How often do you check vtf and anti skate on your turntable?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Glfrancis2, Sep 16, 2020 at 2:09 PM.

  1. Glfrancis2

    Glfrancis2 Overworked and underpaid state employee Thread Starter

    Location:
    Birmingham al
    I have a pioneer pl600 silver with an ortofon 2m bronze. I set the vtf when I installed the cart and again after swapping out headshells for my mono cartridge.

    I recently got a 2 disk album where side 4 has no grooves. I set the anti skate where I could do a needle drop on the moving (no groove) album and the the tonearm stayed the same distance from the center (no movement)
     
  2. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Leveling is the only thing I revisit. I am a little skeptical about this method of setting anti skate.
     
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  3. rcsrich

    rcsrich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    No adjustable anti-skate on my little U-Turn Orbit, but once I mount a new cartridge and set VTF with a digital scale, I typically won't mess with it again until I either start hearing issues or swap cartridges.
     
  4. Davey

    Davey like smoke from a lithium dream

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    That method will usually result in the anti-skate being a little on the high side, what is the resulting value on the anti-skate dial? Normally it is suggested to set it so the tonearm still skates toward the center, but not very quickly, maybe half the speed as no anti-skate. But it's just a guess. If your cartridge is fairly high compliance, you can watch the cantilever as you lower it onto a typically modulated record, and verify it stays straight while tracking (it will initially deflect a bit when contacting the groove, but should then straighten back up). Adjust anti-skate accordingly. Many of us are using lower compliance cartridges these days, so you won't see much happen, regardless of the setting, but your Ortofon is fairly high compliance by today's standards.
     
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  5. recstar24

    recstar24 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    I never really checked my VTF consistently until I upgraded to my lyra delos a few months ago. I usually do it once a week, my ritual is every sunday night which includes a spot check of the stylus. For anti skate, i do the soundsmith recommended method where if you have enough of that end groove space at the end of a side, you drop the stylus in between those silent grooves on empty space and gauge that the stylus slowly creeps to the center before being caught up by the silent groove. I usually check that with every record that has enough of that space to check it with.
     
  6. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Without a groove in which the stylus can track, there is no inward force being exerted for which an anti-skate setting can be adjusted to compensate. The idea behind anti-skate/bias control is that the inward track of the stylus, with an LP under non-varying rotation, tends to want to move inward and an anti-skate/bias mechanism will counteract that tendency to help keep the stylus centered in the groove. Presumably, better balance and groove tracking result. If a stylus is tracking while 'playing' deadwax, it's possible the platter is not level.

    Then again, some tonearm/cartridge/stylus combinations work superbly with either very little or no anti-skate force at all. Most cartridge manufacturers and turntable/tonearm manufacturers who recommend setting anti-skate force to a numbered setting equal to the vertical tracking force (in grams) overstate the setting in my experience. Using a couple of different tools, I usually get audibly better results by setting anti-skate to 50% or less of the vertical tracking force, though it varies randomly from turntable to turntable, cartridge to cartridge and stylus to stylus.
     
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  7. Davey

    Davey like smoke from a lithium dream

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    There is still friction between the stylus and the vinyl surface, so a skating force is still generated because of the tonearm geometry, specifically the overhang.
     
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  8. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Technically correct, but then what is the real effect of the resulting anti-skate setting when actual music is being played by a stylus in a groove? It stands to reason that using a test record with a couple of tracks to aid in anti-skate adjustment makes more practical sense than using deadwax (and then having to readjust anyway).
     
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  9. Davey

    Davey like smoke from a lithium dream

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    I wasn't really commenting on which is the best method to use, I've used quite a few as have most of us veterans, but sure, if you have a test record with typical modulation levels and some way to gauge the distortion, that is the one I would pick. For general use, or as a quick test, I just use a blank record (typically the second side of the great Melanie de Biasio Blackened Cities EP in recent times) and set it like I said above, for a slow drift to the middle. It sems to correspond pretty well with what I wind up with in other methods. Some test records used to have blank sections and told the user to set it so tonearm is stationary, it's nothing new.
     
