Overhang for Ortofon 2M Bronze on Rega RB301


I just purchased an Ortofon 2M Bronze cartridge and am a bit puzzled about the overhang setting. The people I purchased the cartridge from said they set the cartridge so the front of the cartridge is flush with the front of the headshell. When I checked this with the Rega cartridge alignment protractor it shows the cartridge should be roughly 2 millimeters further back in the headshell. I listened both ways and thought the setting where the front of the cartridge was flush with the front of the headshell sounded the best. The other thing I was wondering about was the tracking force; Ortofon advised from 1.4 to 1.7 grams. I initially tried it at 1.5 grams and then 1.7 grams (as recommended by the people I bought the cartridge from). Surprisingly I like it at 1.4 grams. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
bobgates
There's no such thing as one correct alignment. Different methods yield different results but none are perfect. My guess is that those who have it flush with the headshell used a two-point gauge and not Rega's single-point gauge.

As far as tracking, it's usually safer to go heavier than lighter. Too little force and the stylus can be thrown around in the groove, resulting in micro damage. Believe me, 1.7g is not going to result in significant record wear.

If you're spending $400 on a cartridge, why not invest an additional $40 on a test record? This way, you'll know whether the cartridge is performing properly at your preferred setting. If not, you can try it at 1.5g, 1.6g and so on until you get a good result. The Hi-Fi News test record is my favorite. It comes with good instructions and a two-point alignment gauge as a bonus.
Thanks Ekobesty for your advice.

There may be no such thing as 'one correct alignment', but determining the overhang by the relationship of the cartridge body to the front of the headshell is absolutely the 'wrong' way to mount a cartridge. I'd suggest you read a cart mounting tutorial (they're all over the web, but this one-http://www.audiophilia.com/features/cartridge_setup.htm-is a good starting point). Also, go to VinylEngine-there's a wealth of free, download-and-print protractors at that site (you'll need to register, but you'll then be privy to a wealth of knowledge and manuals). In particular, check the 'Library' for Rega arms-I believe there is available a Baerwald arc protractor to print out.

I'd further suggest you do this AFAP-your records will appreciate it.
Bob, bite the bullet and get a Mint Tractor. Not only will you hear a difference, but you'll be able to put the issue to rest and know it's done correctly.
I readjusted the overhang and now have the headshell lined up perfectly with the Rega alignment protractor; the front of the cartridge now sits around 2 millimeters back from the front of the headshell. Also set the tracking force to 1.5 grams. Listened late last night for quite awhile and have to say it now sounds by far the best I have heard it. I know there are certainly better cartridges if you have the money but I sure love the sound of this Ortofon 2M Bronze; hard to believe it is a MM.
Bob-

Good to hear. I'd guess that along with the proper overhang, you checked that the 'zenith' (twisting the cart around the stylus axis to align the stylus to the groove) was correct, no?

Are you using the Rega 'single point' protractor? If so, I'd wager you'll hear even better results with a two-null-point protractor-as I mentioned, there's a two-point arc protractor available for free on VE, or 'Mingles' mentions the even-better 'Mint' (though it's not free, seems to be worth the money from all I've read). BTW, the arc models allow you to accurately align without trying to determine a straight line from the spindle to the center of your tonearm pivot. Easier and (can be) more accurate.
Thank you Johnbrown; I will definately check that out.
Ekobesky - just wanted to let you know that I did bump the tracking force up to 1.6 grams and then 1.7grams; it does sound even better now. Now I'm wondering where I can find a blank album so I can accurately set the antiskate?

Hello Bob,

Congratulations on your new Oftofon 2M Bronze cartridge.

I very highly recommend the Mint tractor if you'll be keeping your current turntable for a while. Each Mint tractor is drawn and cut for your turntable/tonearm combination taking into account the diameter of the spindle. It is the most accurate protractor available today. IMO, it is one of the best investments one can do for correct cartridge overhang setup.

Since your cartridge is brand new, you may want re-evaluate the VTF until after the cartridge has been fully broken in. New cartridges take some time for the suspension to settle in.

Best,

iSanchez

Thank you iSanchez - I will definately look into the Mint tractor.
Bobgates
How is the 2m bronze sounding in your system
I'm interested in this cart as well for my Rega 300 and Lenco table but the opinions are all over the map as to how it sounds ...
01-10-09: Bobgates
Ekobesky - just wanted to let you know that I did bump the tracking force up to 1.6 grams and then 1.7grams; it does sound even better now. Now I'm wondering where I can find a blank album so I can accurately set the antiskate?

The Hi-Fi News test record has a blank area, along with many other useful tests.

