ZYX Universe - Unipivot or Dual Gimbal arm


For those with Universe experience, does it sound better with a Unipivot or Dual Gimbal (SME) arm. Thanks.
rgurney
.
Rgurney,
.
I have extensively heard the UNIverse on the Tri-Planar, Graham 2.2 and Schroder Reference all in my own system. The best by far that it sounded was on the Schroder.
.
I currently own the Graham 2.2 and I am planning on getting a Schroder Reference to pair up with the UNIverse.
.
I had also heard the UNIverse, Airy3 and Airy2 in my system for a whole weekend using the Graham 2.2. The UNIverse sounded great on the Graham 2.2 but I did not like how the Airy3 sounded. It was dynamic and detailed, but too hot sounding.
.
I have a couple of friends that have a Tri-Planar that were with me for the weekend when we compared the 3 different ZYX Cartridges on the Graham 2.2. They have heard the Airy3 in their system (they have a UNIverse as well) and the Airy3 had none of the brightness on their Tri-Planar that we experienced in my system on the Graham.
.
I hope that helps a bit.
.
Rgds,
Larry
.
Thanks, Larry. Am I to understand then that the Airy 3 is more sensitive to which arm is being used, whether uni-pivot or gimbaled arm, and that the Universe is less dependent on the arm?
.
Rgurney,
.
My assumption is that by the basic design, the Unipivot is less damped and is not able to control the vibrations that occur when the Airy3 gets excited. I do not know why the UNIverse functions better on the Graham 2.2 than the Airy3 does.
.
The UNIverse is head and shoulders better than the Airy3 and the UNIverse sounds phenomenally better on the Schroder Reference than on the Graham. With all of that said the UNIverse still sounds great on the Graham.
.
I hope that helps.
.
Rgds,
Larry
.
Hi Larry,

Was this a session where Frank set everything up?

The reason I ask is that you can exercise in enormous amount of control in how much energy you release into the tonearm based on how tight the cartridge screws are. This can have a dramatic effect on both dynamics as well as a perception of brightness, and tighter isn't always better. You need to experiment with each arm/cartridge combination.

We're talking about minute changes - 1/32 of a turn of the cartridge screw. If you were unaware of this cartridge bolt torque parameter, you'd never guess that your setup was suboptimal. It was at the feet of Herr Schröder that I learned this only last year. Please take this comment in the spirit in which it is offered.

Now, if one were to lay out a hierarchy of brightness (an orientation toward the upper frequencies), then the Graham 2.2 would be the brightest of the three tonearms. I don't think anyone on this list would disagree with this statement.

Certainly, the Universe is a more refined cartridge than the Airy-3, exactly in the areas you report. Any of these weaknesses would then be exacerbated in the Graham - especially if it were suboptmially mounted.

I don't think that this is a gimbal vs. unipivot issue, but rather an expression of three different designers' aesthetics.

As I've written before, I have an immense respect for Bob Graham, even though I've been beaten up on this forum in the manner in which I expressed it. Bob knows what he's after and achieves it. His gimbaled bearing Robin sounds very much like his 2.2 - achieving 90% of its performance (when you swap out the arm cable) at 1/6 the price. I've heard that he's made great leaps with the Phantom and am certainly interested in hearing if first hand - of course, in a world-class turntable like a Galibier .

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
.
Tom,
.
It was great meeting you in Denver at the RMAF.
.
The comparisons of the UNIverse, Airy 3, and Airy2 were done last December in my system without Frank in attendance and at that point, I had no information with regards to the tightness of the head screw. That would leave our results in some question since I have no clue as to how tight the cartridge screws were when trying each arm.
.
Thanks for the great point and information.
.
Rgds,
Larry
.
FWIW, I mounted all the cartridges on Cello's Graham 2.2 last December when he compared the Airy 2, Airy 3 and UNIverse. I didn't experiment with different degrees of mounting screw tightness, though I did try to torque the mounting screws the same (by feel) for each cartridge.

It's possible I trusted too much to the Graham mounting jig, which I've since realized compromises accuracy for convenience. If I mount any cartridges on Cello's 2.2 again I'll use my protractor. It would be interesting to see and hear how much difference that makes.

Frank was there on a later occasion, when we used two UNIverses to compare the Schroeder Ref, DPS, Model Two, TriPlanar VII and Graham 2.2. Frank mounted cartridges on his arms while I watched. I mounted cartridges on the TriPlanar while he watched. (I'm pretty sure I learned more than he did!) We made Cello mount cartridges on his Graham.

My take on the Reference vs. the TriPlanar VII (with a UNIverse) differs from Cello's. I've posted my detailed impressions before and a search will turn them up. In summary, the TriPlanar came remarkably close to the Ref in overall performance. The differences are much more a matter of taste than a matter of better or worse. Cello's tastes lean distinctly toward the warm and timbral. The Ref does that better. My tastes lean toward the dynamic and present. The TriPlanar does that better.

However, I do agree with Cello about the Graham. While we may have been able to improve its performance to some degree, the gap between it and all the other arms was so large that I doubt any amount of adjusting could bridge it. With all due respect to Mr. Graham, in Cello's system with all the cartridges we've tried, the 2.2 has substantially underperformed all the other arms mentioned above. Its sound was murky, slow, undynamic and distant by comparison. Whether this is due to its unipivot design, multiple armwire breaks, choice of materials and design or some combination thereof I don't know. But its deficiencies were neither small nor subtle.
Dougdeacon:

"...Its sound was murky, slow, undynamic ..."
These are not characteristics that I would ascribe to the Graham 2.2. Was your arm/cartridge properly set up?
"These are not characteristics that I would ascribe to the Graham 2.2. Was your arm/cartridge properly set up?"

