Setup Dynavector XV-1s on SME V help

I am having all sorts of issues getting it tuned in. I do have it sounding very good but my settings leave me confused. My tracking force is 2.4 in a dynamic balance. My antiskating is set at 2.5 or abouts & the damping dip stick is all the way down. When I cue in the tonearm it always jumps right into the 1st track, never setting smooth. ON the Hi-Fi News test disk it flys across the blank space & then jumps over the next track almost to the end of the track. Kind of crazy. My VTA is level. I am loading it at 1000 ohms to great effect now & I can track the 4th track of the HiFI News & Record Review bias test track but with a lot of buzzing. I have almost no buzzing on the 3rd track. The arm resonance is about 9 hz or so in horizontal but harder to detect in vertical, but seems about the same.

Now w. my VdH Condor I had no tracking issues & itbehaved perfectly in the SME V. The Dynavector on the Ikeda never had any problems on the lead in groove (no jumping our bouncing) but it just didn't sound good (might have been the break in or the Ebony headshell I was using. I am waiting for a Dynavector headshell to use as the stock Ikeda headshell won't accomodate the Dynavector.

Anyone with any experience please chime in as I am totally lost.
The xv-1s is a perfect match for the effective mass of an SME V, so that's not the problem. The VTF is spec'd. at 2.0 +/_ .2 gms BTW. It's output impedance is 6 ohms, which if you use the 25 multiple rule for optimum (starting point) for loading, you should start with a 150 ohm load and work up or down (usually a bit up) from there.

As to tracking: First (and I don't mean to insult you) is your TT (the platter, not the base) level? And then, is the headshell level left to right with the platter (as you look at it straight on)? Next, retract the damper dipstick until it's just touching the silicon fluid. The damping isn't that important in your case with a heavy (13gm) cartridge and a good match to the tonearm mass.

Anti skate is best set visually, not with the dial on the tonearm. This because of the large variation in groove friction developed by different stylus shapes and VTA settings. Watch the cantilever very carefully from the front of the headshell (use strong light) as you lower the stylus into a groove in the middle of the first band on the record. If the cantilever deflects to the right when the stylus hits the groove, increase the antiskate until the cantilever remains in the same position (relative to the front of the cartridge body) in or out of the groove. (If it deflects to the left, reduce the anti skate force.)

The vdH cartridges, for instance, specify extremely low anti-skate (.3 - .5 gm I think) and I have found that to match with the visual adjustment method exactly. It takes a little practice, but gets you very close to perfect with the rest easy to do by ear.

Almost all cartridges will skip if dropped into the lead-in spiral ahead of the first groove. The idea is to drop it into the silent part of the first groove at the beginning of the band.
You can also check antiskate by getting a grooveless record, turning the turntable on and checking which way the arm moves when lowered onto the record. Then compensate. The HFN test record has a grooveless test band, which will work, though with less margin than a whole record. You can also check which channel buzzes first on the HFN record. I find few carts will actually track the 4th band without buzzing, but that's a torture test, not likely to be replicated in real life.

The platter & the plinth & the arm platform are all level. That is the 1st thing I cheched. The headshell is level measured on an angle that the cartridge is offset (not horizontal to the turntable but slightly - 15 degrees or so - twisted inwards, using the mounting screws as the line) I am wondering if my Antiskate is messed up or something on my SME V? But boy does the cartridge sound great at 1000 ohms, just the jumping around thing I had with no other cartridge.
Well, I'm stumped! You said the Condor worked fine, so I can't imagine it's the arm or the antiskate mechanism. The only time I experienced that kind of jumping (when everything else was OK) was twice: Once when the back of the SME armtube was hitting the record, and another time when there was a huge glob of something on the stylus that shouldn't have been there (because all the records were cleaned first, and there must have just been a speck of junk stuck to the record that I didn't see, and it came off on the stylus.)

Let us know when/if you figure it out. Thanks.
The grooveless test will not tell you anything because there is almost no friction developed between the stylus and the record. It is the friction produced by the stylus tracking a real groove that produces the need for anti skate in the first place.
Dear Darren: The antiskate figure that I use in my XV-1 ( and other cartridges ) is around 1.0, no more that that.
I never had the problems that you explain in any tonearm/XV-1 combination.

Regards and enjoy the music.

