Tonearms without anti-skate, damage to records?

I am picking up a pivoted tonearm without any provision for bias (anti-skate) force. I would appreciate opinons on if using this arm can damage my records or phono cartridge due to the lack of this feature. Thanks.

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VPI recommends NO anti-skate. Anti-scate is a crapshoot, and is NEVER right. It depends on the loudness being tracked (which constantly is changing), shape of stylus, VTA, and numerous other conditions. No antiskate is fine. Use your cartridge at the higher tracking force of the recommended suggested range.
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I agree with the above posters who say that not having an antiskating adjustment will not harm your records. I have a couple of test records that test for antiskating, one with a blank side and another that has a test tone track, and Stringreen is correct, it is very difficult to set antiskating so that it does not pull the arm toward the center of the record. I would like to think I can hear sonic differences with different antiskating settings on my Graham Phantom unipivot arm, but I might be fibbing. The only effect I thought I could hear was slight skewing of the soundstage right or left. Personally I would not let this lack affect my decision.
Lately I've just given up with AS altogether on my Project Perspective Carbon. I just can't stand the sight of that weight swinging back and forth, knowing it's attached directly to the tonearm.
It has always sounded better without the AS weight attached. Open, calm, more at ease.

Wacky idea - Alter the level-ness of your TT to induce slight outward force, counteracting the skating force?
I set AS at a minimum with the Pro-Ject 9C carbon fiber arm on 2Xperience table with Benz Ace. I agree with Mfsoa.....don't like the sight of that weight swinging but I do use AS. I would prefer an arm with other type of AS adjustment without the weight, although some say the weight is the better approach....go figure.
The RS-A1 and the new Nottingham tonearm on the 294 model do not have anti-skate, because the headshell (and therefore the cartridge) is not set at an angle to the arm tube. Thus skating force is not generated. I think there are other older tonearms that are so designed. Perhaps yours is one of those.
unless your arm is a tangential design, all pivoting arms generate 'skating force' regardless of the angle on the arm tube. it is the angle deviation of the stylus from perfect tangent that causes the force. that is why AS is so difficult to set and wrong for the most part, but some AS, I think, is better than none, just don't go overboard!

Bob P.
Bob P., The headshell on the RS-A1 tonearm has a unipivot bearing right at its base,in addition to the one at its main pivot point (so there are two articulations). Thus in theory the cartridge CAN always maintain tangency to the groove, and no skating force is generated. However, you are probably correct in general. (I've got to think about this a bit longer, and it does seem to me I've read in two other sources that skating force is generated by the offset headshell in 99.9% of all modern tonearms.)
>>09-28-07: Lewm
The RS-A1 and the new Nottingham tonearm on the 294 model do not have anti-skate, because the headshell (and therefore the cartridge) is not set at an angle to the arm tube. Thus skating force is not generated.<<

That is wrong.

All pivoting tonearms according to the basic laws of physics are affected by centripetal force.
Audiofeil and Bob, You are both correct, as I already conceded to Bob. BUT since the headshell of the RS-A1 could in theory remain tangent to the groove at all points on the record, the designer claims that no skating force is generated. I would agree with you if you were to respond that the arm probably does not accomplish that goal perfectly in fact, due to friction in the bearings, etc. Now, as for a headshell that is not offset, there WILL be one point on the record where skating force does approach zero, but only one point. And Audiofeil, according to the references I read, the skating force is not due to "centripetal force" per se; it is due to the force of stylus drag (Fsd)and is equal to (Fsd X sin of the angle from tangent). So, when the angle from tangent is zero, the sin of the angle equals zero, and skating force disappears. I am very sorry for placing incorrect info on this thread in my previous post.
Lewm, I didn't know that the RS-Ai articulated at the head. Similar to an old Garrard arm back in the '60s or was that another company. Still, in this case, I guess AS would really be difficult and unnecessary.

Salut, Bob P.
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Yes to Anti-Skate.

For a community that believes that less dust on the outside of a cable improves things, it is surprising that absolutely scientifically proven forces are denied.

No anti-skate: It will be riding the inside of the groove, wearing that side of the groove and that side of the stylus more, not quite fully down in the groove, bouncing within the groove. L and R reproduction WILL vary.


Blank Disk, spin by hand: IT PULLS IN (if not, something is wrong).


just add outward force until it floats steadily, or just barely pulls in. done. check from time to time.

change headshell with different cartridge:

1. anti-skate back to zero.

2. VTA/arm height: either height of cartridge same as prior, or change tonearm height, thus easy arm height adjust a desired feature.