It was set up as well as we know how of course.

Last December we spent three days fine-tuning the blue goop, with the help of SirSpeedy's excellent advice. Four listeners confirmed the optimal level for each cartridge.

We adjusted azimuth by visually eyeballing each stylus to make sure it was vertical. Cello and I are co-owners of a Wally Analog Shop, which allows electronic measurement of azimuth, but IME I get nearly as close visually as I can with the Wally.

We roughed in VTF using a .01g digital scale and VTA by starting the cartridge level (which ZYX's prefer). We fine-tuned from there by listening. My partner Paul took the lead there, since he's more sensitive to VTA/SRA than anyone else we know.

We followed the same procedures with every other arm. IOW, we took as much care setting up the Graham as we took with the Schroeders or the TriPlanar. Yet the sonic characteristics of Cello's Graham have been evident on all four occasions that I've visited.

Perhaps there's something about setting up a 2.2 that neither Cello, Chris Brady, Frank Schroeder nor I understand. But none of us has been able to get it to perform at the level of even a Schroeder Model Two, never mind any of the higher priced competitors.

CB recently sent Cello and me a new drive belt. It's an experimental one that provides better platter-motor coupling than the old belt and thus superior resistance to stylus drag.

On my 320/TriPlanar/UNIverse the new belt is a 100% success. I had to increase VTF slightly to allow the stylus to track the more forcefully driven grooves. I had to adjust VTA slightly to compensate for the slightly higher downforce. Once I learned those adjustments the increase in dynamics and bass response was unalloyed by any downside.

On Cello's 340/Graham 2.2/UNIverse the new belt has resulted in some excessive brightness that he's been unable to tune away. Perhaps he hasn't spent enough time fine tuning VTF and VTA. Perhaps he needs another drop of blue goop. Or perhaps the Graham just can't handle the extra energy.
Doug
An alternative explanation is that the 2.2 doesn't mate well with any of the ZYXs due to a cart/arm resonance mismatch(?), or that the ZYXs are too hot on top and that they match the Schroeder/Triplanar better.

When I heard the ZYX at Tom's room at RMAF, my first impression was that it was not very forgiving if not setup correctly, or of not very complimentary equipment.
Cmk,

I've also heard this arm with a Shelter 901 and a Koetsu RSP. This 2.2 sounded much as I described with them too. I would not draw conclusions about an arm based on hearing just one cartridge or brand of cartridges.

You're right that ZYX's require exacting setup of course. The six models we've had in our system all needed very careful adjustment to perform their best.
Doug,thanks for the insight on your "2.2 vs the world" experiences.It tells me a heck of alot more about the choices made by the owner of such an expensive table/arm/cartridge,and the people involved in it's set up(it makes NO difference who they were),as opposed to the arm's real potential,knowing it as I do.Something you clearly have not heard,or the other hobbyists who were present at the listening session (a session I've been hearing about for a year,already).I do wish you and Larry(BTW-what happened to you?--a return call would have been polite)would give that session a break!It's tiresome,and seems like a marketing effort,though I know it is not conscious.BTW--I assume based on your observations,the 2.2 must be overrated,regardless of world renown.Alot of well known and well versed(not as much as you,obviously)hobbyists/industry types must be sort of dumb.Well at least not as smart as you,based on your plethora of insights on numerous threads,which are ALL absolutely RIGHT,of course.

Firstly there are maybe three reasons for your "eyebrow raising" comments.Asside from probably liking the 2.2 very little(enough with the "breaks in cable run",which is a laugh,in reality,though technically you can have that one).#1-There was a BIG TIME mismatch,somewhere,like table arm,for all I know.Or more likely arm/cart.(which would be a shame,as I just influenced a friend to by an AIRY for his Graham 2.0).

#2-a defect,in the 2.2(unlikely,but possible),or another component.

Lastly,and I'm really beginning to feel this IS credible,based on some absolutely rediculous comments,covering a wide variety of cartridges, and comments like MURKYNESS(PLEEEEASE!)INEPTITUDE on the part of whichever set-up person was on hand.Let me say it again,in case you may have missed it---Overwhelming ineptitude!!I will admit that possibly nobody tried that hard,though that's probably a stretch,on my part.It seems that there were at least you and Larry,as well as some others mentioned(you mentioned other names,and my response is the same).SORRY for this seeming harsh,I do like both of you,yet if I buy someting,like a 2.2,which does happen to be very tricky to properly voice,I make it my business to LEARN it's secrets.BTW- I intend to try my hand at a Schroeder REF in the not too distant future,as I simply "MUST" get my hands on it,sort of like a hidden signal,forcing me to do so.So this response,by me,is not to defend something I own,for the sake of ego.But you are SO WRONG by the general flavor of your grandiouse critical comments of the 2.2 that it is laughable to me,and I have come to the conclusion that whomever set-up the arm WAS CLUELESS!!Maybe the Graham works best in Jersey,and Brooklyn systems?Also,sorry to mention that when one applies the "GLOP",dampening fluid,it affects downforce as well as vta.The three are directly associated with oneanother.Also,from what I DO know about the tracking force used in Larry's set-up,being high,I am more than suspicious of this,alone.Even HP has recommended increasing downforce on the superb XV-1s,and sorry to say,it is a mistake, to go over a manufacturers recommendation,usually.My friend has gone to Sea Cliff,and tells me the part of "Porgy and Bess" where there is a dice rolling,to him,and HP,(on the famous Sea Cliff system)sounded like Boulders down a canyon.In his set-up(my pal's) it sounds like dice on a floor.He refuse to go back to Sea Cliff,even with the vaulted Emitter in system,unless the "dice" problem is solved.

