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Thread: Analog Magik

  1. #61
    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    Why are we discussing the zenith angle when OP is still struggling with tracking angle which is the first step of setup and honestly if you have to burrow this far down the gopher hole to worry about zenith angles and cutting heads you're never going to get the sound you want from your vinyl rig.

    david
    I mention it because I am fascinated with the topic and what level of precision one really needs and can achieve. The OP is about a new alignment method or product and what seems like extreme measurements and distortion figures. Some of us simply use a trusted protractor and with much experience rely on our ears to tell us what sounds "right". Others seem to enjoy exploring these other devices and sharing their experiences. Tirebiter mentioned the improved sonic results from adjusting his zenith angle. As you know, I have paid particular attention to VTA. When he wrote that he found zenith angle to have a greater sonic affect, that got me curious. Then microstrip mentioned the accuracy of the stylus mount on the tip of the cantilever. I responded to his post.

    I guess I am discussing it because it was brought up and I find it interesting. Perhaps others do not. That is fine. Maybe it is a gopher hole. That is pretty funny. Like Alice, I am looking for magic.

    To clarify, I am not "worrying about" zenith angles and cutting heads, just discussing their implications. Any thread about alignment devices has the potential to get pretty deep into the subject of what matters and why. I have gotten the sound I want from my vinyl rig, but I am always interested in learning how to potentially improve it and if it simply involves effort and not much money, all the better. Some have suggested a different table and arm. I'm fine with those too for now.
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  2. #62
    [Industry Expert] ddk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    When he wrote that he found zenith angle to have a greater sonic affect, that got me curious. Then microstrip mentioned the accuracy of the stylus mount on the tip of the cantilever. I responded to his post.
    You have to put that in context of everything else he wrote, Step 1 is still pending. If the rig is right one should already get very good sound with just setting up the tracking angle and VTF correctly and eyeballing the VTA & azimuth, this really is enough for a lot of people and systems. One can go further fine tuning the VTA but there has to be an understanding or recognition of the starting point and knowing where to go. IMO the rest is unnecessary overcomplicating of a simple process.

    david
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  3. #63
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
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    This is an interesting subject, but the debate seems compromised by the absence of precise information on the Analog Magik measurements and non availability of the test LPs.

    These subjects - SRA, zenith, azimuth, offset angle and overhang were modeled and studied many decades ago, by people who had mathematical skills and interest and time to do it. Nowadays, we can use FFT based measuring devices to check these effects experimentally, but it is not possible to get the appropriate test LPs anymore - in the 60's there were tens of technical records by companies such as CBS, Bruel & Kjaer, Decca, including many types of tracks. Although we currently have access to a few modern test LPs - HifiNews, Analogue Productions, Ortofon - they are very incomplete, having just a few basic signals.

    For example, see the test disk described in this link http://www7a.biglobe.ne.jp/~yosh/recspecs.htm

    BTW, using IMD measurements to set SRA is not a novelty - what is new in Analog Magik is being possible to have it in our desk!
    DCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack, Soundlab A1 Px's while waiting for the XLF successor, EMT927, SME3012R, ARC Phono 3, Lamm ML1.2 Ref, Lamm L2ref, Stealth Dream speaker , Crystal Dreamline ICs, TA XL digital, TA XL gen V power cables, CenterStage footers and Nordost Qkore8's!

  4. #64
    Senior Member Kcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by microstrip View Post
    This is an interesting subject, but the debate seems compromised by the absence of precise information on the Analog Magik measurements and non availability of the test LPs.

    These subjects - SRA, zenith, azimuth, offset angle and overhang were modeled and studied many decades ago, by people who had mathematical skills and interest and time to do it. Nowadays, we can use FFT based measuring devices to check these effects experimentally, but it is not possible to get the appropriate test LPs anymore - in the 60's there were tens of technical records by companies such as CBS, Bruel & Kjaer, Decca, including many types of tracks. Although we currently have access to a few modern test LPs - HifiNews, Analogue Productions, Ortofon - they are very incomplete, having just a few basic signals.

    For example, see the test disk described in this link http://www7a.biglobe.ne.jp/~yosh/recspecs.htm

    BTW, using IMD measurements to set SRA is not a novelty - what is new in Analog Magik is being possible to have it in our desk!
    I think you made your own argument. These types of test records are not readily available anymore. Even if they were , they were not used by a typical consumer. The AM puts a package together to relate what you should hear to known parameters of set up with the tools ( records) to do so. Of course, this is nothing new except that we now have powerful computers at home (laptops) and versatile and cheap downloadable software and sound cards for fft analysis or use of a scope etc. We can use this "cheap" technology at home and don't need an engineering lab with 100s of thousands of dollars worth of hardware to this.

