Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 37

Thread: Got my new analog rig - help setting VTA?

  1. #1
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NE USA
    Posts
    327

    Default Got my new analog rig - help setting VTA?

    So I set up the VPI Aries 3/10.5i arm/SDS/Dynavector XX-2 MkII/Ayre P-5xe/Nordost Tyr (XLR-XLR) combo and the sound is spectacular even though the system has not even begun to break in. Comparing Brubeck's Take 5 on 200gm LP vs the HDCD version beats the digital copy by a very wide margin, and it's the easiest A/B test I have ever done: night and day. It sounds like the CD transfer was done very poorly...

    So any suggestions on how to best set VTA? Yes, I have the Analogue Productions Test LP and no I don't have an IMD testing harness.

    Some preliminary feedback: with the KAB strobe the speed needed to be adjusted with the SDS, so it has already justified its cost. Also, with the VPI jig the cartridge is set up perfectly, but I have a MintLP Tractor on order to fine-tune this. Finally, as I was expecting, the table/cartridge combo offers exhilarating dynamics and frightening transparency - this is MUSIC. What's interesting here is also the Ayre's performance, something I was skeptical about before; its build quality is simply outstanding and its noise floor extremely low - and I measure lower noise plugged in directly to the wall than the MIT Z Strip (using the Revox's VU meters with the gain at full throttle) by 3dB; in fact, with the same technique I measured a 7dB drop in the noise floor after the first 24 hours; and the balanced inputs are indeed quieter by about 6dB.

    More thoughts on the performance of the combo will be forthcoming as the equipment breaks in over the next 2-4 weeks. But the initial reaction is one of disbelief and excitement.

    Thanks

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Super User Bernard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    4,388

    Default

    The best place to start is with the arm perfectly parallel to the platter. What I use to view that is a lined 3x5 index card folded along a line so that you have a 90 degree bend in it, sitting on the disk. It is then easy to see if the arm is parallel or not relative to the other lines.

    I do not have the test disk you mention, but I do have one produced by Ortofon. I find that my cartridge (Koetsu Rosewood) is not sensitive to VTA, but that may well not be the case with yours.

    Do get a Shure Stylus Force Gauge and an Onzow stylus cleaner.

  4. #4
    Senior Member FOUNTAIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    491

    Default

    Congratulations Spectral!!!! I know you have to be excited with your new setup. When you do get things broken in I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the Ayre phono preamp and your Dynavector cartridge. Both of these are on my short list of upgrades for my analog setup. Ayre is a company I think is pretty hard to beat for the price range and the symmetry they have with their other gear all running balanced is amazing. As for the VTA, I thought the VTF made a lot more difference than adjusting the former. At least until I made a huge VTA adjustment, then there was a noticeable difference. But when I made only a tenth VTF adjustment, maybe a little more, there would be easy to hear differences. So you may want to just level it out parallel as has already been suggested and play around with the VTF. Also, you may want to let it break in a little while longer so as not to give you false conclusions as to what sounds best. In my experience with Dynavector carts they seem to like the upper limits of their tracking force range, but I have never owned an XX2 so this may not apply to yours. Anyway, enjoy and have fun listening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Glen
    Move that audio rack out from between those speakers and hear what you may be missing!!!!
    http://www.martinloganowners.com/~td...ight=signature

  5. #5
    Forum Administrator twich54's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    SE Pa
    Posts
    6,139

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FOUNTAIN View Post
    As for the VTA, I thought the VTF made a lot more difference than adjusting the former. At least until I made a huge VTA adjustment, then there was a noticeable difference. But when I made only a tenth VTF adjustment, maybe a little more, there would be easy to hear differences.
    Remember a change in VTA will have and impact on VTF depending on the magnitude of the change.

    As for the Aries III with 10.5 arm (which I have as well) VTA couldn't be easier to adj. My initial setting is optomized for 180 slabs with arm tube parallel to record surface.
    Dave

    System #79 - Analog is Alive and Well, if in doubt, click the link below !