Doug,I was very surprised by the sort of nasty way some have responded to Raul,for making comments,wrong or right.It must be hard to use a differing language to relate thoughts,and I don't think any of us would do better in Raul's native language.At least he tries to be helpful.Anyone reading him for any time should realise he is well intentioned,and may make seemingly absurd comments,based on overentusiasm,only.I get the impression that Raul SO loves the hobby,and relating to other hobbyists he gets too entusiastic.So what!To be called something like a "knowledgeable incompetent" (not exact words,but close)is a surprising insult,and should require an appology(BTW-I know you,Doug,did not make these comments).

Basically,and though it will be taken in an unfavorable light my guess is that,based upon your comments of such unfavorable performance,by the 2.2,in Larry's system,or any other,for that matter,with the UNIVERSE(don't repeat,please,that you've heard so many other cartridges with it,too,I get the picture),and based on my own observations(as well as friends),in three local systems,all using a 2.2 with differing cartridges(My old Wheaton is still in a friend's set-up,and is heard regularly.I don't miss it!),I have to believe that Raul,though surprisingly candid,was DEAD RIGHT."Sell the Universe"!

Oh yeah,hasen't the room,in question,been mentioned as being problematic,and excessively bright?That cannot be too good.Ya think?
Sirspeedy,

I'm close to not posting any longer toward any of these types of threads becuase it just takes too much out of me. As one that is guilty of making nasty remarks to Raul I take offense to him getting a pass for exactly the same behavior. Whenever I confront him it is not because he has a different opinion on any particular product. I have no problem with that at all. What I take gross exception to is the fact that a lot of folks that aren't all that knowledgeable may take his words as gospel. His comments need to be challenged to provide balance to the readers. He is very quick to condemn any methodology used by those that disagree with him and asks questions, every one of which is meant to undermine the posters credibility. Whenever a question is asked of him about his methods he refuses to answer. If he insults a person wrongly (usually by taking a comment made by person A and attributing to person B) and is called on it he is too stubborn to simply say he made an error and will not back down. If you read his posts and his replys to those that disagree with him you will see that there is very little language barrier going on. Certainly he is crafty but stumbling with English? Hardly. Why would you give him a pass for a blatant insult? In your own case you can be pretty darn brutal but you follow up with a humorous (to me) explanation of just how passionate you are. You do not offend me in the least. Some very valid points are brought up in these threads questioning if a controvertial item was given a fair chance. The cartridge screw torque on the Graham is a good example. I love those types of insights because it furthers all of our knowledge. I've been accused of being a ZYX fan club member and saying that the ZYX line is the "Best". I've never come close to being a club member and further I wouldn't belong to a club that would have me as a member. While I've been guilty of typing the word best it's part of a statement that may read up there with the best, one of the best or some such. I've always disclosed that I don't know it all nor have I heard them all. I love tubes but in Raul's world he calls them tone controls as if transitors are just so totally neutral. He knows it's insulting because he's been told it is and will not stop using that phrase just for the sake of peace. His blanket statements about step up transformers degrading the signal are not based in fact, science or even listening. Such blanket statements are dangerous as viable options are cast aside unfairly. I don't own a Schroder, Teres, Triplanar or a UNIverse. I have no horse in this race except a desire to share what I heard and I trust my ears, not others, more than anyone else I know. I for one stopped referring to the cartridge/arm shootout that rubs you the wrong way a long time ago. No matter how hard we tried to be scientific with our comparrisons it didn't measure up to Raul's standards. But, consider that a negative comment about a ZYX at RMAF carries maximum weight in Raul's world. I know each of these so called club members pretty well and they are just nice people without any agenda. All any of have tried to do is share our experiences. If we're guilty of anything then it is enthusiasm for finding products that really have outstanding qualities for the price. I've owned a Yatra II and now have an Airy 3. They aren't in the same class as a UNIverse but they do enjoy a lot of the positive atrributes described of the UNIverse. Numerous folks with less money to spend on a cartridge than those in the thread have contacted me about the lesser ZYX products. What I've written them in private must have tipped them in favor or a ZYX. Each one has expressed how happy they are and thanked me for what I told them about my experience with the sound. I've been told that my observations were spot on and the positives I described were exactly what they were looking for. Again, I have enjoyed your banter with the "club members" and only take issue with your defense of Raul when he is so obviously trying to be rude.
"The cartridge screw torque on the Graham is a good example. I love those types of insights because it furthers all of our knowledge."

Amen. Thanks Lugnut.

Doc
Lots to cover in this thread ... I'll try to pluck off a few salient points.

I feel a bit odd, being in the middle of this ZYX love-fest, but I have to admit that they are mitey-fine cartridges. I have to agree with Raul however that the Dynavector XV1-s is also extraordinarily good. To date, these two marques are my fave.

Regarding the RMAF and my main room, one characteristic of the Exemplar horns we had at the Rocky Mountain Audiofest is that they can be a touch "hot" in the 2.5K to 3 KHz region. Several owners and I have been collaborating about this, but alas, the show deadline quickly approached and I had no time to act. A crossover parts upgrade has been reported to ameliorate this low treble bump.

I've been playing with Bastanis loudspeakers since returning from the show. They're definitely better behaved in this region, although like any transducer, they are not perfect. After their 400 hour break in (they're working on reducing this through an accelerated burn-in at the distributor's), I'll know more about them.

To Doug ... adjust azimuth visually for starters as you currently do, and then perform your fine adjustment by ear. Listen to female voice for imaging, depth, and best dynamic behavior when she belts it out. Azimuth when properly adjusted will transform the sonic images from a flat cardboard cutout presentation to one with real bodies in space.

