VPI Scout setup after watching Frefmer's video

I understand all the concepts, however one question still bugs me. When I read VPI's manual they go through the set up process pretty well with one of the first things you do is set the anti skate. Here is what I don't get, if the anti skate is hooked up how are you suppose to set tracking force and azimuth correctly if ther is a constant counter force acting on it? Even if you disconnect the Lemo it still imparts a force just hanging there.

I'm a newbie at TT's so maybe I'm missing something.
The Scout doesn't have a traditional anti skate option. You do have a little adjustment if you twist the cable that comes out the back of the arm and then reconnect it. When you do that, the force created by putting the extra tension the cable acts as an anti skate.
Yeah, I understand how it works, just not how you can negate it when setting other things like TF and azimuth if there is a constant "twist" acting on your adjustments.
Unwind it to a neutral position, set the downforce, etc., then wind it back up for the anti skate tension.
I get better sound with NO anti-skate at all. I tried the twist method and the actual anti-skate gizmo, but my cartridge sounds best with none at all.
I've had a lot of experience with this, including installing and using VPI's anti-skate "device". (I think "device" in the VPI lexicon means "contraption"). Go with Stringreen's suggestion. Just leave the wire with it's natural twist and go from there.
There is a counterweight gimmick for the Scout arm that makes it easier to set up. It lets you independently adjust tracking force and azimuth. Check it out.

I should have mentioned what Wolf_garcia says in his post about unplugging the tonearm cables before you make your adjustments. I'm almost positive it tells you to do this in the owners manual. Also, I agree with Stringreen in that it sounds best if you just leave anti skating alone. Its an excellent TT and VPI felt it sounds best without it.
The issue of VPI TT anti-skate (AS) has been beat to death. Ok, since it's back on the table (pun intended), I'll put my 2 cents in. Based on my experience, it is completely unclear to me that using AS (via the wire twist method or the VPI AS contraption) improves the sound.

OTOH, as I posted in another thread, my primary carty is the Sound Smith VPI Zephyr. Peter Ledermann just retipped the stylus a month or so ago. Yes . . . , it was worn, but Peter told me the uneven wear pattern indicated that the AS (or lack there of) on my TT was the cause. I should mention that I had NOT been using any AS.

Peter sent me Rube Goldberg instructions on how to "properly" use the VPI contraption to set AS. I couldn't follow the theory or the "how to" method. So, I used the contraption and set the weight with one rubber donut ring. Is it too much, too little, or ok?? -- haven't a clue. I'll report back when it's retip time again and let you know.

Now here's another little issue that came up when I tried the wire twist AS method. The rough justice torque caused the azimuth to shift when I checked it at various spots on the record. I called Mike at VPI. He kinda acknowledged the issue and immediately sent me a new azimuth ring that has larger and heavier counter-weights. That seems to stabilize the azimuth issue.

Folks, I've said this before and I'll repeat it again. yes . . . the VPI JMW TT sings if everything is set up properly -- whatever that means. But after a while it stops being fun. I just wanta listen to my records and stop obsessing over setting azimuth, VTA and VTF.

As an aside, VPI just came out with the Traveler TT which uses a fixed gimbel system. I understand that the friction coefficient is almost as low as the JMW uni-pivot. That takes azimuth off the table and simplifies everything.

I think VPI should consider using a fixed gimbel system in its higher end tables so we can all stop the obsessing. As usual, just my humble opinion. Gotta go, my Linda Ronstadt record's over
I've found with mine that it's best not to use the VPI anti-skate add on device at all, one turn of the cable works fine for me. I've also found that Soundsmith Counter-Intuitive, that Chayro mentions, to be invaluble when setting up this arm and making very fine adjustments, especially for azimuth and VTF. Money well spent, IMHO.
jm...The counter-intuitive is excellent if you change arms/cartridges....otherwise, it has no use at all. I've set up numerous VPI arms and once you get the idea, it is quite easy to do.
Stringreen, I've set up numerous VPI arms and cartridges. Yes, the counter-intuitive makes setting up a breeze. I have had issues getting the azimuth just right on VPI arms though. It's easy enough to get the azimuth close, but with the counter-intuitive I can get it perfecto.

