My thoughts on cartridge/arm set up

marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,313
197
63
Far Hills, NJ
I'm amused by the trials and tribulations you all seem to be going through with fairly straight forward pivoted arms that are far more easily adjusted than my Goldmund T3F. I have no sympathy for you at all. First, there's a special place in hell for the idiot who devised the counterweight system fo the T3F that makes fine adjustments for tracking force essentially impossible to perform. It's not bad enough that tiny changes in VTA (fortunately easy to adjust), azimuth (impossible to adjust-requires shims) and tracking force make huge differences. But now throw in the dreaded silicone oil damping trough, and see if you can get that right without a prescription for Prozac or your pharmaceutical of choice. Not only do I have to use lab pipette to adjust the amount in the try to +/- 10ul, but silicone oil (approx 300 cps viscosity) evaporates with time and so the levels have to be adjusted regularly. And that task is best done by ear as there are no markings in the trough that are useful for this purpose. I love this arm to death (my own eventually), but it's like controlling a wayward child as it takes great patience and experience to get it right. Maybe someday I can graduate to an arm that's easier to set up, but this is my set-up now and has been for over 25 years with excellent performance despite a steep learning curve with significant liabilities.
 
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bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,225
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London
Think you are going to stay with LTs, Marty, so the Vyger or the Bergmann Galder, or getting the Bergmann Odin tonearm onto another table
 

Lagonda

VIP/Donor
Feb 4, 2014
520
252
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Denmark
Which linear tracker are you using there Lagonda? Are you using a Fozgometer to set?
A Maplenoll arm, basically a ET 1 arm with silicon trough in front of the cartridge, a la Townshend Excalibur. I set by ear !
 

Tango

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Mar 12, 2017
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Marc - I will show you in detail what to look out for on the classical side when you dial in VTA next time we meet.

If you aren’t that experienced listening to classical, vocals can be a very handy initial VTA setup metric - in very simple terms when the back end (of arm) is running too high, the vocals can tend to cause sibilants and as the rear starts to get lower, these sibilants will start to diminish to nothing. Riding too low at the rear can make the sound too slow and overly smoothed over.

I use a lot of instrument tone on violins and cellos as well as sound staging to know when I am optimised. Full orchestral layering is a helpful metric too as well as tympani speed. Anyway - I can go on and on so best just to demonstrate.
I am a beginner at this. This is my thought.

Believe it or not the vta adjustment is a path for me to audio enlightment. I am not only talking about the sonic benefit of it but the learning process of adjusting vta also led me to see how other things down the chain could mask my sound and misguided me to other fixes and patches. A good setup vinyl front can lead you to musical truth of a recording and also a simple much more cost effective system.

Anyway, What you said about the effect of lowering or raising the rear is not quite universal to all carts. One cart of mine on AS2000 right now works in opposite direction. Initially I was given guidance in adjusting vta with some pieces of classical music. But now I like to tune my vta with vocals first. Vocal leads me to the starting point of having a musical "presence." Then I use woody instruments with strings and piano to get the bite and nuance that help fake you real. In the end it is about strinking that right balance of weight, density and transient response imo. The tone comes from the cart itself I cant really do anything about it. I could add some tweaks to color the sound down the line but then I wouldnt be hearing the actual recording and the cart itself.

It would be very lovely to hear your Atlantis Bill.

Kindest regards,
Tang
 
Likes: PeterA

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,258
651
113
UK
I am a beginner at this. This is my thought.

Believe it or not the vta adjustment is a path for me to audio enlightment. I am not only talking about the sonic benefit of it but the learning process of adjusting vta also led me to see how other things down the chain could mask my sound and misguided me to other fixes and patches. A good setup vinyl front can lead you to musical truth of a recording and also a simple much more cost effective system.

Anyway, What you said about the effect of lowering or raising the rear is not quite universal to all carts. One cart of mine on AS2000 right now works in opposite direction. Initially I was given guidance in adjusting vta with some pieces of classical music. But now I like to tune my vta with vocals first. Vocal leads me to the starting point of having a musical "presence." Then I use woody instruments with strings and piano to get the bite and nuance that help fake you real. In the end it is about strinking that right balance of weight, density and transient response imo. The tone comes from the cart itself I cant really do anything about it. I could add some tweaks to color the sound down the line but then I wouldnt be hearing the actual recording and the cart itself.