Electronic adjustment of azimuth (for equal output in both channels) loses site of the fact that in doing so, you may end up with the stylus not sitting squarely in the record grooves. It's an unfortunate reality that cartridges cannot be manufactured perfectly.

Of course, if you're lucky then you will have the best of both worlds - equal output and while riding squarely in the groove. Better lucky than smart ;-)

If you adjust to track squarely in the groove, you may suffer a slight channel imbalance. This is an argument for either dual mono volume controls or a balance control, and not for adjusting your azimuth for equal output.

The first goal should always be to align the stylus with the groove.

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
Dear Lugnut,thanks for being so candid and TOO polite in your correspondence.To be honest,I DO have too big a mouth,at times,and surely went a good bit overboard in this posting.I have respect for Doug(you too Cello),and have mentioned it in past posts,so I hope I can be taken less venomously.Is that a word?

Some know this overly done trait of mine,and some may take it badly,though this is not an apology.I'm truly happy you don't feel negative,in general.Lugnut,you're seemingly one of the really good guys,so I've read.I don't like to be too straight forward,and like to put a bit of edge on my comments,with an eye towards baiting,only because this sometimes results in a stimulating debate/exchange,that can sometimes stray from the "ask and tell" questions,that are a norm.Guys like Frank Schroder,picked up on this trait,of mine,a long time ago,and can spot my BS in a N.Y. minute.It's one reason why I enjoy his chiming in,even though he (smartly)markets product, sometimes.BTW--I'm not considering any new arm purchases for a really ling time,so don't anyone accuse me of "toying" for any future discounts.I know plenty of "simple hobbyists disguised in reviewers clothing",who do this plenty,and that is something that diminishes the hobby,to me.Yes I am guilty of "really liking my current stuff"(which is damn good-TBH),after alot of years in the hobby.Yet I'm not married to any of it.I even got new tennis rackets,this summer,after 12 years.Happily I'm ,actually,and surprisingly,satisfied with my game.But I DO work at it as hard as I have worked on my system.Harder really(if one considers taking buckets of balls down to the courts in 35 degree weather,to fine tune a serve).Something my inlaws just don't get!Though my tennis partners endorse.A little humor!

Lugnut,based on some threads,regarding you,I know you are very well received by many,and I don't want to be anything other than polite,but I hope you get some of my following points.I,too am debating as to whether or not,to continue on these forums.Basically there can,in some cases,be a hidden agenda to some contributors.Some are market oriented,and some are very nice,yet some are a bit disingenuous.The latter is what I will,in the future,be sceptical of,and not freely give out any personal information to.Something I have been too naive about,though warned by friends of.I have also gotten E-mails trying to sell me stuff,at unbelieveably low prices.Who knows who a potential friend really is,or someone with an agenda?In my personal life I really DO like to be an open,and genuine person.

I did get carried away with my comments to Doug,and am ALWAYS sorry,after the fact,yet like the scorpion and frog,I can't help myself!

As for any humor,too few of us have it,and wouldn't it be way more fun if some fuddy duddys took themselves less seriously!

As far as any responsibility to newbees.PLEEEASE!Here is where you are either way too nice a guy,or simply naieve!Anyone taking any poster seriously enough to actually make a buying decision based upon the advice of any poster,particularly me,deserves(not really,but you get the point)to make a wrong choice in the equipment chosen.Even those foolish enough to put a Graham 2.2 on a "non tuned" suspension(BTW-tried it and it was a mistake,yet I could have easily blamed the arm).The only things "Audio" I know about(to a degree)are those things I buy,and live with,for a good while.That's it!Pause for thought--Ever wonder why a company like Brinkman is now recommending the HRS suspension platforms for their suspensionless tables?Or how,almost militant,Basis feels about a REAL suspension,and it's effect on performance.This is a cerebral hobby,as someone once said to me.I honestly don't know,yet am beginning to see things in a suspicious light.And yes,I'm a bit delusional,but hey,my friends like me.

As to my defense (sort of)of Raul.Firstly I really like him,and he has criticised me PLENTY(subwoofer threads,etc).Lugnut,if you have ever had a teenager(I am not stating Raul has a teen mentality,just follow my drift)you have been subject "PLENTY" to over the top enthusiasm,sometimes confrontational.Yet there can(as long as there are no embarrasing outbursts in front of the inlaws)be many times you simply have to take it with a grain of salt,and let it go.This is my "take" on RAUL,who really seems to LOVE his input,a bit too much.Yet it is STILL harmless,and he is knowledgeable.Don't delude yourself into thinking nothing can be learned,or at least given a new spin,from him.All of us must feel that some of our input has substance,sometimes,or we wouldn't post.Overall,the only post,of mine,that has any validity,was last years 2.2 damping fluid input.Because I've spent ALOT of time with it,on three set-ups.No other posts,by me,are relavent.I don't take myself all that seriously.Seriously!!Yet,in the past,I probably posted,and bloviated too much.At least I knew it.I did much of it with a smug smile,on my face.Some of my friends think I'm wasting my time,when doing so,and lately I wonder if they are right.Any newbee spending serious dough,from such input is probably in touch with a dealer(remember when we were supposed to get help from them,many years ago,in another galaxy,it seems)anyway,and they should be responsible for aiding ANY of us.Money equals support,to my way of thinking.Not an enthusiastic hobbyist( I think that this is all Raul thinks,and correctly so,he is).

BTW-- Last Christmas season,when I started on Audiogon,and was welcomed by the likes of other people,like CELLO,particularly, it was SO much fun,for me,that I kind of got into this habit.It is no longer that much fun,as you know.

About that time there was an INCREDIBLY RUDE and INSULTINGLY CUTTING thread(I think it was a poem,or holiday wish list,or something like that,pertaining to RAUL).To me,it was a DISGRACE,and yes,I may sometimes seem as you state "brutal",but I really don't think I flat out am nasty,to anyone.Engaging in good heated debate is different than THAT thread.

