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SL-1500C tonearm shape defective?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by woodpigeon, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I first noticed this when setting up a Quintet Black on this SL-1500C, but put it down to a tall cart and the design of the headshell. It wasn’t possible to get the cartridge completely level without a thinner mat. It sounded great running slightly tail down, so I left it that way and enjoyed.

    With a Concorde Century mounted, in order to get the cartridge level, the tonearm must still be raised as far as it will go. Anything less and the cartridge sits tail down. It doesn’t seem possible to sit the cartridge tail up at all.

    The pictures probably explain the issue better.

    Am I screwing up the setup somehow, or perhaps is the arm bent or twisted?

    Here’s the VTA adjust — all the way up:

    [​IMG]

    The centre section of the arm slopes down pretty radically:

    [​IMG]

    Yet, the cartridge is level:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.
    Perhaps nothing will change, but what do those points look like with factory headshell?
     
    woodpigeon likes this.
  3. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I’ll have to mount it and have a look. In the meantime, I can say that three other aftermarket headshells have that same issue — two Ortofon headshells and an Audio Technica — they all run tail down unless the VTA is adjusted as far as it will go.

    A thought. If you look at the photo of the cartridge it actually looks a bit like the collar where the headshell connects to the arm might be the problem. Eyeball that connection point, and the vertical lines of the cart and the collar on either side of it don’t look parallel. Also the line of the bottom of the cart does not continue through the same plane as the tonearm. Could that be the issue?
     
  4. rebellovw

    rebellovw Forum Resident

    Location:
    hell
    Provide a picture of the arm wand level and the stylus on the record (using the Concorde). Let's see what the rake looks like.
     
  5. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    OP, don't worry. The reason the tonearm does not look level but the Concord Cart does, is parallex error caused by the s-shape tonearm design. If you set the Lucite Block parallel to the long straight section of tonearm to where the block is touching the tonearm and then move your eyeball/head to be perpendicular to the tonearm/block relationship, as well as have a line of sight which is on axis to the tonearm's diameter the tonearm will appear level.
     
    Dennis Metz, patient_ot and McLover like this.
  6. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Thanks for the replies. I need to take a few extra pics by the sound of it, will have a bit of time to take them and post them tomorrow. Cheers.
     
  7. I doubt the arm is bent, but please also be aware the VTA mechanism on the SL-1500C has a different scale than the SL-1200 models. The SL-1500C VTA adjuster must be raised 3mm higher to achieve a level tonearm for the same cartridge when compared to any SL-1200 model. For example, the manual for the SL-1500C shows a cartridge with a height of 17mm should be set at “3” on the VTA ring. On the SL-1200GR a 17mm cartridge should be at “0.”

    Note also, these are with a stock Technics headshell. Also, these are approximations, and your cartridge may need to be adjusted a little bit higher or lower to achieve correct VTA.
     
    patient_ot and Sterling1 like this.
  8. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Here’s a 2M cartridge, same shape as the factory red, mounted with on the factory headshell, arm height as high as it will go.

    Block parallel with arm, to minimise parallax error:

    [​IMG]

    The arm’s downward slope from pivot to headshell:

    [​IMG]

    The factory headshell and cartridge, sitting ever so slightly tail down (I think? Hard to tell due to the shape of these parts) in spite of extreme VTA adjustment:

    [​IMG]
     
    Slick Willie likes this.
  9. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Here’s the arm set level with the Concorde:

    [​IMG]

    Again, I’ve tried to minimise parallax error by setting the arm, gauge and camera parallel:

    [​IMG]

    Here is the resulting rake of the Concorde with the arm set this way:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    That makes sense, I’ve taken some pics above to show that I think, at least, the pics from yesterday have a minimal amount of parallax error as they were taken using the same method.
     
  11. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.

    Interesting.
    All I concern myself with is the bottom of the 2M body in relation to the LP.
    S shaped arms and headshells are a bear when it comes to using those blocks.
     
    woodpigeon likes this.
  12. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

    I have a SL1500C as well, and I too recently posted with confusion about VTA. Technics says "level the arm", Audio Technica says "make the top of the cartridge level with the LP", and I couldn't achieve both. The fine members of this forum confirmed that the cartridge is the important part. I doubt your tonearm is warped.
    On a side note, you should get a KAB TD-1000 damper! Excellent add-on and looks stock.
     
    rcsrich and Slick Willie like this.
  13. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

  14. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Glad I’m not the only one confused!

    How high did you have to adjust your VTA to level the cartridge?

    And if you levelled the arm, was the cartridge tail up or tail down?
     
  15. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    This looks like a neat upgrade, thanks
     
  16. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

    I'm currently just shy of "4" with my AT95SH and a 5mm thick Oyaide BR-12 mat. Top of cartridge is damn level.

    If I level the arm my cartridge winds up very tail-up.