It would be very lovely to hear your Atlantis Bill.

Kindest regards,
Tang
Hi Tang,

If you ever come to UK on a visit you are most welcome to hear the Atlantis and Indian. The General will surely like your visit too - he lives just down the road from me.

In terms of your comments, I have often experienced substantial tonal variations in carts with VTA. My current nos Decca Blue can go from hard and biting to super lush on violin tone all in the space of a few tones. That said the Deccas were known for this. That said, I found Lyra to be tonally sensitive also - too high on the rear could give a drier and slightly brittle violin timbre whilst too low can be too slow without the transient leading edge speed.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,536
434
83
North Shore of Boston
I am a beginner at this. This is my thought.

Believe it or not the vta adjustment is a path for me to audio enlightment. I am not only talking about the sonic benefit of it but the learning process of adjusting vta also led me to see how other things down the chain could mask my sound and misguided me to other fixes and patches. A good setup vinyl front can lead you to musical truth of a recording and also a simple much more cost effective system.

Anyway, What you said about the effect of lowering or raising the rear is not quite universal to all carts. One cart of mine on AS2000 right now works in opposite direction. Initially I was given guidance in adjusting vta with some pieces of classical music. But now I like to tune my vta with vocals first. Vocal leads me to the starting point of having a musical "presence." Then I use woody instruments with strings and piano to get the bite and nuance that help fake you real. In the end it is about strinking that right balance of weight, density and transient response imo. The tone comes from the cart itself I cant really do anything about it. I could add some tweaks to color the sound down the line but then I wouldnt be hearing the actual recording and the cart itself.

It would be very lovely to hear your Atlantis Bill.

Kindest regards,
Tang
Very interesting Tang. Are you experimenting and learning for each cartridge/3012R combination to maximize that for some particular LPs or are you discovering that you can continue to adjust one particular combination for different LPs in your collection? Are you finding that the 3012R is easy enough to adjust for this purpose?

Also, have you revisited the Axiom and SAT arms given your growing understanding that "vta adjustment is a path for me to audio enlightenment."?

I admire your willingness to explore and experiment and learn. You seem to be really enjoying your vinyl laboratory.
 

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
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Bangkok
Very interesting Tang. Are you experimenting and learning for each cartridge/3012R combination to maximize that for some particular LPs or are you discovering that you can continue to adjust one particular combination for different LPs in your collection? Are you finding that the 3012R is easy enough to adjust for this purpose?

Also, have you revisited the Axiom and SAT arms given your growing understanding that "vta adjustment is a path for me to audio enlightenment."?

I admire your willingness to explore and experiment and learn. You seem to be really enjoying your vinyl laboratory.
Dear Peter,

I use the same five lps adjusting any particular cartridge/3012R combination. Once I am done, I am done. The 3012R is very easy, durable and practical to adjust...best suit people like me.

My audio enlightenment thing is really more complicated to explain. It is like you find truth in one thing and lead to another. The front end is the closest truth to a recording. If one's objective of listening is to hear more the recording as is with certain presentation from a cart, then you need to get the setting right. To get the setting right and really hear it, you have to strip out the fancies in your system. Those fancies mask the sound one way or another. I find that without those masking you can hear more, a lot more of the recording and every small adjustment you make you will hear. There are more bad recordings than good ones. You may tailor the sound to your ears, your cup of tea using audiophile gadgets later on. But when tuning cart, you will hear less if you have those masking and slim chance of getting it right. With good recording, good pressing and the right cart setup, even a system with just decent gears will sound excellent. Many of us have heard some very simple systems no fancy power cords, etc, but with a good setup vinyl front sounded terrific...even better than a few hundred thousand dollars system. I see your system is very simple without tweaks. I believe this is why you hear so much when you adjust your cart.

I do play with SAT and Axiom with various carts on the Techdas to explore things when I have time and in a fun mood. Bonzo always tells me to try this and that because I can quite easily get gears to try. The other day A dealer sent me a Thales Statement to try but I didnt and sent it back. Some time it gets a bit exhausting trying things.

Kind regards,
Tang
 
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Likes: Lagonda

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