Alva TT Turntable – Cartridge Change and Recalibration | Cambridge Audio

Alva TT Turntable – Cartridge Change and Recalibration | Cambridge Audio

August 24, 2019 3 By Kailee Schamberger


Your Alva phono cartridge is designed
to give you approximately 1000 hours of listening pleasure depending, on the
condition of your record collection. There will come a time when performance
drops off and it’s going to need replacing. Excessive wear can be detected
as a duller noise or stereo imbalance, but it can be difficult to spot, as it builds
up over time. You’re probably better off working out an approximate weekly or
monthly usage and going from there. The Alva TT turntable has been designed to
work best with the Alva high-output moving coil cartridge, so this film will
show you how to carry out a like-for-like replacement. For other compatible cartridges please refer to your cartridge manufacturer’s instructions. The procedure for replacing your Alva cartridge isn’t difficult, but it is delicate and it requires a steady hand. If you’re not comfortable carrying
it out please, contact your Cambridge Audio dealer, they’ll be able to offer further advice rather than risk damage to your turntable or new cartridge. So if we haven’t put you off, you’re going to need some tools. A good pair of tweezers,
never pliers, a cartridge alignment protractor which you can download and
print from the Cambridge Audio website and the tracking force gauge that came
with your turntable. You’ll also need your a placement cartridge which is
packaged with an allen key. To remove the old cartridge, first move the bias setting
to zero and lock the tonearm in place. Making sure that the stylus guard is in
situ, start to tweeze the wire tags from the rear of the cartridge. This is a
bit of a pressure point as the wires are very thin, very delicate and very
difficult to replace. Remember to put on the metal tag itself, not the wire behind the tag, and go carefully. Once the tags are off, you can unscrew the cartridge
from the head shell using the allen key. A good habit to get into here is to store
the screws in the removed cartridge immediately. If you’re swapping
cartridges as an experiment rather than a permanent replacement or you’re
sending the cartridge away, you don’t want to be hunting around for them. Now it’s time for the new cartridge. Keeping the stylus guard in place, screw the
cartridge to the head shell. Finger tight is okay for now, but you’re going to need
to make some small adjustments using the alignment protractor. Instructions are
printed on the protractor, but the key here is to make sure the head shell is
lined up with the lines on the protractor and the cartridge is squarely
aligned to the head shell. Doing this correctly will ensure the most accurate
sound reproduction across the whole record and the least
amount of wear and tear on both the stylus and the disc. Remove the stylus
cover and place the stylus on the cross. Move the cartridge forwards or backwards
on the head shell, until the head shell is lined up with the protractor.
Once you’ve lined it up, ensure the cartridge is squarely aligned with the
head shell and tighten the screws with the allen key. You’ll very rarely need to
revisit cartridge alignment, but it is worth rechecking every year or if you
ever reposition your turntable. If nothing else you can make sure the bolts
are still correctly tightened. The final stage of the process is to reset the
tracking force. Even though this is a like-for-like replacement, don’t assume
that it will have stayed the same. Use the force gauge supplied with your
turntable. Place the gauge on the platter, unclip the tonearm
and remove the cover from the cartridge. Rest the stylus on the appropriate point
on the gauge, in the case of the Alva cartridge that’s two, meaning two grams of
tracking force. You want the gauge to be able to balance on its pivot point unassisted. It’s advisable to make your adjustments with the tonearm in the
armrest to avoid potential damage to the cartridge. If the stylus pushes the gauge
all the way down, it’s too heavy. You’ll need to move the counterweight towards
the back of the tonearm. If the gauge pushes the stylus up, it’s too light, move
the counterweight forward. Once balanced, set the bias slider back to two and you’re done. Stick on your favourite record and enjoy. you