reserve vta solves issue on zyx, triplaner

I had a real shrill setup on my turntable

see this thread

with a little help from Richard Grey, he suggested readjusting by lowering the back of the arm below parallel

the grating sound is gone and I was able to dial in the vta and get lucious sound again. although I am gettting more surface noise

it appears my cantilever has settled where the cartridge is riding lower towards the record surface. Lowering the back of the arm from parallel is giving me better sonics. is there a problem with the cantilever bending up too much?

anything else I should look into?


Yes - belt tension. If I had to guess, you're running with too much tension on the belt. Crank the VTA back to normal, and slacken the belt a bit. Remember, belt tension is pretty much correct when the table runs the fastest at any given speed setting. Perhaps you may wish to move this to the Galibier forum.

Could be other things too.

The first thing I'd check is VTF. As UNIverses build playing hours they need less VTF. By less, I mean less than the manufacturer's recommended minimum of 1.70g. Since crossing the 1000 hour mark my UNIverse/TriPlanar plays best between 1.45 and 1.55g.

The way to set VTF with a UNIverse is to keep reducing it in small (.05g) increments until bass notes lose weight and/or you hear faint mistracking or HF fuzz on really tough passages. Then move it back up in .01-.02g increments until the bass sturdies up, but not so high that you lose fine detail and jump.

Now adjust VTA. Start with the cartridge body (not the tonearm) level. Move up or down in small steps (10-15 on the dial) until you find the sweet spot. I've never known any ZYX that wants to be more than a little off level at most.

I'd also check cartridge alignment and spindle-pivot distance. Do you have a Wally or Mint protractor? If not, you should.
thanks Richard and Doug

I used a Feikert protractor

I'm tracking around 1.8.

the cartridge appears nearly level on the top, but very little clearance underneath, as the cantilever is riding high (tending upward). the arm is definitely low to the back by a good 1/4 inch (when the vta sweet spot is hit).

that's why I couldn't find the vta spot before

I'm a bit concerned about the low clearance of the cartridge over the record. It appeared to be higher before

I'm considering sending my triplaner in for the micro vta adjustment but I am using the added rings triplaner tip
Audiotomb, adjusting the pivot-to-spindle to the specified 233.5mm has made a ginormous improvement for my Triplanar/Universe/Raven AC setup. I can't jump up and down yelling too much about it. Maybe the most amazing thing I have ever done to tweek in my system.

Useing the supplied Triplanar alignment tool I thought my set up was good. But I was off by over 2mm on the pivot-to-spindle distance. I am now confident that it is with in .5mm.

What a difference. What a difference!

I have only given my mintlp protractor a once over but it looked pretty good so I think I am indeed very close.

Make sure your pivot-to-spindle distance is in speck.

Anyone setting up a tonearm should think about getting the Mint. I haven't used the Feikert, however, I have such confidence in the Mint, I surely would recommend its use.
Dear Tom: you posted: +++++ " three sounded very shrill in the high end
no amount of vta would cure this " +++++

and now you posted: +++++ " he suggested readjusting by lowering the back of the arm " +++++

I can't understand what you really mean it: in your first thread you say " no amount on VTA would cure... " +++++ and today you say that with a VTA change everything is ok: could you explain a little about?

+++++ " I'm a bit concerned about the low clearance of the cartridge over the record " +++++

this is not a problem you have to woory.

Now not all the cartridges from one model ( any manufacturer ) are exactly the " same " , it could be a little differences between them each one.

The TDaudio advise is something to verified but if you use the Feikert protractor I could think is rigth.

+++++ " and get lucious sound again... " +++++

this is what it counts, if you already achieve a top quality cartridge performance then you are " there ": congratulations!

Regards and enjoy the music.
I have found that when i lighten up the VTA i loose to much sound stage, 3d sound and image. I am beginning to believe that this combo is dependent on what turntable used. I had the combo on my Aries 3 set up, my UNIverse had over 1000 hrs on it and i was easily able to track in the 1.65 area with out any problems and had total enjoyment listening to music. When i changed tables to Redpoint i found that at those lower settings i was not enjoying the sound and music as well. I slowly started increasing VTF till i got in the 2.00 to 1.95 area and for me thats where i have VTF for the best sound to my ears.

As for VTA i start out as level as i can determine and make small adjustments from there. And bring the adjustment in by ear for better sound.

The higher VTF is much better for my whole musical picture, i dont think there is a rule but what actually works for you and your gear. You have to make your mind up that until you make changes in your set up you will never know if you can get better sound or worse. It just has to be in small movements because UNIvers is so good that as Doug says when you find that window of sound you will surely know it.
One other very important adjustment is skate adjustments. With Triplanar you can use brass washers and nuts in place of the supplied weight. You can add or subtract when playing with out any harm just lift the skate devise when doing so. I have found that just one washer can make a very large difference in what you are hearing.

Another of the you have to try to hear a difference adjustments.

Trust me your efforts will pay high musical dividends unlike whats going in other worldly issues.
I'll try to simplify this,to be a bit different.Since all other posts are so darn good already.

Get a good(you'll enjoy it anyway)LP consisting of a "hand-bell choir".It may take some work to find,but this is superb set-up material,and gorgeous sounding instruments anyway.

Follow the previous posts regarding set-up,and listen to the actual timbre of the various "Bells".When gotten correctly,they have an etheral delicacy,and stunning precision!
The subtle dynamis (soft and loud)metallic qualities will stand out in bold relief....

If the arm/cartridge(or any other set-up parameters) are off,even in the slightest,the bells will sound more like "glass" than metal.You'll know it when it clicks in...Guaranteed!!

Good luck
thanks for all the comments guys

why the vta dial in failed to work previously is that I only varied it in near parallel arm mode

the horizontal alignment (dropping the back of the arm down) needed to get vta dialed in is pretty large (like 1/4 inch)so I was never in that field of play in my adjustments

I have a Feikert where you can lock in pivot to spindle distance, but they are not the best for getting the arc / azimuth perfect. two point method with poor sight lines

I've since ordered a mint from Yip and am awaiting arrival

the following thread at the Galibier sight led me there,
thanks for the confirmation here

my sound is now great with the tail down vta, but I can't wait to dial the setup in more precisely to get the most out of my analog

I'm also concerned that the canilever may have relaxed too much and that my clearence is minimal

thanks again
Hi Tom, Look into cartridge loading too. That can take out a lot of excess high frequency energy without loosing speed or detail (in fact increasing it).

My ZYX is very relaxed in the Triplanar, and if anything the rear of the arm is slightly higher.
atmas - I have the ZYX Artisan for a phono preamp
which I would think would be ideally calibrated for the Universe from a loading standpoint

antiskate etc - I've already bought into all the triplaner tips Doug and company have listed here
Audiotomb, I agree. Funny how the ZYX cartridge behaves differently with different preamps, even when they are loaded the same.
Something's wrong. There's no way you should have to lower the back of the arm that much with a UNIverse (or any other cartridge I can think of). I hope your fear about a deteriorating suspension is wrong.
Doug,shouldn't you be packing your suit cases,and staying off the computer?

You could easily be forgetting something like toothe paste,or shampoo -:)

Lucky dog!!!!!

I'm doing this from work. You don't think I'd waste valuable toothpaste-packing time, do you?!
FWIW, I "always" forget the slippers and remember Flannel PJ's!! It's cold in the Mile High City.

Hope this helps -:)

results are in from Mehran and Japan
cantilever damage - he felt it had been hit at some point
diamond still in tact but riding too low

they could rebuild or send me a new cartridge at the retip price,
I swallowed hard and took the new cartridge

hopefully I'll have less problems with the vta and sweet spot in sound

maybe some of my vta issues were exasperbated by the cantilever issue

Mehran is such a class act! thanks

Tom dont feel bad i bit the ZYX bullet a while back also. Broke the stylus off my Universe.

What i did for break in differently the second time was log my time in 20 minute measures per side with the old fashioned line method. I used 20 mins. because that about the average. Since mid Sept. i have logged 225 hours on my Universe. You will hear the differences in break in for sure. Good luck with your new ZYX.

I agree Mr Mehran is one of the best in all of audio. Runs a knowledge and prompt audio business and a fine person.

new cartridge is on, nailed my mint setup
still breaking in and it's fabulous
no mistracking, great presentation through the whole spectrum and tonally balanced, does sound a hair restrained from a fully broken in cartridge but not by much

I think my damaged cantilever was making vta overtly sensitive

thanks for all the help and Mehran for fabulous service

back in analog in a big way!
It was clear something was wrong, as I posted back on 10/1. Sorry to hear it was indeed an injured cartridge, but at least you're back and the music is too. :-)
thanks DOug and everyone for the help
just a quick note

no mistracking at all
up till 2am last night spinning records
tonight I better get to bed by midnight

the things you do for engaging music