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arm101

MM Cart Option Assistance

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I have recently had a renewed interest in vinyl, which resulted in me dusting off and re tuning my old TT.

I have a 1974 LP12 deck, SME 3009 series II (improved) arm a Fidelity Research FR6SE Cart and stylus (MM type).

I think I have done OK on the setup but the right hand channel output seems to be lower than the left.

On investigating further it appears the stylus is slightly askew (bent) towards to  the right when looking from the front.

New replacement stylus appears to be ~ $700.

I am wondering if there are Alternative cart and stylus options out there that would provide similar (or better) results, 

All recommendations / advise appreciated. (Would prefer to stay MM but prepared to listen to all recs.

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everyone has one that has worked for them, try garrott P77i, ortofon 2m bronze, all MM, or MC, ortofon Quintet blue or Denon 103D, 301, others may add different brands

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what's your budget? are you comfortable spending $700 or do you have a higher or lower value in mind?

 

competition in that $500-900 range is pretty fierce, plenty of good options each with different characteristics to suit system and taste. it can be a bit of a can of worms... everyone will have an opinion

 

while you're figuring out what unit to invest your money in, i'd suggest getting a new AT VM95e for $70 so in the mean-time you can still spin and have a OK back-up cart. they come highly recommended for the value they provide

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18 hours ago, wen said:

everyone has one that has worked for them, try garrott P77i, ortofon 2m bronze, all MM, or MC, ortofon Quintet blue or Denon 103D, 301, others may add different brands

Thanks Wen, Garrott was one I had identified that looks to fit

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1 hour ago, wasabijim said:

what's your budget? are you comfortable spending $700 or do you have a higher or lower value in mind?

 

competition in that $500-900 range is pretty fierce, plenty of good options each with different characteristics to suit system and taste. it can be a bit of a can of worms... everyone will have an opinion

 

while you're figuring out what unit to invest your money in, i'd suggest getting a new AT VM95e for $70 so in the mean-time you can still spin and have a OK back-up cart. they come highly recommended for the value they provide

Good suggestion to keep me going

$500 to $1,000 range is what I am targeting.

 

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lots of options in that price range. the Garrott units have a loyal following i don't think you can go wrong. i'm really enjoying my Ortofon 2M Bronze, ( i only have an old AT and Garrott Bros with Shibata for comparison.  if it was me for no other reason than what I read or been personally recommended,  I'd consider the:

> AT VM740ML 

> Soundsmith Otello

otherwise if you can find them here in Oz options by Denon or Nagaoka

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17 hours ago, wasabijim said:

lots of options in that price range. the Garrott units have a loyal following i don't think you can go wrong.

Yesterday ordered the Garrott Optim FGS, hopefully this will adequately fulfil my needs, equipment and vinyl.

Was originally going to go with P77i, but secured new Optim at discount price.

I couldn't wait around longer seeking further recommendations.

Have to wait 2-3 weeks as not in stock.

Big thanks to the few that replied to this request

 

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37 minutes ago, arm101 said:

Yesterday ordered the Garrott Optim FGS, hopefully this will adequately fulfil my needs, equipment and vinyl.

Was originally going to go with P77i, but secured new Optim at discount price.

I couldn't wait around longer seeking further recommendations.

Have to wait 2-3 weeks as not in stock.

Big thanks to the few that replied to this request

 

Please let us know how you go 👍

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1 minute ago, Ahh- Schnoo Schnoo said:

Please let us know how you go 👍

Will do.

Probably be a while though, delivery / fitting and run in.

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So...

Now have the cartridge / stylus fitted and run and fine tuned for ~ 20 hours.

My previous setup was Fidelity Research FR6 SE (elliptical stylus) on a an SME 3009 S2 improved arm.

 

My initial observation on the Optim FGS

Seems to be a lot fuller on the low end and lacking a bit on the top end.

My preference is for a lively top end with a clear but not over-powering lows .

That was the characteristic I have grown accustomed to with the old FR6

 

It may be that I need to lift the tail more but unfortunately due limitations on the tone-arm lift arm not able to be lowered , which is resulting in stylus not making contact once the post is raised to a certain height.

Any body got with any ideas on how to overcome this adjustment problem on an SME 3009 S2 improved arm? (need to lower the tonearm lifter on the main shaft)

I am at a bit of a loss.

