What we're actually looking for is the correct relationship of the stylus to the groove. Unfortunately, the vast majority of styli are not mounted perpendicular to the bottom of the cartridge body, thus making azimuth set-up by sight alone erroneous. And with the current trend toward decreasing stylus size, even seeing the stylus without the aid of magnification borders on the improbable. The "eyeball" or "mirror" method should only be employed if other more sophisticated methods are unavailable.
The gold standard for determining the correct azimuth is a dedicated cartridge analyzer or Fosgate Fozgometer from Musical Surroundings pictured. A test tone typically 1kHz is played on one channel while the analyzer looks at the output from the opposite channel.
This crosstalk is a measure of cartridge separation. When the crosstalk is at its lowest, and equal on both channels, the azimuth is optimized. If you can obtain a test record, an oscilloscope or accurate digital voltmeter can be substituted for the dedicated cartridge analyzer mentioned above.
Lacking the test equipment previously described, other less sophisticated methods may be employed to set azimuth. Out of phase information cancels so adjust azimuth by tuning for least output. From Harry Weisfeld at VPI comes yet another rather simple method, requiring only a mono record and a pair of ears.
He suggests that a simple mono recording of voice should provide a stable, non-wavering image, precisely centered between the two speakers. Adjust the azimuth to achieve optimum results. The best option would be to use use the Fozgometer. From a mechanical standpoint, adjusting azimuth on some tonearms may be difficult.
Some manufacturers e. SME, Rega , in their unbending quest for maximum rigidity, have eliminated azimuth adjustments altogether. In most cases, this doesn't mean that you are stuck with an improperly aligned cartridge, but it does mean that your task is a bit more formidable. Arms lacking these adjustments must be shimmed at the base or the cartridge adjusted with washers to achieve accurate azimuth.
It's a pain, but worth the effort. Simply loosen the two base locking screws and, by firmly grasping the bearing housing at the back of the tonearm, you can shift the arm left-right a few degrees. While this is not a wide range of adjustment, it will be enough to correct for any minor cartridge deficiencies. Re-tightening the base locking screws will lock in the adjustments.
Zenith: Aligning the stylus within the groove in the horizontal plane dials in zenith. Looking down on the cartridge from above, the zenith is changed by rotating the cartridge as if around a clock face. Of course, there is only a very small amount of adjustment possible on most arms, just the play in the mounting screws. Zenith is best adjusted using test equipment, but one can assuming the stylus is correctly mounted to the cantilever also adjust by eye using an overhang gauge with an alignment grid.
Simply sight down the cantilever from the front, aligning it with the line directly below it on the gauge. Anti Skate Bias: Tonearm geometry creates a force that pulls the cartridge toward the center of the record. Anti skate bias counteracts that force, seeking to equalize the pressure of the stylus on both sides of the grooves. Just how to set anti-skate is somewhat of a controversy. Most all tonearms will have calibrated, adjustable anti-skating.
The normal practice would be to dial in anti-skating to match the tracking force. However, higher compliance cartridges are more affected by anti-skating adjustment than low compliance cartridges, so some manufacturers suggest setting anti-skating for low compliance cartridge at about one-half to two-thirds of the tracking force, high compliance.
Some suggest using a grooveless record, but Sumiko disagrees stressing that skating is a dynamic force and using a blank or grooveless disc will result in overcompensation. Another method suggests lowering the stylus into the groove while watching from the front to see if the cartridge has a tendency to move inward or outward, then adjusting anti-skate until there is no perceived motion.
It would be difficult to overstress the importance of proper cartridge alignment. If you expect to get all the performance promised by your costly investment in analog, these adjustments simply must be made.
The number of dealers with a good analog background is small. Hopefully, you have a good one in your area. If not it pays to learn the ropes yourself to ensure that it has been done correctly. Your investment in time will pay off with the reward of better sound and improved stylus and record life. Note: More information on cartridge set-up is available in our article Turntable Set-Up.
Love is the music. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought. I play the good kind. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife. Turntables Tonearms Cartridges. Tonearm Database. Arm 1 Name a name is required. Arm Length Pivot to spindle Effective length invalid format. Arm 2 Name a name is required. Arm 3 Name a name is required.