    Click Here to see my System

  6. #6
    Senior Member RichTeer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Kelowna, BC
    Posts
    892

    Default

    Congrats on your new rig!

    One way to adjust the VTA is by ear (assuming the arm you're using allows you to easily change VTA on the fly). Start with the arm parallel to the record and then slowly raise and lower the arm until the image snaps into focus.
    Rich Teer, Publisher
    Vinylphile Magazine
    www.vinylphilemag.com

    Vinyl + tubes + ML Spires =

  7. #7
    Senior Member FOUNTAIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    491

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by twich54 View Post
    Remember a change in VTA will have and impact on VTF depending on the magnitude of the change.

    As for the Aries III with 10.5 arm (which I have as well) VTA couldn't be easier to adj. My initial setting is optomized for 180 slabs with arm tube parallel to record surface.
    Very true. I did check the VTF though after changing my VTA, but I forgot to mention it. Thanks for catching my mistake.

    Glen
    Move that audio rack out from between those speakers and hear what you may be missing!!!!
    http://www.martinloganowners.com/~td...ight=signature

  8. #8
    Forum Administrator twich54's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    SE Pa
    Posts
    6,139

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RichTeer View Post
    One way to adjust the VTA is by ear (assuming the arm you're using allows you to easily change VTA on the fly). Start with the arm parallel to the record and then slowly raise and lower the arm until the image snaps into focus.
    exactly Rich and given the fact that the 10.5i arm is one of the easiest to "adj on the fly" it's a no brainer !
    Dave

    System #79 - Analog is Alive and Well, if in doubt, click the link below !

    Click Here to see my System

  9. #9
    Senior Member tonepub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    2,416

    Default

    As it's really hard to adjust VTA on the fly and hear what's going on, if you have a good set of phones, it might make it easier!

  10. #10
    Forum Administrator twich54's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    SE Pa
    Posts
    6,139

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tonepub View Post
    As it's really hard to adjust VTA on the fly and hear what's going on, if you have a good set of phones, it might make it easier!
    Correct Jeff...or and extra set of hands (someone you can trust with your rig !) so you can stay firmly planted in the sweet spot !
    Dave

    System #79 - Analog is Alive and Well, if in doubt, click the link below !

    Click Here to see my System

  11. #11
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NE USA
    Posts
    327

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FOUNTAIN View Post
    Congratulations Spectral!!!! I know you have to be excited with your new setup. When you do get things broken in I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the Ayre phono preamp and your Dynavector cartridge. Both of these are on my short list of upgrades for my analog setup. Ayre is a company I think is pretty hard to beat for the price range and the symmetry they have with their other gear all running balanced is amazing. As for the VTA, I thought the VTF made a lot more difference than adjusting the former. At least until I made a huge VTA adjustment, then there was a noticeable difference. But when I made only a tenth VTF adjustment, maybe a little more, there would be easy to hear differences. So you may want to just level it out parallel as has already been suggested and play around with the VTF. Also, you may want to let it break in a little while longer so as not to give you false conclusions as to what sounds best. In my experience with Dynavector carts they seem to like the upper limits of their tracking force range, but I have never owned an XX2 so this may not apply to yours. Anyway, enjoy and have fun listening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Glen
    Yes I started with leveling the arm so that it's parallel to the record and then experimented with the VTA acoustically - I'll be damned if I hear a difference even with huge swings. I track at 2.0XX to 2.1XX using a digital stylus force gauge, and it all depends also on the VTA.

    Some thoughts on the Ayre: the build quality is outstanding, approaching the Spectral gear by about 80% I would say. They use custom electrolytic caps in the amplification stage and some of them are 1% tolerance. And then there are a myriad of small green LEDs on the board, presumably for testing purposes, always illuminated. More on it later, but if the below observations are any indication, this is one fine phono preamp... There are some caveats - I think this unit is meant to be run balanced in; there is a low frequency hum at above-normal listening levels, which is probably just noise from the power supply (i.e. not a ground loop - no tweaks have "fixed" it; and recall I am running XLR-to-XLR from the table); I don't believe I heard this with the Nagra BPS at the dealer's, although there was plenty of hiss there at those levels. So far it does not bother me.

