Get More Out of Your Turntable With VTA
Today, we want to take some time to cover one of the major Drop-exclusive improvements on our Audio Technica turntable—so important that we included it in the product name. That feature is known as Vertical Tracking Angle, or “VTA” for short.
While there were many great features in the original version of the turntable (no surprise, given Audio Technica’s prowess in the industry), we felt strongly about including VTA to allow listeners to fully explore the wonderful world of cartridges. The importance of the cartridge on a turntable cannot be overstated. Since it’s the part which actually generates the electrical signal that gets amplified into the sound you hear, it has a major impact on the sound. While the Carbon VTA is designed to work out of the box with the pre-installed cartridge, we also wanted it to be usable with a broad range of cartridges. Enter VTA.
VTA allows the tonearm height to be adjusted to compensate for differences in the height between different cartridges. Generally, you want the headshell and tonearm to be parallel with the surface of the record while it's playing. VTA becomes more important when using a cartridge that has one of the more precise Mircoline or Shibata needle profiles. These finely cut stylus profiles can offer a higher resolution of playback and sit deeper in the groove of the vinyl, but require a more precise setup to sound their best.
VTA also comes in handy when trying out different platter mats. Some might choose to replace the stock platter mat with one made of leather or cork. In doing so, you’ll be changing the height of the record surface and will want to recalibrate the height or the tonearm to compensate for these changes. In order to achieve VTA on our turntable, we developed an entirely new tonearm base made from solid metal. This creates a solid foundation for the tonearm to be slid up and down several millimeters to achieve the correct height. In total, the VTA allows for up to 6.88mm of vertical adjustment.
To adjust the height on our Carbon VTA, all you need to do is loosen the set screw in the arm base near the tonearm lift. Simply remove the spacer from the tonearm and set it aside. (Note: The spacer is important to reset the tonearm to the factory-calibrated height, so be sure to keep it in a safe location.) Next, gently raise or lower the tonearm by a few millimeters and tighten the set screw to lock the arm in place. Check the height by lowering the needle onto the surface of a record to see if the alignment is correct. You can easily make additional adjustments until you achieve the correct height. It’s that simple!