Anti skating SME V

I am using my SME20/2A with a Dynavector XV-1s cartridge and it sounds good.

I have a question though. The cartridge tend to skip a bit (towards the spindle) when lowered on the run-in groove.
I have tried to set the anti skating to maximum (3) and this helps, but doesn't eliminate the problem. I have to be most careful when lowering the arm to avoid skipping. I also found that playing a bit with the position of the din-connection, turning it anti clockwise seen from the top, might have helped (not sure), but did not eliminate the problem either. Is there a special position for this connection that is preferable? Will the position of the cable affect the anti skating in any way? I have tried to lower the cartridge on a blank record and the arm goes quite fast towards the spindel even with max anti skating (never experience this problem on my Dynavector arm). I know this is not the correct way to set anti skating, but it should give an indication.

This could happen because as the stylus first touches the grooves it has hardly any tracking force on it until it settles in to its set tracking force.
You might try lowering the stylus closer to the first music grooves. The edge of the records has a pretty sever bump and if the stylus lands there it will tend to skid inward.
That's a great table/arm and a great cartridge. The the platter perfectly level? Or did adjusting the suspension cause it not to be level?

On the din possibly effecting this...could be a issue with the wiring inside the arm. If the din has been spun around a few times maybe there is a little torque on the wire? I'd be careful here, the wires inside a delicate.

Also, is all the arm bolts tightened? Maybe something is loose and when you twist the din your also twisting the arm?

Also a light VTF could cause this.

Sounds_real_audio may be right...and it's none of the above...
Make sure your arm is far enough to the right when resting, the arm rest can "nudge" the arm wand inwards when lowering it

I would check the level of the table and VTF like others have said. I have a SME IV.Vi and set the anti-skate to 1/2 of the tracking force of 1.7, so mine is set to about .85 or even less, my scale goes from zero to three. I set the needle down quite close to the starting track to avoid any skipping but I'd say this is a common practice on all TT's. I have no tracking problems and it sounds great.

Good luck,
Check the position of the tonearm while at rest. There is a template for this. If the arm is not at the right angle in relation to the table, anti-skate will be screwed up.
Another thing that you should check is whether the cartridge is absolutely horizontal. If it is leaning one way or the other, the stylus will not enter the groove properly and will slip. When I leveled the cartridge on my system, it catches the groove with ease...every time...on every record.
Thanks a lot everybody.

The table is in level, and I have adjusted the suspension to make sure sub chassis, top chassis and platter is in level. I will try to lower the stylus closer to the first track, the thing is I have never had this issue on my other turntable (Avid Acutus Reference SP/Dynavector DV507MKII) neither with the XV-1s or the Jan Allaerts MC2 Finish Gold (I will try the JA on the SME soon).
My SME V comes with detachable headshell, so I have the opportunity to adjust aziumuth, but it doesn't seems to help or worsen this issue.
I have also played with different momentum when tightening the different bolts and yes, the arm is resting in the right position. I have been careful when tightening the bolts making sure the pillar is vertical (if you tighten one bolt to much before tighten the other after adjusting VTA it's possible to get the arm out of level).
I will check out the cable dressing again.
I thought all SME V's were fixed headshells! The SME IV.V has a removeable headshell. Also, check the fluid in the damper.

The behavior described in the OP is normal on any properly set up rig (assuming a pivoting tonearm and an offset cartridge mount).

Fact: when a stylus contacts a spinning LP surface, skating forces immediately act to pull the tonearm inward

Fact: LP's with inward sloping lead-in ramps exacerbate this tendency, since gravity reinforces the skating force

Fact: if these forces are not resisted, the arm will swing inward

Resistance to this inward motion may be provided by:
a) friction between stylus and LP,
b) friction in the tonearm bearings,
c) outward bias applied by the anti-skate mechanism, and/or
d) friction between the tonearm and its cueing support.

Regarding (a), an ungrooved LP surface offers little resistance to inward movement. Stylus-vinyl friction, therefore, does little to impede inward motion until the stylus locks into a groove.

Regarding (b), friction from the arm bearings will be lower on tonearms of higher build quality, so the best tonearms will tend to swing in fastest.

Regarding (c), adjusting anti-skating to compensate for skating forces before the stylus finds the groove will result in excessive anti-skating for in-groove conditions, which is what matters when playing music. Anti-skating should be adjusted to optimize playback, not as a cueing aid.

The solution is to utilize (d) by learning to cue effectively. Don't just flip the cueing lever down and walk away. Maintain control of the stylus until it locks into a groove.

In your own words, you "have to be most careful when lowering the arm to avoid skipping". That's exactly right.
I own an SME V and Doug's explanation above is what I experience. I manually lower the arm very slowly into the lead groove, rarely if ever allowing the arm to leave the cueing support. Once the stylus hits the vinyl and moves into the lead groove, I finish lowering the cueing lever. I use very little anti-skate force and my stylus rarely skips.

Another issue with the SME tables is the washer placed under the LP at the spindle. This raises the LP above the surface of the platter. The record clamp then pushes the LP down (at the edge of the label) as it is tightened resulting in better record/platter contact. However, the inner part of the LP, usually the area after the last lead out groove is sloped up toward the spindle (because of the washer) and this results in the stylus traveling "up hill" at the end. I am not enough of a physicist to know if this effects anti-skate forces.
Audioquest4life: I own an SME IV.Vi arm. It does not have a removable headshell.

Thanks for the clarification. I always thought that the V series was one of the few with a fixed headshell.

Thanks a lot Dougdeacon and Peterayer, this was great reading.

