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Guest Simonon

VTA is it real. I cant hear a difference when I adjust tonearm height.

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Guest Simonon

 

Been playing with a beautiful Micro Seiki MR611 turntable that I picked up for a song. I love the MA101 mk2 arm and its lever action height adjustment which allows for fine accurate adjustment. I fitted a Denon Dl301 mk2 cartridge and setup using a number of test records plus extensive listening tests. VTF is set for 1.4 grams with antiskate set the same which works well on the Hifi news Lp record. I also verified measurements with a distortion meter and cro. The Denon and arm combination show very good specs indeed with the ability to track anything. My one question is the VTA makes no audible difference whatsoever. I started with the arm parrallel and raised and lowered it over a substantial range in 1mm increments.......the result is essentially no difference with a perfectly flat record. Is VTA essentially another audiophile myth? If it were that critical one would be able to hear tonal changes on a warped record as it rotates. Much of what I read on the net is that changes of +/- 1mm at the pivot makes a huge difference. Am I missing something here or is it better to set the arm parallel on a standard LP and forget about. Interested in opinions. 83b58af247c2e41f8bfadc586a4336f5.jpg&key=3bb62ff4a3e1ee290de1bb0203c69c9a8f4b938521e5f62a247896eeaeaa2021

 

 

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Without any of the data you've observed to support my claim, my gut feeling has been for some time that VTA is a minor issue in most cases, with some records, tonearms and cartridges being more susceptible than others - re the VTA. So I think it's not as big an issue as the tracking force, antiskate, horizontal angle of the cartridge. However in certain cases VTA may play a bigger role, however never the greatest.

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It depends too on the sort of stylus profile- line contact like being in a certain range. If it is too high on a record with sibilance in the vocals, lowering it reduces this, and if you go too low, you lose some of the high frequency clarity and get more bass. I think more basic stylus shapes- spherical and eliptical - are more forgiving. Despite this, I have found 1mm here and there is beyond my hearing, though maybe that is just because adjusting the height is a pain on my arm.

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Guest Muon N'

Stylus and person dependent, not implying the OP is in this category, but I have known people that can't tell the difference in sound between a good 10k hifi system and a cheap public address system.

 

But yeah, stylus dependent.

 

Lovely table @Simonon :thumb:

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39 minutes ago, Simonon said:

 

Been playing with a beautiful Micro Seiki MR611 turntable that I picked up for a song. I love the MA101 mk2 arm and its lever action height adjustment which allows for fine accurate adjustment. I fitted a Denon Dl301 mk2 cartridge and setup using a number of test records plus extensive listening tests. VTF is set for 1.4 grams with antiskate set the same which works well on the Hifi news Lp record. I also verified measurements with a distortion meter and cro. The Denon and arm combination show very good specs indeed with the ability to track anything. My one question is the VTA makes no audible difference whatsoever. I started with the arm parallel and raised and lowered it over a substantial range in 1mm increments.......the result is essentially no difference with a perfectly flat record. Is VTA essentially another audiophile myth? If it were that critical one would be able to hear tonal changes on a warped record as it rotates. Much of what I read on the net is that changes of +/- 1mm at the pivot makes a huge difference. Am I missing something here or is it better to set the arm parallel on a standard LP and forget about. Interested in opinions.

 

 

If you don't think VTA makes any difference to the sound you hear, S, you might like to peruse Allen Wright's white paper on cartridge setup, here:

http://www.vacuumstate.com/fileupload/GuruSetUp.pdf

 

He's 'da man', in my view.  :)  My experience ties in with what Juzbear wrote:

  • arm too high at the pivot ... you get a harsh sound, the FR is bass-light and you get sibilance
  • arm too low at the pivot ... you get a dull sound and the FR is bass-heavy.

But, yes, the amount of difference you hear with different VTA depends on the stylus profile.

 

The fact that you hear the same sound when you've raised and lowered the arm - what, +/-5mm from horizontal, at the pivot point? - makes me wonder whether you have cart overhang and azimuth set correctly (as, if these are out, adjusting VTA won't help any)?

 

Andy

 

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Guest Simonon
 
If you don't think VTA makes any difference to the sound you hear, S, you might like to peruse Allen Wright's white paper on cartridge setup, here:
http://www.vacuumstate.com/fileupload/GuruSetUp.pdf
 
He's 'da man', in my view.  [emoji4]  My experience ties in with what Juzbear wrote:
  • arm too high at the pivot ... you get a harsh sound, the FR is bass-light and you get sibilance
  • arm too low at the pivot ... you get a dull sound and the FR is bass-heavy.
But, yes, the amount of difference you hear with different VTA depends on the stylus profile.
 
