Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

the thin end of the wedge
BlazingArrow74
member
member
United States of America
Posts: 121
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 03:25
Location: Chicago, IL

Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 06 Dec 2018 19:41

In general, if a stylus has been used, from new, for a couple hundred hours at one geometry, & VTA, is it expected that it may sound WORSE for a while if a more correct alignment / VTA is achieved using better measuring tools, more patience (heh), etc. ? Is it possible that we create a "wear profile" on the diamond with an initial usage run that makes adjustments sound unsuccessful ?

Pauw
senior member
senior member
Netherlands
Posts: 435
Joined: 01 Jun 2018 13:09
Location: Spinning round and round somewhere.

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by Pauw » 06 Dec 2018 20:57

I have thought the thoughts you are thinking for a long while ...so I would say yes you are right and it might take a while for the new stylus profile to "wear into" the new correct profile. :D

BlazingArrow74
member
member
United States of America
Posts: 121
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 03:25
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 07 Dec 2018 00:29

Thanks, I'll try to be more patient and listen for changes !

smee4
long player
long player
Posts: 1078
Joined: 04 Jul 2004 08:07

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by smee4 » 13 Dec 2018 00:27

If it has been well used, I would be wary of altering the alignment. You might be presenting a sharper edge (from the previous wear pattern) to the vinyl groove.

BlazingArrow74
member
member
United States of America
Posts: 121
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 03:25
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 19 Dec 2018 22:56

smee4 wrote:
13 Dec 2018 00:27
If it has been well used, I would be wary of altering the alignment. You might be presenting a sharper edge (from the previous wear pattern) to the vinyl groove.
Understood. It has about 100 hours on it at-most, so I'm guessing that's not quite well-worn? So it seems that, if well worn, you'd be safer re-aligning correctly with a new stylus vs. realigning correctly with a worn one.

Would there be any harm in realigning a worn one, and then wearing it on a junk record(s) for about 10 hours, or whatever it takes to wear down the sharper edge ?

smee4
long player
long player
Posts: 1078
Joined: 04 Jul 2004 08:07

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by smee4 » 20 Dec 2018 01:58

BlazingArrow74 wrote:
19 Dec 2018 22:56
smee4 wrote:
13 Dec 2018 00:27
If it has been well used, I would be wary of altering the alignment. You might be presenting a sharper edge (from the previous wear pattern) to the vinyl groove.
Understood. It has about 100 hours on it at-most, so I'm guessing that's not quite well-worn? So it seems that, if well worn, you'd be safer re-aligning correctly with a new stylus vs. realigning correctly with a worn one.

Would there be any harm in realigning a worn one, and then wearing it on a junk record(s) for about 10 hours, or whatever it takes to wear down the sharper edge ?
I would worry about how I would ever know it was ready, and by the time it was, is it now too worn for my good records. Really, compared to the cost of the records, a stylus is cheap. I often buy a new stylus every 12 to 18 months* whether the old one is worn or not.

*Depending on whether it is on a turntable that gets lots of use or not. I have four tables, 2 of which get the majority of use.

EdAInWestOC
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1354
Joined: 03 Feb 2004 02:39
Location: Glen Burine, MD USA
Contact:

The stylus lifetime

Post by EdAInWestOC » 20 Dec 2018 03:57

Be aware that certain styli have an expected lifetime in hundreds of hours as opposed to thousands. A conical/spherical stylus will last no more than 500 hours and that is a very high quality stone. I have had conical styli on Denon 103 cartridges wear out in 150 hours. Denon usually has good quality styli but there are exceptions.

Conversely a Micro Ridge type stylus will last over 1000 hours. All the line contact type styli have a much longer lifetime.

You did not mention what type of stylus you had and which cartridge.

Ed

BlazingArrow74
member
member
United States of America
Posts: 121
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 03:25
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: The stylus lifetime

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 20 Dec 2018 23:58

EdAInWestOC wrote:
20 Dec 2018 03:57
Be aware that certain styli have an expected lifetime in hundreds of hours as opposed to thousands. A conical/spherical stylus will last no more than 500 hours and that is a very high quality stone. I have had conical styli on Denon 103 cartridges wear out in 150 hours. Denon usually has good quality styli but there are exceptions.

Conversely a Micro Ridge type stylus will last over 1000 hours. All the line contact type styli have a much longer lifetime.

