Fine tuning Azimuth - Very postive results

I though I would share my experience over the weekend when I finally fined tuned my azimuth on my Basis model 3 tonearm. On my arm the azimuth is adjusted by turning a set screw with a small allen wrench. With just a 1/6th rotation clockwise the results were quite remarkable. I adjusted by listening to some familiar source material each time turning the azimuth set screw in different directions and by different amounts. Finally after about 45 minutes of trial and error I found the setting which was sonically superior and wow the music came alive like never before.

After spending some time last weekend re-listening to many familiar records I had just played a day earlier before the azimuth adjustment the improvement was more than I expected. I suspected there would be better imaging after the adjustment and there was. Instruments were placed more precisely on the sound stage from left to right with greater clarity and precession but what surprised me was the added body and fullness to the music across the whole audio spectrum. The vocals were richer and more fleshed out and the bass had more weight and impact. The feeling I had when listening after the change is my benz LP phono cartridge was digging out more musical information from the grooves of the record resulting in a richer and more musical sound or another way of putting it is my stylus was getting additional musical information that it was not before . In comparison before the azimuth adjustment the sound was thinner and less focused across the whole audio range and the music was somewhat less involving overall. Although it is hard to measure exactly because everything is subjective the improvement with my setup with my Basis 2500 signature table and steelhead phono stage was at least 25% across the board. In some ways I found proper azimuth setup to be as important as proper VTA setup in so far as getting the most information from your record grooves. This tweak had a very positive impact impact on the sound and is highly recommended if you have not already done so.

As a side note I know there are more accurate ways to adjust the azimuth using the wally azimuth tools and my method of listening by trial and error is more crude but never the less the results are postive. I am sure the wally tools will give me even more accurate results but I fell I am so close with my current azimuth setting that the difference would not be great.

Enjoy the music

Thanks for the reminder of the importance of Azimuth. I've setup my anti-skate by ear with the size of the soundstage and have had similar good results. Maybe I should mess with my Azimuth now, which I've previously done only by eye.

BTW, I think you meant "precision" not "precession". Precession would would be rather nasty for a stylus in a groove.

Precession: conical sweep of axis of rotation: the regular motion of a spinning body such as a spinning top or a planet, in which the axis of rotation sweeps out a cone
Dear Johnny: Great experience, tks to share with us. Unquestionable the Azimuth parameter is a very important one, unfortunatelly not all the tonearms have this posibility.

Now: +++++ " Although it is hard to measure exactly because everything is subjective the improvement with my setup with my Basis 2500 signature table and steelhead phono stage was at least 25% across the board. " +++++

I respect your statement, but a 25% of improvement it is not only a one order of magnitude but a lot more. Do you really thing is that big?, if it is then you are in a stage of discovery the potential of reproduction of your audio system and you know now that you were missing a lot. Good news for you, btw for all of us.

I think is time to check the Azymuth in our systems.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I am not sure how much one can improve over the "ear test" when considered against measured responses to changes in azimuth.

Some time ago, I joined a "consortium" of three other ‘Gonners who group-purchased a Wally Azimuth Tool. I used it on a Graham 2.2 which I had already set by ear and it was damn near spot on, well within the range of what Wally suggests. I fined-tuned it until both sides were perfect, within the error of measurement, and did not tell a difference. Then, I fiddle-farted with three other arms, first setting them by eye and ear, then using the Wally Azimuth Tool. In each case, the eye/ear setting was within the "prescribed range" and tweaking things "better" were not audibly different, at least not to me. So, I concluded that the tool was not NECESSARY, but it might be convenient - if you consider unhooking all of your speaker connections, hooking up the Wally, running the tests, and putting everything back together convenient.

All that said, if one adjusts the azimuth where you KNOW it is wrong, and then re-adjust by eye and ear, there is a WORLD of difference in sound. I also know that if you can easily adjust the azimuth of your arm, it is a luxury. Unfortunately, some of the arms where azimuth is easily adjustable have other issues. It is a pain in the ass having to use shims, and they have their own drawbacks, but sometimes it cannot be avoided.
Raul, an order of magnitude is a factor of 10X. That would be 1000% better. 25% is 40X LESS than that; or 4 orders of magnitude smaller! Of coarse I could be full of it; since I listen to equilizers strung together by nasty, distorting transformers.
Actually the 25% improvement I mentioned is on the conservative side. With some records I am very familiar with and played over and over I always thought the midrange sounded a little thin but after the azimuth adjustment it gained so much more body and depth. Yes the detail and imaging improved but it was the critical midrange where I noticed most of the improvement. Both male and female vocals took on new life with a fuller and more robust sound and I could hear strings placed on the soundstage with great clarity that was somewhat smudged before the azimuth adjustment. Records that already had a full body sound before became even bigger sounding with improved transparency and musicality.

I guess I am lucky in so far that the azimuth on my basis vector arm is easy to adjust and can be done in a precise manner with very small increments to obtain the best sound. In conclusion I have discovered that even very small changes in azimuth can have a signafignant impact on the quality of sound reproduction from our audio system. Using the eyeball method is a good starting point but further refinements must be done by ear or test measurements to get the most performance out of your system. As the old saying goes you don’t know what your missing until you make the change.

BTW I did mean to say "precision" not precession.


It really took a long time to set azimuth with my Graham because it's a unipivot and you have to turn these tungsten side weights in and out to get it right. Once I got it dialed in it sounded great.