VPI Azimuth Ring - A forgotten asset?

One of my chief complaints regarding the set up of the wonderful VPI JMW 12 tonearm series (I own or have owned 12.5, 12.6i, and 12.7i arms) has to do with setting the azimuth.

Using the new teardrop counter weights, once you set the correct VTF, you then adjust the azimuth. However, to do this you must again use the counter weight and rock it left or right depending on how the stylus sits inside the record groove. Here is the rub: Whenever I do this, the VTF changes and I have to repeat the procedures until I get bored with the whole thing or drink too much Single Malt Scotch (I prefer the Highland Single Malts).

Recently, I discovered (or re-discovered) the VPI azimuth ring that is attached to the base of the wand by way of 2 hex set screws. Current versions of the azimuth ring have ears that jut out from the circumference of the ring.

Now, after I set the VTF and lock that down, I rotate the azimuth ring slightly (flat side of the ring towards the downward tilt of the cartridge) until the correct position (equilibrium?) is achieved and lock that down as well. Done!

What was once a series of frustrating steps is now a very pleasant procedure.

My good friend, Analogue Bob, finds fault with this set up system. Analogue Bob claims that rotating the ring causes the wand to become less stable. Since it is usually his well-aged Single Malt Scotch I am drinking, I do try to be respectful of his thoughts.

By the way, the 12.5 wand sits nicely on the 12.7 bearing.

Also, that small hole at top dead center of the wand – it is for minute (pronounced: my-newt) height adjustments of the female/cup bearing off the male bearing. Using a hex wrench, tiny height adjustment may be achieved.

I wonder if HW has thought on this set up procedure?
When the azimuth ring is not centered and I use the cueing lift to raise the tonearm the tonearm jerks to one side a little. When the azimuth ring is centered the tonearm does not jerk to one side.

I think your friend is right about the stability issue.

I just received the Counter Intuitive from Soundmith today. It is a weight that slips over the VPI counterweight. It allows you to adjust VTF and azimuth without moving the couterweight itself. I am able to make adjustent to VTF without messing up azimuth and vise versa. It is also possible to make very fine adjustments as well. It also does not cause the tonearm to jump to one side like the azimuth ring will. It was about $62 shipped.



I cannot begin to express to you how disappointed I am to learn that my dear friend Analogue Bob may be correct. He will never allow me to live it down. To use the word "correct" in the same sentence with his name (or referring to him) is a dangerous precedent…one I try to avoid at all costs.

I have coffee with him Saturday mornings, and now I know what the topic will be: "I am right and you are worng!"

Sorry to dissapoint you Christopher.

I guess that means Analogue Bob owns me some single malt scotch. ;>)

Now you've done it. Bob reads this forum and will expect me to pony up an old Single Malt. I only hope it is not The Macallan 18 or 30 year old Sherry Oak.

All kidding aside, I just dialed in my 12.7i using the azimuth ring and it was a breeze. Less than 1/4" turn off dead center. Fozometer (sp?) is next up.