Sliding force???

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,592
225
63
Boston, MA
#21
I'm not familiar with that track, but if you removed/corrected most of the issue then you are on a winning path. I suspect this track is difficult one for sibilance at end.

For me if it happens on one or two records OK, could be simply hot mic spots that you can't make better anyways. I don't have a distortion meter and I would not get one either seems wasteful compared to how much it might happen. The other thing is if you can observe your cantilever straight on towards end of record as as long as it is not being pulled hard left or right, I would think you have it well adjusted.

Enjoy!
Thanks. This morning, after many years, I played the Reference Recordings "From The Age Of Swing", with which I've always had issues with the hi-hats, similar to said sibilance issues with voices, and again, the majority of the problems have disappeared, but not entirely. I am thinking that the cartridge/arm combo is to blame, and maybe this is the best I can do with them. If there is more performance to be had, I am really tired of micro-tweaking. Nonetheless, the LP is now so much easier to listen to; I would love to play this LP on someone else's system.
 
Likes: Catcher10
Dec 28, 2018
55
30
18
55
#22
Thanks. This morning, after many years, I played the Reference Recordings "From The Age Of Swing", with which I've always had issues with the hi-hats, similar to said sibilance issues with voices, and again, the majority of the problems have disappeared, but not entirely. I am thinking that the cartridge/arm combo is to blame, and maybe this is the best I can do with them. If there is more performance to be had, I am really tired of micro-tweaking. Nonetheless, the LP is now so much easier to listen to; I would love to play this LP on someone else's system.
Thank you! Funny though, its what we do right....tweak like cra-cra! I am in the middle of reading your info on shielding with the foil and very interested. All my gear is SS so I am thinking I will give this "Ack Tweak" a try......It looks like from your video you wrapped/covered the seams of the XP-25 and also wrapped some of your cables. My AQ phono cables are shielded and the Morrow cables too, but I guess does not hurt to add more.

I suspect you used a copper foil tape, this can be purchased from a supplier like Parts-Express or is there a better option?

Thank you sir!
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,592
225
63
Boston, MA
#23
You are welcome. Tweaks are fun, and every one in here has worked. The Pass is wrapped in copper foil plus mu metal - that was more sinigficant. You can buy copper foil on amazon as well, but it has to have *conductive* adhesive. Have fun!

I just finished playing the original Reference Recordings Nojima Plays Ravel, and it was really fantastic with no tracing issues.
 
Likes: Catcher10
Dec 28, 2018
55
30
18
55
#24
Did you use the mu metal and copper foil in specific areas or just like all over? Or is it like mu-metal then cover that with copper foil or vice versa? And I assume this tape/foil needs to be grounded somehow?
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,592
225
63
Boston, MA
#25
The XP-25 is prone to hum and high frequency noise, therefore, most of it is wrapped all around with both. The foil has to be grounded, and that's what the conductive adhesive side does, because the foil eventually touches the grounded case somewhere; but you can you can run a separate wire to ground if you want; I tried it, couldn't tell a difference. Every phono will likely be different, and for example, I had no such issues with the Ayre prior to that, or the Moon I tried - both were dead quiet.
 

marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,336
221
63
Far Hills, NJ
#26
Did you use the mu metal and copper foil in specific areas or just like all over? Or is it like mu-metal then cover that with copper foil or vice versa? And I assume this tape/foil needs to be grounded somehow?
I've been "ackified" for some time. There is no doubt that Tasos' suggestion to add shielding for components suspect of RFI/EMI noise can have superb benefits. His recommendations have been discussed elsewhere on the forum. I found a marked benefit when I added dual mu metal/copper shielding to my MIT SHD network boxes.

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/ive-been-ackified-round-2.24737/#post-490665

I no longer use MIT cables so I deconstructed the foil boxes and re-fit them to surround the Hewlett Packard Power supply for my Goldmund turntable. Wow! The benefits were even more impressive than on the MIT network boxes. It was as if I added a "noise be gone" spray to the phono source. For the price and ease of this tweak, I'm surprised more people haven't tried it. You really don't have to hear obvious noise or hum to find a benefit. Even if you think your system is relatively quiet, you won't know the benefits until you try this. Quiet is good. Really, really quiet is often noticeably better! The blacker the background, the better the sound. That's what judicious shielding can do. Thanks again to ack for bringing this tweak to my attention.
 
Last edited:

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,592
225
63
Boston, MA
#27
Thank you Marty again for your kind words. Wise advise, and more specifically, "Even if you think your system is relatively quiet, you won't know the benefits until you try this" - yes, this is my motivation and guiding principle as well: noise is oftentimes the enemy you didn't know was there.

