How to get 100 accurate azimuth?

Hi there.

Can anyone tell me how to get 100% accurate azimuth adjustment. So I can be totally sure and get peace of mind.

Dishnet used to sell "do it yourself" kits.

The other way is to take a small tv and satellite receiver outside to your dish and keep adjusting until you hit the maximum possible. Sometimes you can only get 88%, sometimes it will go over 100 if I'm correct.
Are you referring to styli?
I thought he meant tape head azimuth?
You can play with the settings for hours or just get a happy medium and settle with it, atleast that is what I have concluded, but I bet folks can get it perfect if time and patience can both be applied.
Or maybe telescopes?

I am sorry about the mistunderstanding. I was talking about cartridge alignment;-)
Until now, I have done it by placing a Lego brick on each side of the cartridge body and used this as a visual guideline.
I am looking for a way to adjust azimuth so it's totally accurate.
I have found the Wally Analog shop, but it's a bit expensive so I was hoping some of you skilled guys had some experience to share.

this is just off the top of my head, but it seems like i remember reading somewhere a reference to a denon test LP that had an exacting method of setting azimuth. you may want to check it out. i may be FOS.
Find another Nakamichi 1000 Turntable (just sold for $15K and has auto centering,and evey other tweak usefull or not) that maybe the best DD table ever.or get one of Their high end tape decks.I also was wondering if you meant TT or tape?!?
Look for Polaris. It's a good guide for true azimuth unless of course you're seeking magnetic azimuth.

Or is that north?

Never mind. I have to adjust my zenith.
On the serious side, if your linestage has a "mono" switch you can use the HiFi News test record to set azimuth.

I believe it is track 5 on the second side. If your azimuth is adjusted correctly, the track should be dead silent or close to it.

Good luck.
Freshpuma, there's lots of debate about the best way to adjust for optimum azimuth. Two schools of thought are 1) adusting for same output in each channel or 2) adjusting for minimum cross-talk in each channel.

The Hi-Fi test record and mono-switch process is of the "adjust for same output" school. The problem with this process is that it does not take into account potential differences in output from the two channels of the cartridge: you can end up way over-compensating if there is simply a channel-channel output (volume) difference. The same is true for any of the routines that sum both channels to mono looking for a null output, or for listening to a mono record for strong center fill.

Adjusting for minimum crosstalk in each channel is probably more reliable. This has been discussed at length in the Audio Asylum Vinyl forum and I'd recommend the following two links for reading on the subject:

Then there's always the "visual-check-with-a-mirror" approach, simply looking for the canitilever to be vertically positioned, followed by listening and adjusting based on what one hears. That's always been my approach, and it's worked surprising well for me over the years.
You can't.

Nor is that level of precision necessary.

I use the Wally Analog shop, and even with that, at some point you have to say "good enough".
As Riffer says, 100% perfect azimuth is impossible, unless by chance your cartridge is 100% perfect. Since no cartridge is...

That said, I agree with Rushton's excellent post. I own a Wally Analog Shop, but over the years I've found I can adjust by ear just about as closely as the Analog Shop can measure, and enjoy listening to music while I do it.
Hi Rushton

Thank's a lot. Seems I've got some reading to do:-)

Freshpuma, you're welcome. There's a wealth of discussion. Just be careful to sift through it with an appropriate "hooey filter" in place. :-)
I eventually abandoned the mirror method in favor of one that seems to work a little better - play a record at night and shine a bright flashlight at the record where the stylus makes contact. A black vinyl record will reflect the stylus and cantilever nicely. The cantilever and it's reflection should form a straight line when viewed from directly in front of the cartridge. That being said, your eyes can play tricks on you and you may find yourself tilting your head in order to get the reflection to line up! I'd recommend a mechanical method (test record, Wally tools, etc.) unless you are really going to tinker with this setting often enough to learn to do it by ear.
I just twist the tonearm one way and then the other until it sounds good to me.

I kid, I kid.
As Doug pointed out no cartridge is 100% perfect so going to great lengths to get the cartridge body perfectly aligned is a waste of time.

I my opinion the best instrument for adjusting azimuth is our ears. I find that dialing in azimuth is at least is important as VTA. It is interesting that there can be a huge difference in how critical this adjustment is depending on the cartridge. For some cartridges close is just fine, and with others some fine tuning can make the difference between just good and magical.

Everyone has a slightly different approach but what I find works best is to listen to a good stereo classical recording and note the sound stage. If things seem bunched up spatially one one side try adjusting so that the image is spread out more uniformly. I never know which way to go so I just try one direction and see if it gets better or worse. Once the soundstage seems balanced I make finer steps looking for a rightness and clarity to the sound. Be sure to start with the azimuth as close as you can get visually before listening. Differences tend to be easier to hear as you get closer to the correct alignment.

If this sounds confusing then just use the simpler question of what sounds best. You can usually ask yourself if you like adjustment A better than B and know what the answer is without needing to describe the sound. Just adjust until you get what sounds best. Correct azimuth always will sound better.

As I said before some cartridges will be more sensitive than others. I had a Shelter Crown Jewel that I drove myself crazy with trying to get the azimuth and VTA dialed in. I had a hard time hearing any difference and got frustrated. Then It dawned on me that if I can't hear the difference then it really does not matter. If you can't hear any difference then your done!

On the other hand my ZYX Universe is remarkably sensitive to proper azimuth adjustment. I had a funny experience while setting up our demo room at RMAF last year. I was fine tuning the azimuth on the Universe with a small group of people listening. I was making extraordinarily small adjustments and watching the faces of the listeners. I would go one way and there would be frowns then blank expressions and then when I hit the sweet spot it was all smiles. What was funny is that all of the expressions were the same and yet nobody was talking.

Rushton gave you the best answer. Also look on the Vinyl Asylum for the article by B Kearns on azimuth. He and Victor Komenkho are the ones to trust. One or both of those guys remark that adjustment of the azimuth has very little effect on output in each channel, and I made the same observation using a 'scope.