I would have quit this forum,in a heartbeat,if that happened to me(hint?),yet Raul stayed.I often disagree with him,yet I love the guy!I,also respect his tenacity(which is a really good thing to have,if you are a mega-serious tennis player,which I am.Maybe that is the connection).Sorry if you don't understand.I don't have the vocabulary to articulate my emotions,here!I,also felt really happy,for him(seeing how seriously he takes all of this)when his table/arm posts and pictures came out.He was getting attention,that he enjoyed,and worked hard for.He responded to EVERY congadulatory response.Even my "KNOCKS" that he could not have possibly been able to spend the time to voice everything in his collection.I even tried some humor,as to how he ought to worship his wife,for allowing a conglomeration,like his, to accumulate in his apartment living room.I suggested he buy her some"BLING",to keep her happy(I have too,and it works.A nice pair of earings should yield a Schroder Ref,in the distant future.I'm always pondering the strategy, and art, of WAF and accumulating a cool audio purchase).This part I don't think went over too well,with him,as he didn't respond,to it.

Well I probably have shot my load,on varying stuff,and it is probably a bore to most,yet,my response is simply-"I don't care"(actually I'm kidding myself,I do)!!

Best regards to all!!

Boy, I wish I could get that last three minutes of my life back that it took to read speedy's rambling last post. I just thought there would be something coming that would make sense. Speedy, try as you might to defend your's and Raul's style, the bucket you are using to carry this tune is full of holes.
>>the bucket you are using to carry this tune is full of holes.<<

Holes? I don't think so. IMO the bucket is full of something else.
:-)
Sorry speedy but you're drinking too much kool aid here. Raul is more than an "enthusiastic hobbyist" as you would like to believe. If that were the case he would not be so rude, uncompromising, and intolerant of others' points of view. Furthermore the language barrier is not an excuse either. His intentions are quite clear despite the imperfect grammar and syntax. All of course IMO.
Actually,the bucket is,and must be full of holes,so one can simply push down and pick up balls,easily.Kind of hurts the back to bend over too much!A neat tweak for tennis buckets,but thanks for the insight!
.

Sirspeedy,
.
First things first. Think before you leap to your conclusions and spill forth your diatribes. I don’t think anyone that knows me would describe me as rude or not polite. I have not called you simply because I have not received any messages or emails from you asking me to call you. I would be happy talk with you as I have in the past.
.
I would like to suggest that you compose your future posts in “word” off line, re-read them, reflect upon what you are saying and then post them on the Audiogon forums if they still sound like what you would like to say. This may help alleviate a lot of your follow up posts where you then apologize for your self-described aggressiveness or rudeness.
.
We all say things from time to time in reaction to circumstances or what other people might say that we would like to reel back in and delete. Writing gives one a chance to pause and reflect on questions like “do I really want to say this like this” or “how will I feel tomorrow with what I am writing today”. I have also found it helpful not to post when I have had more than 2 glasses of wine.
.
There is no marketing effort on the part of either Doug Deacon or myself or any of us in Raul’s so called “ZYX Club” to help ZYX market their cartridges. If you will look at the responses that either Doug or I have made regarding the ZYX products, they are most often made when answering people asking questions specifically about ZYX or someone asking for help on a cartridge choice. I don’t see any difference in the enthusiasm that you have shown for the Graham 2.2 via your posts than what you have read about the ZYX products and the UNIverse in particular.
.
The benefit I get from “pushing” the UNIverse is purely the self satisfaction of trying to help other people in their journey of trying to enjoy music and maximizing the sound from their systems. I think you are way off base (or just cynical or paranoid) to suggest that either of Doug or I are trying to do anything other than altruistically help other people. Just take a look at the number of threads that Doug has provided lengthy posts to in trying to help people on various topics where he believes he has some expertise. He is passionate about Audio and also helping people. He should not be razzed for that part of his nature.
.
My guess is that from what I have been told (not experienced) by friends who either have or have listened to the XV-1s is that is an outstanding cartridge. I expect that at some point in the not too distant future, I will hear it in my own system and have the benefit of first hand experience. I am guessing that the Lyra Titan is also an incredible cartridge. That all being said, I can only compare the cartridges and write about those that I have heard in my own system and have commented on those in previous posts. I don’t believe that I have any business in commenting on cartridges in systems that I have not spent much time listening to.
.
I happen to like (love) my Graham 2.2 and I am assuming that the Phantom is that much better. I will also be happy to get any help in tweaking a bit more (or a lot more) performance out of my 2.2 when you have a chance. I have worked on the damping fluid and made some nice progress there. I am all ears when you are in the mood. I will tell you that, set up aside, the Graham did not come close to handling any of the cartridges as well as the Schroder did when we did our comparisons. I hope to be able to more controlled comparisons of cartridges using the same arms and system on the same weekend.
.
You may some day be fortunate enough to get to meet Frank Schroder and watch/ hear him set up an arm/cartridge and listen to his arm. More than likely, you will be impressed with what a decent, honest and knowledgeable person he is and realize that he has some of the best ears in our wonderful hobby and probably as good as anyone you will ever meet at setting up an arm and cartridge. I have no doubt about Frank’s honesty, ability, or objectivity when comparing audio products that are not his own or being realistic about his arms.
.
. I think that you have gone on about things in your posts that you have not experienced. You have not yet heard a UNIverse in any system and you have not heard a Graham 2.2, Wheaton, and Schroder Reference in the same system on the same weekend using the same (more than one) cartridges. To challenge the eight other people, all of whom I consider to have good ears, that did hear a whole weekend’s worth of comparisons and walked away with the same conclusions, when you were not there is a bit lacking in logic and heavy handed. The comparisons were done as carefully as could be done based on the knowledge of the people in the room. Please keep that it mind when slamming the efforts several people made to learn in the best environment possible.
.
As far as Raul, telling me to sell my UNIverse…..that is great coming from Raul (who has not heard a UNIerse in his own system or anywhere else) and who chooses to pounce on any one who says anything positive about the UNIverse. For you to back him up when you have not heard a UNIverse or how it matches up in my system is laughable. For you to defend Raul’s behavior (language challenges aside) leaves you on an Island by yourself. I have tried to find the good in Raul, but his rudeness and inaccuracies (here I am being kind) in his posts, leave me worn out and annoyed. I am done responding to him. I just don’t have the energy or the time.
.
I find that 95 % of the Audiogon members to be helpful and caring. Raul stacks up as the most offensive of the member that I have come across. The Language excuse it nonsense. I use Spanish in my daily business and I can assure you, the problems that stem out of Raul’s posts are not born out of his lack of command of English.
.
I think that the attacks on Raul are only in response to his rudeness and inaccurate rebuttals where he mis-quotes or quotes out of contacts. I don’t think that he would be attacked if not for his rudeness and put downs of others. Try going back and reading all of his posts when you have the time (and inclination) and see if you don’t soften you position a bit.
.
I love the learning side of this hobby and would be happy to gain from anyone who has knowledge and experience that will take me forward. In the case of Raul, he speaks with the same conviction and aggressiveness when he is right (and he is probably right happen more often than not) and when is dead wrong or speaking in an area where he does not have experience (and that happens way too much).
.
At this point I am now done discussing Raul for the foreseeable future.
.

