The WallySkater exists to make sure the effort you have put into the proper alignment of your cartridge isn't ruined by your tonearm. It is the only device that can accurately measure tonearm horizontal forces (including anti-skate force) and is used to assess the health of your tonearm bearing & mechanical resistance from tonearm wiring.
Use the WallySkater BEFORE aligning your stylus/cantilever to confirm tonearm is not influencing cantilever angle. This is a good test to make on your tonearm periodically to ensure bearing health remains stable and routing of tonearm wires does not shift to influence tonearm behavior. Use the WallySkater again to apply proper anti-skating force before measuring for ideal azimuth angle of your cartridge.
Proper setting of anti-skating is essential to the alignment of the stylus within the groove, maintaining of even compression on the cartridge suspension system and to the preservation of both the stylus and the record grooves. Be CERTAIN you have your anti-skating set correctly.
Doron S., Israel
I didn’t know that anti-skating is so essential! In a few articles that I read in the past, some said it is not essential. When I used your tool, I received a much more accurate sound stage. For many years I mistakenly thought that my Clearaudio Goldfinger sounds bright and not musical enough. I believe the improvement is especially obvious on my SAT Arm. After a week with WallySkater, I can say that the right anti-skating is a game changer!!! You don’t know how many cartridges I bought with the expectation that I will get the right great sounds. Thanks and let me know when you will have new tools.
Richard H., Canada
What a great tool! I am surprised how versatile this is since it offers far more than just setting the correct anti-skate. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of it. I went back the next day and set it back up from memory and found it quite easy to use.
James D., MI
I’m amazed at how much better my turntable sounds after using the Wallyskater! Thank you! I have a [XXX] turntable. Unfortunately, the manual provided no instructions on how to set antiskate. I then found a video recommending use of the blank vinyl in the runout section to set the antiskate so that the arm very slowly drifts inward. I decided to use a grooveless record to achieve the same effect. I ended up using a LOT of antiskate. Eventually I became frustrated with the way the tonearm would swing outward every time I tried to cue the needle. I then realized I must have the antiskate all wrong. I read about the Wallyskater from Michael Fremer so I decided to purchase it. All I can say is WOW!
Jeff D., CA
Amazing tool! Not only did it provide feedback on the influence of my tonearm wire, it allowed me to evaluate freedom of movement on my linear bearing tonearm as well as horizontal force as it pertains the the air pressure setting for the linear arm’s air bearing! Definitely keeping this thing around. Thanks for the recommendation. It was absolutely effective. The Skater never read above 3 or 4 percent so I know my cantilever was not being torqued when I set it before using the Skater. But now I KNOW it is setup properly! The air bearing pressure adjustment is what surprised me. It made a big difference and having the Skater to find the sweet spot was invaluable.
Wally used to call his WallySkater "one of my best Trojan Horses" because many invitations he accepted to setup equipment owned by proud designers or audiophiles often resulted in the destruction of the owner's faith in the quality of their equipment.
The WallySkater is a ruthless detective of bearing quality and poor anti-skating mechanism design. Over the years, the WallySkater has been an essential tool for finding problems tonearm manufacturers and audiophiles didn't even know existed.
How good is your tonearm?
What’s wrong with using test track records to determine the anti-skating setting?
Skating is caused by two elements: Effective Moment Arm and friction. Effective Moment Arm is a geometric function having to do with the relationship of the tonearm to the record. The friction that causes skating force is found at the junction of stylus and groove walls. As friction increases, skating force increases which necessitates more anti-skating force to counter it. Read more HERE about the mechanical causes of skating force.
The primary cause of friction (other than the vertical tracking force, of course) is the contour (musical content) within the groove. Loud musical passages have greater groove contour and therefore result in greater friction. Anti-skating test tracks are extremely high contour/amplitude tracks that are designed to cause the tonearm to mistrack – something which is easily heard. However, recording engineers don’t want our stylus to mistrack so they don’t push the groove amplitude too far (and we can thank them for this). So, if we are setting our anti-skating according to signal amplitude in the groove which is almost never present during music playback then we will be setting our anti-skating for this high amplitude (high friction) track and therefore will have our anti-skating set far too high for normal musical playback, causing excessive wear on the right channel groove and stylus.