Question about Audio Shelf Systems
Although I live in Canada now, I was born in the former
Czecholsovakia. While I spent a year in the Czech Republic in
2006, I was amazed how advanced their technology was, in
comparison to Canada or the US. If you want modern technology,
Prague is the place to go. Anyway ...
1) As I said before, do NOT adjust the tone-arm weight up
and down. This setting must be set to match the stylus and
the cartridge !!! The wrong setting is very bad.
To get the weight adjusted correctly, do the following.
a) Check the cartridge and stylus (needle) specifications, on
the WEB if necessary.
A typical tracking weight is between 0.9 grams to 1.5 grams,
but this very much depends on the needle geometry. To much
weight will damage the needle and the record, but
so will too little, because the needle will not stay on the
surface, skipping or mistracking on loud passages.
Note that the tracking acceleration is proportional to the
the square root of the loudness, multiplied by the frequency
squared. So if the tracking force is too low, the needle will
bounce over high frequencies and damage the record as
well as the needle's tip.
2) Once you know the correct force for your needle, adjust
the rear weight for ZERO force, such that the needle just
floats weightlessly in the air. If your turn-table has an anti-
skating adjustment, set that to zero as well.
3) At this point the tone-arm should be totally weightless,
and should neither touch the plater nor swing up/down
by itself. It should float halfway.
4) A this point, adjust the rear weight's dial (not the weight) to
read zero. Note that the dial will slide, while you hold the
weight still. You have now calibrated the tone-arm's zero
5) Now, adjust the weight (with the dial) to read the desired
tracking force, for example 1.25 grams.
6) Now adjust the anti-skating dial to the same number as
the rear weight. This setting compensates for the radial
(towards the center) component of the friction vector,
caused by the needle riding on the record groove, at some
specific (average) tone-arm angle.
7) Your tone arm is now balanced, and you should not
touch it after this, accept for minor adjustments.
For brand new records, you may lighten the tone-arm
by 10%. For old records, you can make it a little heavier.
Similarly, you can adjust the anti-skating to prevent a
record from skipping, but a bad record should be played
only once (and stored on your computer).
8) For some tone-arms and cartridges, the cartridge pitch
(up/down angle) is also adjustable. This requires a special
jig or gauge, supplied by the cartridge manufacturer.
The pitch can be adjusted either by the use of screws or
wedges, and by lowering / raising the rear gimble. On my
Technics SL 1200, the gimble elevation is adjustable with
a large ring, and my SURE V15 cartridge came with a guage
for adjusting it correctly.
9) It may also be possible to adjust the cartridge's yaw and
radius, but all of these adjustments should only be done
using the correct gauges and by strictly following the
cartridge installation manual.
10) NONE of these adjustments should effect the tone-arm
cueing or return process. There should be plenty of
clearence if the cueing mechanism is working properly,
except, perhaps, for the gimble elevation, if the cartridge
is unusually tall.
11) Is the cuing mechanism (i.e. the tone-arm lifter)
mechanical or hydraulic ?
Is it the lift consistent or does the tone-arm drop down
Does the tone-arm move parallel to the plater, or does the
stylus height change with tone-arm position (yaw)
You are looking for a mechanical defect in the cuing
12) How much over all lift do you get between the down position
and the up position? This should be at least 8 to 15mm
If the cuing mechanism is worn out, it may not move enough.
If it starts too low, it may move enough but not raise the
needle enough to clear the record.
If the cartridge is tracking too low, you may have to
remove some wedges or spacers between the cartridge
and the head, or lift the rear gimble if it is adjustable, or
get a different tone-arm head, that matches the cartridge
Finally as silly as this sounds, make sure that the
platter is fully dropped and properly engaged. If the
plater is too high, for what ever reason, this would also
cause the needle to drag.
Also make sure that the rubber mat on the plater is the
right one and that it is not too thick.
Posted on Jul 04, 2008
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