Setting anti-skate

What is your procedure for setting anti-skate?

My procedure was to buy a linear tracking arm that doesn't have any skating force :-)

However, if you have a pivoting arm I think that the best results are obtained using a test LP that has a highly modulated section designed for testing tracking. Find the antiskating setting that allows the minimum vertical force without mistracking.

Actually, exact setting of the antiskating force is not all that critical. We got along without any for many years. The optimum value varies over the area of the disc, and with modulation of the groove. The penalty for not having the right setting is the need for a slightly higher vertical force.
I think the visual method is best. Go here for one description:
Here are some other ideas I have heard about. For arms that have replaceable headshells, you could devote one to an Orsonic Skating Force Guage, if you could still find one. Another idea is to use a record that has no grooves at all on one side, such as the 3-sided Keith Jarrett album, and check skating at various points across the record, choosing the best compromise. But I think that the easiest method is just look at the stylus at the moment it touches the record, and adjust anti-skating for minimum stylus deflection.
I'm more than quite sure that using a record without grooves is not the correct way to set antiskate and don't care what company or test record that suggests this. Why? because it is against the law of physics. A stylus travels in a groove and not on a flat surface. The stylus is traveling in between a groove touching the inner and outer walls of that groove. One side of the groove is rt channel and the other is the left channel. Setting on a record without grooves wiil not give a true and accurate measure of antiskate. "Think about it". I tend more to agree that our ears is the best way to set antiskate. Regards.
Thank you for the replies.

I agree that using a record without grooves is not the way to set anti-skate.

I did look at the stylus as it came down on the record. I cannot see it being deflected. I do have the anti-skate force set to miniumum on my arm. Basis Vector MK3. I do remember being able to see it being deflected to the right relative to the cartridge with my VPI JMW.

I have the HiFi News record. With minimum anti-skate, the cartridge, Helikon, goes through the frst 3 tracks with no buzzing. It does buzz in the right channel slightly during the last track with the highest modulation.

On some old records, I do hear some breakup in the left channel. This is an old Riverside with sax. As the sound swells, you can hear the distortion. I increased anti-skate, and the distortion in the left channel seemed to stay the same, but the center image became a little cloudy. Setting anti-skate back to minimum restored the focus. I think the distortion is due to the the record being damaged or still dirty after cleaning. I bought the record used.

Other then a distinct distortion in just one channel, is there anything else to listen for?

Anyone use the Wally Skater device?

Rich, the visual method is easiest with hi compliance (very wiggly suspensions) like vdH, but it's not impossible even with moderately low compliance carts like the Helikon. The trick is 1.) to use a strong light pointed at the front of the arm/cart, and 2.) sharpen your obsetvational skill by carefully watching what the cantilever does with no AS, and max. AS, just to get a feel for the range of movement. You will not get it "on the nose" with a Helikon because its too hard to see the tiny deflections, unlike a vdH for instance. But you can get pretty close and do the rest by ear.

The inward twisting torque (skating force) on the arm is created by the stylus' drag (friction) in the groove times the (geometric) lever arm distance created by the headshell offset angle. So using a blank record is a waste of time. (Perfectly straight arms with no headshell offset do not develop skating force, and don't need AS)
I have the HiFi News record. With minimum anti-skate, the cartridge, Helikon, goes through the frst 3 tracks with no buzzing. It does buzz in the right channel slightly during the last track with the highest modulation.
Tracks 6-9 on side one of the HFN record are virtually useless for setting antiskate, unless of course you're going to play alot of test records with unrealistic amplitudes on inner grooves. The best use for those tracks is to ignore them.

If you want to use the HFN record to rough in your AS setting, try the three widely spaced "tracking test" bands on side two. If your cartridge buzzes on them (the Helikon may not) get the buzzing roughly equal on all three bands. (You may get opposite channel buzzing on the inner and outer tracks, just equalize that). Fine tune by ear with music from there.