3. azimuth: tighten headshell while viewing stylus from front, on a mirror same thickness of lp (any deviation will show 'opposite' in the mirror).

4. set new tracking force

5. blank lp, set anti-skate.

You get pretty quick at it.


My final anti-skate test (you also need CD version to 1st hear ’correct’ l/r sound)

clarity/balance/location of center reveals much. btw, this is where a cartridge with very tight channel balance helps refine the center guitar. wide separation is also nice, but more precise location of center more important for anti-skate listening.

Checking specs, you will find, advanced stylus shapes (better/greater groove contact/less wear to both grooves and stylus (forces distributed over larger contact area) have better channel balance and channel separation than elliptical as well as MC typically best MM. Moving Iron can be exceptional I read, never heard one.


The forces involved are incredible.

some quickie finds:

(from shure, more below): "concentration of pressure upon the points of contact is calculated, we find it to be approximately 26 tons per square inch". (spherical)

"it had been calculated that the local forces involved in pushing a diamond into a soft, plastic record must take the plastic material beyond its elastic limit."

"The proper relationship between the stylus tip and the record groove is extremely important. The impressions on the walls of the record groove are microscopic, three-dimensional duplicates of the sound waves which created them. The pickup stylus must follow with extreme exactitude the variations of these impressions. This can only be accomplished if the original shape of the stylus tip is maintained."



I feel lucky to just find this:

Shure Bulletin, Original 1954; Last Edit Date 7/18/2022

excerpts (for those who don’t RTFM).

A 33 1/3 RPM record has about 225 grooves per inch, each groove approximately one-half the width of a human hair. The groove on a 12 inch, 33 1/3 RPM record, if uncoiled, would be over one-half mile in length.

The shape and size of the impressions engraved in the rotating disc are determined by the pitch and level of the signal being recorded. The higher the pitch, the greater the number of times per second the cutting stylus will vibrate from side to side. The level of the sound being recorded also affects the impressions engraved upon the disc. Increasing the recorded level causes the cutting stylus to engrave deeper impressions into the walls of the grooves. Conversely, a reduction in level causes a reduction in the distance the cutting stylus swings from left to right, causing it to engrave shallower impressions. These impressions, as mentioned earlier, are microscopic three dimensional duplicates of the sound wave pattern. (stereo, even more complicated, came after this bulletin was written in 1954).

stampers are changed after each 250 pressings, since even the microscopic wear created in pressing is not tolerated in precision record manufacture. This is how a record is manufactured and how the impressions are created on the walls of the grooves.

(again, mono grooves are being discussed): The stylus tip, when in good condition, touches the groove walls at only two points. The entire weight of the stylus and the structure which holds it is concentrated at these two microscopically small points. When this concentration of pressure upon the points of contact is calculated, we find it to be approximately 26 tons per square inch.

walls of the record grooves are, of course, subject to the same pressure, but only for the fraction of a second

stylus tip in the record groove follows a path in much the same manner as automobile tires would follow the ruts in a country road.

This friction causes the gradual wearing away of the stylus material at these points, and creates what are called "flats". The amount and degree of wear are apparent when the tip is viewed from the side, using a microscope. It is these flats on the stylus tip which are the direct cause of increased record wear, distortion, and reduced tonal range. Although these flats appear on both sides of the stylus tip, the amount of wear is not the same on both sides because of the side thrust created by the tone arm mounting method. This can be off-set somewhat by proper setting of the anti-skate force.

Depending on the wear, the stylus tip can become a cutting tool, and if continued in use, it will eventually take the shape of a miniature chisel.

wearing process is also hastened by the abrasive action of dust in the grooves. The wear on both the stylus and the record groove can be considerable.

the downward pressure of the stylus tip on the record groove. The greater this pressure the greater the amount of friction generated between the walls of the record groove and the stylus tip. Increased friction naturally results in increased wear.

check the stylus pressure once a month.

worn stylus tip will no longer fit into the engraved depressions since the flat on the stylus tip is wider than the opening of the depression. stylus tip obviously cannot follow with "extreme exactitude" the variations in the groove, the signal is nowhere near a perfect replica of the original recorded sound wave

the higher the quality of the reproducing equipment the wider its tonal range, and any distortion of the high pitched sounds is immediately apparent.

average record collection is usually worth more than the equipment on which it is used, and includes irreplaceable recordings. Preservation of the records should be the most important consideration.

Also of considerable importance is the ability of the pickup itself to follow the impressions engraved upon the groove walls with the least resistance to the motion they cause. This is called "trackability" and is related to a specification called "compliance."

Due to its great hardness, the diamond can be polished to a higher degree than any other substance. A higher polish results in a smoother finish, which greatly reduces friction.

