Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

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Orby
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Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by Orby » 18 Jul 2012 12:20

Hello! First post here :D
Well, I'm one of these vinyl-resurgence types. I've dug my old Technics SLDD22 turntable out of the loft where it was carefully & lovingly tucked away wrapped in padding, discovered it working perfectly, and fitted a new P-mount cartridge. I did some web research and found someone recommending the Audio Technica AT-92E for my turntable, so I bought one from the USA on Ebay. It sounds great.
Problem is, when the stylus is on the record, the bottom of the cartridge is literally just a fraction of a millimetre above the vinyl - like, less than half a mill. It actually looks like it IS touching the record, it's so close. If the record has suffered any warping, the cart scrapes the record as it rises!
Surely this isn't right?
I can raise the tonearm slightly so it's raised maybe a mill over the record and the stylus rises and falls with the slight warp in the record, but that can't be right either can it?
Advice please!!
Thank you all very much.

kelvinMunson
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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by kelvinMunson » 18 Jul 2012 12:30

Not all cartridges weigh the same. did you set the tracking force to zero and adjust the tonearm counter balance so that the arm floated horizontally and then set the cartridge manufacturers recommended tracking force ?

Not all cartridges are the same height. When you lower the stylus on to your vinyl you should be able to judge whether you need to adjust the height of the tonearm.

Normally you would need to ensure that the flat top of the cartridge is parallel to the vinyl playing surface; to achieve the correct VTA.

Since yours is a p-mount then it can be assumed that you need to adjust the height of the tonearm so that this is parallel to the vinyl.

Having carried this out; does your cartridge still touch the vinyl ?

If so, Maybe you have a suspension problem with your new cartridge, posting a pic may help.

Orby
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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by Orby » 18 Jul 2012 12:46

Hello Kelvin, fellow resident of Bucks! I'm in High Wycombe.
Basically - no. I haven't ajusted anything, which is probably where the issue lies!! I was told with a P mount you just take the old one off and put the new one on, no adjustment being necessary. Obviously I've been told porkies.
I have no idea how to adjust any of the things you mentioned, can you possibly point me in the direction of a guide on how to do all this stuff? I can see how to turn the weight on the endof the tonearm, but I can't see any way of actually raising the thing.
Thanks again for your help.
Julian

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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by kelvinMunson » 18 Jul 2012 13:12

In the library there is no guide to the SLDD22, but there is one for the SLDD33. Hopefully that is similar ?

https://www.vinylengine.com/library/technics.shtml

If not maybe there is another one there which is closer to yours.

In the SLDD33 instructions it does exlain how to set the tonearm height correctly.

You may be tracking too heavy with your set up causing the stylus suspension to compress.

You need to balance the arm at 0g and then add on the correct tracking force. Would be useful if you had a gauge, but otherwise you will have to trust the arm cakibration.

Orby
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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by Orby » 18 Jul 2012 19:42

Thanks for the link, Kelvin.
The instructions discuss adjusting the "stylus to disc clearance". Is that what you mean by tonearm height?
Also, it doesn't mention balancing the arm at 0g - how do I do that? And the tracking force?
Sorry for all the newbie questions - I'm really grateful for your help.

Alec124c41
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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by Alec124c41 » 19 Jul 2012 04:44

Turntables with P-mounts do not allow for adjustments, except that there is usually provision to vary the tracking force from the standard 1.25 grams to 1.0 or 1.5 grams. Arm height, overhang, balance weight are all standardized.

Cheers,
Alec

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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by kelvinMunson » 19 Jul 2012 07:17

Alec124c41 wrote:Turntables with P-mounts do not allow for adjustments, except that there is usually provision to vary the tracking force from the standard 1.25 grams to 1.0 or 1.5 grams. Arm height, overhang, balance weight are all standardized.

Cheers,
Alec
Although, according to the SLDD33 users manual, the arm used on that TT does allow for adjustment should a different P-Mount cartridge be used which requires this.