On some old records, I do hear some breakup in the left channel. This is an old Riverside with sax. As the sound swells, you can hear the distortion. I increased anti-skate, and the distortion in the left channel seemed to stay the same, but the center image became a little cloudy. Setting anti-skate back to minimum restored the focus. I think the distortion is due to the the record being damaged or still dirty after cleaning. I bought the record used.
If that L channel breakup were caused by an incorrect antiskate setting, the remedy would be to decrease AS, not increase it. Try reducing AS and/or increasing VTF slightly. If that doesn't eliminate the distortion it's either dirt, damage or an amplitude and frequency that exceed the tracking limits of the cartridge.

Other then a distinct distortion in just one channel, is there anything else to listen for?

Excess AS has exactly the effect you heard, clouded imaging. On a fine cartridge like the Helikon you'll also hear muffled HF's and/or reduced microdynamics. The fact that you heard these things indicates that your original AS setting was closer to being correct.

This is the "fine tuning by ear with music" method. Use only enough AS to prevent R (not L) channel distortion on tough passages. If imaging goes cloudy or highs get muffled, back it off a bit.
Maybe you guys could answer my question.. I don't have the most accurate arm in the world, however the only use for anti-skate I have found is not to fix any sound issues cause I don't seem to have any, but the Leader blank track of the album when I set down the stylus would sometimes Take off with inertia plowing into the first track? So I added a small washer to the weight on the fish line to up it by like a Gram and this solved the problem .. Why is this? I hear or see no difference adding or subtracting anti-skate weight just simply keeping the cartridge from taking off a little once in a while.. I measured my original weight with dital stylus gauge by just removing the anti weight off the arm and setting it on the scale, and then put on the washer with it, it went from 3.1 gram to 4.1 gram and it seems to have solved this, is there something else I should do to correct this issue or is this it?
Undertow, what you've done (adding the washer) has WAY increased the anti-skate force necessary for regular groove tracking. Take it off! Also, DO NOT exceed the manufacturer's max. recommended VTF, because that will force the coil out of alignment with the magnetic field (or if it's a MM cartridge, the magnetic field out of alignment with the coils).

Records are made with a raised edge (and center) to keep the groove area from touching other records when stacked up (like in a changer) so if you set the stylus down in this lead-in area with today's light tracking forces and sensitive arms, yes, it's going to slide or plow into the first track. You need to set the stylus down right in the first groove. And return all your AS and VTF settings to normal.

Why are the widely spaced tracks better?

Dougdeacon...Setting antiskating using a highly modulated groove does make sense. Such a groove is when mistracking will occur. Less modulated grooves will be OK with antiskating a bit high.
Its not that widely spaced is better. The widely spaced tracks indicate that these are very highly modulated (in other words very difficult to track). So, presumably, if anti-skating is optimized, the cartridge will track better through these grooves. But I don't think I agree that trackability is the purpose of antiskating. Its an indirect by-product of the purpose: to provide equal force at both sides of the groove. So we need to come up with the best way to observe that equal force is indeed being applied, particularly for our favored low-compliance cartridges with which we cannot really see the deflection. What about installing a cheap high-compliance cartridge, and using it to calibrate the anti-skaing method? Track this cheapo at exactly our intended force, and note the deflection when the needle is dropped on the record, at various points on the record. Then adjust antiskate, and switch cartridges.
Using a record without grooves to check anti-skating is not "against the law of physics". Think about it a bit more. The friction of the record against the stylus tip is what causes an inward force upon the cartridge. Anti-skate attempts to balance this with an equal-and-opposite mechanical force. With no anti-skate, a grooveless record will pull the needle inwards, and this motion will be obvious. With too much, the mechanical force will pull it outwards. If these are equal, then the arm-and-cartridge will not move in either direction. This concept was well accepted in the 60s and 70s, exactly because it IS consistent with the physics of the forces applied. Now, is it perfectly because the friction of two groove walls is not identical to the friction of a flat surface. But if there is no force side-ways, because all side forces are equalized, then it is ONLY the down-force that is causing friction. Furthermore, think further. The variation of skating force must be extremely variable as the arm moves across the record, because velocity becomes slower as we approach the center and tracking angle varies. So, any mechanical anti-skate device cannot achieve accuracy across the entire record. Whatever we settle upon is a gross approximation, no matter how we measure it.
Rmaurin wrote:
Why are the widely spaced tracks better?
Because skating forces vary across the record. Measuring at just one place cannot account for this. Measuring on outer, middle and inner grooves lets you identify an AS setting that balances this variable.

