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  #1  
Old 09-06-2017, 04:04 PM
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Sawtooth Sawtooth is offline
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Tracking Force & TT Leveling...

In another thread, I erroneously commented that remastered U2 Joshua Tree had something foreign embedded in a couple of tracks at the time of pressing.

My mistake, it's not a "remaster" but a newer double album. Also, nothing foreign is present.

After multiple trips through the Spin Clean those staticky bits persisted... I really thought it was a crappy pressing as this was the only album I had issues with. Was this IGD I was hearing? I wasn't sure. I've never heard IGD...

Haven't played this album post PROPER detailed set up of my TT 'till today. Sounds much much better and I attribute that to the following.

1) Got one of those cheap tracking force scales. TF is set perfectly now.
2) Used a spirit level App. to fastidiously level table.
3) Played through the album over and over again.. IMHO important post cleaning on some pressings...just sounds better after a couple plays.

Well, what do you know? It sounds fantastic now! Hopefully this helps a vinyl noob like myself.

Last edited by Sawtooth; 09-06-2017 at 04:07 PM.
  #2  
Old 09-06-2017, 04:34 PM
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macman007 macman007 is offline
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I'm not sure about the new remaster of TJT, however the copy I have here and play is a first press of and boasts being a DMM release as well ( DMM (Direct Metal Master), which sounds top notch. Some people don't like the DMM releases of anything, for whatever reasons, that said, I have yet to own any DMM that didn't serve up the goods and sound so unbelievably good. The surface noise is far better and the music detailed and smooth. The Joshua Tree is a superb recording and mastering is top notch, among the best Lp's I've heard.

As far as all the variable adjustments you listed, I know that individually and as a group they all can make a large difference in quality and performance let alone a huge difference if each was out of specs a significant amount. I'd like to hear your impressions of the quality after the fact, once you have chance to give it a good listen. Do you have the regular Joshua Tree LP to compare too, the original release from the 80's? Is it a DMM if so? You may want to get a copy of it to compare to the remaster. I would like to try the remaster, is it a 45RPM double remaster as well as a 33 or just 33?
  #3  
Old 09-06-2017, 04:42 PM
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Saw,

If you are not fastidiously setting ALL the parameters of your cartridge, you are not getting ALL of the music from the groove your cartridge can deliver.

In addition to VTF (Vertical Tracking Force or Tracking Force), you would also need to adjust Azimuth (the angle of the stylus to the groove when you look at the stylus from head on - or side to side angle). It should be perpendicular to the groove, and is usually referenced to the top of the cartridge body. But, during construction it can get canted. Now it's a bugger to align even with a USB microscope (which can lead you down a garden path unless you understand ALL the angles and setting of a cartridge). But start with the top of the cartridge parallel to the record surface.

SRA or Stylus Rake Angle is the angle of the stylus when viewed from the cartridge side. Typically also referenced to the top of the cartridge body, and in general correct when the top of the cartridge is parallel to the record surface when viewed from the side. Now, some cartridges have special cuts. And you have to know this and trust the manufacturer. Follow their directions (higher end SoundSmiths are a good example).

You should also set your overhang with a template available either with the cartridge or downloaded and printed from a host of sources. When you do this, you also make sure your cantilever is aligned to the grooves (think of a circle and rotating the cartridge when viewed directly from overhead).

Then there's anti-skate. And the entire argument of anti-skating. It is a physical force (and we know the laws of physics shall not be broken) causing the cartridge to travel inward when the record turns. This causes more pressure on the inside (right) track of the groove and may cause it to play louder (and wear the stylus more). Some people believe you should set AS to the same weight as your VTF.

Uhmmm, no.

You should set it to compensate for the amount of skating force. And that can be done by ear. Adjust it to where the music sound best (on my TT, that's none - but I've got $15K invested in that TT, it better do some things right ). Change it until the music sound correct and that should include the singer front and centered. If they sang, front and centered, of course.

You can spend gigabucks on tools, gadgets and snake oil to align your cartridge. But, it all comes down to - do you like the way the music sounds? OK then!

If you want to read an excellent site with all kinds of information, hit the Sound Smith How To website: https://www.sound-smith.com/how.

Jim
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Last edited by JimTimP; 09-06-2017 at 04:45 PM.
  #4  
Old 09-06-2017, 04:44 PM
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MM! I don't think the copy of JT I have is a remaster? I could be wrong. 33 & It's just a double album, 180g I think. Sonically it's good, but it's not Pink Floyd good.

I don't have an 80's copy, but I'm starting to think I might have to start looking for some older vinyl. Wanted to keep my collection very small and only new, but I'm starting to really feel I'm missing out on some sonic bliss.

As far as differences sound wise, every album I have sounded fine, but JT was really bad in places. Thought it was the album, and I still feel that it's a wierd pressing (finicky) to play, but it's so much better sounding now that the tables setup fundamentals are better

Just goes to show that some of the best system sonic improvements can be in the details and cheap/free to do!

