A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 19620 times.

ACHiPo

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

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 3419
  • BIRD LIVES
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

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 3419
  • BIRD LIVES
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

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 218
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

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 3419
  • BIRD LIVES
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
 

GentleBender

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #28 on: 7 Dec 2015, 04:57 pm »
I am awaiting a new Ortofon MC-20 cartridge arriving anyday now. Traded for my AT LP120 turntable and old Pioneer receiver that I was not using to another AC member here. I did mention setting it up in the room I store overflow vinyl, but my wife seemed not overly enthusiastic. I guess two TT setups is my limit (for now). :lol:

Is there any reason to purchase a protractor for setting things up? I have used vinylengine in the past to print whatever I need, but just wondered what more experienced people use. Is there a list of must have equipment to make the many adjustments more precise and easier to accomplish? Are the tools I need already available to download? Any help would be great.

bacobits1

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #29 on: 7 Dec 2015, 05:05 pm »
http://www.accutrak.us/

Ken Willis Protractor

I use this one had it made up for my arm /TT.


GentleBender

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #30 on: 8 Dec 2015, 02:50 pm »
Thanks bacobits1. Now I want some bacon, you got some kind of subliminal message going on there.  :o

How do you set up VTA? Most cartridges I have used don't have a flat bottom, causing me to constantly second guess my VTA. As if there are not enough items to second guess.

bacobits1

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #31 on: 8 Dec 2015, 02:58 pm »
A lined 3X5 Index card aligned to the top of the headshell to get level then from there by ear, very small increments.
I also have a clear lined scribe acrylic block I think I got on EBay.








sunnydaze

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #32 on: 8 Dec 2015, 03:16 pm »
Better to lower arm onto middle of record and to stand a lined index card on record surface and gently lean it against arm.   Get eyes down to arm level and sight squarely on arm/card.   Much easier to see tilt along arm length  than headshell.   Start parallel,  adjust by ear.   Quite easy,  actually.

bacobits1

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #33 on: 8 Dec 2015, 03:20 pm »
The pict is not on the vinyl but yes. The card is easier because of the longer lines.
Not really, the headshell is what you want level cant go by the whole length of the arm (very deceiving) especially if it is tapered like a Rega. It all comes out close enough though don't it? It has always here.

Take it one step further you change the VTA you have to adjust the Vertical Tracking Weight again  too.
Lower the arm you add weight, raise it up you subtract.

I gotta go check my alignment now, see what happens when you have too much time on your hands.  :scratch:

sunnydaze

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #34 on: 8 Dec 2015, 04:20 pm »

Not really, the headshell is what you want level cant go by the whole length of the arm (very deceiving) especially if it is tapered like a Rega.


Dunno that I agree with this.....

Any halfway decent arm (and headshell) that is machined properly (and we can probably assume that is almost always the case)  will have an arm tube that is parallel to record surface when the headshell is.  Therefore, they are in synch, and the armtube can be used as a proxy for the headshell.  Due to its longer length, it's much easier to determine armtube than headshell tilt.

For tapered arm tubes it's only a little bit harder.  Lay index card in front of armtube.  Compare middle of armtube at headshell end and pivot end to a line.  If necessary, cut bottom of card to make a line be at mid-tube at headshell end.  It is then quite easy to see if that same line is above / below the armtube's midpoint at pivot end.

GentleBender

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #35 on: 8 Dec 2015, 09:16 pm »
Thanks guys. I'm cheap so I printed a blank Excel spreadsheet onto card stock to try.

SteveRB

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #36 on: 8 Dec 2015, 09:28 pm »
A little trick I use with 'square' body cartridges (ex. Denon 103). Because I find it difficult to determine exact parallel with curved arm tube.

Place a small, right angle square on a record while the needle is down and not moving. The vertical side of the square should now be perpendicular to the record surface. Slide the square up to the front, vertical, face of the cartridge body. Using a your eyes or magnifying glass adjust arm base heigh until the cart is parallel with the vertical side of the square...

Exact same as parallel arm tube; I just find it easier and repeatable to go off the square cartridge 'box' rather than the arm tube. From there I adjust +/- 2mm by ear.

GentleBender

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #37 on: 8 Dec 2015, 09:35 pm »
Not as easy with this cart. :|



sunnydaze

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup
« Reply #38 on: 8 Dec 2015, 09:46 pm »
Steve,  same exact thing can be done w an index card,  as it is rectangle w right angles.   Lots safer for the cart if things slip and  it comes crashing down.