It’s best to understand the effects of correct azimuth adjustment with a theoretically perfectly manufactured cartridge. This ideal cartridge will exhibit perfect phase response between left and right channel and have approximately 40dB channel separation.
If your tonearm has an azimuth adjustment, set it to neutral (bottom of headshell parallel to platter) before installing your cartridge. It can simplify lining up the cantilever as you work with your protractor to set up the geometry.
What to listen for
This translates into a sound with low distortion, a spacious presentation that still localizes objects in space. We don’t want singers to sound as if they don’t have 6 foot wide mouths.
You should get a sense of solidity of the presentation – of a three dimensional body in space, as opposed to something that resembles a cardboard cutout diorama – a series of flat objects.
Types of recording to use
Even if you use a tool like the Feickert Adjust+ software (link is in next section), we recommend that your ears be the final judge.
Start with simple music – piano and vocal and work your way into more complex ensemble music and finally larger scale music.
This is a fairly involved topic, and if you’re interested in further reading, we suggest you download the Feickert software’s Adjust + software and read the section on azimuth adjustment (opens in new window).
Interaction With Other Settings
VTA/SRA: because changes to this setting affect phase response, you should revisit this setting when adjusting azimuth.
Anti-skate: because both of these settings can affect channel balance, both should be visited when either one is.