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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by lini » 19 Jul 2012 10:54

Orby: That "stylus to disc clearance" doesn't have anything to with tonearm height - instead it's basically the lift height adjustment. I.e., with that you'd adjust how far above the record the arm will be pushed, when the arm lift is engaged. So, if your AT92E tends to bottom out, either the counterweight isn't properly adjusted anymore, or the cantilever suspension of the cartridge has a problem. Hence I'd suggest to invest in a priceworthy tracking force scale, so you can verify the standard tacking force setting (1.25 g, as Alec already mentioned): If that's ok, you'd most probably rather have to return the cartridge...

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by raphaelmabo » 19 Jul 2012 11:53

Orby wrote:I was told with a P mount you just take the old one off and put the new one on, no adjustment being necessary. Obviously I've been told porkies.
You don't have to adjust the cartridge in the tonearm, so in that sense you were telling the truth. No need of adjustment of the cartridge with that solution. But tracking force could require adjustment. So all-in-all I say that the salesman told you the truth. :)

Now, the cartridge could be quite close to the vinyl surface but it shouldn't touch it so from your description it does sounds like it is a bit too close. Perhaps cartridge has a fault or there is some error with the turntable. Hopefully it is just a matter of tonearm tracking to heavy so try adjust tracking force.

Am I correct in assuming that your old cartridge works well without problems?

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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by DustyDave » 20 Jul 2012 02:35

Okay, this isn't going to help the OP, at all. Sorry, mate, but you're in better hands than mine. But I've just gotta ask... 'I've been told porkies'? I love shhhhhtuff like that, but where does it come from? Is it one of those rhyming slang things? Porkies > pork pies > pies > lies?

Orby
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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by Orby » 20 Jul 2012 08:58

DustyDave wrote:Okay, this isn't going to help the OP, at all. Sorry, mate, but you're in better hands than mine. But I've just gotta ask... 'I've been told porkies'? I love shhhhhtuff like that, but where does it come from? Is it one of those rhyming slang things? Porkies > pork pies > pies > lies?
:D Yes that's right Dave - Pork pies > lies. Just one of the little idiosyncracies we Brits throw willy-nilly ( :lol: ) into our conversation to confuse just about everybody else!
Thanks everyone for your help. I've adjusted the counterweight back a little on the tonearm but hardly any adjustment was possible without putting too much weight on the back end. From what I've read on here, the cantilever suspension of the cartridge may be at fault. I'll contact the place in the USA which sold it me through Ebay - maybe they'll send me another one.
Thanks again.

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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by DustyDave » 21 Jul 2012 02:08

Orby wrote: :D Yes that's right Dave - Pork pies > lies. Just one of the little idiosyncracies we Brits throw willy-nilly ( :lol: ) into our conversation to confuse just about everybody else!
And thank goodness you do :) American English is generally dull as dishwater or just plain tiresome. Does everyone need to be 'gangsta'?
Orby wrote:Thanks everyone for your help. I've adjusted the counterweight back a little on the tonearm but hardly any adjustment was possible without putting too much weight on the back end. From what I've read on here, the cantilever suspension of the cartridge may be at fault. I'll contact the place in the USA which sold it me through Ebay - maybe they'll send me another one.
Thanks again.
Since you were kind enough to answer my question, I spent a few minutes researching yours. Unfortunately, what I found still leaves me puzzled, but intrigued. It's kind of a "locked door mystery" situation.

According to the published specs, the SL-BD22 is preset to 1.25g of tracking force, and can't be adjusted (intentionally). The original cartridge that shipped with it weighed 6g. These specs match the AT92 perfectly. I have to assume the shape and size of it are equally appropriate. So, why does it behave as it does?