What I am finding is that the cartridge tracks differently at different parts of the record. The Antiskate setting that is correct toward the inside of the record is very different from the center or the outside. It is such a huge deviation that there is no way to get the best sound throughout the record.

Now the Dynavector does not track near as well as the VdH. Also it jumps very quickly, maybe a higher compliance, but I really don't understand it. The VdH should be about 35 while the XV1 should be about 10.

I did all the tests on the Hifi News & found the Horizontal Resonance to be 9 HZ but the vertical I couldn't detect, which is also leaving me confused (damping stick up for all tests). That might be where the problem is. I haven't had any tracking problems with any music. I am not 100% sure but at 25 HZ I am having a lot of resonance. Am I hearing the bass or a resonance is the question. I will see if I have a test CD to double check as it might be a room interaction.

I am listening right now & it does sound very full & live. I raised the damping stick as advised & honestly I don't find any difference.
It's years since I owned the SME-V, but when I looked at your pic it appears that the armtube may not be set correctly in the rest position. When positioned correctly with the supplied template, the arm is angled more towards the platter ie not straight ahead.
The armtube must be postioned within the two lines on the template for the antiskate to operate correctly. This is stressed in the SME manual.
Worth checking.
Tobes, how VERY observant of you -- I'm impressed! I don't know if that's Dgad's problem (his Condor seems to work OK) but it might be.

You are correct about the antiskate depending on it. It has been set as per the template. In fact the closer to the turntable the arm rest, the less the antiskate. The tonearm is very near to the platter in the resting position (as per the template). The armboard is set at a slight angle which lines the tonearm straight along side of the turntable. My tonearm pivot to spindle difference was measured with all the SME tools providing an exact distance with very minimal error (1mm or so). I also confirmed all tonearm positioning w. a DB Systems protractor. What I am finding, (I need more time) is that as the cartridge breaks in the suspension is softening & allowing it to track much better. I am guessing the compliance is very high & causing most of the problems. Did anyone else w. a XV-1s find the suspension very stiff & bouncy for the 1st 100 hours?
I've already remarked about Tobes' powers of observation, and after checking Dgad's pics, I would have to agree with him. Nevertheless although it's true that:

"The armtube must be postioned within the two lines on the template for the antiskate to operate correctly,"

it only matters if you want the antiskate dial to read the actual antiskate force. If you set antiskate visually by watching the cantilever, as I do, it really won't matter what the actual dial reading says. I prefer to have my armrest as far away from the platter as possible (although it's closer than Dgad's). I just position it so the arm has enough horizontal travel to get the stylus about 1/8" over the edge of the label.

I noticed Dgad commented he'd added blu-tack to his tonearm. Think that might have altered the effective mass enough to screw something up? Just a thought. But it could very well be that the Dynavector just needs some suspension break-in as you suggest.

Blue Tack was removed w. the Condor. I use an outer ring. The distance between the tonearm rest & outering is 1/8 an inch or so. Exactly between the 2 lines. Maybe it is out of adjustment. This would work very well, as I can pull the rest further out from the turntable and run w. no antiskate. The position of the arm rest would give me antiskate anyhow (I am not sure on this, but I think from the design principle, this would be correct, but it might be opposite as well.) You can test for this by placing the tonearm in neutral balance & seeing which way it will move once you lower the arm. The antiskate will pull the arm outwards from the spindle. It makes sense that you will need more antiskate the further in towards the center your stylus moves. The diameter of the circumfrence of play is getting smaller, changing the ange and creating a greater inward force on the tonearm/ cartridge. I wonder if the antiskake can be progressive as the tonearms moves throughout the record. Is it possible the tonearm has 2 different directional changes of antiskate as you play through the record due to the angle of the tonearm?? In a linear tracking this must be a continous change.
Darren. Harry from VPI has always stated he believes antiskating is a crap shoot as it changes at every position as you play the record.

XV-1s takes about 300 hours to settle down. Must admit I never noticed any stifness in the cantilever, but then again I change VTA on most records. Is it sounding better?

cheers Shane
Dgad, Linear trackers don't require anti-skate because there is no torque created around a pivot point as in a conventional arm.

It sounds like your arm is set up OK, and I think the Dynavector must just need some more run in (especially since if I understand you correctly, the Condor is doing just fine with the same setup.)

