Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Postby VinBob » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:14 pm

Hello All and Happy Sunday!

I am finally getting ready to setup my cartridge on my Prime and am reading conflicting information on the order in which the cartridge setup is performed - I think I have the order pretty close from everything I have read and from the method most people tend to use, but should VTA be set before Azimuth or even at the very beginning before setting the overhang (before step 5 for VTF), or does it not matter? My instructions are also based on my Feickert protractor which you will see from below...

Here is a cheat sheet I have created for myself before I take on the task and would appreciate any comments/advise from the experts out there who have setup many cartridges on their VPI turntable. Thanks in advance!

Cheers,
Vin.

Step 1 - Check the Spindle to Pivot (S2P) distance is correct for cartridge overhang (Not needed for already assembled turntables such as Rega, Project, VPI, Pioneer, Technics, Audio Technica etc.) - More for if you are mixing and matching tonearms to different brand turntables...

Step 2 - Level Platter (more important than Turntable Plinth)

Step 3 - Mount Cartridge onto Tonearm (use a non-magnetic screwdriver)
Tighten screws equally on either side as you mount

Step 4 - Tape down Platter (To avoid any movement)

Step 4a – Good time to ensure Anti-Skating is disabled

Step 5 - Do VTF (Cartridge Weight - Specified by Cartridge Manufacturer - normally a value between min/max)
Doesn’t have to be spot on at this stage, but in the ballpark of manufacturers recommendation

Step 6 - Set Cartridge overhang (Cart back and forth) – Feickert Step 1
Step 6a – Set Cartridge Tangency (Arc at Two Null Points) – Feickert Steps 2 and 3 (Optional if Steps 1+2 OK)
For this step you can move the protractor to align with the cantilever

Step 7 - Set Azimuth
Important to set this before anti-skating

Step 8 - Anti-Skating (Tune by Ear if needed until it sounds great to you and channels balanced!)
There is no perfect setting – anti-skating is a compromise to what sounds best and using a MONO LP with a female voice to be dead center when listening! - A little less A/S is better than having too much

Step 9 - Set VTA (Tonearm Parallel to LP/Platter is typical for usage)
This also affects the Stylus Rake Angle (SRA) – 92 degree angle is perfect (should be greater than 90 but ideally at 92)

Step 10 - Check VTF again (as this would have changed during the above steps especially setting VTA)

Step 11 - Check platter speed (optional if you have Direct Drive TT or a Tachometer!)
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Re: Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Postby VinBob » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:08 pm

Been doing a little more reading and came across another interesting article (2014 by Audiophilia Staff) which made me make some additional adjustments to my setup procedure. Wanted to share the latest document and in particular, I have added Step 7a. I am not sure if I am overdoing things here but it certainly seems very comprehensive and complete - my biggest issue is having to redo/recheck everything once I hit step 7a but I guess this is why we have technical setup engineers that charge for this work!

Again, would appreciate any guidance and confirmation on the below so that I can finally get setup and spinning vinyl again!

Cheers,
Vin.

Step 1 - Check the Spindle to Pivot (S2P) distance is correct for cartridge overhang (Not needed for already assembled turntables such as Rega, Project, VPI, Pioneer, Technics, Audio Technica etc.) - More for if you are mixing and matching tonearms to different brand turntables...

Step 2 - Level Platter (more important than Turntable Plinth)

Step 3 - Mount Cartridge onto Tonearm (use a non-magnetic screwdriver)
Tighten screws equally on either side as you mount

Step 4 - Tape down Platter (To avoid any movement)

Step 4a – Good time to ensure Anti-Skating is disabled

Step 5 - Do VTF (Cartridge Weight - Specified by Cartridge Manufacturer - normally a value between min/max)
Look to set to the highest setting from manufacturer (DV20x2L = 2.2g)

Step 5a – Set VTA/SRA – Arm tube parallel to the platter (Part One)
VPI VTA - Counter Clockwise = Arm UP / Clockwise = Arm Down

Step 6 – (ALIGNMENT) - Set Cartridge overhang (Cart back and forth) – Feickert Step 1
Step 6a – Set Cartridge Zenith (Tangency at Two Null Points) – Feickert Steps 2 and 3 (Optional if Steps 1+2 OK)
For this step you can move the protractor to align with the cantilever

Step 7 - Set Azimuth
Important to set this before anti-skating

Step 7a - Set VTF (Revisited)
Using a test record (e.g. H-FI News 300Hz at +15dB) lower VTF while these tracks play with no buzzing
If you hear buzzing in one channel, it is due to Anti-skating – don’t adjust as it will be fixed in next step
Reduce VTF until you get to the mid-point with test tracks playing OK
You now need to revisit Steps 6, 6a and 7 due to changes made to VTF!!!!