I still don't understand your point about the counter-intuitive (CI), even after your many posts telling everyone how unnecessary it is. Even if you have one tonearm and use the CI to set it up, you will still need it since it was used to dial in the VTF and azimuth. You can't remove it as you'd be back right where you started. So how does it have no use at all after setting up one tonearm?

Also, the VTF and azimuth can, and frequently do change over time, and the CI allows minute adjustments to one parameter while practically not affecting another, which is virtually impossible with the counterweight alone due to its size and wieght, not matter how many times you've set up a VPI tonearm.
I wrote a response to this but it was not published so I'll try again. If you think that you need the CounterIntuitive, by all means use it. Here are some things though you might have missed in setting up your VPI arms. You do not need to loosen the rear counterweight to set vtf or azimuth. For azimuth, know that the set screw bears pressure on a gasket to affix the weight using pressure fit. It is easy enough to just force the rear counterweight around the axis slightly until the proper azimuth is achieved. You do not have to loosen the rear counterweight to adjust the vtf either. In the rear of the VPI tonearm, there is a hole that accommodates a supplied Allen wrench. By counterclockwise rotation of the wrench, you lighten the force...by clockwise rotation you make it heavier. You are adjusting a moveable weight back/ forth within the arm tube.

The point is that the CI makes all these adjustments a breeze, and allows very small adjustments that, in my experience, fiddling with the counterweight does not.

I used to own a Scout and now own a Classic. On both tables, the counterweight could not be forced "around the axis slightly until the proper azimuth is achieved." It can be only either very tightly fixed/fastened with the screw, or it will be way too loose to make a proper adjustment. There is no in-between, which makes sense as it's a metal screw that exerts a pressure against a metal tube. O-rings might help with smaller adjustments (by restricting excessive counterweight movement), but they will not provide the precision, the CI offers.

Insofar as there is a screw inside the back of the tonearm that perhaps allows small VTF adjustments, it is way more time consuming that simply sliding the CI.
Actjsreus... Why argue with you. You can and I do force the rear coutnerweight with extreme accuracy...in minute increments without any damage at all to the arm. Obviously you are in need of this thing that I still see no use for except for the times that you exchange arm tubes. You are a proud owner and good luck to you. As for others... Be assured that the arm can easily be set up without this added expense.

I find it very perplexing that you've been criticizing this tool from the very beginning, even without trying it. My sense is you have some sort of a purist attitude block that prevents you from admitting the usefulness and benefit of the CI. From what I've seen, you're just about the only VPI table owner who finds it of no use. The added expense is trivial against the benefit of saved time, added ease and less stress this tool offers.

Btw, I'm not "arguing" with you as to me the benefits of the CI in adjusting the VTF and azimuth are objectively (yes, objectively) verifiable given the nature of the VPI tonearms, and so are beyond a polemic. I was simply trying to understand why you insist on your position even though you have no solid arguments to support it.
You are both right. I like and use the CI and I also agree with Stringreen that the same results can be achieved without the CI. If you have an older VPI arm without the end stub allen key VTF adjustment, the CI becomes more useful.
I kinda like the CI. I think setting azimuth and VTF is frustrating. The CI makes it a lot easier to zero in on where you want to be. Hey Stringreen, you and I share the same views 99.9% of the time. I think the CI costs about 65 or 75 bucks. Why not give it a try. If you already have and still don't think it's that big a deal -- I can respect that.
My point is that there are those that think Harry didn't notice or care that to require the rear counterweight to do 2 things with little efficiency of duty is not to credit him with a well thought out product bearing the name of his son. The CounterIntitive may be useful to some....they should support it. I, myself don't see the need for it. I presumed those with inadequate knowledge of VPI arm setup procedures (that the rear counterweight is easily moved around its center without damage, and that the internal counterweight is easily adjusted via the
Allen wrench inserted into the back of the arm) would appreciate the knowledge herein provided. Zei Gazundt.

Are you seriously bringing Harry's dead son into this discussion to support your argument? That's disturbing.

My dear gentlemen, I think this discussion is over. Have a super great day.
01-11-13: Stringreen
The CounterIntitive may be useful to some....they should support it. I, myself don't see the need for it. I presumed those with inadequate knowledge of VPI arm setup procedures would appreciate the knowledge herein provided.

WOW......What an utterly pompous ass statement. LOL!!
Maybe this is a silly question but if you have the anti skate ring why would you need to by the CI piece. Doesn't it allow you to change azimuth without much affecting force?
The CI has nothing to do with antiskate. The CI allows for fine VTF and azimuth adjustments only.
Im sorry not anti skate, "azimuth ring" is what I meant to say, my bad.
I use the anti-skate device with one rubber ring as I decided not to twist the Valhalla wire. I hear the difference when it is not adjusted properly. The third post answers your question on disabling AS when using the wire twist method.

01-11-13: Stringreen

I presumed those with inadequate knowledge of VPI arm setup procedures (that the rear counterweight is easily moved around its center without damage, and that the internal counterweight is easily adjusted via the Allen wrench inserted into the back of the arm) would appreciate the knowledge herein provided.

Stringreen: I believe you have inadequate knowledge of the differences between JMW-9 series of arms. The JMW-9 (JMW-9t?) does NOT have the set screw in the rear of the armtube. I suspect it was released this way to meet a price point.

I started with a Scout TT having the JMW-9 tonearm. I found it to be virtually impossible to optimize both VTF and azimuth as the counter weight is used for both. If the drill press wasn't buried in the garage, I would have drilled and tapped a screw into the counter weight for fine VTF adjustment. At that time, the CounterIntitive was not available.

When I found out from Mike that the JMW-9 Signature armtube has a set screw at the rear, I swapped tonearms without hesitation. After the JMW-9 experience, I will never again own a tonearm that does not have discrete adjustments of all parameters.

If I still had a JMW-9 tonearm, I would either have tapped a screw on the rear somewhere or be using the CounterIntitive to make adjusting the azimuth and VTF easier. With the JMW-9 Signature, I do not require the CounterIntitive product as it has independent control of all setting. With a very light touch, I am able to adjust azimuth with changing VTF.
Last Lemming,
Because, as Brf said, the CI allows very minute changes to both the VTF and azimuth. I suppose the ring is theoretically supposed to enable small adjustments, but since it's much heavier than the CI, it is not as easy in practice. Also, I personally did not like using the ring for setting the azimuth. You have to loosen the screws, and I found that twisting it back and forth to achieve minute changes would cause the ring to slide down after a while and affect tonearm balance.

Look, VPI arms can certainly be adjusted with incredible precision without the CI, the longer you've had one the better you're going to get at adjusting it, most likely. But the general consensus is that VPI arms are rather finicky to adjust. The CI simply allows fast, headache free, minute adjustments, which can make or break the sound. I don't claim the thing is absolutely necessary and essential if you own a VPI table, but its utility cannot be disputed.
Actusreus....I can dispute its utility. It is not needed. Adjustments can be made even quicker and with greater accuracy without it. I do it all the time. If you like it .....oh well its like arguing with a brick wall.....
You've got to give it a rest, man. I never said the CI was "needed"; in fact, I stated it was not necessary or essential. Re-read my posts. But it is very useful in my opinion and its usefulness cannot be disputed. So right back at you about arguing with a brick wall. And why are you so vehemently arguing against it when you've never even used it?!!!

Let's just agree to disagree on its utility and let others decide for themselves at this point. I think we've both said enough on the subject.
My VPI counterweight weighs 150g; the CI weights about 20g. Rotating a 20g drop down weight around a fixed axis will allow for a finer azimuth adjustment than rotating a 150g weight.