Eldartford wrote:
Setting antiskating using a highly modulated groove does make sense. Such a groove is when mistracking will occur.
Skating forces vary with groove modulations. Adjusting AS for unrealistically modulated grooves will result in excess AS for real grooves.

... and:
Less modulated grooves will be OK with antiskating a bit high.
I'm sorry, but this is misguided. If AS is set too high then you're intentionally causing uneven groovewall pressures. This will result in premature wear of both your vinyl and stylus, on the R channel side of each.

Further, if your rig and system are sufficiently resolving it's easy to hear the effects of excessive AS. Warjarret has already done so. If your rig or system cannot resolve those sonic effects it doesn't mean they aren't occuring at the stylus/groove interface. It just means your rig or system can't reproduce them.

By "widely spaced" I was not referring to individual grooves and the spacing between them. I was referring to tracks 1, 4 and 8(?) being spaced on outer, central and inner grooves. For why this is significant, read my response to Rmaurin above.

BTW, no one questions that skating forces occur on blank surfaces. It's just that, as you said, they are a poor approximation of the skating forces created by a stylus riding inside a modulated groove. Yes, AS is always a compromise. I've said that a million times. But what's the point of choosing a compromise based on a totally unrelated operating environment?
Please do what Nsgarch said, immediately. The cure for slippery cueing is learning to cue more carefully. Whether you cue by hand or with a cueing lever, the tonearm should not be released until the stylus has found a groove.

Adjusting VTF and/or antiskating to prevent this problem makes them grossly too high for normal playing conditions. Vinyl and/or cartridge damage are very likely.
Okay, I was just experimenting and only tested the headers on like 2 albums with the added anti-skate, but don't worry I made sure it was not pulling the cantilever back at all.. I have the recommended digital stylus gauge made by micro tech, so I am not putting too much force, actually I track it a tenth of a gram lighter than the cartridge recommended 2.5 gram. So it is a high VTF for this cart in the first place unfortunatly. Thanks guys, just gotta deal with the few records that like to be a bit slippery.
Thank all.

So what I understand is:

1.) Looking at the deflection of the stylus relative to the cartridge as it comes down on the record is a good way to initally set the AS force. If the stylus is deflected to the right, AS force needs to be increased. Deflected to the left, and AS needs to be decreased.

2.) The HiFi News record is not really the end all tool to set AS force. Since the tracks are highly modulated, correcting mistracking/buzzing will more than likely lead to a larger than required AS force.

3.) Assuming we play a clean and undamaged record, buzzing/breakup in the left channel indicates that the AS force is too high. In the right, AS is too low.

4.) The best way to fine tune AS force is to listen to music and note #3.

Did I get this right? Did I miss anything?

How can we say that groove modulation makes a difference in skating force, then also say correct anti-skating is adjustable by eye? If these are both true then we should be able to see the stylus move sideways when a song starts. Since I am quite sure we CANNOT see this, then one of these two concepts is wrong. Which one is it?
Dougdeacon...The excess antiskating force during less modulated grooves is trivial compared with the reduction of VTF (acting all the time) required to avoid mistracking.

But, as I remarked way back on 8/8, it is a compromise no matter how you do it, and linear tracking is the way to go.
Rich, in your point #1, assuming you are looking at the cartridge head-on, and that L and R refers to YOUR L and R, then your understanding is reversed. If the stylus deflects to your right (towards the outside of the record) then you need to INCREASE the AS, and vice versa.