My initial thought was to shim between head-shell and top of cartridge but, I assume as well as being difficult, that could result in weight, resonance and any number of other side issues

 

 

 

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the wedge / shim approach is a viable option worth considering, some others may be able to talk to it more

you may be able to get a similar change in VTA by increasing the tracking force - staying within the recommended limits or without compromising tracking performance if you have a test disk that measures this. this will rake the cantilever that little bit more and get a similar stylus-to-groove angle that dipping the tail would yield 

this assuming it is more tail down needed and that 20hrs is sufficient to bring it on song 

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22 hours ago, wasabijim said:

this assuming it is more tail down needed and that 20hrs is sufficient to bring it on song 

I am hoping that given additional time it will improve more

I need more tail up I believe (raise arm pivot ?)

Took a photo and printed to determine VTA / SRA which I thought would be getting too large, but it looks like it is ~22.5 degrees. At this stage I need more but cant attain by raising pivot limitation

On the upside, steered away from 70's rock today and listened to a few female artists, this was a much better experience.

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i put a wedge on my Ortofon Blue Quintet, had too many shims under my moth arm, the needle only touched the record because of the arm rest/lifter, would not track, no issue with weight, tracking superbly and sounding fantastic

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The Garrott brothers always recommended raising (_not_ lowering!) the arm pivot by 5mm above horizontal (horizontal meaning parallel to the horizontal record surface, as measured using a circular spirit level placed on a flat record) and then experimenting with small adjustments up or down. 
There comes a point where the sound will ‘snap’ into place. You will know when you hear it. 
Earlier you stated the old stylus was noticeably skewed sideways... 

Assuming that the arm bearings are ok (after all, it’s ageing like all of us), it sounds (apologies for the pun) as if you need to carefully check the azimuth and anti-skating force. Do this with the arm halfway across the record, not at the lead-in or lead-out tracks. 
Then play whatever and post your findings. 
I had many years of enjoyment from a P77.
The FGS is a fine cartridge that, assuming it’s not faulty and all else is as it should be, will perform better than the P77. 

Edited by rusty48

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15 hours ago, arm101 said:

 

I need more tail up I believe (raise arm pivot ?)

opp, got myself mix up, right you are (and i was in my head - just come out wrong) 

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11 hours ago, rusty48 said:

The Garrott brothers always recommended raising (_not_ lowering!) the arm pivot by 5mm above horizontal 

Thanks for the information.

I suspected as much and have been creeping the pivot post up. This was all going well, with the sound improving significantly with each incremental change

That is till I ran out of available upward adjustment due to limitations in the tonearm lifting mechanism

At the current and upper most point, the point that I based sound observations on, it was nearly there but still exhibiting too much bass.

As the arm visually appeared to be significantly high at the pivot, to check I did an angle estimate for my clarification. ~ 22.5 degrees. I believe, theoretically, that means the tonearm is currently near level and I believe if I could achieve the 5 degree above horizontal that you referenced, I would be happy.

I have to admit my ears and eyes are ageing.

I need a solution that allows me to raise it more, whilst maintaining stylus contact with the vinyl, until that sweet spot is found

Appreciate the input

 

Edited by arm101
finetuning

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4 hours ago, arm101 said:

I believe, theoretically, that means the tonearm is currently near level and I believe if I could achieve the 5 degree above horizontal that you referenced, I would be happy.

Yep, your eyes are definitely ageing. :S

Forget theoretically. Measure it.

A tape measure can be used if the arm has the same circumference from head shell to pivot. 

You are talking in degrees and angles. 

Reread my post and you will hopefully see I said start the arm pivot 5 millimetres above its horizontal position. 

To do this, you must first set the arm into a horizontal position. 

Reread and comprehend. 

If you don't understand any point, ask.

Don't make an assumption that's already in your head. 

This is a measuring exercise, not a guessing competition. 

Step 1: ensure the platter plus record is horizontal using a spirit level. You may need to put shims of cardboard or whatever under the turntable's feet to achieve this. You could be lucky if the feet of the turntable can be screwed in or out. 

Step 2: find the horizontal position of the arm by putting the needle on the record (carefully!!!) so you can measure the distance from the bottom of the arm to the record at 2 points, ie near the rear of the head shell, and somewhere else that's closer to the pivot. When those two measurements are the same, the arm is parallel to the record.

Step 3: Take the arm off the record and raise the pivot 5 millimetres.

Measure this distance from parallel position to raised position accurately.

A marker pen may be useful -  making an unobtrusive mark on the pivot at the parallel position makes it easier to see how far you raise it. 

[Turntables with vta (vertical tracking angle) adjustment are the simplest way to do this.] 

If your eyes aren't up to it, bribe (:hiccup?) a teenager/wife/pedantic neighbour to do it for you, but don't pay the bribe until you're satisfied with what's been done and ready to sit and listen. 

Step 4: Make minor adjustments up or down until the sound quality degrades, then reverse the direction of adjustment until you reach the best position. 

