Analog Magik

BruceBW

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I have limited experience only going through the process twice but wanted to share my findings,

** I get more consistent results if I allow the track to play for a bit before hitting start. For instance, on VTA it seems it takes a bit for things to settle down so if you take readings right away they are all over the place.
** to the point above, It seems on some tests it is averaging or somehow combining results over time, so if you stop/start to clear the buffer while the track is playing the readings are more consistent
** I believe it was Dave Slagle who discussed this earlier so piling on... I have a smarTractor but on my Benz Ebony TR it is very difficult to see the cantilever. I started with the cartridge twisted (Zenith) because that's how it ended up when I thought I had the cantilever straight, but could not get VTA distortion below 8%. When I squared up the body it dropped immediately to 2%.. More experimenting needs to be done but looks like a way to adjust Zenith until ver 2 comes out
** the tutorials are basically worthless when it comes to using the software. They do explain what you are measuring, but very vague on how to do it. . it would be nice to have some tips, pearls of wisdom, etc. rather than just basically stating the function of the test.
 

scot

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Hi BruceBW

Have you read about the cartridge alignment service JR Boisclair of Wallyanalog is offering? You can read all about it in the most recent Stereophile magazine. Michael Fremer explains it in his Analog Corner column. To my knowledge, it's a pretty unique service. Basically you send him your cartridge. He looks at it under a very high quality microscope and measures three main parameters using a pretty sophisticated software program. The three parameters are SRA, Zenith angle and Azimuth angle. If you send him a brand new cartridge and he finds that the number of degrees are off by more than what they should be, he will let you know and suggests you return the cartridge to the manufacturer. If he finds it's off by a certain percentage, he has the ability to provide very accurate custom made shims that correct those angles. You also get the computer readout of what he found. If you happen to use a Kuzma 4point tonearm, you can send him your headshell and he'll mount the cartridge in the headshell for you. When you get the cartridge and headshell back, The SRA, Zenith and Azimuth are perfectly aligned using the shims. You can read about it on the wallyanalog.com website. Take care.

Best regrads
Scot
 
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BruceBW

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Hi BruceBW

Have you read about the cartridge alignment service JR Boisclair of Wallyanalog is offering? You can read all about it in the most recent Stereophile magazine. Michael Fremer explains it in his Analog Corner column. To my knowledge, it's a pretty unique service. Basically you send him your cartridge. He looks at it under a very high quality microscope and measures three main parameters using a pretty sophisticated software program. The three parameters are SRA, Zenith angle and Azimuth angle. If you send him a brand new cartridge and he finds that the number of degrees are off by more than what they should be, he will let you know and suggests you return the cartridge to the manufacturer. If he finds it's off by a certain percentage, he has the ability to provide very accurate custom made shims that correct those angles. You also get the computer readout of what he found. If you happen to use a Kuzma 4point tonearm, you can send him your headshell and he'll mount the cartridge in the headshell for you. When you get the cartridge and headshell back, The SRA, Zenith and Azimuth are perfectly aligned using the shims. You can read about it on the wallyanalog.com website. Take care.

Best regrads
Scot
Matter of fact I do have a Kuzma 4 point. However, if AM achieves the same things I don't see any reason to pay someone to align it in the head shell. I also don't see how you can pre-align for SRA when the arm height is adjustable unless you also buy that Wally gizmo. So $275 for a Wally Reference plus $500 for the service, and $500 more each time get a new cartridge.. or AM one time and except for the time involved no further investment.

I am also a little skeptical that it all is "perfectly aligned" once mounted on my arm

I see the Wally way and the AM as different approaches to the same issue but I don't see where you would try to combine them. Looks to me to be the Wally way or the AM way.... Am I missing something?

thanks for the info though
 
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Addicted to hifi

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Matter of fact I do have a Kuzma 4 point. However, if AM achieves the same things I don't see any reason to pay someone to align it in the head shell. I also don't see how you can pre-align for SRA when the arm height is adjustable unless you also buy that Wally gizmo. So $275 for a Wally Reference plus $500 for the service, and $500 more each time get a new cartridge.. or AM one time and except for the time involved no further investment.