There are only three possible reasons I can think of. One is a bad cartridge, and you're already addressing that. The others are weight-related, and you can investigate those while you wait to hear back from your seller. The cartridge weight is fine according to the specs so, assuming your particular copy isn't filled with lead and you're not doing something as silly as leaving the stylus cover on, where's the problem?

From what you describe, there could be too much weight at the head or too little at the tail. I know the counterweight isn't designed to be adjustable on this model, but it's worth checking to make sure it hasn't somehow gotten closer to the pivot point. That could cause the problem you're having, and seems the more likely culprit.

The other possibility is that there is somehow excess weight at the head end. What happens when you remove the cartridge and release the tonearm? It should "stand up", with the headshell in the air, and it should be decisive. If it doesn't, or if it's hesitant, something is definitely off with the arm.

If there's nothing added to the headshell that could cause it, the geometry would be suspect. There's not a lot you can do wrong with a P-mount, but accidents happen. If all the above fail, I'd closely examine the arm, pivot, and mount, to see if anything has shifted out of place.

I'd be curious as to the actual cause, if you identify it, so do keep us in the loop, if you would.

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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by Orby » 22 Jul 2012 09:35

Thanks for your help, Dave. I'm really leaning on you lot to advise me here as I'm a real novice at this stuff, so I appreciate it.
The tonearm does lift immediately right up when the cartridge is removed, I'm thinking the problem is probably this cartridge which is faulty. Especially seeing as the cart I took off didn't have this problem. It was old and worn, but didn't bottom out on the vinyl.
The seller has offered to refund my money on return of the cart, so back across the Atlantic it goes... :roll:

Do you think it's worth trying a different model of cartridge to use instead once I've got my money back? Ok I could get another AT92, but I figure than just in case the issue is this model of cartridge, I may as well try another one.
So - what other cartridges would you experts recommend?

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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by lini » 23 Jul 2012 01:13

Orby: Well, usually there's no problem with the AT92E(CD), so exchange instead of just a return would seem worth a(nother) try. However, it couldn't harm to let us know what's your old cartridge - 'cause there might be nice replacement/upgrade needles for that one... And as for other suggestions, it would be good to know what budget range you have in mind.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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Re: Newbie help with AT-92 cartridge please!

Post by Whitneyville » 23 Jul 2012 11:39

An AT-92E on a T4P mount arm???? He needs an AT-311EP or the non-US model AT-331xx (ViVidLine or Shibata stylus) as I have the former in my hot little hand as I type. I checked on LPGear's site and the AT-311EP is a recommended "up-grade" cartridge that is less money than the OEM Technics stylus which is NLA. From the model and era, his cartridge/stylus might have been designed for 4-channel LP's. www.Garage 'A Records seems to have the best pricing on the AT-311EP at $54.95US with the standard .3x.7 mil elliptical stylus. LPGear has the AT-331LP linear contact replacement stylus (Code: STSAT0331LP) for $79.95US which would be a major up-grade for the AT-311EP. LPGear also has their own "Reference Series" AT "clones" with either "ViVid Line" or Shibata stylii. They also have the Ortofon OMP-10 for $84.95US which is a good value if you like the Ortofon sound. The motor of the AT-311 isn't quite as good as the AT-331 or I suspect the LPGear "Reference Series", but a stylus up-grade would be worthwhile. The Ortofon can be upgraded to the model 20, 30 or 40 stylii as your wallet can stand.
There should be a tonearm height adjustment on most T4P arms, BUT, it is very rarely needed (read never). Make certain your aluminum platter is fully seated, as it's not uncommon for it to resist seating fully. Make sure your mat is flat too.
I've installed at least a dozen AT-311EP's and have one of my own on a Technics DD TT, and honestly it's a step-up from the AT-92E when it's "broken in" (about 25-40 hours min.) The bass is a bit clearer and it doesn't get shaken around in complex passages as much as a stock 92E. It still tracks like a blood hound, and handles worn or imperfect LP's with more listenable playback than most cartridges.

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