Non-Adjustable Headshells? Pros and cons?

Again, my "gut" impression is that is caters to the newly vinyl adopting crowd. No need to adjust anything, just plug and play.
That was the idea behind P-mount cartridges...which for the most part were used on lower-end turntables. It was a good idea but the execution sometimes left a little to be desired.

Less than a mm off in overhang or zenith will differentiate good sound from great so what exactly are you trying to accomplish?
Small adjustments can make big differences...which is why I, too, don't buy into anything non-adjustable on a turntable. I made sure with my last turntable purchase that the arm could be adjusted in all directions as could the cartridge in its slots.
 

BillWojo

Junior Member
@ICTWoody, I have one of those top of the line AT headshells and it's VERY adjustable. That photo is misleading, there is a clamp screw at the bottom of the headshell. The barrel slides in the headshell and there is a slit at the bottom of the headshell that is clamped by a small socket head cap screw. It allows the barrel to slide in and out and also for rotation for azimuth adjustment. The two holes accommodate cartridges with mounting holes near either end of the cart.
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As far as cartridge alignment goes, I think you can get away with some minor misalignment on a conical but as you go up the ladder it gets more and more critical. I don't own a microline but I understand that alignment is very critical. Seems there is a whole industry selling alignment tools with some of them selling for hundreds of dollars.
I use a simple two point protractor and it works well for me but I have never aligned anything harder than an elliptical.
One of my "tricks" I use on my Victor two arm build is to align the first cart on a newly installed arm using the protractor. Than I use a Denon clear plastic overhang gauge that has (4 )1mm markings on either side of the 50mm mark. I record the position, say 49mm and now I can quickly mount another cartridge on that arm by aligning the new cart to the 49mm mark.
Removing (6) 10-32 screws releases the arm board to mount another arm. If I put the arm back on, there is no play so the alignment is still spot on.
The fact that you have mounted cartridges without aligning them indicates that you have been very lucky. And maybe you have left something on the table.......

BillWojo
 
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I don't really understand the headshells with multiple sets of holes in them. With various cartridges, it may be possible to get only so close to perfect alignment. Is that enough? Maybe, but I just don't see the point.

On the other hand, I quite like the headshells with one or two sets of cartridge mounting holes and a different screw that allows the whole headshell to slide in relation to the collet (The AT-LH13H, LH15H, and LH18H are like this). One thing I really hate about normal headshells is how difficult it is to keep the cartridge parallel while adjusting for overhang. This solves that problem, as you can make sure the cartridge is parallel to the headshell, secure it with the screws, and then adjust for overhang separately.

I also like the older style Technics headshells with the cartridge sled that is adjusted with a single screw on top. You attach the cartridge to the sled, and then you move the sled back and forth to achieve proper overhang. The cartridge can be rotated slightly, but I find it is far easier to align it parallel with the headshell using the single sled screw than the two cartridge screws on the later style headshells. I really wish Technics kept that design.
 

BillWojo

Junior Member
Ok, I did a little googling and came across some pics showing that both the AT T17 and the Yamamoto also have adjustment of the barrel via setscrews. The ATLH series is a much better design. No setscrews, a real clamp.
The Fidelity Research headshell has a sled that slides, locked into position by the screw on top. The SME is adjusted at the tonearm base.
So everyone of those headshells allows a cartridge to be precisely aligned.

On Edit: If you look at the bottom of that Denon DL-A110 cartridge it looks like two screws to loosen the barrel. Unless that headshell was built for a specific arm on a specific table there HAS to be some kind of adjustment. Denon isn't that stupid.

BillWojo
 
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ICTWoody

Junior Member
Ok, I did a little googling and came across some pics showing that both the AT T17 and the Yamamoto also have adjustment of the barrel via setscrews. The ATLH series is a much better design. No setscrews, a real clamp.
The Fidelity Research headshell has a sled that slides, locked into position by the screw on top. The SME is adjusted at the tonearm base.
So everyone of those headshells allows a cartridge to be precisely aligned.

On Edit: If you look at the bottom of that Denon DL-A110 cartridge it looks like two screws to loosen the barrel. Unless that headshell was built for a specific arm on a specific table there HAS to be some kind of adjustment. Denon isn't that stupid.