I am also a little skeptical that it all is "perfectly aligned" once mounted on my arm

I see the Wally way and the AM as different approaches to the same issue but I don't see where you would try to combine them. Looks to me to be the Wally way or the AM way.... Am I missing something?

thanks for the info though
Welcome Bruce to wbf.
 

scot

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Hi Bruce

I was also skeptical at first. I sent JR Boisclair an email through wallyanalog.com and gave him my phone number. He called me and we spoke on the phone for over an hour. He’s a very nice guy. He could explain the process to you way better than I can. When you get the cartridge and 4point headshell back, I believe all you need to do is set the tonearm so it’s parallel with the record and you set the VTF and that’s it. The accuracy comes from a very high quality microscope along with a very sophisticated computer program. If shims are needed, he makes them and installs them. As long as the tonearm is parallel to the record, you’re good to go.

I’m about to put together an analog front end. I want to put 50 hours on a new Koetsu RSP cartridge so the suspension settles before I send it to him. I also have a 4point headshell I plan on sending him. I also own a SMARTractor and the AnalogMagik software. I’ll do the initial setup using those items. I’ll send them in and let JR do his thing. When I get them back I’ll let you know if I hear a noticeable improvement. Stay tuned.....

Best regards
Scot
 

BruceBW

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When I say skeptical I don't want it to sound like I think there is something untoward going on. I'm sure you end up much better than if you just used a protractor. I see it as a good solution for those who aren't inclined to experiment or are not willing to take the time to go through an AM alignment, but I can't see being reliant on a service that charges $500 every time I change something on my analog rig. Also seems you are locked into whatever alignment (Baerwald, Loefgren,etc. ) that he has chosen.

Also curious how he determines where to mount the cartridge in the headshell to get proper overhang. Maybe for a Kuzma that he uses but is it different for the different length Kuzma arms, and what about the myriad of other arms out here? It also makes sense to me that everything you adjust with AM is done under dynamic conditions which seems impossible the Wally way.

You still need AM to set VTF so I'm sure you will check the other parameters. What if you get it back and test it with AM and find the results were better the way you had it set up before? Do you change the VTA or Azimuth or whatever using AM to get back to where I was, and if you do doesn't that negate any benefit to spending the $500 + $275 for the tool to have him do it?

And to your point about waiting for the cartridge to settle in. How do you know when that is complete, or is it ever complete? With the Wally way do you send it back for another check after a few hundred hours, and then again after who knows how many? With AM I can re-adjust if I think it has settled in.

So for me (emphasis on "for me") it doesn't look like a service that makes any sense if only because I would sit and wonder if it really is optimized. At least with AM I am in charge and can experiment as I see fit.

Thanks for the feedback, curious what you find when you get it back
 
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scot

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Bruce

My fault, I forgot to mention that he sends you a protractor to make sure the pivot to spindle distance is spot on. I would imagine this would be for the overhang. Regarding the various alignments (Baerwald, Loftgren or Unidin) that’s on my list of questions I plan on asking him.

The only reason he offers the setup with the standard 4point arm (11” version) is because this is the arm he personally uses and likes.

I agree with you, it’s not for the audiophile who has multiple cartridges. Hell, I could barely afford the one cartridge I bought.

I still do plan on using the AM to check all the parameters. If you subscribe to Stereophile magazine, in the latest issue, Fremer explains the process in more detail than I could ever provide. Fremer did recent review on a $10K Haniwa cartridge. We know Michael F knows how to set up a cartridge. After the review, he sent that very same cartridge to JR and when he got it back, he claimed that it sounded “noticeably better”. His words.

Regarding cartridge suspension settling, JR has found after 40-50 it’s fully settled in.

I also agree, it’s clearly not for everyone, nor do I think it replaces AM. You may find some answers in Fremer’s Analog Corner write up. He explains the entire process and he’s very thorough.

By the way, do you use a SMARTractor and if so, have you ever tried the designers (Dietrich Brakemeier) own Unidin alignment and if so, what did you think? If not, which alignment do you prefer? Take care.

