About a year ago I bought a new turntable (Dr. Feikert Volare) and complementary equipment. I had it assembled by a local technician as I have two left thumbs when it comes to DIY. (I know this is not a good trait for a turntable owner to have.)
I’ve been dissatisfied with the sound for some time. But I recently discovered that by tweaking the anti-skating, the sound improved dramatically. I’m now wondering what other parameters have changed during the past year.
So, not being able to tweak those other parameters myself I’m thinking of hiring the technician to come to my home to work on it. Since it sounds so good now, I’m wondering if it’s worth the expense. (He won’t be cheap.)


Can't say for sure, but I'd think that if you're able to make cartridge alignment adjustments by yourself, like with the anti-skating, there wouldn't be much else the technician could do, I would suggest watching a few YouTube vids or online articles/forums on turntable setup and cartridge alignment just so you have a better idea of what you're working with. 

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but you should learn to do these things yourself. Buy a good protractor and digital scale. If like me, your eyesight is shot, download the Magnify app to your phone. You will get a good view of the cantilever when adjusting your cartridge. Owning a good vinyl rig such as you have, you'll really want to do these things yourself. It's a little fiddly, but you can do it.

I’ll take the contrary view that you should go ahead and invite a knowledgeable person into your home to check out the whole setup. While he’s there, pick his brain; make him teach you. One good reason to take this route is you may have some other glitch in your vinyl chain that might take months or more to figure out, if you deny yourself the benefit of another pair of eyes, not to mention a skilled pair of hands. Two caveats: (1) this must be done in your home, not at his place of work, and (2) make certain that the expert you choose is really an expert. Examine credentials.

This should resolve your quandAry.

A small adjustment to AS ought not to have the profound effect you report.

rvpiano, Warning! You're tweaking your knobs again and taking a path sure to lead you back into audio hell. :-)

Really, the only thing that needs a steady hand is IMHO installing and adjusting a cartridge. As you did with anti-skate you can do VTA/VTF. Within the parameters it is all a matter of what you hear and like, something that cannot be done for you. 

If you like what you are hearing now, be happy and put you hands back in your pockets, it can get worse you know. :-)


you’re right, it’s already begun.  
But this time, my eyes are open.

If you want the best from your table, hire a setup guy if there is one available in your area. It gave me the piece of mind it was done correctly.  

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I know little about turntables but, yes, it's puzzling why anti-skate adjustment leads to big difference. I remember spending 15 minutes to find the overall best point but the differences were small. Nottingham table/arm.

I would invite an expert to check everything. 

+1 hire a competent technician.


Since I bought my first audiophile table… I will not touch them. My dealer loves turntables. He loves to adjust them to perfection. I love him. He comes to my house… in all honesty he is also a friend after 20 years. Once properly set up, it should play perfectly for a couple thousand hours, until a new stylist is required..

I do not have the personality or manual dexterity to do it. You want someone who simply loves the whole thing. Well worth virtually any price.

And rvpiano recently posted how he was finally satisfied with his system. Oh noooo! Down the rabbit hole again...

Michael Trei is a respected turntable-whisperer and seems to be working most days on someone's fine machine. His facebook page is:   https://www.facebook.com/michael.trei

+1 on Mike Trei. When I lived in NY, he was my go to for turntable set up and cartridge mounting/alignment. Sure, I knew how to do it, but Mike made it look easy and dialed everything in with no travails. When I moved to Texas, there was no set up maestro so I soldiered on myself. But if I had access to Mike, I’d still use him. Where is @rvpiano located?

Stirling Trayle, on the West Coast, is supposed to be good, but I’ve never used him. And I’m sure there are others, depending on location. Well worth the modest expenditure to get it right.




I’m in New York.
But the guy I go to is super good too, and he’s ten minutes from my house.

Anyway, I’m currently listening to audiophile records (something I wasn’t previously doing) and they sound spectacular. I might not need any adjustments.

Further down the rabbit hole.