    Of course, you can choose to do none of it. I would expect most vinyl enthusiasts to know how to set up a cartridge mechanically or know someone to do it for them and get good results.

    With this software it should be able to relate those mechanical adjustments to numbers that make sense so you can see directionally where you are going.

    I would expect that this kit will be bought by hard core enthusiasts or mostly dealers to help their clients.

    If you want to build a shed in your yard you can buy a kit and follow the directions for predictable results or you can go to the lumber yard and buy all the lumber and cut the rafters and beams your self and rely on your capability to end up with something that works. The AM is the kit.

    YMMV and all that.
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  5. #65
    Member Tirebiter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kcin View Post
    I think you made your own argument. These types of test records are not readily available anymore. Even if they were , they were not used by a typical consumer. The AM puts a package together to relate what you should hear to known parameters of set up with the tools ( records) to do so. Of course, this is nothing new except that we now have powerful computers at home (laptops) and versatile and cheap downloadable software and sound cards for fft analysis or use of a scope etc. We can use this "cheap" technology at home and don't need an engineering lab with 100s of thousands of dollars worth of hardware to this.

    Of course, you can choose to do none of it. I would expect most vinyl enthusiasts to know how to set up a cartridge mechanically or know someone to do it for them and get good results.

    With this software it should be able to relate those mechanical adjustments to numbers that make sense so you can see directionally where you are going.

    I would expect that this kit will be bought by hard core enthusiasts or mostly dealers to help their clients.

    If you want to build a shed in your yard you can buy a kit and follow the directions for predictable results or you can go to the lumber yard and buy all the lumber and cut the rafters and beams your self and rely on your capability to end up with something that works. The AM is the kit.

    YMMV and all that.
    Your sentiments echo mine. In the audio world there certainly is an obsession with minimizing unwanted variation....why else would manufactures build turntables that weigh in at tens if not hundreds of lbs, insist on speed control, spend not insignificant money on alignment devices, fixate on whether 60 or 75 ohm cartridge loading is better and spend small fortunes on copper wires. The list is seemingly endless.

    Cartridges are a great examples. Small, delicate devices that, for the creme de la creme, are outrageously priced. Why is that? A good portion of that is due to the labor involved. I don't think I am wrong in saying that for the most part, the best of the best are hand made. We buy handmade pottery because each piece is unique. Similarly, I'd say that no two Koetsu, Ikeda or ZYX cartridges are exactly alike. So how does the logic fit to say that one specific cartridge alignment fits all? Don't get me wrong, I believe there is an optimal (and generally predictable) landing point regardless of tonearm/cartridge combo, I just think that with certain variations in the construction process you may have to venture outside of the statistical norm to achieve optimum results.

    Which brings me to yesterday's experiment. Not having the patience to wait on scope time, I decided to mount an ancient cartridge on my Graham, a Monster Alpha2 which coincidentally is an early Nakatsuka San design. I used my Graham alignment gauge to set preliminary alignment and then proceeded to use AM to fine tune. As might be expected the numbers were not perfect but pretty close for first pass IMD, in the range of 7-9%, certainly over what is desired but not outrageous. A couple of small tweaks to zenith and azimuth reduced %IMD to around 4% and could do no better with the constraint of staying within the jig bounds. Channel crosstalk was between -25 and -26 db. I had a quick listening test and for a 30-40 yr old cart, it sounded pretty good. I then removed the wand and placed it in the Graham jig and had a look. Depending on how I wanted to wiggle things around, the Alpha2 was pretty much spot on according to the jig.

    Time to re-install the Universe II. Using the Graham jig for initial set up and AM for fine tuning once again found IMD elevated on the ZYX...12-14% this time. Using only small tweaks to zenith, the best I could get were numbers in the range of 7-9% IMD with -26 dB crosstalk. A listening test revealed that indeed there is a big step up from the Alpha2 which was as it should be and not a surprise. And no surprise to me that the ZYX did not sound as good as it did the night before with the more radical alignment. Another quick check of final alignment in the jig and found it to be slightly off center from where Graham would have it.

    So back to work with AM to see where data took me and I ended up pretty much in the same location as before with 3% IMD (Richard Mak reports that he gets less than 2% with the various ZYX carts he has) so I probably have more work to do. Channel crosstalk was back up and a bit improved at -29 dB each. Listening results were back to what I had experienced the night before. By the way, I am finding that with experience, use of AM is a much faster process. I completed all of the above in about 2 hours.

    It is very clear to me that for what ever reason, my ZYX is not willing to play by the established rules. If I were to accept the fact that this microdot is where my stylus *must* be located, damn the torpedoes, then I would be denying myself a much better listening experience. I chose instead to let the data take me to a spot that allowed my cartridge, flawed or not, to work very well indeed.

    As a side note, I did check with Richard Mak concerning replacement vinyl and he indicated that yes, if you have the set, he will sell replacements if needed.

    Brock
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  6. #66
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kcin View Post
    (...) With this software it should be able to relate those mechanical adjustments to numbers that make sense so you can see directionally where you are going.
    These were also my expectations. I have been adjusting azimuth measuring crosstalk for decades and I expected that the AM users of would elucidate us on how they get it, particularly on the innovative parts - the tracking force and VTA.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kcin View Post
    I would expect that this kit will be bought by hard core enthusiasts or mostly dealers to help their clients.
    IMHO in order to be used by dealers the system needs to be much more straightforward, predictable and efficient. All I read makes me believe that it is adequate only for hard hard core enthusiasts, but surely I can be wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kcin View Post
    If you want to build a shed in your yard you can buy a kit and follow the directions for predictable results or you can go to the lumber yard and buy all the lumber and cut the rafters and beams your self and rely on your capability to end up with something that works. The AM is the kit.

    YMMV and all that.
    Probably if we could get the instructions manual we could get a better idea of the "kit". But it is not freely accessible.

    Just one detail that only users with experience can answer - what range of precision will we typically get for SRA and VTF using this software? Should we expect different sensitivity for different stylus types?

    Please note that although I projected the shed in the back my garden - much more adequate that any kit I could get - I am considering buying Analog Magik - but I always ask all the questions before, not after, and this forum is a great place for it.
    DCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack, Soundlab A1 Px's while waiting for the XLF successor, EMT927, SME3012R, ARC Phono 3, Lamm ML1.2 Ref, Lamm L2ref, Stealth Dream speaker , Crystal Dreamline ICs, TA XL digital, TA XL gen V power cables, CenterStage footers and Nordost Qkore8's!

  7. #67
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirebiter View Post
    (...) As a side note, I did check with Richard Mak concerning replacement vinyl and he indicated that yes, if you have the set, he will sell replacements if needed.

    Brock
    Thanks.
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  8. #68
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! rockitman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    One can go further fine tuning the VTA but there has to be an understanding or recognition of the starting point and knowing where to go. IMO the rest is unnecessary overcomplicating of a simple process.

    david
    I like complication....on my wrist. I think with too much complication on cart setup, overthinking and drilling down on the process, one can get lost and fail to achieve what they are after...great sound.
    Christian

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  9. #69
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] Tango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockitman View Post
    I like complication....on my wrist. .
    Show off .

  10. #70
    Senior Member Kcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by microstrip View Post
    These were also my expectations. I have been adjusting azimuth measuring crosstalk for decades and I expected that the AM users of would elucidate us on how they get it, particularly on the innovative parts - the tracking force and VTA.



    IMHO in order to be used by dealers the system needs to be much more straightforward, predictable and efficient. All I read makes me believe that it is adequate only for hard hard core enthusiasts, but surely I can be wrong.



    Probably if we could get the instructions manual we could get a better idea of the "kit". But it is not freely accessible.

    Just one detail that only users with experience can answer - what range of precision will we typically get for SRA and VTF using this software? Should we expect different sensitivity for different stylus types?

    Please note that although I projected the shed in the back my garden - much more adequate that any kit I could get - I am considering buying Analog Magik - but I always ask all the questions before, not after, and this forum is a great place for it.
    Good questions , I can't answer the range of precision inquiry. I do have the AM package and have been using it . I can say that it does translate measurements to sound "quality" in the case of some testing with unsuspecting listeners while I do the the tweaks- especially azimuth. Certainly I can hear it.

    I think the best you can hope for without the intellectual property & algorithms is a baseline and a better or worse with relationship to empirical numbers. In the end that's what it promises to do.

    I've spent more on other silly things in this hobby I see it as part entertainment, I'm a geek--- and part useful tool. I'm not clear how you could make this any easier to use for enthusiast or dealer when you are manipulating mechanical adjustments and going through an iterative process. You just get better at it the more you use it.

    Coincidentally and by shear chance, to your earlier point about test recordings being readily available in the past, I picked this up today complete with 3 test records, data logger, 100's of test sheets. It doesn't do what the analog magik does but it will be fun comparing notes. its got to be 30-40 years old.

    BTW I cut my own rafters and built a hip roof for my garden shed from scratch as well

    I think you will have to invest in the package or observe someone using it to see if it meets your requirements. In the end its got to sound better or it doesn't for the price - you need to decide that. It's not uncommon in our hobby to never really be able to tell how elements sound in our own specific systems unless we invest- cartridges are a good example. Good luck!
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