Best regards
Scot
 
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Loheswaran

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Not familiar with VPI tonearms but Dynavector uses jigs since the 505. Also Graham has a new dedicated jig out for his 12" arms.

david
Judging by this and asking from ur experience should one follow the recommended protractor/ curve by tonearm makers? The likes of FR and Japanese designers like Stevenson (better in the centre I think although I am not able to recite which alignment does what)

I use a clearaudio gauge on everything- I am told it is actually its own curve (not Bearwald, Lofgren etc) - it’s an easy tool to use and pretty quick.

I then fiddle with my Hifi News and Cardas test records.
 

mtemur

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Judging by this and asking from ur experience should one follow the recommended protractor/ curve by tonearm makers?
(You actually asked it to @ddk, please forgive me for jumping in) you can basically use any universal protractor with any arm. It’s better to use a good arc protractor such as Wally Tractor than using arm’s original if you don’t have a sliding base tonearm. Even though I‘m not a fan of other Wally solutions for turntable set up I should admit that Wally Tractor is one of the best (IMHO). By the way I have no affiliation with Wally Tools or any other company.

I use a clearaudio gauge on everything- I am told it is actually its own curve (not Bearwald, Lofgren etc) - it’s an easy tool to use and pretty quick.
No, they don’t have their own curve. all based on three basic geometries and a variation of inner and outer groove radiuses at best. and sometimes with less than optimal variation of standards like IEC or DIN...
In that regard, you can have your own curve. If we exclude UNI-DIN -which I couldn’t understand what it’s based on- Baerwald, Lofgren and Stevenson are all you need IMHO. moreover so called Japanese geometry based on fixed 15mm overhang is totally nonsense. it's only advantage is to allow quick installation of a cartridge to a headshell with an overhang tool.
 
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kodomo

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Any news on the version 2, I am waiting patiently to upgrade, I thought it would happen months ago...
 
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ddk

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Judging by this and asking from ur experience should one follow the recommended protractor/ curve by tonearm makers? The likes of FR and Japanese designers like Stevenson (better in the centre I think although I am not able to recite which alignment does what)

I use a clearaudio gauge on everything- I am told it is actually its own curve (not Bearwald, Lofgren etc) - it’s an easy tool to use and pretty quick.

I then fiddle with my Hifi News and Cardas test records.
I follow manufacturer’s instructions they know the geometry of their tonearms better than gauge makers. Alignment is about tracking distortion so whichever one works best with your arm.

FR came with its own protractor if I recall correctly it’s what they call the Japanese curve, you can follow Ortofon’s instructions here;


david
 
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J.R. Boisclair

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I follow manufacturer’s instructions they know the geometry of their tonearms better than gauge makers. Alignment is about tracking distortion so whichever one works best with your arm.

FR came with its own protractor if I recall correctly it’s what they call the Japanese curve, you can follow Ortofon’s instructions here;


david
Actually, you’d be shocked at how many tonearm manufacturers either don’t understand the basic geometry or, at least, have poor communication between the tonearm designers and those who write the installation instructions.
 
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ddk

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Actually, you’d be shocked at how many tonearm manufacturers either don’t understand the basic geometry or, at least, have poor communication between the tonearm designers and those who write the installation instructions.
You’re quite right about this I only use a few types myself and they’re well established brands I forgot about the rest.
david
 

tony22

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Great! How do those of us with v1 upgrade?

Found it! Here‘s the upgrade info in the FAQs.

 
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Audire

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Jose’ - Dr Vinyl - flew in and set up our J.Sikora with this software. He did an amazing job. IMO, it gets everything as perfect as it will ever be able to get. I watched him and it seemed rather easy to use. Of course, he has a lot of experience … so he essentially made everything look easy.
 
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kodomo

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I messaged my dealer and asked for the upgrade package. Website states that the upgrade price is 250usd
 

Kingrex

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How are they doing anti skate. I watched a video 1 time where a beam was used to set anti skate.
I use a SUT and a fluke to measure the voltage per channel for Azimuth. But the anti skate will also impact the voltage output per channel. Do you think the analog magic sufficiently addresses this?
 

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