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Headshell Clips or Cartridge Mounting First?

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  • Headshell Clips or Cartridge Mounting First?



    Do you mount your cartridge first and then attach the leads or attach the headshell leads first and then mount the cartridge?

    I might be the exception but I do the latter. In part, because the VPI tonearm wand is removable and makes mounting a bit easier than a fixed pivot arm. Two, because I've sworn off using tweezers (even with the excellent tweezers that Graham supplies) and attach the headshell leads directly with my fingers (I have excellent fine motor control). I've had too many bad experiences of bending the clips with tweezers. (never thankfully broken one off though!) I might also point out that one of the biggest changes has been the standardization of headshell clips and/or diameter of cartridge pins. Twenty years ago, the size of headshell clips were all over the place and half the time the clips were too loose and one had to try and use pliers, etc to make the clips smaller. Lastly, I've had experiences with long bodied cartridges that making attaching leads post-mounting very difficult eg. in case where the cartridge is pushed way back in the headshell.

    Ok you can stop laughing now.
    21
    Leads first
    38.10%
    8
    Cartridge first
    61.90%
    13
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    push on leads first then mount cartridge. i'm like you and have pretty good fine motor skills, years of practice building 1/43 scale replicas in my former hobby life.

    best cartridge clips I ever used or seen have to be Bill Firebaugh's from the original run of Well Tempered arms. Bill was rather proud of them too and bought out the entire NOS supply. I've not seen them since nor did Bill know where to get more. I was buying spares from Transparent audio until they cut me off because they were running out of their own stash!
    TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | B.M.C. | Boulder | Magico

    "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

    Comment


    • #3
      I:

      1) mount the cartridge on a headshell.
      2) attach headshell to tonearm
      3) place tonearm cable clips on cartridge pins using tweezers

      Sometimes I reverse the #1 and #2 order.

      Generally, the less time the cartridge is in my hand, the better.

      Normal/generic headshell clips seem the weakest point in the analog system cable chain.

      Comment


      • #4
        Voted Cart first but it depends on whether you get a stylus guard or not and what tonearm you´re working with. On Breuer-type headshells it is clips first because of the limited space to do them up as step two.

        Comment


        • #5
          All my tonearms have removable arm wands or headshells.

          I always mount the cartridge at the very end of the headshell
          then attach the headshell wires
          then move the cartridge into the centre, tighten the screws a little
          then align cartridge

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a confession to make. I enjoy mounting and aligning cartridges immensely. My definition of a perfect saturday morning is getting up at seven. Having a triple shot cappuccino and a fried breakfast. Then mounting a cartridge, aligning it and then listen to some music.

            Comment


            • tom_hankins
              tom_hankins commented
              Editing a comment
              I wish you lived next door to me. I have an expresso machine, some great expresso beans, and two cartridges here I have not heard yet.

            • Metamatic
              Metamatic commented
              Editing a comment
              Per, I am a bit like you. Only one thing to add. Family must be out or very quiet. Cartridge setup needs quiet and a clear head.

            • Per Sundell
              Per Sundell commented
              Editing a comment
              Correct. You need peace and quiet and to be in the zone to do a good job.

          • #7
            Scenario 1: If the cartridge has a stylus guard, I'll mount the pin clips first. I want the pin clips to be clean and fit perfectly. This is a major bottleneck to performance. And in all cases I use a torque screw driver for final adjustment.

            Scenario 2: If no stylus guard, then I'll mount the cartridge to the arm because I don't want to risk damage to the cantilever. But this takes more time, as I don't want to stress the tonearm bearings.

            Scenario 3: On removable arms, I'll mount the cartridge first and then arrange the wires. In all cases I like to carefully arrange the wires so they do not touch each other.

            Scenario 4: Sometimes it depends if the wires are very tight at the cartridge/headshell mounting. So I may or may not mount the cartridge first.

            Mounting sequence varies and each assembly can be unique.
            Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
            Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
            Phono 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable with 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Decade Phono Preamp
            Phono 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable with 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
            R2R Tape: Studer A810 with Bridge Console
            Digital: Lumin Network Player with Lumin NAS
            Cables: Genesis Advanced Technologies/Absolute Fidelity Interface Interconnects, Speaker, Phono and Power
            Power: Audio-Ultra Power System, IsoTek Super Titan Passive Power Conditioning for Amplifiers
            Accessories: Custom Acrylic Equipment Stands, Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

            Comment


            • #8
              So far am glad I'm not the only one attaching leads first.
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
              -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

              Comment


              • #9
                Attaching leads first. As I am not swapping cartridges, this only happens when I have to replace/retip the cartridge so I don't practice often.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Leads first, even with the RG-8 and the VAS Nova Signature. It's just easier this way with the VPI armwands.
                  Analog: Holbo Turntable, Transfiguration Proteus; Forsell Air Reference, Transfiguration Phoenix S; Rega RP-8, VdH Crimson XGW; VPI Prime Signature, VAS Nova Mono, VAS Nova Signature, Symphonic Line RG-8
                  Digital: Mac mini 6,2 with YFS PS-12M LPS; Exogal Comet Plus, Exogal Ion PowerDAC
                  Electronics: Aurorasound Vida, Channel D Lino C; Merrill Cara, Gryphon M-100 Mkii (pair)
                  Cables: Morrow, Gryphon interconnects; YFS USB cable; Morrow, XLO, Channel D phono cables; Morrow, Gryphon, Goertz speaker cables

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Most of the time its leads first but on occasion its cartridge first......mounting SPU
                    Jeff Whitlock
                    A/V Solutions

                    www.avsolutionsca.com

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      I never have a problem when sliding the pins on with my fingers then mounting the cartridge. No torn clips off from the wires...easy to do.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Cartridge first. Leads after cartridge is on arm.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I always mount the cartridge to the headshell first so that the cartridge is stable and secure when I push the clips on with a pair of tweezers. For me at least, cartridges are too expensive to take a chance at holding the cartridge with one hand and pushing the small leads on with your fingers. I consider it a delicate operation and treat it as such. I don't know how fat fingers and fine motor control go together on small and delicate/fragile items. Maybe this is one of the areas where the infamous maid creeps in and ruins a cartridge.
                          Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            I'll ask Stirling Trayle what he does! :-) It's scary enough to use a brush on the stylus. Larry
                            Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
                            Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
                            Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
                            Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
                            Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
                            Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
                            Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

                            Comment


                            • Doxycc
                              Doxycc commented
                              Editing a comment
                              funny - my response was going to be "call Stirling" (he and I were the distributors of T+A and Amphion together) and "Call Allen Perkins." And if I pull the trigger on the DS Audio, call "Garth Leerer" - because I have more cash than skill.

                              Fortunate to have known all 3 for 30 years and all local to me. And that "Magico guy" lives nearby as well.
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