Two Well-Attended Turntable Set-up Seminars

A late Sunday seminar (2:00-3:00PM) usually draws fee attendees. Most people have already gone home and those that remain are more interested in seeing rooms they missed or revisiting ones they particularly enjoyed. I'll do the set-up for one person and have done so at some shows but I was prepared for no one showing up this past Sunday afternoon with the sun shining and temperatures hovering close to 85 degrees.

I set up a VPI Scout with an Ortofon 2M Blue. I like using the VPI arm because it allows adjustability of all parameters. The videographer Stephan (Bill Hader has just about ruined that name, I'm afraid) did an excellent job getting the camera perfectly located to show zenith angle. He was using a digital SLR's video function but managed to get better images than some do with professional video cameras, perhaps because the SLR is lighter and more compact.

Attendees at both seminars paid close attention, asked great questions at the end and seemed to enjoy themselves. I hope all came away with the courage to give it a try, even if they don't invest in a digital microscope. I tell seminar attendees to start with an inexpensive ($20) Grado. The worst they can do is break it and lose $20. The best they can do is hear how good a properly set up cartridge can sound, even one costing $20.

My offer to do seminars at RMAF was rejected so the next ones in America will probably be next spring at AXPONA in Chicago.

WntrMute2's picture

keep it up Mikey! Your hard work is appreciated.

avrcguy's picture

Why on earth would RMAF turn that down?

mraudioguru's picture

+1. What's the deal?

Michael Fremer's picture
Roy Gregory will be doing two seminars titled: "Cartridge Optimization For Musical Performance" Draw your own conclusion.
Bcreeve's picture

I don't know why they would choose Roy Gregory over you! I guess Roy has done many seminars at RMAF over the years. I went to one and was not impressed, just my opinion!

Michael Fremer's picture
I'd say my exclusion was politically motivated. At this point I just laugh.
storym's picture

I'd like you to come to my house and set mine up!

Mat Weisfeld's picture

I guess we'll have to invite Mikey out for when we have our VPI customer training event ;)

Gary Moss's picture

Thanks for doing the seminar

audiof001's picture

Even old dogs get nervous when installing cartridges. My big fingers can still handle those tiny screws and nuts but I'm thankful for my Benz Glider and Ortofon 2M Red cartridges having threaded bodies. I was given a Luxo magnifying lamp as a gift recently and I couldn't be happier... getting older takes compromises. !;-). The use of Soundsmith EZ-Mount thumbscrews also takes the mounting chore out of a nice setup. Mikey gives great info during a set up demo than just the mounting of a cartridge (I attended one at Stereo exchange a couple of years back). I ran into a(n older) friend at the NY show who prefers to send his arm back to the manufacturer whenever he needs a cartridge mounted... maybe he needs to attend one of Miley's clinics!

Michael Fremer's picture
I'd go see one of hers even if she does it wrong. When she bends over to check zenith angle the view's a lot better view than when I do it!
audiof001's picture

Uh, damn auto-correct! "maybe he needs to attend one of Miley's clinics!" was supposed to be "... one of Mikey's clinics!" Ha! I got rather confused at the replies I received in emails. ;-)

Russo7516's picture

Nice to finally meet you in person Mike

OldschoolE's picture

Hi Mr. Fremer, just wanted to say that your the only one willing to do what you do. Not everyone is willing to do TT set up in front of one person let alone 100+. Your willingness to hang around and do a TT set up for even one person showing up also speaks well of you.

Glotz's picture

Miley doing turntable setups... She probably licks the stylus clean after each play....

Yeah, even at 45, my verkakte eyes are my biggest drawback for setting up 'tables. I've trashed my share of cartridges over the years.

Immense patience for anyone, let alone someone looking down glasses all of the time.

OldschoolE's picture

Yes, for some real fun try set up with untreatable glaucoma eyes and floaters. I have to strap microscopes to my eyes with wearing glasses to even see the whole cartridge let alone the stylus. It's a bizarre and hideous sight, trust me.:) Joking aside, I can still set up my tables for now as I use legacy tables so I don't have to deal with quite as many adjustments as something with a uni-pivot arm or whatnot. Still, it takes me a lot of effort. I can't do what Mr. Fremer does though and certainly not in front of more than one person.

Michael Fremer's picture
Cartridge set-up like some other activities is best done alone but....
otaku2's picture

My ancient Phillips 312 has the cartridge mounted on a carrier, so it is trivial to make the adjustments. Went home after Mikey's show and re-did my setup in about a half hour (Azimuth is not adjustable, so saved some time on that). Also bought a $6 jewelry scale on eBay to ease setting the downforce.