Using Wally Tools

I have almost all the test records ever made, and yes there’s no way they’re all “the same”. I’m coming around to your (and Wally’s, RIP) way of thinking, that if it can be accurately assessed in physical terms, without a record, and it can be corrected using physical methods, do it that way first.
We've done several hundred hours of multivariate testing (think: test record) in 2023 and have come several conclusions. One of them is: you aren't measuring what you THINK you are measuring!
 
I have almost all the test records ever made, and yes there’s no way they’re all “the same”. I’m coming around to your (and Wally’s, RIP) way of thinking, that if it can be accurately assessed in physical terms, without a record, and it can be corrected using physical methods, do it that way first.
By the way - and as a reminder - as a WallyTools owner, you have pretty much 7 days a week access to my support as well. Reach out to me if you have any analog issue. I certainly am not an expert on ALL vinyl playback matters, but I'll let you know when you've hit my limit of comfort in any given area.
 
Interesting. Can you expand on that with some simple examples? Tia
I will be doing a video on this in the near future. This "mistaken measurement" issue is true to greater or lesser degrees with all setup parameters and is why relying upon a test record for all setup parameters makes it such an iterative approach where improvements can certainly be made but optimization is not knowable.

Measuring torque force by test record is the biggest offender since the test is measuring changes to stylus, coil and cantilever orientation as a result of out of control torque forces in the tonearm. You can very easily get lowest distortion figures with the arm under sub-optimal torque forces (from bearing friction, too much anti-skate or not enough anti-skate) by aligning the stylus properly yet still have the damper VERY asymmetrically compressed. We have found no evidence whatsoever that an asymmetrically compressed damper throws off a characteristic waveform behavior, yet the audibility of a relaxed damper is dead obvious to anyone who will take the time to do a proper trial with a WallySkater.

It is a shame that it is not measurable, but then so much of what we can easily empirically experience in our hobby is not known to be measurable - YET. What is the electrical characteristic of increased "resolution"? We all have experienced it for ourselves, but what does it look like on test gear? I'd say the person who may be closest to an answer may be Garth Powell, but how can we know that, say, "resolution" isn't just a second or third order function of whatever is being measured?

So many questions...
 
Yes, before I bought the Wally Tools and in particular the Wally Scope, I also tried in vain with a Dinolite USB Microscope and then importing the photo into standard image software to draw the lines and determine the VTA and SRA angles by hand.
I recall someone in this thread asking about a Wally Scope. Saw a brand new in box one for $1000 off at the link below. It’s not my listing, just wanted to pass it along:
 
I recall someone in this thread asking about a Wally Scope. Saw a brand new in box one for $1000 off at the link below. It’s not my listing, just wanted to pass it along:
For what it's worth, the claim in the advertisement that there is a long wait for WallyScopes is not at all true. The longest anyone has waited for ANY "standard issue" WallyTool is about 10 days - and I can count those events on a single hand. I keep everything in stock at all times, usually shipping next day following payment.
 
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I'll offer the perspective, compared to all of you experts, as a vinyl neophyte seeking to improve his playback, I find Wallytools to be a quantitative and objective solution that demystifies The Analog Black Box where everyone has their own opinion of what's proper.

I have never actually set up a table in depth before; my Rega P8 was a turnkey plug-n-play solution. So today was the first time I messed around w/ anti-skate, measured horizontal forces across the record, messed with my bias pulley, etc. And tomorrow might be my first taking a cart off an arm (gasp!) to dial in VTA and azimuth.

In the least I'm learning a lot about my own table, in large thanks to JR & Wallytools and the extensive learning guides.
 
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I'll offer the perspective, compared to all of you experts, as a vinyl neophyte seeking to improve his playback, I find Wallytools to be a quantitative and objective solution that demystifies The Analog Black Box where everyone has their own opinion of what's proper.

I have never actually set up a table in depth before; my Rega P8 was a turnkey plug-n-play solution. So today was the first time I messed around w/ anti-skate, measured horizontal forces across the record, messed with my bias pulley, etc. And tomorrow might be my first taking a cart off an arm (gasp!) to dial in VTA and azimuth.

In the least I'm learning a lot about my own table, in large thanks to JR & Wallytools and the extensive learning guides.
Hi 'keithc', I had exactly the same experiences as you with setting up my TT, initially without the Wally Tools and then some time thereafter using the Wally Tools along with J.R.'s excellent videos and irreplaceable personal one to one technical support. The latter TT set-up methodology made a significant difference to the sound of the music I was hearing from my TT set-up, so much so, I now know that using such TT set-up methodologies and tools is a must if you want to get the best sound out of your vinyl records.

I often wonder, how many people have very nice (and some very expensive) TT set-ups all over the world who are operating them without them being set-up to provide optimum performance from them (as the TT & Tonearm & Cartridge Designers & Manufacturers intended them to operate to).
 
View attachment 131575

I'll offer the perspective, compared to all of you experts, as a vinyl neophyte seeking to improve his playback, I find Wallytools to be a quantitative and objective solution that demystifies The Analog Black Box where everyone has their own opinion of what's proper.

I have never actually set up a table in depth before; my Rega P8 was a turnkey plug-n-play solution. So today was the first time I messed around w/ anti-skate, measured horizontal forces across the record, messed with my bias pulley, etc. And tomorrow might be my first taking a cart off an arm (gasp!) to dial in VTA and azimuth.

