Lab-58 setup - where do I begin? - diyAudio
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Old 25th March 2013, 08:14 PM   #1
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Default Lab-58 setup - where do I begin?

Hello. I have an old Realistic Lab-58 TT with a Realistic STA-530 receiver. I had a guy at a vinyl shop revive it after it spent a long time in the attic. It works, but I think it needs some setting up and it looks like that will have to be a diy project. I read a few articles about VTA, anti-skate and all that, but I had a hard time figuring out how to apply what I was reading to the turntable in front of me. I couldn't find any information on my specific turntable except that it comes from around 1980. I also don't know what sort of cartridge I have or what the manufacturer guidelines for anything might be.

I took some pictures, and I hope this link works:
Realistic Lab-58 Photos by vinylnewb | Photobucket

If anyone could point me to some useful guides and alignment tools, that would be very helpful, and I'd especially appreciate some help in figuring out what I have to work with on this particular turntable. For example, there's some sort of switch with the numbers 30, 25, 17, 12, 10, and 7. What is this? What does it do?

Thanks
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Old 25th March 2013, 09:12 PM   #2
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You might want to register at vinylengine.com. They have manuals for many turntables.
There is also much information on how to setup a table. they have over-hang protractors. May favorite is at Vacuum State Electronic's site. See under "goodies".
Best guide! Mostly setup by ear.

Some tables don't have VTA adjustment, however it's used to set the correct height of the arm and stylus rake angle (SRA). VTA is a setting at the back of the arm, usually near the pivot point.

The momentum of the spinning record forces the arm to push to the center of the record. Ant-skate help lightly push the arm in an equal force in the opposite direction, essentially keeping the needle in the center of the groove. If not, you will hear more sound in the left channel than in the right channel. I think the anti-skate should be set to the tracking force setting of the needle. It's not exact and some player manufacturers don't use it.

Stylus tracking force is measured in grams and is recommended by the cartridge manufacturer. At the back of the arm, there is a counter weight. set the weight so the arm floats level at record height, then add just enough weight to counter weight to force the arm down at the correct tracking force as determined by the cart maker.
Usually you should use a stylus force scale. Some are analog (see-saw mechanism) and some are digital read-out. I wouldn't trust the indicators on the counter-weight. they could be off for many reason, age of player being one of them.

You should concentrate on the tracking force, if you have no other settings.
Find the maker of the cartridge and see what the correct tracking force is for the cartridge on the arm.

Azimuth deals with the needle's position in the groove. It should be straight up and not favor left or right. This is set by either the arm or at the headshell. This is an important setting.

Just remember that if you change one setting, it will affect another. It's a dance- back and forth, back and forth.

Hope this helps.
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Old 25th March 2013, 09:38 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response. I'll definitely check out vinylengine. How might I figure out what kind of cartridge I have?
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Old 26th March 2013, 03:33 AM   #4
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You have a good picture of it, but I see no markings. I'd say 'remove the cart via the head shell', but you should really find a manual for the table and tonearm first. You don't want to twist it incorrectly and tear the fine wiring inside the arm. The stylus is very fragile as well. The cart looks like a moving magnet, but I could be wrong. Cartridges are user replaceable, so it might not be original and not listed in the manual.

The head shell covers and holds the cart. The head shell attaches to the tonearm shaft.
Sometimes the head shell plugs right into the arm shaft, and other types have a locking collar at the connection point behind the head shell. Some are one piece, head shell direct into the arm.
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Last edited by vdi_nenna; 26th March 2013 at 03:45 AM.
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Old 26th March 2013, 04:24 PM   #5
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I checked vinylengine, but they didn't seem to have a manual for my turntable. I found operator and service manuals here: Radio Shack 42-2974 Manual from Vintage Manuals, Inc.

Can anyone vouch for this company?
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Old 26th March 2013, 05:23 PM   #6
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Try the lab-60 manual, it might get you close to finding the cartridge type. most likely a moving-magnet Realistic/Shure. Look for model number on physical cart.

good luck!

Vince
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File Type: jpg lab-60 cart setting.JPG (159.5 KB, 17 views)
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