The better the stylus, the more critical proper setup is. The 2M Bronze is next to the top of the line so it will benefit you greatly to optimize alignment, tracking force and anti-skating. Unfortunately, those are the only parameters you can work with on the RB301, though you can adjust the arm height using spacers though it's probably not necessary in this case.
Musicfile - the cartridge is sounding great. I am still experimenting with the tracking force though and it seems to sound the best between 1.55 grams and 1.65 grams. I downloaded some of the cartridge alignment protractors on vinylengine.com and feel the overhang is either right on or at least very, very close to being where it should be.
Thanks Bob
Did you need to insert spacers between the arm and Cart
if so how many
Musicfile - the VTA appears to be alright; I had heard that the Ortofon 2M was designed with the Rega arm in mind. I did play a few albums with the felt mat removed; kind of liked that; a little more lively.
I've been doing searchs on thoughts about the optimum overhang for the Rega tonearm. One that I kept running across said the overhang for the Rega tonearm should be 15mm. So rather than spend $110 for a Mint Best Protractor I thought I would simply place the cartridge directly over the spindle and measure the distance from the center of the spindle to the stylus tip with a metric ruler and adjust the distance to 15mm. Well after doing this I listened and have to say this is the best sounding setting I have heard so far; it really sounds exceptional now.
Hmmm....maybe. I've never heard this-but how do you adjust for the relationship of the stylus to the groove, i.e. the 'zenith'? With any stylus shape other than a conical (or elliptical) the stylus must be 'squared' to the vinyl groove, hence the grid lines on a protractor. Hey-you've got to use a protractor, for the sake of your vinyl.

Oh, and as an aside.....a 'blank' record cannot be used for anti-skate adjustment. Just saying. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn't a clue.

And as a final aside-fer chrissakes, adjust your cart with a decent protractor, sit back, and spend some time-and I mean weeks, at least-listening to your records. This is about music, not futzing, and only with listening experience will you be able to determine if a change is an improvement, or just a change. In other words, simmer.
Johnbrown - apparently there are people on vinylengine.com who think otherwise; that's where I got my information. The blank side of the album I use does work for anti-skate; once you get it right the cartridge stays right in the middle and won't be pulled inward or outward.
Bobgates, that might be true, but the setting arrived at is but an approximation of the real playback conditions, since there is much less friction generated in a groveless portion of the disc.

The 'listen' to the distortion in both channels method is superior.

salut, Bob P.
Inpepinnovations - I can't agree with that; I much perfer the grooveless record approach and find it gives me the best results. Of course there's more than one way to skin a cat.
Skating force is caused by the drag of the stylus in the groove during heavily modulated passages. If you are setting it by watching it on a blank disc, you are not setting anything. But at least you are having fun!
01-15-09: Johnbrown
Oh, and as an aside.....a 'blank' record cannot be used for anti-skate adjustment. Just saying. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn't a clue.

01-22-09: Onetwothreego
Skating force is caused by the drag of the stylus in the groove during heavily modulated passages. If you are setting it by watching it on a blank disc, you are not setting anything. But at least you are having fun!

Huh??? Skating force caused by drag?

Last I heard -- and maybe this is old physics or something -- but skating is a simple byproduct of centripetal force. Anti-skating by spring or weight or twisting tonearm wires (as on a VPI arm) is a means of counteracting it.

Therefore, a blank record absolutely can be used to at least ensure that whichever antiskating device is being used is (a) functional and (b) at least somewhat properly calibrated.

Using the blank band on the HFN test record, when the stylus hovers in the center of the track without moving inward or outward, then antiskating force is equal to tracking force -- albeit in a vacuum of sorts. Using an unfamiliar arm, it at least gives the user a jumping off point.

I say...who cares?

The amount of skating force varies across a record's playing surface anyway. The right setting for the beginning of a record is the wrong setting for the end and vice versa. Just as there is no single correct alignment methodology.

My feeling -- which has served me right for over 20 years -- is to simply pick one darn school of thought and enjoy the music.

With regard to antiskate: on a Rega arm, confirm that the mechanism even works. Then set it to equal the tracking force. Tweak it by ear if necessary but don't listen for problems. Listen to the music. If you happen to hear something wrong, then investigate. Because with all the variables involved with analog playback, and so many imperfections and compromises at the budget end of the spectrum, if you want to listen for something wrong then that's exactly what you'll hear.
>>Huh??? Skating force caused by drag?<<

Skating is not the result of centripetal force in a tonearm. It is not the headshell that is spinning around, it is the record. And if it were centripetal force at work, the cart would be heading outward rather than toward the label.

