A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup

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ACHiPo

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #20 on: 25 Jan 2015, 12:48 am »
Hey there, my first post...new member. What a great forum!


  I have used this reference as a learning guide along with the Hi-Fi News test record. As a newby, this link summed it up best for me. I have a Polestar arm and a ZYX cart on a new table I received late Oct 2014. Its been a great ride so far... "Anvil Turntable" made here in Detroit.  Falling in love with all my old favorites and spending lots on new vinyl. Check out the pics. Thanks for a great site.
Great looking 'table!  Is that orange metallic flake on the motor and base?

Welcome!

Trismos

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #21 on: 15 Mar 2015, 07:43 pm »
Hello!

I've had a Pioneer PL 516 sitting in my closet for some years and have decided to try and get it going again. A while back I had lent it to a friend and he put a Shure M70EJ on it. I hadn't listened to it until a couple months ago and when I did it sounded terrible. So I went to school a bit on turntables, cartridges, alignment procedures and the like and of course it's all a little more involved than one is ever initially aware of. I decided to upgrade a bit and get the proper alignment tools and start from scratch. I ordered an Ortofon 2M Red and an Ortofon headshell, Ortofon protractor, a digital jewel gauge good to two decimal places, and a few other odds and sods. I also have a test record coming with an anti-skate section.

So this morning is a beautiful sunny Sunday, and being -27C outside I figured I'd at least get the cartridge and headshell installed and aligned, and the tracking weight set up. But I've run into a couple of issues. First, the fine adjustment wheel of the counter weight doesn't seem to actually do anything - turning the dial makes no difference, and second, though I haven't got to the point of really dealing with it, the anti-skate adjustment seems out of whack - when I was aligning the cartridge on the inner null point, the arm wanted to pull towards the outside of the record and the adjustment dial was already set at 0. 

I wasn't thinking I was going to get into any serious listening, but I did have hopes of maybe spinning a few albums today. Kind of like dusting the Harley off for spring and finding the battery you've had on the trickle charger all winter is dead.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

neobop

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #22 on: 15 Mar 2015, 09:34 pm »
Hi Trismos,
Most similar turntables (tonearms) don't have a fine adjustment knob.  Usually the front of the counterweight will have a calibration dial that can be turned independently.  That's set to zero when you balance the arm.  Once set, the counterweight and dial is turned as a single unit - counterclockwise until the correct weight is applied according to the dial.  If you have a scale you can ignore it.

The most common cause of the antiskating problem is not being level.  If the platter is level and this is occurring the spring could be stuck.  If this is the case there's a service manual in Vinyl Engine library - free download, or you might be able to access it from the AS dial.

A word of caution about using a test record to set AS.  People invariably set it too high trying to get the highest level.  Optimal AS will vary according to offset angle and groove velocity.  I suggest viewing from the front and getting the cantilever reasonably centered with normal source material.  It's better to have too little than too much.
neo

Trismos

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #23 on: 16 Mar 2015, 04:40 pm »
Thanks very much Neo

I discovered how the counter weight worked on a YouTube vid (and felt a tad silly for it but hey...).

I am quite frankly very pleased with the way it turned out and spent the afternoon listening to old records and going on-line and ordering some more :)

Perhaps you could chime in on this, or send me to another thread:
 
1.  The interconnects on the table really look right out of the Radio Shack going out of business bin. Is it worth replacing these or is that something of a lesser priority?

2.  I'm running the turn table into an old NAD Monitor Series 1000 pre-amp. Would I get a significant upgrade in SQ by going to an independent pre-amp like the Cambridge Audio 651P?

Thx for your help.

Tris

neobop

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #24 on: 16 Mar 2015, 10:21 pm »
Hi Tris,
A couple of tricky questions here.  Even though the stock cables look cheap they're most likely low capacitance, and that's what you need for your MM. 
Replacing them could easily make it sound worse, messing up the frequency response.  I also don't know if installation is straightforward.  If you have auto functions the cables could be tied into a junction strip of some kind.  In any case, better to look before you leap.
One thing you could do that's relatively easy, is replace the RCA plugs.  This could be very affective if the old plugs aren't making good contact.  Like these:
http://www.parts-express.com/neutrik-rean-nys373-2-rca-plug-connector-black-with-red-indicator--092-113

If you replace the cable you need low capacitance.  Belden 1505 is 17 pF/ft, but it might be too thick.  Signal Cable has their Silver Resolution Phono cable advertised at 18.9 pf/ft. 

I'm not familiar with the NAD.  I am familiar with the earlier stuff from the '80s.  It's half decent, rather polite and transistor sounding, but listenable.   I'm reasonably sure you can do better, probably much better, but I suspect you might need to prioritize.  Do you have an RCM?  If not, this should top your list.
Once that's taken care of, you might want to check out this one:
http://www.vista-audio.com/products/phono-1mkII/index.htm

neo

Trismos

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #25 on: 16 Mar 2015, 10:56 pm »
Thx Neo

I am not familiar with "RCM"?

Tris

Edit:  Record Cleaning Machine?   Really?  If so, please elucidate :)

audio.bill

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #26 on: 16 Mar 2015, 11:05 pm »
RCM is an acronym for a Record Cleaning Machine, like the VPI HW16.5, Nitty Gritty, KL Audio, etc.

neobop

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #27 on: 17 Mar 2015, 11:35 am »
Along with the record player itself, clean records are the most critical factor in attaining good SQ and record longevity, more so than upgrading a half decent phono stage.  Surface cleaning doesn't get down into the groove and your needle will embed the dirt.  That's what wears out records.  Clean records played with a "good" needle will last a lifetime.  Vinyl is very resilient, but the needle puts tremendous pressure (per square inch) on the groove walls and heats up the vinyl.  Dirt gets ground in. 

You'll be amazed at the difference in SQ.  Trust me on this, a better phono stage will be more revealing of what's fed into it.
Although some are expensive it doesn't have to cost a fortune.
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=RDV

KAB has a similar one where you use your own vacuum - $169.  Machines with a platter are more expensive.  VPI 16.5 is $649.
http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=VP16.5

Even bran new records should be cleaned before play.  Older or used records will sound significantly better.
neo