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Yea, just wait until your adjusting a high end cartridge within hundredths of a gram and it's clearly obvious which setting is better.
For my Koetsu it is EXACTLY 1.97 grams with the Walker. It was 1.99 with the Graham.
Crazy ain't it that such a small change in stylus pressure should effect tonal color, tracking and dynamics?
It was with difficult with the Graham, in fact it often took two or three days to "sneak up" on the settings because the rubber parts in the counterbalance stored energy and would move over time.
These changes occurred within a few minutes to as long as overnight. Could be frustrating with this unipivot design where the VTA and azimuth are affected as well.
My Walker. Which I have had for several years never moves. I can literally set the tracking and check a day, week or month later and have no change at all.
In case anyone wonders, I use the Winds stylus gauge with hundredths of gram measuring ability. This is particularly nice if you take the turntable apart for some reason and want to hit the correct setting the very first time.
Setting by ear is important, especially when experimenting to see what works for that cartridge and in that arm. However, its also important to be able to return quickly to the perfect setting, once that has been determined.
The Winds will let you do that.
Nice post Bublitchki, and a good reminder for us all.
My VTF experience is similar to Albert's (except for the Walker part!). My Shelter 901 is exquisitely sensitive to very small changes in tracking force. Changes of .03g or even less are very audible. The best force can only be found by listening and it changes with any significant swing in outside temperature. (Yes, my home is heated.)
During the January cold spell it wanted 1.94-1.96g. With daytime temps now all the way up to 35F, the Shelter wants to see 1.90-1.93g. When the hot weather of summer returns I'll be down around 1.80g. These changes have a big effect on HF extension/cleanliness and the amplitude of dynamics.
Like Albert I have a digital scale that measures to .01g, though mine was much less expensive than the Winds. I've also got a mod on my OL Silver that allows instant VTF adjustments over a .15g range without moving the counterweight. Very handy with such a touchy cartridge. There are no rubber parts anywhere in the arm, so any setting that I choose tends to be pretty stable.
Gosh, if we weren't fretting over stuff like this, think how much damage we could be doing in the real world!
Azimuth is the most important adjustment in a tonearm and best set with a test record and scope......Set it for the same crosstalk per side.....Azimuth must be correct or VTA can never be ascertained.....Recall Dave Shreve spending about three hours setting up azimuth on my new tonearm and then five minutes setting proper VTA.....That was fifteen years ago.....Andy Payor used a test record and gadget that Audioquest made years ago and got the azimuth right in half an hour......Wish someone would make that gadget again as they are hard to find used........
with the vpi scout, azimuth is adjusted by rotating the counterweight. i visually inspect the cart, and also the counterweights by the pivot. things sound fine, centered, etc, but im wondering what more i might do to improve what admittedly at this time is a pretty casual adjustment. i particulary am concerned that vta adjustment doesn't seem to have much effect, and i don't know if that's because of my cart(a benz glider l2) or because my azimuth is off. i'd be interested in what other scout owners azimuth and vta experiences have been.
Rcrump's fascinating post and Albert's response got me started poking around. I found this methodology for setting azimuth by measuring crosstalk in the VA FAQ's:
Not ideal, since it measures at the speaker terminals and therefore measures preamp/interconnect/amp/RFI imbalances, but certainly better than just eyeballing it. Comments anyone?
Dougdeacon. I think Bob's post was describing the Audioquest as a electronic rather than mechanical tool.
I found this on a German web site about the Wallytractor;
When the site opens, click on:
Wallys Vinyl corner and on the next page, select:
WallyAnalog Shop (std).
There you can view this electronic gizmo and download the complete instructions as a PDF.
Albert, I quite understood that Bob was describing an electronic device. Were you perhaps responding to Jphii's suggestion that he could make one? Like you, I doubt that his woodworking skills would suffice, formidable though they be! :)
Thanks for finding Wally's device. I'd quite forgotten that he offered (offers?) that. It precisely addresses what we've been discussing, and his instructions cover the channel imbalance issue raised on the VA thread too. I'll be emailing Wally to find out if it's still available.