@rvpiano ,

You avoid that hole by learning how to deal with a turntable. No adjustment is permanent. Poorly adjusted anti skating can cause mistracking, severity depending on the cartridge, which can make things sound pretty bad and also damage your records permanently. 

You need to be able to check VTF and antiskating for sure. All this requires is the right tools, a tracking force gauge and a WallySkater. The WallySkater is a bit pricey but it is foolproof and very reassuring. You can leave cartridge installation to your dealer although I personally do not trust any of them

@rvpiano I feel your pain. But I think @lewm is on the right track. Face your fear. Learn as much as can from Michael Fremer’s several videos on YouTube and elsewhere. Ortophon also has some excellent tutorials, explanations, demonstrations, etc. I costs nothing but your time to learn what adjustments are critical to performance. Then decide whether to invest in an outside technician or tools. If technician, you pay for each cartridge or issue; if you do it yourself, you will need to invest in tools with which you may not be comfortable using, but if you can master them, you will be ultra confident and not at anyone’s mercy. I try to buy my equipment all ready setup, but the strategy has not been foolproof.
To sum it up, educate yourself, it’s not magic, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. You can hire someone AND be confident the job’s been done right. It is the path I would prefer, but I would have to drive at least two hours round trip to get the service; and they certainly wouldn’t come to me. Good luck with your journey. 

If you like what you are hearing now, I would just back and enjoy rather than obsess about what you might be missing.  The trick is when to learn when you’ve crossed the finish line.  Enjoy the music that this system is meant to reproduce.

  A word about getting an “expert” to look at your system.  I was a Primary Care Physician.  I had many patients who would be absolutely stable on their present medical regimen.  For whatever reason they decided to see a new Cardiologist, Pulmonologist, whatever.  Frequently the consultant would tweak one medication, prescribing a substitute that did exactly the same thing.  Why?  The consultant needed to justify the time, expense, and effort that the patient had made in seeking them out.  I am sure that this goes on in other fields as well.  So if you invite someone into your home to evaluate your set up, with which you are currently pleased, I’d be shocked if if they said “It’s all good, don’t change anything “

Mahler, as another physician, I don’t disagree with the message of your anecdote as it applies to sub specialists in medicine, but I don’t think the analogy to the OP’s situation is a good one. The OP is not in contact with any competent audio generalist at present and has no basic skills in the hobby. He needs an audio doctor, as a first visit to set hm on the right path.

HELLO RVPIANO! If you haven't changed anything since changing the anit-skate, be happy!  The anti skate puts a force on the arm to counter the momentum of the arm being pulled toward the spindle by the steady presure from the spiralling groove. Any serious error can put your delicate stylus into a bad position in reation to the cartridge body. The proof of this is the impprovement you heard. Stylus pressure cannot make that kind of difference unless it is HUGELY too light (you'll hear the stylus rattle in the groove) or too heavy (the arm will noticably "sag" whtn the stylun is lowered into the groove). Here's how to spot a serious alingment problem: Take a known record you expect to give you really great sound. Play the outer band. Compare this with the spound from the innermost band (track, set of grooves). Is there a serious difference? (Be sure to use a record that has inner bands that get close to the label.) How do these compare with the sound from the middle bands? If there are clear differences, then you have an alignment problem. For tracking angle checks. Find a record that sounds great: put two other records under it and listen again. Hear a big difference? Fancy stylus shapes can be very fussy here. Conical styli cartridges are not very fussy at all. If you hear a big difference (you should), which is better? If the elevated record sounds better, you have an vertical angle tracking problem. Nothing will blow up if you fiddle with various adjustments. Often tracking at the highest recommended force will cure a lot of problems. Be sure the little connectors on the pins of the cartridge are very snug. Everything should be clean and shiny.

If your hands shake a bit (as many do), leave it to the pros (or a really sharp kid from the record shop)! Happy listening!

I’m so happy with the sound of my records now that I see no need for any further adjustment.


really?  See the OPs last post?  Why does he need a house call from an “audio doctor “ who will upset his Feng Shui?