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The Importance of Anti-skate, Do decks without it skew left?
Knowzy
post Oct 1 2008, 22:49
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In our last conversation, we came up with three increasingly strignent criterium for selecting a decent USB turntable:
  1. Ceramic cartridge never!
  2. Anti-skate
  3. Direct drive (remember, these are sub-$1,000 turntables)
I'm having particular trouble explaining the anti-skate requirement.

Here's what I'm hoping HA can answer:
  • Do turntables without anti-skate, such as the Audio-Technica LP2D-USB, truly have no compensation and ride the inner groove like a surfer catching a wave?
  • Someone at the Vinyl Engine suggested that the weight of the "high mass" tonearms found on such TT's essentially force the stylus into the middle of the groove. Thoughts on this?
I need some compelling reasons to choose a deck with anti-skate, especially for people who don't plan on replacing the cart.

There's already a good reason to choose a TT without anti-skate: Newbies don't need to learn how to balance their tonearm.

Thanks!
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Axon
post Oct 1 2008, 23:12
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QUOTE (Knowzy @ Oct 1 2008, 16:49) *
Here's what I'm hoping HA can answer:
  • Do turntables without anti-skate, such as the Audio-Technica LP2D-USB, truly have no compensation and ride the inner groove like a surfer catching a wave?
You might want to clarify that some?

QUOTE
  • Someone at the Vinyl Engine suggested that the weight of the "high mass" tonearms found on such TT's essentially force the stylus into the middle of the groove. Thoughts on this?
Not true, I believe. Certainly, the skating force is a force, so that the force acting upon a heavier object will cause less motion as the object becomes heavier. But given that the motion of the tonearm is already constrained by the groove, I don't see how that really affects anything.

Moreover, the skating force is proportional to the frictional force between the stylus and groove - which is proportional to the tracking force. And cheaper tonearms tend to have heavier-tracking cartridges. One could, in fact, make the statement that cheaper cartridges are often in greater need of antiskate than more expensive cartridges for that reason.

QUOTE
I need some compelling reasons to choose a deck with anti-skate, especially for people who don't plan on replacing the cart.


The most compelling reason I can offer is that it improves tracking ability by a substantial amount. Not getting antiskate right = much greater risk of skipped grooves.

Moreover, when recording to the computer, having an antiskate that's adjustable on the fly (like the knobs on the PL120 and SL1200) means that if you do encounter groove skipping, you can slowly lower the antiskate until the skipping stops, then quickly raise it back up again to reduce the risk of skipping forward. I've had to do that several times with particularly irascible records. Once it's all recorded, you can patch up the skips quite cleanly, to the point where the digitized record tracks better than the real one ever did!

The traditional compelling reason for antiskate is that it improves cartridge lifetimes significantly. I guess this isn't as much of a concern when the stylus costs $30 to begin with (if that), but it's a big concern for more expensive stylii. Also, record wear obviously goes down, but if the record will only be played once, it's not clear how big of a deal it is.

QUOTE
There's already a good reason to choose a TT without anti-skate: Newbies don't need to learn how to balance their tonearm.
I'd say that unless the cartridge is a P-Mount to begin with, one should always, without exception, balance/align their tonearm. Too many of them are not well balanced coming out of the factory. There'
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2Bdecided
post Oct 2 2008, 11:48
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QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 1 2008, 23:12) *
The most compelling reason I can offer is that it improves tracking ability by a substantial amount. Not getting antiskate right = much greater risk of skipped grooves.
I'm sure you know (because you talk about dynamically altering it to avoid skipping, and then setting it back where it should be), but just to state: that's not what it's there for!

It's there to make the stylus track properly - which, due to the slightly faster movement of the outer wall than the inner wall of a given groove, it can't by default. This difference introduces a pre-disposition to sit slightly to the side of the centre of the groove, and this can be heard as additional distortion, especially on specially designed torture test signals. You adjust it to minimise this distortion when playing a test record.

As has been said, a deck without this adjustment is either pre-set correctly (or otherwise), or so bad that this little detail is the least of its worries. There are plenty of decks with anti-skate adjustment that are so terrible as to not need it. It's just another tick on the marketing sheet.


The OP implies there are "good" USB turntables - but are there? It might be a simple solution, but surely the "good" solution is a decent turntable, reasonable pre-amp, and reasonable sound card.

Cheers,
David.

P.S. it seems an American obsession with direct drive - I don't get it either. Good direct drive could be great, but belt drive is far easier to get right - a high mass platter and decent bearing is half way there. Enough over-engineering makes the motor itself almost irrelevant. These are two different approaches, and the question is: which one degrade most gracefully at the given price point? It depends, but generally, belt drive is preferred.

