Using Wally Tools

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 3, 2014
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In the thread Kuzma Safir 9 user Bonesey Jonesey wrote an interesting post describing how he uses Wally Tools to setup a cartridge. Since we have threads on other turntable oriented set-up devices, I thought it appropriate to have one about using Wally Tools. This consolidates the topic and avoids scattering posts related to it in other threads.



Bonesy Jonesy wrote:

"Hi 'No Regrets',

My 2 pennies worth on my current experineces and knowledge to date regarding setting the VTA on a Kuzma 4Point 11" tonearm;

Like other WBF members here, once I had initially set and locked into position the VTA on my 4Point 11" (connected to my Kuzma XL DC TT) using a 180gram LP as the middle ground reference I have not altered it since.

However, the re-setting up (last few months) of my tonearm and cartridge parameters including of course the VTA (and SRA) has been quite rigorous once I had purchased all of the latest versions of the Wally Tools (Wally Reference, Wally Skater, Wally Scope & Wally Universal Tractor) and the AnalogMagik V1 software and discs a few months back.

The use of the Wally Tools in setting up my tonearm and cartridge (all parameters for both) and the AnalogMagik V1 in setting up my TT (checking for speed and wow & flutter etc.) and cartridge (all parameters) has made a huge impact and big improvement to the sound I am now hearing from my LP collection.

Once I had set the tonearm to be perfectly horizontal to the platter using the Wally Reference, I set both the VTA on my 4Point 11" tonearm and my XL DC TT tonearm tower to zero with this being the set reference to start from.

Then with using the Wally Scope I determined the cartridges static and dynamic (platter moving) SRA and VTA. From these values, I then adjusted the VTA on my XL DC tonearm tower using the installed Kuzma VTA digital gauge (i.e. I didn't have to use the VTA adjustment on the 4Point 11" with having a fine adjustable height tonearm tower with a very precise digital VTA gauge). After the tonearm tower height adjustment I then rechecked my cartridges static SRA and VTA (first) and then the dynamic SRA and VTA using my Wally Scope to make sure it was within the audio industry recommended values.

Regarding the changing of the VTA for different records, I read online that Wally Tools has analysed and assessed differences in cartridge dynamic VTA and dynamic SRA with different record thicknesses being played for a multitude of different cartridges, and found that making very minor adjustments to changing the VTA for different record thicknesses is not clearly audible and therefore suggest not making minor adjustments to the VTA for different record thicknesses on the risk of changing / upsetting other set cartridge parameters.

Hope the above info helps you."



Contributions to this topic are welcome !
 
Bonesy,

What 'audio industry recommended values' are you using? 92° ?

I've found the most useful of all the Wally Tools is the Wally Reference. It enables getting the botom of the headshell near-perfectly horizontal to the record surface, front-to-back and side-to-side.
 
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Bonesy,

What 'audio industry recommended values' are you using? 92° ?

I've found the most useful of all the Wally Tools is the Wally Reference. It enables getting the botom of the headshell near-perfectly horizontal to the record surface, front-to-back and side-to-side.
Hi 'tima',
Yes using 92° for the cartridge's dynamic SRA as the reference guideline.

With the Wally Scope I calculate the dynamic SRA with the online Wally Calculator https://www.wallyanalog.com/wallyscope-calculator

Yes 100% agree, the Wally Reference tool is a great / excellent tool for obtaining near-perfect horizontal alignment between the platter and underside of the head shell.

The other Wally Tools are also great in setting up a tonearm and cartridge along with the excellent support from Wally Tools particularly via emails direct and personally from J.R and his excellent YouTube videos on the set-up and use of the Wally Tools and his excellent blogs with audio industry experts discussing important and interesting topics on TT, tonearm and cartridge set up's etc.

Personally I think all of the Wally Tools are invaluable for setting up the tonearm and cartridge correctly to get the optimum performance from them and from the vinyl your playing and listening to.
 
Looking through the manual for the WallyScope I found this informative chart:

Change in tonearm height equals degree of SRA.jpg
I am curious to know the method used by @J.R. Boisclair to arrive at the Tonearm Height Change = 1° SRA Change. The numbers don't match up to the calculation I've always done to get the 1° SRA Change, and I may be doing it wrong and might learn something:D.

The method I was taught:
Multiply the effective length in mm by 2 to yield the Diameter of the circle that would be made by the tonearm + cartridge.
Calculate the Circumference of that circle = Diameter * Pi (3.1416)
Divide the Circumference by 360 degrees.

For example:
230mm effective length * 2 =460mm
460mm * 3.1416 = 1445.136
1445.136 ÷ 360 = ~4.0mm tonearm height change for 1° SRA Change.
 
