Tonearm/Cartridge pairing.

Hello to everybody.

My turntable’s tonearm has a mass of 15.6 g (cane + head shell). My cartridge weighs 6.9 g. If I calculate the effective mass of the tonearm the way the maker did (arm’s mass with head shell + cart + tracking force) I get a global 24.5 g mass. The arm + shell mass is 15.5 (15.6 actually); the head shell weighs 10.1g.

My cartridge’s static compliance is rated 20mm/N (I ignore whether it’s @10Hz or 100Hz).

Will someone more experienced than I am please tell me if the cart and the tonearm are suited to each other statically? My cart (Goldring E3) did fine on a friend’s turntable (rega P2) but seems a little ill at ease on mine (Technics SL-1510, ca. 1978).

Opinions welcome,



Compliance is listed in um/mN. The Goldring is British and measures compliance at 10 Hz. 20 um/mN @ 10 Hz would be a medium compliance cartridge and should be OK in your arm if it is operating correctly and the bearings are in decent shape. The only real way to know what is going on would be to get a test record and measure the resonance frequencies. 


thanks for the reply. I think my tonearm is operating correctly - tracking force at 2 gr (digital scale) and anti-skate at a little more than 1.5.
A test record would be a good idea, I'll look for one. While I don't intend to jump on the complex merry-go-round of Perfect Vinyl Replay I certainly care a lot for smooth operation as intended by the makers.


  Nothing in your OP suggests you’re having a problem associated with resonant frequency. What is it that makes you concerned about effective mass and cartridge compliance?


I moved the cart from a rega P2 ( which had minor, inherent issues with pitch) to a good, s/h SL-1510, that hasn’t.

Some old records, though, that the RB220 tone arm tracked well, sound very bad on the Technics. Being in doubt as to what can be the cause, and feeling smooth articulation in the Technics arm by hand, I am investigating the only objective parameter I am aware of.





Antiskate too high - should be in the range  0.7-1.0.

What about VTA ?

Good stylus clean.



I’ll try less anti-skate but the cart is set at 2 g as requested.

The website linked to is interesting, thanks. According to it the cart/arm system should work well.


The Goldring E3 is a FANTASTIC cartridge!  I've been touting it on here for awhile now.  Everyone should get to hear one.  It's really something special.   Should work fine with the Technics, however, it's really owed a nice headshell.

I'm assuming you're using the stock Technics headshell?  PLEASE get a decent aftermarket headshell, (and wires if the headshell doesn't come with any good ones).  The cart deserves it.


I have an aftermarket head shell which looks well done and rather the same mass of the original one. The wires look decent enough and of sufficient gauge.


The showed that my arm/shell/cart system works well within the safe rage.
Listening to a couple more records was satisfying. It's probably a worn/dirty LP issue.
I stay with a feeling that the RP220 tonearm on the P2 tracks a little better, but since I don't mean to become an obsessed little Michael Fremer, I will keep the Technics as it is.

Thanks to all for the help.


@martinguitars , Never assume the settings on a pre calibrated arm are accurate. Always measure. Same holds for specifications which is why a test record (HiFi News Analog Test Record) is so important. Never assume. Measure!

The bearings on a tonearm can get pretty bad before you can notice it by feel. There is no easy way to tell if they are OK. The WallySkater is the only way I know of and it is $250. 

Why don’t you ask a technics dealer what they recommend for your TT?  Believe me, they have no desire to sell you something you want to send back. In the old days, I used a Denon 103, and it really sounded good to me. 

With all due respect, If you're interested enough to post here about a vague sense that you are not getting the most out of your cartridge, then you also ought to make the effort to learn a little bit about the intricacies of vinyl so you become better equipped to make the most out of what you have.  It's really not "rocket science", nor is the study of the art an indication of prissiness (as you imply with your remark about MF).  It's kind of fun and sometimes rewarding, you may find.

The goldring is a relatively short cartridge from base to tip and most aftermarket headshells place the cartridge higher and further from the platter than the stock headshell. 

in other words you may very likely have a tail up condition which will not sound good.

try to adjust the vta dial so that the top of the cartridge is perfectly level with the platter.  

if you cannot lower the tonearm far enough use the stock headshell.  

there is nothing wrong with the stock headshell, it is well engineered for stifness, low resonance and low mass. 


I am 69 and had my first 'serious' turntable in 1975. There surely is something I still have to learn, but it's not to become a vinyl nut, spending my days measuring, balancing, testing, weighing, comparing... spending.

Thanks for your remark, but your don't really know what I actually know I fear.


just check if the top of the headshell is parallel with the record surface.  

use a folded index card.  

To answer your question, looks like the combination it should be okay.  Even possibly the Technics tonearm a better match for the Goldring.

Second thought, cartridge setup.  Something is not adjusted right.  Overhang, azimuth, vertical tracking angle, vertical tracking force, anti-skate.  All those little finicky, twiddly adjustments that make turntable ownership fun.  Alignment and tracking force gauges both for $20 on Ebay.  Every turntable owner should have those.

Suggest watching youtube videos about setting up a turntable and cartridge.

If you don't want to fiddle with it, take it to a stereo shop or a friend who is that vinyl nut to look at it. 


I don’t know what in my previous posts suggested that I have so little experience of tuning a cartridge. I apologize if I conveyed an impression of partial inability.. My original question was if arm and cartridge looked compatible from a static point of view.

I have used a digital scale, precise to 0.1 g; I have checked the overhang with a tool, and set the anti-skating a little lower as suggested by dover. I thought it was obvious that if I was mentioning compliance and tonearm mass I was a little beyond merely telling Side A from Side B of an LP record..

As for VTA, the SL-1510’s tonearm doesn’t apparently have a regulation for the arm’s height; I can rely on tiny spacers, but the difference from perfect parallel is, by eye, so minimal that I can’t believe it makes an audible difference.

Thanks for all the help,

Please go to The link will show you how to properly set up your turntable. You can watch videos on YouTube from the same company. Setting the top of your cartridge is NOT necessarily a solution of any kind for vertical tracking angle. Sound Smith calls it stylus rake angle, SRA. The preferred angle is 92° not 90.
Peter will tell you EXACTLY how to set up your turntable.