Thanks. Yes. That is what I meant. Looking at the cartridge head on and L and R means MY left and right.

Looking at my post, I think that is what I said.

Not to argue the point, but just want to make sure future readers of this thread are not confused.

Rich, I read your post again, and you were right the first time. My bad ;--(
Y'all seem to be ignoring warjarrett's thoughtful remarks.
The groove modulation variation is small. My eyes aren't that good.
Thank you Winegasman for your confidence in my ideas. Thommas and Rmaurin were so quick to condemn the blank record approach, that they apparently don't realize its the best idea mentioned yet. Of course, a test-tone record and distortion analyzer is absolutely the only fool-proof method. These have been the accepted methods for longer than the 25 years I've been an audiophile. All the other ideas are difficult and non-repeatable... judgements based on VERY subtle sensual observations. After any reader of this thread tries the visual (stylus notion) and listening (mistracking in one channel) ideas, he may just get frustrated by inconsitent results.Then I think he may appreciate the simplicity of the blank record technique.
Warjarrett...When using the mistracking approach it is not necessary to identify which channel is having a problem, and, when using a tracking test LP, mistracking is very easy to hear. The blank record does give you a good place to start further adjustments.
Coeffecient of friction is a number used to calculate the amount of force necessary to overcome the resistance of a standard material to sliding over a test material. (Times area of contact, downward force, etc, etc,)

The force (whether in pounds or grams) produced by a moving record groove "dragging" on a stylus is a result of the downforce on the stylus times the area of contact between the stylus and the groove times the sum of the coeffecients of friction of both the stylus surface and the convoluted (wiggly) groove wall surface.

Using a grooveless shiny vinyl record surface to determine antiskate requirements is utterly useless because:

1.) The surface of the blank vinyl has a coefficient of friction approaching zero,

2.) The surface of a polished diamond also has a coeffecient of friction approaching zero.

3.) The area of contact between the (bottom tippity tip of) the stylus and the blank vinyl surface is also nearly zero.

In this situation, and using normal VTF, almost no inward skating force can be developed because virtually no frictional force can be produced. SO, you ask, how come when I set my stylus on a blank record without any AS applied, it goes RACING toward the center?

Well, that's because most tonearms today are very sensitive, have a healthy inertial mass combined with almost frictionless bearings, and internal wiring that presents virtually no torsional resistance. Since the stylus is not CONSTRAINED in a groove, but sitting UNRESTRAINED on a flat polished surface, even a tiny amount of torsional force is going to "fling" that tonearm toward the center of the record!

In addition, if the record is not dead flat but the slightest bit concave (like from a record weight or clamp), and if the platter is not dead level, but sloping the slightest amount down, away from the tonearm side of the turntable, these factors only add to the phenomenon. In fact, I've watched a tonearm slide over a blank record without the platter even turning!

So don't be fooled. The object of antiskating compensation is to "zero out" the clockwise torsional (rotational) force developed by a cartridge/tonearm system in PLAY, in a REAL GROOVE that has a MEASURABLE coeffecient of friction.

Also, a word to those who intuit that quiet, high frequency groove modulations don't present as much (frictional) drag against the stylus as loud or low frequency grooves: you need to re-think that notion using real physics. The (observational) fact is simply that those loud, low frequency grooves, although having a larger side-to-side displacement than quiet high frequency grooves, have their undulations stretched out over a much longer (groove travel) distance, and do not present significantly more friction to the stylus than the (tightly etched) surface of a high frequency groove. The reason that, back in the day, loud passages got worn out faster than the rest of the record, was due to the poor tracking of the very low compliance (bordering on NO compliance!) cartridges of the time. And to make matters worse, often installed in the very lightweight tonearms of record changers!

