Turntable question

Hey, all. Question for you experts.

I have a Pioneer PLX-1000 (Technics SL 1200 clone) with an Ortofon 2M Blue and I recently adjusted the tonearm height above that recommended for the cartridge. And frankly, it sounds a LOT better. Much quieter, less record noise, better soundstage… all I can figure is that as thick as records have become with the 180+ gram pressings, that the recommendation was kind of low. So.

Is this adjustment going to be bad for the records or the stylus over the long term? When I move it up say 3 mm above recommended, that’s about how much thicker most of my newer pressings seem to be.

Do I trust my ears or the manual here?

Always trust you ears. I believe you will listen and enjoy music more if you do what sounds better to you.

Check if you not also use too much weight.

If not, trust your ears and use the lowest level you get those improvements.

1-3 mm is not that much…just take a short look at the SRA recommendations. A little more height than parallel is better!

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How are you measuring tracking force? One of the lesser known tidbits is that when you use a scale that raises the stylus above the level of the LP it will read high. In other words, if the scale says 2.0 grams on the scale, it could be 1.8 grams when on the LP. Not too many scales are as thin as an LP, but maybe you can do a temporary platform right next to the platter and get the height of the scale just right. Of course there may be something else going on here, but it’s a thought.

Between 200g, 180g and regular, there might be only a few mm height difference and based upon calculation, It won’t change much of VTA, especially if you have long tune arm. I followed the exact process as Jazznut’s link above get it closer to 92 degrees, but I hardly change VTA on the fly with various LPs; Again, trust your ears as many suggested and that will be the final guide; cheers:-)

I have not done a measurement. I set up the weight and tracking force based on the guidance given with the cartridge.

Forgive my ignorance. I’m still living in mid-fi land.

Hi pmotz, for my tunable cartridge adjustment, I raise the base of tune arm when measuring tracking forces, since the gage is as you put it thicker than the vinyl; I would raise the VTA base to make the arm relatively parallel when the stylus is on the gage measuring pad; Also, I would add 10% more than what the recommended weight, this was recommended by the tunetable manual; After I done the tracking force measurement, I will restore the base to where it was before; The tricker adjustments are the azimuth and anti-skating from my experience;

No problem! Wasn’t sure how you were measuring and made an assumption you were using a stylus force gage, in this case a wrong one. I will assume again that the Pioneer has some sort of “calibrated” dial or similar that you twist to change tracking force. If so might be a good idea to find someone who has a stylus force gage and use it to check your turntable. Better safe than sorry.

Raising and lowering the arm is the perfect solution! The only problem is not all tonearms can be easily raised and lowered. I have a VPI which can be easily raised and lowered and I found this tidbit on the VPI forum.

Honestly, a stylus gage isn’t that expensive. I’ll pick one up and see what it says. Thanks.

I just ordered and used the Riverstone Audio Precision Record-Level Turntable Stylus Tracking Force Pressure Gauge / Scale. It was fairly easy to use and seems precise. You calibrate using weights they supply. Was about $28. I used it set-up my brother’s Technics SL1200. I was surprised how inaccurate the counter-weight dial was compared to the gauge.