In the least I'm learning a lot about my own table, in large thanks to JR & Wallytools and the extensive learning guides.
I am happy to help! Thanks for the kind words. If you like the performance now, just wait until you hear how your cartridge sounds following analysis!
 
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An encouraging journey thankyou, one that I also will soon be undertaking. I will stay reading for now!!

Keep us posted if/when you do this.
As someone who has /never/ done anything like this, I'd say the most decisive part is making the commitment to dive all in, or just say what you have is good enough. Personally I felt like I just invested quite a bit of $ in a new table, and it's now or never.

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Today I got the dual-axis Wally reference and did more adjustments to the table.... I was shocked how much I had to lower my tonearm's pivot to get the headshell to be parallel with the disc (way more than I would ever dared to do just by "subjective listening"), and then I fine-tuned the azimuth until it was pretty parallel. It's pretty cool to have some objective way to do this regardless of whether the user agrees w/ JR's method or not.

If you watch JR's videos he talk about how many cartridge manufacturers raise SRA way above the optimal 92-deg. Personally I'm pretty stoked to get my cartridge back from JR's pre-mount service and see how different this sounds compared to my originally misaligned table!
 
Keep us posted if/when you do this.
As someone who has /never/ done anything like this, I'd say the most decisive part is making the commitment to dive all in, or just say what you have is good enough. Personally I felt like I just invested quite a bit of $ in a new table, and it's now or never.

View attachment 131662
View attachment 131663

Today I got the dual-axis Wally reference and did more adjustments to the table.... I was shocked how much I had to lower my tonearm's pivot to get the headshell to be parallel with the disc (way more than I would ever dared to do just by "subjective listening"), and then I fine-tuned the azimuth until it was pretty parallel. It's pretty cool to have some objective way to do this regardless of whether the user agrees w/ JR's method or not.

If you watch JR's videos he talk about how many cartridge manufacturers raise SRA way above the optimal 92-deg. Personally I'm pretty stoked to get my cartridge back from JR's pre-mount service and see how different this sounds compared to my originally misaligned table!
Actually, the VTA is arguably more important than SRA (can't know yet as it's never been studied with any scientific rigor) and it is MUCH more defensible in terms of optimal playback target to hit.
 
Keep us posted if/when you do this.
As someone who has /never/ done anything like this, I'd say the most decisive part is making the commitment to dive all in, or just say what you have is good enough. Personally I felt like I just invested quite a bit of $ in a new table, and it's now or never.

View attachment 131662
View attachment 131663

Today I got the dual-axis Wally reference and did more adjustments to the table.... I was shocked how much I had to lower my tonearm's pivot to get the headshell to be parallel with the disc (way more than I would ever dared to do just by "subjective listening"), and then I fine-tuned the azimuth until it was pretty parallel. It's pretty cool to have some objective way to do this regardless of whether the user agrees w/ JR's method or not.

If you watch JR's videos he talk about how many cartridge manufacturers raise SRA way above the optimal 92-deg. Personally I'm pretty stoked to get my cartridge back from JR's pre-mount service and see how different this sounds compared to my originally misaligned table!
Based upon your cartridge height, I can see we will be drawing down your VTA quite a lot! I have analyzed somewhere around 60-80 of those carts and yours is a bit tall, suggesting a steep cantilever assembly insertion angle.
 
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As a follow-up to my last post, I took advantage of WAMEngineering's Kuzma premount service and sent my cartridge to California for analysis. JR walked me through his very detailed report (how often do you need to watch a youtube video to understand an audio report??), and I received my cartridge custom shimmed in less than a 2 week turnaround (including shipping).

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Finally, the Kuzma is set up! Using the WallyTools I was able to adjust the VTA with the shimmed Hana Umami, confirmed the anti-skate to 9% (also learned that BluTack worked better than the OEM Kuzma pulley weight!), and know that the table is objectively dialed in -- no more guessing! How cool is that?

Highly recommend folks check out WAM Engineering. Thanks JR!
 
Now that I'm finally into the weekend and not distracted by silly things like work, I can finally unpack the whole WAM service. JR included a little box w/ additional shims and a USB drive -- when I first started exploring this service I felt a little shy about the price, but I think these pictures of my cartridge from JR's analysis shows what you get for the price.... and if I could tell my 1-month ago self, it is an absolute bargain for this level of professional analysis and well worth it:

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I mean.... shit, I paid more last year for my tax accountant's sloppy work (she mixed up my return w/ another client's)....
 
Now that I'm finally into the weekend and not distracted by silly things like work, I can finally unpack the whole WAM service. JR included a little box w/ additional shims and a USB drive -- when I first started exploring this service I felt a little shy about the price, but I think these pictures of my cartridge from JR's analysis shows what you get for the price.... and if I could tell my 1-month ago self, it is an absolute bargain for this level of professional analysis and well worth it:

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I mean.... shit, I paid more last year for my tax accountant's sloppy work (she mixed up my return w/ another client's)....
Have you listened yet? I noted a much more clean and intelligible playback. Well worth the investment. Eapecially for someone that wants to feel confident they have installed the cartridge very close to optimal. You can still dial by ear if you like. Only now you know how the cartridge was manufactured and where you should start.
 

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