A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

General HiFi discussion, using the Tune Method to evaluate performance

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A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by lejonklou » 2017-01-21 14:40

Hi everyone!

I know some of you use a scale for setting the tracking weight on your LP12. Others use their ears. Regardless of how you do it, I wonder if you can help me with the following experiment, I'm collecting data to test a theory.

1. With tracking weight and anti skating dials set to zero, try balancing your arm with the counterweight as accurately as you can. Please note that static electricity from a vinyl record can attract and pull on the cartridge. Test outside the vinyl and without the vinyl. Please note also that some arm bearings have a notch at record height. Test a bit outside the notch (above and below). Basically: Play around until you're happy with the balancing.

2. Set tracking weight to 1.5 and anti skating to the same. Do NOT use your digital scale! Listen to ten seconds of a nice track. Increase both dials 0.1. Listen again and repeat (decreasing when you've gone too far) until you find the musically best performing value.

3. When the best performing value has been determined - by ear - increase the anti skating value by 0.1. Listen, increase 0.1 and repeat until you find the optimal anti skating setting.

4. Please report your model of arm and cartridge and what values you ended up with.

5. (optional) Measure the tracking weight with your digital scale and report which number it says.

Thanks to Paolo for presenting me with an interesting theory that this experiment can help confirm or reject!

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by beck » 2017-01-21 18:45

As my Ekos works best when the spring dial is set around 1.25 (messured 1.63) I will keep out of this survey.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Charlie1 » 2017-01-23 14:33

Hi Fredrik, my SE is an early one so the anti-skate doesn't align to the tracking force. Is there any value to you in my doing this?

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by lejonklou » 2017-01-23 14:51

Charlie1 wrote:Hi Fredrik, my SE is an early one so the anti-skate doesn't align to the tracking force. Is there any value to you in my doing this?
Absolutely!

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by markiteight » 2017-01-24 05:08

Ekos Mk.1 (complete with sticky VTF adjuster), Lyra Dorian MC cartridge.

VTF: 1.7
Anti-skate: 1.75-1.8 (difficult to be more precise with the scale markings only in 0.5 increments)

Some notes:
1) I did this exercise about a dozen times on different records, and at different positions on the record. The results were consistent across the board.
2) The results are quite different than where I had previously set VTF and anti-skate (1.95 and 2.0, respectively).
3) I didn't have to adjust my counterweight. It was perfectly balanced to begin with.
4) The changes in musicality were not linear with changes to VTF. There were noticeable peaks and dips:
1.5: Good
1.6: Better
1.7: Best
1.8: Worst
1.9: (a distant) 2nd Best

5) Anti-skate seems happiest when set slightly above VTF, where rhythm and timing snapped into focus. Anywhere beyond that and the rhythm took on a Naim-like forced feeling...as if there was a conductor in front of the musicians frantically waving his arms trying to push the tempo...if that makes any sense.
Last edited by markiteight on 2017-01-24 13:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Charlie1 » 2017-01-24 10:53

lejonklou wrote:Absolutely!
OK, should have time sometime this week.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by lejonklou » 2017-01-24 11:54

Thank you markiteight!

Excellent report.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by markiteight » 2017-01-24 13:42

lejonklou wrote:Thank you markiteight!

Excellent report.
You're welcome!
I had to make a small edit to my post. Originally I had listed my cartridge as a Delos, but it's actually a Dorian. I'm always getting those two mixed up.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Charlie1 » 2017-01-26 14:27

I decided to record the settings. Apologies the track is a bit of a jaw rattler, especially recorded via the iPhone 4 (the 7 is with my wife). I thought the track might not be too familiar, although it certainly will be if you listen to this lot :)

Counterweight / Anti-Skate:
1.) 1.5 / 1.5 https://www.dropbox.com/s/55n63yoc5ku64 ... 5.MOV?dl=0
2.) 1.6 / 1.6 https://www.dropbox.com/s/u7hc2rparxnqe ... 6.MOV?dl=0
3.) 1.7 / 1.7 https://www.dropbox.com/s/50nyje1svtm9k ... 7.MOV?dl=0
4.) 1.8 / 1.8 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0oh0aapwmnvpd ... 8.MOV?dl=0
5.) 1.9 / 1.9 https://www.dropbox.com/s/8vz612qep6h3w ... 9.MOV?dl=0
6.) 1.7 / 1.8 https://www.dropbox.com/s/za79jvbanstuc ... 8.MOV?dl=0
7.) 1.7 / 1.9 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ncc3g986am4sr ... 9.MOV?dl=0
8.) 1.7 / 2.0 https://www.dropbox.com/s/nzp1034tbcns8 ... 0.MOV?dl=0
9.) 1.7 / 2.1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/wen56vpskyzik ... 1.MOV?dl=0
10.) 1.73 / 2.03 (my usual settings) https://www.dropbox.com/s/1sa29o1lo7l69 ... 3.MOV?dl=0

I was slightly surprised to find the arm not 100% level when I first reset both CW and AS to zero. I was careful to get it correctly level last time. Perhaps I left an LP on the platter to help me see the horizontal - would that have been sufficient, or perhaps temperature/humidity changes? The arm bearings seem very sensitive and smooth so the arm itself seems fine.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by lejonklou » 2017-01-26 16:58

Thank you Charlie!

