Trackability Test RecordIf you'd like to learn more about the tracking
abilities of your tonearm-cartridge combination, this test is a perfect tool. We
cut a 315 Hz signal and increase the amplitude in steps of 10u (1u = 0.001mm)
from 50u to 100u, The higher the value, the better your tonearm-cartridge
combination should be able to track even heavily modulated grooves without
Please make sure that your turntable is perfectly
leveled, the azimuth and vertical tracking angle are properly set (We recommend
using the Clearaudio Azimuth Optimizer). Start this tracking ability test by
using the minimum recommended tracking force (antiskating set accordingly) and
gradually increase both values until your cartridge is tracking 80u in both
channels. Attention: Do not exceed the manufacturer's recommended maximum
tracking force to prevent any damages. Keep in mind that a too small tracking
force wears your records more that a marginally raised value would do.
there is more distortion in one channel than in the other, please vary the
antiskating force until both channels sound equally clean. Once the test signal
begins to distort in both channels, the tonearm and cartridge are no longer able
to track the groove correctly. It is a very good result if a cartridge tracks
80u without distortion. The test signals of 90u and 100u are extreme amplitudes,
which never show up in cutted music signals but if tracked by a cartridge it
indicates a safety margin.
Azimuth Adjustment with the Clearaudio Azimuth Optimizer
To experience music reproduction at highest quality levels from analog
records it is required to achieve optimal positioning of the pickup stylus in
the record groove.
There are several possibilities to accomplish this:
a) adjustment by
b) adjustment by listening,
c) adjustment by the use of
Possibility a) is limited to the estimation by eye and turns out to be
unrealistic for the following reasons:
The lateral tracking balance is
determined by the tracking points of the stylus relativ to the groove sides.
This must not be examined under static conditions but dynamically under
influence of all acting forces when tracking a record. The friction pulls the
stylus tangentially producing a vertical component which changes the VTA and
reduces the tracking force. A skating force that is not ideal compensated acts
in a radial direction and not only causes different pressure to the right and
the left groove sides, but "riding-up" the 45°-slope further reduces the
Depending on different tonearm constructions, possible
additional torsional forces may act upon the cantilever. All of these influences
let the adjustment by visible control only be a second choice.
At any time
adjustment by listening was favored by HiFi purists who experienced drastical
improvements of sound when experimentally finding azimuth deviations from visual
perpenticular orientation by iterative trials and numerous listening sessions.
This method, however, is very time consuming.
The most exact and unbiassed method is possibility c) by using measuring
equipment. To avoid the necessity of expensive equipment, clearaudio developed
the Azimuth Optimizer which requires an appropriate test record with a lateral
mono signal (see side B).
In the clearaudio research laboratory we determined that the adjustment of
the azimuth most obviously influences the level difference between right and
left channel of a lateral mono signal, which therefor can be used for indication
From the diagram you see that the best orientation of the stylus is achieved
when the curve of difference between right and left channel averages around 0dBV
(the LCDisplay of the Azimuth Optimizer fluctu-ates around zero).