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  1. #1

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    Default 180g vinyl: lead-in groove tracking problems

    I recently got a turntable (Technics 1210M5G and Denon DL160 cartridge). Up til now, it's worked fine with my old vinyl. I have it set at 1.6 grams, right in the middle of the recommended range, and anti-skating to match.

    Even though I swore I wouldn't buy any *new* vinyl, I did buy three 180g pressings for xmas. All 3 (and it's 3 different record labels) won't track the lead-in groove. When I set the needle down it skips in several grooves, missing the first few seconds.

    Increasing to 1.8 grams and increasing the anti-skating to 2.0 seems to be necessary (and even that only works sometimes) to get it to play from the beginning.

    What is it about 180g pressings that would make this problem only appear with them?
    (though they sure sound good once they get going)

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    what is the high end of the tracking force for your cart?
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

  3. #3

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    1.9 grams is the max for the DL160.

    1.6 worked just fine for the couple dozen regular vinyl records I've played, and it tracks the 180g vinyl fine once it gets past the lead-in groove.

    Do you find you need higher tracking force for your 180g vinyl?

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    The lead in bead on 180 & 200 gm pressings are thicker and wider than your run-of-the-mill vinyl. If the DL160 is a low compliance or even a medium compliance cartridge that may be your issue. Check the spec sheet for the cart and see what the compliance is and make sure it is a good match for your tonearm.

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    I had this issue as well with my DL160 and my Yamaha PX-3. I had to run 2grams tracking force for a bit. Once I releveled the table and corrected the tracking angle the trouble went away. I am running 1.3grams tracking force now without difficulty.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    The lead in bead on 180 & 200 gm pressings are thicker and wider than your run-of-the-mill vinyl. If the DL160 is a low compliance or even a medium compliance cartridge that may be your issue. Check the spec sheet for the cart and see what the compliance is and make sure it is a good match for your tonearm.

    The tonearm weight without the cartridge is 12g. I added the 4g screw-in weight because the cartridge is light (4.8g).

    The cartridge compliance is 10x10-6 cm/dyne.

    So I guess the combination is a low compliance cartridge with a moderate mass tonearm, which is supposed to be a good match according to this:
    http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/how...cartridge.html

    I leveled the tonearm based on regular thickness vinyl, so with the thicker 180g the cartridge end is slightly higher. Should I level it with the 180g instead?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubinga99 View Post

    I leveled the tonearm based on regular thickness vinyl, so with the thicker 180g the cartridge end is slightly higher. Should I level it with the 180g instead?
    I'm confused. If you level the tonearm it should remain level despite the record thickness. Are you sure the cartridge end of the tonearm JUST looks like it's higher because of the record thickness?

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    Use a stylus gage to make sure the tracking force dial is on the money.
    >
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    >This message has been scanned by the NSA and found to be free of harmful intent.<

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    Sorry, my bad. There is an overall arm height adjustment at the pivot end of the arm, which you set based on the cartridge height, using a table in the owners manual. That's what I meant, as opposed to balancing.

    In the manual for the turntable they say you can also check this height by eye-balling it with the cartridge playing a record, and if the arm isn't level, adjust the height (not while it's playing) and check it again.

    So what I didn't describe very well is I could re-adjust this height based on the thickness of 180g vinyl, so the arm is horizontal in that case. But that would mean the cartridge end is sloping down for regular vinyl.

    Is there one geometry that is more prone to skipping than the other (i.e. cartridge end lower versus higher) since I can't have it both ways at a fixed setting?

    (edit: John, is this height adjustment what you mean by tracking angle?)
    Last edited by Bubinga99; 12-27-2009 at 09:53 PM.

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    I have had some isses with some of the 180g myself with raspy sounding like mistracking sounding. Tried it with the 160 and a goldring 1042 . Same on both.

    The hight VTA is what I think you are refering to. YES that does make a differece.

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    Assuming tha your VTA is optimal, you might want to try tracking at the higher end of your cart.specs.My setup (scout and dyna cart) runs better at the higher end of the dart tracking force (2 grams).Good luck,and keep us posted.
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubinga99 View Post
    Sorry, my bad. There is an overall arm height adjustment at the pivot end of the arm, which you set based on the cartridge height, using a table in the owners manual. That's what I meant, as opposed to balancing.

    In the manual for the turntable they say you can also check this height by eye-balling it with the cartridge playing a record, and if the arm isn't level, adjust the height (not while it's playing) and check it again.

    So what I didn't describe very well is I could re-adjust this height based on the thickness of 180g vinyl, so the arm is horizontal in that case. But that would mean the cartridge end is sloping down for regular vinyl.

    Is there one geometry that is more prone to skipping than the other (i.e. cartridge end lower versus higher) since I can't have it both ways at a fixed setting?