You don't have a scale, do you?

I don't know why the balancing changes, but sometimes it does. It could also be due to static on the vinyl that skewed the previous calibration when you did it.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Charlie1 » 2017-01-26 17:03

lejonklou wrote:You don't have a scale, do you?
I bought a cheap one a few of months ago but never used it for fear of messing up what had been achieved via the playground thread.

I don't know how to use it either, which is another reason I didn't bother. Happy to read the instructions and give it a try, if it helps your quest.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Erik » 2017-01-26 18:37

Ekos SE/1
Akiva denuded
1,75 g and 1,8 on the antiskating dial.
NB antiskating not balanced at 0.

/Erik

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Charlie1 » 2017-01-26 19:03

Erik wrote:NB antiskating not balanced at 0.
Hi Erik, can you explain this comment further - not sure what you mean?

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Erik » 2017-01-26 20:42

Charlie1 wrote:
Erik wrote:NB antiskating not balanced at 0.
Hi Erik, can you explain this comment further - not sure what you mean?
When the antiskating dial is set to zero, there is still a force.

/Erik

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by ThomasOK » 2017-01-26 21:14

Charlie1, I like your normal setting the best. 1.7/1.9 isn't too bad either - better than those on either side of it to me. I have also found that the level can change somewhat. I think one possible reason is that you put a bit of strain on the rubber decoupler when you move it to adjust to 0 and it might settle back a bit after a little while, making it slightly off.

The newer Ekos SE and SE/1 have about .3 grams anti-skating when set to zero to make up for the dial being mis-calibrated. So their settings will be closer to the same for tracking force and anti-skating than earlier Ekos SE and Ekos 1 and 2. Best way to balance these arms is to lean something against the bearing housing that holds the arm in place horizontally but doesn't touch the part that moves vertically. I generally use a small pair of plastic handled pliers.

Fredrik, are you mostly interested in dynamically balanced arms such as Ittok and Ekos or are you also looking for info on other arms such as Akito, Basik, Rega, etc. I haven't had time to mess with this yet but will when I get a chance.
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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by beck » 2017-01-26 21:58

I absolutely agree with ThomasOK's comments about the settings of your arm.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by lejonklou » 2017-01-26 22:41

Thank you Erik!

Thomas: I'm interested in Linn's dynamically balanced arms. Regardless of cartridge used. And preferably a value from a scale after the adjustment-by-ear has been completed.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Charlie1 » 2017-01-27 10:49

The scale is measuring 1.84 when my arm is set to 1.73 / 2.03. Therefore, I dropped the counterweight down so that the scale reads 1.75 which I think is what Linn recommends for the Akiva. I dropped the anti-skate by 0.1 as well in order to compensate and to maintain the 0.3 gap cos mine is an early model.

Here's the clips. I left the Ethernet-over-mains units on yesterday so these should sound a bit less frenetic.
Track #1 - 1.73 / 2.03 https://www.dropbox.com/s/ofhe4cp1daji5 ... 3.MOV?dl=0
Track #1 - ~1.62 / ~1.92 https://www.dropbox.com/s/52igt8cgafdfh ... 5.MOV?dl=0
Track #2 - 1.73 / 2.03 https://www.dropbox.com/s/269fps3t1kr7a ... 3.MOV?dl=0
Track #2 - ~1.62 / ~1.92 https://www.dropbox.com/s/y3r0z6v8qsb7n ... 5.MOV?dl=0

I think I prefer this new setting. I will live with it for a bit.
Last edited by Charlie1 on 2017-01-27 10:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by beck » 2017-01-27 10:54

Your new setting is the best. I understand the chords in the music better. To get it even better you could try small changes with your bias (anti-skate).
Last edited by beck on 2017-01-27 11:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Charlie1 » 2017-01-27 11:02

We overlapped :)

Thanks for the feedback.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Charlie1 » 2017-01-27 11:05

ThomasOK wrote:Charlie1, I like your normal setting the best. 1.7/1.9 isn't too bad either - better than those on either side of it to me. I have also found that the level can change somewhat. I think one possible reason is that you put a bit of strain on the rubber decoupler when you move it to adjust to 0 and it might settle back a bit after a little while, making it slightly off.
Thanks Tom. The rubber settling down certainly makes sense.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by lejonklou » 2017-01-27 11:09

I think you should trust your ears. Always.

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by beck » 2017-01-27 11:23

Lejonklou is right. My perception of the chords change depending on what I use to listen to your clips with. When listening through my own system your original setting is best! Just goes to show that this is a bit tricky!

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by Charlie1 » 2017-01-27 11:28

lejonklou wrote:I think you should trust your ears. Always.
I don't though, not any more, especially via the clips. Many of them I listen to and can't hear any difference and then you guys come on and say, 'yeah, number 54 and half is best.' :)

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Re: A tracking weight experiment for LP12 owners

Post by lejonklou » 2017-01-27 11:41

Charlie1 wrote:
lejonklou wrote:I think you should trust your ears. Always.
I don't though, not any more, especially via the clips. Many of them I listen to and can't hear any difference and then you guys come on and say, 'yeah, number 54 and half is best.' :)
Clips can be helpful and they can be tricky, but this is your turntable, in your room. I am very confident you can tell better from worse there.

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