Turntable setup advice needed for newbie with top cartridges

ACHiPo

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Just received my Aida Mammoth Gold mkII and the cantilever looks hairline breakable - Yow. Better order a practice cartridge or two. I was thinking a Denon 103r because I can play with various headshells, but it's conical tip may not be challenging enough for me to develop set-up skills. Not familiar with carts at Denon's price point- more research required. Maybe I should punt and ask forum members in another thread.
Something like this might be a good "learner" cartridge assuming your phono stage can handle the 4 mV output without being overloaded. It has a microline stylus that should make cartridge alignment changes audible and you're only out a couple hundred bucks if you trash the cantilever.
 
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KPC

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@ACHiPo
Thanks for the cart suggestion. I’ll order one tomorrow. I do have a lejonklou3 phono stage which I can use to practice on.

Regarding oscilloscope vs software, seems like the oscilloscope is the most accurate while the software “should” be just as accurate. Unfortunately, I cannot find proof that this is true. Also, an oscilloscope is about half the cost of AnalogMajik. I haven’t been able to figure out how to connect and use an oscilloscope online. I’ll ask J.R. when I drop off my carts for evaluation.
 

KPC

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A salesperson at Artesian Fidelity said he compared the AnalogMajik to an oscilloscope, the software was accurate enough. After talking to him awhile he seemed extremely knowledgeable and customer service focused.
 

KPC

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Great news. J.R. Boisclair at WAM engineering offered to mount all my MC carts on the headshells of my Kuzma 4Point arms so all I have to do is swap headshells.

I also just received Audio-Technica VM740ML MicroLine cart so I can practice on.

Thanks to all for the support and advice
 
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tima

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Great news. J.R. Boisclair at WAM engineering offered to mount all my MC carts on the headshells of my Kuzma 4Point arms so all I have to do is swap headshells.

You'll want to check/change VTF, SRA, Azimuth, possibly Anti-Skate each time you swap a cartridge.
 
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Solypsa

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You'll want to check/change VTF, SRA, Azimuth, possibly Anti-Skate each time you swap a cartridge.
Iirc Wam will measure your carts and make shims ( if needed ) so azimuth can be 'equalized' between them once all mounted in headshells. One less step when swapping...

Caveat: I haven't tried it yet...
 

tima

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Iirc Wam will measure your carts and make shims ( if needed ) so azimuth can be 'equalized' between them once all mounted in headshells. One less step when swapping...

Caveat: I haven't tried it yet...

Perhaps so. My inclination is toward self-sufficiency.

I'm not a fan of shims -- or what is the tradeoff of convenience in having someone install a shim versus the cartridge/tonearm/headshell interface?
 
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Solypsa

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Good points all. Just thought OP should know since WAM is coming over anyway...
 

PeterA

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Perhaps so. My inclination is toward self-sufficiency.

I'm not a fan of shims -- or what is the tradeoff of convenience in having someone install a shim versus the cartridge/tonearm/headshell interface?

I would want to know if one can hear the effect of the shim material by testing a thin flat piece between the cartridge and head shell. If you can hear a difference one must Then decide if the convenience of preset azimuth overrides the change in sound. It is possible that JR chose the material very carefully for minimal sonic affect.

In my opinion, if one is willing to learn how to adjust vertical tracking force and vertical tracking angle and anti skate for best sound by listening, being able to adjust azimuth is not that much more effort. Zenith is a different matter.

I am with you Tim, it can be a challenge but quite rewarding to understand how to set up a cartridge yourself. Some people do it through measurements and others do it by listening or some combination of the two. And with a variety of different tools.
 
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ACHiPo

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Great news. J.R. Boisclair at WAM engineering offered to mount all my MC carts on the headshells of my Kuzma 4Point arms so all I have to do is swap headshells.

I also just received Audio-Technica VM740ML MicroLine cart so I can practice on.