Note: proper antiskating force, as Warjarret points out, contributes only a small amount towards the actual "trackability" of a given cartridge/tonearm combo. More important to that part of performance is the VTF (of course) and most important, the relationship between the compliance (springiness) of the suspension and the effective mass (i.e. natural resonance frequency) of the tonearm. In other words, a correct amount of antiskating compensation can help get the last drop of performance out of a good tracking arm/cartridge combo, but antiskating alone can not compensate for a mismatched arm/cartridge combo that simply won't track properly.
Nsgarch, thank you for your detailed technical analysis, but your understanding of coefficient of friction is wrong in EXACTLY the way it brings you to the wrong conclusion. Your analysis utilizes your personal logic instead of an application of physics. So, all of your 3 numbered points fall apart from an incorrect primary assumption. Your problem is that friction is actually INDEPENDANT of contact area. If you don't believe me, look up the equation for friction on the internet: F=uN. frictional Force = coefficient of friction times Normal force. Nothing about contact area. Diamond touching vinyl has the same coefficient of friction whether touching by the "bottom tippity tip" or the entire playing surface of the groove. And, the normal force is determined only by VTF, again independant of contact area. 1) vinyl has no coeff by itself 2) diamond has no coeff by itself -- they have a coeff TOGETHER that is constant and (3) INDEPENDANT of contact area. The smaller contact area of a blank record just means the same force becomes a much higher psi (surface pressure). So there IS definitly a frictional force, it is close to the force in a groove, and it is adjustable by anti-skaing. THAT is why the arm will go racing towards the center unless an equal and opposite force in applied by the anti-skating feature. If you set a needle down on a stationary blank record it will NOT slide towards the middle. But it may slide towards the outside, because now the anti-skate is unopposed.
Warjarret, some of your assertions are correct. A coefficient of friction is indeed just a scalar number. It's used to calculate both static and moving (kinetic) frictional forces.

Kinetic coefficients are lower than static coefficients for the same material(s) and don't depend on the area of contact (once the two surfaces are moving.) And you are quite right that the frictional coefficient(s) between diamond/vinyl are constant. I should have said frictional force(s), my mistake.

In any case, the TOTAL force (or drag) exerted on the diamond is far more when it's sliding in a groove than when it's sliding across a smooth vinyl surface. Much of this increase is due I suppose to the tortuous interaction of the stylus with the groove -- a kind of mechanical (as opposed to frictional) resistance created by the diamond trying to get through that obastacle course, IN WHICH CASE you'd have to calulate a kind of EFFECTIVE coefficient of friction for stylus-in-groove.

Nevertheless, I'd be very interested in your explanation of why, at the same VTF, some cartridges require very little AS and some require much much more. According to your view of the matter, AS should be the same for all cartridges at the same VTF -- and I must admit, most tonearm makers think so too, but it just ain't so, as anyone who has played around with AS can attest -- and the reason why I prefer doing it visually first and then by ear. BTW, years ago, I used the blank vinyl method, and ALWAYS wound up with a far higher setting than recommended by either the arm or cartridge manufacturer or by my visual inspection --I don't know why THAT is but I quit doing it a long time ago. I suppose there are definative electonic ways of calibrating proper AS, but I never explored those.

Changing the subject, I saw a stylus/arm slide across a stationary platter (no AS applied) because the whole table was tilted slightly -- a good reason to make sure everything is perfectly level before attempting any adjustments. I level my table with the clamp and a record in place and the arm over (not touching) middle of the record. (Very important if the table is a suspended type.)
Nsgarch and I are getting closer to agreement now, because I agree that different stylus shapes require different anti-skating force, and that a blank record must also be different than a real groove. The interaction of the stylus with groove undulations definitely makes a difference in skating force, which agrees with other comments heard here that skating force varies with groove modulation. I just think a blank record is a good starting point, before fine tuning of the anti-skating. I think its about as accurate as trying to observe motion of the needle upon dropping it into a groove. Its a lot more difficult to see the needle move a little, than seeing an arm skaing across a smooth record! Plus keep in mind that many cueing devices don't exactly set the arm down straight AND many records have a little out-of-round wabble. These will give the stylus some sideways motion also. Furthermore, we need to figure out a final step which ACCURATLY provides the real adjustment. I think the only way to do this right, is by playing various test tones, and comparing right and left channel distortion on a distortion analyzer. Without this equipment, I agree that listening is the next best way.
Warjarret, as I said earlier, years ago I used the blank vinyl method, and I ALWAYS wound up with a far higher AS setting than recommended by either the arm or cartridge manufacturer, or by my visual inspection. It consistently yields AS values that are WAY overkill -- I'm not sure why that is (I quit doing it a long time ago) but it may simply be that the unconstrained diamond tip on a highly polished surface is too unstable a mechanical assembly, sucseptable to air currents, TA internal wiring, irregularities in the vinyl surface or whatever, but it always took two to three times the nominal AS force to keep the arm in place.
...we need to figure out a final step which ACCURATLY provides the real adjustment.
I think you're engaging in antiskate overkill. As I said above, there is no such thing as a perfect antiskate setting. The very notion is impossible and you've described the reasons why yourself. This search for ultimate "accuracy" is more hopeless than the search for the Holy Grail. It simply doesn't exist. It can't exist.

