Been there, done that.
The VPI alignment jig sounds best imo.
The VPI alignment jig sounds best imo.
I just got my Mint for my Classic 3 with 3D 10 arm, and spent the painstaking hour doing the proper Mint process for alignment.
Relative to the VPI jig-based positioning, the Mint moved the cart (Dynavector XX2-II) forward on the headshell by ~1.5 mm and added a teeny little twist of the body clockwise on cantilever alignment. The sound difference was definitely noticeable:
1. Better stereo separation and ’solidity’ throughout (I suspect I did not perfectly set the cantilever straight on the VPI jig against its grid lines... no doubt the Mint allows for more accuracy on this critical dimension).
2. Relaxed, utterly natural sound at the beginnings of records, but definitely more inner groove distortion on LP’s cut near the spindle, esp. on more highly modulated passages
Overall it is better I think but it is rather unfortunate as it renders some of my favorite records with songs ending a side almost unlistenable... now thinking about moving the cart body back a touch, closer to the VPI setting.
It does seems correct that the VPI jig optimizes for inner groove playback, vs Mint minimizing distortion across the record face at expense of inner groove playback.
I have the XX2 also but with no (zero) inner groove distortion, using no antiskate. An hour for your first time with the Mint is phenomenal! May I suggest that your cart is misaligned? Check spindle-to-pivot distance before you realign the cart. If it's off the Mint curve will be wrong. A 30x loupe would be handy too. The ones supplied by Mint are Fail. Good luck!
yes it occurred to me i might’ve done the mint process less than perfectly
also reading about the 258 mm vs 259 mm pivot to spindle debacle on the vpi’s with 10/10.5 arms as it relates to the mint ... he said 259 is the standard, i measured 258, he sent me 259 protractor... is all this due to 1 mm off on protractor angle???
last night i played with the alignment again and used vpi jig again played a little with cart ’twist’ angles... going back to vpi settings seems to have helped inner groove distortion
"PERFECT" Alignment" has eluded my Classic setup for years.
I waffle between the supplied jig, Feikert with/without A.S.
Things sound great, but now and then, vocals get a little out of control. These same records sound spectacular on a show rig, so it leads me to believe it's my cart alignment off by a hair
Just can't get myself to lug the Classic to a dealer for a "Professional" setup.
My S2P distance was off by 2 mm max resulting in unresolvable sibilance. Whether 1 mm makes an audible difference? Possibly but probably not the problem you are having anyway. If you can align the two null points simultaneously and the cantilever is exactly parallel to the lines, you’re OK.
Anti skate is a good bet as well as VTF. Set it on the high side. If you’re using a scale on the platter, the unipivot arm will be a tenth or two lighter at the record height. Azimuth and VTA "should" be near parallel with the platter. I use a Millennium Block to set the headshell (not the arm) parallel to the platter from both side and front, then dial in azimuth and VTA by ear. FWIW I have a Fozgometer and never use it. It requires dialing in by ear also and since the Block gets me in the ballpark way sooner, why bother? The key to it all is going back and re-checking everything after any adjustment and repeat, repeat, repeat until it’s right. It will take way more than an hour the first time.
To quote @wlutke "I then dial in azimuth by ear". Even after using a fozgometer final adjustment should be done by ear using a method such as this
ps Joel also notes the limits in setting azimuth via a meter given that approach only optimizes for one kHz and that may not be the most musically satisfying result for a broader frequency range
@wlutke does 1 mm make a difference? You bet your socks it does. If IRC the alignment tool I use (an Acoustical Systems uniprotractor) assumes .1mm or less as the goal in setup (admittedly tricky to achieve in practice)
a read of the manual for this setup tool is quite illuminating for its discussion of the desired accuracy
My S2P distance was off by 2 mm max resulting in unresolvable sibilance. Whether 1 mm makes an audible difference? Possibly but probably not the problem you are having ...A 1mm error in phono cartridge alignment is a huge error - I'd expect audible distortion as a result.
Azimuth and VTA "should" be near parallel with the platter.You clearly don't understand VTA, which typically should be around 15 degrees, although opinions vary about the best overall compromise.
thanks for the thoughts on the prior posts
a few comments back:
- folkfreak/cleeds - we are talking about 1 mm delta on S2P distance.... it is obvious that if the actual cart alignment is off by 1 mm then that is a huge delta... but no one here is so naive to be saying that is the case
- wlutke - thx for your further advice... yes i am wise to the record/platter/platter mat thickness issue and how it may affect actual vtf ... also trying various different anti skate levels (obviously this is also controversial as pertaining to vpi classics - i have gotten the full speech from peter l at soundsmith wanting AS, contrary to harry w’s ’meh’ on the whole subject)
- stringgreen - on the subject of azimuth, it seems to me that the dual pivot thingy that harry w has come up with may be a nice solution to keeping that aspect locked in once set well - the unipivot wobble has always made me queasy despite the great music these arms make
it has also occurred to be, given my basic understanding to manufacturing and hand building artisanal precision (or lack thereof) that stylus mounting variances may be significant, and this may well affect how the fine line/microridge styli track in the groove given any ’perfect’ alignment using the various tools we have
i am going to realign using the mint, double check cant alignment at the checkpts, then if all else fails to solve inner groove distortion/sibilance maybe it is time to shell out for a feickert LOL
cleeds wrote "You clearly don't understand VTA, which typically should be around 15 degrees, although opinions vary about the best overall compromise."
cleeds, are you talking about the cantilever instead of the cart body?
