this difference won’t damage your record. your stylus will be tracking under the different angle. that might or might not be beneficial. there are solutions such as cartridge spacers, but they add weight and need to be re-adjusted properly after applying. Also you can use extra washers for providing ideal tracking angle. Mainly you’ll want your arm tube parallel to record surface.
New turntable SRA questions
Hello I am very new to vinyl. I bought a Technics SL-D2 that was in good shape but the mat was hard and oily. I bought a Hudson HI-FI rubber mat to replace it. At the time, I didn't know about VTA/SRA. I measured the old mat at 4.2mm and the new one at 2.6mm. This TT does not have a VTA adjustment. Will that difference damage my records or will it just sound worse? Or is it ok? My records still sound great and everything looks OK to my eye. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
My TT setup: Technics SL-D2 with Audio-Technica VM95e headshell and cartridge.
Miniscule VTA/SRA adjustments are for perfectionists, and would typically involve better equipment.
IF the arm is parallel to a standard thickness LP while playing, you are good. That assumes the downward tracking force is correct, as the stylus/cantilever flexes a bit)
If not, you need to adjust something.
Fixed height arm, your choices are: buy a cartridge with compatible height; get a thicker mat; shim your cartridge down (least preferable).
you have opened up pandora's box.: beware of assumptions, other things could have been changed from the factory original, the headshell? the cartridge?
if changed, who aligned it for overhand and null points. azimuth verified?
Thank you both for taking the time to respond. The tonearm seems to be fairly close to being parallel with the record. It's not perfect but it seems to be close. I will be look into getting a thicker mat.
My bad elliottbnewcombjr, I should have clarified earlier. I changed the headshell when I got the turntable. I adjusted the cartridge with a Geo disc, set the tracking force to 2g, and the anti skate to 2. Is there more I should do?
Thanks again for the responses
Just place a "thick" LP under the new mat (really thick would be around 2mm/really thin would be around 1mm) and see if it sounds better after readjusting the VTF.
The VTA of the stylus comes first, IMO.
I've owned many, many, many decks with SME arms, without the arm being totally parallel to the disc/platter, and they all sounded super once I dialed in the VTA.
I assume that "parallel" may be a bigger factor on some arms, but I have not experienced such with my older (various) SME's.
Which is a difference of 1.6mm or 1/16th of an inch.
If the arm is 9” then the angular change is 1/(16x9) which is 1/144.
So it is 1/144 of a radian or ~<1/3 of a degree. I would not worry about 0.4 degrees if you have a stylus that is elliptical.
Does it sound good?
1.5-2 mm makes a big difference in SQ with my current deck/cartridge (same with the past ones).
As adjusting the arm height on my current SME 3009 non-improved is a PITA I set it up for average thickness LP's and I use a lifter/under mat for thinner LP's (the thinner one's are generally "import" LP's from Europe issued in the 70's/early 80's).
I'm currently using the first version of the Grado Gold Prestige (previously used the Silver version).
All styli have been OEM.
Holmz: Yes it is elliptical and it sounds great to my ears. Both L and R are clear and it's tracking well. I really can't compare it to anything other than spotify though..
DeKay: I am unfamiliar with SME. Is that the type of tonearm I have? I will definitely experiment with a lp under the mat and see if it sounds better then go from there
Thank you all for the great advice. I'm learning a lot
SME is a manufacturer/brand.
My various models have/had adjustable tonearm height (seems yours does not), but they (my older models) are tedious to adjust.
I'm picky, but also practical (meaning old and lame), thus using a shim mat for thinner LP's works for me.
The thinner LP's sound brighter (lighter in the LF's) if I do not use the shim mat to raise them.
You may experience the same (fuller sound) by trying a shim mat (an LP under the current thinner mat in your case - as it's an easy zero cost experiment).
The Grado cartridges I use are more sensitive to VTA VS the old Sure V15III cartridges I used to use.
Anyway, if it sounds good it is good.
If it sound as good or better than Spotify, then you are doing good.
I would suggest that you clean the oily old mat… That may work better for the standard LPs.
Like this @dekay fellow:
This weight, 3 grams, acts as a spacer, lowering your cartridge, thus raising the active end of the arm,
IF you can back off your counterweight enough to start with an extra 3 grams weight, it could work quite well.
I suggest you invest in a headshell, new cartridge
, and this as a spacer, 1. i.e. headshell allows azimuth adjustment, gray or black, full access to wires from sides .. https://www.ebay.com/itm/303574519597?hash=item46ae738f2d:g:SKUAAOSwGjpexst0 2. at microline stylus https://www.audio-technica.com/en-us/cartridges/type/moving-magnet/vm540ml 3. the weight/spacer https://www.ebay.com/itm/303971279932?hash=item46c619a43c:g:-eMAAOSwGAJggimB note: 4. later, if/when you move to a different turntable, get one with an arm with removable headshell, then this $300-$350. investment moves to any future upgrade.