VPI Classic Azimuth Seems to Change -- Normal??

I own the VPI Classic with a Classic 3 wand upgrade. The Classic 3 wand is stainless steel and incorporates Valhalla silver wiring. My carty is the VPI Zephyr. My set-up is pretty straightforward.

Here's what I noticed. I was checking aziumth and some other settings. I'm pretty sure that the azimuth changed when I moved the arm to the inner tracks. It was pretty stable in the middle and outer tracks. It seems that the Valhalla wire in some way is twisting the arm causing the change. To try and minimize the effect, I tried not to twist the wire, but to little effect.

Any thoughts, comments or suggestions?
Do you twist the Valhala wire to adjust for anti-skating?
Interesting, as was stated above did you twist the wire slightly to set the anti skating? Also, what did you use to measure the azimuth? I use an angle protractor to measure the distance from the bottom of the record to the azimuth rod (on both sides of the azimuth rod.

Tried to make it as straight as possible, but there is always some inherent twist. Very curious. Theoretically, there is nothing that should cause the wand to twist on the uni-pivot point, other than the wire. I'll try calling Mike at VPI and see what he thinks.
Bifwynne, you might want to check the antiskate collar that attaches at the tonearm, the one that holds the fishing line. Sometimes if that is off, it can affect the azimuth, especially as the arm moves in. I have noticed it on my Classic 1. Let us know what Mike says.
How did you determine that the azimuth changed?
In which direction did the arm change azimuth? Did the cartridge rotate anti-clockwise? If so, perhaps anti-skate force is a culprit, as Swanny mentioned. You could simply try reducing the anti-skate, as an experiment.
Thanks guys. This may be heretical -- but I am not using the VPI AS set up. I was using the VPI suggested twisted wire - rough justice approach. That is until I relaxed the wire because of the torque issue.

Actusreus, I use a tiny bubble level that is made for cartridge set ups. It's probably 45 years old. Short of using an oscilliscope, it's probably the most accurate way to check azimuth.

Swanny, I'm not sure I understand your suggestion. If I am not using the AS device, is the suggestion relevent?

I sent Mike an e mail. I'm not sure he'll be around. The pre-recorded phone message said something to the effect that Mike and others may be at RMAF.

Thanks again.
Hi Bifwynne, I keep my wires in the neutral position so there is no counter twist. Also, I substituted the VPI drop-style weight for XTCW counterweight through Ebay (seller JCLOVESmusic - United Kingdom). It has a much lower center of gravity than the VPI, thereby, creating greater azimuth stability. The improvement in sound reproduction was pronounced.
The VPI tonearm wires can be a bit stiff and has a memory i.e. the wire always attempts to return to its previous state.

To eliminate wire memory, used a hair dryer set to low and heat up the wire to relax the insulation and remove the previous wire memory. With the wire heated, I was able to create a more neutral loop and the wire remained more supple.

Slight changes in the azimuth are normal across the record as any warps, however slight, will alter the angle at which the cartridge interfaces with the record's surface. In my opinion, I'm not sure how realistic it is to expect to be able to maintain a perfect setting across the entire record surface. I set mine in the middle of the record and don't obsess about the rest of the surface. I'm also still not sure how you go about measuring the azimuth (did you use one, or different records, did you measure in the same spot, etc.?)

Perhaps more importantly, why on earth would you be messing with the Valhalla wiring when you have the anti-skate device on the Classic? The wire twist method is only for those VPI tables that don't have the anti-skate device, and for those owners who are just too OCD not to have any anti-skating applied. I actually removed the anti-skate thingy from my Classic as I found that it sounded best without any anti-skate (which Harry also suggests). Now you have hair dryers going to undo what was completely unnecessary in the first place. Oy vey, as Mike would say...
Actureus, I never used the VPI AS set-up. Instead, I may have lightly twisted the wire. As stated above, it could be "wire/insulation" memory. Kinda makes sense. At this point, I think there's no twist in the wire.

In response to the Q about how I check azimuth -- I have a tiny bubble level which I place length-wise accross the top of the head shell. In other words, the bubble level is length-wise perpendicular to the front of the head shell, directly over the midpoint of the cartridge. I also check the azimuth in 3 spots: inner, middle and outer tracks.

As I said, the middle and inner tracks are perfect; it's the inner track that torques to one side. I don't remember which way -- clockwise or counter-clockwise.

I sent a message to Mike at VPI. He said that he would check into the anomolie when he gets back from RMAF. He quipped that I was being just a bit OCD, but then added, he would be too. LOL

I'll report back when I hear from Mike.

P.S. -- next TT will be fixed gimbal.
Harry prefers and recommends no anti-skating, and I, after listening for a year with anti-skating engaged as a principle, now also prefer the sound without anti-skating once I gave it a listen. Perhaps the rigidity of the tonearm wire provides enough anti-skating, I'm not sure, but I'm now in Harry's anti anti-skating camp.

Regarding the azimuth, did you try several records to ensure it's indeed the tonearm, not irregularities in the record? And most importantly, can you hear the variations in the azimuth?

As stated I set my azimuth with an angle protractor ($3.00) which gives me a repeatable and measurable point of reference. Like you I also don't use my antiskate on my Classic.

BTW, the hum is "FIXED" I can use any cartridge, Grado's, etc with absolutely no hum, nothing, nadda, nyet and all of that kinda stuff. You gotta email me to find out.
Actusreus, yes . . . I tested the azimuth on several records. Same results. The answer to whether I can hear a difference: not really. Doesn't say much for my auditory acuity I suppose. I'm not going to obsess about this, but I am curious what Mike comes back with.

As I said before in other threads, I appreciate the build quality of VPI turntables. However, I think the unstabilized nature of the uni-pivot can present issues.
i have the same issue with my classic 1 with my azimuth swifting from one side to the other, and i also figured this by using a small japanese bubble level weighting 0.7 grams made for this purpose. the bubble level is placed on top of the headshell while stylus on a still record.

actually i also addressed this to mike n he has no firm answer to me too how this could happen..
Ok . .. here's where I stand. Mike sent me a new heavy-weight azimuth ring with large extension counterweights. I also went back to using the VPI azimuth checking rod. I think I am ok now. In any case, I'm not obsessing about it anymore. To my untrained ears, cross-talk doesn't seem to be a problem. Imaging and depth of field is VG. So now I just listen and enjoy. This hobby can make one nuts!!