Azimuth adjustment the easy way...

puroagave

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Sep 30, 2011
1,297
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#1
I actually don't have a suggestion im looking for yours. I've always done it by sight and ear but there are better methods and devices like the fozgometer. What's your favorite method for adjusting azimuth of a phono cartridge?

keep it simple, i do have a fluke multimeter but dont own an O-scope/fully outfitted tech's bench.
 

jazdoc

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Aug 7, 2010
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#2
I think this method is pretty good...

http://durand-tonearms.com/Support/Support/azimuth.html

The best way to set the azimuth is by ear (see the note at bottom of this page). Note that if you hear a defective azimuth adjustment as an obvious problem of balance--if the sound is predominantly to the left or the right--, that could be because the azimuth is off (er, check the balance on your preamplifier first, of course!). But there could be many other causes, such as problem with room acoustics, deficient electronic component in one channel, etc. It's best to first ensure that there's nothing unbalanced in the rest of the system before attributing the problem to azimuth. It is however true that a center image can sound slightly off center if the azimuth if not perfectly adjusted.

Here are some tips to help you with this process:

Use a mono recording with relatively sparse material (for example, of a female vocalist). As you adjust the azimuth, you will perceive that the voice has the best “presence” when the adjustment is right on; that indicates that the stylus is perfectly vertical and centered in the groove; if it is even slightly off, the voice will sound somewhat recessed and unfocused. There is a very fine line between being right on, or not quite there yet; usually, a fraction of a degree is all it takes. So you really have to be very subtle when adjusting this parameter. Start with the cartridge vertical. This is just a starting point; remember that with most cartridges, the stylus is not exactly vertical, so just looking at the cartridge won't help much. A perfectly vertical stylus is what we are trying to achieve, and that's not something you can see with the naked eye.

Before you start changing the azimuth, listen to a short excerpt (2-3 minutes) several times. Identify as many elements as you can: the different vowels the singer is singing, the consonants, the mouth noises; then listen to the instruments: try to pay attention to each one individually. Is there perhaps one that seems to be more separated from the others? Don't listen to instruments or voices in the low register, they won't tell you much in this process. Percussion instruments in the middle or high register can be very useful: listen to the attack, then the decay.

Once you think that you've identified one instrument/voice that you "know" well on that recording, modify the azimuth, in one direction or the other. Let's say, you start by going toward the left (armwand rotated counterclockwise); rotate the arm by a very small amount--when you get close to the right spot, the rotation can be a fraction of degree. Listen to what happened. Then move again, in the same direction. Listen again. Is the sound getting more present, or not? Is the instrument getting more 3-D like, perhaps moving to the front a little, perhaps gaining more separation from the others? Or perhaps nothing changed, or it got worse (more recessed, less focused). Modify again, in the same direction. If nothing is improving, you might be going in the wrong direction. Come back to vertical, (on the Talea™ you can follow your changes on the little scale in the azimuth window) and do the same procedure in the other direction (clockwise). At some point, the sound will seem to change for the better. If it isn't, remember that some cartridges are less sensitive than others to azimuth changes. Or perhaps, you're exhausted by now and can't focus anymore. Don't worry, leave it aside for a while, and just enjoy listening to music.

Note that it's not impossible that the best sound is with the cartridge perfectly vertical! Sometimes the stylus is perfectly aligned.
Some possible clues that the azimuth setting is good:
- Source is larger
- In some systems source is closer (with more depth of stage)
- The sound you are focusing on is more separated from the others than before (more 3-D like)
- Sound source seems louder (consequence of previous points)
- More difficult: trueness of timbre. Listen to instrumental timbres (attacks, decay), as well as particularity of vocal timbre (sibillance and other subtle noises at beginning or ending of consonants, etc)

As with any fine adjustment, it takes time and patience to get it right. It's the same thing with tracking force and VTA/SRA adjustments: you can do it by eye, or follow the manufacturer's recommended setting, and hope for the best. Or you can experiment, try other settings just to see what happens, and suddenly discover uncharted territories. Through practice, your ears will get better at hearing the fine differences, and this in turn will take you to new heights of musical enjoyment.
Nobody said playing vinyl was instant gratification...

