRX is better in every way to the Linn except for maybe some sweetness in the top end, as the HRX is more extended and that gives you the good and the bad.
The Linn is a luvely sounding TT, however you may want to upgrade the arm and definately the valhalla to a lingo or armageddon - whatever takes your fancy.
I believe that will get you closer in peformance to what you are expecting and it will support the XV-1 better as well.
Thom

You say you load the XV-1 at 1.87 gms.

Is that VTF when playing a 120gm or 200 gm record. As you know there will be a bit of a difference between the two.

Or do you take a medium like 150gm record??

I agree that tracking at 2.5gms to me does not sound better.

I have tracked at around 2 to 2.05 for some time, but may try a little lower, hence my question.

cheers Shane
Sir Speedy, Thom, thanks. IMO, an audiophile/music-lover is entitled to listen to anything that they like. But I also think that they should understand what they really have, both the cons/difficulties as well as the pros. In real life as well as on these forums, all too frequently I am left with the impression that a major reason why the audiophile is upgrading is because they are unable to extract the full performance of what they already own (or didn't put enough consideration into choosing the component to begin with). Greater understanding is the key to making better choices as well as extracting more performance, and if I can contribute to these goals, I will gladly post more (spare time permitting).

best, jonathan carr
Hi Shane,

Even with good cartridges like the XV-1s, Lyras, etc., I tend to set VTA as a "compromise" over a range of records and then forget it for the most part after that. There are times when I'll twiddle with it when something sounds off, because it's so easy to do with a Triplanar or a Schröder, but I only do it as a response to it sounding in need of change.

VTA isn't It's the front of my attention on a record by record basis. This comes more as a personal response than a technical one. I try to deal with my system in all respects so that I can focus on music. Once I get to pulling out all of the "tools", I find myself getting into left-brain mode, and any subtle technical improvements are negated by the analytical focus a shift into. As usual, YMMV, and I sometimes violate my own "rule" too (grin).

As far as tracking force is concerned, I believe I noted in my earlier post that this related to experiences with my turntables, which are unsuspended. I should have made this point a bit more clear.

With the additional resonant variable at play with a Linn (suspension), I'd consider the entire range of tracking force (1.8 to 2.2) to be fair game, although I'd guess that you wouldn't find yourself much above 2.0 g. With the VPI combo (unsuspended, but with an arm having a lower effective mass than Triplanar and my Schröder), you're likely correct in finding yourself more in the 2.0 range too.

My main point for the original poster (remember him?), was to play with tracking force, to observe the results (especially in terms of dynamics and perceived pace), and by ALL means to avoid the temptation to dial the force up the 2.5 grams.

My apologies to all if a double post appears. When keying directly into the web form, the 'ö' in Schröder (using a key sequence of alt-1 alt-4 alt-8 on a US keyboard), the page refreshed).

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
Hello all,

I agree with what Thom said above "remember him?" I do :) Thanks to everyone that has helped. I enjoyed reading the talk amoungst you - all useful information, so thanks. I now know that the sweet spot with regards to VTF is around the 2.0g for my case with the LP12, but I will definitely not limit myself to this figure - will experiment. With that in mind, I will persevere with the XV1s, but I need to get my phono side sorted before I would want to mount the XV1s back on. Pulling the XV1s on and off I don't think is too healthy for the arm leads or the cartridge itself. Loading wise, I have further found out a lot of people have settled for something between the 100-300 range. If I end up getting the Bent Mu Silver Stepups (1:20) based on input load of the M7 at 50K, then I would end up with a load of about 125 which the XV1s will see. I think this will be a good starting point in the near future. At the moment, its sounding good with the LINN K18II and also, I'm in "saving" mode.

Any comments about Antiskate force and what to set that to? To me, the last time I put the XV1s on the LP12, with the antiskate dialed up max, was still pulling into the record center hard. Or is this a sign that the cart is not set up properly. I have the cardas sweep frequency record if that can help get things better.

Thanks again,
David
FWIW,I find my own tracking force,of about 1.87-1.88gms to keep me in the balpark,with my Temper-v(it is tiring to spend ten minutes vying for an exact 1/100th gm setting,and sometimes longer).Yet I am getting SO picky that I check it about once a week.It DOES make a fairly large difference if it is "dead on"!It is usually off by around 1/00 of a gram,or so(on the lower side).Per week,and lower if I have not listened in a while.
Now,I realize environmental conditions have an impact,but I wonder if any arms can "hold" an almost exact number,for any length of time.I love my sound but am getting tired,and impatient,in my old age!
My CD player seems to be speaking to me,and saying..."Hey!!Schmuck!!You can have perfect sound forever,if you just stay loyal yo me"!
Of course my LP's don't agree,and I have a HUGE collection of real "treasures"!
HELP!!!
Rauliruegas: You say that if I use 480 Ohms to load my XV1S that I'm in trouble elsewhere in my system. My system is one of the absolute finest most resolving systems I ever heard. It is not easy to experiment with loading on the dart pre-amp. I did go lower on the dart with no appreciable improvement. I did however, try different loadings on my former pre-amp, the Manley Steelhead and did not find any magical settings lower down the scale. Myself and other knowledgable audiophiles are floored when we listen to my vinly rig. Yes, nothing is perfect, but happy to report no troubles for me in my system.
Dear Bkonig: Nice to hear about. The Manley is faraway from the quality Dartzeel performance. I already try 1K, 600, 300, 150 and 100 Ohms with my XV-1 and at least for my ears ( that certainly are not perfect ) I prefer 100-150. I have to tell you that 300 or 600 Ohms are not a huge differences but I can hear it.

