Correct VTA - guidance please

Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby Brf » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:55 am

billo wrote:
Brf wrote:
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.

One does not need to jump off a bridge to understand that it's not a good idea.

When adjusting vta by ear, I understand the need for a reference point. Why is absolute parallel better than roughly parallel when we know that the reference point will be adjusted?? How does the Millennium Block save time and frustration?
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby Johnny » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:48 am

I always thought that the best vta was achieved when the head shell was parallel to the platter, therefore, I bought a Millennium Block and set my head shell to level and moved on.

I have now been adjusting my cartridge parameters by ear, and to my surprise, my tonearm is now tail up for best sound and my head shell is anything but level.

If you are a level it and forget it type of person, the Millennium Block is for you. If you adjust your vta by ear, save the $80 and buy some albums.

If you want to buy a Millennium Block, mine's for sale ;)
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby billo » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:43 am

Brf wrote:
billo wrote:
Brf wrote:
How does the Millennium Block save time and frustration?


Like I said, use one and find out for yourself. Getting into this hobby of ours I found the thing holding me back the most was logic and ego. You know, Bits is Bits, Wire is Wire and now your "almost level is good enough". Not so. It's faster and easier to start in the ball park instead of the parking lot.
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby billo » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:02 am

Johnny wrote:I always thought that the best vta was achieved when the head shell was parallel to the platter, therefore, I bought a Millennium Block and set my head shell to level and moved on.

I have now been adjusting my cartridge parameters by ear, and to my surprise, my tonearm is now tail up for best sound and my head shell is anything but level.

If you are a level it and forget it type of person, the Millennium Block is for you. If you adjust your vta by ear, save the $80 and buy some albums.

If you want to buy a Millennium Block, mine's for sale ;)


Johnny -
No-one said set it level and forget it. Like any tool, correct usage is paramount. Tail up or tail down of the tonearm can be dependent on VTF. The rear of the cantilever rises and falls with VTF, while the stylus stays fixed at the records surface, affecting VTA in a major way. Changing arm tilt on a unipivot affects VTF. That's why VTF should be reset every time VTA is adjusted. I believe VTA "on the fly" has more to do with the change in VTF (change in cantilever angle) than the relatively negligible tilt of the arm.
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby Johnny » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:31 am

billo wrote:
Johnny wrote:I always thought that the best vta was achieved when the head shell was parallel to the platter, therefore, I bought a Millennium Block and set my head shell to level and moved on.

I have now been adjusting my cartridge parameters by ear, and to my surprise, my tonearm is now tail up for best sound and my head shell is anything but level.

If you are a level it and forget it type of person, the Millennium Block is for you. If you adjust your vta by ear, save the $80 and buy some albums.

If you want to buy a Millennium Block, mine's for sale ;)


Johnny -
No-one said set it level and forget it. Like any tool, correct usage is paramount. Tail up or tail down of the tonearm can be dependent on VTF. The rear of the cantilever rises and falls with VTF, while the stylus stays fixed at the records surface, affecting VTA in a major way. Changing arm tilt on a unipivot affects VTF. That's why VTF should be reset every time VTA is adjusted. I believe VTA "on the fly" has more to do with the change in VTF (change in cantilever angle) than the relatively negligible tilt of the arm.


Bill, I am just conveying my experience with the Millennium Block. I am fully aware of the effects on tracking force when the arm moves from parallel.

I was in the set it to parallel and forget it camp like so many other users, therefore, the Millennium Block was a useful tool.

Now that I rely more on my ears than tools when setting up my cartridges, I no longer see the need to purchase a precision instrument like the Millennium Block because I plan on making adjustments to the arm height based on listening.

I also use a USB scope and I can tell you that not all stylus tips are affixed with high precision IME. I understand the need for a reference point, just not sure that you need to spend $80 to find a starting point. Just my experience and opinion.
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby Orchids1 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:35 pm

I set most things by ear, including VTA. It's certainly not necessary to use a Millenium block to do this. However, I do use one. It's really a matter of convenience, similar to a Soundsmith Counter Intuitive, which is also not strictly necessary. As has been mentioned, the block makes it easier to level the arm, which is a good starting point for making further adjustments by ear. With experience, it's likely that many people will choose not to use the block. For example, I no longer feel the need for a Counter Intuitive, and prefer the look without one. Rich
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby Johnny » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:28 pm

Orchids1 wrote:I set most things by ear, including VTA. It's certainly not necessary to use a Millenium block to do this. However, I do use one. It's really a matter of convenience, similar to a Soundsmith Counter Intuitive, which is also not strictly necessary. As has been mentioned, the block makes it easier to level the arm, which is a good starting point for making further adjustments by ear. With experience, it's likely that many people will choose not to use the block. For example, I no longer feel the need for a Counter Intuitive, and prefer the look without one. Rich


Rich, I agree with you 100% that you don't need a Millennium and CI to set up a cartridge, but that is where your analogy ends. The CI is capable of action and/or change in both VTF and azimuth whereas the Millennium is merely a fixed starting point and completely independent of proper vta/sra .

IMHO, the Millennium Block is like spending an extra $80 on a VTF gauge that is capable of measuring 1/1,000 of a gram over one that measures 1/100 of a gram. If you tune by ear, what’s the point of the added precision?

Rich, would you still buy a Millennium Block today?
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby Orchids1 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:35 pm

Johnny, The only similarity between the CI and the Millineum block that I was trying to point out is that both are conveniences that make settings easier, but neither is necessary to make the settings correctly. I'd probably buy the block again today, although I don't really need it. It's easier to level the arm using the block (which is not necessary to set VTA by ear, but is a good place to start) than by using an index card, ruler or just eyeballing it. I'm sure as I get more used to setting the VTA, which I do very infrequently (I don't change VTA for different record thicknesses), I won't bother to use the block, just as I no longer use a CI. Rich
Avenger, SS Paua cart, Phoenix Eagle psu and tach, Sutherland 20/20 phono, Audionet Pre 1 G3 pre, Benchmark AHB2 monos, YG Carmel 2 spkrs, Nordost/Audio Sensibilty ic, Kubla-Sonsa spkr cable; Auralic Aries renderer, Auralic Vega dac.
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby Johnny » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:23 pm

Orchids1 wrote:Johnny, The only similarity between the CI and the Millineum block that I was trying to point out is that both are conveniences that make settings easier, but neither is necessary to make the settings correctly. I'd probably buy the block again today, although I don't really need it. It's easier to level the arm using the block (which is not necessary to set VTA by ear, but is a good place to start) than by using an index card, ruler or just eyeballing it. I'm sure as I get more used to setting the VTA, which I do very infrequently (I don't change VTA for different record thicknesses), I won't bother to use the block, just as I no longer use a CI. Rich


Thanks Rich
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Re: Correct VTA - guidance please

Postby thegage » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:51 pm

I find the Millennium block indispensable in my setups--wouldn't be without one, particularly as my current 3D arm doesn't have a flat headshell. But I've had mine for close on ten years and probably 7 or 8 different cartridges, so it's more than been worth its cost. It's not like something you have to replace every year.

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