Just as a performer needs to understand how to take advantage of his fine instrument, anyone who has engaged for a significant period of time with the setup of a sophisticated tonearm knows that it can take a very long time to understand how it reacts to minute variations and how to anticipate its reactions and play with them. The more you play with it, the more you realize what it can do and how to make it sound its best, and the more it gives you back. And when you get it right, you can sit back and enjoy the new level you've just reached in your analog experience!
______________

Note: There have been other methods suggested in the past (not to mention a more recent one using computer software--with which I am not familiar). A particularly popular one was offered by Victor Khomenko in the late 90s and seems to have been widely accepted since. In our experiments, we've found that, while this method works very well at a given frequency (most people seem to use a 1 KHz tone for this purpose), it is unfortunately not consistent throughout the frequency range found in music. We discovered that after adjusting the azimuth for perfect balance at 1 KHz with this method, voltage readings with a 100 Hz and a 8 KHz tone give widely different results; one channel would be greatly emphasized at the lower frequency, and the other one at the higher frequency. So while the method is theoretically sound, it fails to address the reality of the musical signal, which is far more complex than a single sine tone. So, until a better and more reliable method is established, our ears will do nicely... and they're free...
Additional note: to be fair, it has been suggested that crosstalk is not constant on all cartridges. Some cartridges (a few?) demonstrate excellent consistent across their frequency range, while many don't. For what it's worth...
 

rockitman

Member Sponsor
Sep 20, 2011
6,872
1
38
Northern NY
#3
I actually don't have a suggestion im looking for yours. I've always done it by sight and ear but there are better methods and devices like the fozgometer. What's your favorite method for adjusting azimuth of a phono cartridge?

keep it simple, i do have a fluke multimeter but dont own an O-scope/fully outfitted tech's bench.
I have been satisfied with the results using the Fozgometer...
 
Jul 8, 2011
299
0
0
ttsetup.com
#5
I have been satisfied with the results using the Fozgometer...
If you heard the results compared with that from using the Feickert Adjust+ software you would put the Fozgo in the drawer.

The Fozgo measures crosstalk and channel levels. That's it. Adjust+ does that plus a much more important measurement, phase response. The ear is more sensitive to phase, and the azimuth angle at which minimum phase error between channels occurs is often slightly different from that at which crosstalk is equal. I've done many dozens of alignments using Adjust+, to the unanimous delight of customers. One I did recently resulted in him staying up almost all night listening, discovering vast information in the grooves he didn't know was there and realizing the harshness in the treble he had been hearing was due to phase error. He fully intends to come back to me when it's time for a new cartridge. He thought CD wasn't too far behind vinyl on his system, but now it's not in the same galaxy. Maybe he needs a better CD player :)
 
May 30, 2010
13,970
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Portugal
#7
Couldn't you use the same instruments that you use to adjust the azimuth on a tape machine?
Are you referring to the old CRT oscilloscope, that any one can get at eBay for less than $100? ;)
I recommend the Hitachi V212 - made to last, or a cheap soundcard with Soundcard Scope PScope
 

rockitman

Member Sponsor
Sep 20, 2011
6,872
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Northern NY
#8
If you heard the results compared with that from using the Feickert Adjust+ software you would put the Fozgo in the drawer.

The Fozgo measures crosstalk and channel levels. That's it. Adjust+ does that plus a much more important measurement, phase response. The ear is more sensitive to phase, and the azimuth angle at which minimum phase error between channels occurs is often slightly different from that at which crosstalk is equal. I've done many dozens of alignments using Adjust+, to the unanimous delight of customers. One I did recently resulted in him staying up almost all night listening, discovering vast information in the grooves he didn't know was there and realizing the harshness in the treble he had been hearing was due to phase error. He fully intends to come back to me when it's time for a new cartridge. He thought CD wasn't too far behind vinyl on his system, but now it's not in the same galaxy. Maybe he needs a better CD player :)
I'll check it out. Thanks.
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,569
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Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#9
Are you referring to the old CRT oscilloscope, that any one can get at eBay for less than $100? ;)
I recommend the Hitachi V212 - made to last, or a cheap soundcard with Soundcard Scope PScope
I was thinking more on the lines of a Tektronix scope or the software O-scope that I use in my workstations. At least these can do phase and FFT at high sample rates.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
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#11
If you heard the results compared with that from using the Feickert Adjust+ software you would put the Fozgo in the drawer.

