## Tracking Angle Error

There are three parameters involved in the geometry of tracking angle error that can be considered when designing a tonearm.

1. Arm Length

2. Overhang

3. Tracking Angle

These three factors can be examined very effectively using our Tracking Angle Analyzer (featured in this post) and a sensible judgment made by the designer that best suits his ideals concerning tonearms and tracking angle error. There are numerous excellent mathematical approaches to resolve this issue but none, I believe, give the understanding and insight that will be had by using our Tracking Angle Analyzer.

There is another non-geometrical factor that must be considered in an over-all understanding of tracking angle error. That other factor is the linear velocity of the groove. The linear velocity of the outermost grooves can be more that 3 times the linear velocity of the innermost grooves and this increased velocity reduces the generation of tracking angle error proportionately, by as much as 3 times. This reduction can be readily understood by examining the graphical presentation of the 2nd harmonic generation presented earlier in this blog (Fig. 1, Tone Arm Geometry, 18 Feb 09). Basically, the grooves going by the stylus faster reduce the difference between line OA and line OB and this, of course, reduces the 2nd harmonic. For a radical example, suppose we chose an overhang of zero and have a 10.5 inch tonearm. Using the Tracking Angle Analyzer, we will see a tracking angle of about 5 degrees will give zero error at the innermost grooves. However, at the outermost grooves, the tracking angle is about 17 degrees. This gives a tracking angle error of 17-5= 12 degrees. This is reduced by a factor of 3 times because of increased groove velocity at the outermost grooves for an effective error of 12/3 = 4 degrees. Now, if we wish, we can split the difference and set the tracking angle to 7 degrees for a tracking angle error of 2 degrees on the inner grooves and a tracking angle error of (12-7)/3 = 1.7 degrees effective on the outermost grooves.

If we wish, we can adjust the tracking angle for a small tracking error that is essentially constant over the span of the grooves. There are other factors that are beyond the control of the designer. These factors include the frequencies recorded in the groove, the amplitude of the recorded groove and thus the transverse velocity of the stylus in the groove.

William Firebaugh

Instructions on how to make your own Tracking Angle Analyzer