You did not mention what type of stylus you had and which cartridge.

Ed
Thanks for the reply, Ed. This is referencing an AT-150MLX with stock stylus. I have one stylus with a slightly skewed cantilever (put away) with about 300 or so hours on it, and one with a straight cantilever (installed) with no more than 100 hours on it. When I first got them I aligned them and set VTF t the best of my abilities, but now that I have a digital scale, acrylic grid, and USB microscope, I have found (and can hear) that I was most likely misaligned for most of the past. I want to use both these styli for as long as they won't damage records, that's all. I wasn't aware just how much small adjustments (fraction of a mm) matter until recently.

EdAInWestOC
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1354
Joined: 03 Feb 2004 02:39
Location: Glen Burine, MD USA
Contact:

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by EdAInWestOC » 21 Dec 2018 04:41

The 150 MLX has a MicroLine Stylus on a Gold Plated Boron cantilever. Its a very good stylus and should last 1000 hours or more. You should not have any problem with uneven wear due to the long life of the stylus.

Make sure when you align the cartridge that you align the cantilever of the cartridge over the alignment grid. That is how a good alignment is done. Never use the cartridge body because that is not what is tracking the record, its the stylus on the cantilever.

Even it you use the stylus with the skewed cantilever it would be OK as long as you align the cantilever over the alignment pattern. You place the stylus exactly on the center point of the alignment pattern and then adjust the cartridge, by slightly twisting the cartridge body, so the cantilever aligns directly over the center line on the alignment pattern.

If its a two point alignment protractor you do the inner point first and then the outer point. Once you get the stylus to drop exactly into the center point you slightly twist the cartridge until the cantilever aligns over the alignment protractor. At that point the stylus is as accurately aligned as possible.

NOTE: after you twist the cartridge body recheck the stylus on the center point. This usually makes the stylus move and you have to re-position the cartridge again my sliding it forward or to the rear of the mounting slots in the headshell. You then recheck the cantilever over the middle line on the alignment pattern. You repeat these two things until you get it to land on the center point and the cantilever is aligned.

The alignment is so the cartridge's stylus is a perpendicular as possible to the groove walls. Thats why you align by using the cantilever over the center line. It takes patience and you need to not hurry things. Give yourself ample time to do this work. If you have to, stop and pick up the work later after you give yourself a break.

I find it handy if you have a lamp with a magnifier on an articulated arm (see link below). You can find these for as little as $20USD. It helps when you are trying to get the cantilever aligned. Extra magnification and light is very useful on cartridges with thin cantilevers under the cartridge body. I also have used a USB microscope to view under the cartridge if it is hard to see under there. Different cartridges have different degrees of difficulty depending on where the cantilever is relative to the cartridge body and how short and thin the cantilever is. Good luck with yours.

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywo ... x4xw197m_e

Ed

smee4
long player
long player
Posts: 1078
Joined: 04 Jul 2004 08:07

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by smee4 » 22 Dec 2018 00:24

EdAInWestOC wrote:
21 Dec 2018 04:41
Even it you use the stylus with the skewed cantilever it would be OK as long as you align the cantilever over the alignment pattern. You place the stylus exactly on the center point of the alignment pattern and then adjust the cartridge, by slightly twisting the cartridge body, so the cantilever aligns directly over the center line on the alignment pattern.

I would worry that you are using a suspension that is pulled off centre. Tracking forces won't be evenly distributed, and the magnets on the cantilever won't be sitting perfectly symmetrically inside the coil gaps. If it's only a small amount, it's probably fine, but if it's badly skewed then it may not be good.

BlazingArrow74
member
member
United States of America
Posts: 121
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 03:25
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 22 Dec 2018 03:55

smee4 wrote:
22 Dec 2018 00:24
EdAInWestOC wrote:
21 Dec 2018 04:41
Even it you use the stylus with the skewed cantilever it would be OK as long as you align the cantilever over the alignment pattern. You place the stylus exactly on the center point of the alignment pattern and then adjust the cartridge, by slightly twisting the cartridge body, so the cantilever aligns directly over the center line on the alignment pattern.

