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colterphoto1

cartridge headshell photos

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I'll get a photo later but would be interested to see what' you guys phono setups LOOK like. I trusted my SL1700 to a local service tech to mount a cartridge for me. Not impressed with the looks of the thing, the bolts stick up through the top, and the Grado cartridge HE selected hangs out under the headshell by about 1/4". It just looks hideous, not graceful and proper like the old Stanton 681EEE that I'd used for decades. Maybe it's a new crop of cartridges that are in bigger housings, I don't know.

Right now he has my Thorens TD125MKII and is putting the Shure M97eX on it (which a lot of you guys said was a bad combo). This guy claims it's what he has on his identical rig at home.

He's the only guy in town who does this work so I thought I'd give him a chance but I'm not sure. Btw, charged only $85 for Grado Black cart, setup , and a few minor repairs on the 1700, so seems fair about price and a good fellow. still...

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Michael,

I had a Grado Black once upon a time but don't remember it looking strange mounted on my Thorens headshell. How does it sound?

BTW - I originally had a Stanton 681EEE on my Technics SL1800. The Grado Black isn't a very expensive cart but should be an improvement if properly mounted. Sounds like you got a very fair deal assuming he knows what he's doing. TTs aren't as complicated as you might think. It's scary the first couple times trying to set one up because everything is so small and fragile. Maybe this guy will let you watch him when he sets up your Thorens???

Show us a picture of that cart!

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I agree that's bizzare, if you mean the threads of the bolts stick out above the headshell. He put in the bolts upside down.

Carts today usually don't use bolts with separate nuts, but rather have bolt holes with integral internal threads. Only the bolt head shows from the top of the headshell.

You probably could take one of the bolts out, and turn it upside down and see if it screws into a pre-threaded bolt hole from the top. You might be able to do it without moving the cart.

Like Gary says, let's have a pic. I don't understand the cart sticking out.

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Not a great angle but the only one I have of the SME IV/Zu DL-103R combo. As Gary said, show us a pic so we can see what's going on.

Mike

post-6388-13819687894548_thumb.jpg

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Havent used a grado black. DId a quick image search and it looks as if the mounting holes on the cart are not threaded so the only way to go is with nuts and bolts. There are a number of carts where this is the case including the Denon 103 - one of he nice improvements with the zu versions is that the aluminum surround is threaded.

Mounting a cart with unthreaded holes is a pain compared to ones that are threaded. You can put the nuts on the bottom or the top. The bottom looks beter but it is way easier to mount the cartidge by putting them on top. BTW one of the first photos that came up on the search was of grado black with the nuts on top.

Josh

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For the technics there is a guage that came with the table. See if you can get the right one for your arm and table colter. It is a simple device where you put the headshell into a hole which suspends it over a specified length. There is a notch at the end over which the stylus should line up. This will confirm if the stylus overhang is correct and also show a reasonable test of straightness. Ask your tech if he used such a guage perhaps.

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here' s one view, I guess it just doesn't look as 'tidy' as my old 681EEE (seen in background of some images. They are both Technics headshells, I understand that the stylus needs to be at a point so it's tangent to the grooves. I guess it's just the mechanical construction of this cartridge, it just has more stuff out front of the stylus.

post-10755-13819687948358_thumb.jpg

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You're right about the bolts looking stupid. Those are way longer than they should be.

As for the cartridge sitting fairly far forward, that's correct, although the mounting angle looks too straight.

This article explains why the cartridge should be turned a little in the headshell on a Technics deck:
http://www.vinylengine.com/twisting-your-cartridge-headshell.shtml

The little gauge that comes with some Technics turntables uses something similar to Stevenson geometry, which is optimized for minimum distortion for the inner grooves. That's great if you play a lot of 7" discs, not so much for LPs.

The Baerwald geometry works better with LPs, but the cartridge sits a bit forward and crooked in the headshell. Since sound matters to me more than looks, I don't mind at all.

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OK... The cartridge bolt up method just looks goofy to me. Functional? UMMM... Yes. Ugly? UMMM... Yes!

I would be curious as to what alignment was used. It's been a couple of years since I've used a Technics table but as I recall aligning with the little plastic gauge did not sound the best to me.

Over at http://vinylengine.com there are a number of downloadable alignment protractors available. That's where I started off with my tables and ultimately bought one of the mirror protractors.

Truth be told I just don't listen to enough vinyl any more to spend a lot of time futzing with my turntable. I have an old Dual auto table (I sometime fall asleep) and have it dialed in pretty close. What little bit I do listen to I enjoy though.

I guess I'm just getting lazy in my old age.

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Not very elegant. I would turn the bolts around and put the nut underneath. Or get shorter cartridge bolts. The set up guy should have them . If not let me know I have tons of them and Im sure I have some a little shorter - no charge! .

Josh

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Here's photo of my Grado cart set up with the Technics overhang gauge. Mine sits back closer to the headshell.

post-26363-13819687964532_thumb.jpg

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You're right about the bolts looking stupid. Those are way longer than they should be.

As for the cartridge sitting fairly far forward, that's correct, although the mounting angle looks too straight.

This article explains why the cartridge should be turned a little in the headshell on a Technics deck:
http://www.vinylengine.com/twisting-your-cartridge-headshell.shtml

The little gauge that comes with some Technics turntables uses something similar to Stevenson geometry, which is optimized for minimum distortion for the inner grooves. That's great if you play a lot of 7" discs, not so much for LPs.

The Baerwald geometry works better with LPs, but the cartridge sits a bit forward and crooked in the headshell. Since sound matters to me more than looks, I don't mind at all.

In the link the OP aligned using Stevenson and was happy with the results. I recently realigned a cartridge for an old sl-b3 using the technics guage. The mount was too far forward and it was audibly noticeable at certain points of the lp. Bringing it back was a major improvement. I do believe there are at least two different stock arms and they would not use the same guage. Which arm do you have Pat? Looking at the chart in the link I'm not too sure that the Baerwald vs. Stevenson difference is all that great and could even be cartridge dependent when all is said and done when it comes to the taste of the listener. Perhaps a good approach is to start with the factory tool if you have it, using that as a baseline, then experimenting with other alignments to find what sounds best for the cartridge to your ears.

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Michael - Have you played an LP yet? He definitely made setup easier for himself by installing the bolts upside down. Much easier to make adjustments. If you decide you can't live with the looks and have to replace with shorter bolts right-side up (or down), setup will have to be completely re-done as the weighting and alignment will change when you take off the franken-bolts. If this guy is any good, it's probably going to sound just fine as-is. It's a very easy table to set up and I'm sure you could redo it with a little help over the phone. You can print an alignment tool from your computer but you will need a scale (a $25 Shure scale is fine if you don't already own one or you can borrow one from the guy who set it up or you can borrow my electronic scale (I'm happy to ship it to you on loan). I'd first ask the guy if he would mind swapping the bolts and re-aligning/re-setting the tracking weight. Also, ask him what he used to adjust the overhang. Print this thread if you decide to take it back to him so he can answer all our questions. That'll be sure to piss him off!![:P]

However, the first thing you need to do is.....PLAY A RECORD and get back to us!!![:D] Just don't play a $100 record. Try a 50 cent record first.[;)] Maybe a little Pat Boone or Jim Nabors.[H]

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However, the first thing you need to do is.....PLAY A RECORD and get back to us!!!Big Smile Just don't play a $100 record. Try a 50 cent record first.Wink Maybe a little Pat Boone or Jim Nabors.Cool

Coytee would probably loan a Marie Osmond... [:#]

Bruce

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Havent used a grado black. DId a quick image search and it looks as if the mounting holes on the cart are not threaded so the only way to go is with nuts and bolts. There are a number of carts where this is the case including the Denon 103 - one of he nice improvements with the zu versions is that the aluminum surround is threaded.

Mounting a cart with unthreaded holes is a pain compared to ones that are threaded. You can put the nuts on the bottom or the top. The bottom looks beter but it is way easier to mount the cartidge by putting them on top. BTW one of the first photos that came up on the search was of grado black with the nuts on top.

Josh

I prefer my nuts on the bottom. I find mounting significantly easier. And less painful.

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Michael:

I was reluctant to mount and align my cartridge, too....it had been far too long since I'd done, but vinyl is so incredible; I feel like I have missed many years of really great listening. Seems to me, as others have also said, the nuts protruding upward might not look as good as they way Fini likes them (meh! :) but it's as functional as the other way around. But back to alignment -- it's really worth practicing, such as with an old cartridge to experiment with how slight changes in VTA, tracking force, etc., can effect palyback and ultimately adjust to what sounds best to you. I hadn't realized how really quite small changes can make interesting changes for both better and very much worse. Listening to Baroque lute music right now with Lowther horns ( what I use almost exclusively for strings and acoustic jazz), Moondog 2a3 monoblocks, Ray Samuels F117 Nighthawk phono stage and Clearaduio Performance with a Dynavector MC cart.

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That's one deep groove record you have there, Christopher! Nice tight nuts, too.

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