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Get familiar with the reaction system: Introducing the Reaction System


This is the way things go. Back before the virus, I hit every yardsale possible in search of records and a decent turntable. Nothing but cheap junk so I finally gave up and ordered a used Dual 1237 off ebay since they have a good reputation, German build quality, and it met the budget. A week later while casually thumbing through facebook marketplace, I came across a local with another Dual for sale. Well $hit, cannot pass this up. As luck would have it, he had two Duals, a 1237 and 1257. The 1257 was an absolute cherry. Needless to say, even when cherry, some parts (stuerpimple) need replaced and old hard grease needs cleaned out and replaced with fresh.  And now there is plenty of time ...    
Now I have two TT's up and running with the first ebay 1237 still DIW. It's going to require some digging, and maybe a hammer.     
The needles are questionable and most of my vinyl older than these 40+ year old TT's, so there is a new AT85ep and Ortofon super om20 waiting to be mounted.
Have any TT experts in the audience that could guide me in the setup of cartridges? The vinyl is too precious to chance damaging and the needles are definitely not cheap either.                      


  • The main things you need to adjust are the stylus tracking weight and the 'anti-skate'.  The stylus tracking weight should be indicated in the documentation for your cartridge, and you need a stylus tracking weight measuring thingy.  This can be mechanical or electronic, with the mechanical ones being far cheaper: I use a mechanical one I got with a Connoisseur turntable about 40 years ago. You rest the stylus on the gauge and it tells you the tracking weight, which you then adjust with the counterweight or other mechanism on the tone-arm. 

    There will probably be an acceptable range of weights specified, I suggest using the heaviest if you have a few warped discs.

    'Anti-skate' is fitted to most turntables and the turntable manual should tell you how to adjust it.  As I understand it, this feature counter-acts the tendency of the tone-arm to skid towards the centre of the turntable, which puts undue pressure on the inner edge of the LP groove.  On my Pioneer turntable, the stylus tracking weight for the Ortofon moving coil cartridge is 2.5 grams and the manual advised to set the anti-skate at 2.5 also.  The higher the tracking weight, the higher the anti-skate setting - at least, I think that's what it said. Other turntables will have different ways to adjust this setting.

    As for mounting the cartridge in the head-shell, I've always used the very front position  - assuming you can slide the cartridge around in the slots for the mounting screws -  but have no basis for that other than an alleged sales person's advice.



  • I am no expert but you need to find out how the tracking force and anti - skate settings should be set.  Next you need a gauge to set the vertical tracking angle.  Shure used to sell a disc that would provide guidance for machine set up.  You also need a scale to measure your tracking force.  
  • edited May 13
    When I installed my new cartridge, I downloaded a paper alignment protractor in PDF format.  The protractor helps to align the stylus at two points.  I used the Baerwald alignment method, it seems to be fairly common.  Your tonearm may have a published spec for the overhang, that would be a good place to begin.  You could also buy one of the alignment protractors made with a mirror, it would probably make the alignment a bit more accurate.
    To set the tracking force, I adjust the weight until the tonearm just floats over the record with the stylus installed.  Then I zero out the dial on the weight and then adjust the weight to the cartridge specs.  Be careful not to damage the new stylus during this process.  A stylus force gauge would be a nice addition to this process.
    Then I set the anti-skate to match the tracking force.  If the anti-skate is too low, the stylus will skip along the top of the grooves towards the center of the record.
    Good luck and be patient.

  • Going to try this first with one of the better looking needles and a Beetles album that has something that looks like spots of glue stuck to it that no amount of cleaning, solution, or even trying to lift with elmers glue, has been able to remove.  For that matter, I have some albums where the plastic? sleeve rotted and stuck to the record and the cleaning solution basically glued the snow to the record.  Those took a long time to reclean and the contaminated solution would transfer the snow to another album.  It was one of those moments.  Got a scale back when buying the first ebay table so set there.  It was like $10.  Searching vinyl engine for a printable protractor.  Is that vertical tracking angle?  Downloaded all the owner/operator manuals (vinyl engine) plus the guy I purchased the pimples from had his own ~100 page pdf.  This old cartridge is an adc lx2.  Didn't find much on it but looks like the tracking force should be between 1.5 - 3 grams.  I'll set it on the heavier side like you guys suggested since almost all my records are flea market finds.       
    Down another rabbit hole we go.       
  • There are a couple of decent videos on you tube that talk about turntable  set up.  Check them out.  

    Vinyl TV
  • Vertical tracking angle is a different adjustment, I think related to the height of the tonearm.
  • I watched the videos done by Vinyl TV.  There are two.  The second explains most of the things you need to know.
  • I'll check out vinyl tv.
  • Couple of YouTube vids helped me get my 1200 dialed in nicely.
  • edited May 13
    Vinyl TV helped a lot.  Only one hiccup, he mentions when antiskate is set to 0 the arm should not move in either direction when above the platter.  This tonearm moves outward no matter where the antiskate dial is set; slowly at 0 and quicker as the dial increases.  Some digging shows this sounds normal for a Dual.  Going to print a strobe test disk and try that with an normal led light vs downloading an rpm app for the phone.  Something digital doesn't have, kool album art!  Starting the morning off with ...


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