If you want to check the anti-skate setting visually (which shouldn't be too hard to do looking at the front of the XV-1s) just shine a strong light at the front of the cartridge and as you lower the stylus into a groove in the middle of the first band of a record, try and see (it takes a little practice) whether the cantilever appears to deflect left or right just as the stylus hits the groove. If left, reduce the anti skate, if right increase it. Because the XV-S1 has a rather low compliance, it isn't going to deflect that much in any case, so you'll have to watch carefully, but you can certainly tell if it's way off either way, so start by turning the AS off, and then all the way up just until you get a feel for what your looking at.

It is finally getting there. In fact it is finally not jumping on the lead in groove. Things are fuller & much more life like. The Condor reignes supremem in the bass & detail camp so far. Not necessarily a good thing. I will listening to Bob's Kaya last night & while on the Condor I could here tons of pops on the record w. the XV-1s it was much more listenable & enjoyable.

Nsgarch. I am going to try the lead in groove test. I did try it & it is so difficult to tell because if you are not positioned centered over the groove you are going to deflect to drag the cartridge in one direction or another. Correct me if I am wrong. It is very tough. I did try using your system but found it very tough. Thanks though.
Dear Darren: There is something that you have to check on the V, I try to explain it:

the V base is build in two parts, the left and right one ( that's why is a line/space between them ) and rear and front one ( the tonearm is at the center of this base ), when you change the VTA these two parts ( front and rear de tonearm ) has to be leveled, if not the tonearm is out of level. You can " see " or " touch " with your nail between those parts to " fell " if are leveled, if not you have to push up/down to leveled at both sides: left and right and at the front and rear of the base.

It is very difficult for me to explain correctly this issue because of my poor english, sorry.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dgad, You do this test lowering the stylus into a grove somewhere in the middle of the first recorded band, not into the lead in groove.

Yes I imagine it's a bit tough to read the movement of the cantilever with as low a compliance cartridge as the Dyna.

Thank you for the point about leveling the tonearm at the base. I think that is my problem. If the tonearm is ver low (VTA) it is difficult to stick your finger in there. Also with each change in VTA you need to be very careful to maintain the tonearm as level. Do you feel that I know the SME V does not have azimuth. If find you can adjust the azimuth slightly when the locking screws are open (at the base) and then wobble the tonearm slightly. I then place a small level on my headshell at the angel the cartridge is set to make sure the headshell base is level.
Dgad, that's how I get my SME level also (the wobble.) I'm thinking about a Triplanar these days.
I was thinking about a Triplanar or a Phantom byself. Now I am thinking about designing a VTA riser for my table. It probably will cost less. Something inside the arm base that would elevate it maintaining the tonearm as level.
Dgad, you would have thought SME would have addressed this by now, ya know!? Either with some kind of retrofit or even a new model. It's a head-scratcher!
Thank you Nsgarch, Raul, and Dgad - what a great thread! I had been taking the default antiskate-dial = VTF-dial; the look-and-see technique w/ the first record band actually seems more accurate. I just tried it and mine was pulling slightly to the right. I was surprised that I had to move three tics of the dial higher than VTF, but now have no deflection.

I've pretty much decided that the XV-1s will be the cartridge to replace a Shelter 901 on my SME-V, so I've been following with interest.

Kindly indulge a few questions:
i) The Shelter is not particularly VTA sensitive - from level, I adjust by ear. How VTA sensitve is the XV-1s?

ii) I've been looking at my arm and don't quite get what it is to check and what is the bit about 'stick your finger in there' (heh).

Could someone offer a few more words on leveling the tonearm - how to check and how to level?

(Fwiw, I have the SME-Vd which is the detachable headshell model supporting azimuth adjustment.)

Thanks again,
I agree with you. Considering the prices of tonearms, it is ridiculous what we pay for what we get. SME could do a redesign. Imagine all the SME Vs that would appear on the market afterwards.
Tim, if you have the detachable headshell model SME V, then you can dial it in to be level (after levelling the platter) by just twisting the headshell a little, so what happens to the vertical post as you tighten up the set bolts is not critical as it is with us. You'll still find a small bubble level like the kind that come with vdH cartridges, or a really small 1.5" commercial one useful. But with that adjustable headshell, you might come even closer with a test record and your ears.
Tim. I find my XV-1 is quite sensitive to VTA in the 5 years I have had one, but it will never go from sounding great to bad. That is why I bought the VPI to make it easier than my Linn.

