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CJSF's picture
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Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

See page 11:
http://www.hifiplus.com/articles/meet-your-maker-hi-fi-visits-rega-research/

. . . "Hi-Fi+: Why don’t Rega tonearms offer provisions for VTA/SRA adjustment?

RG: Basically, knowing what we do about tolerances for stylus positioning within cartridge cantilevers, we do not really accept that the concept of VTA adjustment is valid or beneficial. Consider this: to the best of our knowledge, even the best cartridge makers are only able to achieve stylus positioning accurate to within about a 2 degree tolerance window—but not better than that. Now ask yourself why it is desirable to trim stylus positioning by fractions of a degree, when the stylus’ starting position might fall (and in practice does fall) literally anywhere within a two-degree window. We aren’t saying you won’t hear sonic changes when you attempt VTA adjustments, but we think those changes could just as well be due to minute changes in tracking force, or even to the tightness of set screws, etc. used in VTA adjustment mechanisms. This same line of thought, by the way, is also why we do not see the need for radial tracking tonearms."

Roy Gandys answer to the question does not hold water IMHO. Because of the poor tolerance for stylus positioning, a VTA adjustment is essential to bring things to their correct position,or, at least, a better position . . . cant just ignore it as though the issue does not exist? He is even agreeing, VTA changes can be heard. At least one has the opportunity with VTA to adjust things to the way you like to hear them??????

I'm a Rega man through and through, but I do wonder why sometimes?

CJSF

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

How much change in angle do you think you get with vta adjustable arms? If it matters that much, do you readjust when moving from a thin 70's pressing to a slab off 200 gram vinyl?.

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

He's not exactly going to say that a feature his products don't offer is necessary, but all carts aren't of standard dimensions (perhaps the issue is they should be? Shame that T4P was not more successful). I very nearly always have to change the VTA on my old Thorens TP10 every time I fit a different cart, just to keep the tonearm more-or-less parallel.

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

I take no notice of the arm, parallel or otherwise, but there is a sweet spot that 'sounds right to me', it seems to work regardless of vinyl thickness, it is also affected by stylus pressure. Once set, my VTA goes unchanged for long periods, and even then its usually only a check with the slip gauges I have made in half millimeter steps, so that I have a point of reference. I cant be bothered to change cartridges for the sake of it . . . I only have one cartridge :doh:

Then again, there are tone arms that can be 'VTA adjusted on the run' . . . thats a bit precious, life is to short . . .

VTA is an old chestnut, Regas view has always been hidden behind by many. Afraid Mr Gandy has blown the cover, ' VTA adjustments can be heard'. My take on it is simple, perhaps VTA is needed to make up for the lack of accuracy refereed to by Roy Gandy, have to go along with our Roy dont we? Smile

CJSF

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

I change arm height when i change carts, it takes a fdw minutes to fit a spacer. When the arm is level its right. 

Read throgh what gandy said again, he could also be saying that the change due to vta adjustment could be down to tightness or vtf. I think vta needs to be addressed when a cart is installed, but can be forgotten about. It is not along job to fit a shim when fitting a cart.

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

VTA has never been an area that has concerned me too much. Basically, if the arm looks parallel then it's good to go. How else can you check that it's 100% level other than by the naked eye? With some of my less than flat LPs the arm bobs up and down by goodness knows how many degrees, yet still sounds good to me.

 

It seems strange to me that we fret about the odd 0.01g on the tracking weight, yet for VTA it seems a bit there or thereabouts.

 

.

Creek/ProJect/SBT/Epos

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

What was the 'industry standard' angle of the cutting head when the masters were being cut?

EDIT...

Probably worth having a close read of this article from 1979 where it seems VTA of cutting heads could vary a lot ( +/- 5 degrees or more depending on which standard or continent you were!) and VTA of cartridges varied even more wildly...

http://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/vinyl-lp/37-technology/73-vertical-tracking-angle.html

... The bit about 'spring back' looks even more alarming for those worried about the nth degree of VTA 'accuracy' !

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

Yep, all very interesting, however, whichever way you look at it, VTA is a factor that has an affect on what you hear out of your speakers, good or bad. As stated earlier, I accept it as a fact of life, do not spend all my time chasing it, but like to know what variations of VTA sound like so that I can evaluate any changes I might make in the system as a whole, 'I understand what my system is doing at any time'.

The other day, just for the hell of it, 'keeping the hand in' as one has not don any cartridge check recently, I ran a check on all the adjustment parameters of my arm/cartridge. Stylus down force was a tad light and the bias was out . . . :? they were OK'ish but that little extra, re focus, fine tuning, made me feel better and things sounded better to me. So I tried the VTA, started at +5mm, went through in 0.5mm incraments to +7mm, I ended up at +6.5mm, giving me the best sound presentation on a number of different records, varying from 1960's vinyl to modern 180 gram pressings.

As for the arm being parallel? . . . my arm tube, Rega type, is tapered, judging parallel ain't easy, so I look at the cartridge bottom which is flat to the record with a 1.5mm gap, that gap looks fairly constant . . . ????? if anything, it might be a tad down at the back?

Roy Gandy is right, as are so many who say VTA is not important. However VTA does have a bearing on the sounds and musical quality you perceive, how much importance you attach to less than ideal adjustment is another matter, 90% will do or 100% quality that you paid for?

