MMF 2.1 azimuth/tonearm lifter problem

I recently purchased a used Music Hall MMF 2.1 and have no experience setting up turntables. I followed the manual instructions with success except for one problem. The cartridge (Goldring Elan) was not even with the groove (the left side was higher). I adjusted this by loosening the ultra-small screw on the back of the tonearm and leveling the tonearm to make the cartridge even. In doing so, I made it so the tonearm lifter pin did not reach the rear of the tonearm to lift the stylus off the record. The lifter did work prior to the adjustment due to being lower on one end, and hence, closer to the lifter pin. My questions are as follows:
1) Should I not have adjusted the azimuth?
2) Are certain cartridges supposed to be uneven?
3) Should I not worry about using the tonearm lifter?
4) DO cartridge heights vary? (I am considering a AT 4470Mla)

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

1) You adjusted VTA (vertical tracking angle), not azimuth. Azimuth is not adjustable on the MMF2.1.

2) VTA is different for every cartridge. Adjusting to parallel to the record, as you did, is a good place to start. Do a search and you'll come up with multiple threads on adjusting VTA.

3) The tonearm lifter (cueing) isn't required but it sure is handy and safer than manual cueing. IIRC, there's an adjusting screw for the height of the cueing platform. If not, a small piece of foam attached to the platform would work.

4) Cartridge heights definitely vary. VTA will need to be adjusted again if you change cartridges.

Maybe I did not explain what I did accurately. As I understand it, the VTA adjustment raises the base of the tonearm by way of two small allen-wrench screws, this is not what I am referring to. I loosened a small flathead screw on the rear of the tonearm near the counterweight thereby allowing the tonearm to swivel. By swiveling the tonearm I was able to move the cartridge perpendicular to the record. After doing this, the tonearm lift-pin would not reach the tonearm to lift the stylus, though it did before I leveled the cartridge.

Are both actions are referred to as VTA adjustments?

Please excuse my lack of knowledge in this area. I just wanted to be able to use the lifter, though the sound quality is much better with a leveled cartridge.

My mistake - what you did is definitely azimuth - they must have added that adjustment since I owned my MMF 2.1. Given that, what I don't understand is how adjusting the azimuth could change the cueing level. I suppose having azimuth dead straight could have raised the arm a bit, but not by much.

Did you check to see whether the cueing platform has an adjustment? Most do, but I'm not sure I ever checked on mine since it always worked. Adding a pad to the cueing platform may be the easiest way to go.

Johnny, make sure the VTA screws at the base of the tonearm are tightened. They probably were not and by grabbing the tonearm, you could have lifted the base without knowing it.
Lower the cartride on the record, look at the arm from the side and see if the arm is more or less parallel to the record surface. If there is a considerable angle(tail up), make it more or less parallel. Otherwise if it looks fine, don't touch VTA.
ANyway, does the platform move up and down when you use the arm lift?
No, the VTA base screws were tightened the whole time. I had already performed the VTA tonearm leveling (and tightened the two allen wrench bolts back) before I noticed the uneven cartridge. Even if they were loose, the base and the tonearm lifter pin housing are connected, so they would rise and fall together. I looked for a way to raise the tonearm lifter platform, but it is an inaccessible bolt (no screw head or allen accessibility).

To clarify, the tonearm lifter is a round bolt that rises out of a housing to meet a cross-arm attached to the underside of the tonearm.

Should I not have leveled the cartridge to make it perpendicular with the platter? When looking head-on, the Goldring Elan dipped down to the right. From my reading it should be even. When I leveled it the tonearm lifter pin would no longer reach the tonearm crossbar to raise the stylus.


Now I remember - the cueing platform on the MMF 2.1 tonearm is actually attached to the tonearm. I had to put a pad on top off the cueing piston ("bolt") to keep the arm from being pulled sideways by the antiskate when the arm was lowered. I just Blu-Tak'ed a felt pad on there, but if you need something thicker, you could use foam or rubber.

You've done exactly right by setting the azimuth perpendicular and the arm parallel to the record - that's always a good starting point. Your cueing problem is the manufacturer's fault - they haven't given you a way to adjust it. You'll just have to perform a slight mod on your own.