Unable to achieve setup perfection with the Ikeda 407

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#1
Recently upgraded my TW Acustic Raven GT (to the Techdas AF3) and sold it as a set with the Raven 10.5.
Leaving me, at the moment, with the Ikeda 407.
I listen mostly to classical music (specifically piano music) which is very demanding for an analog setup.
With the Raven 10.5 and the ZYX Ultimate Omega, using the SMARTracto, I've achieved excellent results (on my TW Acustic Raven GT).
Unfortunately, with the Ikeda, whether with my Koetsu Urushi Blue Sky or the ZYX Ultimate Omega, I cannot achieve a satisfactory setup.
I get distortion on the Feickert Adujst anti-skating tracks, from the 2nd track on and this clearly shows on complex piano recordings.
I set the P2S length to 295mm on the spot, cartridge is set 51mm from the headshell connection. Also tried a bit to set it to Baerwald IEC alignment, which makes the cartridge to be unaligned with the headshell (read that it’s fine) - but still with no luck.
Thought of purchasing a dedicated MintLP, but I don’t really know what more can it improve on my SMARTractor.

Please help... currently my thoughts are to sell the Ikeda...
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#3

miniguy

Well-Known Member
Dec 18, 2013
318
63
235
San Diego area
#4
Are you sure the horizontal bearing is not sticking? If you float the arm with zero VTF does it show any suspect behavior when gently nudged?
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#5
Are you sure the horizontal bearing is not sticking?
Not quite sure what you mean. What is the problem and its effect?
 

miniguy

Well-Known Member
Dec 18, 2013
318
63
235
San Diego area
#6
Float the arm with zero anti-skate so that the stylus is comfortably away from the platter (or use the stylus guard), then if you gently nudge the arm at the cartridge end toward the spindle, it should smoothly and slowly move, gradually coming to a stop. If it stops abruptly, then the bearing is sticking. If this test looks ok then maybe there’s a problem with the internal spring which creates the VTF. To check this, reset the VTF by setting the VTF dial to zero and use the counterweight to unbalance the arm until the correct VTF is achieved. Play some records.
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#7
Float the arm with zero anti-skate so that the stylus is comfortably away from the platter (or use the stylus guard), then if you gently nudge the arm at the cartridge end toward the spindle, it should smoothly and slowly move, gradually coming to a stop. If it stops abruptly, then the bearing is sticking. If this test looks ok then maybe there’s a problem with the internal spring which creates the VTF. To check this, reset the VTF by setting the VTF dial to zero and use the counterweight to unbalance the arm until the correct VTF is achieved. Play some records.
Thanks miniguy! I’ll try these steps and update.
BTW, the arm is new, purchased only a few months ago.
 

miniguy

Well-Known Member
Dec 18, 2013
318
63
235
San Diego area
#9
BTW, the Ikeda arm, like most Japanese arms, has oddball geometry, so to achieve normal Lofgren A or B alignment, it is necessary to twist the cartridge in the headshell to provide more offset. Without doing this, gross amounts of tracking error will be present. But of course you’ve already done this.
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#10
Is the distortion on piano only on heavy modulation and is it in one or both channels?
It is on heavy modulation. The distortion is mostly on the right channel, but if I play with the antiskate weight even just a bit, things get worse and the left channel distorts as well.
Again, to make myself clear, this is only at the toughest passages, but it is crucial for me as the music I listen to is very demanding.
 

