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Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 09 Jun 2019 17:18
by JPM
Long time lurker, first time poster.

So I have a question about setting VTF on my stanton 881s with the brush on. I've had the cart for about 6 years now (first with the original D81s, now running a Jico shibata and have just received a NOS D81S =P~ ). I never ran it with the brush before but now want to give it a shot.

Anyway, I've checked the forums and didn't see my query answered anywhere (apologies if I missed it), and this may seem like a really stupid and obvious question to the more experienced members, but....

....when setting the VTF with the + 1grm to compensate for the brush, do I push the VTF + 1grm without the brush first and check that on a digital stylus force gauge (I run at .95 w/o brush, so push it to 1.95 arm on the scales), then pop the brush on and I'm good to go?? I know it needs around +1grm for the brush, but should this be + 1grm as first measured on the stylus tip only on a digital scales without the brush, then put the brush on and it's good to go?

Thanks

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 09 Jun 2019 18:43
by H. callahan
You see these cartridges were invented before there were digital gauges for a few dollars around...

Basically the additional 1g is needed because the brush will lift the stylus/cartridge up. So back in the day, when wanting a VTF of 1.5g you set the dial on your tonearm to 2.5g and you were done.

Now with a gauge it may become difficult, because you also will measure the weight of the brush when measuring VTF with the brush on - respectively with the brush off. I think this cannot work as you´ll measure the pressure the stylus and brush do exert on the record - for playback only the pressure of the stylus is important - but without the brush a measurement will not incorporate the weight of the brush.

I´m not sure on this but i think you´ll have to trust the marks on your tonearmdial.

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 09 Jun 2019 19:53
by JPM
Ok. Thanks for the reply. I've seen the brush/brushless VTF issue discussed so many places, but never by anyone who can only measure VTF with a digital scales.

My tonearm counterweight doesn't have any markings on it, so I'm not sure what to do now.

The best I could think of was to check the VTF without the brush, add the 1 grm, and then go with that....but as you say, the weight of the brush doesn't get factored in.

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 09 Jun 2019 19:56
by JPM
I used to run this cart on either my Grace 707 I installed on an Ariston RD11 or my old Pro-ject debut carbon. They both now sadly still reside in Australia, but I don't.

I've dug out my old Pro-ject RPM 1.3/Genie and am using that for the time being, but the lack of counterweight dial markings on this TT have me stumped here, so I've been going brushless until now.

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 10 Jun 2019 02:12
by H. callahan
YW.
I see.
What you could try was to measure with brush, stylus and brush contacting the scale. Then if you want to have 1.5g VTF the scale had to show 2.5g, as this should be the resulting VTF of brush and stylus. This then should be ok i think.
I assumed you wanted to be super-accurate about the actual VTF of the stylus only, but this should be hard to do when the brush is also wanted to be used. Having no markings on the counterweight is a different thing...

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 10 Jun 2019 11:33
by JPM
Ok. Thanks for the advice - appreciate it.

I'll give that a shot and then try fine tune things by ear - I've run this cart on a number of different decks over the past few years, so have a pretty good idea of how it should sound when dialled in correctly (freaking amazing!)

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 10 Jun 2019 12:34
by Japi Roelofs
H. callahan wrote:
10 Jun 2019 02:12
What you could try was to measure with brush, stylus and brush contacting the scale. Then if you want to have 1.5g VTF the scale had to show 2.5g, as this should be the resulting VTF of brush and stylus.
This does not make sense to me. You want the VTF to be 1.5 gr. Because the brush adds an upward pressure, you need to add an additional gram of VTF. The combination of 2.5 gr VTF, and the upward force of the brush, together produce the desired 1.5 gr VTF. This is what is presented to the vinyl surface, and thus should also be seen on the stylus gauge, if the brush touches the scale.

What I would do is measure the VTF on the stylus scale, with the brush in place but WITHOUT it touching the scale surface, and set it to 2.5 gr.

