SH Spotlight Newbies getting started playing vinyl, please avoid mistracking & resulting groove damage!!!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Going to open myself to abuse here ...... I've never used the anti-skate on my current or last TT's (Project 1 Expression / Project Debut)
    If everything is set up right, what is the benefit ??
  2. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    The benefit is keeping the cantilever centered in its suspension. The skating force tends to force or bend the cantilever outward, toward the outside edge of the record. Most turntable enthusiasts take great care to set up the cartridge, and we make sure the stylus is tangent to the groove with minimal error, but skating force throws everything off. The degree of cantilever offset or lean to the outside depends on the compliance of the suspension. A high compliance cart will be highly sensitive to skating force vs. a low compliance which the cantilever would remain centered, despite any side forces.

    A high compliance cartridge makes anti-skate more important.

    My first turntable was the original AR. It has no anti-skate! However, the arm motion is dampened by light machine oil in a pedestal/well type bearing (sleeve bearing).. While this isn't ideal, and not as free as other precision bearing types, the slight "resistance" of the bearing mitigates some of the skating force. Also the wire loop at the pivot helps to counter skating forces. Both of these are not precise, and one could argue not intended by the designers, to be an anti-skate design. My original Shure M91-ED always sounded great, no problem with any mistracking nor inner groove distortion.

    When the tracking force is set near the middle of its range, the skate of the arm, the side force should not cause any mistracking. But again, the cantilever WILL respond by leaning off-center. What we should all be aware of.. the max skating force is at the outside of the record, but also an area least affected by tracking error. As the arm advances near the inner groove, skating forces decrease dramatically. The cantilever should remain centered, therefore the sound not affected (or not much) by the lack of anti-skate. I am attempting to explain why no antiskate does not seem to affect the sound (much if at all) since only the outer parts of the record are affected, but, the bend of the cantilever that causes tracking error will not be audible (or minimally) at the outer bands of the record. I hope I've not caused any confusion on these points.

    The result I had on the AR does not necessarily apply to other turntables of different design.
    Certainly anyone can choose not to use anti-skate. But it's important to understand its function, and that anti-skate does more than apply equal pressure on the groove wall. The centering of the cantilever is perhaps more relevant.
    Chrome_Head likes this.
  3. bettsaj

    bettsaj “I'm in competition with myself and I'm losing.”

    I think I need a new turntable :cry: It's a standard Kenwood P-66 which you can't change the anti-skate, or the balancing of the arm.... All pre-set. I'm happy with the rest of the system (Kenwood M85), but the turntable lets it down to be honest... Cheap and nasty

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