Arm 4 Name a name is required. Record Size 7" mm 10" mm 12" mm 16" Term Definitions Below is a simple illustration showing the relationship between the terms used on this page. Turntable Database.
Obtaining correct overhang length and alignment is essential to obtaining proper audio reproduction, and avoiding unnecessary record and stylus damage. This is a precision job and cannot be done by eye alone. Based on long-accepted alignment geometry, but superbly executed, this alignment tool has a combination of features not available anywhere else. It is also the easiest to use.
The mirrored surface makes all measurements easier and more accurate. The mirror's parallax effect allows the elimination of sighting errors, and provides better lighting, critical in making fine adjustments on small parts. The two null points on the alignment tool are surrounded by concentric squares instead of a grid, so that the user will be measuring the cartridge body's lineup against parallel lines at each edge.
Finally, the horizontal sight-line, which is to be pointed at the pivot point of the tonearm when measuring alignment in the outer grid, ensures correct overhang length on any tonearm, irrespective of its effective length. Thereis an inverse relationship between the effective length of the tonearm and the optimal offset angle of the headshell. Regardless of tonearm effective length, the two null points at which the stylus should be perfectly tangent to the groove, are the same.
They are optimized for 12 inch records. A properly designed and mounted tonearm will allow the cartridge to line up properly in both grids. For more information on the relationship between effective length, mounting distance and offset angle, click here. Both systems have their adherents in the audiophile community.
I do not take sides in this debate but I use Baerwald alignment setup on my own turntable because the maximum error anywhere on the playing band is lower with Baerwald. Instead, we serve both communities. If a 9 inch tonearm were aligned according to the Baerwald model and you wanted to switch it to the Lofgren-B setup, the mounting distance would remain the same at 8.
However the effective length would change from 9. In other words, you'd have to slide the cartridge further away from the pivot point of the tonearm forward in the headshell by a distance of 0. You wouldn't have to take any of these measurements to do the alignment, of course. You just point the sight-lines at the pivot point of the tonearm, land the stylus in the center of the grid, sight the cantilever along the runway of the alignment grid, and then square up the cartridge body with the grid lines.
This simple, accurate bubble level is perfect for the job. Remove the platter pad and place the level on the bare metal platter with the motor off. Place shims under the foundation as necessary to make the bubble appear in the center of the printed circles. Observe the motion of the bubble to test for wobble in the foundation.
Do whatever you can to make the foundation heavy and stable, to prevent the transmission of feedback to the turntable. Quiet foundations allow enhanced detail and dynamic range in the audio signal. Complete instructions are included. They cover: levelling the turntable adjusting vertical tracking angle calibrating and adjusting the tracking weight setting overhang length adjusting the tracking angle checking and adjusting azimuth Because some turntable models i.
All other brands of turntable will take the standard spindle hole. Compared with the Baerwald-based alignment tools featured above, Lofgren-B produces a lower average angular error across the width of the playing band, but at the cost of greater errors at the beginning and ending of the band.
The Lofgren-B alignment equations, a very popular alternative to the Baerwald model, prescribe a slightly different effective length for any given mounting distance. The null points on the alignment tool are at distances of 2. These are closer to the middle of the playing band than the Baerwald model's distances of 2.
These two alignment geometry models assume the same measurements of the beginning and end of the playing band, but use slightly different equations. Both models prescribe the same Offset Angle at any given effective length. The angular errors which result from aligning the cartridge by Lofgren-B will be smaller in the middle portion of the playing band, by comparison with the angular errors produced by the Baerwald model, but at the cost of greater errors at the beginning and end of the playing band.
However, the average angular error is slightly smaller with Lofgren-B than with Baerwald. The length of the screws also depends on the thickness of the spacer s needed to position the stylus tip correctly. VTA adjustment. Sometimes a slight tilt towards the cartridge is accepted and some cartridges prefer it. I choose to adjust VTA with a g record on, so that with thinner records the tonearm will be tilted towards the cartridge, which is more acceptable than the other way around….