    I was shocked how much sonic benefit the KAB damper made, immediately. Darker background, tighter bass, improved separation, overall an incredible improvement in clarity. I don't buy into a lot of audio hyperbole but the KAB damper was an incredibly noteworthy improvement in sound quality, especially considering it cost less than $200 USD. Also not to be under-merited is the improvement in tracking and cueing with the damper installed. Highly recommended!
     
    woodpigeon likes this.
  17. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    This is interesting. So in your case you are using a thicker mat and you’re still able to adjust to a tail up angle.

    With the stock mat, I am not able to get tail up even with the arm at 7mm, its maximum height.

    This is what makes me think something’s up. I’d expect to be able to set the cartridge level and still have room to adjust the VTA higher. But with 4 different cartridges that’s not the case.
     
  18. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

    Try not to overthink it. Consider how much wavy records can vary and how much each mm of variance could effect VTA. No need to lose sleep over a couple of mm. Aim for getting your cartridge as situated the best you can and try to enjoy the music. Speaking of, how does it sound?
     
    woodpigeon likes this.
  19. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

    [​IMG]
    Just took this shot of my set-up. With the top of my cartridge level w/ the LP, my tonearm is obviously tail-down. Personally I haven't been able to tell a difference from one VTA extreme to the other. Whether that is a fault of my system not being that revealing (probably not), my ears not being that sensitive (my hearing is still rather good, maybe untrained, but credible range), or VTA not being that big of a deal, I don't know. Other members here helped me understand that getting the cartridge "close enough" was the ticket, and I like what I hear. It's easy to perseverate over every little detail in hi-fi but it's best not to get too obsessed. Just enjoy the time you have to listen. Cheers.
     
    woodpigeon likes this.
  20. It does looks a bit odd...I’ve had an SL-1200G and now an SL-1210GAE and both had the cartridge and arm wand approximately parallel at the same time. It looks like perhaps the headshell is not seated straight in the collar. KAB has worked with the 1500 quite a bit, so it might be worth asking him. And his fluid damper is a must-have, imo. You can also try contacting Technics directly and sending the photos.

    EDIT: On second viewing the headshell connection looks alright...perhaps this arm wand is just manufactured differently.
     
    woodpigeon likes this.
  21. rebellovw

    rebellovw Forum Resident

    Location:
    hell
    Come to think of it - I've gone by the parallel arm wand setup (ex using index cards etc) - but then fine tuned the VTA based on the cantilever/rake angle (visual) - and listening.

    I'm not sure it is written in stone that the arm wand needs to be absolutely parallel - that I believe is just a guideline/starting point. Ideally it is the cartridge angle that matters.

    I'm sure nothing is wrong - as long as it sounds good - that is all the matters.
     
  22. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Yeah, maybe overanalysing it a bit. It sounds pretty fantastic so you’re probably correct that it’s just not worth worrying about.

    Will definitely look into the damper.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and reply :) So many knowledgeable people on this board.
     
  23. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Angular error from parallax increases with distance. The Lucite block pic showing it to be parallel to straight section of tonearm is not exactly parallel. There's angular error there, I can see it. This means the tonearm is not adjusted to be level, although it looks to you as if it is level. Then, when the block is squared to the headshell things are really off. That's because, as first mentioned, angular error increases with distance. Now, I think there is absolutely nothing bent. I think you are just not able to get a consistent line of sight between your eye, the tonearm, and the block with block first adjusted to be exactly parallel to tonearm. In fact, unless you could anchor your head in a vise while making adjustments it is doubtful that your visual for perfection, as judged by matching tonearm to the delineation on the block, would ever come to fruition. This is why you should just follow the turntable manufacturers recommendation, which will start with must have knowledge of the cartridge height. That knowledge will give you an understanding if the cart you want to use can indeed be adjusted to be level without some sort of intervention, like shimming, or a thicker mat. For example, here's a Shure V15V cart which is 15mm tall. It required a 2mm shim for it to be level on a standard record, as mounted to the stock headshell of my Technics SL-1210GR fitted with stock 3mm mat, when tonearm was adjusted to ZERO VTA setting. At any rate, while the graduated Lucite block is an aid for sure, your turntable has mathematical adjustment absolutes which make the block moot. Again, just adjust VTA following Technics instructions for an 18mm tall cart, which might mean no adjustment at all since the turntable's VTA was set at the factory for the supplied 2M cart. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
    woodpigeon likes this.
  24. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    forget trying to level the arm- it is difficult to sight properly and is not important.
    having the top of the cartridge level with the LP is all that matters for a good starting point.
    since the flat top of the headshell is parallel the the top of the cartridge, use the rear surface of the headshell as reference.
    1) level the platter
    2) then level the top of the headshell with a small round level, adjusting VTA to account for the mass of the level.

    [​IMG]
     
    woodpigeon likes this.
  25. tommytune

    tommytune Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa
    Woodpigeon, the tonearm on my 1700 is not level, like yours ( not as much though). I have checked it using a small bubble level like Avanti shows. I think the arm tube is inserted that way into the gimbal assembly. A small twist of the arm tube, with it's S shape, would change the angle a lot at the headshell end. But, we cannot/should twist them? Maybe there is a reason why Technics mounts them that way. Could be because the weight end of the tonearm may angle down too, when the headshell is level.
     
    woodpigeon likes this.

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