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I found similar result like your’s @tima. I believe your approach is correct, the difference can be the result of vertical distance between stylus and pivot point. I use pretty basic calculation that gives a close approximation.

tan1(degree) X effective length
 
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Looking through the manual for the WallyScope I found this informative chart:

View attachment 114230
I am curious to know the method used by @J.R. Boisclair to arrive at the Tonearm Height Change = 1° SRA Change. The numbers don't match up to the calculation I've always done to get the 1° SRA Change, and I may be doing it wrong and might learn something:D.

The method I was taught:
Multiply the effective length in mm by 2 to yield the Diameter of the circle that would be made by the tonearm + cartridge.
Calculate the Circumference of that circle = Diameter * Pi (3.1416)
Divide the Circumference by 360 degrees.

For example:
230mm effective length * 2 =460mm
460mm * 3.1416 = 1445.136
1445.136 ÷ 360 = ~4.0mm tonearm height change for 1° SRA Change.
Hi 'tima',
Looking at your example calculation i.e. for 230mm tonearm EL, requires a 4.0mm height change for 1°SRA change vs Wally Tools value of 4.4mm height change for 1°SRA change i.e. a 0.4mm difference, I am guessing that Wally Tools values are taking into account the dynamic SRA angle and not the static SRA angle i.e. a drop of 0.4mm of the cartridge as it plays on a rotating LP ?
 
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Hi 'tima',
Looking at your example calculation i.e. for 230mm tonearm EL, requires a 4.0mm height change for 1°SRA change vs Wally Tools value of 4.4mm height change for 1°SRA change i.e. a 0.4mm difference, I am guessing that Wally Tools values are taking into account the dynamic SRA angle and not the static SRA angle i.e. a drop of 0.4mm of the cartridge as it plays on a rotating LP ?

That could be.

It would be interesting to know if that is the case and if so another column could give the tonearm height change for 'static' 1° height change.

If the chart is for dynamic stylus rake angle then it gives a higher number than the calculated value described above. However, my vague understanding of dynamic SRA has it at a lower angle than the static SRA. Running in a groove can affect the cartridge suspension such that cartridge runs a tad lower in the groove Maybe I'm not understanding correctly - that's always possible!

Cf. a Stereophile review of the Ortofon Century cartridge: Setup was straightforward, and with the arm parallel to the record surface, the stylus rake angle (SRA) was 92.7°. Under dynamic conditions this would be even closer to 92°, but remember: The cutter-head SRAs measured for Jon M. Risch and Bruce R. Maier's groundbreaking article in the March 1981 issue of Audio magazine, "More Than One Vertical Tracking Angle," ranged from 91° to 94°—so 92° is a reasonable compromise.

After browsing the WallyScope instructions I see the effort undertaken to address many of the problematic issues associated with doing an SRA measurement using a USB microscope -- the method originally explained by Wally Malewicz and advocated by others.

I tried that method on several occasions and eventually gave up. Positioning a standalone USB scope such that the camera lens is precisely parallel to the stylus was daunting. And the software available with these scopes was less than satisfactory for drawing lines to generate an angle. The WallyScope, from what I can tell, is the first tool designed for its specific task. I give JR a lot of credit for undertaking its creation.

Even with the WallyScope, the physical adjustment of the cartridge becomes an iterative process across SRA, azimuth and VTF. It seems like you may be able asymptotically to approach a final exact position. Which is why I believe @mtemur suggests "VTA should be carefully set during setup process and never be touched."

My own view, for now at least, is for people who want to use a tool to get SRA at a number, say 92°, use that number as the baseline for further adjusting by ear.
 
That could be.

It would be interesting to know if that is the case and if so another column could give the tonearm height change for 'static' 1° height change.

If the chart is for dynamic stylus rake angle then it gives a higher number than the calculated value described above. However, my vague understanding of dynamic SRA has it at a lower angle than the static SRA. Running in a groove can affect the cartridge suspension such that cartridge runs a tad lower in the groove Maybe I'm not understanding correctly - that's always possible!

Cf. a Stereophile review of the Ortofon Century cartridge: Setup was straightforward, and with the arm parallel to the record surface, the stylus rake angle (SRA) was 92.7°. Under dynamic conditions this would be even closer to 92°, but remember: The cutter-head SRAs measured for Jon M. Risch and Bruce R. Maier's groundbreaking article in the March 1981 issue of Audio magazine, "More Than One Vertical Tracking Angle," ranged from 91° to 94°—so 92° is a reasonable compromise.

