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Michael fremer's practical guide to turntable set-up

Wharfedale Speakers

stevieboy

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mahiruha,

supposed to be a good intro guide to setting up tts. as far as i remember he does three tts to cover the different types. a definite worthwhile investment prevents you wrecking something through experimentation!

regards
 

Shahrukh

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Mahiruha,

I have this DVD along with "It's a vinyl world after all". While Fremer's advice is good and yes, practical his constant bickering can get a bit monotonous.

What's also pretty evident, is the fact that he's obviously been paid by the companies concerned to talk well about the products. But then, that's MF for you, this is IMHO only, YMMV and so on.

Bottomline, he teaches you pretty much all there is to know about Rega, ProJect and VPI TTs.
 

mahiruha

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Hi guys,
I finally received my Michael Fremer's 21st Century Vinyl yesterday. I find it extremely useful at least it explained the things in detail for project and VPI TT which I own. He i regarding setting of anitscating in VPI TT and currently I m not using any antiscating. Have to do a little bit research on this front. It has a very informative accompanying pdf file also.
Thanks.
 

shaizada

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VPI has always NOT used anti skating in their line up. They provided the option after a lot of bickering from many old time users, but the arms were designed to NOT use traditional anti skating. The twist in the wire is sufficient and I actually PREFERRED the sound without anti skating.

The DVDs he has out are good for understanding the basics....he by no means covers EVERYTHING there is to know about tables and setup, but just enough to get you going.

There is much more to vinyl playback than meets the eye...as I've experienced. Just small small things can make very large differences in sound.
 

mahiruha

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Hi Shaizada,
I completely agree with you. Actually I didn't have any clue how to use that antiscate mechanism if I atall wanted to use it. But after watching that DVD I came to know how it can be used. I am just experiementing with it to see how it impacts the sound. After watching that DVD I completely understood that it is a very complex thing and there is no absolute truth about it regarding all this setting and even if you set them up properly you never really know how long they remain that way. BTW I got my new phono preamp. Which is moving coil only with several cartridge loading options. I can really see the pronounced effect the loading has on cartridges. How do you figure out with a new mc cartridge what load to follow or just simply trust your ear?
Thanks.
PS: The accompanying pdf file has a good article on effect of loading on both moving coil and moving magnet cartridges.
 

Rajiv

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BTW I got my new phono preamp. Which is moving coil only with several cartridge loading options. I can really see the pronounced effect the loading has on cartridges. How do you figure out with a new mc cartridge what load to follow or just simply trust your ear?
Thanks.
PS: The accompanying pdf file has a good article on effect of loading on both moving coil and moving magnet cartridges.

Hi Mahiruha,

Congrats.on your new phono stage :clapping: .Pics,would be nice.

As for cartridge loading nothing is set in stone, try the recomended setting for the cartridge first and then fine tune by ear for your prefered sound.

Regards
Rajiv
 
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mahiruha

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Hi Mahiruha,

Congrats.on your new phono stage :clapping: .Pics,would be nice.

As for cartridge loading nothing is set in stone, try the recomended setting for the cartridge first and then fine tune by ear for your prefered sound.

Regards
Rajiv

Hi Rajiv,
Here are some pics of the phono stage. I am quite enjoying it. The sound is bit different from my previous phono stage but I guess they are not directly comparable since different cables were used. I am finding for certain songs there is a slight distortion at high frequency I am bit confused is it due to cartridge setting or antiscating. Can you please suggest something. also there is a dial in my tone arm with some markings I am not too sure what it is used for. Do you have any idea?
Thanks.
 

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shaizada

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A good guideline for loading is between 10x and 20x of the cartridge output impedance. So if the cart has an output impedance of 50 ohms, try loading at 500 ohms up till 1000 ohms. Just a guideline, but you would decide according to taste. Generally, a lower loading will roll off the top end giving a more full bodied sound, while a higher loading will open up the top end further.

Also, the markings on the dial you are speaking of on the JMW 10.5 arm is the VTA settings. To set the VTA, you would loosen 2 screws...the first is in your picture bulging out of the side of the cylindrical barrel (VTA Adjuster), the second is towards the front coming out to the right of the arm base board. Loosen both of those to make adjustments to VTA. Once you select a VTA setting, tighten those screws again.

EDIT: Please take a better picture of the gain/load settings knob on the phono stage. Also, what is your cartridge again? Sorry...kinda sleepy and don't want to dig further back in your posts where I'm sure I can find out what cartridge it is :)

Once you post both pieces of info, I'll tell you what loadings to try.
 
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Rajiv

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I am finding for certain songs there is a slight distortion at high frequency I am bit confused is it due to cartridge setting or antiscating. Can you please suggest something. also there is a dial in my tone arm with some markings I am not too sure what it is used for. Do you have any idea?