Here is someone who knows more than both of us about the topic over at vinylengine.com

Quote:

Why do we need anti-skate? Passing the stylus through the record groove causes drag. If the cartridge were aligned straight down the arm and at a perfect tangent to the groove this force would act squarely on the bearings with no sideways component at all. But it doesn’t work like that. The cartridge is at an angle to the armtube to make the geometry work, so the drag force becomes a torque on the arm that’s translated into a movement towards the centre of the record. This torque is transmitted to the arm bearings, the cause of chatter in poor bearings. ...Setting up on a blank disc is not accurate because it doesn’t reflect the real drag value of the cartridge in the groove or an average value of the dynamic drag.
That still doesn't change the fact that, as far as Bobgares' RB301 is concerned, the amount of skating force will vary across a record's playing surface anyway so no matter what he does, it will be wrong at some point, whether at the beginning of the record or the end. And by the way, I never said using a blank disc was 100% accurate, but I still believe it's a useful jumping off point.

This is a fun discussion but it doesn't help Bobgates. So instead of disagreeing with me, let's ge back to helping Bob with his setup. If I'm wrong, that's fine -- even though I've been doing it wrong for 20+ years and my setups sound great and my records are in great shape.

So...your turn. Tell Bob how he should be doing it so he can stop worrying about setup and start enjoying music.
Good idea... From what I understand, drag/friction of the stylus in an actual groove is about 1.4 times higher than that produced by a blank record. Using the blank record as a "jumping point", once the stylus stops moving he could increase anti-skate by a factor of 1.4 times its current setting to get something that should work on an actual record.

For me, I just use a heavily-cut record with something strong in the left channel like a voice or trumpet. That usually gets the right channel to distort when anti-skate is too low. Harry James King James Version on Sheffield works good because there are some tracks where his trumpet is in the left channel only. Increase A/S until it tracks well. That record is probably the worst "torture test" in my collection so I don't need any more a/s than that.

I have no doubt your records and system sound great! Its all fun discussion.
Thank you Ekobesky and Onetwothreego for your thoughts on antiskate. I guess another way to set antiskate is to pick a record where you know a singer or instument is right in the center of the soundstage. If the antiskate is too weak the singer or instrument will be more on the left channel and if it is too strong the singer or instrument will be more on the right channel. I've also noticed with too little antiskate there seems to be a lack of air or ambience on better recordings. Thank you again for sharing you ideas on this topic.
So Bobgates, how is the Ortofon 2M Bronze working out? I don't know if I'm that crazy about the Shibata stylus in the Black and if I get a 2M it might just be the Bronze. How have you found it?
01-24-09: Onetwothreego
From what I understand, drag/friction of the stylus in an actual groove is about 1.4 times higher than that produced by a blank record. Using the blank record as a "jumping point", once the stylus stops moving he could increase anti-skate by a factor of 1.4 times its current setting to get something that should work on an actual record.

I'll have to give this a try. With so many divergent opinions on antiskating, ranging from "it does more harm than good" to those in favor of one method or another, I tend to just do what the tonearm manufacturer recommends. In the case of Rega, I just set the antiskating to equal the tracking force and pray that I picked the right religion. Of course, just as with that debate, you won't know if you were right until it's too late to do anything about it!

By the way...I haven't heard the 2M Bronze or Black but I love the Blue. I tend to agree with your guess that the Bronze is probably the sweet spot and that's probably the way I'll go sooner or later.
Ekobesky - that is really interesting and makes a lot of sense. I had set the tracking force at 1.55 grams and, using the blank record, had set the antiskate at around 1.1, so if you take that times 1.4 you have 1.54 which would imply that the antiskate be set the same as the tracking force. Thank you for passing that on.
I just noticed while setting up my 2M Blue that there's a little round dot in the top of the cartridge that sits right where the third screw in a Rega cartridge would be. If you align that dot with the center hole in the headshell, you're almost home free. It's a great feature for "roughing in" the position of the cartridge before tweaking with help from an two-point overhang gauge.
Ekobesky - I use that dot on the top of the 2M Bronze as point of reference also. I have the dot just back from the center hole on top of the headshell so only half the dot shows.
Bob
How is the Ortofon Bronze sounding now that it's broken some more .. any changes to report?
Musicfile - it is sounding superb. Down the road I may eventually go with the 2M Black stylus.
01-29-09: Bobgates
Ekobesky - I use that dot on the top of the 2M Bronze as point of reference also. I have the dot just back from the center hole on top of the headshell so only half the dot shows.

