getting azimuth right

I was checking the alignment and it just occured to me the the stylus was listing towards the inside of the record. The cartridge is perpendicular to the record but the stylus is not right. So... I made some some azimuth adjustments. Well, to say that their was an improvement would be putting it lightly. At first it sounded a little thin, then... The sound went from being somewhat fat to more precise, larger soundstage, blacker, tighter bass with more impact and weight. My cartridge never tracked the inside grooves of a record like this before. The sound is relaxed and natural. However, the cartridge now leans towards the outside of the record slightly, but the stylus is now perpendicular to the record. Is this unusual? The difference in horns and piano is amazing. I think I learned something today. Wow. The sound is so relaxed and not edgy and the decay.... wow. I learned how important getting azimuth right is. I can't even say how many times I have worked on getting the aligment right and fiddled with this cartridge. I just got a big payoff for my labors

I had to write this because I hope to share this info with others that may be going through what I did and to not give up on analog. I just know their has to be others that have overlooked this. How can this be? I thought the cartridge should perfectly perpedicular to the record and the whole straw on the tonearm thing. Not so. You really have to look good. The mintlp kit helped me very much in figuring this out. Now I can see how important an azimuth tool can be. I can tell there is probably some fine tuning I could do but I am excited to say the least.
Very cool!!!! Congrats on a break through in your analog adventure!!!
What cartridge is this? Unfortunately, the stylus is not always straight against the cartridge body. I use my eyes and ears the best I can. I also use Feickert's Adjust+ Pro just to see what numbers show up. In the end, I use my ears.
Excellent report. Glad you're hearing and enjoying improved sound!

To address your question, "Is this unusual", the answer is "no". In fact it's common.

Jcarr of Lyra once posted about the technical challenge of affixing styli to cantilevers at precise 90 degree angles. It's difficult, costly and the reject rate climbs rapidly if a manufacturer insists on "perfection". Therefore, several degrees of tolerance are typical for all but the very costliest cartridges. That's the reality and we users must deal with it. Of course if a new cartridge is badly out of spec we should expect a repair or replacement, but small deviations do exist.

There are more reasons. Adjusting azimuth by levelling the headshell naively assumes that all the following are perfect:
- angle of headshell top surface to bottom surface
- angle of headshell bottom surface to cartridge top surface
- angle of cartridge top surface to the interior surface the suspension is mounted on
- squareness of the suspension material itself (which happens to be elastic)
- angle of suspension to cantilever
- angle of cantilever to stylus (as mentioned by jcarr)
Of course nothing is perfect and this list identifies at least six opportunities for error. If you're lucky, some inaccuracies will counteract others. If you're not...

The optimal way to start any adjustment is simple: ALWAYS adjust the parameter that's (i) as close as possible to what you're actually concerned about while (ii) being readily visible or measurable. With azimuth our prime concern is the angle of the stylus to the groove when viewed from the front. That's readily visible, especially with a Mint, so that's where we should start.

Since eyeballing azimuth is so easy, levelling anything else is foolish (sorry). Manufacturers like VPI, who even offer little rods to help level headshells, do a disservice to their customers. Levelling the cartridge body as a proxy for azimuth makes no more sense than squaring the cartridge body as a proxy for zenith. We don't play grooves with a cartridge's body.

Once you've got the stylus looking vertical, fine tune by ear using VERY tiny adjustments. A small fraction of one degree is audible in a good system. Tightness and focus of high pitched instruments or vocals is probably the single easiest thing to listen for, though azimuth affects everything you described.

Again, congrats and enjoy!
I ve used the ear method to adjust azimuth and have enjoyed a lot of music with my labor and time to set azimuth this way. A friend lent me his Fozgometer I was surprised that my low output cartridge .23mv worked straight into the meter. I was with in 1db of equal on the meter for left and right channels and decided to get both channels equal for a sound check.

Well i'm glad i did it took all of 3 minutes to set both channels equal and the results of this are a big step up from before the use of this fine vinyl tool on my rig. I spend a fair amount of cash on my system but for the results i am hearing i believe the price of a Fozgometer is well worth its cost. If you want to tweak from the equal point on the meter at least you have a benchmark to work with.
The cartridge is a Benz H2.
I'm interested in this software as I use a digital RIAA implementation and have all the hardware, and really the means to do most of what the software can. Still, I'm interested.

