First off, I would like to thank you for making the "21st century vinyl DVD." It really helped me out when setting up my VPI classic 1. It really opened my eyes to some mistakes I had made. I was able to apply most of the setup you performed on the Scoutmaster to my table. My table is really sounding good now. The comedy standup at the end was a good laugh. I also want to thank you for making yourself available to the audio masses through the analog planet website. I have just discovered it a few weeks ago and I really enjoy your articles there. Keep up the good work.
The reason I a contacting you today is because of the recent article on using a USB microscope to set SRA. It seems as if this is a new practice in turntable setup that was not included in the 2006 DVD. I did order a Mint LP protractor for my table and it came with a 10x lupe. I am using a Soundsmith Boheme cartridge that has a contact line stylus. When using the lupe, I can get a clear view of my stylus. I have tried to adjust my arm to get the 92 degree angle but the rear of the tonearm is raised up quite a bit.
It seems like the angle of the arm is too steep, I mean really steep. I'm not sure if is possible to get the stylus to 92 degrees at this point. It could be the Soundsmith cantilever is set at an angle where it will not allow me to achieve this.
I am hoping to win the lyra Delos cartridge and maybe that would solve this problem. Would you mind to give me a few suggestions about how to keep the tonearm relatively level and still get the SRA correct?
Thanks in advance for your help. I know you are a busy guy and probably get several e-mails a day asking for help so, I understand if you don't get back to me. I just wanted to send you a message to say thanks for the good articles.
Andy, first of all thanks for the comments about the DVD. Yes, using a USB microscope came after the DVD was produced and while I've considered amending it, my feeling is that with this website, I can do it here to augment the DVD rather than shooting new footage and re-mastering it.
When I meticulously set up the VPI Traveler for the recent contest, the arm had to be raised up a considerable amount from parallel to the record surface to achieve 92 degrees. This is not a problem. It is more important to achieve 92 degrees than to worry about the esthetics of a steeply raised arm.
However, when you say "really steep" I don't know how steep you mean. If you mean REALLY steep then I wonder whether you are measuring from the wrong angle or whether the stylus/cantilever assembly Soundsmith used was way out of spec. It could be one or the other or both!
The image at the top of the story shows a line contact-type stylus at approximately 91 degrees. The measurement is the angle of the contact area (the thin line bisecting the side of the stylus) and the surface. When the tonearm is parallel to the record surface, generally speaking, the SRA of a line contact stylus, when properly manufactured should be at or close to 90 degrees.
In the case of the Dynavector cartridge installed in the Traveler, it required raising the back of the arm about 8mm to achieve 92 degrees. That raised the back considerably, but not "grotesquely."
So the questions are: did you measure correctly? And how "steep" is "steep"?
I have chosen to make this a "public" issue because I want everyone to be aware that raising the back of the arm may be esthetically unpleasing in some cases but it does not indicate anything 'wrong'.
Please compare the image above to what you are seeing and measuring and if possible send me a photo of how "steep" your arm has to be, to achieve above 90 degree SRA.