The fact that you hear the same sound when you've raised and lowered the arm - what, +/-5mm from horizontal, at the pivot point? - makes me wonder whether you have cart overhang and azimuth set correctly (as, if these are out, adjusting VTA won't help any)?
 
Andy
 
Its interesting as this is what I keep reading. I have a protractor specifically for this arm and the original overhang gauge with all set perfectly. Azimuth verified with a cro and is the best I can get it. Maybe its just the tiny stylus profile on the DL301 mk2. I am happy with the sound and am interested in getting hold of a Decca London cartridge to try on a spare headshell I have. Always been intrigued by Decca's.
All an interesting learning experience, am impressed with the quality of this arm and ease of setup. I like this turntable over my Thorens TD320 mk2.530ed223815fb834e6c963ff7b693631.jpgb79b2988e1490dc9fe44af1fb7b0720b.jpg

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Guest Simonon

Okay now I nailed it with an undorthodox method. I pulled the really thick mat off the Thorens and put it on the micro the denon clearly likes it tail down. Playing Dutch Tilders direct and noticed his voice filled out, highs toned down a bit which now sounds similar to the Thorens.
Measured height and emulated with thinner micromat. Will now tweak arm in this range.
Easy way to get an idea of VTA is with a selection of different thickness platter mats imo.
I wonder if this is an option for different thickness LPS e.g. normal vs 200gram types.

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With my VPI  I have the arm  set level on 180 gram records , having almost paper thin records from the 70's up to 200 gram stuff it seems to be the best setup to my ears , have also settled on one mat after trying four or five different mats . I suspect that the mat material you are using may have more of an affect than the VTA settings , it certainly does on my TT.

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@Simonon Good. Some cartridges need height at the pivot and some don't. I could here this quite easily  when I was younger and cant just pick up on it now. Generally now, I keep in parallel.

Edited by Wimbo

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Guest Simonon
With my VPI  I have the arm  set level on 180 gram records , having almost paper thin records from the 70's up to 200 gram stuff it seems to be the best setup to my ears , have also settled on one mat after trying four or five different mats . I suspect that the mat material you are using may have more of an affect than the VTA settings , it certainly does on my TT.
I agree mat thickness will affect VTA to a varying degree. Mat composition will affect isolation.
I like my idea of 3 different thickness mats for normal, 180 and 200 gram records plus the ability to instantly experiment and get an idea of VTA relatively quickly. May be handy if you are a habitual cartridge swapper. This Micro Seiki is a big deck, robust and well made making it a great platform to experiment. I like the fact it has a universal replaceable headshell and a simple exceptionally engineered tone arm allowing me to experiment with different carts. The Thorens TD320 mk2 is nice but delicate and does not lend itself too excessive fiddling. This MR611 is completely devoid of plastic and built like a tank at $200 purchase price in mint condition methinks a bargain. The 8 pole hysteresis motor and huge platter bearing is totally silent.
Still thinking of a Decca London cart as reading about the principle of operation and lack of a cantilever has me intrigued. Would be interested to hear from owners of them. Will it work on the medium compliance MA101 Mk2 arm?

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2 hours ago, Simonon said:

Okay now I nailed it with an undorthodox method. I pulled the really thick mat off the Thorens and put it on the micro the denon clearly likes it tail down. Playing Dutch Tilders direct and noticed his voice filled out, highs toned down a bit which now sounds similar to the Thorens.
Measured height and emulated with thinner micromat. Will now tweak arm in this range.
Easy way to get an idea of VTA is with a selection of different thickness platter mats imo.
I wonder if this is an option for different thickness LPS e.g. normal vs 200gram types.

 

So I guess you can hear a difference now?  :D

 

If you are happy in general with the sound, set and forget.     

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stupid sna - double post. :o 

Edited by metal beat

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I have an arm with on the fly VTA adjustment and have found that it seems to make little or no difference on Elliptical profiles of stylus... yet is quite noticeable with Microline, Shibata and SAS profiles...

 

I initially listen theough headphones (no phase errors) to get it dialled in and then finetune on speakers by ear over 3 or 4 records....