Audioquest4life: You can get the SME V with a detachable headshell. This will make the arm less rigid of course, but the advantage is you can adjust aziumth (and take of the headshell when mounting a cartridge). Here are som pictures,21378.660.html
Hi, that table looks like a 20/12 and a 312s arm in the photo...however I can't see the model #....
Hello Jfrech. That's just the angle, it's a standard SME 20/2 with SME V-Detachable.
HI, you're right. I saw the 3rd pic and that kinda looks like a 20/12 but the platter is off...making it appear wider...thanks
This sounds EXACTLY like some "problems" I've been having with an assortment of tables, arms and cartridges which have passed in and out of my system over the past 2 years. To be more precise, I've had Avid Volvere and Oracle Delphi V and VI tables, 2 SME Vs, one Graham Phantom, and multiple cartridges including Benz Ruby, Zyx UNIverse, Dynavector XV-1s and Ortofon MC A90. In every case I have had EXACTLY the same issues you are describing - with the added caveat that some of the combos gave me tracking issues in the right channel. With my current set-up (Delphi VI, Phantom and A90) I seem to be getting the best overall tracking performance but only with more than max antiskating and the DIN connector rotated all the way counterclockwise. All in all, skipping in the lead-in groove was worst with the XV-1s (the issue you're having) and tracking was worst with the UNIverse - the issue always appearing to be related to excessive skating force causing skipping ahead or mistracking.

Anyways, I've worked with and examined this issue in ridiculous amounts of detail and basically have come to a conclusion similar to Doug. Now I'm just enjoying the music!

Normally I rather laugh at people who re-awaken zombie threads, but this was the first hit on a search for "SME V IV anti-skate"! I searched because I have been finding it awkward to set the anti-skate of late, so to be a bit more scientific about it I used a smooth grooveless record. I know, anti-skate counteracts skating force, and a grooveless record is not going to show the full stylus-groove interaction. For the sake of argument, let us agree it gets you in the ballpark (even the nine different ways of setting anti-skate tested by the maker of the Parks Puffin in a YT video showed the grooveless record as getting very close to all the other methods).

Now the grooveless record showed two SME IVs and an SME V still let the stylus wander slowly towards the centre even with the anti-skate set to the maximum of 3. The fourth arm, an SME M10 (call it a 309 with a cheaper sliding mount), can hold its position mid-disk with the anti-skate set to 2.5. This makes me think the first three arms have their anti-skate spring weakened by age, and perhaps should make a visit to West Sussex to have the spring replaced. But spending £1k per arm for a 10¢ spring seems extravagant. I shall ask my contact at SME if such a spring can be bought and fitted at home.

Question for the smart people here: I am right, am I not, in assuming the anti-skate on these arms is spring-loaded and not magnetic?

Got a reply from SME:

Dear Chris,

Thank you for your email to Elaine.

The anti skate spring can only be fitted / calibrated here at the factory due to unique tooling and measurement equipment used.

If you would like to send the arms for checking we would be happy to help.

Whilst writing we should mention that blank test discs are not recommended or suggested by SME due to inconsistent results leading to poor set up.
Best regards,

Decided to do it properly and ordered a Wally Skater....

I'd love to see how they calibrate a new spring.

Per ordering the Wally Skater, do what properly?  Set antiskate? With that response from SME, I think it adds weight to the idea not to use a blank LP to set AS.  And yet, the posts on doing it that way will keep on coming.


These SME arms have the usual set-up for spring-loaded anti-skate: turn a dial until it is set to a number corresponding to the VTF in grams. My issue is that doing this appears to be inaccurate—the stylus touches down and skates inwards into the middle of the first track. If I increase the anti-skate setting to a higher value it does not do this. But if I set it too high the stylus starts to mistrack about the middle of the record, by skipping back and refusing to go onwards. Turn the anti-skate down a little and it continues to play.* There is a happy medium where there is enough anti-skate at the start of a side, but not so much that it refuses to play right through the side. This seems to be a little higher than the expected value on the anti-skate dial. If I use a grooveless disk, I tend to get it set too high and I end up with mid-side mistracking. If I follow Peter Ledermann's method, I am setting the anti-skate just a little low for the run-out area in the hope it will be just right in the middle of the disk. Having just one ear and no ability to hear stereo I cannot  look for distortion in one channel or the other. So, yes, I am hoping to use the Wally Skater to get it set correctly. No doubt for each arm/cartridge combination there will be a correct spot in the suggested 9-11% of VTF it aims for, and I'll have to make a note for each one to save future experimentation. If it saves me one premature re-tipping it will have paid for itself. At the end of the day, I'll be happy to know I can set it simply so I find that happy medium where there are no issues at stylus touchdown or at mid-side.

*I have made sure the platter, tonearm panel and headshell are all horizontal.

@dogberry what you're describing suggests to me that the problem is more likely in the arm's bearings or wiring than in the antiskate mechanism.


On all four arms?

It's obvious something is wrong, isn't it?

I have only one SME V arm, and it doesn't behave as you describe.

A curious result with the Wally Skater: it replicated the grooveless record's results, but reduced them by the same percentage (~30%). So the three arms that the grooveless record required a setting at "3" are now set a smidgen over "2." The fourth that required "2.5" is now set at "1.65." (I use quotation marks as these are marks that correspond to VTF in grams, but are not actually grams. I set them so the Wally Skater thought I was applying 10% of VTF. Trying it out now and everything plays as expected.

On performing the tests of static friction and internal tonearm forces I could see no issues. Evidently the joke is on me as the anti-skate settings are almost exactly where the SME manual says they should be: very close to the value of the VTF.

If there is a lesson here, it might be that a cheap and easy-to-use grooveless record could be used, if followed by reducing the anti-skate by 30%. And this is awfully close to the Ledermann method where a "slow inward movement" for certain values of slow equates to 30% less than than the grooveless record's result.