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Topic: Anti-skating discussion (Read 5909 times) previous topic - next topic
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Anti-skating discussion

In another thread:
Considering I was the only one here who thought the OP's problem was related to AS, and I later retracted that, I'd suggest starting a new thread should you wish to discuss AS any further, since it is off topic at this point.

OK, here we go...

First off, skating force, which is directly dictated by the frictional drag, is not constant at all; it varies greatly due to many factors such as the groove radius (distance from the center spindle), record speed, condition, and the modulation level of the particular musical passage being played.

I never said it was constant. Yes, it varies, and any anti-skate setting will be a compromise, but the crucial point is that there is *always* some degree of inwards force. In my book, that means that some amount of compensation - provided it is not too great - is better than none at all.

If, hypothetically, one sets their AS so as to play the most demanding, highly modulated torture track on their Hi-Fi News test record, then guess what? They will have set their AS so high that the pressure applied to the outer groove wall, on normal musical passages, exceeds the unwanted pressure they would have had on their inner wall, if they hadn't used any AS in the first place!

So what you're saying is that it is possible to set AS too high. I don't see how that's relevant to a discussion of whether it is desirable. The ability to misuse of a facility doesn't mean it shouldn't be offered. You can set tracking force too high as well, if you want.

If you want to argue that many people will get it wrong and set it too high, that's fair enough - but i don't see how the danger that some users will get it wrong justifies denying the facility to everyone.

My gut feel is that just as many will set it too low. But too low is not a problem: it's still better than none at all.

As one example, when you play a record where the center hole has not been properly punched out at the true center of the actual groove pattern, a not uncommon occurrence, then this causes one's tonearm to sway in and out, per rotation, and the friction of the counterweight's thread scraping back and forth over its post (recurring every 1.8 seconds at 33.33 RPM), might cause a noise which travels down the arm

Perhaps this is a good reason to use spring based AS rather than thread and weight?

From VPI's FAQ's page:


ANSWER- Most times NO! Some cartridge manufacturers are happier if you use anti-skate, such as Sound Smith's Peter Lederman, who believes in the sonic and mechanical advantages of it. At VPI we can hear it working, so we do not use it, and not just ours - we can hear them all working, as the center hole of the record is not dead center. This causes the anti-skate mechanism to pull and release the arm as it is doing its job."

Let's analyse this. He's suggesting that the eccentricity requires the arm to move back and forth, and any resistance to this causes audible problems. Well, the resistance of the arm against the required movement means that the stylus will move instead, generating an unwanted signal. And on a 33.3rpm LP, that unwanted signal will be at 0.555Hz. A sub-1Hz signal is only a problem if it saps all the power of the amplifier and pushes it into overload; the signal itself is not audible per se. I would have thought that this sub-1Hz signal is unlikely to be as big an issue as the dynamic wow caused by the variation in groove speed due to the eccentricity.

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