help I can't align my AT-VM95E!!

the thin end of the wedge
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HighwayStar54
Italy
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Joined: 18 Sep 2019 12:14

help I can't align my AT-VM95E!!

Post by HighwayStar54 » 18 Sep 2019 12:27

A few months back I got first table, an AT-LP120XUSB, which seemed to come with a prealigned cartridge mounted onto the headshell. I noticed that the higher frequencies - especially sibilance - and inner grooves both sounded horrible, so I thought to realign the cartridge, which is an AT-VM95E.

I printed the protractor for the previous model, the AT-LP120-USB (notice the '-' vs the 'X') which did not come with a prealigned cartridge, and I tried to fix my alignment. The problem is that the sides of the cartridge are all curvy! I literally can't tell if it's aligned or not. This is terrible design from Audio Technica's part, in my opinion.

To reduce the chances of the stylus stabbing onto the paper and ruining everything, I also put some masking tape over it and I put the protractor over a record, for extra rigidity, but I can't keep the tonearm in place, it skates away. I'm going mad, this all wouldn't be happening if the cartridge didn't have a stupidly curvy shape, how can I get through this?

wojtekf
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Poland
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Re: help I can't align my AT-VM95E!!

Post by wojtekf » 18 Sep 2019 14:15

Don't align the sides of the cartridge, align the stylus.
You can also place a thin, long stick at the front of the cartridge (stick it there with tape, making sure the tape will not leave any residue). This should help with aligning the front of the cartridge.

kmp14
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Re: help I can't align my AT-VM95E!!

Post by kmp14 » 18 Sep 2019 17:20

Align the cantilever to the lines on the alignment protractor, not the body. It is tricky. A magnifying glass can help. Even if you have a square cartridge body there is no guarantee that the cantilever is squarely mounted in the cartridge, so it is always recommended to sight and align the cantilever. There are tons of threads on how to align a cartridge, but a real quick summary is this:

1. Set anti-skate to zero. (if not set to zero, the arm will skate, which is what you are seeing)
2. Set tracking force.
3. Drop the stylus on the outer point crosshair and make sure the cantilever is straight/square with the line thru the crosshair, twist the cartridge in the headshell to achieve this.
4. Drop the stylus on the inner point crosshair. If the cantilever angles toward the middle of the record, the cartridge should be moved forward a little in the headshell, if it angles toward the edge of the record, move the cartridge back in the headshell a little, now start over at step 3.
5. Keep doing this until the catilever lines up with the crosshair line in BOTH crosshair points.

Please note that the cartridge may not appear perfectly square in the headshell after this. This is OK if the alignment was done correctly.

It is a tedious and annoying process.

wojtekf
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Poland
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Re: help I can't align my AT-VM95E!!

Post by wojtekf » 18 Sep 2019 18:35

wojtekf wrote:
18 Sep 2019 14:15
Don't align the sides of the cartridge, align the stylus.
I meant the cantilever...

nat
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Re: help I can't align my AT-VM95E!!

Post by nat » 18 Sep 2019 23:22

If you are aligning using the cantilever, be very careful of parallax error. Judging whether a tilted cantilever is straight on or not isn't easy. A mirrored alignment protractor may make it easier, and they aren't expensive. But the specific geometry may not match that of your arm - many turntables from the far east use the Stevenson alignment, whereas most protractors seem to be Baerwald. The alignment will be fine, but may look a little odd since typically the cartridge ends up being cocked in the headshell and as far forward as it can be moved.

noisefreq
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Re: help I can't align my AT-VM95E!!

Post by noisefreq » 19 Sep 2019 00:47

You could try the pencil lead trick.
GtKIuET.jpg
(76.43000000000001 KiB) Downloaded 65 times
This may help.

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