Invariably when  i then check visually it is around 90deg stylus rake everytime.... (check pic)

 

So i guess i can hear it... but only on certain stylus profiles.

20190523_002316.jpg

Edited by Douglas HiFi

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2 hours ago, Douglas HiFi said:

I have an arm with on the fly VTA adjustment and have found that it seems to make little or no difference on Elliptical profiles of stylus... yet is quite noticeable with Microline, Shibata and SAS profiles...

 

I initially listen theough headphones (no phase errors) to get it dialled in and then finetune on speakers by ear over 3 or 4 records....

Invariably when  i then check visually it is around 90deg stylus rake everytime.... (check pic)

 

So i guess i can hear it... but only on certain stylus profiles.

20190523_002316.jpg

For 90 degree sra should it not tilt forward a bit more?

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2 hours ago, mloutfie said:

For 90 degree sra should it not tilt forward a bit more?

Zoom in and have a close look... like right in....

 

Also... hard to tell if I'm perpendicular to the stylus so camera angle might be out slightly...

Looking live through a magnifying glass confirms it is darn close.

 

Personally i find arm slightly lower than exactly 90 sounds a little better ..

Ie a tpuch richer tonally rather a touch leaner.

20190528_220349.jpg

Edited by Douglas HiFi

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VTA made an enormous difference on my rig (td 125, 3009, Shure type iii, Jico sas).

 

But by entire coincidence I started reading this thread playing a new purchase, Stevie wonder musiquraium , and thinking it was sounding a bit.... thick perhaps? And then put on a 70’s Elvia P album mid way through reading, and the tone got a lot punchier, and brighter. Aside from obvious differences in recording/mixing/ mastering... I’m targeting disc thickness as the major factor!

 

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I’ve got a Rega P25 with groove tracer platter and a 2M black on the RB600 arm. The platter height is taller due to the platter thickness so the arm has been spaced up a bit.

I like the 2M black but do find it can be a little forward and sibilant at times. I’ve always been a bit sus about the VTA but didn’t get around to playing with different VTA even though I’ve got a VTA adjuster which isn’t fitted due to having to enlarge the arm hole.

When I started reading this thread a few days ago I decided to have a play with the VTA. Instead of adjusting the arm height I cheated and played with the record height. The arm was tail up and my reading suggested that lowing the tail may reduce treble a little. Out came some old records to use as spacers and also a rubber Technics mat. Sure enough the sound definitely backed off the higher the cart and to the point that the sound became a little dull when the cart end was higher than the stub end.

The only problem is that once I started to raise the cart height (the same effect of lowering the arm) the arm lift mechanism didn’t have enough height to lift the needle off the record surface. Much more care required with the arm and cart when playing records.

By chance I found some more Rega spacers at home so rather than having to enlarge the arm hole to use the screw Vta adjuster I just used different combos of spacers and for an arm height that was about the sweet spot for my cart. Still lively but I think that’s the nature of the 2M black. Makes for an energetic and exciting listen.

In summary, definitely worth a play with VTA and the cheats way of finding out was to stack up some old records under the playing one and this gave a good indication of the effects of different height.

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Hi   I also have a MR 611 and love it, Bought in  1975 new,  Do you have any instructions on setting up the MA-101 ?

 

Thanks Brian  

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On 28/05/2019 at 2:05 PM, Guest Simonon said:

My one question is the VTA makes no audible difference whatsoever. I started with the arm parrallel and raised and lowered it over a substantial range in 1mm increments.......the result is essentially no difference with a perfectly flat record. Is VTA essentially another audiophile myth? If it were that critical one would be able to hear tonal changes on a warped record as it rotates. Much of what I read on the net is that changes of +/- 1mm at the pivot makes a huge difference. Am I missing something here or is it better to set the arm parallel on a standard LP and forget about. Interested in opinions.

 

 

I have an SP10 with EPA100 that has VTA on the fly fitted with an EPC205 with Jico SAS/B line contact stylus and I also could hear no difference with the arm up or down about an 8mm change.

 

So I started doing some research and what I found was that VTF can change significantly with arm height on SOME tonearms especially unipivots with a very low COM. So I adjusted VTF, small changes in VTF made no audible difference but a large change did, my hypothesis of VTF is having the magnets and generator aligned correctly.

 

This is why Rega do not have or propose VTA adjustment because Rega arms have the COM on or near the pivot so it makes no difference.

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