Correct VTA - guidance please

Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby miner » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:02 am

I have an Aries 3D with an Ortofon Cadenza Black cartridge. I have been attempting to get all adjustments correct and VTA is last. I do have an optical scope I have been using to view my stylus magnified 400x. The stylus is a micro-ridge design. I struggled with the scope adjustment but finally did get a decent view. I the did my VTA tower adjustments. I could see the stylus move a but but could not actually tell when the angle was changing. So, I decided to try by ear. I was using Peter Gabriel's So LP since it is loaded with bass. After lower and raising a number of times I went back to arm being parallel - I could not detect much change in sonic. When doing by ear when will I know it is correct?
McIntosh C2300 pre; McIntosh MC452 amp; McIntosh MCD500 SACD; VPI Aries 3 with 3D arm and Ortofon Cadenza Black MC cartridge; Manley Chinook SE; PS Audio P5 regulator; VPI SDS; Pioneer RT707 R2R; Sonus faber Cremona Auditor M; REL B1 sub-bass system
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby Gary1955 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:37 am

You will know when the music sounds best to your ear by trying different VTA's/rear height adjustment of tonearm. Parallel is usually a good starting point and maybe an ending point. Some carts sound better slightly above or below parallel.

Always recheck your VTF after settling on a particular height for varying record thickness. I don't readjust afterwards for each record. Enjoy the music!!
VPI HR-X rim drive w/magnetic drive platter, 3D Ref. 12" tonearm, Lyra Titan-i cartridge, Graham Slee Reflex M & Elevator, tri-amped horn system w/electronic crossover.
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby billo » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:44 am

miner -

Experience has taught me that when I can't hear a change in sound when adjusting VTA, I've got it way wrong. So wrong that I'm going from bad to bad and never crossing that sweet spot. What has worked best for me is setting the headshell (not the arm) parallel from the side and the front using a Millennium Block, resetting VTF, aligning the cart, double checking the parallelism and VTF, double checking the alignment including azimuth by ear, triple checking, then if the sound is good play some tunes for a week to let my ears burn in before attempting to fine tune that last bit of VTA. YMWV - but this works extremely well for me. I track as heavy as possible and reset VTF every time the VTA is adjusted and adjust in small increments - 20 divisions max. I have found the optimum VTA and Azimuth usually very near the starting point (parallel).

Bill
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby miner » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:58 am

Thank you for the above posts and guidance. I will order a Millenium Block.
McIntosh C2300 pre; McIntosh MC452 amp; McIntosh MCD500 SACD; VPI Aries 3 with 3D arm and Ortofon Cadenza Black MC cartridge; Manley Chinook SE; PS Audio P5 regulator; VPI SDS; Pioneer RT707 R2R; Sonus faber Cremona Auditor M; REL B1 sub-bass system
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby macster » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:38 am

If you want to save some money, you can use one of those 3x5 index cards, or a ruler using the mm scale.

M~
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby billo » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:48 pm

miner wrote:Thank you for the above posts and guidance. I will order a Millenium Block.


Good move. The Block stands up at 90 degrees, freeing both hands, and is crystal clear so the lines are superimposed over the headshell with laser precision. An index card behind will work - like a steak knife in surgery..
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby Brf » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:21 pm

The only thing that a Millennium Block tells you is that your headshell is level. It tells you absolutely nothing about vta/sra.
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby billo » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:40 pm

Brf wrote:The only thing that a Millennium Block tells you is that your headshell is level.


Exactly...level is the starting reference point to set VTA by ear as requested by the OP.
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby Brf » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:54 pm

billo wrote:
Brf wrote:The only thing that a Millennium Block tells you is that your headshell is level.


Exactly...level is the starting reference point to set VTA by ear as requested by the OP.


Why does one need an $85 item that gives you a high precision starting point that immediately gets adjusted by ear? Why not reference the headshell by approximation and use the vta dial indicator as your reference point?
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby billo » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:01 pm

Brf wrote:
billo wrote:
Brf wrote:The only thing that a Millennium Block tells you is that your headshell is level.


Exactly...level is the starting reference point to set VTA by ear as requested by the OP.


Why does one need an $85 item that gives you a high precision starting point that immediately gets adjusted by ear? Why not reference the headshell by approximation and use the vta dial indicator as your reference point?


Because it really is a time and frustration saver. Try it yourself. At least then you'll have an informed opinion. Here's another tip. When setting up the counterweight on a new cart, use the MB to lock the counterweight in position so the the headshell has zero azimuth. Then when dialing in azimuth later the Counter Intuitive won't end up severely skewed over to one side.
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