Step 8 - Anti-Skating (Tune by Ear if needed until it sounds great to you and channels balanced!)
There is no perfect setting – anti-skating is a compromise to what sounds best and using a MONO LP with a female voice to be dead center when listening!
Buzzing in Right Channel = More A/S Required and vice versa
A little less A/S is better than having too much

Step 9 - Set VTA (FINE TUNE) - (Tonearm Parallel to LP/Platter is typical for usage) – This also affects the Stylus Rake Angle (SRA) – 92 degree angle is perfect (greater than 90 - ideally at 92)

Step 10 - Check VTF again (as this would have changed during the above step for tweaking VTA)
VPI Recommends going to the higher side of the manufacturer recommended values

Step 11 - Check platter speed (optional if you have Direct Drive TT or a Tachometer!)
VPI Prime | Lyra Delos | Phoenix Engineering Eagle & Roadrunner | Moon 310LP/320S | Bryston BP-25 & 3BSST | B&W CM8 S2 | Naim DAC-V1 | Rega Apollo-R
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Re: Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Postby husafreak » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:53 am

This is no answer but I think I'll print your post out for future reference!
Oh, yesterday I saw "Despicable Me 3" too. I thought you would appreciate that ;)
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Re: Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Postby Ayre Conditioned » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:41 am

I just used a Feickert to set up my Sussurro. I initially set it up with a Conrad Hoffman protractor off the internet. It's interesting that they don't agree with each other. The Feickert puts the cartridge farther forward in the arm and imho sounds better. Looking forward to your results.
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Re: Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Postby VinBob » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:24 am

Ayre Conditioned wrote:I just used a Feickert to set up my Sussurro. I initially set it up with a Conrad Hoffman protractor off the internet. It's interesting that they don't agree with each other. The Feickert puts the cartridge farther forward in the arm and imho sounds better. Looking forward to your results.


I think that may be because the Feickert may be compensating for any slight difference in the P2S which you may not be doing via the printed Conrad protractor - unless you gave the exact P2S measurement for your table?

I am waiting to get confirmation from any experts out there on my above list before I start, as I don't want to go down the 'wrong rabbit hole' and find that I did something horribly out of sequence and have to start the process all over again...But once setup, I will happily post my findings and results...

Cheers,
Vin.
VPI Prime | Lyra Delos | Phoenix Engineering Eagle & Roadrunner | Moon 310LP/320S | Bryston BP-25 & 3BSST | B&W CM8 S2 | Naim DAC-V1 | Rega Apollo-R
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Re: Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Postby VinBob » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:26 am

husafreak wrote:This is no answer but I think I'll print your post out for future reference!
Oh, yesterday I saw "Despicable Me 3" too. I thought you would appreciate that ;)


Ha! - It's been getting mixed reviews but I thought it was bloody hilarious like all the others, especially those "bad ass" minions! :lol:
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Re: Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Postby Brf » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:48 pm

Vin, your list is complete as any.

The only thing that I do different is 7 and 7a, I use a Fozgometer for Azimuth and I tune vtf by ear. I also use a blank disc for anti-skate, but my system is not overly sensitive/audible to the effects of skating forces. I choose to use anti-skating force for stylus wear.
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Re: Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Postby VinBob » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:00 pm

Brf wrote:Vin, your list is complete as any.

The only thing that I do different is 7 and 7a, I use a Fozgometer for Azimuth and I tune vtf by ear. I also use a blank disc for anti-skate, but my system is not overly sensitive/audible to the effects of skating forces. I choose to use anti-skating force for stylus wear.


Much appreciated Brf - More importantly, Is the 'order' in which I have things correct too?

I too use a Fozgometer to set Azimuth which I should have mentioned. For 7a, when you say you 'set this by ear' what are you looking for there exactly? Also, having performed the 7a step, should I then go back and check steps 6, 6a and 7 again?

As for Anti-skating, I have read to stay away from the groove-less LP or blank disc, as skating is caused by friction in the groove and which a groove-less record produces far less friction than a grooved one, which would essentially never produce a correct result for measurement. I hope I wrote that correct... :?:

Cheers,
Vin.
VPI Prime | Lyra Delos | Phoenix Engineering Eagle & Roadrunner | Moon 310LP/320S | Bryston BP-25 & 3BSST | B&W CM8 S2 | Naim DAC-V1 | Rega Apollo-R
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Re: Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Postby kevinheem » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:35 pm

This video is interesting...could be helpful.

phpBB [video]
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Re: Advice needed for setting up my Cartridge...

Postby Dorian » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:40 pm

That video covers the basics and is useful for a beginner or as a starting point. It doesn't get into setting up to maximize performance.
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