An analysis of the "dust" removed from a number of stylus tips, which had been used on dirty records, showed that it consisted of approximately; 12% jagged silica particles, 35% diamond dust, 40% miscellaneous particles, including soot, grit and particles worn from the record groove itself. The remaining 13% consisted of fibers and lint. almost 65% of the extraneous material is harder than the comparatively soft record material

also increases the amount of friction. Increased friction results in increased wear on both record and stylus and also increases the amount of static electricity generated. Most plastics are insulators and retain a static charge. the friction generated by slipping the record into its jacket increases the static electricity.

Tests showed that both airborne dust and debris worn from the stylus tip itself are the greatest cause of excessive record and stylus wear. Complete removal of dust and grit from the record grooves resulted in increases of up to 60% in the useful life of both records and styli.

A record (cleaning) pad can actually damage records by scratching them and grinding microscopic particles of dust and grit into the grooves. the particles of dust and grit are often as large as the recorded impressions in the record groove. dust problem is further aggravated by the fact that the new vinylite records actually attract dust and retain it, due to their electrostatic properties.

The grooved section should never be touched, since the skin oils and grease from the hands is transferred to the record, causing any airborne dust to adhere to the spot or area touched.

any attempt to clean records is commendable and even a poor cleaning is better than none.

Completely removing dust and grit from a record is not a simple problem. A number of factors must be considered. Firstly, the cleaner must not contain any gummy substance that will remain in the engraved depressions in the record groove. Secondly, the cleaner must completely penetrate these same depressions and remove any dust or grit they may contain. Thirdly, the cleaner must not affect the record material itself in any manner. Record dust/dirt when examined under a microscope consists of grease, stylus particles, abrasive material, and solids which resemble wool fibers covered with a soft waxy substance.

consider the use of an anti-static agent as its repeated use will prevent the attraction of airborne dust or grit. record should be recoated as often as is necessary since the anti-static agent does not have a permanent effect.





And you have just proved, Elliott, why we should all be glad you are staying around!

There was a recent and rather long thread about a tonearm with no headshell angle, and designed to be mounted with underhang, rather than overhang. The designer was of the opinion that the resulting tracking errors were a lesser evil than the use of anti-skate. Needless to say, it generated much heat and little light.

The above is absurdist. Most of it has nothing to do with the topic at hand. In the big picture, everything about vinyl playback is imperfect. It is much like using a tube amp, only more complicated. Stylii wear no matter what you do. With a longer arm (10.5 or 12) and setting VTF at the higher end of the recommended range one will be just fine. 

Anyone who tells others to set AS with a blank side is out of touch. 

On the other side of things, VPI's HW conveniently recommended forgetting AS when it/he only offered unipivot arms with very awkward AS systems. 

Is AS a good idea? Yes. But how many people have the capability to set AS correctly? Very few. And how many experienced users experience problems due to incorrect AS? Quite a few. Peter Ledermann's guide on AS is one of the most reliable and the nature of his suggestion does not lend itself to precision. 

I have seen AS set by a pro using all kinds of sophisticated computer software only to be later determined to be radically off. This tool might be the current best-


Anti-skating, however imperfect, is better than not applying some compensating force.  Just ask the people who manufacture cartridges and who have studied wear of records and styli (like the folks at SoundSmith). 

Arms that maintain tangency of the cantilever to the groove (like the Garrard zero 100 DO NOT eliminate skating force.  As long as the cantilever does not point back directly to the pivot point, skating forces are developed.  Air bearing arms, that slide along a tube to maintain tangency, for example, do not develop skating forces, but, many have extremely high horizontal inertial mass, and lacking the mechanical advantage of a fulcrum (pivot point), it takes considerable force to move the arm and this sort of negates the advantage of no skating force. 

There are some quite elaborate designs that maintain the low inertial mass of conventional pivoted arms without having an offset angle to the headshell (hence the cantilever points directly back to the pivot) that maintain proper tangency, like the Reed 5A and Schroeder LT (linear tonearm), but these arms are not cheap.

Bad deal Marty. I just replaced a Spectral cartridge used with way too much antiskating dialed in and the cantilever was permanently deflected towards the left groove wall. The same can happen with no antiskating but the deflection would be to towards the right groove wall. No antiskating also causes mistracking of the right channel to take place prematurely. Mistracking damages the groove wall.

