VTA-Nervosa a Curse or a Blessing?


For over 20 years I was a frequent VTA tweaker...not the most obsessive vs. some, but a firm believer that every tonearm with on-the-fly or easily adjustable VTA had an advantage. 
Every LP got VTA attention. I had general repeatable settings for many common record thicknesses and adjusted by ear on many LPs from that starting point. The gear in use for most of this period included two tables:
VPI TNT6 Hot Rod with 12.5, 12.6, and later 12.7 tonearms and carts from Shelter, ZYX & vanDenHul
Technics SP10mkII with EPA-250 arm and a number of mostly vintage carts.

A couple of years ago I sold the latter prior to a cross-country relocation and moved to my current Sota Nova VI w/Eclipse, Audiomods Series V with micrometer and Dynavector XX2 mk2 going to a Nagra BPS battery powered phono stage.  With my current setup, I began with my normal routine adjusting VTA prior to and often during play. After a month or two, I found myself rarely hearing any need to tweak the VTA. I usually just leave it at a mid-setting, like all those poor sods who never bought a tonearm with the adjustability that I was so sure I needed. 

Is my current lack of interest in messing with VTA telling something about my setup? For example, is a line contact stylus less likely than other shapes to demand or benefit from VTA adjustments? I'd think not. Could reduced resolution vs. prior setups make the benefits of tweaking VTA less impactful? Could synergy & good luck be resulting in relaxing, natural engagement that's cured an affliction? It sounds damn good and I'm not constantly futzing around, so something's gotta be wrong, right? Cheers,
Spencer
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VTA=another polarizing subject that will never be put to rest.

I have MASSIVE tinnitus/hearing loss so it's just another audiophool facet to ignore. I DO spend some time during an initial cart setup to get things in order, and maybe a follow up a few weeks later. 

I put the rest of my audio OCD into trying to find the best period presses in bin diving sessions.
sbank, Do you actually mean to say that you used to re-adjust VTA for every different LP? It’s a wonder you haven’t become alienated from vinyl altogether. Else you are very zen. One and done is good enough for me, unless I hear an obvious issue with tonal balance that might be amenable to a VTA adjustment. Which is never the case. Yet I won’t own a tonearm that does not offer calibrated VTA adjustment.
Lew, 
I didn't adjust by ear for every LP. After setting up a cart, I would listen to a few 200g, 180g and standard pressings and come up with a good baseline  VTA for each type. I'd adjust to one of those 3 settings whenever putting on an album, which would only take a second or two because I always had tonearms with a repeatable marking scale, as is the case with my current Audiomods with micrometer. If something sounded off I adjusted on-the-fly by ear, but this would probably be less than 5% of the time.  
Now I usually leave the setting untouched at compromise midpoint. I'll lower it for some paper thin pressings.  Cheers,
Spencer
I can relate. Went through something very similar myself. Setting up my first, Benz Glider on Graham, it sounded great right away, really impressive! Then I started adjusting VTA. Turned out it was way too high! Like a couple mm too high. Had no idea. Listening, purely listening, kept dropping it down one tiny little bit after another. Better and better, could not even believe anything this good could keep getting better but it did!

Finally one of these little drops it got worse. Instead of fuller and more focused it was just fuller. Less focused. I backed it off a bit. Nope, too much. Then my next fascination- I was finding the perfect VTA by interpolating between the marks on the Graham! One reason for buying the Graham was the micrometer VTA. Now it turns out I was having to interpolate to get it perfect! Freaking-A!

Well the first one took a while. I wrote it down in pencil on the record sleeve. Next one, already close, went way faster. Did not take long and then I could tell playing any record if it was a bit too high, or low, adjust on the fly. By the end of the first side of every record VTA was dialed in, and I mean dialed in! Perfect! The image focus- well read the comments from people who hear my system. It has been damn good a long time now. One reason why.

Got a Benz Ruby. Same thing. As each record was played the new numbers were written down. Not really that big a deal. Just the process, kind of like demagnetizing. Do it once, done. Why people fret and talk like this is some big deal. Takes hardly any time and once done is done!

Until you get a new arm. Origin Live Conqueror, same thing. Only now I had to make my own micrometer marks, it had the wheel but nothing to gauge it by. No problem. My solution is here https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367 VTA was dialed in perfect on every record, every time, the first time it was played. Then dialed in each time it was played.

This was my VTA routine until Koetsu Black Goldline. With this for some reason there was the same improvement as VTA got dialed in. Except funny thing, once we got real close I just lost all interest in tweaking out that last little micrometer. Not like it’s not there. More like it is so hard now to get up out of the chair and go for it. If a mining stock I would say the risk:reward just isn’t there. The Koetsu is a buy and hold. 😍
MC replies and my thread dies. Guys, he didn't even mention Tekton! 
More insights please.
Maybe everyone settled on just settled on that near level setting and called it a day?

With all the hard science fact behind LP playback, why bother. Just get it close as possible and play the best record available.




@sbank 

I adjust until optimal on a record I know well, that is very sensitive to having the VTA correct. Then I just play records.

I do have a tonearm that allows VTA on the fly, but it's just too much for me to adjust for every record. The difference is small and I would rather spend the time listening. My system is now at its highest resolution ever, so I don't think a lack of resolution has anything to do with not wanting to adjust VTA for each record.
MC replies and my thread dies. Guys, he didn’t even mention Tekton!
More insights please.


My bad. Forgot to mention, Tekton came after Koetsu. Turns out with Tekton Moabs now even the most microscopic VTA tweaks are back to being easily heard and obvious.

Better now?
Indeed, thanks.
If anyone is looking for something new to listen to, I've picked up a  number of great LPS recently:Matt Beringer - Serpentine Prison Nick Cave -  Idiot Prayer, Alone at Alexandra Palace Tone Poets from Paul Chambers, Tina Brooks, Joe Henderson Gillian Welch - Acony pressings all are worthwhile Cardigans - Life (euro Stockholm pressing)Either LP quality is improving or I  have my VTA just right. Cheers,Spencer