150MLX Setup Questions

the thin end of the wedge
BlazingArrow74
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150MLX Setup Questions

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 06 Dec 2018 19:33

Hi All, I'm having trouble getting this cart to sound as well as it used to and decided to re-calibrate everything to account for anything shifting during a move, as well as any wear on the stylus after 100-200 hrs. I'm using a Technics 1200 MK3D with stock arm and Stanton H4-S V2 head shell. I have the KAB fluid damper installed as well.

After checking out the stylus under a digital microscope, things seem to be okay (I can snap some pics and post at a later time), but it's hard to tell as I don't have any shots of a NEW stylus to compare it with. So I decided to confirm my overhang (roughly 52 mm: 15mm from rubber washer to diamond) and aligned to the Stevenson-A protractor. I was previously using a different protractor geometry (Baerwald/Lofgren) and the cartridge is much further back in the head shell now. The reason I decided against the Stevenson alignment in the past is because I discovered other geometries sounded better, but now that I can hear distortion, I figured maybe the stylus has worn, or "broken-in", and to be on the safe side I should stick with 150MLX user manual-mandated 15mm-from-washer-to-diamond overhang; and to do that basically necessitates a Stevenson-style geometry.

The most puzzling thing is that as far as VTA/SRA are concerned, the cart only sounds right when the pivot is at it's lowest point, and for me that means visibly beneath the surface of the record. I am only using a product called "Acromat" (the thicker one) on top of the aluminum platter. If trying to level the head shell or the arm with the vinyl surface (raising the pivot), I lose bass definition and especially DECAY. It's as if you hear the attack of the bass note, but not the note duration, and definitely not any SUSTAIN. So I returned the arm to "0".

Concerning the markings on the stylus body: there are two raised lines at the bottom of an ATN150MLX that are parallel to the bottom edge of the stylus body, as well as a single "dot" on the underside that seem to indicate where on the cantilever the stylus-itself is. I have never seen, in any forum, mention of these markings in the aid of cart setup, nor are they mentioned in the user manual. I have seen reference to "grips" used to Help dislodge the stylus body from the cartridge, but I suspect these lines may also be for leveling the cart. My main issue is that, when seated, these straight lines are not parallel to the top of the cartridge. But the lower I get the pivot (the closer I get the marking to parallel with the vinyl), the better is seems to sound.

... Any thoughts ?
Last edited by BlazingArrow74 on 06 Dec 2018 19:43, edited 1 time in total.

BlazingArrow74
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 06 Dec 2018 19:42

I should also add, previous tracking was at 1.5g --- current is 1.25g.

Laila1
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by Laila1 » 06 Dec 2018 20:41

BlazingArrow74 wrote:
06 Dec 2018 19:33
.....

After checking out the stylus under a digital microscope, things seem to be okay (I can snap some pics and post at a later time), but it's hard to tell as I don't have any shots of a NEW stylus to compare it with. So I decided to confirm my overhang (roughly 52 mm: 15mm from rubber washer to diamond) and aligned to the Stevenson-A protractor. I was previously using a different protractor geometry (Baerwald/Lofgren) and the cartridge is much further back in the head shell now. The reason I decided against the Stevenson alignment in the past is because I discovered other geometries sounded better, but now that I can hear distortion, I figured maybe the stylus has worn, or "broken-in", and to be on the safe side I should stick with 150MLX user manual-mandated 15mm-from-washer-to-diamond overhang; and to do that basically necessitates a Stevenson-style geometry. ....
... Any thoughts ?
Hi, you should have 52 mm from washer to diamond, not 15 mm. 15 mm is the owerhang between the center of the platter spindle and the needle tip. You really dont need any protractor, just tune in 52 mm and adjust the cartridge in line with the headshell and you are done.

/ Lars

chiz
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by chiz » 06 Dec 2018 23:39

BlazingArrow74 wrote:
06 Dec 2018 19:42
I should also add, previous tracking was at 1.5g --- current is 1.25g.
Changes in VTF can have a significant effect on SRA especially if the cartridge has fairly high vertical compliance and I have found the microline stylus quite sensitive to changes in SRA.