Alignment and VTF. I set the correct vertical tracking force VTF by means of a digital gauge and set the antiskating bias force accordingly. A wrong setting would also result in unbalanced stereo sound and distortions. The amount of bias force depends on the VTF value we choose. I check all those adjustments on a test record from HiFi News. Toggle navigation. Search for:. Cartridge alignment and tonearm settings Turntables are precise clockwork mechanisms.
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|Sebastian penetraitt treatment mask||At first hearing there may be some refinement and more spaciousness, but after a while it shows all too clearly that the correct build up of harmonics is impaired. Term Definitions Below is a simple illustration showing the relationship between the terms used on this page. You can choose the least error at whatever distance from the spindle. Even if new and more complex and high resolution digital formats are being developed and there are no appropriate players for these formats, the recording can be engraved in a vinyl record and can be fully enjoyed. When a disc is spinning and you place a small object on it, the object will be see more off the disc by the centrifugal force Tonearm alignment. Looking down on the cartridge from above, the zenith is changed by rotating the cartridge as if around a clock face. If the mechanical adjustments and alignments of turntable, cartridge and arm have been made correctly, even the simplest turntable and cartridge can bring joy.|
|Tonearm alignment||If you want a good coupling make small holes in the carpet and place the spikes directly on the concrete. Do not stack cones, rubber feet, etc. All the adjustments are interrelated. In looking for the "sweet spot," there are several things to listen for. From Harry Weisfeld at VPI comes yet another rather simple method, requiring only a mono record and a pair of ears. Steinway-Lyngdorf Model D. Klaas A.|
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|Tonearm alignment||The Turntable Mat - Page in Russian. Minor imperfections are often unavoidable and are accepted. Simply sight down the cantilever from the front, aligning it with the line directly below it on the gauge. When a disc is spinning and you place a small object on it, the object will be swept off the disc by the centrifugal force CF. Or, to be more precise: analogous to nature. But only then if the angle is not too much elevated on other spots. You tonearm alignment find to a varying degree depending on the cartridge a shift in tonality.|
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Rumble is an intrinsic part of both the vinyl medium and the turntable. It originates from several sources:. Often times, dB of the peak amplitude of a vinyl recording is contained in the rumble, and removing it can help increase the loudness for essentially free. Playback with significant rumble can be audible with subwoofers, or can increase distortion by driving speakers closer to excursion.
After RIAA equalization, the system must be able to reproduce frequencies from 20hz to 20khz to within 0. MM cartridges are well-known for boosting the high end if improperly loaded. Stylus or record wear will eliminate high frequencies. Rumble may make low frequency reproduction difficult. Jump to: navigation , search. Categories : Guides Vinyl.
Navigation menu Personal tools Create account Log in. Namespaces Page Discussion. Views Read Edit View history. If the springs are too supple, there will be a lack of mid band presence. If they are too short by turning the nuts too much, than the sub chassis will not be de-coupled as desired, the frequency of the floating subchassis will be too high and the sound looses its refinement.
Check whether the arm and the head shell are parallel to the record. Most manufacturers of cartridges take care to mount the tip and cantilever in such a way that a Vertical Tracking Angle of round and about 20 degrees is achieved when the arm is parallel to the record. The final VTA adjustment will be done later after you have adjusted the azimuth and down force and bias have been precisely set.
Now check the cartridge seen from the front. It should be perpendicular to the record. This is easily checked using a small mirror as Thorens used to supply with their turntables. A precise way of measuring the azimuth is by using a test record and a voltmeter. But this can only be done after the correct down force and bias have been adjusted.
If you have bought a replacement needle, check if the tip is really well mounted. Check the cantilever from the front with a magnifying glass. The cantilever should be perpendicular to the cartridge body. The tip should be in line with the cantilever. It is a good practice to take the small art director's magnifying glass with you to the shop and insist that you check before you pay.
A needle tip which is out of line can not read the stereo groove. If you buy on-line from a renown seller like Elex Atelier in the USA for example, there is of course no need to worry. But going directly to a shop, checking can do no harm. Just to be sure. While engraving the laquer disc from which the matrix is made , the cutter head moves laterally from the outside of the lacquer to the inside.
At all instances the cutter diamond makes a 90 degree angle with the groove it has cut. This movement can be imitated by a tangential tonearm. Most tone arms however are not tangential or parallel tracking tonearms but radial arms which move along a fixed radius. The result is that during play the lateral angle varies. The diamond of the cartridge does not completely mimic the path originally made by the cutter head See also the description of the Rabco SL-8E tangential arm.
When using a radial arm, there is practically at every instance a tracking error which results in a time difference between the signals of the left and right channel. Just a few milliseconds! Therefore it is necessary to mount the phono cartridge in the tonearm in such a way that this time difference is kept to an absolute minimum.
The longer the arm, the smaller the error will be. Of course it is possible to build a tone arm which is much longer than 12 inch, but the stiffness and the density of the materials used, and the mass of the arm, are the restricting parameters. The manufacturer will probably and hopefully mention in the list of technical specs what the overhang for a specific arm is.
And this determines the position of the cartridge. Adjusting the arm in accordance with the specified overhang and of course the distance between spindle and arm base as supplied by the manufacturer, can give the least tracking error. The alignment of cartridge and arm has to be done in accordance with the technical specifications given by the manufacturer of the pick up arm:. Overhang is the distance between needle tip and center of the spindle.
This can be seen when the cartridge is placed above the spindle if the arm does allow this. The effective length is the distance between pivot and diamond tip The offset angle is the angle between head shell and arm tube. A tangential arm does not have overhang and no offset angle.
The stylus should follow a straight ligne at a rectangular angle with the arm, going from periphery to lable, ending at the center of the spindle. See the Rabco page. The data of the manufacturer make it possible to determine the correct position of the arm in case you add an arm to a motor unit.
Many times one encounters a tonearm which is not built according to the findings and theories devised by various technicians, researchers and mathematicians. One famous name in this respect is that of American engineer H. But even if the data of the arm are not according to the findings, it is possible to find the best position of the pivot in relation to spindle and cartridge, and in relation to the groove. No need to worry. And no need to study mathematics and trigonometry. Much research has been done and many articles have been written about how to minimize the lateral angle to the max.
I do not want to bother you with equations. After all we have to be practical. You may decide for yourself if you want the least distortion in the inner grooves close to the label were generally the most distortion is generated. Or you may align the cartridge in such a way that zero distortion is achieved at distances of 66 mm and You can draw a protractor yourself.
Or just print the following drawing in real size. Each square should measure 5 millimeter. A member of a forum rightfully pointed out that, for a long time, I had given different measurements: 63 and mm. He was right of course. Nevertheless the deviation was not too far from the measurements given by Baerwald. It all depends on where you want the zero degree tracking error.
Place the cartridge over the The cartridge's body should be parallel to that line. Now lift the cartridge, move it and place it over the 66 mm mark. Again the needle tip has to be placed exactly at the point where the lines cross you need to turn the platter a little by hand.
Then at that point the cartridge's body should again be parallel to the line when the diamond tip is placed over the spot. You have to adjust the arm and cartridge in such a way that at both points the configuration is exact. This template gives a general and useful indication. However, there are arms that were designed with a completely different geometry.
I recently acquired the SAEC WE arm and the makers strived for the least error at the end of the record where the most distortion can occur because in a shorter groove length the same info has to be engraved as in the outer groove. Add to this that most of the time very loud passages are engraved, and you will understand that optimal tracking has to be near the end of the record.
But only then if the angle is not too much elevated on other spots. The template below can tell you what the measure of lateral tracking angle in degrees is. Does not matter at what point you do measure. You can choose the least error at whatever distance from the spindle. Shifting the cartridge makes it possible to optimize the offset angle of the tone arm and to a certain extend the overhang and the effective length.
The template enables you to check the error of the Lateral Tracking Angle at every position of the arm. You can start at the small circle. But you also can choose a different point of departure, closer to the spindle. For instance at c. You can download this drawing and print it and enlarge it so that the distance between A and B is 15 cm. Not all arms were built with the optimum geometry in mind, especially those which have a fixed mount.
So in certain cases it can be necessary to shift the cartridge in the head shell a little. This means that you are changing the lateral tracking angle and possibly optimizing the geometry of the arm. This can only be done if the headshell has slots. Always use the template pictured above to measure the error. If the headshell does not have slots you can make these yourself or if you are not handy have them made.
That makes it possible to align a cartridge in a tonearm of which you do not have specifications. Just follow the directions given above using the template and find the lowest degree of error and distortion. Apply the amount of down force Vertical Tracking Force as indicated by the manufacturer of the cartridge. Never use a downforce that is too light.
Not enough downforce is generally more detrimental to the record groove than a downforce which is slightly too heavy. Each time after adjusting the down force do listen to the result. It takes some practice and listening experience to find the optimum downforce. If the sound of a saxophone is too light and shows an accentuation in the midband with a slight resonance, than the downforce in relation to the bias setting is too light.
If a clarinet gets too muddy the downforce is too heavy. In that case also the sound image will lack in space. In practice the downforce is hardly ever the exact value as given by the manufacturer. When Edison designed his Phonograph Cylinder, he engraved the sound in a vertical movement: the needle went up and down, or "hill and dale" as it is called.
Emil Berliner from Germany designed the gramophone record and he engraved the signal in a lateral or horizontal movement. The combination of these two "systems" made the stereo record possible. In order to give both the left and right channels the same technical parameters, this combination of lateral and vertical engraving was turned 45 degrees. The contact of the diamond tip to both walls of the groove should be the same, despite the fact that it changes while playing a record. When a disc is spinning and you place a small object on it, the object will be swept off the disc by the centrifugal force CF.
You can try this yourself by placing a small object on the platter. When a record is turning, and the needle tip is held in a spiral groove at one end, and a straight tone arm is used, there will be no such force. The arm will not move to the periphery or towards the center. The azimuth should be correct of course. When a "S" or "J" shaped tone arm is used as the drawing shows the cartridge's position is an angle. Because of this the turning of the platter will result in a force which will move the cartridge towards the spindle.
The result is that there will be an increased pressure on the groove wall which contains the sound of the left channel. In order to neutralize this force, and to give both groove walls equal pressure, it is necessary to compensate this effect by applying a counteracting force at the other end of the arm, passed the pivot BA. The force to be applied is called side thrust or bias compensation. It is done by means of a pending weight or a magnetic force.
When adjusting the bias or side thrust BA precisely, use a test record with a groove-less section. Anyway that was the simple instruction to make things not too complicated. The right amount of side thrust compensation in relation to the downforce will keep the cartridge from moving either towards the spindle or towards the periphery of the LP record. If you are a perfectionist, you may connect an oscilloscope alternately to the left and right outputs of your preamplifier or the Record Out sockets , and check the bias adjustment by playing the test with separate left and right channel signals, in various modulations, starting at 50 um.
This will result in a better adjustment and a much better signal. A correctly adjusted downforce combined with the right bias will give a pure stereo image with the least distortion. The stylus should ride in the middle of the groove at the correct down force.
With the introduction of the stereo record and its complicated signal, it became clear that a record can be cut in more than just one way. The vertical position of the diamond stylus in the cutter head can vary and the result is that the pattern of the groove changes also. Sometimes the wrong angle is the result of neglect. Sometimes the cutting under a different angle is done deliberately. The engineer wants a different result when playing back the record. As said, the diamond tip of the cartridge has to be in the same position as the cutter diamond.
Only then will the signal be as precise as possible. The importance of this became the more clear when the elliptical stylus was introduced. Davis and J. Darrell High Fidelity Magazine , E. Madsen Audio Magazine. You may come across one or more of these articles. The Vertical Tracking Angle was not always standardized.
Generally the engineers explain what the Vertical Tracking Angle is. Only a few mention other parameters that are of significance. It should be set exactly as prescribed in the manual of the cutting lathe. This is the angle of the cutter diamond in relation to the cutter head. If it is not, than an engraving giving an awkward signal is the result.
It should be exactly the same as the Vertical Cutting Angle. This is the angle the stylus makes in relation to the cantilever and the body of the cartridge. One method to achieve this is by adjusting the height of the arm at the pivot. The headshell will no longer be parallel to record's surface.
Another method is to put a wedge in between cartridge and headshell. Since the engraved signal in the record measures micrometers, it is obvious that if the SRA is incorrect, a higher level of distortion will be heard. I have witnessed that a knowledgeable technician just bent the cantilever a little to correct the SRA. I would not advise you to do this as you will likely damage the cartridge or break the cantilever, and it is likely that you never reach the correct Stylus Rake Angle.
Click on the image below for info. Issue No. Let us view the other drawings. In B the stylus is perpendicular to the record's surface, but the Vertical Tracking Angle is incorrect. Because the stylus is incorrectly mounted at the end of the cantilever, the diamond tip is not in a position to read the indentations in the groove correctly. The best thing to do is to make a height adjustment at the pivot.
The correct position of the stylus of the cartridge can only be found by making a substantial height adjustment at the pivot, or by putting a wedge in between the cartridge and headshell. The best advice is to adjust the arm at its basis pivot in such a way that the best sound reproduction for most records is obtained. The VTA will generally vary when playing a record which is not completely flat or is warped.
Your cartridge has probably a high compliance and needs a lighter arm. Check the parameters of arm and cartridge. See: Phono Cartridge Optimizing. It is very important to set the correct VTA if you want to obtain a detailed sound with beautiful high frequencies, with warmth and attack at the same time.
Lowering the arm at the pivot so that the cartridge will lean slightly back will give a round and less detailed midband. Adjusting the arm at the pivot so that the cartridge leans more forward gives a more detailed sound. If the cartridge leans too far forward the sound becomes hollow and unnatural, the harmonics will suffer. Especially with fine line diamond tips and the Van den Hul tip the precise VTA is of the utmost importance.
You have to find the best adjustment for harmonious sound which has a lot of fine detail at the same time. So listen carefully! In the end the determination of the best VTA can only be done by ear. As not all records have been cut at the same angle, there is a slight problem.
At the end of the nineteen seventies The Audio Critic suggested the idea of optimizing the VTA for each and every record you would play. The idea was simple: use cardboard of varying thickness millimeters and cut these to the size of the turntable mat or I would suggest: about 28 cm in diameter.
If you have set the VTA in a way that the cartridge is leaning slightly forward, than you can vary the VTA by adding a cardboard "mat". The idea is to mark on record cover or inner sleeve of each LP which cardboard-mat has to be added. Adding cardboard discs in between record and turntable mat may give an optimum VTA but will also change the contact of LP and mat, and it will change the "color" of the sound reproduction.
So cardboard discs are out of the question, at least for me personally. Fortunately there are many arms of which the VTA can be changed. And there are many which allow the height adjustment at the pivot on the fly. If you do not have such luxury, you will choose the set up which will give the best sound. When using high end amplifiers and speakers, the fine tuning of the angle is even more important. Placing a wedge can help in rare cases. But placing a plate, piece of rubber, felt, or whatever material you choose as is sometimes advised by so called knowledgeable audiophiles in between cartridge and headshell should not be done.
It provides a "loose" contact between cartridge and headshell. Placing a material between cartridge and headshell may give on first hearing the signal more speed, especially the high frequency region becomes faster, but at the same time a correct transient which is built up from the lowest to the highest frequencies will show a less harmonious build up.
The reason? The insertion results in a more or less prominent phase shift difference in time. A wedge or plate will certainly translate into a so called bending mode, the frequency of which is followed by its second and third harmonics and even higher. This bending mode will color the sound. At first hearing there may be some refinement and more spaciousness, but after a while it shows all too clearly that the correct build up of harmonics is impaired. A good transient is dependent on each part and every material used in arm, platter, motor, chassis, plinth and feet.
The application determines whether the sound is lively, well balanced, whether it is lacking in detail and whether it is lacking an open midband which adds to the tangibility of the instruments. The sound should simply be harmonious and should convey the magic of instruments and the performance.
If you need a small intermediate plate between cartridge and arm, the choice of material is important.