VPI 3D tonearm adjustment


I have a couple of questions on set up of my new Prime and the 3D tonearm:

1. I've had the TT for about three weeks. I had a scout and moved my Dyna 20x2L to the Prime.
my first impressions was this is a wonderful upgrade. But after a couple weeks I noticed there was more glare on the highs.  I initially set the tonearm parallel to the record - dead level. I then ran across articles about how on some earlier 3D arms the shell warped. I think I have a new style arm, but last night I decided that rather than set the arm parallel I would check and make sure the shell was paralelle - it was not. It tilted downward 1.5 degrees. To get back to paralelle had to turn down the vta adjustment to where the body off the adjustment tower is almost all the way down. But with it adjusted as such the sound is now fantastic. My first question is the shell supposed to be parallel?

2. My second question is now that the tower is almost all the way down I can't use the alighnment jig, the tonearm hits it.  I've heard that the small cup on the underside of the tonearm where the needle sits,can be raised and lowered - is this true for the 3D arm?  There isn't a screw on the top of the arm to adjust with?
last_lemming
Definetely not right. My 3D is exactly straight with the top edge of the arm. The tube is tapered, so the bottom edge runs downhill. I set the arm so that the top edge is horizontal, adjust for vtf, and listen...I then adjust for vta...When I get the vta where I want it, I have it track the cartridge at the manufacturer’s suggest optimal vtf...I disregard the option of between this and that. Use a fozgometer to get the proper adjustment. I understand the early runs of 3D arm were very prone to heat damage. Get in touch with VPI, they will send you a new arm if it is damaged...(I know its a pia to set up again)  I live in Arizona with over 100 degree weather, but have the a/c on all the time.
My arm is not tapered and does not have the integral finger lift. The tonearm shaft is a constant diameter and the finger lift is a separate piece that attaches to the headshell.   My serial number is 0634. May I ask what your serial number is?
The short answer is (1) the head shell should be level when the arm is level and (2) corresponding with the VPI factory about your problem will get you a quicker solution than anything you can do here.

There was another, longer, thread about the 3D arm problem and in it VPI made it very clear that they will take care of it.  Do a search.

Just for the record I have a 12" 3D arm, relatively new and without a problem.  Great arm.
Last_lemming....you have the new version.  If there is a problem VPI will send you a new one.
Hi Last Lemming:
There is an adjustment to the inverted cup where the needle sits. It is made from the hole at the top of the arm. An allen wrench fits in the hole and lowers or raises the inverted cup which sits on the pin. (Sorry, I don't remember the size). I had the same problem in set up as you and adjusted the height of the rear of the arm (raised slightly) by lowering the cup which will permit the jig to fit. You may have to play with that cup as well as the tower adjustment to get the right arm level while allowing room for the jig to fit. Finally, I have a tapered 3d arm. If I measure a straight line along the top of the arm, it appears like the arm is highest at the pivot point. If I measure along the bottom of the arm, it appears that the pivot point is at the low end. The shell appears to be about level.  In addition, I set my cartridge to be as close as possible to the 92 degree stylus rake angle recommended by Michael Fremer.  
I did try moving the cup. But in my case I need to move the cup up. Doing so effectively drops the azimuth side weights lower and because my VTA tower is almost at the bottom of its adjustment rate it causes the weights to hit the horizontal metal base such that the tonearm can not rotate. 
Time for a call to VPI
I emailed Marc at VPI yesterday and send him some pics. Let's see what happens:)
any resolution last_lemming?
I did email Marc last week and he said if I wanted to return the tonearm we could talk about it. I responded say I'd be interested to discuss but I haven't heard back from him yet. 
Lemming, my original 3D arm wand became very warped and was replaced recently with the newer thicker headshell 3D arm. The original arm was twisting and throwing the azimuth off but the major damage to that arm that prompted the replacement came when that arm was stored in a plastic VPI holding box that is made to house an extra arm cartridge combo, the peice of Styrofoam that is cut to be placed over the cart headshell put to much pressure on the headshell forcing it to bend down now with that said the arm had issues before this. I have had the new arm a few months and I have to set the azimuth before each listening session this arm twist  back and forth ever so slightly but yes it does twist. Now, what do we do about it I really don't know but I have a Classic Stainless Steel arm that I have my other cart on and I like it very much just not as much as the 3D, when it is set up properly with no issues it is really special. I am going to hold on to this arm knowing that when VPI gets this issue solved that they will back their arms up no matter when purchased as they have stated and in the mean time I will be using the Classic arm when I don't want to keep adjusting the 3D arm and wait on this issue to be conquered. With all this said I very much love my Prime and believe it to be one of the best bargains in audio eve  with this issue.

Meant: even with this issue. Sorry
I’ve had my 3D for about a year with perfection. Let us know what VPI says .....the Classic is a very good arm, but the 3D is very wonderful arm.  I've heard some issues with warpage due to heat.....I live in the Sonoran Desert and keep the house at about 80 degrees (outside its over 100)
My 11 month old 3D arm was recently replaced by the newer design.  So far all is well and sounding great - except I had to send my 5 mon old Manley Chinook back for repairs.  I am currently using the onboard McIntosh C2300 pre phono stage.
I can't understand why people are still having problems with these arms. I was considering a prime but I'm not so sure anymore.
The 3D arm is NOT an improvement over the older metal VPI arms, when properly setup!   IMO!

VPI has made no sonic turntable improvements since the TNT series.

VPI arms are hard for the "average" owner to setup, and maximize performance. 

They take too much listening, fine adjustment, and care, to setup properly for most!

That is the reason for the variable results.
Unipivots suck.
Unipivots suck.
But that's why we love them! Constantly worrying if they are "in tune", always something to fiddle with. But when they're working boy are they good! 

And more seriously I concur with don_c55 that they do take some user engagement to get the most out of them but that's part of the charm of analog is it not
Aw, I was kiddin’ ;-). But I had a couple of them years ago, and I’m not convinced that with a very low-compliance stylus, the arm can’t actually be moved a little by the stylus itself, spun on it’s axis out of correct azimuth. But nobody was more critical of LP playback gear than good ol’ Brooks Berdan, and he highly approved of the Grahams and VPI's, selling a lot of them. What do I know?!
I've always had a prejudice against unipivot arms. I think they're actually a bit creepy, to be honest. I've always chosen arms with rigid bearings. Of course, that rules out linear trackers and air bearing arms, too.
Don c55   You're absolutely wrong on every count.   If you don't know what you're talking about, why post an influential diatribe which just might affect the mindset of those unsure of the issue. 
Don c55   You're absolutely wrong on every count.   If you don't know what you're talking about, why post an influential diatribe which just might affect the mindset of those unsure of the issue.  

Probably for the same reason you rant every time someone mentions Cardas. don_c55 did post "IMO", which as you pointed out in your reply on the other Cardas thread, everyone is entitled to their own opinion:

stringreen3,747 posts05-01-2016 5:20pmJMC....I'm hear to share my experiences in this hobby..both happy and unhappy ones.  

Turn around is fair play. If you are allowed to bash others "loved" choices, you can't complain when others bash the ones you love. 
Others are allowed to share their experiences in this hobby, both happy and unhappy ones, just as you are.
Thanks jmcgrogan2!

stringreen and I hardly ever agree.

But, I am not a loud mouth, with 3,747 posts here, and as many posts on other sites, pontificating on the same products, in a closed minded manner.
I think I will go get another cup of coffee...
IME, the end point is to get SRA correct. This trumps all other, VTA, arm tube level etc...