I see you can use Source>WAV and load wav files? I would need to do so after applying the RIAA curve to my files (or maybe not with 1kHz tone). Can anyone verify I can run all tests and plots from wav file source?

What does the fozgometer measure? Are you going for equal crosstalk level? The fact is cartridges show a level difference between L and R. Adjusting azimuth for equal crosstalk is not a useful and accurate method.
Jazzgene - who are you asking?

Adjusting for phase 1st seems to be preferred, and even VTA appears to affect channel sep.
I was asking Stltrains as he mentioned he used a fozgometer. I am wondering what that tool measures? crosstalk?
Np. Here's a good thread on the Foz.
So what does the Fozz provide that a simple digital multimeter couldn't do for you? Just play a test tone in the right channel and measure the voltage in the left, then repeat the process the other way round. You want to minimize and balance the crosstalk number from each channel - right?
After reading the Feickhart documentation, it seems that setting azimuth 1st for proper phase, then potentially living with a 2db of crosstalk is the way to go. they make the VERY interesting claim, that VTA will greatly affect phase but not crosstalk so you could never detect that just by looking at the voltage as nothing would change.
The crosstalk is a function of the cartridge motor. You can't adjust it in anyway. I agree with the Feickhart docs in that getting az and vta relatively correct does have a great deal to do with the phase it seems to me. I'm going by what I hear when vta or az is not close. Many times when people mention that their image from the vinyl source is not centered I believe this is the issue. If you have good imaging this is easy to hear. I think that we humans are more sensitive to phase than slight differences in amplitudes. Then again, I could be fos. ;-)
A very simple and acurate method. Simply use a test record with a 1kHz sound from 1 channel at a time. then use a sound meter(radio shack) the same distance from each speaker and adjust. easy, quick, cheap and acurate.

I’m having trouble understanding your comment but will try to share my thought anyway. Based on your statement above, I’ll try to follow along. However, the only thing this approach will do is allow you to possibly hear a channel imbalance of the total system including the room. It certainly won't allow you to properly adjust azimuth. If someone is using azimuth to adjust for channel imbalance, I'd suggest that is not the purpose or proper use for this adjustment.

If we are trying to adjust for proper channel balance, the best place for this is with a balance control in the phonostage or the preamp. If the cartridge balance is that far off, it's probably a good idea to send it back to the manufacturer for a replacement.

Read the Feickhart manual. It's VERY interesting. Once you plot for phase and CT, you can dial in VTA, something a mm won't allow you to do. You don't need the software but using a digital oscope/VUs would allow you to plot all this like they do.
Dre i; Not complicated. Analogue Production's "THE ULTIMATE ANALOGUE test LP", Trachs 2 and 3. I quote "The object is to sit the stylus exactly perpendicular in the groove" henss the Azimuth Adjustment. You say this is not correct? Did I not spell it out how to do it? Well you better contact Analogue Productions and tell them they are misinforming their users and set them strait on the correct method. I am very happy with my results.

I'm very familiar with the LP. However, the method you describe is not what the LP states. The text on the LP is actually vague at best. The missing link in the LP's text is the approach to measurement and interpretation of the results. My comment was specifically focused on this part of your post:
then use a sound meter(radio shack) the same distance from each speaker and adjust. easy, quick, cheap and acurate.
I'm fairly certain that I would not suggest the use the method you had mentioned based on my understanding of your words. That was the reason for the question of making sure I understood what you where trying to say.

My goal is not to enter into an argument or debate, but only to make sure I understand what you are trying to say. I would be happy to provide you with some reasons why the approach, as I understand your comments for adjusting azimuth, may not be viable method for doing so (which I touched on in my post above).

Dre_i; I get your point. So I took a volt meter and measured the out put of the oposite channel for both sides at the phono stage. I no what you are thinking, I made sure the volts were close to 0 at each channel with no signal before starting. With the signal they were as close to dead on as I am going to get. Almost know volt at the oposite channels and very close to the same volt at the channels when in use. The way I did it to begin with may not had been the correct/tech way as you put it but the results appear to be the same. Unless you see something wrong with this method?
Read the Skala data; crosstalk with mm only takes you so far.