how do you determine anti-skate settings?


my tt (Origin Live Illustrious) has no scale for anti-skate, which consists of a little weight hanging from a string, connected near the rear of the arm. Is there any good method, or tool, or test record to use, for determining optimum anti-skate settings?
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There are various vinyl test records that you can get on line. Just google them. They'll usually have a blank unrecorded cut long enough to adjust for anti skating along with frequency tones, balance test ect. Luckily I have an old Johnny Winter "Second Winter" double record set that has an entire blank side. I guess they didn't have enough material to fill it. It's great for skating adjustments.
Re the posts by Yogiboy and Oddlots, I've read on several occasions that the technique of using a record having a blank side to adjust anti-skating is not a good one, and will usually result in a setting that is excessive.

That is because a basic factor in the origin of skating force is friction between groove wall and stylus, and the blank record does not have any groove walls. Therefore the resulting contact and friction are very different in the two cases.

It would be interesting if Yogiboy and Oddlots were to perform the visual check of cantilever deflection that I described earlier. I suspect they will find that the cantilever deflects to the left as it enters the grooves of a record, unless the suspension of the particular cartridge is stiff enough to resist the excessive anti-skating force.

Regards,
-- Al
As Al has mentioned, I have observed that anti-skating is normally not correct if you try to set it using a flat surface. What we should hope to achieve is to have the stylus squarely track a modulated record groove. This is what we want to do when we are using the record player to listen to music.

Al's method of carefully watching for stylus deflection is a good one, and much can be gleened from simply listening for any distortion as John Tracy mentioned earlier in this discussion. Substantially incorrect anti-skating will many times manifest itself as distortion in one channel and not the other while playing a record that is known to not have groove damage.

Jim Pendleton
Osage Audio Products, LLC
Re Almarg's allegation that anti-skate should not be set using a blank LP track: the frictional force that is a component of the skating phenomenon is between an offset stylus tip and a moving record surface. But he/she forgets that skating occurs on an ungrooved record too, so NO groove-wall friction is involved. And if anti-skating is properly set on an ungrooved record the L and R frictional forces that arise when a grooved record is played will be equal and opposite, and will cancel each other.
The thing that you notice when you set anti-skating with an ungrooved record is that the degree of correction depends on the radius. I usually set it for a halfway-across radius. The settings I have found for a variety of tonearms and cartridges are invariably lower than those usually recommended by manufacturers, who generally advise to dial in the tracking force. This is always too much. Rega arms for instance require about half the tracking force according to their dial calibrations.
Another misconception is that anti-skating has something to do with the behavior of a balanced tonearm floating above the surface of a record. Wrong - if the stylus is not touching the record the required friction is completely absent. The direction the floating tonearm swings has nothing to do with skating.

I'm with Almarg on this one. Is the argument by some manufacturers in favour of zero bias actually justified based on their hardware? (In some cases you see arms designed without any bias adjustment feature, the manufacture puts some positive spin on it and turns it into a selling point while avoiding a difficult engineering problem?)

Traditionally, higher VTF has always been balanced by proportionate antiskate(?) so higher VTF cannot be a solution, only make matters worse?
Personally, having watched stylii placed on blank vinyl with minimal antiskate skip towards the label at high speed whilst witnessing the kind of mistracking this produces in the RH channel if no action is taken and indeed the kind of stylus deflection that Al describes, it's hard to accept that these manufacturers are making any sense.
I can also attest to the fact that on occasions, with certain carts that are well run-in, the most subtle bias adjustments can reap considerable gains, so I'm having real difficulty suspending my disbelief.