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Analog Playback
Topic: Universal VTA adjustment.

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Posted by Romy the Cat on 10-05-2008

People who read me site know that I am a big admirer of older SME arms 3012/3009. Everything is great on them except they have no objective VTA scale. The new SME arm: M2-12/9 has a fixing bolt that allows dial-in and to maintaining VTA very accurately. The old, sonically more advanced 3012/3009 do not have …BUT there is way the overcome it. I use this method for year and never experienced any problem with VTA.

Buy a deck of plastic-made playing cards and stick in the SME gap between the base and the movable SME part. You will have VERY objective and very accurate tool to measure VTA. For instance the Shelter 901 needed 18 cards, the new Jubilee (non-broken-in) needs 20 cards. A half-card is very simple to do by putting a tape above one “Joker Card” and always count it as 1.5 card.

This methods might be used with any arms and in my view it is way more convenient then any tools with horizontal markers. BTW, do not be deceived with my use of 0.5 card. If you buy thin cards then it is not necessary as one card in or out does produce good-enough result. If you cartridge is so super VTA-sensitive that it overly dramatically changes sound with one card then look for another cartridge as your ZYX is too freakish…

The Cat

Posted by Antonio J. on 10-06-2008
Hehehe I think that was our first interchange at AA. I used that system on my former TT a Project whose arm doesn't have a calibrated scale for VTA adjustment. It's very practical indeed.

Posted by Romy the Cat on 11-14-2009
Among all tonearms I have seen there was no one who did the VTA adjustment as intelligent as Advanced Analog Audio Lab’s MG-1 tonearm.

In their air bearing linear tracking tonearm MG-1 they put a off the shelf digital micrometer into the use. The entire solution might cost $10 but has a stunning effect in convenience. The pictures are courtesy to Advanced Analog Audio Lab.




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