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Set-up Discs, Part Three

Dialing in the Azimuth

  (Item #: setup_azimuth) 

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

The Borodin title you see pictured has DEMO QUALITY SOUND OF THE HIGHEST ORDER!

One of the reasons this record is sounding so good today (1/12/05) is that I spent last weekend adjusting my Triplanar tonearm. The sound was bothering me somewhat, so I decided to start experimenting again with the azimuth adjustment. I changed the azimuth in the smallest increments I could manage, which on this arm are exceedingly small. At some point the bass started to go deeper, dynamics improved, and the overall tonal balance became fuller and richer.

More Set-Up Advice / More Audio Advice

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Set-up Discs, Part One

Start with a Large Scale Orchestral Recording

  (Item #: setup_orchestral_recording) 

Classical music is surely the ultimate test for proper turntable/arm/cartridge set-up. The Liszt recording you see pictured is a superb choice for adjusting tracking weight, VTA, azimuth and the like.

One of the reasons $10,000+ front ends exist is to play large scale, complex, difficult-to-reproduce music such as Liszt’s two piano concertos. You don’t need to spend that kind of money to play this record, but if you choose to, it would surely be the kind of record that can show you the sound your tens of thousands of dollars has paid for.

More Set-Up Advice / More Audio Advice

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Set-up Discs, Part Two

Dialing in the Anti-Skate

  (Item #: setup_anti-skate) 

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

I once adjusted my anti-skate while playing this very album, at the time dialing it in to a "T". Over the years I've found that the best test for fine anti-skate adjustment is massed strings, and not just at the end of a side but right at the beginning too.

When you have all the rosiny texture, the high-end harmonic extension, the least shrillness and the widest and deepest staging, you are there, assuming that tracking weight, azimuth and VTA are correct as well.

More Set-Up Advice / More Audio Advice

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10cc - Deceptive Bends

A Tough Test for Sibilance

  (Item #: tenccdecep_test) 

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you go about critically evaluating your copies of Deceptive Bends.

On side two the tonal balance is especially critical. Any boost to the top end will cause the vocals on the second track to SPIT LIKE CRAZY. This is a good test for how well your cartridge and arm are doing their jobs.

More 10cc

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Aretha Franklin - Amazing Grace

A Bit of Experimentation with VTA Can Really Pay Off

  (Item #: frankamazi_wtlf) 

This is a handy record for VTA setup, a subject we discuss at length below.

On the better copies Aretha's vocals are as dynamic as any you will ever hear, and unlike all the records she did with Tom Dowd, her voice never breaks up on this record. If you have big speakers that can play at loud levels, with the right volume level you can really get Aretha to belt it out like nothing you have ever heard.

See more of our Aretha Franklin albums in stock

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Bob and Ray - Throw a Stereo Spectacular

Our Favorite Record for Cartridge Setup

  (Item #: bobanthrow_setup) 

Bob and Ray Throw a Stereo Spectacular just happens to be our favorite Test Disc, eclipsing all others in the areas of naturalness and difficulty of reproduction. Any tweak or new room treatment -- we seem to do them almost weekly these days -- has to pass one test and one test only -- the Bob and Ray Test.

This record has the power to help you get to the next level in audio like no other. Six words hold the key to better sound: The Song of the Volga Boatman.

More Setup Advice / More Audio Advice

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Turntable Set Up Advice

Using Court and Spark

  (Item #: mitchcourt_setup) 

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Court and Spark.

There are loud vocal choruses on many tracks, and more often than not at their loudest they sound like they are either breaking up or threatening to do so. I always assumed it was compressor or board overload, which is easily heard on Down to You. On the best copies there is no breakup -- the voices get loud and they sound clean throughout.

More Court and Spark / More Joni Mitchell

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Ambrosia's First Album

Right at the Top of Our Difficulty of Reproduction Scale

  (Item #: ambroambro_setup) 

You can play hard-to-reproduce records all day long if your system is tuned up and working fine. Ours has to be, all day, every day. The shootouts we do require that everything is working properly or we simply couldn't do them.

But you can't play this record on such a system without retesting everything, because this is the Single Most Difficult to Reproduce Recording I know of, bar none.

More Ambrosia

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Mozart / Quintet - Piano + Winds & Trio

  (Item #: mozarquint_6109_vta) 

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your chamber music recordings.

This is a handy record for VTA setup as well. Listen for fullness and solidity, especially in the piano, although a rich, full sounding clarinet is a joy here as well.

More Mozart

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Dick Schory - Music for Bang, Baa-room and Harp

Listening In Depth

  (Item #: schorbangb_depth) 

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

What to listen for you ask? Top end, plain and simple. It's the RARE copy that really has the incredible extension of the side two we heard recently. The space, the clarity, the harmonic complexity -- perhaps one out of ten copies will show you a side two like that.

The highs are so good on this record you can use it as a setup tool. Adjust your VTA, tracking weight and the like for the most natural and clear top end, then check for all the other qualities you want to hear. You may just find yourself operating on a higher sonic plane than you ever thought possible.

See all of our Dick Schory albums in stock

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Table / Arm / Cartridge Set-up Advice

  (Item #: set-up) 

Click here for advice on how to go about adjusting tracking weight, Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA), azimuth, Anti-skate and the like.

This link will take you to more advice for improving the sound of your playback.

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Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA)

A Few Moments of Experimentation Can Really Pay Off

  (Item #: paganvioli_vta) 

Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically adjust your Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA).

Experimenting with the VTA for this record in preparation for a shootout we found a precise point where it all came together, far exceeding whatever expectations for the recording we had at the time. Correct VTA revealed what to our ears now sounded like a gloriously real violin floating in the room, a huge concert space surrounding it...

More recordings featuring the violin

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Turntable Tweaking Advice

Try This at Home, It Worked for Us

  (Item #: goodadvice) 

The Mapleshade website has a piece of audio advice that caught the eye of one our customers, who sent me the excerpt below.

Like most advice, especially Audio Advice, we find that some of it accords well with our own experience and some of it clearly does not. The relationship of good to bad is hard to determine without making a more careful study, but let's just say that there is plenty of both and leave it at that. That being the case, we thought it would be of service to our customers to break it down in more detail, separating the wheat from the chaff so to speak.

More Audio Advice

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Azimuth, VTA, Anti-Skate and Tracking Weight

We Got to Live Together

  (Item #: Azimuth) 

With a shout out to my man Sly!

In this listing you can find commentary and advice about tonearm azimuth adjustment, Ansermet’s recordings, Speakers Corner 180g pressings, and more.

More of the Best Recordings Made in Victoria Hall

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