    (edit: John, is this height adjustment what you mean by tracking angle?)
    What you are describing is the vertical tracking angle (VTA). I set my VTA to what I determined to be the average thickness of all my records. P85 is dead on about using a stylus force guage to make sure the dial on your tonearm is correct. You can get one for as little as $20.

    EDIT: oooopppps didn't see the above two posts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by george daniel View Post
    Assuming tha your VTA is optimal, you might want to try tracking at the higher end of your cart.specs.My setup (scout and dyna cart) runs better at the higher end of the dart tracking force (2 grams).Good luck,and keep us posted.
    That would adjust the SRA (stylus rake angle) which will have a much more dramatic effect on dialing in your table.

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    I'm running the same TT and cartridge without any problems. I have the vertical tracking force on my Denon at 1.3g and the VTA set to it's lowest point. My anti-skate is set just a hair more than the VTF. Try backing the weight off a little and see if that helps. You might want to double check to ensure the cartridge is mounted properly also.

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    Thanks for the info guys. I put the tracking force and anti-skating back to 1.6g and messed with the VTA.

    I had the VTA set based on a table in the manual, using the cartridge height from its manual, at 0.5mm. Increasing this to about 4mm gives reliable tracking of the lead-in grooves on 180g vinyl. With the VTA set at 2mm it still won't track, and at 3mm it tracks about 3 out of 4.

    So, while this solves the tracking problem with 180g vinyl, it's quite a bit higher than the recommended setting. Are there any wear or sound quality issues to be concerned about, with the VTA higher than the recommended height?

    I might be able to drop the VTA a bit with a bit higher tracking force. Haven't tried that yet.

    (edit: Keiko, didn't see your post until my latest was posted. I'll try lighter as well, VTA back to original, and check the mount)
    Last edited by Bubinga99; 12-27-2009 at 11:03 PM.

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    Remember the 180 is thicker and slightly higher... The 1200, that is one of my fave things. I have had other tables where to change the vta you had to dtake part of it apart! Was a pain in the but!!

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    Here are the specs on the DL-160. Recommended VTF is 1.6g.


    Type - Moving Coil

    Output voltage - 1.6mV

    Frequency range - 20Hz - 50kHz

    Recommended load impedance over 47 kohms

    Channel balance @ 1 kHz 1.0dB

    Channel separation @ 1 kHz >25dB

    Stylus tip 0.07 x 0.14mm special elliptical solid diamond

    Compliance 10 x 10-6 cm/dyne

    Recommended tracking force - 1.6g+/- 0.3g

    Color - Blue Swirl

    Weight - 4.8g
    Last edited by Keiko; 12-27-2009 at 11:09 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubinga99 View Post
    Thanks for the info guys. I put the tracking force and anti-skating back to 1.6g and messed with the VTA.

    I had the VTA set based on a table in the manual, using the cartridge height from its manual, at 0.5mm. Increasing this to about 4mm gives reliable tracking of the lead-in grooves on 180g vinyl. With the VTA set at 2mm it still won't track, and at 3mm it tracks about 3 out of 4.

    So, while this solves the tracking problem with 180g vinyl, it's quite a bit higher than the recommended setting. Are there any wear or sound quality issues to be concerned about, with the VTA higher than the recommended height?

    I might be able to drop the VTA a bit with a bit higher tracking force. Haven't tried that yet.

    (edit: Keiko, didn't see your post until my latest was posted. I'll try lighter as well, VTA back to original, and check the mount)
    If you hear any distortion while playing your regular records then I would lower the VTA as distortion is the stylus not tracking correctly and will wear out your records.

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    Also, it's very important to make sure the table itself is dead level.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    That would adjust the SRA (stylus rake angle) which will have a much more dramatic effect on dialing in your table.
    Yep-- you are correct sir,:o, and that is why I paid to have mine setup,:o,LOL,,I probabally need to watch the vidieo again, as I just installed(myself) the VPI aftermarket "antiskate",,I'm keeping quiet from here on.To the OP--did you get it dialed in ?
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fongolio View Post
    Also, it's very important to make sure the table itself is dead level.
    +1 Good point Fong.

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    Should have thought of this earlier....Check the stylus kick cancel/anti-skip. It's a small weight at the back of the tonearm. This is used strictly for the DJ's when scratching. It's basically useless, but can cause problems if not set properly. Anyway, make sure it's turned completely counterclockwise and see if that helps with your issue. When I first set up my 1210, my records would play fine up to a certain point, then the tonearm would kick back on the vinyl. I'm betting this is what's causing your problem.



    You can see the stylus kick adjustment in this pic. It's the small knob left and just about center in this image. About 10:00 oclock. Make sure it's turned completely towards the back (counterclockwise) of the table.
    Last edited by Keiko; 12-28-2009 at 08:21 AM.

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