After browsing the WallyScope instructions I see the effort undertaken to address many of the problematic issues associated with doing an SRA measurement using a USB microscope -- the method originally explained by Wally Malewicz and advocated by others.

I tried that method on several occasions and eventually gave up. Positioning a standalone USB scope such that the camera lens is precisely parallel to the stylus was daunting. And the software available with these scopes was less than satisfactory for drawing lines to generate an angle. The WallyScope, from what I can tell, is the first tool designed for its specific task. I give JR a lot of credit for undertaking its creation.

Even with the WallyScope, the physical adjustment of the cartridge becomes an iterative process across SRA, azimuth and VTF. It seems like you may be able asymptotically to approach a final exact position. Which is why I believe @mtemur suggests "VTA should be carefully set during setup process and never be touched."

My own view, for now at least, is for people who want to use a tool to get SRA at a number, say 92°, use that number as the baseline for further adjusting by ear.
Hi 'tima',
Yes, when the stylus is sitting on the record on a rotating platter, I can clearly see with the Wally Scope the cantilever angle changing and therefore the SRA also changing.
I haven't done a direct comparison on the cantilever angle and SRA between a static shot and a dynamic shot both tatken with the Wally Scope. Would be a good exercise (for academic interest sake) to determine the differences.

The Wally Scope and its accompanying software is a great tool to determine one's static and dynamic cartridge SRA and VTA. It is also a great tool for checking the condition of your stylus using the 10x microscope magnification.

However, even with the Wally Scope it takes some time (two full separate days for me) in learning how to correctly set it up with my Kuzma XL DC TT and 4Point 11" tonearm etc. and the learning curve to using it correctly inc.l the software. I also had to buy from Amazon a separate height adjustable scissor jack small mounting table (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QPR8V3M?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1) and a small mounting shelf that bolts onto my main TT shelf (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09HMQTSBS?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1) (as recommended by Wally Tools / J.R in one of their / his YouTube videos) in order to get the Wally Scope into the correct and ideal position to take good photos. I also (with great guidance from J.R) had to find the best lighting to use behind the cartridge to act as the ideal background for sharp photos of the stylus being in focus along with the cantilever.

The effort and time I have had to put into using the Wally Scope to obatin acceptabel images to be able to determine the VTA and SRA though has been well worth it. And for me personally it has taught me a lot (along with the other Wally Tools) of how important (very important) in having your tonearm and cartridge set up correctly to get the best out of them. I very much enjoy using the Wally Scope and am very pleased I bought one.

One of the reasons I bought the Wally Scope, was that I tried to use one of the top of the range Dinolite USB microscope fitted to atop of the range Dinolite microscope stand and accompanying attachments, I couldn't obtain good enough images to be able to determine the SRA and VTA with any respectable accuracy (with trying to determine the angles manually).
 
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My Wally Scope set-up with my Kuzma XL DC TT & 4Point 11" tonearm;

Shown in the photos is the different Wally Scope microscope lenses I am using i.e. 2x magnification (silver lens) for setting up the X,Y & Z axis position of the Wally Scope to the cartridge's cantilever and stylus and later for the dynamic SRA photos (i.e. stylus on the 'Wally Tools Trimmed Record' with the platter turning very slowly and carefully by hand just to take the Wally Scope shot in order to determine the 'Dynamic Cantilever Angle' with entering this determined angle value into the online Wally Scope Calculator), 4x magnification (black lens with red stripe) for the static (with the stylus in free space) measurements for the 'Contact Edge to Cantilever Angle' which both values determined from the software are entered into the online Wally Scope Calculator (before the 'Dynamic Cantilever Angle is determined and entered), and 10x magnification (black lens with yellow stripe) for checking stylus condition.

Note in the photos the use of small (1") G Clamps to anchor the Wally Scope to the scissor jack stand and anchor the scissor jack stand to the mounting shelf (that is bolted to my main TT shelf) in order to make it super rigid and stable both for when adjusting the fine focus of the Wally Scope to hopefully achieve well focused images and for vibration isolation (i.e. the Wally Scope is super sensitive to moving out of focus even with very very small vibrations e.g. it could detect me walking across my floor even when I walked super quietly and slowly !).

All in all the Wally Scope is a super sensitive (to light sources and movement) fine scientific instrument !

thumbnail_IMG_4191.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4190.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4187.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4183.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4182.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4179.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4176.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4175.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4173.jpg
 
Some images from the Wally Scope of my MSL Eminent Ex stylus and cantilever.