Hi Mahiruha,

The HF distortion could be mistracking caused by low tracking force.

Try increasing the tracking force just a little and see if the problem goes away.

Mistracking causes more damage to the record grooves than higher tracking force.

I use the higher tracking force recomended for the cartridge. For Example if the recomended tracking force for a cartridge is 1.5--2 gms I start with the higher force and adjust(increase or decrease) by ear for the best sound without mistracking.

Lower tracking force gives a brighter,airy sound,and higher force the bass improves but there is less air to the music.

The best person to advise you on the tonearm settings for your setup is Shaizada .He has a lot of experience with the VPI and the JMW tonearms.

Regards
Rajiv
 

mahiruha

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A good guideline for loading is between 10x and 20x of the cartridge output impedance. So if the cart has an output impedance of 50 ohms, try loading at 500 ohms up till 1000 ohms. Just a guideline, but you would decide according to taste. Generally, a lower loading will roll off the top end giving a more full bodied sound, while a higher loading will open up the top end further.

Also, the markings on the dial you are speaking of on the JMW 10.5 arm is the VTA settings. To set the VTA, you would loosen 2 screws...the first is in your picture bulging out of the side of the cylindrical barrel (VTA Adjuster), the second is towards the front coming out to the right of the arm base board. Loosen both of those to make adjustments to VTA. Once you select a VTA setting, tighten those screws again.

EDIT: Please take a better picture of the gain/load settings knob on the phono stage. Also, what is your cartridge again? Sorry...kinda sleepy and don't want to dig further back in your posts where I'm sure I can find out what cartridge it is :)

Once you post both pieces of info, I'll tell you what loadings to try.
Hi shaizada,
the deatils of my cartirdge is
VPI/DYNAVECTOR 20X-H SPECIAL VERSION MC CARTRIDGE 1.0mV - elusivedisc

Well the picture is not very clear since it doesn't have enough resolution. I can only use the step up ratio 10 and the possible loadings are 570 ohms, 1kohm, 1.8 kohms, 3.3Kohms, 4.7Kohms and 10Kohms. Can you also suggest me a resonably price pressure guege I mean electronic. Shure is bit clumsy I find.
Thanks.
 

malvai

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i have just bought the acoustech digital gauge. It is very accurate and is abt half the price of the clearaudio one.
You will get the metal edition on elusive disc. A cheaper edition (plastic) is easily found on other sites for abt USD 50 less!

This is the best bet buddy!

Hi shaizada,
the deatils of my cartirdge is
VPI/DYNAVECTOR 20X-H SPECIAL VERSION MC CARTRIDGE 1.0mV - elusivedisc

Well the picture is not very clear since it doesn't have enough resolution. I can only use the step up ratio 10 and the possible loadings are 570 ohms, 1kohm, 1.8 kohms, 3.3Kohms, 4.7Kohms and 10Kohms. Can you also suggest me a resonably price pressure guege I mean electronic. Shure is bit clumsy I find.
Thanks.
 

shaizada

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Hi shaizada,
the deatils of my cartirdge is
VPI/DYNAVECTOR 20X-H SPECIAL VERSION MC CARTRIDGE 1.0mV - elusivedisc

Well the picture is not very clear since it doesn't have enough resolution. I can only use the step up ratio 10 and the possible loadings are 570 ohms, 1kohm, 1.8 kohms, 3.3Kohms, 4.7Kohms and 10Kohms. Can you also suggest me a resonably price pressure guege I mean electronic. Shure is bit clumsy I find.
Thanks.

Ok Chief,

here is what you need to do to begin with.

First I need you to set the arm parallel to the record surface by using a lined notecard. Measure with the notecard at the beginning and at the end of the tonearm....it should be MOSTLY parallel and keep in mind that the JMW arm tapers towards the end.

Next, I need you to have the cartridge tracking at 2.1g. This is towards the higher part of the allowed tracking range of 1.8g ~ 2.2g and VPI tables like that in general. Get a digital gauge to do that. VERY CAREFULLY loosen the torx screw on the counter weight JUST ENOUGH that you are able to move it forward (closer to the arm pivot) without it moving left and right (as it will change the azimuth settings). You need a digital force gauge to get an accurate reading of the VTF. Remember, changing one setting always has an effect on other settings as well.

Once you have the correct tracking force, put a VERY THING mirror, or use a silver Compact Disc to put on the platter. Slowly lower the cartridge and look at the actual cantilever from head on in front of the cartridge. You want to make sure the cantilever and the reflected image of the cantilever on the CD are making a perfect line. Basically you are using the concept of a parallax error to make sure cartridge azimuth is straight. Hopefully that makes sense, if not post here and I will go in further detail.

