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Thread: Nice and cheap tonearm and cart VTA tool

  1. #11
    Join Date: Jul 2013

    Location: Kingsbury, NW London

    Posts: 1,023
    I'm Clive.


    I also use my Avid protractor on it side to check vta, but this does look like an interesting product.
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  2. #12
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 1,011
    I'm Russell.


    I enjoy making my own alignment protractors and such, people spend huge money for fancy alignment jigs, and the ones I've made from card stock are accurate to within the width of a razor blade's edge. But the price on this tool is cheap enough! And as mentioned, can get you in the ball park so you can adjust by ear. Always the best result is by ear.

    For azimuth I use a wooden stick, like a long wooden cotton swab stick, that appears to be straight, and lay it across the headshell. Then I can see how far each end of the stick is off the record, even measure it with a small cardstock rule. The other angle, squaring the bottom of the cart with the record for VTA, is only a starting point. What we really want in this lengthwise adjustment is the angle the diamond is standing in the groove. For that, I use a strong loupe, or magnifying glass. I've seen people on line, Like the guys at Stereophile, use one of those USB microscopes to examine the angle of the needle in the groove. The paperwork in my Shumiko states it should be at 92 degrees, leaning forward. So once there, I adjust the VTA on the fly to get the best sound. And it usually is right at that angle.

    The truth is that even on expensive cartridges the diamond may not be perfectly in line with the cantilever, they glued it on the end as best they could, but examination with a USB microscope shows they can be a little crooked, to a lot crooked. That's why it's important to look at the tip of the needle and not the bottom of the cartridge. Plus, as a cartridge ages, the suspension on the cantilever weakens, and one needs to lower the tracking force to get the angle back. That's why makers give us a range of tracking forces, not just one ideal weight.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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