Some of the images were used to determine the 'Dynamic Cantilever Angle' and the 'Contact Edge to Cantilever Angle' as you can see by the values of the angles determined from the Wally Scope software from the lines I plotted and entered in the images;

Measurements for determining the 'Dynamic Cantilever Angle' i.e. rotating platter;
thumbnail_IMG_4215.jpg

Measurements for determining the 'Dynamic Cantilever Angle' i.e. rotating platter;
thumbnail_IMG_4213.jpg

Measurements for determining the 'Contact Edge to Cantilever Angle' ;
thumbnail_IMG_4207.jpg

Measurements for determining the 'Contact Edge to Cantilever Angle' (zoomed in image);
thumbnail_IMG_4203.jpg

Measurements for determining the 'Contact Edge to Cantilever Angle' (zoomed in image);
thumbnail_IMG_4196.jpg

Measurements for determining the 'Contact Edge to Cantilever Angle' ;
thumbnail_IMG_4186.jpg

Measurements for determining the 'Contact Edge to Cantilever Angle' (zoomed in image);
thumbnail_IMG_4184.jpg

Image to get the correct focus for the stylus and cantilever for the measurements to determine the 'Contact Edge to Cantilever Angle'
thumbnail_IMG_4181.jpg

Image to get the correct focus for the stylus and cantilever for the measurements to determine the 'Dynamic Cantilever Angle' (with platter stationary) ;
thumbnail_IMG_4180.jpg

Image to get the correct focus for the stylus and cantilever for the measurements to determine the 'Dynamic Cantilever Angle' (with platter stationary) ;
thumbnail_IMG_4178.jpg
 
@Bonesy Jonesy you’re lucky to have a cartridge that has a symmetrical stylus. IMHO/IME measuring VTA/SRA with usb microscope is an approximation rather than precision but it gives you an idea.
Yes 'mtemur', agree with you that using a USB microscope only gives you an approximation of the SRA and VTA.

However, the Wally Scope is far more accurate than a USB microscope (as I have both) as it has been designed and built specifically to take images in order to measure and determine the static and dynamic SRA and VTA with the easy to use accompanying software tool.

Yes, I am fortunate to have a cartridge with a symmetrical stylus profile as it is quite straight forward to obtain the required measurements and angles from the contact edges of the stylus.

I can imagine getting the contact edge of say a non symmetrical 'Shibata' type of stylus would be a lot more difficult and challenging, although the Wally Tools instructions does describe best way to do it for such a stylus type (which may be having to increase the focus power with using the 10x magnification lens on the Wally Scope).
 
Note in the photos the use of small (1") G Clamps to anchor the Wally Scope to the scissor jack stand and anchor the scissor jack stand to the mounting shelf (that is bolted to my main TT shelf) in order to make it super rigid and stable both for when adjusting the fine focus of the Wally Scope to hopefully achieve well focused images and for vibration isolation (i.e. the Wally Scope is super sensitive to moving out of focus even with very very small vibrations e.g. it could detect me walking across my floor even when I walked super quietly and slowly !).

Thank you BJ for your 3 posts of pictures and commentary -- excellent job. I was going to ask for pictures of the WallyScope in action, and you exceeded my expectations.

I liked seeing your scissor jack and arrangement just to get the WS in position. I assume there is also a laptop nearby. A lot of physical things and fiddling to deal with. I've been through the Dinolte USB microscope thing and various mounting devices just as you have and appreciate that we both know the issues there. That gives an appreciation for what is accomplished with WallyScope -- even with it there is a lot of work involved that takes the dedication, patience and investment of a vinylist to achieve!
 
Yes 'mtemur', agree with you that using a USB microscope only gives you an approximation of the SRA and VTA.

Here is about as good as I could get it with a Dinolite:

Benz LP S SRA.jpg

This was with the stylus resting on a CD. I have no idea if the red base line is at 0-degrees. Did not have a lot of confidence in this effort
 
Here is about as good as I could get it with a Dinolite:

View attachment 114346

This was with the stylus resting on a CD. I have no idea if the red base line is at 0-degrees. Did not have a lot of confidence in this effort
A great image of the stylus 'tima' A+

One of the great pluses with the Wally Scope is that it comes with a record that has been trimmed i.e. had the leading edge removed. This allows you to place the stylus right at the very edge of the record in a groove allowing you a much better chance of having the record edge in relatively good focus in relation (to draw a horizontal line across it for the dynamic SRA calc) to the full focusing of the stylus and cantilever.
 
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Thank you BJ for your 3 posts of pictures and commentary -- excellent job. I was going to ask for pictures of the WallyScope in action, and you exceeded my expectations.