Jim, I've a Pro-Ject that doesn't allow for VTF. I have never played with overhang etc. Might upgrade to a new cart after Christmas. Grado? So I'll be playing with that for the first time. Anti skate is at the recommend position, by that being said perhaps I should experiement? Not a super nice TT like yours, but little adjustments DO make a huge difference. THX.

Last edited by Sawtooth; 09-06-2017 at 08:09 PM. Reason: VTA not VTF!
  #5  
Old 09-06-2017, 07:14 PM
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I believe you mean that your table does not have VTA adjustment. I'm pretty sure you can adjust the tracking force!

It is a good idea to learn how to properly align your cart...it can have a significant impact on sound quality. Azimuth affects imaging/channel balance, and is pretty easy to check/adjust. No special tools needed!

To help get your cart and table dialed in, you might consider something like the HiFi News Analog Test Album. Pretty pricey new, but I bought one in perfect shape via ebay for $15 many years ago. Pretty handy.

Agree strongly with JimTimP regarding antiskate...much better to use your ears than the old "same as tracking force" setting. The test record can really help with this.

Last edited by kcbluesman; 09-06-2017 at 07:28 PM.
  #6  
Old 09-06-2017, 07:31 PM
80stech 80stech is online now
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It's more important to get the tracking force set to where the cartridge and suspension performs the best than it is to get it dialed in to an exact number, so cheap tracking force gauge is all you need to get you close.
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  #7  
Old 09-06-2017, 08:07 PM
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I meant VTA KC, THX!

That little TF digital scale is worth its weight (no pun intended). When I upgrade the cart next year I will be very particular with its setup. Good point about the test LP. I should pick one up when the time comes.
  #8  
Old 09-07-2017, 03:27 AM
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JimTimp you have given a lot of useful information. One of the info you gave which is open to question is “you would also need to adjust Azimuth (the angle of the stylus to the groove when you look at the stylus from head on - or side to side angle). It should be perpendicular to the groove, and is usually referenced to the top of the cartridge body” this would only really work if the generator has been mounted correctly in the cartridge body some of them are not so that method will not give you the best sound.

Now this can be set by ear but the only problem with that method is, imagine you have been setting up by doing repeated listening tests and then get to a point you think that sounds very good to you. But then you think maybe I can get a little more out of it, then you do it again and it’s all off again how do you get back to where you was before when it sounded good?
For me the only repeatable way to do it and get the best result every single time is to use Dr.Feickert Adjust+ software
YouTube demo os how to use
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  #9  
Old 09-07-2017, 05:22 PM
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TooCool,

You are correct. I should have added these settings are starting points. You - should - be very close to optimum with these settings. You will need to tweak you settings some, and typically, by ear should suffice.

Saw,

If that's the same arm I had on my Music Hall MMF 9.1, so the Project 9" Carbon Fiber arm, there are two grub/allen/set screws on the rear of the collar holding the tonearm that you can loosen to set the VTA. That collar is on the plinth and if you look at it from the rear, you should see them. A manual and not granular way to set the VTA, but you can do it.
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  #10  
Old 09-07-2017, 08:32 PM
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THX, Jim. I'll have a look. Probably the same CF arm, I agree. Was pretty sure that it couldn't be adjusted as it's supposed to be dialed in at the factory...
Even though it sounds excellent with Joshua Tree now, I'm going to experiment a little with a lower anti skate setting too.
  #11  
Old 09-07-2017, 09:27 PM
john from seattle john from seattle is online now
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Sawtooth,

Totally agree with JimTimP and MacMan on their points, along with KCBluesman as well.

But you will need to learn how to check and adjust your cartridge alignment to a gauge using one of 3 methods, Bearwald, Loftgren, and Stevenson. Loftgren and Stevenson both favor one of the two null points whilst Bearwald tends to favor both, getting them as close to perfect and thus you won't be favoring the inner tracks or the outer tracks (inner tracks are those closer to the center of the record, whilst the outer tracks closer to the outer edge), thus when one talks about inner groove distortions, it's the smaller inner grooves towards the center where the tracks tend to get more congested and thus are more prone to mistracking overall.

The crackling you were hearing, especially if very present during loud/congested passages is what happens when a stylus does not ride the groove correctly and "rattles" around if you will and causes a staticy sound during those loud peaks/passages and is typically a momentary thing in a song and thus can cause the music to sound blurry, fuzzy, less distinct. Poor alignment will cause this, and as Macmann said, all aspects of alignment from zenith to azimuth to cartridge body alignment etc together can cause this phenomenon.

A case in point, for years I have had issues with some tracks on 2 Monkees LP's, both original mono pressings from Colgems. Originally when I got them, they sounded fine, but somewhere along the line, some tracks began to mistrack, some badly, a case in point, Shades of Grey whereby the French horn solo would mistrack badly, getting all fuzzy and crackly and even the vocals had issues when they hit peaks, it was awful, well, 2 years ago or so, I did a tweak of the alignment of my Shure cartridge and boom, it cleared right up and both LP's have played mighty fine since.

So I would suggest you research cartridge alignment protractors and also find out what Pro-Ject used if you can, and since it's likely you have the 9" arm, they may have used Bearwald (I think it's technically Loftgren A as there is a Loftgren A and a Loftgren B).

