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Advice on my LP120X First Cartridge Alignment

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by MattF_19, Jun 10, 2021 at 10:21 PM.

  1. MattF_19

    MattF_19 Active Member Thread Starter

    Cartridge Alignment

    I've never aligned the stock cartridge that came with my LP120X, I just found out yesterday that it was not pre-aligned from the factory (Like the Fluance tables). I printed out the alignment protractor for the LP120x and I think the first point looks good, but I'm not sure if the cantilever is a tad bit crooked on the second (inner) point. Take a look at the images (First one is outer point, last two are inner points), and let me know what you think.

    I'd appreciate the help! This is my first time aligning! ;)
     
  2. JayCrafton

    JayCrafton New Member

    I couldn't find conclusive information on if it was aligned from the factory or not, but when I checked mine with a protractor it was bang on! Double check with a protractor for sure. AT makes a printable one, but you can get one of those generic mirrored ones pretty much anywhere and they're great too.
     
  3. BluTorch

    BluTorch Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Battle Creek, MI
    First point looks great. Second is all kitty-wompus. Align inner. Then align outer. Then align inner again. Then align outer again. Eventually you will get to a point when both are in alignment. Be patient. Once you do this one time, you'll understand.
     
  4. Davey

    Davey Heavy Rotation: Merope "Salos"

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    You need to go back and forth, adjusting the overhang either forward or backward by moving the cartridge in the headshell forward or backward, and adjusting the offset angle inward or outward, until the cantilever is aligned as closely as you can get at each of the null points. It's an iterative process, it gets easier once you've done it a couple times so that you know which direction to move the cartridge (forward or backward).

    It can get kind of tedious, so most seasoned turntable people usually move to using an arc protractor, or some other means of setting the overhang independent of the offset angle. There are multiple alignments to choose from as well.
     
  5. MattF_19

    MattF_19 Active Member Thread Starter

    @Davey I read from Audio-Technica's website that the overhang is preset from the factory, although to be completely honest, I have no clue what that means. I have a pretty good idea what I need to do to align the cantilever, I just wanted to post here to make sure I actually needed to adjust it before I went ahead an unscrewed it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 12:36 AM
    Davey likes this.
  6. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    The correct stylus to headshell tail distance is 52.5mm; and, if the cart is set to that distance and is squared up to the headshell you will get a Stevenson like alignment scheme without need for tedious alignment to a protractor. In fact all A-T carts that are sold pre-mounted to a A-T Headshell are set at a 52.5mm stylus to headshell tail distance with cart squared to headshell.
     
  7. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    Cartridge body needs to be set back
    A little in headshell.
     
  8. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    I understand now.
    Technics have similar set up. Best to follow this procedure.
    I set up a Technics dd unit using .Baerwaldt protractor.
    Sounded OK. Used then, the 52mm
    Setting.
    Sounded fine, although checking with
    Universal protractorade no sense.
    I,m sure they know what they are doing.
     
  9. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Sweden
    Needs adjustment.

    Remember to turn off anti skate when aligning.
     
  10. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I'm a big fan of the Technics alignment scheme; however, the Technics jig for setting stylus to headshell tail distance at 52mm is somewhat difficult to use. That's to say, proper adjustment of the cart to gauge demands a parallax free condition to discern when an exacting 52mm stylus to headshell tail setting has been achieved.
     
  11. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Hard to tell from pictures.
    Viewing angle can be deceptive and introduce a parallax error, especially with pictures.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  12. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    The overhang is off and that is why the alignment is off on the second null point. I second the recommendation to use the Technics style easy peasy alignment. Measure 52 (or 52.5)mm from the rubber washer on the headshell to the stylus tip. Keep the cartridge square and straight in the headshell. Done. A handy tool to buy is the Technics alignment jig which is 52mm. Perhaps a nudge beyond for 52.5mm. >>
    https://www.amazon.com/Technics-Needle-Gauge-Adjustment/dp/B00U1XK5Z6

    If you want to keep using a protractor, I suggest an ARC protractor instead of the AT two point.
     
  13. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    +1 on the arc protractor if you are going to use a protractor. Just make sure the data entered into the program is correct and you print it to scale.
     
    Boltman92124 likes this.
  14. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    If you try the Technics alignment, just remember that it does NOT match most protractors. It's a different method with different results. They don't mix and match. The Technics 52mm method yields a nice compromise that has worked well and sounds good on AT LP120 turntables for years and is easier to do.
     
    Henry J likes this.
  15. MattF_19

    MattF_19 Active Member Thread Starter

    Would something like The Technics Baerwald Arc Protractor be good?
     
  16. Davey

    Davey Heavy Rotation: Merope "Salos"

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    The specified AT alignment (230.5mm effective length, 16mm overhang) is almost exactly Stevenson with IEC groove radius, so the supplied protractor has null points at 60.325mm and 117.417mm (I assume that is the one you printed, can't tell in the pictures). In any case, regardless how you set the overhang, you should still wind up with alignment at the two null points, so I would use that as the final check. If you haven't moved the pre-installed cartridge in the headshell and you are that far off at the inner null point (the most important place), then it must not have been set right to start.

    If you move to a different alignment like Baerwald, realize the overhang and offset will be quite a bit different, so there may not be room in headshell to move the cartridge far enough forward, and the cartridge will be slightly angled in the headshell. I would try to master the stock alignment first. The Technics tonearm has different parameters so you can't use a Technics arc protractor for this table if you want to be accurate.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  17. Electric Warrior

    Electric Warrior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    It does look a lot like the AT protractor. Was it printed at 100% scale?

    Baerwald with IEC groove area worked well on my AT-LP140XP. The slots in the headshell should be long enough on the LP-120X as well. Afaik the pivot to spindle distance is the same..
     
  18. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    No. It's made for different tonearm specs. I suggest using the Conrad Hoffman arc protractor. Choices are Lofgren A and B along with Stevenson. I like Lofgren B personally.

    The spindle to pivot distance is the only number you need to plug in. For the LP120 that is 214.5mm. When printing the protractor, it needs to be printed to scale (not fit to page). There are measurements on the page that will let you double check. Here's the link. Click on the third link down on the page and run the program with 214.5mm. Conrad's Free Stuff

    Print it on some thicker paper if you have it and read the instructions.

    Also, don't be surprised if the cartridge ends up angled slightly inwards towards the spindle when done. That's normal.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 1:56 PM
    regore beltomes likes this.
  19. Henry J

    Henry J Forum Resident

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    I use the technics overhang Guage on my AT-LP5 with great results!
    Takes a few minutes and have never had IGD.
     
    Sterling1 and Boltman92124 like this.
  20. Davey

    Davey Heavy Rotation: Merope "Salos"

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    That's shouldn't lead to very accurate results since the tonearm specs are not even close, but if it works, I guess it's close enough :)
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  21. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    No, you need to generate a customer protractor for your specific TT specs. PM me if you need you need help.
     
    MattF_19 likes this.
  22. Electric Warrior

    Electric Warrior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
  23. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    That TT has a J Shaped tonearm. Not sure it the Technics jig is right for it. Might be??
     
  24. Davey

    Davey Heavy Rotation: Merope "Salos"

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
  25. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    The Technics gauge measures stylus to headshell distance at 52mm, while the A-T TT needs cart set at 52.5 stylus to headshell tail distance, to realize the A-T tracking error scheme, although I do not hear any difference in sound when moving cart from 52 to 52.5mm.
     

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