I liked seeing your scissor jack and arrangement just to get the WS in position. I assume there is also a laptop nearby. A lot of physical things and fiddling to deal with. I've been through the Dinolte USB microscope thing and various mounting devices just as you have and appreciate that we both know the issues there. That gives an appreciation for what is accomplished with WallyScope -- even with it there is a lot of work involved that takes the dedication, patience and investment of a vinylist to achieve!
Hi 'tima',
Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated.

Yes, it takes time and patience and dexterity to set up the Wally Scope and to be able to capture reasonable images to be able to use for determining the dynamic SRA etc. When you first use it, you really need to put aside at least a full day possibly two to be able to use it effectively to obtain the desired images.
For me though, I thoroughly enjoy setting up and using the Wally Scope.

I believe (from an emailed photo J.R. sent to me a few weeks back) that Wally Tools / J.R. have an adaptor tool that allows the Wally Scope to be mounted on a Dinolite RX10-A stand. I for sure will ask J.R. cost and time to make me one. This will then eliminate having to use the scissor jack (which does have a bit on vertical and horizontal play in it when static and it's height adjustment is a bit crude (although it was a cheapish one off Amazon).
The Dinolite RX10-A stand (which I also own with different adaptors and extensions etc. for when I was using the Dinolite microscope i.e. an RK-10-PX2 XY positioning arm and an RK-10-EX Arm Extension and a RK-10-VX Vertical Arm Extension) is far more rigid and stable and accurate for vertical and horizontal adjustments than both the Wally Scope adjustments and the scissor jack stand's adjustments. So using the Dinolite RX-10-E stand with the Wally Scope should make it far easier and less time consuming than the set-up I have currently.

Yes, my laptop is close to the Wally Scope on another shelf (see photo below). I use the Lenovo laptop that I initially bought for my AnalogMagik V1 software.

My Wally Scope and Laptop (connected to the Wally Scope) set-up. This photo was taken when I was undertaking an image for the dynamic SRA i.e. shot taken (pressing a button in the Wally Scope software) with me very slowly moving the platter at the same time. Note that the Wally Scope trimmed record is on the platter.
thumbnail_IMG_3851.jpg
 
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This was with the stylus resting on a CD. I have no idea if the red base line is at 0-degrees. Did not have a lot of confidence in this effort
I use reflection on CD instead of a reference line. It's easy to draw lines to determine angles both on the edge of stylus and the reflection. IMHO drawing a baseline is difficult and contain errors even if you use a edge-cut-record. Here is a very tiny 3X60 micro ridge stylus. It's tiny but luckily has a symmetrical profile.
Foto?raf - 12.07.2023 23.30.jpeg

Here is the same image with angles
Ekran Resmi 2023-08-06 16.53.32.jpg

SRA = (180 - A/2 + B/2)/2 + B/2
SRA = (180 - 62.77 + 69.30)/2 + 69.30
SRA = 23.96 + 69.30
SRA = 93.26

On the other hand it's very hard to measure SRA on Shibata. BTW I don't have Wally scope, I use a generic usb microscope.
Foto?raf - 5.05.2023 18.19 #2.jpeg
 
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First, I want to acknowledge the impressive bodies of effort/work by each contributor of this thread. I have been down the Dinolite path myself and due to its and my own issues have, after several iterations, abandoned the method.

My current approach, having used it once and being proferred here as an alternate method, is to send a cartridge to J.R. and have him create the shims and statistics that allow me to use his after-analysis tools to mount the cartridge and then use my ears to fine tune via listening. I understand my approach may be open to criticism for any number of reasons including laziness, expense, etc and I am willing to listen to any critique.

Full disclosure requires me to disclose that this is primarily a personal issue. I have essential tremors and their unpredictable nature give me pause when dealing with some of the steps required for mounting cartridges. I can only do so much at this point, so I'm willing to pay for the luxury of being able to avoid the most intricate/delicate, repetitive cartridge mounting/adjusting steps in favor of using the Wally tools necessary once the cartridge has been analyzed by J.R. and company. Even then, several of the fine, calm hand motor skills required are challenging and frightening when the prospect of trashing a multi-thousand dollar cartridge hangs in the balance.
 
I wonder how large a difference in the SRA needs to be before it is perceptible. Given the range of SRA of a cutter head is 3 degrees (91-94), a fixed SRA of 92 will be out by up to 2 degrees. If one uses a tonearm with an Leff of 300mm, a 1 degree change is 5.5mm in height, which is orders of magnitude greater than the difference in thickness between a 120g and a 200g LP. If it is true that one can hear the difference between LPs of different thickness, we are then talking about a difference of a fraction of a degree. In that case, the variability of the SRA of cutter heads used to cut different LPs will make the whole exercise moot.
 

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