Once you got these settings again, measure the VTF again and make sure you are still tracking at 2.1g

Set your phono to the 10x gain and set the loading to 1k Ohms. Ideally, I would have liked to see a load setting of 1300 Ohms (or even 1500 Ohms), but 1k Ohms will keep you towards the warmer side rather than the hotter sounding 1.8k Ohms setting for your particular cartridge.

Get the digital gauge I made malvai get. Get in touch with him and he can tell you where, what and how much. You need that as I feel it is an essential tool. Also, while you are at it, get the KAB Strobe Disc to make sure the table is spinning at the correct speed. Good tool to have around, or if you can get a little fancier, get the Digistrobo. That is what I use personally. Both are very good products.

Finally, once you have the system somewhat dialed in, VTA has to be tuned and set by ear. For that, I use a recording that I am EXTREMELY familiar with and make sure that the standing bass has a perfect sound reproduction. Too low VTA gives me a boomier sound and looses the transient attack. To high of a VTA has too much plucking energy and loses out on body of the instrument. Basically, I tweak it by ear to get the basic sound of an acoustic instrument I know intimately well. Once you nail that, you are good for all other recordings :)

These are some basic steps I hope are able to help you. Maybe when I come to india, I might make a trip down to your parts to check out your table setup, provided you buy me a plane ticket! :p

After everything I've learned so far, I can confidently setup a VPI table almost perfectly within 45 minutes of tweaking and listening. ;) I'd love to help you out if my trip to Delhi materializes.
 

mahiruha

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Hi Shaizada,
thanks for your detailed reply. I will try it out and let you know how it went. I can understand it is a steep learning curve. I had an idea that setting up a cartridge is a meesy affair so that's why I insisted on getting the cartridge which VPI ppl will fit in the TT. I hope they have done all these things properly. I guess the process you have mentioned is in the line of properly adjusting vertical tracking force and course of actions needs to be followed if things go wrong. I am not too sure if I am confident enough to do the entire thing but I will certainly take a reading today with the shure pressure gauge and then decide on the next course of actions. Your idea of checking the speed is interesting but I think since I don't have any mechanism to alter the speed then what is the point of checking the speed.

you are more than welcome to visit me when you are in India. No problem.Thnaks again for sharing your experience and learning with us to tame this complicated beast called Turntable.

@Malvai: Thnaks for your pointer. I haven't decided yet. I am yet to use the shure. Let me use it see the results and then I will take a call.
Thanks.
 

mahiruha

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Hi shaizada,
finally took the measurement of VTF with the shure pressure gauge. It is around 2.25 gms. Your suggestion was 2.1 gms. Do you think that reducing the tracking force from 2.25gms to 2.1 gms will take out the very high frequency distortion in 1 or 2 songs. I am trying to understand it very clearly since to make that change is not at all an easy option and might distort other things which are in right place as of now.Appreciate your suggestion.One more thing do you place the pressure gauge on a record or on the platter itself.I placed it on a record.
Thanks.
 

stevieboy

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mahiruha,

i think one needs to place the pressure gauge on the bare platter. most gauge makers try and make the gauge the same thickness as a 180 or 200 gram lp.

i'd suggest using the gauge as a reference point and finetuning by ear with an assorted bunch of your favourite lps.

regards
 

malvai

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I second stevieboy! Plus, i'd like to add that if mahi could upgrade to the digital gauge, he'll be better off in the longer run...
On the VTI and the super hi end tonearm, any bit of inaccuracy will put out the settings by a huge margin.

And I'd also strongly recommend the KAB Stereo canceller, for real superior azimouth correction.

Its a freaky lil thing that makes all the difference. My own piece is still lying at customs, so i am darn pissed!
 

shaizada

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Hi shaizada,
finally took the measurement of VTF with the shure pressure gauge. It is around 2.25 gms. Your suggestion was 2.1 gms. Do you think that reducing the tracking force from 2.25gms to 2.1 gms will take out the very high frequency distortion in 1 or 2 songs. I am trying to understand it very clearly since to make that change is not at all an easy option and might distort other things which are in right place as of now.Appreciate your suggestion.One more thing do you place the pressure gauge on a record or on the platter itself.I placed it on a record.
Thanks.

Personally, I would love to redo the arm / cartridge myself. That way I can dial it in properly. Trying to change one setting will always have an effect on other settings so it should GENERALLY be approached as a whole.

Reducing the VTF will actually make the sound a little more open and detailed. You will get a somewhat less warmth. If you are tracking at a "higher" VTF and still getting some kind of high frequency problem, then lowering the VTF could make it worse. Which leads me to believe that some OTHER setting is off. Check the azimuth as many a times, distortion problems happen when Azimuth is off. The diamond has more pressure on one side of the wall and less on the other causing distortion in the process (coming from the lesser pressurized side).

Yeah, unfortunately, these things are NOT plug and play and require some setup skills on the consumers part as well. BUT once you've learned these things, the VPI tables give you back so much you smile yourself silly when listening to music! :)
 
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