@fsonicsmith1 , exactly. After complaining about the price and trying to come up with a better way to do this, the WallySkater is by far the most reliable way to set antiskating. Jonathan Carr of Lyra fame has suggested setting antiskating by observing the deflection of the cantilever as the stylus settles into the groove. So, I tried it with a MSL Signature Platinum then checked it with the Wallyskater and darn if it did not land exactly on 11%. I'm not sure if this technique would work with a very low compliance cartridge and I would have to do it quite a few more times to see how reliable it is, but the beauty of the Wallyskater is that as long as your tonearm has good bearings it is perfectly reliable and very reassuring and it does not rely of the observational capability of the user. If you can spend 10K on a cartridge, $250 for a WallySkater is nothing. It is a bit figgity to set up but once you are use to it set up takes all of two minutes. 

@larryi , Not Cheap? Check out the Reed 5T. Of the three I lean towards the LT. It really is a brilliant design and I would have one except it will not fit on my current turntable. To understand the way it works you have to look up the patent which is online. The arm stays correctly oriented by following a magnetic track. The energy for this comes entirely from groove friction which is normally wasted by heat. From a functional perspective it is way less problematic than an air bearing arm. The only design issue that is not optimal is that it can not be a neutral balance arm. It is stable balance. The reason for this is the secondary horizontal bearing takes up the space where you would normally put the vertical bearing in a neutral balance arm. As long as you clamp your records correctly it does not matter.  

Yes, "not cheap" is an understatement.  I went to an audio show where a representative was in the market area of the show and had the 5T arm (mostly used record dealers and headphone sellers are in this area).  He told me that he could sell me the arm right there.  When he told me the price, I looked in the bill-fold area of my wallet and declared that I didn't quite have that amount (it was something like $20k).

I have not seen the LT, but I did help with the setup of a Schroeder arm on a friend's table.  That was a bit scary because the arm was suspended on a very thin monofilament nylon fishing line that looked pretty easy to snap, and both the arm and the cartridge were "not cheap."

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@elliottbnewcombjr +1 so correct AS is very important. Just was at Axpona and went to a lecture by JR of Wallytools who showed videos of the cantilever movement with and without AS applied. Unbelievable how the cantilever vibrated back and forth with incorrect AS but once AS was set no back and forth movement of the cantilever assembly

Unbelievable how the cantilever vibrated back and forth with incorrect AS but once AS was set no back and forth movement of the cantilever assembly. 

For how long? For the length of the side? I doubt it very much. Mr. Boisclair may have demonstrated a short segment where AS was optimized but barring one of the tonearm designs referenced above or the like, optimum AS does not exist for very long. The concept is similar to null points and alignment. And for good reason. 

And guess what? Cantilevers are designed to vibrate. Suspensions and motor assemblies are designed around real world conditions. Compared to surface contaminants, imperfect pressings, EMI/RFI, alignment compromises, limited stereo separation, signal to noise ratio limitations, wow, rumble, flutter, speed and so much more, you're at some point losing the forest for the trees. 

So as I said, AS is important but so are many other aspects of cartridge set-up. And as I said, more damage can be done by employing too much AS than by using none. This is similar to the concept that more damage can be done by setting VTF too low than too high, assuming you are still within a reasonable range of optimum.

Eventually every stylus tip is going to need replacement. And, where is the scientific data as to the extent of right channel premature wear when not using AS?

Forgive me for straying towards the pragmatic. The real world. How many times have you picked up a used record and been amazed that it sounds better than many/most of your new pressings? Do you really think that the previous owner(s) had their AS dialed in? 

Hasn’t Peter Ledermann testified to the uneven wear on styli he has inspected personally, due to radically incorrect AS? So there’s your evidence, presented by an expert witness. (I agree with you that there’s no such thing as a perfect amount of AS, but you’d like to be in the ballpark.)

Lewm, are you responding to me? If so, I mentioned "scientific data" meaning something quantitative with a verifiable, repeatable explanation as to the methodology used. Peter Ledermann's observations and descriptions are useful but do not qualify as scientific data. "Testified"? "Evidence"? "Expert witness"? This is not a civil or criminal lawsuit or legal matter. I sure hope not. 

I don't mind saying that I have grown a bit jaded about the pursuit of "the best" when it comes to vinyl. I chased that rainbow. It is a good microcosm of pursuing the best in general home audio reproduction. No matter how much money you throw at uber-expensive cartridges and all associated gear, no matter how much you pursue every last detail of set-up, no matter your record cleaning regimen and devices, you are still facing substantially more significant compromises that can not be overcome. Everything needs be looked upon in perspective. I am not making any judgments here-and am instead only voicing my own perspective based upon my own experience. I am very happy with the sound I get from my present vinyl set-ups. I am not sure I would do anything differently. I simply have my own ideas as to where diminishing returns begin to make a sharp downward curve. Obsessing over optimum AS is one of them. 