.
Thom Mackris, - Thanks for the great insights on azimuth…..great stuff as always.
.
Rgds,
Larry
.
Cello,firstly I hope you and your family have gotten through the horrible weather.I still cannot get in touch with my folks.

I'd like to clear up a few things,you may not be clear on.Firstly your mention of my wine consumption(which I'll take as a harmless comment).I am always kidding when mentioning drinking wine during any posts.I do like to have maybe 4 glasses per week,as a health benefit,so I'm told.I,also,like to think that from the little personal contact we have had I have given the impression of being the polar opposite of my post personality.I could be wrong here.

As to the mention of my response to you being more appropriate off line--Larry,I WAS quite happy to originally hear from you and always called you back.Trust me,I'm not the overly sensitive type,yet our last two phone conversations were of my initiation,with your having to go.Your response,on both occassions,was "I'll call you back"!It's totally OK that this did not happen,don't sweat it.Yet I was NOT going to make any further intrusions in your personal life,as I could not read your lack of return calls,and felt I should respect your private life.Hense,no E-mails.I did drop a few hints on threads that you didn't pick up on,but it's perfectly OK!

My only real dissappointment is in myself,for OBVIOUSLY going a bit overboard in many previous posts,which don't really represent the real me,yet they were so much fun.Unfortunately,only to me.A bit self centered,I realize,to my chagrin.I most likely won't be posting alot,in the future as it seems I've overdone things.

Well that's the DEAL.Sorry to anyone offended!!Really!!

I really hope to meet all of you guys some day, even Raul. I am thoroughly convinced that half of you are almost as screwed up as I am and the other half are closin' in! Keep workin' at it, I've got a really good head start.

Larry, as I posted elsewhere, it's Maker's Mark and soda. Today's Jack is not really worth more than coke, but still palatable (wow, did I use that word?). I suppose you made it through Wilma fairly well since you're posting here. I'm still waiting to hear from a buddy in Punta Gorda who got creamed last year. I'm fairly sure he came through ok and is probably back at work. It took him all of this last year just to get a dry roof over his head again.

Happy times and bottom's up to all!
Doug,I think it is appropriate that I appologize to you,for the tone of my post.It was smart of you not to respond.I got carried away.Any response is NOT necessary.Just wanted to put this out there,to you!
Ahhh, now we can all hug :-)
.
Sirspeedy,
.
Sorry if I have not called back when promised, hurricanes and an intense traveling schedule has had me either dealing with a hurricane, impending hurricane, a hurricane that just left, cleaning up the aftermath at home or work, or on the road.
.
You will hear from me once I settle back from a bit more of Wilma recovery (just got power back at my office about 30 minutes ago, but no power at home and no prospects for the near future, but there are always surprises).
.
I was referring to my wine consumption not yours (just a little obtuse humor there). I have made a few posts that seemed quite funny at the time after an evening of wine and song that seemed a bit,…well not so funny and a bit over the top the next morning (but I do not have a drinking problem……as far as I know).
.
Please keep in mind that I also have a sense of humor (I think).
.
Please do keep posting, just read them once over before you let them fly.
.
Dan_ed,...... I will give Maker’s Mark a try and do a Jack Black / Maker’s Mark shoot out and report back in (when I get time and after I call Sirspeedy back).
.
Warmest Regards to All and to All a good night,
Larry
.
Vetterone--Be happy that it was ONLY three minutes,of your life!!At least you didn't have to sit through "The Dukes Of Hazard!!!
.
Sirspeedy,
.
It is more fortunate for Steve that he is a speed reader. In my case, it took about twenty minutes to unravel your ramble.
.
Warm Regards,
Larry
.
Hi Larry (Cello), Doug, all ...

Every time I'm around Frank, I learn/modify my knowledge base.

About 6 months ago, I had a Lyra Parnassus in house. This cartridge has an extremely tall cantilever. I got to thinking about this (there you go again ...Thom).