I say, listen and you will hear that 'sweet spot', or more to the point, you will hear the sound you prefer. Dont forget, VTA and stylus down force are linked, which means you probably need 'stylus scales' . . . thats another can of worms :bounce:

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

CJSF wrote:
.Don't   forget, VTA and stylus down force are linked, which means you probably need 'stylus scales' . . . thats another can of worms :bounce:

Especially with Rega RB arms (except RB250s). There are two distinct ways of setting tracking force. 

The first one is to follow the the instructions and balance the arm with the dial set to zero. Then dial in the tracking force and check with scales. (So force is applied as a result of a spring. The higher the number dialled, the less effect the spring is having in resisting gravity.)

The second one involves removing the influence of the spring by turning the dial to three (and leaving it there) before balancing the arm and then setting tracking force purely by use of counterweight position and scales. The dial remains permanently wound to it's highest number (but, counterintuitively, its lowest spring force).

The first (Rega intended) method results in the counterweight being closer to the arm pivot (less 'moment' force to overcome) because the spring is pushing against gravity.

The second method (no spring force) means the counterweight is doing all the work of balancing the arm, so ends up further out on it's stub. (More moment force.)

Both methods have their fans and detractors and good arguments can be made for and against.  During the 11 years I used a Planar 3 with Goldring 1042, I tried both ways and found it made little difference so ended up using the RB300 as it was designed. The moment force I mentioned was not really an issue because the dense, tungsten counterweight was standard issue back then and was always pretty close to the pivot.

 

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

Quote:

The first one is to follow the the instructions and balance the arm with the dial set to zero. Then dial in the tracking force and check with scales. (So force is applied as a result of a spring. The higher the number dialled, the less effect the spring is having in resisting gravity.)

The second one involves removing the influence of the spring by turning the dial to three (and leaving it there) before balancing the arm and then setting tracking force purely by use of counterweight position and scales. The dial remains permanently wound to it's highest number (but, counterintuitively, its lowest spring force).

I wonder if any difference to SQ can be noticed?

 

Michell / Icon Audio / Kudos

 

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

I agree with chebby - I also had a Planar3 with RB300 tonearm and set it up as Rega suggested.

Future deck / tonearm combo's I have owned all had some form of VTA adjustments on the tonearm but I pretty much found that, once set for the cartridge in use at the time, further slight adjustments for LP thickness made hardly any noticeable difference in sound quality.

As I rarely switch cartridges I have little interest in VTA tweaking.

Correctly set tracking force is, however, much more critical in the sound quality obtained

 

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

Very simple really . . . the more you accept 'that will do' :?  the lower the final sound quality. Take time and make a fuss of your hifi system, focusing each adjustment, the closer it will come to producing 100% of what it is capable of . . . as simple as that.

Each adjustment in isolation may represent a small percentage of the whole, but ad the small percentages together, especialy the ones that feed off of each other, and then that focused figure becomes significant.

CJSF

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

Interesting. It's not vta or tracking force that concerns me about most tonearms; I find anti-skate the real pain. I've just done up an old Revolver turntable (new belt, cartridge, oil) and whilst adjusting vta and dialling in tracking weight are straightforward if you know what you're doing, it seems that anti-skate is far less precise. During the set-up of the arm, it's a Jelco 250 st, it's obvious that, even with anti-skate set at zero, there's some inherent anti-skate that wants to pull the arm back to the arm-rest. Some Rega arms are similar; Linn arms less so. I wonder if anybody else has experienced this and knows how to go about setting the anti-skate correctly. I usually do it by ear with a mono lp. 

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

Jim-W wrote:

Interesting. It's not vta or tracking force that concerns me about most tonearms; I find anti-skate the real pain. I've just done up an old Revolver turntable (new belt, cartridge, oil) and whilst adjusting vta and dialling in tracking weight are straightforward if you know what you're doing, it seems that anti-skate is far less precise. During the set-up of the arm, it's a Jelco 250 st, it's obvious that, even with anti-skate set at zero, there's some inherent anti-skate that wants to pull the arm back to the arm-rest. Some Rega arms are similar; Linn arms less so. I wonder if anybody else has experienced this and knows how to go about setting the anti-skate correctly. I usually do it by ear with a mono lp. 

 

I would suggest that this would be to do with the turntable being level — more so the _arm_ being level.

 

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RE: Gandy agrees, 'VTA changes can be heard' . . .

jcarruthers wrote:

Jim-W wrote:

Interesting. It's not vta or tracking force that concerns me about most tonearms; I find anti-skate the real pain. I've just done up an old Revolver turntable (new belt, cartridge, oil) and whilst adjusting vta and dialling in tracking weight are straightforward if you know what you're doing, it seems that anti-skate is far less precise. During the set-up of the arm, it's a Jelco 250 st, it's obvious that, even with anti-skate set at zero, there's some inherent anti-skate that wants to pull the arm back to the arm-rest. Some Rega arms are similar; Linn arms less so. I wonder if anybody else has experienced this and knows how to go about setting the anti-skate correctly. I usually do it by ear with a mono lp. 

 

I would suggest that this would be to do with the turntable being level — more so the _arm_ being level.

 

Thanks for this. I'll get the spirit level out of the garage and give it whirl. 

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