Thanks to all for the support and advice
KPC,
That’s great. I’d suggest trying it yourself with the AT cart (Mount, align, adjust VTA and azimuth by ear). You’ll then have a baseline. I’d also recommend having JR watch you do the last one and critique your technique. You should be pretty self-sufficient after that.
Evan
 

gleeds

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A salesperson at Artesian Fidelity said he compared the AnalogMajik to an oscilloscope, the software was accurate enough. After talking to him awhile he seemed extremely knowledgeable and customer service focused.
Chris at Artisan Fidelity is the Founder and CEO of Artisan Fidelity. What I love about Chris aside from his willingness to share his extensive experience generously with anyone, is the massive depth of his knowledge in all things analog, So glad to see you are getting great advice all the way around!
 

mtemur

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I would want to know if one can hear the effect of the shim material by testing a thin flat piece between the cartridge and head shell. If you can hear a difference one must Then decide if the convenience of preset azimuth overrides the change in sound. It is possible that JR chose the material very carefully for minimal sonic affect.
I wouldn't rely on that and I highly doubt if there is a consensus on a material that has minimal sonic effect. on the contrary I've very strong suspicions on using shims between cartridge and headshell because it will definitely have a sonic effect. I share the same opinion with @tima on this.
 
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KPC

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About 6yrs ago, I started in-depth research into high-end audio. I had no clue how much it was going to cost or what was out there. My first foray was into Century Stereo (closed now). I was very intimated in going in to check out the stereos likely afraid of a pushy salesman. After a few times looking at the door, one day I finally went in. It was there that I heard the GoldenEar Triton speakers and discovered 3D soundstage. They were proud of their Parasound gear saying it competes with the best. My second store I went into was Audio Vision in Berkeley where underling salesperson pushed me to give a budget, so when I choose a number $20k, he then tried to push a meh boxstore sounding system down my throat and said many wrong things (I’ve already started my online research so I know he was lying) to get the sale. I sent them a seething email which included all the deceptive things he was saying. Although upper management reached out and apologized, it was then that I started researching on my own not trusting commission bias salesmen.

I spoke at length to Chris at Artisan Fidelity who earned my trust, putting customer before commission. I'm planning to purchase the 4point from him hopefully along with a Schroeder CB, Miyajima mono cart, and maybe his upgraded Groovemaster II for my SPU sidetrip. Per Chris, the CB mates well with the VDH GC.

My used VPI Avenger came with VPI's arms 12" Ref 3D Arm and 10.5" Signature Arm. VPI had an upgrade to their Fatboy, but JB said that the FB had significant manufacturing inconsistencies so I'll sell them.

JB generously agreed to install my carts on Kuzma headshells using shims to make cartridge change easy. He also said that he checked after changes the usual cartridge install measurements and was satisfied that the need to recheck was minimal.

On a side note, Kuzma's new SAFIR 9 tonearm's arm tube is fabricated from sapphire! Excited to hear reviews of this unusual material.
 

scot

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Jan 4, 2018
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Hi tima

I’m curious, what is it about the Kirmuss rcm that you don’t like? I noticed you told a member the you would avoid that machine. Is there a rcm that you do recommend? Thank you.

Best regards
Scot
 

tima

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Hi tima

I’m curious, what is it about the Kirmuss rcm that you don’t like? I noticed you told a member the you would avoid that machine. Is there a rcm that you do recommend? Thank you.

Best regards
Scot

Hi Scot,

Since this thread is about cartridges and turntable setup, your question about Kirmuss is probably better suited for the Record Cleaning subforum so we don't take this thread too far afield. (Feel free to start a new thread there.)

Wrt a recommendation, it depends on how far you want to go and how many records you have. If you want state-of-the-art record cleaning I recommend the system that I and David (@dminches) and others built, as described in the "tima's DIY RCM" thread found in that forum. It is a long thread with tons of good information. We are also fortunate to have participation from Neil Antin whom I consider the world expert on record cleaning. Here's a link to a picture of David's system; mine is very similar.

If you want a one-record-at-a-time desktop machine, I suggest investigating the Degritter and the latest AudioDesk RCM. Both are okay. There is discussion of the DeGritter and other machines in the Record Cleaning Forum.
 

KPC

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I just purchased 3 tonearms from Chris: 4point, Schroeder CB-L, Schick.
The 4point will be set up w shims for my MC carts, the CB-L will be dedicated to the VDH GC because Chris says it’s an ideal match, and the Schick will be for my SPUs.

I’m also plan to develop mounting my carts myself so will purchase setup tools including an oscilloscope which WAM will tutor. WAM also suggests that my unipivot VPI arms are not ideal for learning.

Any suggestions for another tonearm brand/model to practice cart setup?
I prefer not to break the bank…again…but should be able to sonically hear my adjustments to learn.
 

Gregadd

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Good eyesight and a steady hand.
 

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