Anti skating confusion!

Anti skating confusion!

Postby rmcfee » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:32 pm

Hi all. I'm new to the forum and asking about a topic that I'm sure has been talked about a lot. Sorry if this has been done to death.
My confusion is that I recently read a very interesting article by Peter Lederman about anti skating and the VPI turntables. He is firm in his belief that anti skating is essential.
I have a Scoutmaster II (7 years old) and I've not used anti skating as VPI suggest for an option.
I decided to hook up the anti skating rig and use Ledermans advice to apply anti skating.
Using a blank space between tracks on a HI FI News test album I experimented. I am at the point where the arm is not racing across the vinyl as fast as it was initially, but to get to this point I had to add a number of washers to the little arm. It still is not slow enough if I am understanding
This seems logical but there is little room left for more washers.
Am I approaching this wrong? Should I be putting the stylus down on a different part of the album?
The VTA, azimuth, and tracking force are adjusted correctly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
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Re: Anti skating confusion!

Postby madrac » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:14 pm

How does it sound now? Not sure how much slower your arm is moving inwards, but you may have enough anti-skate.

Just to be clear, when you say washers are you referring to metal ones (as I recall Peter saying might be needed) or the rubber O-rings which come with the anti-skate mechanism?

If metal, how many? I think Peter says it may take 3-4 or more.

You can further increase by moving the washers up towards the end of the arm. Similarly, you can move the fishing line up towards the end of its arm to further increase the antiskate. May need to sandwich it with two of the O-rings to hold in place.
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Re: Anti skating confusion!

Postby Brf » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:39 pm

Just a point of clarification.

It is VPI's position (more Harry's) that from a purely sonic performance perspective, the VPI tonearm will sound best when no anti-skating is employed. It is Peter Lederman's position, based on his many years as a cartridge re-tipper, is that if one does not use anti-skating, asymmetric stylus wear will occur.

Both are valued arguments, therefore, assuming that one prefers the sound of no anti-skate, one must weigh the benefits of sonic performance over potential of premature wear.

My personal perspective. I don't hear a difference between the use and non use of anti-skate, therefore, understanding the physics of skating forces (btw, HW absolutely understands the physics) I choose to employ a/s in an attempt to promote symmetrical stylus wear.
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Re: Anti skating confusion!

Postby Golear » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:04 pm

Here's a super long discussion on the anti-skate:
http://vpiforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=10610

I set it up so that the arm doesn't move inwards or outwards when it is in the inner (smooth) part of the LP. That seems to work for me.

BTW, you may want to try different arrangements. Anti-skate, like VTF, is an average thing, as it depends on the groove modulation. So you might want to try different arrangements and settings, across a wide range of LPs.
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Re: Anti skating confusion!

Postby rmcfee » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:39 pm

Thanks very much for the reply's. The weight I added to the anti skate arm consisted of some small metal washers and the o rings too. My confusion comes from the fact that the o rings alone are clearly not doing anything (at least visually) to the inward movement of the tone arm.
So I was wondering why VPI wouldn't have supplied more weight.
And I do have the nylon line at the highest point on the little rod.
Thanks for clarifying the points - Lederman is talking wear and VPI is concerned with sonics. I hadn't realized that.
I will have a read through the linked discussion. Thanks!
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Re: Anti skating confusion!

Postby Votan » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:06 am

Hi rmcfee,
Using the SoundSmith’s method of adjusting a/s, the sharp tip of the diamond stylus actually is etching the grooveless vinyl. On the contrary, in playing records, the very tip of the stylus is suspended above the bottom of the groove and only the sides of the stylus contact the groove sides.
These two situations have absolutely no relation to each other. Any technique of anti-skate setting that involves a grooveless side of an LP disc is faulty also for exact the same reason.
The main problem with SS method is that demands too high settings of anti-skating in order to succeed the grooveless record test, so that your problem with not enough O-rings is not a real problem, usually 2-3 O-ring are more than adequate.
I have no idea why this ridiculous way of setting anti-skate is perpetuated - it comes up in most forums every few months and I can't help myself.
The only sure thing though is, that with so much excess a/s that requires this method (addition of all VPI O-rings, plus a lot of metal washers!!), too many cartridges with such a setting, too early they will need retip of their needle due to one side wear, from excess a/s this time, as well as, that the repairers of such cases will make big business...
And yes, indeed IMO the correct setting of anti-Skating is decisive and dramatically affects the sonic performance of any analog system.

