To balance tonearm...or not?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by frimleygreener, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. I think it can be turntable model dependent. I can set the tonearm on my Technics 1200G using a digital scale to the ideal weight very easily, but unless I balance the tone arm to 'zero' first so it floats horizontally - and then align the counterweight correctly to zero - the numbers on the counterweight won't mean anything. For example, the tone arm can be set to 1.75, but the indicator might say any 3 (or any number). Hard to describe in words, not sure if this makes sense.
    patrickd and The FRiNgE like this.
  2. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    SW Washington, USA
    That's a brilliant solution!
  3. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    I'm a legend in my own mind.......
    33na3rd likes this.
  4. Or you could rotate the marker to 1.75 to match the scale reading....

    I have found that on the SL-1200G the counterweight dial is quite accurate. If I balance the arm, set to “0” and then set my VTF and double-check with the digital scale it reads about exactly the same.
    Big Blue and Shawn like this.
  5. Drewan77

    Drewan77 Forum Resident

    Yes I agree (& I use a 1200G as well) but the counterweight also includes the secondary collar which will indicate tracking force.

    This can be rotated gently to show the final VTF setting after using a digital gauge (regardless of whatever reading it shows after turning the main counterweight itself).
    Big Blue, snorker and Shawn like this.
  6. Good comments. Herr Breuer (the maker of Breuer tonearms) recommended applying 1/2 the desired tracking force with the counterweight and the remaining 1/2 with the tracking force spring. He should know.
    Randoms likes this.
  7. astro70

    astro70 Forum Resident

    Belleville, IL
    Just buy a scale, they're $10 on amazon and much easier to use and more accurate. Less than the cost of replacing your stylus or LPs.
    Big Blue likes this.
  8. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    The Linn dynamically balanced arms Ittok and Ekos sound better with all the tracking weight dialed in. I guess this would vary on different manufacturers arms depending how the tracking weight spring was designed / fitted.
  9. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    Midwest USA
    On my arm, it's very straightforward, you adjust VTA by adjusting a knob at the backend of the tonearm that moves the counterweight back and forth. It also comes with 5 different counterweight (3 aluminum, 2 steel) to support a wide array of cartridges. It works quite well.

    Personally, I would just follow manufacturer recommendations. In the case of Rega, it's to balance the arm and then dial in the VTA. However, I would use a good scale to determine the VTA and not the markings on arm's adjustment.

  10. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    Counterweight "dial" method wouldn't be side-stepped; it should still be the procedure before setting the stylus down on anything.

    If the scale then indicates a difference, you actually need to examine your weighing procedure (such as the scale's thickness) instead of first doubting the counterweight method.

    1. Rotate counterweight until stylus barely touches the vinyl and will bounce and float until finally settling down to an extremely light touch, then
    2. Dial counterweight indicator to "0" facing straight up, matching tonearm line, while holding counterweight;
    3. Rotate counterweight to move it towards pivot until desired weight is indicated on dial.
    timind likes this.
  11. frimleygreener

    frimleygreener "It 'a'int just is" Thread Starter

    united kingdom
    All very well..but the Rega counterweight has divisions of 1.5 and 1.75( recommended for their Exact cartridge ) is guesswork at best...hence the need for "balanced" set up then a check with a digital scale...
    Drewan77 likes this.
  12. frimleygreener

    frimleygreener "It 'a'int just is" Thread Starter

    united kingdom
    And it is not set via the has no markings.
  13. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    Midwest USA
    Balance the arm, dial in the VTF as close as you can, then check with scale and move counterweight to fine tune. No need to overthink it too much.
    willboy and timind like this.
  14. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Forum Resident

    Doesn't the stylus have to contact the surface of the scale?
  15. frimleygreener

    frimleygreener "It 'a'int just is" Thread Starter

    united kingdom
    This is what I do. I just wondered if there were any negatives involved in not balancing arm to zero and dialing in tracking force as opposed just to using a digital scale....both will produce the same result at "stylus point"..but are there other factors involved? Just curious,and willing to learn, not obsessive about it! :)
  16. frimleygreener

    frimleygreener "It 'a'int just is" Thread Starter

    united kingdom
    Lost me there...was there any suggestion it should not?
  17. I think the idea of balancing the arm to zero avoids the possibility of starting off with 20g tracking weight on any surface (e.g. the digital scales) before any adjustment of tracking force is started.
    harby likes this.
  18. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Forum Resident

    I dunno, the thought makes me a little itchy. When the stylus is in the groove of a record, there is no undue pressure on the tip of it. Maybe I'm just being hyper.
  19. antnee

    antnee Active Member

    Union KY
    That’s what I do just use scale...
  20. SNDVSN

    SNDVSN Forum Resident

    I like to balance the arm on my GR then use the counterweight dial for the correct weight, I then check it with a digital scale and it's bang on.
    frimleygreener likes this.

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