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 10 Jun 2019 12:46
by JPM
Japi Roelofs wrote:
10 Jun 2019 12:34

What I would do is measure the VTF on the stylus scale, with the brush in place but WITHOUT it touching the scale surface, and set it to 2.5 gr.
Thanks for sharing those thoughts! I was toying around with this approach last night, and the resulting sound was fine. It's a bit tricky to get the brush up off the scales while ensuring you're not adding any further pushback and manually lessening the VTF. Hard to be precise about it, but the logic of the approach seems sound to me.

I think where some confusion sets in is that the weight of the brush is approx. 1 gram and some maybe think that the additional tracking force is related to the brush weight. But as you say, the reason the VTF gets dialled up by approx. 1 gram is not related to the additional weight but simply to counteract the effect of the brush and bristles pushing the cart and stylus up off the record surface, which push back happens to also equate to about 1 gram of negative VTF (incidentally, what is the opposite of vertical tracking force when dealing with brush heads? Vertical tracking resistance??)

EDIT: What I might try is Japi's suggestion on setting it with +1 gram while the brush is held up off the gauge, then check it on the gauge with the brush down to see if it then comes in around - 1 gram. If it's correct, the difference between brush up and brush down should be approx. 1 gram - might also be a good way of establishing exactly how much resistance the brush bristles present.

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 10 Jun 2019 15:05
by katana1100
It’s worth noting that you should see if you prefer using the brush. I preferred it off on my Sanyo q60 ( carbon arm).

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 10 Jun 2019 16:12
by JPM
Yep - definitely, Katana. Ran it for a few years on both the D81s and Jico shibata without the brush and have nothing but the best things to say about it. Just thinking it's probably overdue a run with the brush now that I have an original D81s back. It' an absolute belter of a cart and I've yet to come across anything quite like it for the money.

Was funny how it came into my possession......courtesy of my ex-GFs dad. He was a hifi nut in his youth and when he heard I had acquired an armless Ariston RD11 which i refurbished back to its full glory, he handed me a mint Grace 707 in it's box. He couldn't stop going on about the 707 (excellent arm!), but completely forgot to say anything about the cart on the end of it!!

When I stuck the 707 on the Arsiton, I moved my OM30 over from the Debut Carbon, so I could "properly evaluate" the 707/Ariston rig. As an afterthought I stuck the 881s w/D81s on the Carbon (with still no clue what I had on my hands - hadn't checked any online sources and fully expected a dud 30 year old cart) and when I gave it a spin later that night it completely blew my mind. Quite probably the only time in my life where a change in my systems stopped me dead in my tracks with my jaw on the floor. I then discovered what a legend it is.

I've never looked back even though I do enjoy my other carts.

Anyway, thanks all for the suggestions and thoughts.

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 09:11
by H. callahan
Japi Roelofs wrote:
10 Jun 2019 12:34
H. callahan wrote:
10 Jun 2019 02:12
What you could try was to measure with brush, stylus and brush contacting the scale. Then if you want to have 1.5g VTF the scale had to show 2.5g, as this should be the resulting VTF of brush and stylus.
This does not make sense to me. You want the VTF to be 1.5 gr. Because the brush adds an upward pressure, you need to add an additional gram of VTF. The combination of 2.5 gr VTF, and the upward force of the brush, together produce the desired 1.5 gr VTF. This is what is presented to the vinyl surface, and thus should also be seen on the stylus gauge, if the brush touches the scale.

What I would do is measure the VTF on the stylus scale, with the brush in place but WITHOUT it touching the scale surface, and set it to 2.5 gr.
Well, lets assume you have the cartridge, the brush and a normal tonearm having markings - and you want 1.5g of resulting TF. Then you´d attach the brush to the cartridge, the cartridge to the tonearm, level the tonearm, set the counterweight to 2.5g - and you´re done.
But because you have dialed the counterweight to 2.5g the cartridge will be pressed down with a force of 2.5g - but because there is a brush also contacting the record the downforce of 2.5g will be split onto the stylus and the brush, hopefully giving 1.5g downforce on the stylus and 1g downforce on the brush.