  10. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Cobra Kai Member

    Location:
    Ohio
    I try to remember to check my VTF once a month. I've found that it can drift a bit from time to time.
     
  11. ggergm

    ggergm   If you want to   sing out, sing out

    Location:
    Minnesota
    I check tracking force only if it seems like something is wrong. Maybe that's every few months.

    I set my anti-skate by ear. When I hear mistracking in one of the channels, I make adjustments using the phrase "left lower/right raise." (If you know the left channel is on the inside of the record groove and that skating force pulls the tonearm inward, you can figure out this phrase for yourself. I came up with it. I've never seen it written about by anybody else. This method works for me and has for years.) Usually, once I get it right, and that can take a month, I don't need to change it again.
     
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  12. Davey

    Davey like smoke from a lithium dream

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Good idea, I'll have to remember that, do you happen to know the poster @Macman007? He probably stole it from you :)

    easy peasy way to remember
     
  13. Pretorius

    Pretorius Member

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I am using no anti-skate currently as recommended by VPI for unipivot and my Van Den Hul cartridge's recommendation for the least amount of anti-skate possible. So far so good. I revisit VTF and/or other set up parameters when troubleshooting any vinyl playback issues or generally tweaking.
     
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  14. Ray Blend

    Ray Blend immortable

    Location:
    The Midwest
    I did this last time I changed cartridges. Once and done.
     
  15. ggergm

    ggergm   If you want to   sing out, sing out

    Location:
    Minnesota
    LOL. The post you linked to is from 2016. I first posted "left lower/right raise" here in 2013 but came up with it ages ago.

    I'll be charitable and let it go as "great minds think alike."

    Hell, it isn't that tough to figure out. I probably did it after smoking a joint.
     
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  16. Glfrancis2

    Glfrancis2 Overworked and underpaid state employee Thread Starter

    Location:
    Birmingham al
    1st time that I tried that method. I normally set it to match vtf. The 2 were only off by .1-.15 approximately. I'm open to suggestions
     
  17. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    never!
    Unless I am unhappy with certain aspects
    Of its performance.
    Soundsmith has a good article on YouTube
    On anti skate. Food for thought.
     
  18. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    So, I live in an older house that shifts about and my level gets off. Second, the manufacturer usually says set anti-skate to match the VTF, and that's not a bad generalization. Setting on a blank side doesn't have the same forces as a groove, but has different forces, partly because the stylus is actually cutting a weak groove into that blank side every time you set the needle down—more drag because there's no path to follow. There's just no reason to think that blank-side scenario gives you anything like the scenario when the stylus is in a groove. In the end, it's by ear, with as little as you can get away with. That said, the truth is that every record is cut a bit differently and the optimum setting for one LP won't be optimum for the next. So what you are doing is trying to find some setting that is better with most records, and that tends to be a little less than the VTF if you are well aligned. What's important is to know how the adjustments present in the L vs R channel. Rega antiskate is a little different, but it you know that, for example, a little more and you are risking increased L distortion then you can usually adjust on the fly over a couple of sides then stop fussing with it. That said, stylus wear is real. If I can put on a test record after 400 hours and sense some deterioration in tracking, then maybe I revisit antiskate again.
     
  19. Glfrancis2

    Glfrancis2 Overworked and underpaid state employee Thread Starter

    Location:
    Birmingham al
    Good information ...glad that I asked. Pardon me while I go readjust my anti skate :D :cool:
     
  20. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    Once.

    -Bill
     
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  21. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Once as well. I've re-checked VTF before and it never changes on my tables so I've stopped checking.
     
  22. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    AS is a one and done...........VTF usually I check it a few times a month just because it is so easy to do, so why not.
     
  23. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    once a day and twice on Sundays.
    but seriously the more you check and find that things never really change, the more you can back off and enjoy the music.
     
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  24. Just Walking

    Just Walking Forum Resident

    Location:
    Abingdon UK
  25. BrentB

    BrentB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwestern US
    Twice a year on each of the 3 tables I have setup. Or it there is an earth trimmer reported in the area. Even a minor one can throw everything off including table level.
     
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