Cheers,
David.
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WmAx
post Oct 2 2008, 16:19
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Oct 2 2008, 06:48) *
P.S. it seems an American obsession with direct drive - I don't get it either. Good direct drive could be great, but belt drive is far easier to get right - a high mass platter and decent bearing is half way there. Enough over-engineering makes the motor itself almost irrelevant. These are two different approaches, and the question is: which one degrade most gracefully at the given price point? It depends, but generally, belt drive is preferred.

Cheers,
David.


I'm a bit confused. And I am an American - so maybe that's why. smile.gif But, based on my research and observations, the entry-level priced belt drives from say, Rega, Pro-Ject and Music Hall(the most popular 3 recommendations I see given), are toys compared to the similarly priced direct drive Technics SL-1200MKII. The 'audiophile' units in this price range are nothing more than a single, non-reinforced slab of cheap painted MDF. The Technics is superior in just about every way - and it's a serious professional tool with speed stability that is going to exceed most decks at any price, and it has an inert build for all intents and purposes of it's job, with a 4+ lb cast platter with double rubber constrained dampening, and the chassis is substantial cast aluminum with substantial dampening. The arm is not the best on the SL-1200MKII, I do admit, as it measures higher resonance amplitude as compared to the standard Rega RB300 arm. But you can easily upgrade the arm to a RB300, for example, for a really high quality deck in every regard.(There are some excellent deals on RB300 re-badges on eBay right now) It would be worth it to even put a premium grade arm on the SL-1200MKII, such as some of those excellent performers in the $1k+ range. Just so you know, I don't have a SL-1200MKII, so I'm not some fan/obsessed owner. I have a deck that costs a lot more than the solutions here - but before I bought my deck I was looking at this lower price range and discovered that none of these entry level belt-drives is a good example of engineering and real performance, as compared to the SL-1200MKII. Plus the quality of the motor, and actual deck, give you an excellent table to make it worth upgrading the arm.

-Chris

This post has been edited by WmAx: Oct 2 2008, 16:24
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Posts in this topic
- Knowzy   The Importance of Anti-skate   Oct 1 2008, 22:49
- - Axon   QUOTE (Knowzy @ Oct 1 2008, 16:49) Here...   Oct 1 2008, 23:12
|- - Knowzy   QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 1 2008, 15:12) QUOTE (K...   Oct 1 2008, 23:34
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 1 2008, 23:12) The most...   Oct 2 2008, 11:48
|- - WmAx   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Oct 2 2008, 06:48) P.S...   Oct 2 2008, 16:19
- - cliveb   QUOTE (Knowzy @ Oct 1 2008, 22:49) In our...   Oct 2 2008, 08:54
|- - Soap   QUOTE (cliveb @ Oct 2 2008, 03:54) Indeed...   Oct 2 2008, 11:14
|- - cliveb   QUOTE (Soap @ Oct 2 2008, 11:14) This arg...   Oct 2 2008, 16:25
- - Axon   So, I haven't had a whole lot of experience in...   Oct 2 2008, 17:25
|- - WmAx   QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 2 2008, 12:25) So, I ha...   Oct 2 2008, 17:55
|- - Axon   QUOTE (WmAx @ Oct 2 2008, 11:55) Time to ...   Oct 2 2008, 22:33
|- - WmAx   QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 2 2008, 17:33) QUOTE (W...   Oct 2 2008, 22:49
|- - Axon   QUOTE (WmAx @ Oct 2 2008, 16:49) I looked...   Oct 3 2008, 07:24
|- - WmAx   QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 3 2008, 02:24) Besides ...   Oct 3 2008, 07:37
|- - honestguv   QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 3 2008, 08:24) QUOTE (W...   Oct 3 2008, 10:40
- - Knowzy   My anti-skate questions are answered, so let me ge...   Oct 2 2008, 22:13
|- - botface   QUOTE (Knowzy @ Oct 2 2008, 22:13) My ant...   Oct 3 2008, 07:10
|- - Knowzy   QUOTE (botface @ Oct 2 2008, 23:10) QUOTE...   Oct 3 2008, 18:54
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Knowzy @ Oct 3 2008, 18:54) Let...   Oct 6 2008, 16:01
- - Paul Sanders   I think anti-skate is very important. I made the ...   Oct 3 2008, 19:03
- - Knowzy   QUOTE (cliveb @ Oct 2 2008, 00:54) QUOTE ...   Oct 5 2008, 21:01
- - Knowzy   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Oct 6 2008, 08:01) Min...   Oct 6 2008, 20:45


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