miniguy

Well-Known Member
Dec 18, 2013
318
63
235
San Diego area
#11
Distortion in the right channel reflects mistracking on the outer groove, which means anti-skate force is insufficient. If you apply more anti-skate and, as you say the left channel distorts, that means the inner groove wall is unloaded. This sounds to me that there is not enough VTF overall. Try increasing tracking force to manufacturer’s max, but if you’re already there go another 1/4 to half gram and see if that helps, leaving anti-skate in operation.
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#12
Distortion in the right channel reflects mistracking on the outer groove, which means anti-skate force is insufficient. If you apply more anti-skate and, as you say the left channel distorts, that means the inner groove wall is unloaded. This sounds to me that there is not enough VTF overall. Try increasing tracking force to manufacturer’s max, but if you’re already there go another 1/4 to half gram and see if that helps, leaving anti-skate in operation.
Thanks, already tried that, it improved by a very small, and insufficient, way.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
15,189
4,508
940
London
#14
Shakti has an Ikeda, but prefers not to use his koetsu in them. A10 audio in Amsterdam uses zyx on Ikeda, call him and check his experience? He is helpful. On this forum, number95 has both zyx and Ikeda but he uses his zyx with the Graham elite, and the Kai with the Ikeda. But he surely would have tried the Ikeda zyx combo so check with him too?
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
4,944
1,677
680
Utah
#15
Recently upgraded my TW Acustic Raven GT (to the Techdas AF3) and sold it as a set with the Raven 10.5.
Leaving me, at the moment, with the Ikeda 407.
I listen mostly to classical music (specifically piano music) which is very demanding for an analog setup.
With the Raven 10.5 and the ZYX Ultimate Omega, using the SMARTracto, I've achieved excellent results (on my TW Acustic Raven GT).
Unfortunately, with the Ikeda, whether with my Koetsu Urushi Blue Sky or the ZYX Ultimate Omega, I cannot achieve a satisfactory setup.
I get distortion on the Feickert Adujst anti-skating tracks, from the 2nd track on and this clearly shows on complex piano recordings.
I set the P2S length to 295mm on the spot, cartridge is set 51mm from the headshell connection. Also tried a bit to set it to Baerwald IEC alignment, which makes the cartridge to be unaligned with the headshell (read that it’s fine) - but still with no luck.
Thought of purchasing a dedicated MintLP, but I don’t really know what more can it improve on my SMARTractor.

Please help... currently my thoughts are to sell the Ikeda...
Had the same problem with my early Ikeda arm, something with the geometry never managed to get it to track an entire LP side properly with any cartridge including their own. I’m told that they tweaked the later generations and fixed the overhang problem but I don’t know if that’s true or not.

David
 

Uk Paul

Member Sponsor
Sep 27, 2012
422
58
260
UK
#16
Iaxel,

My first thought is not to play any LP's that you value until this is solved, this could damage them. It sounds like the stylus can not follow complex modulated groove, which could be geometry, vtf or cantilever compliance related. Can you provide Ikeda recomended settings for overhang and offset, as you have suggested 295mm p-s. Also, is the distortion consistent across whole lp side? And is the distortion always around the same frequency, or keys on piano?
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#18
Shakti has an Ikeda, but prefers not to use his koetsu in them. A10 audio in Amsterdam uses zyx on Ikeda, call him and check his experience? He is helpful. On this forum, number95 has both zyx and Ikeda but he uses his zyx with the Graham elite, and the Kai with the Ikeda. But he surely would have tried the Ikeda zyx combo so check with him too?
Thanks bonzo!
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#19
Had the same problem with my early Ikeda arm, something with the geometry never managed to get it to track an entire LP side properly with any cartridge including their own. I’m told that they tweaked the later generations and fixed the overhang problem but I don’t know if that’s true or not.

David
Thanks David! That’s what I've been reading (about the geomtry issue). Hope they had fixed it, otherwise It’ll end up in the classifieds...
 

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
178
29
93
#20
Iaxel,

My first thought is not to play any LP's that you value until this is solved, this could damage them. It sounds like the stylus can not follow complex modulated groove, which could be geometry, vtf or cantilever compliance related. Can you provide Ikeda recomended settings for overhang and offset, as you have suggested 295mm p-s. Also, is the distortion consistent across whole lp side? And is the distortion always around the same frequency, or keys on piano?
Thanks. The distortion is mot consistent across the whole lp side, and it’s not across the same frequency. It’s just at extremely difficult passages (where most tables and arms fail) that the problem resides.
 

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