There seems to be enuf SME IV / V users out there that are getting great sound out of the XV-1 so it does not seem to be any real problem.

I am sure you will enjoy it.

cheers Shane

I am thinking about your deflection principle for setting antiskate and have a few questions. Antiskate on entry - lowering of the stylus - rather than on exit - lifting the stylus will be different. Won't the deflection that is most important truly be the deflection during play rather than on entry or exit. The rotational inertia of the cartridge that is countered by the force of the groove right wall on the stylus. We have 2 forces now at play. The record groove moving the stylus / cartridge inwards, and the inertia of the cartridge / tonearm trying to not move at all. Then we apply an antiskate force which in effect pulls the cartridge / stylus towards the outside of the record. This in effect offsets the deflection on the stylus by the record groove. Wouldn't this be most apparent during play, rather than during the commencement of play. What I notice is that lifting the tonearm it will always deflect outwards towards the record edge if antiskate is applied. If not it will deflect inwards.

I know this is getting complex, but as you set the cartridge / stylus into the record groove you don't want it to ride out of the groove or press to a single side. That is our goal. As you continue to play this should remain consistent.
Thanks Shane & Nsgarch!

Wrt to checking deflection on set-down versus pick-up, I am not an engineer, but with the pick-up method I wonder if the arm/cartridge/stylus being up to speed is a factor as they ride the groove. Would the arm have enough mass and inward momentum as it is picked up to continue slightly foward during the pickup motion while causing the stylus to be pushed to the side of the right (outside) groove as the arm is raised, giving a deflection to the cantilever to the right as they all get raised, such that the rightward deflection happens but is not caused by the antiskate? That is, the arm/cartridge gets a teeny bit ahead of the stylus. Dgad, I think this is kinda what you are describing, but I wonder if it is the way to gauge the antiskate?? Dunno - just thinking out loud (which is usually dangerous for me.)


The trick, with my visual anti-skate technique, is to get a good "fix" on where the cantilever is relative to the cartridge body just before the stylus settles into the groove. That's why you need a lot of light.

It's not going to deflect at most more than .5 mm, so you need to fing a place on the cartridge body very close to the cantilever itself.
You will need a superb Digital stylus force guage.Take a look at the "just listed, under cartridges section" guage,that claims to be accurate to 1/1000's of a gram.WOW,does this look like a winner.95 bucks,and I cannot believe how well designed it seems to be!Anyone out there have feedback on this,yet?

PS--What do you think,Dr Nsgarsh?I wouldn't touch it, unless I had your feedback.Though I do like my "Digital One" guage,when we did the Venustas vs IC-70 shootout,two weeks ago,it measured .13 gms off of the "Winds" guage.I could not quantify which guage was OFF,yet I find it hard to believe it was the "legendary" Winds,that was the culprit!We ultimately set up to the Winds,but this guage is a whopping 800 bucks,in the 1/100 gm model!To me,the supremely accurate digital guages are a real necessity,but there seems to be a dilemma in choosing which are "the real deal",as it seems they don't all read out,the same.Be careful here,everyone!

Any thoughts,from the "Peanut Gallery"?Anyone old enough to actually remember the "peanut gallery" has my undying respect!!
I have calibration weights for diamond scales. Now these scales cost over $3000. They measure to 0.002 of a gram. They are so sensitive that any air conditionining or leaning on the table makes a huge difference. I compared my cheap $50 (auction) scale with my calibration weights and found it within 0.02 of a gram at full weight. I also found the fine tuning of the VTF was so slight that even changing the counterweight position for 0.02 of a gram took a tremendous amount of patience. Now 0.05 of a gram was accomplished but also required patience.

Now, most recommend setting VTF to the recommended range and then using your ears for the final tuning. Measurement then is truly only needed to reproduce audibly confirmed results. The problem is humidity, and temperature also have an affect. This in itself means that you will need experience and recorded measurements to finalize your VTF list of measurements and know what changes to do based on these parameters. I don't have that much patience but if it sounds bad I start to fiddle.
Check again how if the overhang adjustment and or the VTA is set correctly. I had that very same problem with a Grado cart, and found that the back end of the arm had to be raised a bit.