DIY: fix the TT cart azimuth on a fixed tonearm with no azimuth adjustment

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by BrilliantBob, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Use The VTF, Luke... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Romania
    Any LP I played on my new TT Sony PS-HX500 had the same channels imbalance: L channel +1.5dB. Cartridge perfectly aligned with a mirror protractor. Anti-skate the same with the VTF. Wrong azimuth I thought. OK, let's fix it. But the TT tonearm is a cheap simple thing with no azimuth and VTA adjustments. After some research I found a DIY method suggested by Mr. Peter Ledermann from Soundsmith.

    So I cut a thin plastic card and I put it between the tonearm headshell and cartridge, on the L channel side.

    [​IMG]

    Now channels are almost perfectly balanced (L channel +0.01dB) and I full benefit from the 30dB channel separation. Immersive soundstage. Tested with Azimuth tool from RX 6 for an entire LP.


    [​IMG]

    The VTA adjustment, because I replaced the stock conical "made in China" cartridge, was quite simple. I replaced the default Sony 5mm rubber mat with a 3mm cork+rubber mat.

    I think a tonearm with no azimuth and VTA adjustments it's a shame. I don't understand this manufacturer paradox. Why they put a high quality industry level ADC for audio recording on a junk TT?
     
    33na3rd, Kyhl, bever70 and 1 other person like this.
  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Because people will buy it.
     
  3. rebellovw

    rebellovw Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Good work!
     
  4. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Rega turntables don't have that either. But I will state that Rega tonearms are all metal and can be machined to meet tolerances. Rega also sells shims to correct VTA even though they profess that it is less than critical setting. I fixed the azimuth on my P5 with a Jolida XT-R. This obviously wouldn't work if the ADC is hardwired within the turntable.

    It's good that you found solutions to your problems.
     
  5. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    Impressive!

    I have this same turntable, and RX5. Although I really haven't played with RX5 in ages. Is there as simple set of tips/instructions you can provide so I can measure the same with RX5?
     
  6. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Use The VTF, Luke... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Romania
    I think RX 5 have also the Azimuth tool. I record the vinyl in DSD 5.6MHz with the SONY "Hi-Res Audio Recorder" and then I convert the DSD to wav 96KHz/32-bit float with TASCAM Hi-Res Editor (free software). The PCM4202 can record only WAV 24-bit and DSD. The WAV 32-bit float format is the most appropiate to the original analog sound from the vinyl. And then I put the WAV 96/32 in RX and I check the channels imbalance with Azimuth learning.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    SamS likes this.
  7. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Old school. Shure V15 instructions, see bottom left - it came with shims if needed:

    [​IMG]

    The tonearm-to-bearing or cartridge mount is usually attached in some way non-permanently that can be tweaked a bit to permanently level the headshell.


    Hardly "industry level". You have to record only with their proprietary software. The turntable is obsolete the second they take down the download site or stop updating it for your OS. Obsolete already if you want to use Linux.

    Channel volume level is not a good way to adjust the angle. Some cartridge just naturally have a channel mismatch, part of their allowed specs - as does the recording interface...

    The RX azimuth tool is for adjusting tape head azimuth, where the tilt of a tape head causes a phase delay between channels and eventually HF loss. It is not designed for phono.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  8. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Use The VTF, Luke... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Romania
    Here is another "old school" info about the importance of VTA/SRA adjustments for high-end styli and the optimal SRA 92 degrees angle:

    Dropbox - 512MFVTA_article.pdf

    The effects of proper cart azimuth alignment: not only better stereo imaging, more harmonics, fuller and deeper soundstage but the Dynamic Range of the same LP needledrop increased from DR12 to DR14.

    The distortion and sibilance happend before in some passages gone.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Lucca90

    Lucca90 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    SouthAmerica
    This
     
  10. Lucca90

    Lucca90 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    SouthAmerica
    I was considering the Sumiko Pearl, but 1.5 dB channel imbalance? that's too much in my opinion. Maybe a defected unit?
    The cheap made in China cartridge that came with my TT is way below that number.
    I am starting to think that the AT 3600 is not so bad after all.
    Using Amplitude Statistics function in Adobe Audition with a mono record, the right channel is a bit louder but it's less than 0.5 dB.
     
  11. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Azimuth is related to crosstalk and phase. Channel imbalance may be related to coil differences and suspension/stylus properties. This latter may also be related to skewed cantilevers including wrong antiskate.

    A proper way to adjust azimuth is to set it visually and then measure crosstalk and phase with a test record. Fine adjustments within +/- 1 degree is usually sufficient. See

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zw4w3w4jjfg29fr/Azimuth adjustment.pdf?dl=0
     
    Kyhl, Lucca90 and bever70 like this.
  12. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    The issue with cartridges with higher allowed tolerances is that the manufacturer can sell more without having to bother with measurements and selection. You migh well end up with a cartridge having 0.1 dB difference if you are lucky. I know of one having 10 different AT95. They all measure differently and 1-2 of then have very good spec.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  13. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Use The VTF, Luke... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Romania
    Maybe. But the RX azimuth tool helped me to figure out and fix the cart azimuth problem. The 1.5dB channel imbalance was from the poor design of this precarious tonearm and not from the cart. The stock TT cart I replaced had the same channel imbalance value. The Sumiko Pearl specs: Channel Balance: <0.5 dB; Channel Separation: 30dB. Anyway, problem solved. Old school. The sound is fantastic now. I will up some needledrop samples on YT later. If they will not block them for public viewing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  14. Lucca90

    Lucca90 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    SouthAmerica
    Well, I don't have a channel imbalance problem with my Sony but I haven't replaced the cartridge yet.
    Imgur

    Also, before you blame the tonearm only consider this:

    -Some cartridges have an imbalance to begin with, and no amount of adjustment will yield optimal results.
    -Azimuth is affected by Anti-skating, as well as VTF and VTA (You said you altered both)
    -If you have to tilt the cartridge in order to achieve a perfect azimuth in RX you could end up with suspension problems due to weight imbalance.

    PS;
    I think that you are much more skilled than me and more determined, but on the way you can make mistakes and damage something that was not broken be careful.
     
  15. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Use The VTF, Luke... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Romania
  16. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Where can I get this tool, and can I just record a track on audacity and then put it through the program to check my values?
     
  17. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Use The VTF, Luke... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Romania
    Dropbox - DR-Meter-1_4a.zip

    This is the latest free OFFLINE version. It works only on 44KHZ 16-bit wav files.
     
  18. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Leon, you can also use MasVis from LTS. It’s a very good tool to check DR and for comparisons.
     
    Leonthepro likes this.
  19. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    Nice work!! Well done. The Sumiko Pearl is such an undervalued cart. I love it. Far better than many expensive carts i have used in the past. Glad you fixed the problem
     
    BrilliantBob likes this.
  20. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Use The VTF, Luke... Thread Starter

    Location:
    Romania
    Now works like a charm. And the better JICO SAS-1 stylus, if you have luck to find one, fit perfect in the Sumiko Pearl cartridge as a stylus replacement.

    By the way, when I replace/align the cartridge, for safety and more space, I pull off the stylus from the cartridge. I discovered it's an easy way to work with the cartridge and wires.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    Fishoutofwater likes this.
  21. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    Sadly the JICO SAS 1 is no longer available for the Pearl. Shame. A great cart nonetheless
     

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