VTA adjustabilty...

Wow,,,I went with my 2 versions of ELP's pix at an Exhib, to compare in a better rig than mine. I was unhappy with the brand new Speakers Corner 200g vinyl,,,it sounded like a CD, not nearly as life-like and relaxed as the MFSL version..
Well, it turned out that the guy at the shop showed me what happens when you compansate for the thickness of the vinyl...the difference was very noticeable,,,the 200g LP became more delicate, more enjoyable to listen,,more like the MFSL...

In a Nutshell, my next TT may be a VPI scout,,,which I enjoyed at the store quite a bit,,,and FOLKS, dont forget about VTA adjustablity if u can afford it!!
I recently bought a Music Hall MMF-5 in a 20+ year return to vinyl, and monkeyed around with the manual VTA adjustment (via loosened hex screws) after getting it fit with a Sumiko Blue Point Special cartridge and a thicker mat.

I did notice a difference in sound quality with varied VTA settings. But then I read a recent Michael Fremer column in Stereophile, in which he advocated a "set it and forget it" tactic.

Using a 180 gram disc, he visually set his VTA and left it there. I've followed suit, and find that I get great sound from my old lp's as well as new 200 gram albums.

I've heard of expensive turntables with adjustable VTA via remote control, but for now, I'll stick with my MMF5 and Fremer's suggestion.
Listening to vinyl you will occassionally find the performace lacking this is typically when you will want to change the VTA.

I have found some thick vinyl that likes a flat VTA and thin that likes a high VTA. To simply make the statement that leave it, or thick raise and thin lower this is missing out on the complete delivery of sonics from your system.

Jsujo, you heard with your own ears what Fremmer and most others agree is a very important ingredient in making an analogue rig sound its best.

Beatnik makes a good point, his system isn't highly user friendly unless you care to loosen and nudge the VTA to a different setting to find ideal VTA. In this instance it makes sense to find the optimal compromise and live with it.

Remember, enjoy the music.
For those of you with fixed VTA, other than my condolences, I offer you a possibility (compromise) not often mentioned - When you set the tracking force, use the mid-range recommended by the manufacturer and the VTA for a 180 gram disc. When you play a 200 gram disc just increase the tracking force - when you play an old thin disc decrease the tracking force. (Or set the VTA for the majority of your records and vary the tracking force to compensate for the change of thickness of the record.) This is NOT an optimum setup, but you might be pleased by the result obtained with minimum effort.
Lugnut how about a condensation of the click this item you posted! tks.

A summary:

Vertical tracking angle and stylus rake angle are similar in that they use the same contol, moving the tonearm up and down. What Mr. Risch is saying in his post is that one can only approximate the stylus rake angle for the majority of recordings and explains how one can set it and forget it. In a nutshell if you draw an imaginary verical line through your stylus the correct relationship to the vinyl surface would be for the top of the stylus to be tilted forward two degrees. His step by step description is worth the effort to click on the link I provided and read it completely.

In addition to the link I provided above required reading should include most of the turntable setup posts found in the FAQ section on the front page of the Audio Asylum website.

My thoughts now:

FWIW, I've recently confirmed through a very nice turntable project I've been working on that science is at odds with some regular advice given here. It's way too complicated to explain in the forums and really the only way to understand is to acutally see what is happening. One often overlooked aspect of setting up a turntable properly is VTF. Most folks set tracking force in the middle of the range of recommended tracking and adjust everything else around that repeatedly and wonder why it's just not sounding right. A minor amount of change in VTF can make a very noticable difference in sonics. Most upper end cartridges are very sensitive to VTF changes and IMHO, much less so than VTA. I am not advocating that VTA is irrelevant. It is. It must be correct for the majority of records BUT VTF needs to be right on the money.

Email me directly to coordinate a phone call for further explaination.
Ok, got it.

The variability of VTA and VTF are very elusive.

I am going to borrow a Technics tracking force guage from a friend to measure the variables and determine the effects of VTA adjusted and its effect on VTF.

You won't find any VTF variation with changing VTA. Here's the approach:

Align cartridge.
Set SRA with VTA adjuster. Leave it alone after this.
Set anti-skate.
Experiment with VTF until satisfied. Leave it alone after this.
Re-align cartridge establishing the two null points.
You're done.

This whole process will take some time since final adjustments should be made (determined) after break-in.
I must be deaf: I don't reset my VTF based on different records, I just swap and play, and enjoy. Do I really need to do this each and every time I put on a different record with different thickness?

I agree. Click on the link in my first post. It's really great insight about the stylus rake angle. Most people are chasing their tails.