On a related note, of all the things the very finest tonearms have in the way of refined, intelligently engineered adjustment features, look how crude the AS mechanism inevitably is-either magnetic or a piece of monofilament with a weight and lever with detents. It doesn't matter if the tonearm is the Project Perspective Carbon mentioned above (not to demean it, it is very nice) or a $28,000 SAT, AS is accomplished using  crude string and weight method is utilized. Mr. Gomez conceals his with internal pulleys but is still based upon a weight and a string. It is part and parcel of the fact that setting AS is a compromise that the solutions come up by mankind so far to combat AS remains relatively crude. 

Like the Project Carbon owner above, I can not stomach the sight of a wobbly weight at the end of a string hung over a glorified paper clip and attached at the other end to a lever. I prefer the clean look and fine adjustment offered by the magnets on my two Reed 3P's. But that is purely aesthetic. I don't claim the methodology to be any more sophisticated. 

fsonic, Ordinarily, I would totally agree with you. You are very correct to ask for scientific evidence to support any of the claims made regarding audio as a hobby, especially vinyl. There are so many erroneous but commonly held beliefs that persist just because of hearsay. BUT in this case, the weight of the circumstantial evidence in favor of using at least some anti-skate with a pivoted tonearm is SO overwhelming as to be convincing, at least good enough for me. Yes, the magnitude of AS required to fully compensate for the skating force at any moment in time on one LP vs another is not close to being a constant. That does not mean there is no benefit. Likewise, there probably is a negative consequence of using too much AS. Such is life.

But are you also protesting the crude nature of most AS devices on most tonearms? You ought to see the AS device on my Kenwood L07J tonearm, the arm that is an integral part of the Kenwood L07D TT, wouldn’t work on any other turntable but was given its own model name by Kenwood. It uses a nylon monofilament, but there is no dangling weight. The force is applied from the left side of the arm pillar (between pivot and spindle) but wraps around to the rear of the bearing pillar so as to pull the bearing housing forward (toward the front of the TT), therefore applying a force that rotates the pivot counter-clockwise, so the arm is pulled away from the spindle. The AS force is supplied by a weight that rides on a strut; the monofilament wraps around the bottom of the strut, riding on pulleys. The magnitude of the AS is adjusted by moving the weight with respect to the pivot point of the strut on which it rides. Thus no dangling weight.

What about damage to the cantilever as well as the record groove.

Better off with a tangential tracking arm, no skating forces, no groove damage and no damage to the cantilever suspension from incorrect antiskate application.


I like the antiskate on my Victor UA-7045 and UA-7082 tonearms. There is a knob on the top with numbers that alters the tension on a hair spring. AS as well as VTA is set on the fly if you wish. Extremely well engineered and built.

I agree with others on here and dislike the weight on a string. 



antiskate delema....there is no such thing as correcting it for the entire record side.  There will be one spot on the disc where it will be zero and will increase or decrease as the record has or will transit the disc.  There are some arms where the 0 point can be set where the owner wants it (VPI), but the error is small no matter.  Track the arm with a bit more VTF so that damage/distortion is lessened.

Pivoted Arm: Everything's Relative.

Anti-Skate Not Perfect, true, just get it basically correct, and check it from time to time. Blank side LP method is inexpensive, easy to 'see', and quick. I check it back and forth in the two NULL point locations (general, not specific or measured), make the best choice, done. 

Then, Listen. refine if needed.



@dover,  unfortunately, not true for straight line trackers because of the very high horizontal effective mass. The stylus and cantilever have to drag this along and even with an air bearing you can observe the cantilever deflecting and if level is not dead on it can be a real battle. This is why the Reed arms and the Schroder LT are so exceptional as they do not suffer from that problem.You should check out the patent on the Schroder LT, brilliant example of lateral thinking.

@fsonicsmith1 you are right that many antiskating devices are rather crude. IMHO the best are magnetic. No friction and continuously variable adjustment. With the Schroder CB you can see the smooth adjustment with the WallySkater and there is no added friction. It also dampens the resonance frequency.

Problem with magnetic: the magnitude of the force changes linearly with distance between the magnet and its ferrous target, as the tonearm rotates in the horizontal plane. But The skating force is not linear in the way its magnitude varies. In that respect Magnetic AS might be inferior to a weight on a string, at least the latter is more or less constant with respect to the magnitude of the AS force. Just a thought.

But The skating force is not linear in the way its magnitude varies. In that respect Magnetic AS might be inferior to a weight on a string, at least the latter is more or less constant with respect to the magnitude of the AS force. 