When I visit audiophiles for the time, the first thing I do is look around the system. I suspect the hosts think I am curious to look at the components; but I am looking at completely different things, like:

1) Do you have network cables, and will they absorb vibrations and/or electronic noise
2) Are the electronic components' cases monocoque or are there gaps between plates for noise to creep in
3) Is that an unshielded transformer I see
4) Is this DAC in a close proximity to potentially radiate noise
5) Are these tubes going to pick up vibrations
6) Is that CD transport probe to picking up vibrations
7) Are you star-grounded
8) How much feedback will your turntable pick up
9) How stable is that arm
...etc...

Meaningful tweaks, grounded on pure science, is part of what makes this hobby so much fun for me. Collectively, all the tweaks I have made - and discussed in these pages - amount to a MAJOR component upgrade, and this is no bull. What is equally gratifying to me is when others independently attest to these great results. It's fun to be thinking in a different dimension, if I may say so...

Enjoy

PS: Next up, a teaser: has anyone tried Isodamp as a dynamic driver gasket? My buddies here indirectly heard that too last time they visited, and I didn't tell them about it (sorry guys!); I haven't really discussed its benefits yet.
 
Last edited:

jadis

Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2010
7,318
776
113
Manila, Philippines
#28
IMHO a blank disk is not the proper way of setting anti-skating - in real playback the modulated grooves produce an higher force.
Mircrostrip,

Your only the 3rd person I have heard this from, and I am starting to believe in this. Backtracking, I had used an ET2 tonearm from the late 80s to 2013, and as we know, there are no skating issues on linear tonearms. 2013 I happened to change my analog rig to an Avid table that has a Rega RB300 built in the package. A tech man helped me fine tune the arm's anti skate by using a laser disc and he showed me the character of the Rega arm was that at an anti skate bias of 1.5 (VTF at 1.8) the arm/cartridge would deadlock only at the middle part of the disc, slide in a little at the first third of the disc, and slide out a little at the last third of the disc. I used that setting for 5 years without a problem.

Fast forward to this January, I bought a Linn Akurate LP 12 that has an Akito 3B packaged in. The anti skate setting was done at 1.8 (VTF 1.8) upon dealer's recommendation and after a few months I noticed my Koetsu's cantilever was beginning to lean or skew a little inwards towards the spindle area. I learned that it meant that my 1.8 bias was too much. I tried a blank record (Side 4 of Sheffield Lab's Pat Coil LP) and found out that even at 1.8 bias, the arm/cartridge was sliding fast to the center. I added more just to find out where it will hold, and wound up at 3.0 bias - there the skate is very very slow towards the center of the record. Very bothered by this, I posed the issue to a FB Koetsu user group and one member surprised me by saying the anti skate should be off or zero at all times, citing the original Koetsu tonearm did not have an anti skate mechanism. I also recall VPI did not include an anti skate device and later added it as an option. The method of setting the anti skate told to me by my Koetsu regional distributor in Singapore was NOT to use a blank record at all, but to look straight at the front of the cartridge body while playing and see if the cantilever falls straight down without leaning to the left or right, in short, forming a perpendicular angle with the base of the cartridge. So that is now what I am using as a gauge, and once I set my bias to 0, the cantilever is now tracking straight down and not bending inwards or outwards. Just sharing something I learned lately,
 
Likes: tima

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,592
225
63
Boston, MA
#29
Thanks Phil. I am noticing the same things, and I think I am going to call this a failed experiment and will probably take out any anti-skating I currently have.
 
Likes: jadis

jadis

Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2010
7,318
776
113
Manila, Philippines
#30
Thanks Phil. I am noticing the same things, and I think I am going to call this a failed experiment and will probably take out any anti-skating I currently have.
Glad to share, Tasos.

What I will do is to habitually monitor the straightness of the cantilever. IF ever it starts to skew outwards, then maybe .5 bias may be needed.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,592
225
63
Boston, MA
#31
Yeah really glad you shared, because I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Consequently, I think micro is right as well. My cantilever was always straight all these years, so I don’t think I need anti-skate.
 
Likes: jadis

jadis

Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2010
7,318
776
113
Manila, Philippines
#32
Yeah really glad you shared, because I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Consequently, I think micro is right as well. My cantilever was always straight all these years, so I don’t think I need anti-skate.
Also happy to hear your findings, as always.
 

jadis

Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2010
7,318
776
113
Manila, Philippines
#33
Just to add, I feel that the sound has become more open, light, and very focused, with excellent detailing with no bias. By comparison, the soundstage was a bit constricted with the 1.80 bias. Now the sound is much cleaner. Just my perception.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
850
415
63
#34
The method of setting the anti skate told to me by my Koetsu regional distributor in Singapore was NOT to use a blank record at all, but to look straight at the front of the cartridge body while playing and see if the cantilever falls straight down without leaning to the left or right, in short, forming a perpendicular angle with the base of the cartridge.
Yes, very good - this is a traditional approach, it is simple and it does work.