That sounds a little far forward to me. In my headshell, it's dead center. I align to the cantilever using a B-L two-point template. What are you using?
Ekobesky - I'm using the Rega cartridge alignment protractor that came with the P3-24 but I have also downloaded the Rega Stevenson ARC protractor off vinylengine.com and seem to get the same results.
Ekobesky - well I sold the Rega P3-24 and now have the Ortofon 2M Bronze mounted on a Ortofon SH-4 headshell which is plugged into the arm on a new Technics SL-1200 Mk 2. I love the way this setup sounds; definately an improvement over anything I was able to get out of the Rega. As far as overhang goes I have the cartridge all the way out on the headshell and the tracking force set at 1.4 grams. The VTA is set at 0 but I increased it to .5mm today.
Last night, I took the dust cover off my Technics for the first time during playback. I noticed less congestion in the lower mids, and an overall lower noise floor.

Worth experimenting with this, IMO.
Thanks Tvad; I'll definately try that; makes a lot of sense.
I removed the Ortofon 2m Bronze from the Ortofon headshell this afternoon and mounted it on an inexpensive Gemini headshell. Wouldn't you know it sounded better with the Gemini headshell; a more natural and relaxed presentation. Just goes to show that just because something is more expensive doesn't necessarily mean that it's better.
I'm strongly considering a 2M Black for my P5. I just had a couple questions. How are these carts with surface noise? I play alot of rock records that are less than audiophile. Also it appears a spacer isn't necessary for this? Lastly would it be ok with my Fisher 400 and Forte II speakers. I appreciate any feedback very much.

Thank you

I think the I think the Black would be overkill, especially if you are running it through the 400's phono stage. In fact, if that's what you're doing, the P5 is overkill, too -- though that's my kind of overkill!

I would go with the Bronze. You can always upgrade to the Black stylus anytime.

The 2M is a very resolving series of cartridges and it has plenty of high frequency detail. I think it would balance nicely with the rest of your system.

As far as surface noise, however, the 2M doesn't perform as well as some low-output moving coils in the same price range but it is state of the art in terms of moving magnets. Again, if you're using the Fisher's built-in phono stage, a low-output MC isn't an option anyway.

No spacer necessary -- unless you have a thick aftermarket mat or something. The entire 2M series was designed around the Rega tonearm family from the RB250/251 on up.
Thanks Ekobesky,

I actually went ahead and placed an order with my dealer, I figured $500 was a pretty good deal. I will be running it through the Fisher for the time being, but am planning on ordering a Bottlehead Seduction kit soon. I've been told that it would be a sufficient upgrade over the Fisher. I'm glad to hear that I won't need a spacer. Do you have any idea how the surface noise would compare with the Denon DL-160 I was using?
I would say surface noise performance will be at least comparable to, but quite possibly better than, the DL-160. That's extrapolating from my experience with the Denon vs the 2M Blue.

Alignment will be critical since the 2M Black has a fine profile stylus. Spend some extra time. You can rough it in very easily. Just look at Ortofon's publicity photos of the 2M mounted on a Rega arm. There's also a little star-shaped dot that should be centered right where the third screw would be in a Rega three-point cartridge mount.

I think you'll be well satisfied with the Black overall, and the stylus should last a good long time with proper care. I wouldn't be surprised if you attained 1000+ hours with gentle use. So, in those terms, it represents a good value as well.
Ekobesky,

Your post makes me feel much better. I had no problem with noise with the Denon, if its about the same than I will be very happy. I am going to have my dealer install it, so hopefully he knows what he's doing. Hes an old dude that has been at it for a while. I have faith in him. I just wish he would be getting the cart in sooner. From the P1/Denon combo to the P5/2M Black, I am super excited at the new sound possibility.

One more question, will it be a problem if I take the stylus off kind of often? I was thinking it may be a good idea to take it off when I'm gone for the weekend to keep my roommate from trashing it during one of his late night parties. Its either that or bring the table down to my room. He ruined my Denon and I will not let him do me in again.

Thanks so much!
-Clipper
Ekobesky,

Your post makes me feel much better. I had no problem with noise with the Denon, if its about the same than I will be very happy. I am going to have my dealer install it, so hopefully he knows what he's doing. Hes an old dude that has been at it for a while. I have faith in him. I just wish he would be getting the cart in sooner. From the P1/Denon combo to the P5/2M Black, I am super excited at the new sound possibility.

One more question, will it be a problem if I take the stylus off kind of often? I was thinking it may be a good idea to take it off when I'm gone for the weekend to keep my roommate from trashing it during one of his late night parties. Its either that or bring the table down to my room. He ruined my Denon and I will not let him do me in again.

Thanks so much!
-Clipper
The 2M should come with a clip-on stylus guard. Better to use that than remove the stylus over and over again. It's a little tricky to use but there's more potential for damaging the stylus or cantilever by removing the stylus unit than by installing the guard.