Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Postby Chazz798 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:52 pm

I recently purchased a Classic 4 with the 12" 3D printed arm and need some help. The Cartridge I bought to mount on it is a Soundsmith Paua MKII. I tried to get everything dialed in myself and finally took it to a professional in my area to help. In order to get the VTA even close to 92 deg. he had to bottom out the VTA on the fly and lower the unipivot point as far down as possible. This leveled the arm with the platter but the VTA is still measuring around 87 deg. The arm is so low that the azimuth ring knob on the left side barely clears the platform. (if that makes sense) I have searched everywhere online to see if this is an issue specifically with this particular arm/cartridge combo but have not found anything. I watched the video that Peter Ledermann from SS made regarding VTA with his carts and understand that even though the VTA measurement is too high, the stylus may be ok because of the angle they are mounted to the cantilever. I am still concerned that I now do not have the ability to fine adjust vta from the vta on the fly tower. Any help is appreciated.

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Re: Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Postby Dorian » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:41 pm

I have a soundsmith cart too. I didn't even bother with the 92; I just got the top of the cart parallel with the platter by eye and then adjusted by ear. Sounds fantastic.

There's a comment in this article from Fremer that says:

"I measured the angle using the method described but don't think it's valid for my contact line stylus. Came out to about 112 deg! Update.....just spoke with Peter Ledermann at Soundsmith and he told me to subtract 20 degrees from my readings for the conbtact line stylus. So that comes out to 92 degrees...yay :-)"
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Re: Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Postby Peer Gynt » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:22 pm

I could be missing something, but if it were mine, I would make a shim to put between the cartridge and head shell. This would allow you to run the tower in its normal configuration and still achieve your target sra.
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Re: Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Postby Harry » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:00 pm

Chazz, I have gone through every cartridge Peter makes and 99% of the time they sound best parallel to the record or slightly up in back. Do not go crazy with the 92 degree angle, you cannot see the line contact as it is in the groove not on the shank.

I have the same USB mics that everyone else has along with 5 real microscopes and the Sound-Smith cartridges work and sound the best with the top of the body parallel to the record surface or slightly up in the rear.

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Re: Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Postby Ayre Conditioned » Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:33 pm

+1 for my Sussurro MKII.
Prime Signature•Eagle PSU and Tach•Soundsmith Sussurro MkII
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Re: Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Postby TCat » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:22 pm

I also have this table and arm, and have mounted an Audio Technica ART-1000. Any specific recommendations on VTA or other parameters?
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Re: Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Postby Golear » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:33 pm

I was in the same boat. I have a Classic 3, 3DR arm and a Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC*.

When playing around with the VTA, I found that the VTA control bottomed out on thin LPs.

Option 1: Lower the height of the spike. I didn't want to mess with this. I don't know if it can be done. It's just a theoretical solution.

Option 2: Raise the height of the platter. You can do this by putting washers between the bearing assembly and the plinth. I have not done this - just pointing out the option. There could be some complexities. The material might matter - brass, steel, aluminium may all have different sonic signatures. On the downside, it may not be as good as the stock set up. On the upside, it might be better than the stock set up. We might need HW to compare to the master tape.

Option 3: Put a spacer between the cartridge and arm. The SME V tonearm had a similar issue and they sell a spacer that looked a lot like the SME tonearm head. VPI might want to come up with a similar device, made of the same material as the 3D arm. (I suggested this on the forum a while back.) Again, the choice of material, amount of mass, etc. may be a factor. (I'm not a fan of putting a lot of mass at the end of the tonearm.)

Option 4: Put two LPs on the platter and used them as mats. This means the LP that I'm going to play will sit on top of these two LPs. The first LP was a thin one, an old Joe Cocker LP that had a scratch. The top LP is one by 2Cellos - there was a pit on the surface that resulted in a "repeating groove". The 2Cellos LP was an 180 gram pressing, and as an added plus, it does not have the bulge on the edge/rim. (Stop Press! 2Cellos suddenly rockets to #1 on the Billboard 100.)

Option 4 is the easiest and the least intrusive. I have a periphery ring and this, with the center weight, pushes the stack of LPs down together nicely. And I like the sound better than when I played LPs resting directly on the platter.
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Re: Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Postby Chazz798 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:40 pm

Thanks everyone for the replies and ideas. I have played around with this and found that, as suggested, getting the Paua MKII cartridge head slightly tail up from parallel it sounds better. I talked with Peter Ledermann and he advised that I needed to use an imaginary line on the center of the 3D arm tube to get the arm parallel to the record surface and then adjust VTA by ear for the best results. The 12" 3D printed arm is tapered making it an optical illusion when getting it parallel, it looks like it's not but it actually is if you measure from the center of the arm. Things are sounding very good right now and the VTA on the fly is actually functional again.
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Re: Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Postby Peer Gynt » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:07 am

The Fatboy might benefit from a white or neon yellow racing stipe to clarify its angle off parallel.

Also, this clarifies the skills of the local expert. I hope he didn’t charge you much. :cry:
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Re: Classic 4 w/12" 3D printed arm VTA help

Postby Dorian » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:37 am

I should add that mine also ended up being slightly up in the back from parallel, after adjustment by ear. Sounds like you got it, so well done. Enjoy the music.
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