For me I prefer weight on a string for 2 reasons -

You can measure the anti-skate accurately

I tend to use very little anti-skate - somewhere between 25 & 30% of the tracking force as recommended by Shure, Grade & van den hul. Many sprung or magnetic antiskate mechanisms cannot get that low with any precision.

@dover I prefer weight on a string 

Can you explain how you determine the 25 - 30% via this method?

unfortunately, not true for straight line trackers because of the very high horizontal effective mass. The stylus and cantilever have to drag this along and even with an air bearing you can observe the cantilever deflecting and if level is not dead on it can be a real battle. 


Whilst I agree with high horizontal mass being not ideal, in reality the lateral forces on the cantilever are still lower than a pivoted arm - this is documented on the Eminent Technology website.

In fact here is an explanation from Bruce Thigpen himself

The untold parameter of a pivoted tonearm: To minimize tracking
error, pivoted tonearms were lengthened with a bend in the wand, or by
mounting the stylus at an angle in the headshell. The frictional force
of the stylus in the groove wants to straighten out the bend or crawl up
the records inner groove wall. When using anti skating with a pivoted
tonearm to prevent inner groove wear, regardless of mass, pivoted
tonearms bend the stylus with an opposite side load force of between .1
and .2 grams per gram of tracking force, the tonearm shaft is being
twisted outward (as viewed from above) with this static load which goes
through the stylus suspension, but the percentage of creep on the inner
wall of the record groove actually varies with the passage loudness or %
groove modulation. So you are constantly bending the stylus while only
marginally solving the problem.

With the ET-2 the side loads to accelerate the tonearm at .55hz
(33/13 RPM) are less than half of those values for an eccentricity of
.0312 inches (1/32 inch) and are a linear function of record
eccentricity. The cartridge cantilever suspension sees much lower loads.

So as you add mass, this side load value of the ET-2 goes up
linearly, but is always less than using any pivoted tonearm with anti

As an example I ran a high compliance Shure V15vmr ( with stabiliser removed ) in the ET2 for 10 years without changing the stylus. The cantilever was still dead straight after 10 years. The only significant mod I did to the ET2 was to run magnetic damping for the horizontal movement using eddy currents.

@mijostyn ​​@dover 

Re parallel trackers, look at the Simon Yorke Aeroarm (no longer available).

Effective mass of the arm is around 25% of a typical 9 inch pivoted arm because it is only 2.5 inches long.  Why do most other designers of parallel trackers keep the length near 9 inches just because most pivoted arms are 9 inches?

I have closely observed the cantilever of 6 high-end cartridges mounted on my Aeroarm and there is no sideways torsion whatsoever.  Tracking is totally secure at the low end of most manufacturers' recommendations.  van den Huls track securely at 1.6g.  Lightweight Ortofons like A90 and A95 are a match made in heaven with Aeroarm.  I will never go back to pivoted arms.


@dover   Please explain why you think the skating force does not change linearly as the record is played.  Surely it is just a question of geometry?


@dover I prefer weight on a string 

Can you explain how you determine the 25 - 30% via this method?

Yes - you can use scales to measure the actual falling weight, it won't be exact because there will be some loss due to the mechanism ( usually friction ). However it is more accurate than most sprung or magnetic antiskate mechanisms.

2 examples - 

FR64S - this has markings on a pivoted rod that you slide the weight along that denote 0.5g increments in antiskate.  I actually measured using strain gauge scales the falling weight at each increment and was surprised to find the markings very accurate. Measuring the falling weight ( with the platter removed ) at various points across the record showed very little if any deviation as the rod went off horizontal.

With this arm I set the arm up such that the rod that the weight sits on is horizontal at the mid point of the record ( to minimise deviation ) - seems to work well.

Kuzma 4point - recently installed a van den hul Grand Cru with a specified antiskate force recommended by van den hul of around 0.2g - the only way I could achieve a level this low was to use a piece of bluetack carefully trimmed and measured on stylus scales instead of the metal weight - even Franc's custom small weight could not get this low. 

@dover   Please explain why you think the skating force does not change linearly as the record is played.  Surely it is just a question of geometry?

I never said that.

On a linear tracking arm there is no skating force.

On a pivoted arm it varies across the record.

Some Rega arms rely on magnetism for anti skate, therefore no adjustment. Are you certain that your arm does not have a similar anti skate configuration?

This is how the unbranded (actually Rega) arm works on the Avid Ingenium plug and play.

If a turntable/tonearm has the means to set or adjust anti skate, then I’m using it.