Watch the cantilever from the front of the cartridge when the stylus is lowered into the groove about an inch into a spinning record. If the cantilever deflects to the right, increase the anti-skate and likewise if it deflects to the left, then reduce anti-skate. It's pretty easy to see. You can check at various locations on the record as anti-skate is not consistent across the entire LP.
 
Likes: jadis

jadis

Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2010
7,318
776
113
Manila, Philippines
#35
Yes, very good - this is a traditional approach, it is simple and it does work.

Watch the cantilever from the front of the cartridge when the stylus is lowered into the groove about an inch into a spinning record. If the cantilever deflects to the right, increase the anti-skate and likewise if it deflects to the left, then reduce anti-skate. It's pretty easy to see. You can check at various locations on the record as anti-skate is not consistent across the entire LP.
Thanks for the verification, tima.

I also use a flashlight to aid my 'view'.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,592
225
63
Boston, MA
#36
So I have spent some time investigating this further, and it seems to me every arm will likely be different in its need for anti-skating.

With mine, removing it entirely results in audible distortion in the right channel with hard program, and since the right channel is in the outer side of the groove as we look at the LP, it makes me think that channel is not tracked properly; in the original video here, it looks like the sliding force on the blank record is excessive, and we now do agree that eliminating it with a blank record is not the right approach.

I had to train my ear to listen for differences during this experimentation, and this is what popped up. For example, without any anti-skating, hard-played violin can get harsh, and cymbals can lose their metallic character, when these instruments are recorded solely on the right channel. Does that make sense? I have put some anti-skating back for the time being, and the difference can be stark.

What really got me thinking is that, without anti-skating, I could measure roughly +- 0.1g VTF variations across the LP, and with some anti-skating this dropped to around +- 0.05g
 
Last edited:

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,594
472
83
North Shore of Boston
#37
This is an interesting topic. I have been playing a vdH Colibri and read somewhere that Mr. van den Hul suggests that owners return their cartridges after 300 hours of play time for inspection. Apparently, he often notices that the customers used too much anti skating force.

One interesting observation is that the longer the pivoted arm, the less the offset angle of the headshell, and the lower the skating force on the stylus. So, with a longer arm, one would need less anti skating force, all else being equal. My SME arm has a dampened spring loaded anti skate adjustment dial. It is calibrated to correspond with 2/3 the VTF the user selects. I am experimenting with lower AS than that. With the Colibri, I have been using about 0.5 gram.
 

jadis

Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2010
7,318
776
113
Manila, Philippines
#38
Nice inputs, Ack and Peter. I am still learning on this AS issue. The latest I've learned from a friend who uses the Kronos table and arm is that the Kronos Black Beauty tonearm does not have an anti-skate dial or mechanism.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,592
225
63
Boston, MA
#39
So FWIW, I don't think much of the Black Beauty arm; if you look at it closely, it is not well executed, and I specifically hate the hanging tonearm wire in the back, among other things.

I have been very carefully listening with various anti-skating settings on my arm, and the effects are again unmistakable. Where I have it now, the sound exhibits much less distortion, evident with hard program again, like choral (Carmina Burana). Bass drum speed and tightness is also improved; before, it was a bit thick and slightly sluggish. Violin has never sounded so good in here. Timbre, vividness and palpability have gone a notch up. There is just much less distortion all around, the result of more accurate tracking.

An interesting observation is how audience clapping can change depending on the anti-skating setting. Right now, it sounds very realistic.

I don't think I could ever live with an arm that does not manage anti-skating.
 
Last edited:

jadis

Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2010
7,318
776
113
Manila, Philippines
#40
That is good to know, Tasos, re your experiments.

My concern now is first and foremost, to make sure that the cantilever is tracking downward with NO bend/skew to the left or to the right as viewed from the front of the cartridge. So far I have only tried 2 settings, 1.80 bias, and 0 bias. 1.8 corresponds to my VTF of the Koetsu at 1.8g. After a few months of using the Linn recommended (mostly the general consensus anyway) of same value bias as VTF, my cantilever was bending to the left (toward the spindle) very slightly and that alarmed me because I have seen a few cartridges with bent cantilevers, either to the left or to the right. And the advise of my Koetsu regional distributor was to tune the anti skate via ear, never via a blank vinyl, and make sure the cantilever is straight down while the vinyl is spinning. I feel now that at the original 1.8 bias, my sound was richer and thicker in tone, overall. At 0 bias, the sound is more open, light, and detailed, but generally lean in tonal quality, but at 0 bias, the cantilever is tracking straight down with no bending either way. Now, my next experiment is to add some bias on my dial, starting with .25, then .50 etc. to try to hear some sonic benefits.

I have been researching a lot on this topic and I found a few pertinent ones.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/antiskate-crooked-cantilever-correlation

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/warning-linn-tonearm-anti-skate-not-accurate
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing