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-   -   Calibrating a tone arm on a turntable (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=414867)

MikeBmusic 01-12-2016 07:47 AM

All my 80s-era turntables had a weight dial on the back end of the tonearm. You turn it until the arm floats, then dial in the desired pressure weight by using the markings (1/4 gram, or 1/10 gram markings).

matt986 01-12-2016 08:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Borderdon (Post 4784845)
To achieve maximum performance from any given cartridge/tone arm system, don't forget to make sure to use an alignment protractor to properly locate the
cartridge in the head shell, relative to the record playing surface.
You can download a free protractor from the vinylengine.com
After this easy operation is completed, you can then go ahead and set the arm height, followed by the tracking force as per the manufacturers spec's.
(- if your arm is height adjustable)
Otherwise, it's gonna sound like a cactus needle dragged over a rusty pie plate !

All of this plus make sure that your turntable is sitting level. I use a small bubble level and adjust the feet to get it level both front to back and side to side.

Herb Hunter 01-12-2016 08:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy (Post 4784724)
Please, please, please don't make me go back and join audiophile message boards!

Ok, so I got my stereo set up and running last week.

So, I adjusted everything as to how I was told to by the guy at the vintage electronics place. Basically, he said install the the cartridge on the headshell, balance the tonearm where it's parallel with platter, then add just enough weight to where the needle touches the record, and that should do it.

But when I got it hooked up, it totally sounded like cr@p. Everything was sort of distorted and just sounded bad.

Iím surprised by some of the responses to your post.

The vintage guy gave you bad or incomplete advice. Stylus cartridges are designed to operate at a specific pressure which is critical. If you balance the tonearm by first setting the dial to zero and then turn the counterweight until it is parallel with the platter then dial in, say, 1.5 grams of pressure you will be satisfied with the sound you get from your records. I mentioned 1.5 grams because it is likely that is the correct pressure for your Shure cartridge. Shure specified 0.75 to 1.5 grams for all the Shure cartridges Iíve used and it is better to err on the high side then the low side.

Two more things, if the stylus in your cartridge is elliptical, it is important to align the stylus; if it is conical, alignment is unnecessary. (elliptical styluses track high frequencies better but are more costly) If you bought a used turntable, the stylus may be worn and need replacing. Youíll need a low power microscope to see if the stylus is worn. If in doubt, I would replace the stylus.

A worn stylus, or one tracking grooves with insufficient pressure, will prematurely wear out you records.

Tone Gopher 01-12-2016 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Herb Hunter (Post 4785599)
The vintage guy gave you bad or incomplete advice. Stylus cartridges are designed to operate at a specific pressure which is critical. If you balance the tonearm by first setting the dial to zero and then turn the counterweight until it is parallel with the platter then dial in, say, 1.5 grams of pressure you will be satisfied with the sound you get from your records. I mentioned 1.5 grams because it is likely that is the correct pressure for your Shure cartridge. Shure specified 0.75 to 1.5 grams for all the Shure cartridges Iíve used and it is better to err on the high side then the low side.

Two more things, if the stylus in your cartridge is elliptical, it is important to align the stylus; if it is conical, alignment is unnecessary. (elliptical styluses track high frequencies better but are more costly) If you bought a used turntable, the stylus may be worn and need replacing. Youíll need a low power microscope to see if the stylus is worn. If in doubt, I would replace the stylus.

A worn stylus, or one tracking grooves with insufficient pressure, will prematurely wear out you records.

^^^ This ^^^

Your "stabilizer" is indeed neutering any calibration of the tone arm weight. Use a brush and cleaner if you need to, but lose the brush. Unless there has been some damage to the tone arm, there is little reason to believe that the calibration - with respect to the weight assembly markings - has changed.

If you really prefer to have a brush on the record, get one that habits an independent arm. Don't compromise your tone arm and cartridge.

Long Jon 01-12-2016 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TaoMaas (Post 4785420)
OMG...Do NOT do this...unless you're playing an album you borrowed from your buddy. ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Borderdon (Post 4785486)
Agreed. Adding weight to a headshell so the stylus can stay in the groove is not a solution the designer anticipated.

Chill fellahs ! I was pretty confident that PPG would not take my "advice" seriously for one second ! :lol:

Arthur Blake 01-12-2016 06:25 PM

Vintage electronics?
 
It took me many months to save up for a nice sound system in 1978, so I've been reluctant to get rid of it. JVC quartz, phase locked loop turntable, receiver with graphic equalizer and as I recall - low THD, plus four foot tall speaker enclosures with premium components.

Nice to know my old record player now may be "vintage electronics."

I dialed in the pressure on the tone arm with the rotating counterbalance years ago, and it's been fine ever since. Gram and a half sounds right.

Has been so long since I thought about this, - I remember having a a hard wood handle with a round velvet surface for cleaning records.

TaoMaas 01-13-2016 05:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Long Jon (Post 4786189)
Chill fellahs ! I was pretty confident that PPG would not take my "advice" seriously for one second ! :lol:

Yeah, I know. Your post actually made me laugh because I had friends who used to tape coins on the head of their tonearms. :lol:

PorkPieGuy 01-13-2016 06:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arthur Blake (Post 4786373)

Has been so long since I thought about this, - I remember having a a hard wood handle with a round velvet surface for cleaning records.


Yup, I bought one of those too!

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...iL._SY300_.jpg

YamaYairi 01-13-2016 06:24 AM

You also need a stylus cleaning brush. Clean the stylus after every side. Otherwise it will grind dirt into the grooves of the record and sound like crap. Take the arm out of the arm rest and let it drop next to the platter. Clean with a back to front motion, letting the weight of the arm be the only force on the brush. The best stylus cleaning brush was the old Discwasher stylus cleaner, but you can only buy those used on E-Bay now. You will need cleaning fluid, too.

PorkPieGuy 01-13-2016 06:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YamaYairi (Post 4786727)
You also need a stylus cleaning brush.


A stylus cleaning brush came with the Shure cartridge I bought. :)

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...3L._SX300_.jpg

YamaYairi 01-13-2016 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy (Post 4786742)
A stylus cleaning brush came with the Shure cartridge I bought. :)

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...3L._SX300_.jpg

That will work, just be gentle with it. You can use alcohol as a cleaning fluid.

TaoMaas 01-14-2016 05:02 PM

Slightly off-topic, but when I visited my daughter this past summer, she was looking for a new stylus for her Crosley turntable system that her mom had given to her. We hit a few stores, but she didn't find what she was looking for. Later that day when we got back to her house, she tried to play an album to show me the problem with her system. I said, "Have you checked to see if there's any lint on your needle?" She said, "I don't think that's the problem, but okay." She checked...and sure enough, there was a huge ball of lint on the needle. She cleaned it off and said, "I doubt that was the problem"...then tried her record again. Lo and behold...it played great! lol She said, "Wow! I didn't know that could make that big of a difference. Okay, then...can you tell me what this thing is? I got it when I bought a bunch of albums at a garage sale." It was a record preener so I showed her how to use it and explained why it was needed. Along this same line, we were fixing supper earlier that week and while my wife was cooking, my daughter and I fixed the drinks. My daughter said, "I don't have an automatic ice-maker so I have to use these things"...and she got out a plastic ice cube tray. I held it over her ice cube bin, gave it a twist, and popped out the ice cubes. You would have thought that I had performed some kind of miracle! She said, "OMG! How did you do that? I've been beatin' the hell out of these things to get the ice cubes out!" :lol: Sometimes it's nice to know the old ways. :)

jseth 01-15-2016 10:49 PM

Ha!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy (Post 4786722)

A few years ago, my older brother gave me all of his vinyl, as well as all his turntable accessories... and lo and behold! He had an original version of what your picture shows (Discwasher?), still in the wood grained cardboard box it came in, along with a separate big bottle of the fluid... the thing even has the instructions in the box! (My bro' is a bit compulsive/obsessive about some things!)

Had to laugh when I saw your picture...

VERY glad that someone brought up the terrible idea of using a coin on the tonearm... it will rip up the grooves of your records. However, I will say that, back in the late 60's, I was involved in a "business commune" where we made very high-quality 8 track tapes... part of the process involved getting a really good reel-to-reel tape copy at 15 ips.

Some vinyl just has anomalies, cracks and noise that are consistent within an entire pressing... to get a good copy of certain records or tracks within a record, we would sometimes use a dime on the tonearm of an AR turntable... only ONCE, though. With the additional weight of the dime, crackles and pops were largely negated, so a good recording could be made...

Otterhound 01-16-2016 05:24 AM

No phono cartridge worth it's salt has a mustache . There are numerous reasons for this .
If you are truly serious about keeping a stylus clean , ethel alcohol is what you should use . A great solvent that leaves zero residue . Nearly impossible to buy here in Pa without a license , but can be had in other states .
I am still using Ortophon cartridges .

Long Jon 01-16-2016 07:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Otterhound (Post 4790518)
No phono cartridge worth it's salt has a mustache . There are numerous reasons for this .
If you are truly serious about keeping a stylus clean , ethel alcohol is what you should use . A great solvent that leaves zero residue . Nearly impossible to buy here in Pa without a license , but can be had in other states .
I am still using Ortophon cartridges .

I can still buy a bottle in my local general store, but they rarely have a nice cold one these days ... ;)


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