Different carts obviously have different VTF ranges and VTA specs but I see the vast majority of carts near level, not tilted 15 degrees, with the cantilever closer to 15 - 20 degrees. Assuming the manufacturers strive for proper VTF and VTA with the cart level, a parallel cart is as good a reference starting point as you're going to get, unless you subscribe to the must-be-92-degrees viewpoint, in which case there is no tune-by-ear option. Personally, I'll trust my ears first.
@jjss49 my comment related to P2S. Being off by 1mm you are basically guaranteeing you will never get the alignment the tonearm manufacturer intended. There is no excuse for such a large mounting error especially as there should be adjustability in any tonearm mounting to get it just right and the manufacturer should provide a jig that demands this level of accuracy (such as a pre drilled metal jig)
having correctly mounted the tonearm there is then the secondary problem with some multipurpose alignment tools such as the AS Uni that demands you measure P2S in using the tool. AS specify .05mm accuracy for this measurement in their current version of this tool https://www.arche-headshell.de/alignment-tools/smartractor/
net net net there is no substitute for being as precise as possible, sorry
@wlutke cleeds is referring to the cantilever (roughly) The definition of VTA is actually the angle between a line drawn between the stylus tip and suspension point and a horizontal line of the record
See here for a nice discussion of this and a very worthwhile tool for setting this parameter.
Most manufacturers design their carts to subtend the correct VTA when parallel to the record but it is worth measuring
i used to be in the 92 degrees SRA camp but frankly measuring this is too prone to error and a direct view on VTA using a tool like the SmartStylus is much more practical
cleeds wrote "You clearly don't understand VTA, which typically should be around 15 degrees, although opinions vary about the best overall compromise."VTA - vertical tracking angle - is by definition an angle created by the cantilever. See @folkfreak explanation above ^^^^^^, which is correct.
VTA is an angle defined by the stylus and record surface, not the cantilever which can be out of alignment with the stylus - if you want to be specific to the last detail. SRA is the angle of the cantilever to cartridge body and aligns the coils in the magnetic field regardless of stylus alignment on the cantilever. I think you may be confusing the two.
How you jumped from my reference of a parallel cart as a starting point to an ignorance of VTA is ... beyond vague.
cleeds -@wlutke, you are free to define words anyway you like. However, if you want people to be able to understand what you're trying to say, it's best to rely on commonly accepted definitions.
VTA - vertical tracking angle - is the angle formed when drawing a line from the stylus tip through the cantilever to its pivot point. It has nothing to do with the record surface except, of course, that's where the tip of the stylus rests. It is not the angle between the stylus and the record surface.
There is a graphic here, which is based on the work of Risch and Maier: http://www.theanalogdept.com/effective_length.htm
SRA - stylus rake angle - is the angle formed between the stylus and the record groove. It is not the angle of the cantilever to the cartridge body.
The definitive work on this was by Risch and Maier. See Audio magazine, March 1981. Copies of this article are floating around the web.
How you jumped from my reference of a parallel cart as a starting point to an ignorance of VTA is ... beyond vague.What you wrote was:
Azimuth and VTA "should" be near parallel with the platter.
That clearly shows you don't understand VTA, and now we know you're confused about SRA, too.
OK, I’ve got the diagram, some corrections.
VTA is commonly referred to as the relationship of the stylus to the record - as in 92 degrees. What is actually being set is SRA.
I read that the cantilever to cart body was SRA. Not so, my fault.
VTA as defined - a line from stylus contact area to suspension pivot point, included angle to record surface - seems nonsensical since no-one can measure it. But there it is.
What I wrote about VTA is "Assuming the manufacturers strive for proper VTF and VTA with the cart level, a parallel cart is as good a reference starting point as you’re going to get". That point goes for Azimuth too and has nothing to do with nomenclature.
There’s a difference between nomenclature errors and misunderstanding the relationships involved. Please pardon my prior usage. My understanding is just fine.
P.S. - cleeds,
I followed your link and the SRA is shown measured to the wrong side of the stylus. Surprised you didn’t catch that. Here’s a proper reference:
@wlutke how funny! Also in the same reference @cleeds linked to the picture showing a measurement of VTA is weird - 27degrees would be way off for VTA in anyone’s book ...
luckily for me it's quite easy to see the pivot point for my cartridge as the coils are exposed http://www.rutherfordaudio.com/shop/media/catalog/product/cache/3/image/1200x1200/9df78eab33525d08d6...