Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Gah... ! How should I set the anti skating on my turntable?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Gah... ! How should I set the anti skating on my turntable?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok guys this is driving me nuts. I really want to play my LPs but I am afraid to because I might have some of the tonearm calibration settings wrong.

I am specifically talking about anti-skating here. I read that with a straight tonearm (and mine is straight), anti skate should be set to zero. I also read somewhere it should be set to one half the tracking force, and yet elsewhere I read it should be set equal to the tracking force.

Do you know what the correct anti skate setting on my tonearm should be? Oh I also read that in addition to the anti skate dial there is an adjustment for "absolute" anti skating which is adjusted by two screws on the tonearm. Is this setting on my tonearm and if so do I need to adjust it? If yes, how should it be adjusted and where are the screws?

Since we all love these fancy new-fangled "digital pictures", I have taken one of the tonearm. Here it is (click to enlarge):


Can you guys help answer my anti-skate questions?

Oh, and uh, while I'm here I've also got a few other questions.

I have a digital tracking force meter that I use to set the weight and I am confused as to what the purpose of the little plastic dial with a range of weights listed on it on the tonearm weight is for. What I have been doing is once I set the tracking force using the digital meter, I then adjust the plastic dial to reflect the tracking force. Is that what it is there for, or is there some other purpose of it?

Also, I've looked several times and I can not find an azimuth adjustment on the tonearm. I assume that is because there is none, correct?

And, I have a question about the tonearm height. I know there is a way to adjust the height of the plastic tonearm rest that is controlled by the cueing lever, but that is not helpful when playing a record, because it is lowered down so the arm is not touching it while playing an LP anyway. I would like to know if the tonearm allows for adjusting the height (VTA) while it is playing. I do not see a way and right now I don't believe there is one, but I just want to ask to be sure.

Oh yes, and finally one last question about cartridge alignment. I am using this protractor thingy:
http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merc...tegory_Code=PE

If I understand correctly, the aim of it is when the cantilever is sitting on top of the A point and the B point, it should be parallel to the lines on either side of the two points? Because if that's true, then it would appear that is already the case with the cartridge in the "default" position! When I say default position, I mean the two screws are both up against the front of slot they are in on the headshell. Is it possible that I just got really lucky with the cartridge and it fits the tonearm perfectly? Or am I interpreting what is supposed to be done totally wrong?

Am I supposed to move the cantilever from point A to point B without moving the tonearm? Or not moving the protractor or rotating the platter? The way I did it was reposition the tonearm and rotate the platter (correct direction) until it sat on the next point. Is that right?
post #2 of 16
I've always set my antiskating at a bit less than tracking but
I also have a record that is blank on one side that lets me dial
in the speed a bit. I've never been too fussed about getting
anti skate just right.

From the vinyl engine library on protractors.

Quote:
Two grids and a hole: the aim is to obtain a perfect alignment with the two sets of lines and the cartridge body.

First use the grid closest to the spindle hole. Put the cartridge in the middle of the headshell; twist the cartridge clockwise or anti-clockwise in order for you to observe the alignment with the grid. When it’s right, go to the second grid.

If the cartridge must be rotated clockwise (or anti-clockwise) to be aligned with the second grid, move the cartridge forwards (or backwards) in the headshell, then go back to the first grid. Align the cartridge and check with the second grid; repeat until alignment is achieved at both points.
*edit you do have to move the protractor to do the above.
post #3 of 16
I've been setting up tables of all sorts, professionally for years.
I can tell you that the starting point is where antiskate matches tracking force. Its the easiest rule of thumb.
From there you basically rely on hearing and fine tuning by trial and error.

Some variances still exist from the old school days of low, high, and medium compliance arms. But darn near every arm these days is medium compliance.
Thus the rule of thumb, match it to the tracking force, if possible.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 003 View Post

I have a digital tracking force meter that I use to set the weight and I am confused as to what the purpose of the little plastic dial with a range of weights listed on it on the tonearm weight is for. What I have been doing is once I set the tracking force using the digital meter, I then adjust the plastic dial to reflect the tracking force. Is that what it is there for, or is there some other purpose of it?
The standard way to set tracking is to zero balance the arm and then set this calibration dial to zero and use it to set the downforce. Modern mininalist arms like the Rega RB250 tend not to have much in the way of calibration markings hence everyone buys a separate balance which is usually much more accurate anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 003 View Post
Also, I've looked several times and I can not find an azimuth adjustment on the tonearm. I assume that is because there is none, correct?
It's usually a case of being able to twist the headshell when the collar is loosened so you can align it with a protractor or even a standard ruler (assuming the platter is perfectly flat which it ought to be of course)

Again more minimalist designs have moved away from this feature and it only seems to be found today on some high-end arms like the SME.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 003 View Post
And, I have a question about the tonearm height. I know there is a way to adjust the height of the plastic tonearm rest that is controlled by the cueing lever, but that is not helpful when playing a record, because it is lowered down so the arm is not touching it while playing an LP anyway. I would like to know if the tonearm allows for adjusting the height (VTA) while it is playing. I do not see a way and right now I don't believe there is one, but I just want to ask to be sure.
VTA is usually set via a rotating collar at the base of the arm like on the Technics SL1200 arm or a hex bolt on arms like the Linn. Again more expensive arms like the SME have their own methods but this is not something generally found on basic vintage decks.