Now if you don´t have markings on your tonearm and you want 1.5g TF for the stylus, the total downforce of stylus+brush should be 2.5g.

If you only make the stylus contact the gauge but not the brush, you´re only measuring the downforce of the stylus. If you then measure 2.5g for example, you have set the counterweight to 3.5g in total - respectively your stylus is tracking at 2.5g, as you only have measured the downforce on the stylus but not of stylus+brush.
Remember the downforce of the cartridge will be split to stylus+brush, so if you don´t have markings on your tonearm you have to make both contact the gauge.
...

Or you make only the stylus contact the gauge, vary downforce until the desired TF is set (1.5g in this example) - while the brush is attached to the cartridge, also is down but not contacting the gauge but at the same height as the stylus, simulating the brush being on the record the stylus also is on.

As this should be more difficult, i´d just place brush+stylus onto the gauge and measure the total downforce of the cartridge which must be 2.5g if you want 1.5g of TF.

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 11:26
by Japi Roelofs
Well I'm starting to think you're right — or to be more precise we're both right.

Say you measure the tracking force on a scale, with just the stylus tip touching it, brush attached but not touching the scale, and set tracking force to 2.5 gr. The brush, when placed on the vinyl surface will provide an upward pressure of 1 gr and the stylus will track at 1.5 gr.

When the stylus and the brush are now both placed on the scale, the downward force will indeed be split between the stylus and the brush, so the result on the scale should ALSO be 2.5 gr.

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 15:52
by H. callahan
What do you mean by "brush attached but not touching the scale"?

If the brush is attached and lowered but not contacting the sensitive area of the scale you´re only measuring the downforce which is put on the stylus - but you only do so when the brush is resting on something having the same height as the scale the stylus is resting on. If the brush is resting on something a little higher or lower than the sensitive area of the scale, you will get a misreading of downforce applied to the stylus.

If the brush is attached but in some kind of up-position, not resting on anything, you´re measuring the downforce put on the stylus and the weight of the brush, but the weight of the brush will more or less be put on the record during playback - so you will get a misreading.


In the end it should be easier to put stylus and brush onto the sensitive area of the scale and measure the total downforce applied to the cartridge.

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 16:34
by GTH
VTF setting should be very simple and straightforward. There are only two options for setting;
With brush
Without brush
If you don't intend to use brush then set VTF to your desired strength without brush attached. If you want to use brush add 1g and connect brush. Done.
No worries about defying gravity or thermodynamics or tidal issues.
That's wat I did with my 681.
The only other factor may be the resistance of the brush as the original "Long Hair" brush had very fine, subtle bristles.
The Jico replacement I had was of inferior quality with thicker, coarser bristles, I didn't use it.

Re: Stanton 881s VTF question

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 16:53
by Japi Roelofs
OK, now I needed to know. Got the 881 out and set it up.

I balanced the tonearm (brush in place) and set tracking force at 2.5 gr, using the markings on the counterweight.

Now I want to measure the VTF on my digital scale, of just the stylus. To make sure the brush doesn't touch the scale, I propped a small piece of paper under it.
stylus brush propped 1.jpg
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stylus brush propped 2.jpg
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The tracking force as read on the scale is 2.548 gr. OK, so my counterweight is 0.048 gr off. Or maybe that's the weight of the piece of paper. No big deal.
stylus brush propped on scale.jpg
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Here I removed the piece of paper so that both the brush and the stylus touch the scale. I put the piece of paper on top of the headshell.
stylus + brush on scale 2.jpg
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Tracking force is now 2.576 gr. That's a difference of 0.028 gr.
stylus + brush on scale.jpg
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