Now, I have to accept that many times it is system dependent about. At the " end of the day " the subject is that you are satisfied with the quality performance at that load and that's what matters. Sorry to disturb you.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul.
Load that Dynavector to a value that pleases your system and ears. Don't allow some self appointed expert and bully, who thinks he knows more than you but doesn't, to influence your decision.

That's a great cartridge.
Any comments about Antiskate force and what to set that to? To me, the last time I put the XV1s on the LP12, with the antiskate dialed up max, was still pulling into the record center hard. Or is this a sign that the cart is not set up properly. I have the cardas sweep frequency record if that can help get things better.
Maximum antiskate? Aha! We may well have found part of your problem. Excess antiskate sounds exactly like excess VTF - dull, boring, slow and muddy.

I'm not sure what you mean that the arm, "was still pulling into the center hard", unless you're using a blank (ungrooved) record to set AS. If so, I'd suggest you forget that method immediately, since it bears no relation to actual playing conditions.

The Cardas record will not help with AS. Nor is any other test record needed, and the ones that claim to help with AS tend to do more harm than good.

To set AS, start with it as close to "zero" as the arm allows. Now optimize VTF, so that you have a nice balance between speed/finesse and heft/weight, as discussed above. Now put on a very dynamic LP and listen for R channel mistracking/fuzziness. Increase AS in tiny increments until the R channel plays cleanly. That's all you need. Any more will overpressure the cantilever/suspension, and that dulls the sound.

Good luck,
Doug
Audiofeil,you are "such" a nice guy!!
Doug Deacon has provided excellent advice on setting antiskating. If the advice still seems a bit daunting because of the subjective aspect of determining the result of changes, I have a bit more "objective" way of setting antiskating.

If you can find a test record with a monophonic test track of musical instruments being played at increasingly higher volume/groove modulation you can easily hear the result of mistracking. I use an old Shure ERA IV test record, but there are other test records available for this purpose.

If the antiskating is off, one channel will mistrack before the other. The breakup (notes becoming fuzzy or a distinct sibilant buzz will be clearly heard from that channel. If it is the right channel, it means that the stylus is losing contact first with the right groove and MORE antiskating is needed; if the left, then less antiskating. You can easily replay the tracks to hear the result of your adjustment. When both tracks are about even when it comes to mistracking, the stylus force has been balanced between the two channels.

In my own personal experience, I have found that much LESS antiskating compensation is needed that the rough guidelines supplied by arm manufacturers. Perhaps this is the result of the kind of cartridges I use (for at least the past 15 years I have only used cartridges with line contact styli). The point is, one cannot rely on rough guidelines merely based on tracking force.
Thank you sirdweeby.
Hi all:

Dougdeacon: Yes, I was meaning that the arm was pulling hard towards the record centre - this was when I was using the blank portion on the Cardas sweep record to set the antiskate. I thought that was what this portion was for. No? And that you're supposed to adjust the antiskate so that the stylus no longer moves in towrds the centre of the playing record? I'll take your advise and not go with that with regards to setting antiskate force. Will it work with a not very dynamic LP? I have mostly vocal and acoustic stuff.

Larryi: Thanks for the additional tips. I'll give it a go tonight with my current LINN K18mkII. I have really never known how to get that antiskate value right. All the people I have asked locally at the shops give me "well it's basically the same as your VTF". Oh, and does it matter where you play on the record? On the edge, close to the centre, or in the middle? You mention "When both tracks are about even when it comes to mistracking, the stylus force has been balanced between the two channels". I thought that when it's balanced, you'd get no antitrack in either channel? Isn't that what we are trying to eliminate - the antitrack?

Thanks heaps,
David
antitrack ... supposed to be mistrack
Linnmaster,

With the test records I have, my cartridge, a Lyra Titan, cannot track the highest levels of modulation without some distortion. The channel that distorts first, is the one that is getting shortchanged on lateral force. With this method, I get to about the same place as I do just listening to music the way Doug Deacon suggests. It is just that this method is easier, quicker and one does not develop the same anxiety over trying to hear differences in setting (usually the harder one tries, the less one is able to hear).

I suppose the ideal antiskating bias will change over different diameters of the record, but, there is no way to set the bias for all conditions. In the ballpark is good enough. The people at VPI do not think bias setting is important enough to add extra mechanism that can vibrate and add a different form of vibration and so they left antiskating mechanisms off of their arm.
Hi David,

Firstly, a big thank-you to Doug for your eloquent description of the process. I have to put a link on my website to this post as well as Larryi's follow-up. They're real keepers and deserve to be easily referenced.

Currently, all of my setup tips are on my Triplanar setup page. It wasn't my intent to discriminate in favor of Triplanars in this fashion, but rather something that evolved as I was supporting some customers' Triplanar questions.

The problem with setting anti-skate on a blank track is that the record grooves are responsible for generating skating force.

It's a vector algebra problem, but basically, the combination of the headshell offset angle on a pivoting tonearm, in conjunction with the overhang, drags the stylus forward and toward the record spindle as the platter rotates.

So, the drag of the record grooves, the recording level (size of the grooves - peak to peak), shape and polish of the diamond all contribute to the skating force.

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
Hi Thom_mackris,

Where is your Triplanar setup page? Thanks.

-David
Hi David,

Click on this link ==> http://www.galibierdesign.com/prd_triplanar.html

The menu bar at the left side of this section will guide you through the particulars (the FAQs, Mounting, and Setup Guide sections).

As I mentioned earlier, quite a bit of this information is generic, and I really need to put on my webmaster's hat to create a dedicated tonearm setup resources page.

So little time ;-)

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
Hi all. Thanks heaps. I think I will be on the right track. Thanks for the tips and useful pages :). Going to get back to the music rather than reading. David