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.
    BrilliantBob and Chrome_Head like 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
  4. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Senior Member

    Kansas City
    Steve, was your bad experience with the Shure M44-E due to the elliptical profile — or was it due to the Garrard changer’s velocity trip lever requiring more tracking force than was optimum for the Shure, thereby causing mistracking as the arm struggled in vain to fluidly move the trip lever arm and friction pawl?

    The Shure ellipticals were their higher tier offerings of the mid to late 1960s aimed at audiophiles; so it seems odd that the elliptical profile just by itself would destroy records unless the Garrard changer was intended for a conical with a high VTF.

    I would think that an M44E in an Empire or Rek O Kut transcription table would deliver superb performance for the era and not destroy records.

    The fatal problem with a lot of changers from the 1960s was they would mistrack unless they had very high tracking forces to move the velocity trip lever to engage the change cycle.

    Also, the 1960s changers usually had fixed cartridge screw mount holes so overhang could not usually be fine tuned. This could also contribute to mistracking.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  5. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Senior Member

    Kansas City
    Steve is this what your Concord looked like? It appears that is a Garrard Model 30 changer.

    Did this come equipped originally with a Ceramic flip stylus that you removed -- or was the magnetic Shure M44-E installed at the factory?

  6. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    My SONY HP-485 stereo turntable (circa 1970) was pretty great and quite an upgrade from my little transistor radio in 1971. It never destroyed a single record and I still have many of those 50 year old vinyl platters that still play like new some even look NM, and most are VG+ with very little surface scuffs)...even with that record changer dropping three or four platers atop one another. The changer stopped working in about 1990, and but the turntable actually played perfectly until about 4 years ago.

    It stopped playing my music after more than 40 years. And had some of the best tones I've heard on this kind of unit. It has the ubiquitous Garrad turntable and I never upgraded my Pickering stylus/cartridge. Never felt the need. (Mine had no integrated radio)

    Granted my new stereo unit upgrade now runs circle around it, but it sounded great and got me through decades of fantastic music. Great memories from my SONY HP!

    I still have the beautiful solid walnut speakers and they sound great!


  7. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    To summarize this topic, low-end players from the past (portable players, the vast majority of BSR changers and bulky wooden consoles) and present (suitcase players, players with a fake counterweight and anti-skate, to the plastic crap like the Audio Technica LP60) are to be avoided if you care about your records.
  8. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    For sure. But in 1970, I was a teenaged kid and my ol' SONY stereo was the bee's knees. Since before that it was a portable plastic "toy" two inch speaker mono player...the kind from which audiophile nightmares are born.

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