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Thread: The importance of VTA, SRA and Azimuth - pics

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    VIP/Donor [WBF Founding Member] ack's Avatar
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    The importance of VTA, SRA and Azimuth - pics

    For all interested - I have been astounded by the improvement of properly setting SRA around the optimal 92 degrees, and perfect azimuth as shown below... The geometry of the arm-cartridge is anything but appealing now, but the results are well worth it.

    1) Proper SRA has dramatically reduced intermodulation distortion, which can be easily verified with large scale choral music - grainy choruses now sound extremely smooth:

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    If you were to look at the stylus with a 10x loupe, you'd see the end result, which unfortunately I cannot photograph.

    2) Perfect Azimuth has expanded the soundstage and improved channel separation:

    Name:  Azimuth0..JPG
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    After setting azimuth correctly, the results can be verified by playing a 1kHz mono tone:

    Name:  Azimuth3..JPG
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    After these adjustments, I went ahead and realigned the cartridge with my Mint LP tractor again. The overall improvement is phenomenal. One of the more important decisions I made last year when I got back into analog was to get an arm that supports all these adjustments. I would now not be able to go back to any ordinary arm!

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    [WBF Founding Member] Gregadd's Avatar
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    Those of you who have read Neil (NSGARCH) on other forums(Audiogon, Audio Asylum) know this is his forte. Maybe he can post some links to some of his discussions. His knowledge of azimuth alone is worth the price of admission. In this day of fixed head shells it is frequently overlooked
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gregadd View Post
    Those of you who have read Neil (NSGARCH) on other forums(Audiogon, Audio Asylum) know this is his forte. Maybe he can post some links to some of his discussions. His knowledge of azimuth alone is worth the price of admission. In this day of fixed head shells it is frequently overlooked
    Another person who had great data on the effects of VTA and azimuth was Bruce Thigpen. In his owners manual for the ET (See pg. 51+ of manualhttp://www.eminent-tech.com/main.html), Bruce showed the sideband distortions resulting from improper alignment.

    OK noticed that link is to front page--and for some reason can't link to the right file. So go under ET2.5 and scroll down to the pdf for pg. 45-65. You'll want to start with page 51.
    Last edited by MylesBAstor; 05-25-2010 at 12:49 PM.

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    Addicted to Best! jadis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MylesBAstor View Post
    Another person who had great data on the effects of VTA and azimuth was Bruce Thigpen. In his owners manual for the ET (See pg. 51+ of manualhttp://www.eminent-tech.com/main.html), Bruce showed the sideband distortions resulting from improper alignment.
    That's why I've always loved this arm's flexibility for on-the-fly VTA adjustment and easy azimuth adjustment as well.

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    What does everyone use to set cartridge azimuth? As Peter has shown, it can make or break todays cartridges with their exotic stylus shapes.

    Peter, I'm curious how you got the grid on your digital pic? Did you download and then add the grid? I also like the way you used the tape deck meters to measure the channels.

    Personally, I was lucky enough to snag one of the last 100 or so AT cartridge analyzers years ago from AT. They were around $300 but worth every cent! Setting azimuth on the AT is done by measuring crosstalk.

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    VIP/Donor [WBF Founding Member] ack's Avatar
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    Ahhh, the grids... I have a Canon 40D and their software has an option to put a grid on; that's not the difficult part. The difficult part is how to grab that picture as is with the grids and save it, 'cause the software won't let you save with the grids, nor will a Copy operation grab it with the grids. For that, you need to get a screen dump, like Αlt-PrtScreen on the PC keyboard, which puts it in the clipboard. Then GIMP has to be employed, which lets you create a new picture with a simple Paste, so long as the raw picture you are creating has the right dimensions of what you are about to paste (otherwise it will be chopped off, or too big). To do this, you need to know the pixel size your camera takes as configured - in my case, Canon's software has an Info button that dumps all kinds of info about a picture (frankly, too much, like the body's own serial number!), so given the picture's XY size, I provide that to GIMP and then I paste, and from then on I can crop it and save it. These particular pictures were also sharpened with Canon's software.

    The Revox's meters (and the deck itself) are a life saver in situations like these - it certainly saves me having to buy a Fozgometer or similar; and I first calibrated them with a 1kHz tone from the CD player. BTW, I also used the following technique for the azimuth which also sets the speed accurately (with the help of the SDS). Using a voltmeter, first I play a 1kHz tone with the CD player and measure the frequency at the amp's output, to figure out the meter's error - in my case, it records a 1002Hz tone; then I play a 1kHz mono tone on the turntable (Analogue Productions Test LP) to set the speed accurately, tuning the SDS until I get a 1002Hz reading, and verify again with a KAB strobe (no drift). When the channels' azimuth is perfectly set, one expects to get the same 1002Hz tone at exactly the same amplitude from both channels (I measure the voltage); they turned out to be exactly the same (this assumes of course your phono preamp, amplifier(s) and especially the line preamp's volume control are not factors in this, and they produce the same level output for a given fixed and equal level of input on both channels).

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    [WBF Founding Member] Gregadd's Avatar
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    SRA By NSGARCH

    Here are some picture.
    Attached Images Attached Images    
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    Site Founder And Administrator Steve Williams's Avatar
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    what's the third picture?
    Steve Williams
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    [WBF Founding Member] Gregadd's Avatar
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    It is an electron microscope picture of cantilever and stylus.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gregadd View Post
    It is an electron microscope picture of cantilever and stylus.
    Are you setting azimuth using mirrors?

    If so, that assumes that the stylus is correctly mounted in the cantilever, unfortunately not always a given with a cartridge

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