If you are a person who likes to adjust their azimuth to the nth degree, go for the CI, otherwise the standard VPI counterweight method will suffice.
I really don't understand what the big deal is. If you don't like the CI then don't buy it. I have one on my JMW9 and find it very useful and worth every penny. In fact, I think it's a bargain.
Regards, Sam
There is no “big deal”. The CI issue/debate has been divided into 2 camps.

Camp 1 says you don’t need the CI and all adjustment can be done using the VPI arm.

Camp 2 says the CI is needed to properly dial in correct azimuth and VTF.

The answer is…both are correct. You don’t need the CI to dial in azimuth and VTF but the CI may allow for a finer level of adjustment for azimuth and VTF. Also, some just prefer to use the CI.
It's true that all adjustments can be made without the CI but it's a definite PIA.
Regards, Sam
I went ahead and purchased the CI. It was only 50 bucks. This way when I set azimuth by ear I won't have to undo the counter weight every time.
Last Lemming....I guess you didn't read what I said on the above posts....you wouldn't need to even without the CI
No I understand you can, but my clumsy fingers keep screwing up the TF every time I mess with the weight. And if I want to make on the fly adjustments quickly without worrying about messing the TF up I figured the CI was going to be the easiest way for me.
We all read what you've posted above Stringreen, thank you for the entertainment.
I've ordered the Mint protractor and the VPI headshell wt. As I understand it my Memorial tonearm was not originally intended for MC carts, and the extra weight is suppose to address that to some degree. However I am still confused about setting up azimuth and tracking force. I've been told on this forum to connect the Lemo connector then set Azimuth and TF. It even says that in the directions if I remember correctly. However I called VPI to double check and I forget the fellows name (I don't think it was mike) and he told me to unplug it and keep it in the board next to the pivot point. I explained that when I did that the TF constantly changed depending on where I placed the connector. He didn't seem concerned about this. Since I'm trying to clear up a little bit of end of lp distortion I would like to make sure I'm setting the table up right from the start. Any thoughts?
I might be wrong, but unplugging the connector makes no sense to me. The VTF and azimuth only matter when you listen to records and you can't listen with the connector unplugged so why would you unplug it as you adjust these parameters?

Also, I've never heard of a tonearm not being "intended" for MC or MM cartridges. A given tonearm might not be suitable for cartridges within certain weight range, but not specifically MC averse.
It seems there are many conflicting views on this. I set the cartridge tracking force and azimuth with the connector plugged in. This is the way it would be used when listening so, it makes no sense to do all of you cartridge setup with it unplugged. I also prefer no anti-skate on my table but, that is another discussion. I use the CI. Is it needed to get correct setup, no it is not. Does it make the setup easier? Yes it does. It saved me lots of time and headache. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it. After using both methods, I will continue to use the soundsmith CI.
I only say "intended" because I've read in various posts how the memorial arm does not work well with the lighter MC carts. Maybe "intended"
isn't the best word, but essentially it gets us to the same point - the arm seems to "prefer" the heavier MM carts. At least that's what I have read in several posts. I'm not saying that it's truth or not, but I'm going to try some weight and see what happens.
The Memorial series of arms works fine with all types of cartridges. I have alway used MC carts on my JMW 10.5 and there is NO problem.
I have the CI as well and it does make easy work of azimuth adjustments as well as small changes in TF. No regrets there. The one thing that concerns me is even though I run no twist for AS there is still some push from the cable just due to its stiffness. This causes the cantelever to not be quite parallel with the cart body as the cart body tends to lean towards the outside of the platter due to this small force. It is this condition that has me a bit baffled on how to set the alignment up.
Take a hair dryer set to low and heat up the VPI tonearm leads to relax the insulation. Once heated, you can create a nice neutral arc.
That is a really good suggestion Brf. I need to do that myself actually......