Azimuth 2020

How do you set your cart's azimuth in the 21st century?
@fuzztone, no offense but title sounds like a new movie. 
I don't, i have an sme v and had it in last century also.
I figured the first response would have been "using my ears".  I would fail on a game show.
Your final answer is you haven't done it for at least 2 decades?
I eyeballed it for 35 years until yesterday. Now t looks cockamamie but SQ is lucious and crosstalk is down 5 db.
I've had good results with the Fozgometer.  Although the Foz does not take crosstalk into account, using Feickert's Adjust + software did not yield a difference in the setting for three of my installations. Going forward, I'll continue using the Foz.
Rdk77, What do you mean when you write that the foz doesn’t account for crosstalk? Azimuth is all about crosstalk.

fuzz, if your cartridge is cockeyed beyond say 2 degrees consider that you may be damaging the stylus, the suspension, and your LPs. No matter how good it may sound.
@lewm - the fozgometer cannot measure crosstalk. You need a software like Adjust + to do so. Hope that clarifies things. 
Only one of 3 is cockeyed and since they are all handmade...
It is still well within the range of my headshell.
The Ort sounded the best of the 3 - now better seperation.
I see that the Fozgometer is down to $250. Still kinda rich for a one trick pony.
If the Fozgometer does not depend upon crosstalk in both directions in order to help the user set azimuth, then it is poorly conceived.  However, I have to suspect that it does give an end point for azimuth angle that depends upon crosstalk, but the actual readout of crosstalk in terms of its magnitude is not made available to the user.  But I have never seen a Foz in the flesh, much less used one.  The Feickert device is not the only other option, in any case, good as it may be.  I've got a Signet Cartridge Analyzer that must be 35-40 years old.  Used in conjunction with its dedicated test LP, the Signet tells you crosstalk, in both directions, in db units.
I have become somewhat of a nihilist when it comes to setting azimuth by electrical measurement.  If the transducer mechanism in the cartridge body is properly aligned with the cantilever and stylus, then the good old mirror or other eyeball judgement that the stylus is square to the groove is all you need or want.  If the transducer is out of alignment with the cantilever/stylus, then you are going to end up with your stylus tip at some angle with respect to sitting squarely in the groove.  That produces the negative effects I mentioned to fuzztone; the stylus will wear unevenly, the side stresses on the suspension can wear on it too. And ultimately, the LP will be damaged.  So, I have come to prefer setting azimuth physically, by seeing that the stylus sits squarely in the groove. For high quality cartridges, manufacturing tolerances ought to assure that the transducer is lined up with the business end, although we all know that occasionally is not the case.  I would maybe set azimuth on a new cartridge using electrical measurement of crosstalk.  If I then find that the azimuth angle is extreme when I view the cartridge from the front, I would return the cartridge to the dealer or manufacturer and ask for another sample.  Then too, there is the secondary question of whether one aims for EQUAL crosstalk, L to R and R to L channel, or lowest crosstalk in those two directions, irrespective of whether the absolute values are equal or not. In every case where I have done electrical measurements, those two options are mutually exclusive.
@fuzztone when bought the V I knew its shortcoming but I prefered the extra rigidity it would provide. I have tried small pieces of biz cards under the headshell with carts needing further azimouth adjustment but I gave up as I did not like the idea in the end and sold any out of norm. I prefer to have everything else absolute and skip azimouth as I don't consider it the holy grail.  When I set up an arm with this ability for a friend I do it by ear with the aid of a good mirror. I have no issues with my current Zyx its nearly vertical (my platter is dished 1 degree) and sounds so with an amazing height. 

Feikert is NOT the only option as there is a new kid on the block that DOES give you crosstalk figures in .1 db.  Actually mine dropped 5.1 db matched after a .1 db boost to the left channel. 
Just sayin'
Not holy grail, more like holy crap.
I used the Foz with its accompanying record and found that there is no adjustment more important in making the speakers disappear.  The Foz is easily done with great sure to use a new battery every time.
"there is a new kid on the block that DOES give you crosstalk figures in .1 db"  And who is that?  Did I miss something?  Thanks.

You don’t need Puffin. You don’t need a test record. People have been doing it essentially that way for decades.

All you need is any old mono record. You flip the wires on one channel of your cartridge. You are then playing the mono record out of phase and listening for the least sound. Just saved you $500 for the test record and Puffin.