With a mirrored surface like the one on my protractor, it seemed to make sense to perform an initial azimuth setting referenced to the stylus instead of starting with a horizontal headshell. The stylus is after all, the business end of things.

Of course, I got in the habit of doing this with all of my cartridges as I got used to sighting in on the stylus.

At the RMAF, I gave my 'table a preliminary setup on 4 hours' sleep - knowing that Frank would pass by to do the final tuning the next morning. A fellow can get pretty lazy (tired?) knowing that Herr Schröder will ride into town on his white horse.

Frank took one look from a few feet away and noticed the slight tilt in the headshell. He commented that there's no way that he would trust his own eyes to perform the initial setting by referencing to the stylus.

Of course I saw this tilt, but I viewed it as an indicator that the stylus was not perpendicular to the body - as evidence of manufacturing tolerances needing to be compensated for.

What's interesting about all of this (yes ... there is a point to this story) is that I found that by using this technique, I could still dial in a sweet spot in the azimuth. It was just not *the* sweet spot. Just as with VTA/SRA, you can get false nulls at various points along the adjustment continuum.

We've seen this with VTA/SRA adjustment, where you can drop the arm post so much as to actually start to increase the high frequency content in the playback.

With respect to azimuth, you can be off by a relatively large amount (let's say, 2 degrees for sake of argument) and within this range, find a place where everything locks in (let's call this place 2.15 degrees in this example).

This "locked in" place can end up being a false null, with the true zero point (again, just an example) being a rotation of perhaps .2 degrees.

The moral of this story is that starting with a level headshell is the safest place to start your adjustments from.

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibler
SirSpeedy,
Thank you for the gracious apology. I appreciate it.

I hadn't responded because I've learned that, when I've got nothing good to say it's always best not to say it.

Please consider Cello's suggestion. Patience is a hard climb, but impatience causes harder falls.

Regards,
Doug

P.S. You may be entirely correct about the setup of that Graham of course. I am only comfortable describing what I've actually done or heard, and that's what I posted.

If you or anyone can help Cello's 2.2 become as musical as a Schroeder, I expect he'd be grateful. I know his bank account would be.
Thom,
I'm following your azimuth posts with interest, though I won't have much time to experiment or post for the next few weeks. We have (non-music listening) house guests and I'm interviewing for jobs.

One correction: Wally's azimuth measurement does not equalize output levels between channels. That method would indeed be fraught with errors. Wally's method minimizes crosstalk.

I presume minimal crosstalk occurs when the coils are positioned to move symmetrically within the magnetic field. Depending on the accuracy of the cartridge's construction, this position may or may not align the contact edges of the stylus precisely with the groovewalls. If the cartridge is not perfectly built (and I assume that none is truly perfect) then "perfect" azimuth adjustment is in fact unattainable.

FWIW, adjustments of < 1 degree do indeed produce measurable changes in crosstalk. I too have noticed what you call "null" zones, where adjustments have little effect or even reverse effects.

The main thing we hear when azimuth is just right is the tightest L/R imaging available from that particular cartridge, a reduction in image "bloat".

Best regards,
Doug
Hi Doug and Thom,

Continuing the azimuth discussion, there appears to be two different methods of "minimizing crosstalk". One is where you measure crosstalk and adjust azimuth until the crosstalk measures the same in both channels. The second method is described here

http://www.audioasylum.com/scripts/t.pl?f=vinyl&m=138751

In this second method "The aim of adjusting azimuth for minimum crosstalk is to achieve the lowest figure for crosstalk in whichever channel gives the worst result. For example –29db left and –35dB right is a better result than–26dB left, and –26.5dB right, despite the fact that the difference between the left and the right is greater in the first case."

I have been using this second method to set azimuth initially. I then make small adjustments left and right around this point to see if my ears can pick a better point. My ears tell me that my initial point is usually very close to the best point.

However, if there are several null points, how does one find all of these points without spending hours and hours adjusting and listening, adjusting and listening?

Best Regards,
Roger



Hi Roger, Doug ...

The fascinating revelation for me was the discovery of multiple null points (false nulls) which brought me no comfort in the least. I believe I described this in a recent thread (this one?).

Failing instrumentation, we're left with starting out with a headshell that's parallel to the record surface (in the azimuth plane), and beginning our adjustments from this point.

The is a leap of faith that the cantilever/stylus assembly is within reasonable manufacturing tolerances so that the null you hit (by ear) is the real one. The thing we have going for us is that minimal crosstalk will also yield the lowest distortion, because the stylus will be sitting squarely in the groove.

If you're troubled that perhaps you are one null away from the truth, then you can always go counter clockwise by one null and also clockwise by one.

Rather than reiterate Brian Kearn's brilliant post you pointed the group to, I suggest that everyone take a moment read it. Even if the math confuses you, I suggest you read it and file it away for future reference. Come back to it from time to time. You'll be amazed at how things like this begin to make sense over time.

One key point to focus on is midway into this post, where Brian hits the nail squarely on the head:

"I disagree with this method of calculating crosstalk. It does not take into account the effect of channel imbalance on the crosstalk measurement. In effect this method assumes that a cartridge has perfect channel balance."

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
Hi Thom,

Before I start measuring crosstalk, I play a test tone thru both channels and use the balance control to make the measurement the same in both channels. Once I have equal output in both channels, then I measure the crosstalk using the left channel and right channel test tones. I assume that is the coreect way to do it. Yes???
Wally's method does not assume perfect channel balance, in the cartridge or any other component. He specifically designed to avoid that assumption.