The only way to set VTA without an arm height adjustment will be via the thickness of the platter mat and height of the cart itself. So some makes of cart will work less well than others on tonearms lacking this functionality.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Champ04 View Post
I can tell you that the starting point is where antiskate matches tracking force. Its the easiest rule of thumb.
From there you basically rely on hearing and fine tuning by trial and error.
This is EXACTLY how I set up antiskate on my tables. More often than not it ends up just slightly lower than the VTF.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by memepool View Post
VTA is usually set via a rotating collar at the base of the arm like on the Technics SL1200 arm or a hex bolt on arms like the Linn. Again more expensive arms like the SME have their own methods but this is not something generally found on basic vintage decks.
Ok so from the picture does it look like it is possible on my arm?

While an LP is playing, the arm is not 100% straight, it has a SLIGHT downward slant. I mean slight. Is this bad?
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 003 View Post
Ok so from the picture does it look like it is possible on my arm?

While an LP is playing, the arm is not 100% straight, it has a SLIGHT downward slant. I mean slight. Is this bad?
Could you take a pic of the back of the tonearm below the counterweight ? Do you see any hex bolts/allen head set screws ?
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
No, no screws, nuts bolts or anything like that back there. Just the anti skate dial. Here is the same picture, but with red arrows pointing to everything that looks like it could be a screw/nut/bolt/etc:


EDIT:
And ok so I gather the anti skate dial would be best set slightly below the tracking weight. But what about the "absolute" anti skate? Do I need to touch that? Does it even exist on my tonearm?
post #9 of 16
How does it sound right now?
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 003 View Post
Ok so from the picture does it look like it is possible on my arm?

While an LP is playing, the arm is not 100% straight, it has a SLIGHT downward slant. I mean slight. Is this bad?
Ideally the tonearm tube should be parallel to the platter when a record is playing as a rule of thumb but really setting by ear is the way to go. With the VTA too high there is pronounced surface noise and decreased soundstage, with it too low it sounds sort of distorted and very bass heavy. when you get it just right the whole thing just sort of snaps into place. Soundstage is the easiest way to gauge it.

With the type of arms that use hex bolts adjusting VTA is a very tricky manoeuvre as, if you loosen the bolt too much, the whole arm can come crashing down and destroy the cart, so be very careful and put the stylus guard on while you adjust the hex bolt.
Obviously this type of arm can't be adjusted while the record is playing, only with the more elaborate SME or rotating collar arrangements should this be even considered.

Didn't you say Rotel were helpful in providing info on this model? did they send you a manual? If not perhaps ask them.

If there is no VTA adjustment possible on the tonearm itself the simplest way if it's too high, as it sounds from your description it may be, is just add another mat on top of the one you have or buy a thicker one. SRMtech on ebay sell a thin Silicone or Acylic mat which works wonders on a steel platter like yours or else KABUSA sell the original extra thick Technics mat which you could use instead of the current one. Obviously we are talking in terms of mm adjustments here.

There is a product called Ringmat which is made in removable layers specially for this task but it will cost way too much to consider using it on a deck like this. IE if you were going to spend that much you'd upgrade the deck.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JadeEast View Post
How does it sound right now?
Pretty good. memepool thanks for the info. Rotel did give me a service manual and there was nothing about VTA in it. There is an adjustment for how high it sits while the cueing lever is up, but nothing for when it is down or playing an LP. There is also nothing about azimuth or anti skate in it.
post #12 of 16
You can play with VTA by using different diy mats of various
thickness under the one you have. Have fun!!!
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 003 View Post
There is also nothing about azimuth or anti skate in it.
Then most likely it's automatic in the case of the antiskate and not possible in the case of the others.

The arm looks quite nice though. Like a Jelco.

Another possibility to adjust VTA is a shim mounted between the cart and headshell. These come with Stanton carts if I remember rightly, so again KABUSA is probably the best bet. They also sell arm spacers and ballast weights all for a couple of dollars.

Obviously these are even more fiddly than mats as you need to loosen and tighten the cart which means realignment every time, plus adding extra stuff to the arm will change the mass and reduce the ridgity of the cart to headshell coupling, so it may solve one problem but introduce other ones and sound worse on balance.

If it sounds good anyway then I'd be inclined to leave the arm alone. The mat solution is way simpler if you want to tweak the VTA.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok now I'm wondering something. Since I can't adjust the VTA, I had a great (I think) idea. It was also free. Stacking turntable mats! Yeah, no doubt someone will come and tell me how it is a horrible idea and will kill my vinyl and stylus and how there is a risk of the turntable spontaneously combusting busting, etc...

But right now it seems to work all right.

I have a total of 3 mats at my dispense. The Herbie's Way Excellent II turntable mat, the stock rubber mat from the rotel turntable and the stock rubber mat from my Technics SL-Q200. The rotel mat is noticeably thicker than the other two. I first tried putting on the rotel mat alone, but the VTA still seemed a bit high. So I tried stacking the WEII on top of it. This made the VTA a smidge to low. Then I tried the stock SLQ200 mat with the WEII on top of it and this seems to provide a pretty much perfect VTA.

Is this all right or is there some reason why this is a bad idea?
post #15 of 16
How do the different changes sound?
Thats what matters.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Gah... ! How should I set the anti skating on my turntable?