(Maybe) Step 5: If you get frustrated/confused/short tempered, stop, pack it all up, return to the shop where you bought the cartridge and ask them to please do it for you. OR if you have a knowledgeable hifi mate, ask him for help. 

OK? Over to you, and good luck. 

Edited by rusty48

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23 hours ago, rusty48 said:

The Garrott brothers always recommended raising (_not_ lowering!) the arm pivot by 5mm above horizontal (horizontal meaning parallel to the horizontal record surface, 

Hello rusty48, do you think that blanket recommendation to set an arbitrary 5mm above horizontal is wise for all tonearms, given the wide variation in VTA between cartridge manufacturers and the even wider variations in lathe cutting angles when the discs are cut?

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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On 03/09/2020 at 7:46 PM, arm101 said:

It may be that I need to lift the tail more but unfortunately due limitations on the tone-arm lift arm not able to be lowered , which is resulting in stylus not making contact once the post is raised to a certain height.

Any body got with any ideas on how to overcome this adjustment problem on an SME 3009 S2 improved arm? (need to lower the tonearm lifter on the main shaft)

Hello arm101, I've had three SME 3009 tonearms over the years and the last two were SII improved arms........one with fixed headshell [very low mass arm] and one with a removable headshell. What version is yours?

 

It has been many years since I fitted and adjusted these arms, but I'm sure there is two points of adjustment available to move the tonearm rest in relation to the turntable and in relation to the tonearm pillar too. These require a small Allen key to loosen and tighten the relative grub screws.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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6 hours ago, cheekyboy said:

Hello rusty48, do you think that blanket recommendation to set an arbitrary 5mm above horizontal is wise for all tonearms, given the wide variation in VTA between cartridge manufacturers and the even wider variations in lathe cutting angles when the discs are cut?

As stated previously, 5mm is the starting point recommended by the Garrott brothers for all their cartridges. 

You then use your auditory instruments (ears) until the optimal distance is found. 

If you want to adjust the vta every time you play a different record (or record of a different thickness), feel free to do so. 

And yes, different brands of cartridges have their own best vta setting.

You're just stating the obvious, irrelevant when talking about the OP's Garrott cartridge. 

Edited by rusty48

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1 hour ago, rusty48 said:

As stated previously, 5mm is the starting point recommended by the Garrott brothers for all their cartridges. 

You then use your auditory instruments (ears) until the optimal distance is found. 

If you want to adjust the vta every time you play a different record (or record of a different thickness), feel free to do so. 

And yes, different brands of cartridges have their own best vta setting.

You're just stating the obvious, irrelevant when talking about the OP's Garrott cartridge. 

Hello rusty48, I wasn’t trying to state the obvious as you so arrogantly  put it, but I think what I stated  you will find is totally relevant, regardless if the cartridge is a Garrottt or any other cartridge for that matter.

 

Also, all those fine incremental adjustments once your magic 5mm over horizontal is achieved, would be a total waste of time.😲 Why would you recommend adjusting the tracking angle or the rake angle every time you play a different record, because that also makes absolutely no sense?🤪

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

Edited by cheekyboy

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10 hours ago, cheekyboy said:

Hello arm101, I've had three SME 3009 tonearms over the years and the last two were SII improved arms........one with fixed headshell [very low mass arm] and one with a removable headshell. What version is yours?

 

It has been many years since I fitted and adjusted these arms, but I'm sure there is two points of adjustment available to move the tonearm rest in relation to the turntable and in relation to the tonearm pillar too. These require a small Allen key to loosen and tighten the relative grub screws.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

Hi Keith

I have the removable head type.

There is one point of vertical adjustment which is a locking collar around the base of  the shaft . As you noted it is adjusted by loosening the grub screw, adjusting the shaft up or down, then locking by tightening the grub screw.

That process is under control (now).

 

The second adjustment you are referring to is to adjust the tonearm support / lifter / damper.

This is located at the top of the shaft and is a similar locking collar bu this is mounted on a threaded section of the shaft. The process for vertical height adjustment is as above except when grub screw is loosened the entire lift arm support assembly has to be rotated up or down the thread then locked off.

 

My problem is that this second adjustment is now at its lowest allowed position, due to no more thread remaining.

If I raise the main post any more, the stylus does not make contact with the vinyl.

I need to raise the post a little more to achieve satisfaction, hence seeking advice or options

 

Thanks,

Andy

 

Edited by arm101
Adjustment

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19 hours ago, rusty48 said:

 

If your eyes aren't up to it, bribe (:hiccup?) a teenager/wife/pedantic neighbour to do it for you, but don't pay the bribe until you're satisfied with what's been done and

Russ

All noted and welcomed

I think the above quote might be the required action

Thanks

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