If you have a linear tracking tonearm, you can skip this section. A correctly set up linear tracker generates no tracking force.
This force is generated by the combination of stylus overhang and offset angle required to minimize tracing distortion in a pivoting tonearm. It is the vector summation of the forward and lateral forces resulting from a pivoted tonearm’s setup geometry.
There is no “perfect” anti-skate setting because the dynamic content of the music will influence how much the record grooves “pull” on the stylus to generate these forces. Loud or dynamic passages will have larger grooves which will generate more friction on the stylus and therefore higher tracking forces.
Follow the “just enough, but not too much” principle in setting this adjustment, much as you would with tracking force. One effect of too much anti-skate is the same as with tracking force. You will experience a perception that the music is slowing down and losing its dynamic drive, as if your turntable is running too slow.
Following this “just enough” principle, don’t try to adjust for your records which generate the most skating force. Accept them as they are, so that the majority of your records don’t lose their drive.
Many users replace their anti-skate weights (for those tonearms using weights) with rubber o-rings – such is how they minimize their application of this adjustment.
If you don’t have a test record, adjust this parameter over time, as you listen distortion in the last inch of an LP. If you use a test record, don’t trust it completely, but rather use it as a baseline setting and realize that you may require more or less anti-skate.
Don’t try to pass the “torture track” if your test record has multiple tracks of increasing difficulty. Trying to pass the torture track test will violate the “just enough but not too much” rule.
Interaction With Other Settings
Azimuth: Because anti-skate can affect channel balance, you should visit azimuth when you make changes to anti-skate.
Tracking Force: Since skating force has a frictional component, changes to tracking force will influence the skating force, and therefore, the necessary anti-skate to compensate for it.
Geometry: If your geometry is not set up correctly, you may experience inner groove distortion and mistake geometry related distortion for too much or too little anti-skate.