I would worry that you are using a suspension that is pulled off centre. Tracking forces won't be evenly distributed, and the magnets on the cantilever won't be sitting perfectly symmetrically inside the coil gaps. If it's only a small amount, it's probably fine, but if it's badly skewed then it may not be good.
How can I correct (if it's even possible) an off-centered suspension ? It's not twisted, but just skewed a bit. Is it something that "pops" more firmly into place ? I should also add that the skew is pretty slight --- it's something I noticed when it was brand new ...

smee4
long player
long player
Posts: 1078
Joined: 04 Jul 2004 08:07

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by smee4 » 22 Dec 2018 08:36

BlazingArrow74 wrote:
22 Dec 2018 03:55
smee4 wrote:
22 Dec 2018 00:24
EdAInWestOC wrote:
21 Dec 2018 04:41
Even it you use the stylus with the skewed cantilever it would be OK as long as you align the cantilever over the alignment pattern. You place the stylus exactly on the center point of the alignment pattern and then adjust the cartridge, by slightly twisting the cartridge body, so the cantilever aligns directly over the center line on the alignment pattern.

I would worry that you are using a suspension that is pulled off centre. Tracking forces won't be evenly distributed, and the magnets on the cantilever won't be sitting perfectly symmetrically inside the coil gaps. If it's only a small amount, it's probably fine, but if it's badly skewed then it may not be good.
How can I correct (if it's even possible) an off-centered suspension ? It's not twisted, but just skewed a bit. Is it something that "pops" more firmly into place ? I should also add that the skew is pretty slight --- it's something I noticed when it was brand new ...
You can't, not really. You could push it the other way for some time to see if it settles more in the middle, I suppose. I'd buy a new stylus and start from there.

Woodbrains
senior member
senior member
England
Posts: 318
Joined: 23 Feb 2018 19:18
Location: Liverpool

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by Woodbrains » 22 Dec 2018 10:44

Hello,

I don't think slight misalgnment would make a ha'peth of difference, to the stylus. Think about it, the stylus has tracking errors at different points on the record, so for the most part the stylus is misaligned, and only perfect at the 2 null points. So what if I didn't align the stylus perfectly to a Stevenson protractor, say? (The one I tend to use) it will still have 2 null points along the disk, just not 'quite' conforming to the exact Stevenson geometry. And the stylus will have tracking errors across the rest of the disk, just not 'quite' at the same position as the tracking errors seen on the Stevenson alignment.

Similarly, if I set up 'perfectly' to Stevenson, would I be ruining my records if I decided to change to a perfectly set up Baerwald geometry. Of course not.

Don't worry about it and play your tunes!

Mike.

bra10n
long player
long player
Australia
Posts: 1004
Joined: 25 Oct 2013 01:38
Location: Sydney Australia

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by bra10n » 22 Dec 2018 10:56

BlazingArrow74 wrote:
22 Dec 2018 03:55
How can I correct (if it's even possible) an off-centered suspension ? It's not twisted, but just skewed a bit. Is it something that "pops" more firmly into place ? I should also add that the skew is pretty slight --- it's something I noticed when it was brand new ...
The advice you've been given is a 100% on the money but happens to be at either ends of where you stand. As smee suggests, the easiest and cleanest way is to just start over with a new stylus. Ed is also correct that from the outset it's the cantilever that should be aligned to the grid. Your current situation sort of falls between both sets of circumstances.

My suggestion is as this is a decent diamond and profile with still quite a bit of life ahead of it I would have no hesitation realigning it but with one additional recommendation; if the cantilever is still straight and not bowed I would go slightly past 'square-in-the-grid' towards the skew direction, i.e if the cantilever is skewed towards the spindle then I would have the slightest turn-in of the cart towards the spindle. This is only a fraction past square mind.

Needless to say you'll need the correct A/S settings for this to work long term (a wrong setting is likely what caused the skewing in the first place despite it looking that way from new ;)), and if done correctly you should notice the cantilever is reasonably square in the the stylus housing whilst playing in the groove. After 30 hrs or so I would repeat the re-alignment procedure again. Small increments over time and you will find in another 100 hrs the issue will have been resolved.

Best wishes

BlazingArrow74
member
member
United States of America
Posts: 121
Joined: 01 Feb 2009 03:25
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Dealing With Previously-Misaligned Carts

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 22 Dec 2018 19:33

Thanks for all the detailed advice ! Bra10n's method sounds like a plan.

Post Reply