My view on the subject is described in http://vpiforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=10610&start=60
For adjusting your a/s device see: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=13347&start=10

Also, read what the analog experts say about that:

AnalogMagik (https://www.analogmagik.com/antiskate) :
“Some suggest using a blank record groove and "to eyeball" the speed at which the cartridge slides across the surface. Some use a Mirror cut into the shape of an LP, and anti-skating is determined by watching the cartridge slide across the surface. Some employ the use of torture tracks or complex DIY devices which measures bearing friction. Some use test tracks and their ear to detect audible distortions.
However, none of these methods bears any correlation with what you are trying to measure, and will result in an arbitrary anti-skating force which may not correlate to what you are actually trying to compensate.
In our opinion, any tools which attempt to measure anti-skating force without the stylus sitting on the LP grooves while the record is spinning introduces a different friction coefficient experienced by the stylus which bears no correlation with the actual level of pressure and frictional force experienced in real time play settings. For example, if you use a mirror or a blank/grooveless record, the friction coefficient will be different from a normal LP with actual groves. They bear no correlation to one another so they will lead to inaccurate results.”


Lyra’s method of setting anti-skating force is to watch the cantilever during play. If it is skewed left or right, it’s wrong. Adjust and watch some more. They say: “It is better to do this adjustments visually as described above, rather than relying on blank-groove test records”

Kuzma 4Point tonearm (http://www.kuzma.si/media/uploads/files ... 081126.pdf ):
“Please do not use test records with blank space where the tip of the needle sits on the surface rather than in the groove.”

Continuum Audio Laboratories – Copperhead Installation and Owners Manual (http://www.continuumaudiolabs.com/downl ... _Rev_A.pdf) page 14: “CAUTION: In our opinion use of a grooveless vinyl surface to determine anti-skate adjustment is an inaccurate method.”

Continuum Audio Laboratories – Cobra Installation and Owners Manual (http://www.continuumaudiolabs.com/downl ... ual_A4.pdf), page 22: “CAUTION: In our opinion use of an unmodulated groove to determine bias adjustment is an inaccurate method of determining anti-skate force due to the absence of modulated groove drag force.”
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Re: Anti skating confusion!

Postby tony22 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:16 am

I agree with Votan. I used to use the SS method, then I tried an actual grooveless record, then the skewing method while in the groove. In my system the skewing method seemed to be the best. The problem I have, after eventually using AnalogMagik, is that this visual method is not precise enough - especially is you have a cart with an underhung cantilever to the body. It's too hard to see minor shifts to the cantilever that may have an effect on the proper anti-skate. With AM I've done the tiniest tweaks to the AS force to see measurable differences in the distortion measurement AM uses to denote proper AS. On the other hand, it's not clear to me how far "off" you'd have to be before it becomes a real problem. Maybe the skewing method is good enough. (Note - this is not a shill ad for AM.)
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Re: Anti skating confusion!

Postby Votan » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:17 am

tony22 wrote:I agree with Votan. I used to use the SS method, then I tried an actual grooveless record, then the skewing method while in the groove. In my system the skewing method seemed to be the best. The problem I have, after eventually using AnalogMagik, is that this visual method is not precise enough - especially is you have a cart with an underhung cantilever to the body. It's too hard to see minor shifts to the cantilever that may have an effect on the proper anti-skate. With AM I've done the tiniest tweaks to the AS force to see measurable differences in the distortion measurement AM uses to denote proper AS. On the other hand, it's not clear to me how far "off" you'd have to be before it becomes a real problem. Maybe the skewing method is good enough. (Note - this is not a shill ad for AM.)

Hi tony22,
The only problem with AM is that contrary to the common assumption that the skating force is going increasing towards the spindle (with which I agree after I have researched it thoroughly and experimented accordingly), AM assumes exactly the opposite, but also it places the A/s test as the last Test piece of its record. I do not have the AM, so I do not know what problem this option creates, but I know a person who, despite having done successive very careful settings with the AM in the subject of a/s and believed that through AM had it perfectly adjusted, immediately after using the technique "by the eye" observing the deflection finally saw that his a/s need a lot more correction, thus gained tremendous sonic improvement.
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Re: Anti skating confusion!

Postby Johnny » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:21 pm

Votan wrote:The only problem with AM is .......



....and the other problem is AM's $750 US price tag, plus sound card, plus a Window based laptop. I know, value is subjective, but it had to be said.
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Re: Anti skating confusion!

Postby tony22 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:42 pm

Votan wrote:The only problem with AM is that contrary to the common assumption that the skating force is going increasing towards the spindle (with which I agree after I have researched it thoroughly and experimented accordingly), AM assumes exactly the opposite, but also it places the A/s test as the last Test piece of its record. I do not have the AM, so I do not know what problem this option creates, but I know a person who, despite having done successive very careful settings with the AM in the subject of a/s and believed that through AM had it perfectly adjusted, immediately after using the technique "by the eye" observing the deflection finally saw that his a/s need a lot more correction, thus gained tremendous sonic improvement.


Hmm, I'll have to look at this again. Any idea what cart that was? Not that it matters, but I wonder if it might have been something like a SS or A90 or A95 where it's a lot easier to see the cantilever skew.
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