VPI has an anti-skate mechanism that will attach to any of their arms. Last time I looked, they were around 100.00. Much better than the bent wire IMHO.
VPI classic 3.0 Signature anti-skate.
Don't be afraid to venture past the VPI instructions that claim it's a “win” to somehow track across a record with no anti-skate. The seemingly purist bent that no anti-skate is better sounding hasn't been born out in practice unless you have a mighty light cartridge out on the end of the tone-arm. Physics be as it may be, ALL cartridges with arching tone-arms need anti-skate. Yes, VPI feels that the marginal anti-skate provided by the “twist” in the tonearm wiring adds what is needed, but it doesn't, and not the right amount is added for various cartridges weights.
I have used a SUMIKO Blackbird (9.6 grams) and a Benz Ruby Z (10.6 grams) on my VPI classic 3.0 and BOTH cartridges showed the effects of not enough anti-skate. Either cartridge is an excellent tracker IF the needle is where it is supposed to be.
Once you reach the max recommended tracking force, the needle can't be “forced” down into the record groove to counter anti-skate.
Heavier cartridges will need more anti-skate all things being the same.
The effects of too little anti-skate outweighs the “benefits” of no anti-skate UNLESS you have a light cartridge with the proper anti-skate being applied by the tonearm wiring.
Longer tone arms need less anti-skate all things being the same.
Lighter tone arms will need less anti-skate all things the same.
But, you WILL need anti-skate to 100% properly place the needle in the groove based on each cartridge weight and hardware.
The situation was that the SUMIKO would race to the first cut of the album through the lead-in groove. A dead give-away that anti-skate is in force. The Benz would do the same, but being a heavier cartridge, it would also randomly “jump ahead” in the first two tracks while I tried to set the VTA angle. Another sign of too little anti-skate.
Adding back in the anti-skate device and adding just a touch more anti-skate cured the problems, and things got MUCH better sounding, too. More anti-skate isn't better, but the right amount is. Too much can make things way worse, even.
I would be wary to think that minimal anti-skate is the way to go on this VPI classic 3.0 Signature table with the JMW Memorial 10.5” tone-arm despite the instructions. A 3D printed arm is lighter and MAY JUST get away with the tone arm wiring “twist” but don't just take it on the chin. If you need anti-skate don't be afraid to GO WITH the grain, and add some. With both my cartridges this arm was rubbing the cat backwards with the tone arm anti-skate amount and it did not respond too well.
LISTEN and use your judgment WITH the proper ant-skate applied for album playback (not aggressive test records!) and then decide. There is no reward for somehow JUST managing to get a cartridge to track across a record with no added anti-skate, but there is a reward when it does it right. Ignore the manual and pay attention to your cartridge.
12 responses Add your response