He starts by measuring output on each channel. Any imbalance is allowed for in the calculations that follow.
Hi Doug,

I just finished speaking with Wally regarding azimuth and his instructions for adjusting azimuth contained in his Analog Shop Deluxe instructions. Instruction #5 says to play the two channel test tone and use the balance control to set the output of the left and right channels to within 5% of each other. Per Wally, 5% is 1/2dB and is close enough. It would not hurt to make them equal, but Wally does not think that the effort required to make them equal is necessary. Instruction #11 says to keep adjusting azimuth until the crosstalk numbers are equal. Per Wally this is a simplification done to keep the instructions from getting too long. He gave me an example. Assume that you can get azimuth adjusted so that crosstalk reads -26dB and -26dB. You can stop here. However, if you can get crosstalk to read -27 and -29 that is better. However, -24dB and -30dB would be worse than -26dB and -26dB. The key thing for Wally is to reduce the crosstalk without an obvious tilt to the cartridge body when viewed head-on. Wally thinks more than 2% tilt is unacceptable.

Wally agrees his instructions are simplified, but rather than write long, compicated instructions he wants people to call him with questions.

So, to summarize: 1) use the balance control to equalize the output between channels to 5% or less. 2) equalize the crosstalk between channels. 3) experiment to see if by making the crosstalk readings unequal that both crosstalk readings can be dropped to less than the equal point readings.

I hope this clarifies things.

Regards,

Roger
Hi Thom,

I mentioned to Wally Frank Schroder's comment about there being several "null" points for both VTA and azimuth. Wally was of the opinion that if you were setting azimuth with a voltmeter that you would find only one "null" point.

Since Frank sets azimuth by ear, it is quite possible that he hears different "null" points that would not measure as a "null" point on a voltmeter. Food for thought.

Regards,

Roger
Hi Roger,
The reason for the (in some, not all cases)existence of more than one "null" point is the fact that azimuth(crosstalk symmetry) is usually perfected for one frequency only! When you look at the crosstalk figures versus frequency plots of most high quality carts(if such a plot is provided), you will note that the l/r channel curves for the crosstalk are rarely, if ever congruent. As a result you could achieve perfect symmetry for 1kHz(that's the frequency used on many test records) and an uneven figure for, say, 4kHz . Now which is the correct one?
The dhfi "Hörtest-und Meßplatte 2"(long out of print) has crosstalk tests for 125, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10000Hz. This is what I check my "azimuth by ear" adjustment against frequently. When you adjust azimuth by listening it takes all frequencies into account...
BTW,Wally is right, more than 2° tilt to get even(or maximized) crosstalk figures is unacceptable.

I hope this doesn't cause even greater confusion...

Cheerio,

Frank
This may just reiterate what Doug, and perhaps others, have said, but I am not certain that Wally's Azimuth tool is all that necessary. I shared in that tool for a time and on each of four different arms which I had previously set by eye ball - all were well within the 5% electrical readings range as suggested by Wally. In a couple of instances it sounded better a bit further from "balanced" than at exactly balanced. As such, I feel that “macroing” it by eye, followed by “microing” by ear is the ticket to azimuth.
Hello Frank,

Thank you for your explanation. Noncongruence of the cartridge frequency response at different frequencies makes perfect sense. What we really need is a test record that has pink noise in the left and right channels. Until then I guess our ears are the best test tool. However, I suspect that I will still need to use the 1kHz test tone and the voltmeter to get close to the ideal spot and then fine tune by ear.

In your experience, for the best cartridges, have you found the overall "best spot" to be very far from the 1kHz "best spot"?

Best Regards,

Roger
Hi Guys,

I had another chat with Wally. Using pink noise as a test tone for setting azimuth will not work. Pink noise is random. Thus, the volume constantly changes and you will not be able to get a constant reading on your voltmeter. Though if you had a sophisticated meter that could average the reading over many seconds, then it might be possible to use pink noise.

Wally was also of the opinion that it is more important to have the azimuth correct at 1000Hz, rather than 400Hz or 5000Hz. This is because the midrange is where human hearing is most sensitive. Yes, you can measure at 400Hz, 1000 Hz and 5000 Hz. That will create a range of settings for you. However, you will need to determine by ear where in that range of settings is the “best” setting. Wally’s belief is that the “best” setting in that range determined by ear will be very near the optimal 1000Hz setting determined with a voltmeter and test tones.

Wally also mentioned that it is very difficult to set azimuth by visually aligning the cartridge body. Tilting the cartridge body by .25 degrees changes crosstalk by 2dB and changes the relative heights of the left and right sides of a 20mm wide cartridge by .1mm. Tilting by .4 degrees makes a 3dB change in crosstalk and a .15mm change in relative height, left to right. Tilting by 1.0 degree changes crosstalk by 6dB and changes relative heights by .333mm. So a very small change in tilt, visually indiscernible, can have an clearly audible effect on sound.

More food for thought.

Best Regards,

Roger
All this food for thought and not a spoon in sight!?!
This idea of "microing by eye" got me thinking and checking myself. On my soon to be gone table I noticed that when I clamped an Lp down that it tended to be biased toward the spindel, probably by at least 1/32 of and inch. So I changed the way I clamp using a bit less down force and adding an extra o-ring to the spindel. This cut the deflection about in half but there is still a bias toward the spindel. I'm doing crude, but telling, measurements with a very light weight bubble level. The point is that what could be seen as eye level could in reality be well outside .25 degrees. This situatioin that I experienced could be somewhat difficult to see because I'm trying to sight (site ?) along a slighty concave surface. About now I'm thinking I should bone up on the voltage reading method to find that "close enough to tune by ear" zone. Thanks to all for a great lesson.

Dan
thom_ is oh so right.  The minute differences in setup makes huge differences in the final sound.  Raising/lowering the rear of my tonearm by less than a mm affects the soundstage, the tone, the tracking, et al.  This hobby is a true pia.....