Anyway, that and a good isolation platform will be essential to reducing resonance from your table and arm during playback.

Another way to note if you are having tracking issues is increased sibilance. Now, some recordings will simply be a tad sibilant due to how it was recorded, but if sibllance appears, then it's likely a miss aligned cart.

But as you noted with the tweaks you have done already, improvements, and not so subtle ones either.
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  #12  
Old 09-08-2017, 06:30 AM
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Just a bit of a ramble about getting into original pressings instead of the new vinyl.

I love getting those original issues of favorite records, but I'd not worry you're missing much sonically. Can originals sound better than reissues? Sure, many do but not all. And the older the records, the more condition becomes a big issue. Does a mint original sound better than a new reissue? In many cases yes, but is that mint original anywhere near affordable, if you can even find one? Is the difference substantial? Not usually.

If price range and condition is similar, I will pretty much always go with he original, as much for the "time capsule" fun aspect of it as the sound difference. However, while that mint original may be slightly sound better than a reissue, odds are you're most often comparing used records of varying conditions against brand new, mint reissues and still paying a premium. And once you start comparing records of lesser condition to brand new reissues, especially ones that were carefully done, sonic gains can be slim to non-existent to my ears anyway.

Basically, I'm saying don't stress. If you find original, excellent condition copies of records you want at reasonable prices, go for it. It's great fun and they can sound wonderful. But, if sound quality and not collect-ability is your motivation, I wouldn't worry or spend through the roof just to have an early copy. Especially classic titles are often available in good sounding reissues that are more slightly different sounding than necessarily better or worse than original copies. And you get nice, clean new pressings.
  #13  
Old 09-08-2017, 07:17 AM
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This past weekend at the used record shop, I found a sealed copy of the Mamas and Papas for $8. Original pressing of a 1973 release on MCA of 20 of their greatest hits.

The vinyl sounded perfect, but it was a perfect pressing of early 1960's recording technology. So, I'm sure that using digital and equalization techniques, a new pressing of those same songs will sound 'better'. But in my opinion, not the way it should.

So, yes, you can find original pressings and in good condition and for reasonable amounts. Yard sales, thrift store and of course used record stores. Just gotta look.

https://cloud.collectorz.com/JimTimP...detail/4434687
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Last edited by JimTimP; 09-08-2017 at 07:20 AM.
  #14  
Old 09-08-2017, 08:24 AM
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Thanks to all of you, really appreciate it!

The small things I have done have made a huge improvement on the JT album and to the table in general, and yeah, you totally nailed what I am hearing on only this album John.

So with everything cartridge wise being set from the Pro-Ject factory, and the fact that I only have this issue with the JT out of about 30ish or so new records that I own, would you guys tinker with it? Perhaps I should just try another copy of the same? It's so much improved now, but it COULD be better.

Tim, you are correct. VTA can be adjusted on the Debut Carbon DC as per the detailed dealer setup manual. It doesn't go into the kind of detail I need tho... it's much like a Hayne's car repair book... step one: remove engine! It doesn't really say how to "remove engine"... so I'll need to research a little. Perhaps have a drink before attempting!

I do want to trade the 2M Red out for a Grado eventually, but I am honestly a bit nervous to play and mess it up completely! I suppose I need to get on with it...

Last edited by Sawtooth; 09-08-2017 at 10:25 AM.
  #15  
Old 09-08-2017, 04:14 PM
katana1100 katana1100 is offline
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I got that double pressing of JT and it's noisy.
I blame the vinyl, sounds like they used recycled pvc pipe.
It's noisy on all my tables and I have 6 tables connect to my
system , with tips ranging from conical on up to microline.
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  #16  
Old 09-08-2017, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimTimP View Post
Looking at your link there JimTimP, you got me on to that Music Collectoz program last October. I love that program and I have been slowly entering all my stuff in to it since last October, I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for that but you also created a lot of work for me, it’s been fun as I have discovered a lot of stuff I forgotten I had. Here is mine
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  #17  
Old 09-09-2017, 07:57 AM
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Too Cool - that's like 5 times my collection and you're still adding them!!!

I bow to the master....

Yeah, good stuff and not expensive. IMHO anyone with more than a few hundred albums should be using it. I really like the web page function. For 30 (or 50) bucks!

Well, I guess I can make you jealous by having started earlier...
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  #18  
Old 09-09-2017, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimTimP View Post
Too Cool - that's like 5 times my collection and you're still adding them!!!

I bow to the master....

Yeah, good stuff and not expensive. IMHO anyone with more than a few hundred albums should be using it. I really like the web page function. For 30 (or 50) bucks!

Well, I guess I can make you jealous by having started earlier...
I am happy you started earlier as if you had not, I may not have heard about this program.
Since I have started to use it, it has saved me buying duplicates well unless I am buying a better copy.

Just a couple of days ago I heard a track on the radio and thought that sounds good and familiar, I must buy it. I then put in a search on my database to find out, I already have it this software have paid for itself many times over. Here is the album I already had but had forgotten about.
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