R. Moore, Origin Live Silver Mk II Tonearm, Technics SL1200 Mk II Turntable
Hi Pete, I installed
the VTAF over the weekend. Just by eyeballing, it looked like the bottom plate of the armboard should go lower. I made this
judgment by comparing the height of the OL Silver II tonearm on the OL adapter plate, with the VTAF placed on the Technics
armboard and lowered all the way down. So I removed the stack of 11 washers and replaced with a 0.5" nylon spacer on
each of the 3 bolts. I’m currently using the Ortofon Super OM40 cartridge that has a short height. But later, based
on the position of the adjuster wheel that gave a negative VTA, I found that my judgment was amiss, and that the washer stack
would have been fine. I’ll go back to using the washers next time I have cause to dismantle my SL-1200 turntable. I appreciate that brass cartridge shims were included, but shouldn’t have to use them, as the
Technics armboard height is easily changed by adding/subtracting washers.
Installation of the armboard and VTAF was relatively easy. I do have the habit
of jerking the tonearm lift mechanism, which causes the adjuster wheel to tilt on the bushing. It was a little disconcerting
at first, but as your instructions note, the wheel quickly reseats itself flush on the bushing. Gentler handling is the cure,
as the instructions state.
It was interesting to take advantage of
the VTA adjustment on the fly. I could make the bass boomy and the highs closed in, or the bass recessed and the highs forward
at the VTA extremes. Apparently, this cartridge is not very sensitive to VTA, as there was a broad sweet spot in the middle,
comprising maybe two rotations over which the sound changed little. Of course, the position of this sweet spot changed with
the record thickness, so I will continue to make frequent use of this adjustment.
It’s really cool that I can just grab the tonearm and lift it out. I can’t
wait to show my buddies that trick. And this will facilitate easy cartridge swapping as I want
to try out a vintage Technics 205c Mk II that my friend has been raving about.
What’s the sound of the VTAF? In a word …… amazing! The VTAF has to be improving
the coupling of tonearm to plinth. This is important, to be sure, but just one of many things going on with phono playback.
So I’m stunned that it could make such a difference. There was more definition up and down the
audio spectrum. The bass had more slam and more tunefulness. The highs sparkled without edginess, and the midrange was beautiful
and engaging. There was a bigger and deeper soundstage, with better instrument placement within it. Noisy records still
sounded noisy, as the microcline stylus of the OM 40 will report every bit of dirt and groove wear. But the surface
noise was less bothersome, and seemed better isolated from the signal.
kudos to you for identifying a market need and filling it with an ingenious product.
Lee R. Moore