Acoustical Systems AnalogMagik : Cartridge alignement Software & Test LPs
Acoustical Systems AnalogMagik is a Windows-based turntable cartridge calibration software designed by Richard H. Mak and a team of engineers. It offers a scientific and repeatable method of calibrating every cartridge setup parameter, including:
Vertical Tracking Angle / Stylus Raking Angle
Optimizing Phono Stage Loading
Optimizing Phono Stage Gain Setting
Vertical Tracking Force
Determining Resonance Frequencies
AES Wow & Flutter
After you have performed a basic alignment on your turntable’s cartridge using an appropriate alignment tractor, our software and Test LPs will attempt to optimize and fine-tune all the above setup parameters to achieve a more accurate analog cartridge setup.
Simply follow the onscreen instructions, and the program will guide you through all the test functions. It will also tell you what “optimal” numbers to look for, and what cartridge adjustments you need to make to get there.
AnalogMagik comes with the software program, a license USB key, and 2 Test LPs (33 1/3 & 45 rpm). Please note that the Acoustical System SMARTractor is a separate tool which we recommend, but it is not part of the AnalogMagik product package.
AnalogMagik is designed to work with a WIndows based Laptop, and and the ART PHONO PLUS souncard.
How is AnalogMagik different from other tools on the market?
Nearly all available tools on the market will fine tune only one or two specific parameters in isolation. For example, there many tools which will allow you to determine Azimuth, but they will leave out Anti-Skating, Vertical Tracking Angle, and Vertical Tracking Force. Users will have to resort to inconsistent and non-scientific methods to setup the rest of the parameters, leading to a sub-optimal setup.
How does AnalogMagik achieve an optimal setup?
We believe an optimal setup is one which allows for the accurate retrieval of recording signals. This requires minimizing distortion levels in not just one, but ALL the setup parameters. Setup parameters such as VTA, VTF, Azimuth, Antiskating, etc…….. They are all dependent and inter-related to each other, and no parameter can be optimized in isolation. A true optimal setup will find the optimal point which delivers low distortion numbers on not just one, but as many parameters as possible.
For example, assuming you discovered that the optimal Azimuth angle requires you to tilt the cartridge by 2 degree, but as a result, causes a degradation to VTA/SRA, Anti-Skating, and VTF readings, AnalogMagik will not consider this as the optimal setup. But if you tilt the cartridge by only 1 degree which causes a slight degradation to azimuth readings, but if this will improve VTA/SRA, VTF, and Antiskating readings, this in our opinion, is a more optimal setup because it takes into account multiple setup parameters as a whole, without over emphasizing on one specific parameter.
Only a tool which can perform scientific and repeatable methods on ALL parameters will allow you to do this, using a consistent method based on scientific measurements.
AnalogMagik – Not Just An Ordinary Distortion Analyzer
If you own hardware based distortion analyzers or computer based Oscilloscopes & Spectrum Analyzers, why do you need AnalogMagik?
Any distortion analyzer can compute data, you can probably duplicate some of our test functions using the myriads of computer and hardware based analyzers out there. Many of them are free. However, all of them will lack the most important thing: the complex algorithm, proprietary filtering and mathematical averaging required to analyze data coming from the TEST LPs designed to work with our algorithms. Knowing how to interpret such data in a meaningful way, is a very difficult task. An ordinary distortion analyzer does not have the appropriate filtering to deliver consistent and repeatable results. Just throw in a slightly warped record and your results will be off.
AnalogMagik contains proprietary complex algorithms built into the programming and specific settings to account for the following:
a proper sampling rate
a proper sampling period
complex filtering for noise, clicks & pops, and statics
complex mathematical averaging
incorporate the effects of warp records, and off centered spindle holes
mathematical standard deviation
eliminate the detrimental effects of line electric noise
eliminate the effects of hum
Do not be surprised to see slightly different results when you use AnalogMagik vs other distortion analyzers. Our complex programming will greatly improve the accuracy and consistency of the results, which an ordinary distortion analyzer will not do for you. We have spent thousands of hours perfecting the special algorithm specifically designed to work with the signals on our test LPs. The tracks on the LP are also strategically located at certain locations optimized for certain signals.
In our laboratory, we have utilized $ 35,000 laboratory grade hardware distortion analyzers to perform the same tests, but the results are less stable and less repeatable than AnalogMagik, because the trick lies in the proprietary mathematical algorithms. Without them, you can spend hundreds of hours with an ordinary computer analyzer simply to establish a correlation.
In other words, we have done the hard work so that you won’t have to.
AnalogMagik’s 2 Test LPs – Both 33 1/3 rpm & 45 rpm
180G Virgin Vinyls
Why do we give you both a 33 1/3 rpm and a 45 rpm Test Lp? The forces experienced by a cartridge’s stylus, is different under different turntable speeds. For example, under 45 rpm, the dragging force is greater than when under 33 1/3 rpm, which will cause the VTA/SRA angle to change ever so slightly. A faster speed will also increase Centripetal Force, which may require a slightly different Anti-skating as well as Azimuth setting.
For those with multiple tonearms and cartridges, a 45 rpm test LP will allow users to optimize a specific arm/cartridge combination to play 45 rpm records.
Our LPs are pressed with the highest quality 180G virgin vinyl. Please note, if you use other test LPs with a different thickness, it will give you different setup results on ALL parameters.
Establishing Correlation, & Obtaining
The most import element in cartridge setup is to establish a correlation between a change you make, versus the results displayed on screen, or an audible sonic change.
Some adjustment parameters involved highly sensitive measurements which are influenced by a number of factors which are beyond our control. Some parameters are highly sensitive to changes (such as Speed, Azimuth, or Wow & Flutter), while others do not always yield a strong correlation (VTA & VTF). This is highly dependent on cartridge quality, tonearm design, as well as the inherent noise level of the system.
AnalogMagik DOES NOT GUARANTEE meaningful results can be obtained in all parameters, but taken as a whole, if you can obtain meaningful results in as many of these parameters as possible, we believe it will result in a more accurate setup.
Detailed information have been provided on each of the program’s test functions, we encourage you to read them carefully to understand the theory behind it, and the correlation each test function attempts to establish.
It is very common for users to discover very bad numbers to start, or they may be unable to establish a correlation with a parameter, this is normal. As you go through the test parameters to make fine adjustments, the numbers will begin to make sense. As you move closer to an accurate setup, the correlation becomes stronger. Sometimes this may take 3-5 hours.
Remember, AnalogMagik is a tool which tells you where your setup is at, it does not do the setup for you. Your setup skills, and the equipment quality will determine good or bad numbers.
Lastly, AnalogMagik is an ongoing project, we are constantly improving our website and program. We often make changes to improve our algorithms to increase the accuracy of test results. As we gather more user feedback resulting in positive changes to our algorithms, we will provides updates free of charge as long as it does not involve major programming changes.