VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

Postby Vinylsmokes » Fri Dec 28, 2018 1:36 pm

I've had the VPI Cliffwood for about 7 months, but have questions about the cartridge it came with, and would love opinions on potential cartridge upgrades.

First, this Grado Green it came with rides incredibly low. So much so, that it will occasionally hop. I recently bought a digital stylus force gauge, and found it's at 4.2g, much higher than the recommended 1.5g. How do you adjust the tracking force on the Cliffwood? While I've been a vinyl enthusiast for a while, I don't have much experience with the technical adjustments that come with this crazy hobby we love so much, and I haven't been able to find any direction on how to do so with this turntable.

My second question: if I decide to simply upgrade the cartridge, I'd love to hear some recommendations. I'd be willing to spend up to $400... a rep for the online retailer I bought the turntable from mentioned his affection for the Sumiko Moonstone, so I've had my eyes on that as a potential option.

Thanks in advance for any insight!
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Re: VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

Postby madrac » Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:20 pm

Did you check that your digital scale is reading correctly (calibrated)? A US Penny weighs 2.5 grams.

Is the counterweight fixed or is there a set screw which can be loosened to move it (I can't tell from the pictures on the VPI site, nor is there any mention in the manual on how to adjust)? Moving it closer/further to the pivot changes the tracking force.

You should check with VPI on cartridge recommendations. Another in your price range is the SoundSmith Otello.
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Re: VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

Postby Vinylsmokes » Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:43 pm

Thanks for your response. Yes, I checked the calibration. Just in case, I just measured a penny as well. See the pic attached for the counterweight... it's simply a single screw. I didn't want to start fiddling with it blindly without proper instructions and maybe make matters worse. I'm gathering that I simply loosen the screw and move it back and forth to adjust stylus pressure?
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Re: VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

Postby 10ovr » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:27 pm

Yup thats the set screw,, Loosen and slide weight ,,If a Soundsmith Counter Intuitive well fit the weight it would help you fine tune the VTF,, Not sure if its the same diameter as other VPI Tonearm weights ?? https://www.musicdirect.com/analog-acce ... i-tonearms
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Re: VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

Postby Arnel » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:37 pm

Anyone know what kind of screw that is? I also have the cliffwood and want to change cartridge. I tried a hex and Philips and neither worked.
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Re: VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

Postby 10ovr » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:13 pm

Most likely an American allen of some size,,
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Re: VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

Postby Votan » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:48 am

Vinylsmokes wrote:My second question: if I decide to simply upgrade the cartridge, I'd love to hear some recommendations. I'd be willing to spend up to $400... a rep for the online retailer I bought the turntable from mentioned his affection for the Sumiko Moonstone, so I've had my eyes on that as a potential option.

Thanks in advance for any insight!

When I bought my VPI Prime Signature in February I swapped it with my previous one VPI HR-V/JMW 12,5 which I went and installed it as a demo at the dealer's store. The cartridge he gave me to install on was the VPI Green. Cmon I thought, an 150€ cart on a very expensive Hi-End TT?. Anyway I set it up and adjusted it appropriately. When I heard Green feeding the M2Tech Nash phono stage, I couldn’t believe in my ears with her extraordinary sound. It’s amazing! So, I advise you not to replace this cart, just try to set it up properly, unless the fact that it worked for so many months with a much higher VTF (4,2 grams!!!) has caused permanent damage to its suspension and/or its needle.
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Re: VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

Postby Mr_Putty » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:05 pm

Vinylsmokes,
To fine tune your tracking force you can push a piece of modeling clay on the back of the counterweight. It’s easy to add more or rub some off for more tracking force. It makes trying different tracking quick and easy without messing with the set screw on the counterweight. Too many set screw adjustments can damage the arm making fine tuning difficult.
Regarding carts, I use a Ortofon 2M Bronze. It is in your price range. If you get one new they need about 40 hours to break-in. They will gradually get smoother, more musical as used. Be sure to keep your stylus clean or you may not hear the subtle changes as they happen, and you don’t want to flatspot the diamond. Which is to say, keep your records clean for best results.
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Re: VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

Postby MOON » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:36 am

You also want to make sure you are setting the tracking force at record level. I stack cd cases on top of each other, then add cards from a deck of cards onto the cd cases to get the pad of the guage that the stylus touches down on even with a 180g record on the platter.

So the stack of cd's with the cards under the gauge is right next to the platter.
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Re: VPI Cliffwood Cartridge Set Up / Replacement

Postby Yomaha » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:02 pm

I just got a Cliffwood from an authorized VPI dealer in CA and it came with an Ortofon red. I was expecting gradogreen...it even said that on my invoice. I called the dealer and he said VPI has switched to Ortofon red for that table. I probably have 5 hours on the table so far. I read burn in was around 20 hours. Anyone have any burn in impressions with this table?

Thanks
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