BillWojo

This is what I’m getting at. Denon isn’t a new kid on the block just tryin to grab money. I’m curious why there are so many options that don’t have slots.

I see that many, like the ATs and Denon have the sleeve setup. So azimuth and overhang are adjustable, but I was wondering why it’s NOT had to find headshell as that lack rotation alignment.

- Woody
 

ICTWoody

Junior Member
OK Woody, I'll stop trying to convince you that adjustable alignment is worth it. You seem to have great sounding systems and your style is not to be faulted. Awaiting your results!

I’m sorry if I’m coming off combative. It’s not my intention at all. Except for my Well Tempered, I’ve never owned a headshell that isn’t fully slotted... I’m very much a freak on my setups and that why I raised the question. Cause it seems like higher end you’d want ALL the adjustments, like the Arche Headshell etc...

I think you misunderstood me. I’m only getting the limited edition Denon cause it’s cool cause of the collectibility and I can get it deeply discounted for about the same as a standard DL103 costs. It might not even stay in the dedicated headshell.

My question wasn’t to debate the pros and cons of slotted vs non really. Although i did say pros and cons in my title. It was more of a WHY so many reputable companies would choose to omit that rotation adjustment in their top offerings.

- Woody
 

ICTWoody

Junior Member
Maybe it is just an evolution thing. I mean... conical styli is a good point that alignment perhaps doesn’t have to be as exact as LC etc...

Maybe fixed rotation is just coming from stuff like SPUs.

I dunno... just find it curious. I might play with some of these on my Schick and see how they shake out. Some of them DO look cool.

- Woody
 

Wntrmute2

Not So Mediocre Member
I'm assuming you know that Schick makes a beautiful graphite headshell for his tonearms. I have two and they are little chunks of art.
 

ICTWoody

Junior Member
I'm assuming you know that Schick makes a beautiful graphite headshell for his tonearms. I have two and they are little chunks of art.

I do. I might get one of them. It’s kinda spendy, but it’s high on the list. I might snag something cheaper to get me rolling. I guess it depends how much I sink into the deck getting it to playable.

- Woody
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I have a couple of old AT head shells with the multiple holes. By luck one position would always give me perfect alignment on my last table I used it on. I liked knowing the cart was square in the shell. it should be fine with a conical if off by a bit.

random 103 tidbit, it seems to align perfectly in the original Empire arm with non adjustable overhang, before they added a slotted insert. Almost as if there was once an attempt at a standard.
 

Wntrmute2

Not So Mediocre Member
One thing I forgot to mention is that even with holes, and not slots, on my SME-V, there is a bit of room to twist the cartridge at the headshell. I have never had difficulty aligning all the parameters on the SME including zenith. I suspect that even the headshells you are interested in, there will be a little "wiggle" room so to speak to do the same.
 

Kyle

Junior Member
The Naim Aro was a three hole fixed head shell arm made for the Linn Troika type 3 screw cartridge mounting. In this pic it's on an LP12 mounting board. We don't need no stinkin' adjustments. naim-aro.jpg
 
Pretty obvious that the pros/cons are:
Pros: Setup any cart - dial it in as best you can - huge range of adjustment
Cons: You are at the mercy of the manufacturer (that have their own opinions on cart setup.) - less range of adjustment.

I have lots of tools for cart setup - so I want the full ability to dial it in. It is probably over kill - but so goes the hobby.

 
Having all my gear pulled out - inspired me to slap my DL103 on my VPI Classic. What a pain that was - like changing a clutch. Sounds Great - but some fine tuning needed. Used the heavy arm vs the 3D arm.

VPI has way too many adjustments - but hey adjustments are good right?

 
ChrisO, isn't that a fixed headshell uni pivot? I bet that's loads of fun.

BillWojo
Yeah - I thought having two arms would make swapping carts really easy - but the 3D and the standard arm require lots of different changes to the arm platform and arm rest, etc - you end up making so many changes for each arm that swapping isn't as easy at it should be. I'm probably doing something wrong...
 
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