The Fozgo measures crosstalk and channel levels. That's it. Adjust+ does that plus a much more important measurement, phase response. The ear is more sensitive to phase, and the azimuth angle at which minimum phase error between channels occurs is often slightly different from that at which crosstalk is equal. I've done many dozens of alignments using Adjust+, to the unanimous delight of customers. One I did recently resulted in him staying up almost all night listening, discovering vast information in the grooves he didn't know was there and realizing the harshness in the treble he had been hearing was due to phase error. He fully intends to come back to me when it's time for a new cartridge. He thought CD wasn't too far behind vinyl on his system, but now it's not in the same galaxy. Maybe he needs a better CD player :)
Sshh! Don't tell Tom, He thinks all differences are due to tone and not actual information that has been previously hidden by equipment due to lack of resolution or setup.
 
Jul 8, 2011
299
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0
ttsetup.com
#15
What Tom thinks he says in writing. What Mark thinks Tom thinks is as usual, just not on. For example, recent on this forum, someone said that when they bypassed their pre-amp the music lost its flesh and was sterile. But put that pre-amp back in and things sounded good again....so.....a straight wire, with maximum resolution and no set-up to speak of, gave less information than adding a pre-amp. Really, when will some guys admit that they do not want accuracy, they want tone. I perfectly understand about resolution, real resolution, as in Brians remarks about properly setting up a cartridge to reduce distortions etc etal blah yah da doe a dear a female dear, ray a drop of golden sun, me a name I call myself, fa a long long way to run...loved a lot of music on that soundtrack.....I LOVE happy music....
Not quite. They want sound that doesn't become thin at some volumes, which is what most passives do. An active preamp often doesn't lose body, weight, and dynamics. Yes, it can introduce colorations and distortions of its own.
 
May 30, 2010
13,970
43
48
Portugal
#16
Not quite. They want sound that doesn't become thin at some volumes, which is what most passives do. An active preamp often doesn't lose body, weight, and dynamics. Yes, it can introduce colorations and distortions of its own.
+1!

I feel happy that you do not feel afraid of something that can introduce controlled distortion - IMHO it is what separates the high-end from audio. High-end designers create electronics that, when appropriately matched, create great listening experiences. Using the words of Nelson Pass

"Our real customers care most about the experience they get when they sit down to listen to their music. We create amplifiers that we like to listen to, on the assumption that we share similar taste. We want our products to invite you to listen. We want you to enjoy the experience so much that you go through your entire record collection - again and again. This, by the way, is a very strong indicator."
 

MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,221
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#17
Not quite. They want sound that doesn't become thin at some volumes, which is what most passives do. An active preamp often doesn't lose body, weight, and dynamics. Yes, it can introduce colorations and distortions of its own.
Brian- Tom hasn't, despite repeated requests, shared how he sets up cartridges in his Yammie.

And Tom sadly doesn't know that you works with Teo that produces one of the better passive devices. So you're more than most, aware of their shortcomings. Not to mention the effect of the volume control.
 

TBone

New Member
Nov 15, 2012
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#19
Sacrilegious perhaps, but I use my Sony W66 professional 16/44 digital recorder w/headphones; to setup a cartridge ...
 

MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,221
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#20
So after all the drama is it the Fozgo or some other device? Is there a consensus on this???
I think the best save for an oscilloscope is the Feickert; the Feickert though is more involved to set up and there is a learning curve. The Foz is a little less money and much easier to use. You can get to the Feickert using the Foz by ear though. Eventually, however, Peter Ledermann will hopefully have his setup device finished too.
 

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