BlazingArrow74
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 07 Dec 2018 00:32

Right, thanks Lars, that's what I meant to say. I had the numbers swapped!

BlazingArrow74
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 07 Dec 2018 00:36

chiz wrote:
06 Dec 2018 23:39
BlazingArrow74 wrote:
06 Dec 2018 19:42
I should also add, previous tracking was at 1.5g --- current is 1.25g.
Changes in VTF can have a significant effect on SRA especially if the cartridge has fairly high vertical compliance and I have found the microline stylus quite sensitive to changes in SRA.
Thanks Chiz, I will experiment with VTF and listen for changes. For high compliance cantilevers, .25g may indeed be enough to muck things up in the bass, I guess ? I once read somewhere that after breaking in a cart, it was advisable to dial back the VTF a smidge (within suggested range).

BlazingArrow74
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 07 Dec 2018 00:42

If it may Help, for those who know what to look for, I will be attaching a bunch of pictures and 3 short video files of the stylus condition, below. This is the best footage I'm able to capture at the moment.
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BlazingArrow74
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 07 Dec 2018 00:46

Continued
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BlazingArrow74
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 07 Dec 2018 00:47

Even More:
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BlazingArrow74
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 07 Dec 2018 00:48

Last bit:
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BlazingArrow74
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 07 Dec 2018 00:50

Below are links to short video clips of the stylus & its reflections.
Last edited by BlazingArrow74 on 07 Dec 2018 01:10, edited 1 time in total.


Delta667
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by Delta667 » 07 Dec 2018 09:07

Hi Sam,

Your photos are uninformative but the lowest ones inspire optimism that your stylus is in perfect order.
On them the micro comb is well visible. But it can be a play of light on the edges of the stylus.
I drew you a diagram of the stylus and showed the limit of its wear. Look through a microscope and compare with my drawing )). I hope he will Help you.
IMGP7264.JPG
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Distortion can also be caused by the mobility of the stylus in the adhesive mass. I personally saw this literally last month. I was sent a cartridge in which the stylus swung at the attachment point. I didn’t even immediately find it, but the person who approached me was engaged in digitizing vinyl and precisely fixed these distortions.
I managed to fix the stone with liquid epoxy, which penetrated into the microcracks.
IMGP6877.JPG
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Good luck researching your stylus! ))
Dmitry.

BlazingArrow74
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 07 Dec 2018 09:51

Delta667 wrote:
07 Dec 2018 09:07
Hi Sam,

Your photos are uninformative but the lowest ones inspire optimism that your stylus is in perfect order.
On them the micro comb is well visible. But it can be a play of light on the edges of the stylus.
I drew you a diagram of the stylus and showed the limit of its wear. Look through a microscope and compare with my drawing )). I hope he will Help you.
IMGP7264.JPG
Distortion can also be caused by the mobility of the stylus in the adhesive mass. I personally saw this literally last month. I was sent a cartridge in which the stylus swung at the attachment point. I didn’t even immediately find it, but the person who approached me was engaged in digitizing vinyl and precisely fixed these distortions.
I managed to fix the stone with liquid epoxy, which penetrated into the microcracks.
IMGP6877.JPG
Good luck researching your stylus! ))
Dmitry.
Dmitry, I can't thank you enough for this insight! I find the mechanical / electro-magnetic aspects of this fascinating, and I look forward to learning more about how all this works. I'll re-examine the stylus profile and try to find the micro-ridge, intact, around the digging surface; I must admit, it seems difficult to find. I will keep trying.

My main concern has been with the sheer amount of bonding element around the diamond: it seems so uneven and sloppy, and it makes it hard to recognize symmetry when comparing different facets. I really wish there was a way to remove some of the bonding material; especially on the facet that leads, and the side that tracks the left channel !

Is there a signature distortion to distinguish a loose stylus vs. a damaged one ? I'm guessing inconsistent distortion across seemingly random passages ?

Again, this is great news, and I will focus my energy on setup for now, and return to the microscope later. Dmitry, I really appreciate the Help.

octavius
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Re: 150MLX Setup Questions

Post by octavius » 07 Dec 2018 11:04

I have already tried Baerwald but always come back to standard 52mm technics alignment. It sounds the best to me and on my sl-1210MK2

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