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Cartridge Alignment to Protractor Extremes

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by avanti1960, Apr 3, 2021.

  1. Brucedgoose

    Brucedgoose Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    You’re right; my mistake. I pulled out mine and see that it is ‘table/arm specific, not cartridge arm specific. Mine is on glass which appears partially frosted and backed by a mirror for better visibility. The markings are applied, as you say, on top of the glass, not etched into it. This still allows the maker to easily customize each one for your particular table/arm combination. Forgot about all these details.
     
    ubiknik likes this.
  2. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    fire neutrinos underground at a target 550 miles away? :)
     
    ubiknik likes this.
  3. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    What's problematic with the Technics gauge is it requires unanchorable eyeballed sight alignment squared to the gauge to understand achievement of a 52mm stylus tip to headshell tail distance. I have had more exacting results using a dial caliper, instead of the gauge, since it does not require a consistent parallax free line of sight to understand when a 52mm setting has been reached.
     
    avanti1960 and ubiknik like this.
  4. DPM

    DPM Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    This is probably a stupid question, but i'll ask anyway. Will the Mint protractor manufactured for the classic Technics SL 1200 table/arm work with the new SL 1200 G and GR tables? Up till now I assumed the arm dimensions/measurements were the same between the old and new designs. Was that assumption correct?
     
  5. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur I love to travel, but I hate to arrive.

    Location:
    PA
    I'm no expert but I think as long it is based on one of tha standard geometries and you can get the stylus overhang correct and on the null points it should be fine.

    But there are a bunch who know MUCH more than I who will correct me if wrong.
     
  6. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    Depends on whether you have an original SL 1200 Mk 1 or Mk 2.

    Mk 2 tonearm geometry/specs are same as new 1200G and GR.

    Mk 1 effective length is 10 mm less and overhang is 1 mm less, so an arc protractor designed for the earlier Mk 1 will not work with G & GR.
     
    DPM and Shawn like this.
  7. clercqie

    clercqie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Belgium
    With arc protractors you also need to place them on the platter such that the direction towards the pivot point of the tonearm is spot on. Slight variations to this direction can cause deviations of order a mm on the arc trajectory and throw the alignment out of wack.. .

    I double check with a universal 2point protractor (Ortofon) to verify and if needed adjust, but alignment remains a quite unprecise procedure I find... Best not to let it get too much to one's head.
     
    Brucedgoose likes this.
  8. clercqie

    clercqie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Belgium
    If the Technics gauge aligns to Stephenson and the Feickert protractor to Baerwald, you expect a 2mm difference in overhang resulting from the respective alignment methods.

    Furthermore, the Technics is a slight alteration to standard Stevenson, so double checking with another Stevenson protractor might show differences as well.
     
  9. Brucedgoose

    Brucedgoose Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    Totally agree. Much more interesting to read about than to actually *do*!
     
    clercqie likes this.
  10. Brucedgoose

    Brucedgoose Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    This is similar to the db Systems alignment protractor (yet another one that I have somewhere.). Not sure if it uses the same alignment, its been unused for a long time, but its approach to the graphic representation is similar. I should dig mine out...
     
  11. clercqie

    clercqie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Belgium
    Tell me about it. I give the advice to not fret too much about it to others, but at the same time I've changed the stylus on my cart this week and realigned, and now I'm wondering constantly whether or not I made mistakes and if I cannot do better still :rolleyes::D
     
    Sterling1 likes this.
  12. Wayne Nielson

    Wayne Nielson Forum Resident

    Unless you file on the Technics head shell slots, its not going to reach a Lofgren B alignment (slots need to go out a bit farther), which is my favorite alignment. It has the lowest averaged tracking error of the 3 (Stevenson,Baerwald (Lofgren A), Lofgren B.

    To kind of solve this problem, I created a new alignment that I have coined the "Baergren" alignment, which is exactly in-between a Baerwald (Lofgren A) and the Lofgren B, which will work without modifying the Technics headshell in any way. Here are the results of that alignment:

    [​IMG]

    Wayner
     
    33na3rd, avanti1960, ubiknik and 2 others like this.
  13. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Back in the mid 80's I purchased a Shure V15V-MR which came with an alignment jig. The jig set the cart to a Shure alignment scheme. I used the jig without much thought about it. About 3 years ago I purchased another Shure cart, a M97xE, which I believed could be aligned properly using the V15V jig; however, the M97xE cart did not fit into the jig so I aligned the cart to my turntable's built in alignment gauge for a 49mm stylus to headshell tail distance. To my surprise the M97xE sounded better than the V15V-MR, which prompted me to reset the V15V-MR to the Sony alignment scheme. That turned out to be a very good idea as now that cart is getting me more out of the groove than I thought was there. At any rate, revisiting the alignment condition as you have has reaped great rewards in record play satisfaction although I am timid to tweak anything now for fear of making it worse instead of better.
     
