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Set-up

1. How to set up turntable
2. How to set tracking force to provide best performance?
3. What is the optimum tracking weight setting for the cartridge?
4. How to set the tracking weight adjustment?
5. What is anti-skating, and how should it be set?
6. What is the purpose of angling the cartridge on an S-shaped arm to crudely emulate a straight tonearm?
7. Are there any other tips to maintain the tonearm connections on the turntable?
8. What should the tonearm height be set at for the cartridge?
9. What is the best way to align and mount OM cartridge to the headshell itself?
10. Can Concorde cartridge be used on straight-arm turntable?
11. Can I angle my cartridge to crudely emulate a straight tonearm?

1. How to set up turntable

Download the manual: HOW TO SET-UP TURNTABLE


2. How to set tracking force to provide best performance?


DJs that use Technics 1200/1210 turntables may need to remove the small cylindrical sub-weight from the rear of the tonearm in order to achieve high enough tracking forces. This sub-weight is located directly on the rear of the tonearm, behind where the counterweight attaches. 

  • With the weight installed, Concorde cartridges will only be able to achieve 2 grams of tracking force.
  • With this weight removed, Concorde cartridges will be able to achieve approximately 4.75 grams of tracking force. 

Additional weight can be applied by turning the counterweight backwards so that the number scale faces the rear of the turntable. 

When using OM style cartridges, the weight of the headshell being used will tend to dictate how much weight can be applied. It may be necessary to use the weight plate included with the OM cartridge, which should be sandwiched between the top of the cartridge and the headshell during mounting.


3. What is the optimum tracking weight setting for the Ortofon cartridge?


This information can be found in the pamphlet included with your cartridge or in the products section. There are two specifications that you should pay attention to - Tracking Force Range and Tracking Force Recommended:

  • Tracking Force Range refers to the scope of weight that can be applied to the cartridge while still maintaining proper playback. 
  • Tracking Force Recommended refers to the optimal weight which will result in the best combination of groove holding and sound. Deviating outside of the Tracking Force Range may result in undesired operation, and therefore should be avoided.


4. How exactly do I set the tracking weight adjustment?


On the rear of the tonearm is a counterweight which consists of two parts – the adjustment dial and the weight itself. 

  • First, remove the plastic stylus guard from the cartridge.
  • Next, turn the weight in the appropriate direction so that the cartridge floats directly above the platter – it should not make contact with the platter, nor should it point up in the air.
  • When you have achieved this point, immediately lock the tonearm in its rest, and then move only the adjustment dial (not the weight itself) to ‘0’. 
  • Finally, turn the entire assembly (both the dial and the weight itself) until you achieve the desired weight. 

Take care not to deviate outside of the Tracking Force Range as specified by the included documentation, as it may result in skipping, poor sound quality, or unnecessary wear on your vinyl.


5. What is anti-skating, and how should it be set?


Anti-skating is an adjustment designed to counteract the force generated as the stylus is drawn towards the spindle. For DJ use, anti-skating should be set to ‘0’, due to the necessity of backcueing. Setting anti-skating at ‘0’ allows the stylus to follow the groove adequately, regardless of what direction the record is moving. For playback and/or transcription use (as with the Ortofon Arkiv cartridge), the anti-skating value should approximately match the tracking weight applied to the cartridge.

Note: Some DJs, despite doing backcueing and/or scratching, prefer to set the anti-skating at ½ the value of the tracking weight. This is a personal preference, and should be experimented to your particular liking.


6. What is the purpose of angling the cartridge on an S-shaped arm to crudely emulate a straight tonearm?


Since straight tonearms which are shorter-than-normal tend to provide better skip resistance in some scenarios, DJs with traditional S-shaped arms have emulated this design by rotating their headshell-mounted cartridges (like our OM series) 23 degrees counterclockwise. Since these straight arms cause significantly more vinyl wear, a cartridge mounted to emulate these arms will also cause immediate damage to the record being played. This is not to mention that there will be more distortion during playback, because the diamond is being held at in improper angle. 

In some cases, DJs feel this is a worthy trade-off, because the stylus tends to stick to the groove better than with traditional alignment.  Other DJs feel that this is a short-cut to proper scratching technique, and that a well-seasoned DJ should not rely on this method in absence of proper skills.

It is Ortofon’s perspective that this should not be done, as it does reduce the life of the stylus, damages the record prematurely, and leads to lower sound quality. This has not stopped DJs from using this method, but the pitfalls of it should be understood first before deciding to do so.


7. Are there any other tips to maintain the tonearm connections on the turntable?


The tonearm contacts should be cleaned gently with contact spray at least once per year. This helps remove any oxidation from the contacts and helps to prevent stiffening of the spring-loaded contact assembly inside of the tonearm. 

It is also advised to use a small amount of contact spray on the contacts on the rear of the cartridge.  A small amount of preventative maintenance every year will ensure proper function for years to come.


8. What should the tonearm height be set at for the cartridge?


Depending on the type of cartridge, the type of headshell, the turntable, thickness of the slipmat or the rubmat, and the mounting hardware used, there is no definitive answer. 

Adjust the height ring found at the base of the tonearm until the bottom tonearm itself is parallel to the record during playback. This will ensure best sound quality and tracking.


9. What is the best way to align and mount OM cartridge to the headshell itself?


First of all, you may want to use the headshell weight included in the package, which should be sandwiched between the headshell and the top of the cartridge. This will provide more weight to the cartridge body, which can come in handy depending on your turntable and tonearm. 

Secondly, it is quite important to achieve the proper overhang by means of the gauge that should be supplied with your turntable (it is the white plastic piece included with all Technics 1200 turntables). With the cartridge mounted loosely in the headshell, attach the overhang gauge to the back of the headshell, with the protruding plastic shaft sitting below the cartridge. Align the diamond tip with the arrow found on the end of the plastic shaft. All that will provide the appropriate overhang. Tighten the screws carefully, as not to upset the alignment just performed. 

Then follow the above directions for Tracking Weight, Anti-Skating and Tonearm Height.

Note: If you do not own an overhang gauge, here are two alternative options that will assist in achieving the appropriate overhang:

  • Use a ruler to achieve a distance of 52mm between the stylus tip and the inner cuff of the headshell.
  • Align the front top mounting portion of the cartridge to the very front of the headshell's mounting holes, so that the front portion just covers all of the empty space.


10. Can Concorde cartridge be used on straight-arm turntable?


First of all, straight arm DJ turntables are designed strictly for sheer groove-holding capability, and not for fidelity.  Harmonic distortion on a short, straight tonearm will increase by double, which can limit the effectiveness of any great sounding cartridge, regardless of manufacturer. 

Using a Concorde cartridge will work fine, granted that is a spherical stylus.  It should be noted that an elliptical stylus will likely not sit properly within the groove, and may result in unbalanced sound reproduction on this type of tonearm.


11. Can I angle my cartridge to crudely emulate a straight tonearm?


The practice of angling the cartridge 23 degrees counterclockwise directly against the tonearm pivot is a practice that is sometimes performed to increase tracking. However, this will cause excessive wear to your vinyl and also your stylus.  This will also result in diminished sound quality, and is not recommended.

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Do you have a question for Ortofon?

We are ready to answer your questions and to help put you on the right path to information. So please feel free to e-mail us: support@ortofon.dk