As I recall the Audioquest box was actually a phono stage as needed to plug a transformer into it for moving coil cartridges. It had a switch for L and R channels and the meter would read the crosstalk.....You use the 1K test tone played on a the test record and just fiddled with the azimuth until you had the same reading from both channels, normally 25-35db......These were out of print eleven years ago when I bought the Rockport and always wished I could find one......These were about $300 new and you needed a cheap transformer for moving coil cartridges, another $100 I suppose....Shure made essentially the same thing BTW.....
Jphii, you are darned right it is worth the money and it would be worth $5-700 today I imagine.....To do this by ear is rough as lots of folks just can't listen to the venue information (they listen to the melody) and get it the same on each side which accomplishes the same thing as this device.....Front surface mirrors are useless as the output of most moving coils is just not the same side to side and usually the cartridge will be slightly canted to one side or the other for equal crosstalk from each channel......
.....the output of most moving coils is just not the same side to side and usually the cartridge will be slightly canted to one side or the other for equal crosstalk from each channel......
This I find a very interesting comment and it explains why, when my preamp is set to mono and using the HIFI test record azimuth check, I could never get what approached silence with the headshell as perfectly perpendicular to the LP as I could get it by eye. When I got it right with the record, the cartridge looked ever so slightly askew. Is this a defect in the cartridge? Will record damage occur with a "canted" cartridge?
The assembly of my Shelter is visibly off-perpendicular relative to the body. Like 4yanx, I've done the best I can getting it perpendicular by eye using a mirror, but I've never achieved silence on the crosstalk tracks either.
Wally's Analog Shop, as referenced by Albert Porter above, measures crosstalk at the speaker terminals. That should better what we can do by ear. $400 including a copy of the Cardas test record. Very tempting. Can anyone think of a reason NOT to buy it (other than the price of course)?
Sberger....I'm with you . These adjustments just don't make THAT big a difference. Hundredths of a gram? come on. I've got all the stuff, too...JMW 12.5/Extended Aries/Lyra Helikon, and have to crank away on the old VTA before any sonic differences appear.
Reading this thread would make anyone give up analogue and buy CD's.
BTW, My Linn Ikemi CD player will kick the turntable's ass now that I put a Valhalla cable on the CD player. (Quattro-fil tonearm cable)
So, OK analogue guys, whazzup wid dat?
Never been all that crazy about the Helikon, the Aries/JMW arm or the Quattro-fil myself and think you need to wake up your vinyl system a bit as that combination will put you to sleep and no amount of adjustment is going to help the PRAT, where that combination will fall flat on its face compared to any CD player..........Time to look into a more dynamic cartridge and/or lead-in wire and you can do a bunch better than the Valhalla with its hole in the middle of the venue information that you could drive a Hummer through.....Sorry to be blunt, but you asked....
David, count me in. Time to party!! Or, whatever you do with a customized multimeter.
Jbatlanta, I'll try to temper Rcrump's response a little, but both my partner and I DO hear VTF changes as small as .03g, and very easily. And contary to finding this onerous to deal with, we enjoy it. It's a hobby!
We were able to assemble a consortium for the purchase of one, Marc. Another group could well be initiated but I will forewarn you that it has been well over three weeks since it was ordered and no word about when it will ship. It seems Wally has been ill. While I do feel badly about his illness, it exacerbates and already common problem - deliver of any Wally product is s l o w. He needs to enlist some help or stop marketing his products without a warning with respect to very poor delivery times. I was hoping that the first one or two users would have been able to supply a report on the unit by now.
I have the Wally azimuth tester, and with my setup, I could not get particularly reliable readings utilizing the instructions. I could merely confirm that my visually adjusted azimuth was not far off from acceptable electrical measurement.
I now feel that the best way to set azimuth is to first determine that visually that the stylus is aligned properly with respect to the cartridge body and then align the body perpendicular to the surface of the record (look at the cartridge from a head on angle and compare the cartridge with its reflected image on the record to see if the cartridge is canted left or right). In this way you can get an approximately correct physical alignment. If that is not the ideal electrical alignment (because the coils and magnets are not aligned properly) you will not get the maximum separatation, but at least the stylus and the record will be in alignment -- I prefer lower wear on stylus and record than maximum separation.
I suppose the best way to do this by measurement is to use an oscilloscope.