I used to do it differently, using an early stereo record called Persuasive Percussion*, which was elevator music played on one side at a time. Turned off one side using balance control, and then the other, in each case listening for the track not played and made adjustment. These days I take a good classical recording with a huge sound stage and adjust for the max. No need to buy Fozgometer and record.


Most important thing in setting azimuth, IMO, is the ease of making fine adjustments to the cartridge. Without that it’s hopeless. Using the VPI dual pivot makes it crazy easy.
Puffin seems to only measute crosstalk.  Need to measure both crosstalk and phase to optimize azimuth (a la Adjust+ or AnalogMagik).
I respect everyone's methodology. 
That is the sole reason I asked. Not for sarcastic sad sack BS.
 I didn't acquire a Puffin for azimuth setting. I got it because it optimizes my carts closer/easier than all others. Any SQ you desire is obtainable.
And it has noise control ala SugarCube so I can stand listening to my Direct 2 Disc platters again.
And it was $399 delivered in 3 days. Plus a few bucks for SPDIF output parts. I'm not sure if that is worth it as the internal TI DAC matches the ADC transparently. Shannon is improving the firmware (free) daily.
He started out in the biz making a successful tube pre but he's moved on and up in SQ.
There you go, Lewm has the right idea. You put the stylus down on a pocket mirror which makes the error much easier to see. Use a good light.
The stylus and it's refection form an hourglass. You adjust the azimuth until the hourglass is perfectly symmetrical. There is no better way to do this as this insures the lowest record wear. If the cartridge is not constructed well you might have more crosstalk but the solution to this problem is not more record wear. It is a better cartridge. 
edwyun, I ask this question out of pure curiosity, not meaning to disagree at all, but is it possible to optimize two parameters (crosstalk and phase) that may be antagonistic by making one adjustment of cartridge orientation (azimuth)?  I would guess the result is inevitably a compromise, which is where we all end up in this hobby.
Unwarranted to disagree with anyone here. Civil discussions are pleasant AND educational. Thanks all for the insight.
you can not use a pocket mirror for azimuth.  The silver (reflective) side is above the glass its sitting on which will create big errors.   If you must use a mirror, get an old SLR camera mirror that is silvered on the correct side for your application.
Fuzztone,  I find it's most enlightening when two or more people openly disagree and then have a civil discussion, preferably backed up by facts in support of one position or another.  It's fine to disagree, in my opinion.  It's better not to be nasty about it.
Stringreen, I did not want to be needlessly contentious with Mijostyn and others who have suggested using a mirror.  I personally do not.  Also, I never finished explaining my rationale for deciding not to agonize over determining azimuth electrically vs setting it "physically", by setting the stylus square in the LP groove.  It's because in the electrical measure, if the stylus ends up at an angle with respect to 90 degrees azimuth, then you may (or may not, if you haven't done it correctly) have better numbers for crosstalk, but you have introduced other sources for distortion and possibly sources of wear on the stylus, suspension, and the LP.  That scares me more than a small deviation from the best possible numbers for crosstalk.  If the cartridge is poorly constructed such that the azimuth angle has to be other than 90, send it back.  (I've never tried to do that, because I never had the foresight to measure a brand new cartridge just after receiving it.  Also, most of  the cartridges I own are vintage.)

With respect to some who are well-known experts here, I don’t agree with much of the above. Except Lewm.

Peter Lederman of SoundSmith gives a very good discussion of this topic. My interpretation and memory of what he said, follows. Hope I got it right - you can check it.

He points out that crosstalk is partially a measure of how well the stylus sits in the groove, and that high end cartridges can have very different left and right crosstalk figures. He points out that it is better to have high thirties in one channel and low forties in the other, rather than high thirties in both. And that high end manufacturers do that.

My higher end Koetsu had to be canted at a terrible angle to achieve equality at 38 dB (Foz). An electron microscope photomicrograph showed that the stylus was perfectly symmetrical, so that was not the issue. The issue was, obviously, that Peter was right, and equalizing crosstalk was a big mistake for high end cartridges.

So I start visually by assuming that a high end cartridge isn’t too far off, and adjusting by ear. It’s not as fast or easy or repeatable, but after many small adjustments over a month, it’s pretty damned accurate.