  14. theMot

    theMot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    I disagree. I think using anything more than that is overkill. At the end of the day the media you’re playing (the record) isn’t perfectly manufactured. It’s likely never perfectly centred. Never perfectly level, look at it when it’s spinning.
     
    csgreene, macster and Sterling1 like this.
  15. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA
    Agreed

    I agree mostly. It's all in what sounds best to you, the manufacturer has done all the research and arrived at a conclusion. Is it infallible, no, but it will get you close enough. I like the VPI single point alignment, and the Shure Duo alignment gauges. They get me close enough to be able to enjoy the sounds. I have protractors, gauges and usb microscopes and have gone through the hoops as you will. At the end of the day, there is not that much difference for the effort (to me in my system) with the music I play.

    M~
     
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  16. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA
    Funny thing though, the Frekerit, VPI and Shure gauges are very,very close, if you use the Frekerit (Yeah I know I'm butchering this but I own the gauge) if you use the Frekerit initial alignment point as a reference. To me the difference can be traced to how you initially set the gauge up. Also, one of the most important skills you need is patience. I don't knock anyone for trying to get it perfect, go for it spend all week if you want, but what I've found out the target always changes and is every moving. I've found that I can get 100% of the records that I buy to play so that I can listen to them, that's all I'm shooting for.

    BTW, Hudson Hifi has some reasonable priced Cartridge setup tools that won't break the bank, their VTF gauge is the bomb (IMHO).

    M~
     
  17. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pisa, Italy
    Agreed

    The SME's own alignment procedure and jig are top notch. 1) You mount the cartridge with its screws on the arm just once 2) You place the jig on the table and the stylus tip in a pinhole on the jig 3) You turn a lever until the arm is visually aligned to the jig reference lines 4) You lock the arm in position.

    It takes literally 1 minute and, as I reported before, double checking with the most advanced technique I know usually confirms, after 30 minutes of so of delicate measurements, that the SME tool was spot on.
     
  18. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    it works, confirmed by the gentlemen who owns Mint. The SL1200 series and the new G/GR have an effective tonearm length of 230mm and an overhang of 15mm.
     
    DPM likes this.
  19. I have a Clearaudio protractor that made setting alignment really easy on my previous Clearaudio ‘table, however it doesn’t work with the Technics.

    [​IMG]
    That said, I’m able to set alignment pretty easily with the plastic Technics gauge and double checking with a Conrad Hoffman printed arc protractor. Another “hack” I’ve used to double check the Technics gauge is by using a Concorde cartridge, which is set at 52mm.
     
  20. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA
    Yup

    I have that one also. "RUMOR" has it that it was off, but it always worked for me. Don't lose the pivot point, because it's a hassle to get a new one.

    M~
     
    snorker likes this.
  21. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    not so, there is only one arc and one possible effective length.
    the first step is to get the arc approximately equal distance from the stylus if it is off. then you move the cartridge in or out until it falls directly on the arc at the extremes moving the protractor slightly if necessary.
    once the stylus falls exactly on the line of the arc at the extremes, both the stylus and protractor are aligned perfectly. you cannot ever get them to match perfectly if the protractor is not positioned perfectly. it is a back and forth process but not difficult.
     
    Diapason and Phil Thien like this.
  22. Each TT manufacturer should imprint an alignment tool - specific to the stock parts - right on their platters ;)
     
    Kyhl, theMot, Sterling1 and 2 others like this.
  23. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    it is precisely because the media isn't perfectly manufactured that you need to get the alignment as close as possible. it is because of the idea of worst case stack-up of errors. in other words say that the media is off such a way as to cause more inner groove error and distortion and your cartridge alignment is slightly off in the same direction- that could result in horrible inner groove sound.
    line up the stylus as perfectly as possible and the error caused by the media will be minimized.
     
    DPM, bever70 and Shawn like this.
  24. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    I think they were talking about a printed alignment sheet that has a hole to go over the spindle and then from that point to the edge there would be a straight line that is supposed to line up straight to the pivot point.
    I have an older color printed and laminated template like this that has all the alignment schemes on it, in order to accurately set the overhang that line needs to be accurately pointed at the pivot of the arm.
    That is achieved by a string attached to a rubber grommet over the spindle then lined up dead center over the arm pivot point.
    Once this is lined up and the platter is taped down so it doesn't move, you take the stylus to a overhang grid with the measurements marked out and line it up to the calculated overhang (the one I have from AvaHiFi has a grid for different overhang numbers), then once that is set you free up the gauge and do the null points, if you want to double check overhang you would have to line it all up again and steady the platter again.
     
    clercqie and avanti1960 like this.
  25. clercqie

    clercqie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Belgium
    Yep indeed, use a string to get the correct spindle-to-pivot direction. However, not all tonearms have their pivot point correctly indicated, so you have to try to get it as good as possible (taking into account paralax errors). Furthermore, tolerances on mounting distance of the tonearm exist, which add further additions to the global error.


    Anyway, that's not to say alignment doesn't matter of course. We all know that. You can however see what the effect of a slight misalignment on tracking errors is via the Vinylengine calculator here:
    Tonearm Alignment Calculator Pro - Vinyl Engine

    As you plot the results from slighy varying overhang values, while keeping other parameters fixed, you can see the variation in distortion you will get from your system. As long as you can keep below 1% over most of the groove radius , chances are the end result distortions should not be too audible (or at least tolerable).
     
    ubiknik likes this.

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