    The sound on good recordings like Brubeck's is just exhilarating from the entire combo. Carefully lining up timewise CDs and their equivalent LPs has exposed some significant observations:

    1) Dave Brubeck/Time Out: The LP trounces the HDCD version by a very wide margin; the difference is simply STUNNING. So, bad CD transfer
    2) Miles Davis/Kind of Blue: The CD (with the Spectral DAC/Xport combo) sounds easily more open with silkier highs. This could be attributed to a number of factors:
    a) Assuming equal quality of transfers, the Spectral gear is still classes above all else
    b) I am hearing the effect of the Kimber Hero cables I am temporarily using between the phono and preamp. The digital gear enjoys silver Kimber cables.
    c) The analog rig is not yet fully broken in, and will open up later
    d) The analog rig has reached its limits (unlikely)
    e) A combination of the above
    3) Santana/Santana: Here I have the luxury of owning a copy of the original master tape, and while the LP and CD (MoFi both) sound the same, the tape on the Revox B77 is clearly superior, with more detail and much better highs. Here the tape wins hands down and by a significant margin, despite its age.

    If the end if the analog rig turns out to be as good as the Spectral digital gear, I will be happy. If it turns out to be better all else being equal, I will be thrilled.

    I will be experimenting with the Berkeley Alpha DAC soon as well...
    Last edited by spectral; 05-14-2009 at 06:03 AM.

  12. #12
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NE USA
    Posts
    327

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by twich54 View Post
    Remember a change in VTA will have and impact on VTF depending on the magnitude of the change.

    As for the Aries III with 10.5 arm (which I have as well) VTA couldn't be easier to adj. My initial setting is optomized for 180 slabs with arm tube parallel to record surface.
    Dave, where the heck do you add dumping fluid in this arm and why would one want to do it? I added some to the cavity that sits on the unipivot needle to dampen the azimuth play, and due to its low viscosity it has not drifted down... I feel I am missing something... Thanks.

  13. #13
    Forum Administrator twich54's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    SE Pa
    Posts
    6,139

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by spectral View Post
    Dave, where the heck do you add dumping fluid in this arm and why would one want to do it? I added some to the cavity that sits on the unipivot needle

    Peter, that is correct. As to why some use and some don't (like me)...arm stabilzation mainly, I suspect ones tt placement within your listening room would have an effect, overall isolation factor, etc.

    It is felt that too much fluid can "slow" the cartridge down, muddy up the sound if you will.
    Dave

    System #79 - Analog is Alive and Well, if in doubt, click the link below !

    Click Here to see my System

  14. #14
    Senior Member FOUNTAIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    491

    Default

    Good write up Spectral. Thank you for giving me an idea of what to expect when I demo the Ayre. As for the fluid in the dwell, I used some when I had my Scoutmaster, and to be honest I'm not sure if I heard a whole lot of difference. Of course there did creep up a problem with my arm over time and this may have covered up some of the minute differences when experimenting. Good luck and have fun!!!

    Glen
    Move that audio rack out from between those speakers and hear what you may be missing!!!!
    http://www.martinloganowners.com/~td...ight=signature

  15. #15
    Senior Member tonepub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    2,416

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by twich54 View Post
    Peter, that is correct. As to why some use and some don't (like me)...arm stabilzation mainly, I suspect ones tt placement within your listening room would have an effect, overall isolation factor, etc.

    It is felt that too much fluid can "slow" the cartridge down, muddy up the sound if you will.
    Don't know about the VPI arm, but with SME arms, I've always added the damping fluid a drop at a time and it only takes a few. Otherwise, as you said it's easy to over damp. That's why so many people complain about SME arms having muddy bass. It's because many people fill the damping trough!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •