Cartridge alignment is driving me insane

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Knicknack, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Knicknack

    Knicknack Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I don’t get it. No matter what I do I can’t get this right. I’m using the technics overhang gauge and I just can’t take it anymore. I’ve used multiple protractors and I don’t get it. Put the stylus on the null point, move the cartridge until it’s aligned and then go to the next one and do it again. Okay? Great! But I don’t know why I can’t seem to get the overhang. The screws aren’t loose enough? I have no idea. I thought maybe if you just got it straight to both grids in one place that it’d be fine but nope you need to have the cantilever straight. I can barely see the damn thing at eye level. And when I move the cartridge to get the cantilever straight on one grid it isn’t on the other and the whole overhang gets screwed up. I really want to love vinyl. It’s a great hobby and the best way to listen to music (in my opinion), but I’ll never fully love it until I get this alignment right. And then again how the hell do I know when it’s right?

    EDIT: Let’s say I just go by the cartridge, if it isn’t 100 percent correct I’m still screwed because the cantilever and the cartridge wouldn’t be right. What kind of insanity is this?

    EDIT: Any help is appreciated! Turntable is a Technics SL–D1 and the cartridge is an Audio Technica AT440MLB.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  2. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    If you use an overhang gauge, then you would normally just align the cartridge body in the headshell (if it is a standard s-shaped tonearm with removable headshell). The overhang and offset angle are dependent on the alignment type you choose, so if you are using a protractor to set the offset angle, it may not be designed for your overhang gauge.

    Many of us simplify the process by printing out an arc protractor for our specific tonearm via the Conrad Hoffman generator. The overhang and offset angle are then easily set independently ...

    Which protractor to use ? (DUAL CS-750)

    What type of table and accessories stuff do you have?
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  3. Knicknack

    Knicknack Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    It’s just a bit difficult to find anything on the Technics SL-D1 online.
     
  4. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    If you are using the 'usual' 52mm overhang gauge-thingy from Technics, be aware that this may not be the right tool to use for your SL-D1.
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  5. Knicknack

    Knicknack Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Where would I find the specs on an SL-D1?
     
  6. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Do you have the manual?

    My 1200mkII has the tonearm effective length at 230mm.

    So, if the SL-D1 tonearm has a different effective length, you shouldn't use the 52mm overhang gauge.
     
  7. Knicknack

    Knicknack Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Manual doesn’t mention pivot to spindle distance or anything like that.
     
  8. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NJ
    Start by putting cartridge where the overhang should be based on what your TT's specs say. I use a flimsy plastic ruler with millimeters on it (Rega specs are in mm). Tighten the screws enough to hold the cartridge steady but don't tighten too much. In order to keep cartridge steady but able to move while you make adjustments, you have to screw around and get the cartridge just loose enough that you can move it but that it's still secure. This is worst part for me.

    Put the stylus on first null point (it matters that you start with correct null point) and set the cartridge straight with lines on protractor on first null point. I use a magnifying glass to make sure the stylus is in null point exactly. Then move to next null point. If it is not straight, you need to either move the cartridge forward or back. It's not a matter of twisting it now. It is a matter of moving the cartridge forward or back. If correct alignment requires an anti-clockwise rotation of the cartridge, then the effective length is too short. If correct alignment requires a clockwise rotation of the cartridge, then the effective length is too long. This will dictate your overhang. On my protractor, the adjustment must be made on the second (inner) null point. I'm not sure, but it could be different if you have a protractor that says to start with inner null point first.

    If you cant see the stylus when you are eyeing it up, just go by the cartridge body. I have to get up on a chair with an LED light on my head and look straight down at my cartridge to see its alignment with protractor lines. I can NOT do it by looking at the stylus so I am at the mercy of the manufacturer. It's not most cartridges that have the stylus jutting out and the mirrored protractors don't let me do it.

    Once you get it straight at both null points, you need to hold cartridge steady while you tighten screws or it moves and needs to be readjusted. I have to keep checking my alignment every time I tighten a little bit more to make sure. You will think it hasn't moved and find out that it has. It's maddening but you will get it.
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  9. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NJ
    They should provide that. Look online and if you don't see it, contact manufacturer and ask for it.
     
  10. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    The pivot to spindle distance is just the effective length minus overhang, so in this case, 230mm - 15mm = 215mm (at least those are the numbers for the SL-D2, which I think should be the same, it just has auto-return.
     