That’s judged subjectively by how well the stylus sits in the groove and pleases the ear, as well as objectively by near perfectly symmetrical wear patterns on the stylus (photomicrograph).

My $0.02. YMMV
It's interesting when one compares "industrial" cartridges with hand-made ones.  Generally speaking the industrial ones like Audio Technica, for example, will usually line up symmetrically very well and generally better than the hand-made ones.

With my AT Art-9 I always begin by making a horizontal line of the cartridge and its reflection on a disk to be parallel.  That's just the starting point. After that, it's all by ear, and only a minute adjustment is required, so no "terrible cant."

As i noted earlier, it's critical that you have an easy method of tiny arm adjustments for azimuth.  But that's not very common at all.
terry9, I had the exact same experience with my Koetsu Urushi.  After I first acquired it about 10 years ago, I adjusted azimuth using my Signet Cartridge Analyzer.  There I first noted that "equal" crosstalk and "least" crosstalk are two mutually exclusive goals, and to obtain equal crosstalk, L to R and R to L, the azimuth angle of the Koetsu was ridiculously biased to one side.  I actually listened to it that way for a bit, and the experience was not good.  Fearing that I had already damaged the stylus and maybe some LPs, I soon went back to near 90 degrees where I could obtain low values but not equal values.  Maybe not even the lowest possible values, but I decided it was better to settle for that, and the sound was improved as well.  The Koetsu is one of those hand made cartridges that can have been less than perfectly constructed.  I subsequently had similar experiences with a few other cartridges.  Then I read a white paper which made the argument in favor of proper seating of the stylus tip in the LP groove.  It makes sense to me.

I don't know for sure but from the tenor of other posts about the Fozgometer, I am guessing it may operate by equalizing crosstalk, R to L vs L to R.  That is not my cup of tea.
Peter Lederman is the last person I would take advice from. As lewm suggests it is a record wear issue not a crosstalk issue. Crosstalk goes to how well the cartridge was constructed. The the crosstalk is not at it's highest value with the stylus perfectly upright in the groove then toss it. It's junk.
Next. Springstein, I am not at all sure what you are talking about. The only really important factor in regards to the mirror used is it's thickness which should be about the same as a 150 gm record. Why? The vast majority of us have offset tonearms. Because of the offset as the arm goes up the stylus leans toward the spindle. Azimuth in offset tonearms is elevation sensitive. Those with tangential trackers can use a coke bottle if they want. As far as what side of the mirror is plated? It does not matter. As long as the stylus is at record level and the reflection is perfectly symmetrical you are in business. 
Some people try to just eyeball the stylus. Bad idea. The stylus has glue around it which is never even and it can fool you. The mirror greatly magnifies the error and allows you to focus on the very tip of the stylus.
You need good lighting! Try it and you'll see. Just grab one of your wife's compact cases. There is a mirror in the top. Also don't forget to defeat the anti skate or the arm will slide backwards!
Lewm, that is correct it is just measuring the amount of leakage across channels and it does allow you to optimize this. As you have noted the problem is this does not guarantee a perpendicular stylus and the thing cost what, $300? A pocket mirror guarantees a perpendicular stylus and costs maybe a buck fifty?
@mijostyn , "The the crosstalk is not at it's highest value with the stylus perfectly upright in the groove then toss it. It's junk."

No disrespect Mijo, but you wouldn't be thinking of dumpster diving, would you?
I know there are several devices for azimuth.
I am not very tech able but found that the SmartTractor was easy, accurate and made it obvious.
After a couple of steps it uses a small magnifying glass that when looking through you can clearly see how to adjust the cartridge so that the stylus tracks at the right angle to the grove. About a millimeter to the left and the difference in the sound was huge!I was cautious at first thinking it was too complex. But it as a piece of cake. I borrowed the SmartTractor from a friend. Too bad it cost about $700. But for such a useful, multi purpose tool it is worth it.
I only sweat azimuth when using my transit...
...and we're talking inches over feet.....;)
Darn Terry don't tell everybody!! 

Actually terry I have tossed cartridges for less and I won't sell them off either without letting the potential buyer know they are defective. I expect cartridges to be perfectly aligned and stay that way. If they are not and don't I permanently avoid that manufacturer. But as I have said all the top manufacturers are very good. I have not seen a defective cartridge in a long time. So, I expect very few people will wind up tossing their cartridges.
Get that stylus perfectly perpendicular and chance are your cross talk will be at it's best. If you want to spend $300 on a fozzgowhatever to prove it to yourself knock yourself out. I'd rather buy music:)
Uberwaltz, don't tell me you are in love with Peter Lederman. I thought MC was the only jitterbug here. Peter Ledernman is no god. He took an old B+O design and stuffed it in an ugly body. He learned how to manufacture cartridges, something anyone even you could do and created a marketing strategy to suck people in. None of this is rocket science. The real cartridge god is Joseph Grado. Everything comes from his work. He tossed the moving coil design because with the materials he had on hand the moving mass was simply too high and even with the stiffest suspensions there were serious resonance problems in the upper registers. So he created the moving iron design which was far superior with the materials he had to work with. The B+O was a modification of his design something that Peter fails to mention god forbid he should give Grado some credit. I think Joseph Grado would be pleased to see what has happened to the moving coil design with modern materials and magnets. 
I knew Joe Grado personally....went to his lab in Westfield, NJ, rode in his yellow Lambo, when no one had one.  He was a singer at the MET..had a great voice, and knew sound.  His state of the art system was AR woofer, Janzen electrostatic midrange, and Ionovac  plasma tweeters.  Great fun.
Not at all Mijo.
But then I would also not be so presumptuous to think I knew more or better than he does and would certainly not say so here.......

And never pass up the opportunity for a cheap shot.......😉😉
@lewm, yes you can adjust just azimuth the get best crosstalk and zero phase difference.  But that means all other parameters need to be set in the sweetspot too.  So you do end up having to go back to adjusting VTF, VTA, etc. and then back azimuth to get there.  That is what AnalogMagik and Adjust+ have taught me.  And it is worth it.
Been there, done that. Even if you get crosstalk correct, you cant get phase difference correct with mirrors, macro cameras, voltmeters, etc. You may get close if you are lucky. Plus, many carts are out of spec in terms of crosstalk so getting them equal sometimes is incorrect. Once I was able to verify this error with one new cart using software. It was quickly replaced by the dealer. Need both crosstalk and phase to be correct for azimuth, the latter you need to measure.
What the f..k!
I adjust it by ear on my VPI
I adjust by Foz on my ET 2.5
Peter Lederman is the last person I would take advice from ...
Really? Lederman has a decades-long track record as a designer of speakers, electronics and phono cartridges. He and his team at Soundsmith also provide expert service on audiophile equipment - including tricky things such as Tandberg TD20As - and I’m saying that from firsthand experience. So I’d be inclined to consider his advice, even though I may not always heed it.
The vast majority of us have offset tonearms. Because of the offset as the arm goes up the stylus leans toward the spindle. Azimuth in offset tonearms is elevation sensitive.
Huh? For that to be true, you’d have to have a horrible misalignment between the turntable platter and the pickup arm. If the platter and pickup arm base are both level, azimuth cannot change as you change VTA, even if you want to call that "elevation."

I suppose it’s possible that the pickup arm itself could be defective, such that the arm could not be raised in a perfectly vertical fashion. I’ve never encountered that, though.
Cleeds, Lederman is a business man and obviously his approach has worked on you. Everything he belches is common knowledge except for the stuff he makes up like "jitter." When he says "jitter" just replace it with "miss tracking."
 As you raise the VTA of an offset tonearm the stylus leans towards the rim of the platter. As you lift the head shell the stylus leans toward the spindle. Everyone, imagine your arm sticking straight up. What position is the stylus in? Now imagine you arm straight down. What position is the stylus in? Nuff said.
Cleeds, Lederman is a business man and obviously his approach has worked on you. Everything he belches is common knowledge ...
I’ve met Lederman several times and never heard him belch. Whether you care for his products or style or not, his accomplishments in audio probably dwarf yours.
As you raise the VTA of an offset tonearm the stylus leans towards the rim of the platter. As you lift the head shell the stylus leans toward the spindle.
Wow, you obviously either have some seriously defective or misaligned gear, or you’re confused about basic geometry. VTA and azimuth are two completely independent angles. Offset is independent of azimuth. Perhaps you are confused as to the definition and measurement of azimuth.