The obsession, the trees. The music, the forest.

I read with interest two current threads on this board dealing with azimuth and VTA adjustments. Couldn't help but think that those of you obsessed with these adjustments may not be "hearing" the forest for the trees. Now I like great sound as much as the next guy. And I've taken great care to setup my cartridge, but there comes a time when I just want to listen to music and the settings simply fade into oblivion. I'm curious if you obsessive types ever really relax enough to simply enjoy the music? I surely hope so for your sakes.
I would think that futzing with the VTA on every disc would distract from the enjoyment of listening to music, but I'm sure it also improves the sound quality. It takes all kinds.
I concur, it gets really tiresome. One of the main reasons I haven't been posting as often as I used to is that I am to busy enjoying music and my system. Could it get better?? I am sure, but there comes a time- for me anyway- when I want to just sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I am sure I will get tired and want to try something new in the future but I don't lose sleep over it.

But answering your question there is a certain breed of audiophile that I call the gear heads. They like good sound but are addicted to getting more, they are never happy with there system and they spend a lot of money for nothing. This sort will never be able to enjoy music(or chances are life in general). In this gear head group there is a subsection which are tweek crazed! Too uptight for me, that's for sure.
It is okay for some of us, especially beginners to be obsessive about azimuth and vta at first. Once they are set right, we can then enjoy the music w/o worrying azimuth and vta and what not. Yes, enjoying the music is the goal, not listening to equipments. But I notice the "uptight", the tweakers are the kind of people who help me a lot in this art of music appreciation. So I like them very much too.
A pro musician (jazz) was interviewed in Stereophile. When asked why he had such a crappy stereo system, he replied something like: "Maybe a musician can put it all together in their head so they don't need good equipment.".
Maybe gear heads can't "put it together" themselves and are totally "machine dependent"?
Sort of like Charlie-the-Tuna trying to buy "good taste"?
I am very new to analog,so I have trouble with all these adjustments. As time goes by I seem to be listening more and tweeking less.

I am undoubtedly one of the people who you have seen advocating finding the correct VTA. Believe it or not, this is not an obsession with me in practice. What my advocacy actually represents is a tweak to all of those unabashed "vinyl rules" advocates who can't be bothered with doing what is necessary to make it rule (and they abound and quite often are new to vinyl). If you can't be bothered with setting the proper VTA for each disc you have probably greatly diminished its ability to compete with a comparable digital product. Agruing about CD vs Vinyl is in MHO what "gearheads" do, and is, for the most part, unproductive and has nothing to do with listening to music, only the sounds of your system. Personally I choose the music/performance that I want to hear first and then put the record/disc on the proper devise to transcribe/decode it. I agree, it not vinyl or digital that rules, its music.
I would suppose that after some experience making those frequent adjustments, making them becomes second nature resulting in minimal detraction from musical enjoyment.

"But I notice the "uptight", the tweakers are the kind of people who help me a lot in this art of music appreciation. So I like them very much too."

I like that.
I'm pretty new and just trying to get my rig set up to the best compromise of settings for all my vinyls, from thin old ones to my 200g pressings. Once I find the best compromise--the settings that seem to do well with anything I throw on the platter--then I'll stop, and enjoy the music. Until then, I toy around and tweak and listen to the changes.

Since I don't have a dealer that I can call to come set everything up for me, I'm kind of forced to learn how to do it all myself. I find cartridge alignment the trickiest, but I'm learning alot and it's a great skill to have. Once I find the right balance, I can't wait to leave it all alone and just listen. I'll simply check on the setup periodically as the seasons change.
Well, since I'm the guilty party that started those two threads, let me just weigh in here.

I'm first and foremost a music fan. I love almost all kinds of music. My "obsession" with finding the correct adjustments is part of the quest to bring that music home in as perfect a form as possible. When I hit upon that precise VTA, I'm magically transported to Orchestra Hall in Chicago in 1954.

Imprecise adjustments *distance* me from the music. I think the better and more highly-resolving your system, the more critical and noticeable these adjustments will be.

As has been pointed out, with certain stylus shapes, changes in VTA are less audible. In these cases, you can pretty much set it and forget it. But in other cases, the shape of the stylus dictates that VTA be adjusted separately for different record thicknesses. Here, something like the adjustability of the more expensive JMW arms is really a tremendous thing for music lovers. And the fact that you have a numerical scale and can *repeat* the adjustment is something that *reduces* neurosis and anxiety rather than increases it. You never feel as if you've "lost" that perfect setting.

Just some thoughts from someone who's spent over 20 years fiddling with VTA, but above all, enjoying the music. Sometimes you have to *work* at making the music real.
Is someone who requires a higher standard, and has gained the skill to achieve it necessarily uptight? I hear "uptight" as, possibly, an excuse made by one who is unsure of his ability to wring the best from his gear and wishes to divert attention.

Many of us don't really give a care how one enjoys any aspect of this hobby, but are happy to have this forum to share and gain tweakers tips when needed, or musical performance recommendations when that is our interest.

Enjoy the hobby the way you prefer to. It's not necessary to characterize the method of other people's enjoyment.
Yeah, maybe I should stop relevelling my CDP with each disc?
Subaruguru, Don't stop re-leveling your CDP unless your also stop releveling your amp, pre amp and speakers otherwise you will lose the synergy between your components you worked so hard to set up. :-) By the way, unless you are willing to wear the hair shirt of vinyl, please turn in your audiophile society identity card and your mensa card as well. We know who you are now, you're not going to fake us out with those Verity speakers of yours and your other assorted paraphernalia. :-)) PS I love those speakers!
For your consideration:

I used to "futz" with the VTA to the point of minor frustration (I just want to sit & enjoy, not jump up and down), until I noticed that one of my replacement mats is very slightly thicker than either of the standard mats for my two TT's. A small amount of testing convinced me that the sound differences between the mats corresponds to the thickness change (VTA being adjusted by swapping mats).

Now, my old thin LP's are played on the replacement mat, and my 180-200 gm's are on the standard mats. Works great for me, ymmv.

Newbee, yes, rather than break Verity Audio's strict proscription to NOT readjust the Parsifals, I'm now working on my VLA (yup, V Listening A) not by retilting ME with a variety of visco-elastic and Thalalay (huh?) seat cushions.