What’s all this about the weight swinging back and forth? Mine barely moves at all when a record is playing, no distractions, I don’t get it.

I’m in the  “I hate antiskate camp!” I mean no disrespect to any who believe in it and use it. More power to you.  For me, I’ve never heard a difference, seen a difference and have always had problems with skipping, miscuing etc. I use the bare minimum if it’s availability on a tonearm. That’s my two cents. 

No one appears to have mentioned the sound quality with regards to AS. I find that the music sounds less restrained with no AS applied to my 12" Jelco 850 tonearms.

@clearthinker , While the Aeroarm is the best air bearing arm design there are issues with such a short arm. VTA changes more dramatically with elevation and the vertical effective mass can not be too low or you will start getting problems in the audio range. The horizontal effective mass is still too high. To see the problem best watch your cantilever with an eccentric record. The cantilever will lead the tonearm.  If you tap your turntable on the side you will see the cantilever wobble at a very low frequency. If you are determined to have tangential tracking get a Schroder LT. I promise you will never look back.

@dover, Not even Eminent Technology can defeat the laws of physics. Your statement about the lateral forces being less than a properly set up pivoted arm are false, almost comically so. That is like saying it is easier to push a pickup truck than it is a shopping cart. If you really want a very cool tangential tracker get a Reed 5T.

Let’s be clear on one issue: for all pivoted tonearms where the stylus overhangs the spindle, there IS a skating force at all times during play. So AS is not something you can choose not to believe in. The ways in which AS is created in different designs are all faulty, it’s fair to say, for reasons that have been mentioned, including the fact that skating force is applied at the stylus tip, whereas in all cases I know about AS is applied at or near the pivot. This puts a twisting force on the cantilever. Thus very short or more vertically oriented cantilevers might be advantageous. For those who say they can hear no difference with vs without AS, I have to wonder whether the tonearm has significant horizontal friction (or stiff wiring) that is acting to provide AS, because I can easily hear R channel distortion in the total absence of AS.

  1. Few people mention the VERY IMPORTANT lever force of the cantilever/coil former on the coil damper. There is a 6:1 lever arm there. So, if your arm has ZERO internal torque forces prior to anti-skate application and you decide you won’t use anti-skate force then you can live with the following: skating force is ON AVERAGE, 10% of your VTF. If your VTF is 2gm then there is 0.2gm of horizontal force at the stylus. Multiply that by 6 times to determine the force on one side of the damper and -6 times on the other side of the damper. That is 1.2 and -1.2 grams of asymmetric force applied on the VERY critical coil damper - 60% of your VTF! The sound of alleviating this force is unmistakable: more relaxed sound, larger soundstage, more overall coherency and intelligibility.
  2. For those who say it doesn’t make a sonic difference, I cannot argue with them because we cannot know what their STARTING horizontal torque force was. Unless they used a WallySkater to measure their starting torque, neither can they. If their starting torque force was, say, 5% towards the spindle and then they applied a 15% anti-skate force then the absolute net asymmetric force would have remained unchanged. There are several scenarios like this that reduce the benefits of utilizing the anti-skate mechanism. You NEED to know what your starting and ending torque is to make sure you have it applied properly.
  3. Watch THIS VIDEO at about 7:00 showing the angular effects of skating force. This was done on a 12" tonearm. If I had done it on a 9" arm the angular change would have been even greater.
  4. This angular change affects the alignment of the left/right contact edges of the stylus in the groove wall to a greater degree than the maximum angular error across the record surface. The mechanical cost of this is easily measurable and definitely audible under controlled tests.
  5. Worries about asymmetric stylus wear are founded. When I get cartridges in for analysis I can easily see whether they have been using too much or too little anti-skating force.
  6. Watch out for high stiction in a tonearm. This will also kill your anti-skate benefits quickly. I know of one expensive arm that has a magnetic anti-skate mechanism that creates its own VERY significant stiction. The WallySkater measures this as well. More often it is in the bearings where the high stiction deteriorates the ability of the cartridge to perform at its maximum.
  7. There’s more, but I’ve not the time...

@mijostyn   Simon will thank you for that endorsement.

He is aware of the VTA issue.  He provides very fine height adjustment if necessary on the fly with a large diameter knurled wheel operating on the arm pillar by a high geared tensioned worm and screw.  Using a parallel lines protractor against the lower flat surface of the arm, its arm height can be set very quickly and precisely for each record.

In fact the low effective mass of the arm works in its favour, particularly with a low mass cartridge.  Tracking is very secure.

