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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: USB microscope for setting VTA
Post Subject: VTA done rightPosted by Stitch on: 10/22/2013
I think it is quite helpful to have some information about VTA in general.In the 50's there was no cutting standard, that means, every Label did cut their records the way they wanted ( the angle for Mercury, RCA LS, Decca etc. are all different). At that time it was more or less unimportant because the cartridges had more or less round diamond tips. Later there was a cutting standard made. But anyway, no matter what kind of VTA is used, when you run a thicker or thinner record, it has to be adjusted again. This VTA discussion became dominant with the modern - sharp - cuts of the diamonds. BUT, and this is important and forgotten in ALL those discussions, the quality of the diamond from information transfer is in the polishing of its side walls. That's the real thing to think about.
The result will be the following, even when you use the perfect Fremer VTA with YOUR cartridge, it is no guarantee that it will sound superior compared to rear low, lower or maybe a bit higher, because there is no information available (normally) for customers what kind of diamond is used and what kind of side walls it has. It is an endless story .... but to make it short: The ONLY real way to get the best out of YOUR Cartridge is to use an Arm which can be adjusted in its height. But then there is more again, when you have done that, you have to align your cartridge again, because it is no more 100% identical to the first set up. This procedure has to be done a few times to get everything spot on.The Fremer "recommendation" is totally useless when a cartridge designer uses a diamond which is perfect with 90.6°, what is "his" recommendation worth then? Not much.
Is it also the holy grail for top performance? Well, not really because the next chapter is the Tonearm Geometry, how good it is calculated, how well it is in its ability for signal transfer, is the geometry good enough that the inner 3 tracks can be tracked without distortions... and so on...
Next is the height difference from Platter to Armboard, when this would be done right from any manufacturer, then all Arms needed a size which guarantees a level Arm tube with a fixed cartridge. But carts also have different heights and sometimes also different cantilever angles. So, that means in theory, when all was done right according to Framer, it can be possible that the Arm has a tracking position which is simply far away from its real abilities...
Some have multiple Arms on their Turntable for whatever reasons (one for Mono, the other for Stereo, the next made of this material, the other one of that material).... one of my Arms is correctly calibrated for my Decca SXL collection and the other Arm is for normal cut Records from the 70''s+
Romys additional ideas are right, when you want to be on the safe side go for an adjustable Arm. You can try and you can hear it easily when you found the right position (wider soundstage for example...). And you learned. All audiophiles are able to hear differences in cables, or cones below a Turntable, so getting the sweet spot by ear should't be impossible :-)
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