I think the only way to do this right, is by playing various test tones, and comparing right and left channel distortion on a distortion analyzer.
No test tones can accurately emulate the variable vinyl formulations, variable groove modulations and variable arm positions we encounter on real records. Why measure some theoretical value that bears only an accidental and occasional relationship to constantly changing real world conditions? What's the point?

Without this equipment, I agree that listening is the next best way.
No, it is a better way. The subtlest effects of excess antiskate would not even be detected by a distortion analyzer, since they have nothing to do with distortion or mistracking.

The physical effect of excess antiskate is a constraining lateral pressure on the cantilever/suspension interface. This dampens HF response and muffles microdynamics. Nothing to do with distortion. You'd have to set antiskate far WORSE before distortion began to occur.

Your ears and brain are capable of very subtle "measurements" if you trust them and train them. You may not be able to quantify the results, which I sense might bother you, but with practice you will hear the results and you will be able to repeat them. All the "roughing in" methods we've discussed tend to set antiskate too high. From there, reduce it until you get full HF extension and maximum microdynamics.

Then relax and enjoy the music. :-)
Dougdeacon..."I think you're engaging in antiskate overkill". You don't say! But isn't the audiophile hobby one big exercise in overkill? How about VTF scales that read out to 0.01gram?

As I mentioned before, for many years we got along with arms that had no antiskating: VTF had to be a bit higher. We agree that however you set it, antiskating is some kind of average value which works OK over most of the disc area. My research into antiskating adjustments, and all the other critical adjustments of a pivoting arm, led me to use a linear tracking arm, and the one I have does not exhibit the different problems that some say come with linear tracking.
Thanks for asking a great question, Rich! The answers here have shown me how to get that little extra from my rb300/rega. I hadn't really been that concerned about tweaking this set up to the nth degree. To keep it short, I've gone back through this method for AS and found that the rb300 was dialed a little high, that is, enough to see a clear deflection. After correcting to get back to almost no perceptible diflection I tweaked it back up just a tad. It did make a small, but noticeable improvement in dynamics and clarity.
Just my two cents.--Doug IS right!!I'm sure he knows that antiskate does impact sound,and of course we all want to adjust to "almost perfection".Yet it cannot be done,and the linear approach IS superior in my own experience,YET I agree that we are going a bit overboard and SHOULD really just enjoy the music.In my experience,antiskate is a GOOD thing,on the particular arms I have owned.Also,NO antiskate,on the linear trackers IS CLEARLY superior,amongst other reasons.Actually for those,like me,happy with what particular pivoting design they own,a word of advice-----"Do NOT make an attempt to hear a really good,high def set-up, using a very good linear tracker"!!There is no ratonalizing in this regard.A good linear tracker(like the Forsell/Air Tangent/Kuzma/Rockport/Walker,and maybe the NEW Cartridge Man "Conductor",which seems to be a bargain,if one is inclined to go that route)is in another class from our favorite pivots,"except maybe one"!And there is a guy,in Florida,who knows this!
A pain to maintain.Unless you have a cushy job,with lots of spare time,or retired,like my pal.NOT hard to maintain,but like keeping a good fishtank,a bit of a pain.Yet worth it.REALLY WORTH IT,and I can't hear my friend's unit anymore as he has gone to a unipivot,for convenience.The difference between "it" and the linear unit is like the difference between a nice Decca Dutch pressing,compared to a really good British pressing,Wide Band.One is dynamic,to the max,and a bit bright,with what seems to be alot of energy and detail.With a somewhat flatter soundstage presentation,and a touch of graininess,yet quite acceptable(Dutch).The other(English pressings)have a superb sense of relaxed ambience,with wonderful depth of stage,and very natural tonal characteristics.Simply put,more natural,like a good linear design!!That's my own take,which as you all know,is just opinion.Nothing more.

BTW,as to the .01 gm accuracy of the better(mandatory,actualy)digital guages..I can clearly hear the differences in such amall increments,on ALL of my friends' set-ups.As well as my own,which HAPPILY will be up and running(with a bunch of new "GIZMOS")in about a week or so.
If anyone feels the .01gm accuracy is not important,and I know you ultimately want to voice by ear,then it's time to re-think that particular system's resolution.
Best,and no disrespect meant to anyone in particular!

Eldartford and SirSpeedy,

My TriPlanar sounds alot better than my linear tracking HK/Rabco arms. Does that vote count? ;-)

I'm with Mark on the scale. I will defend my .01g VTF adjustments to the death! :-)
And what about azimuth? This is more critical to sound than AS, and (unlike AS) has one best adjustment position. Are we all adjusting this too?
I should hope so, Warjarrett! :) IMHO, azimuth adjustment has been covered in so many places already. However, if you have an interesting and differenct approach I'd like to hear it. I think this is another adjustment where it is really nice to have a finely etched set of reference lines so that you don't have to compare the cantilever/stylus angle to something that is much bigger and with not well defined edges. Of course, good lighting and good magnification are essential as well.
Dougdeacon...Of course your vote counts. (But we aren't voting).
Azimuth----Just get it right,on the first shot,and forget about it.I think!Am I missing something here?

Rabco arm----Ha,ha.You are such a kidder Dougy!About as close,as you know,to your Triplaner as an old Dual gimbal.Actually some of "those" were pretty good.

Old Dual gimbal arms? Hey, I had a 1218 and a 1229 also. We must be long lost brothers!

Most of us do adjust azimuth (I hope). As SirSpeedy said, since there's only one ideal setting for any given cartridge it's pretty much set and forget.

Test tones and measuring equipment are effective for azimuth and I'm part owner of one such device. The better my system gets, however, the less I need it. I can adjust azimuth by ear just as accurately - and alot quicker.

I haven't bothered with our Wally Analog Shop (or even Dan_Ed's lamps and magnifiers) in over a year. When our system was less resolving the Wally did the job best, but since we couldn't hear much difference it barely mattered! The money it cost me would have been better spent on system improvements, or more LP's. Wanna buy my share? :-)
It's the mechanic/tweaker in me that still has to know. :) But then, my system is finally revealing enough that I can easily hear these differences. (Don't under-estimate the Doshi effect!) In that respect, SirSpeedyMark is right on target about a system's ability to show these differences in cartridge adjustments. It is indispensable!
thanks nsgarch for your method, i found it works well on my VIP arm, i had one twist to much, with a good light you can see what way the cantilever moves when it reaches the lp, mike
Mike, yes, I think a lot of people don't realize the importance of a REALLY STRONG light source, and a little observational practice (watching the cantilever at max. and min. Anti Skate settings) until you get a "feel" for those little deflections. Wear your reading glasses if you need them!! ;--)
nsgarch i know there has been a lot of discussion on VIP anti skate adjustment but i think that after having the VIP Aries for several months Harry's method is as good as any other, i think that some people are against it because its so simple, thanks again and happy musical evening mike