Yes the working length of the arm is unusually short.  Simon didn't design if for use with off-centre records or for warped records.  In fact because of its low mass this arm tracks warped records that no other arm will track - they just get thrown in the air.  If you find this of value.  But this also demonstrates the tracking security of this set-up.

if you tap any turntable hard enough the cantilever will flex under the force applied.  But, all other things being equal the effect will be less than in the case of 9 inch pivoted arm with much more mass and therefore side force.  And from his S7 on, Simon didn't believe in hi-mass as the best approach to isolation.  I don't tap my turntable while it is playing.

Thank you, but I am not in need of parallel tracking arm recommendations.  I believe the Aeroarm is the best design.  Period.

@dover   Please explain why you think the skating force does not change linearly as the record is played.  Surely it is just a question of geometry?

I never said that.   Apologies @dover you didn't


@lewm    "the skating force is not linear in the way its magnitude varies."

Over to you.....


Dear @noromance : " No one appears to have mentioned the sound quality with regards to AS. I find that the music sounds less restrained with no AS applied .."


I’m in agreement with your statement by first hand experiences with different cartridges/tonearms  and how its quality level performance really improves and this at the end is what it counts.

I think that almost all audiophiles as us several years ago were educated to use the AS in our pivoted tonearms. Even in those old days the advise was " to ste up the AS tonearm at the same value of VTF " and in those old times the cartridge/tonearm manufacturers was ok with.

I remember my AT 1100/1010 ( both very good tonearms ) where the AS was handled by string/weigth and its AS mechanism you need to choose 3 AS positions according the stylus tip: conical, ellipthical and LC and was AT who years latter told me that the AS must be no higher than the 50% of VTF but almost no one but VPI manufacturer just disappeared the AS and several of us were and even today are against the VPI design,

Now, which is the specific role of any cartridge/tonearm during LP play?, I think is to pick-up all the grooves information it can and everything the same what could and can make a differences for the better in the cartridge and in the tonearm? :

cartridge tracking abilites and very low friction in the tonearm bearing, that’s that the stylus/cantilever movements following the grooves been free of additional natural forces developed down there and the AS tonearms mechanisms are not a " natural force " and this AS impedes that natural cartridge/cantilever movements.

What almost all the technical oriented gentlemans posted before have some sense but the reality is that with or with out AS the today very good polished different shapes stylus tip gone play by play suffering a natural wear and we start to listen that stylus tip wear after/around the first 800 hours of playing and today almost all audiophiles own over 2-3+ cartridges. So before that playing figure we just do not " noted " the stylus tip wear and that’s just worn and maybe ready to re-tip.


"" The sound of alleviating this force is unmistakable: more relaxed sound, larger soundstage, more overall coherency and intelligibility. ""


No doubt about. Nothing is perfect in audio and on the AS issue it’s better don’t use it there are other issues that in reality benefit the listening sound but not the AS. Just try it and you can be sure that if you listen distortions as lewm then something is wrong down there cartridge/tonearm.

Yes I was surprised the very first time I did not use the AS and till today there is no way to come back t AS.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,



Raul, I am very surprised by your opinion. I am also surprised that you have the hubris to suggest that my hearing R channel distortion in the absence of AS in my system is evidence that something is wrong with my ears or my system. Whereas theory predicts one WOULD hear R channel distortion in the absence of AS. You can’t have it both ways; either you’re a purist who advocates that tubes and conical styli and anything else that either limits bandwidth or adds a distortion you can mrasure, should go, or you’re a subjectivist who says if it sounds good, it is good. You’ve heaped criticism upon those who take the latter position in the past, very consistently. I have generally found that a very tiny amount of AS, usually much less than textbook, suffices to alleviate the distortion, and that’s where I stop, but not at zero AS.

You might also add with what tonearm and cartridge do you draw your conclusions regarding AS.

Dear @rauliruegas 

If you give me a $100 bill and I were to exclaim I am now $100 richer, that claim might be untrue because I didn’t notice you may had taken $200 from my back pocket while giving me this one hundred dollar bill.

I.E., One may not make any claims about the sonic benefits of anti-skating before first measuring the starting horizontal torque force AND the arm’s static frictional force. Starting horizontal torque forces and stiction can vary wildly by tonearm - even of the same brand and model (to wit: those who were at AXPONA and witnessed the problems Michael Fremer had with the tonearm suppled to him for his setup seminar.) This is why the WallySkater was developed: so we can REMOVE THE VARIABLES  from our assessment and apply the best AVERAGE compensatory torque force to keep the skating force from inhibiting the performance of the cartridge.


additionally, if your tonearm has significant horizontal torque native to it before applying AS, then you can be sure your cantilever alignment will be off as well