  11. nolazep

    nolazep I drink and I know things

    The SL-D2 uses the 52mm gauge, so I'm guessing the D1 does as well.

    Plug the headshell into the gauge, line up the tip on the stylus with the gauge's edge, center the cart in the headshell, and recheck the stylus tip. Rinse and repeat until it's lined-up and square in the headshell. Forget the protractors.

    Screw the headshell back in the tonearm and enjoy your records. Every minute you spend obsessing over micrometer-sized differences between null points is a minute spent away from enjoying the music. This hobby has a way of bringing out your inner crazy if you let it. If you've already decided you can't love it without absolute perfection, it's time to grab a beer and walk the dog.
     
    oregonalex and LivingForever like this.
  12. Lenny

    Lenny Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    I suggest you consider the turntablebasics.com protractor. You point it to your arm pivot, set the overhang and then the angle and you're done. It's on a mirrored surface; that helps a lot to set the correct angle. Best of all it's only $20 and it works with all arms. No connection. It's just that I use an older protractor that works exactly the same way.
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  13. CCrider92

    CCrider92 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cape Cod, MA
    Knicknack, go to the Vinyl Engine (VE) site and go to the Technics forum and/or see what VE has available for your table model. To use the forum you may have to sign up first. Lots of people there should be able to get some answers for you.
     
  14. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    If you can get hold of The Elite
    Gauge by Townshend Internstiomal
    You can optimise your own tone arm .
     
  15. feinstei9415

    feinstei9415 Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    The problem is accurately finding the pivot point. The McIntosh MT-5 turntable has a little indentation where the pivot point is. All tonearms should have this wonderful feature!
     
    snorker likes this.
  16. Knicknack

    Knicknack Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
  17. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NJ
    Sorry, I said to get the overhang from manufacturer's specs when I meant the effective length. Not length to spindle though. My Rega tonearm has a little raised line which I believe marks the spot to measure from at pivot point. Again, once you get that length, the alignment will dictate how much to move cartridge back or forward.
     
  18. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NJ
    I see lines going perpendicular to cartridge and stylus. You align stylus or cartridge to lines parallel to sides of cartridge. I'd have to see it from directly above to gauge it but my eyes are as same as yours. Plus it has to be aligned and both points.
     
  19. I think all Clearaudio arms do. Very handy.
     
  20. Why doesn't the OP just get the Technics 52mm gauge? That's what the arm is designed to use, is it not? Forget the protractors for that 'arm! I use that gauge on my SL-1200G...it's perfect.

    EDIT - I see your photo now...follow this diagram below. Use a straight edge like a razor or other flat thin surface to hold against the gauge so you can see whether it's aligned.

    [​IMG]
     
    Shak Cohen and bluemooze like this.
  21. Knicknack

    Knicknack Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I’ve got the gauge. I’m using it right now. Check out the link I posted. Does it look good?
     
  22. I see your photo now. Sorry!

    Hard to tell from the photo, but use a straight edge like a razor or other flat thin surface to hold against the gauge so you can see whether the tip of the stylus is aligned. I've used a credit card, but sometimes they get a little curved from being in my wallet. :laugh:
     
  23. Knicknack

    Knicknack Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    A credit card isn’t a bad idea, now when I move the cartridge forward do I want the stylus at the end of the gauge or directly above the credit card?


    EDIT: Another picture showing where I have it now. The point hits both the card and the razor. Hopefully I’m done?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  24. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    The D1 is the same as the D2 and D3 for the arm specs.

    If you use the alignment gauge, it will not line up the cart exactly with any protractor. It's closest to "Stevenson" alignment, but it is slightly different, call it the "Technics 1200" alignment. It is what Technics calculated to be the best.

    Your second picture looks like the stylus tip is a bit too far out. The point of the stylus is supposed to be exactly over the end of the gauge.

    Look over this recent thread - everything is the same except your gauge is exactly correct for your D1. The "twist" I describe there is the final thing to do to eliminate IGD, if you hear any IGD after using the gauge alone.

    Aligning Cartage with Overhang gague, Getting High end distortion
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2018
    bluemooze, Leonthepro and McLover like this.
  25. If you drew a straight line from the edge of the gauge it would bisect the tip of the stylus, if that makes sense. Hold the straight edge/card perpendicular to the gauge right at the end and see if it centers up to the stylus.
     

Share This Page