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Cartridge Alignment to Protractor Extremes

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

  1. rebellovw

    rebellovw Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ
    Yep - Agreed - I always have a hard time with the plastic gauge "thinking" that the stylus perfectly hits the point on the gauge. I know Keven at KAB uses a razor blade.

    The plastic gauge does work really well - I think I used it in my last setup to get up and running quickly.
     
  2. clercqie

    clercqie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Belgium
  3. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    The issue I see with the Technics overhang gauge is that the cantilever isn't under load. The load of the cartridges mass will extend the cantilever forward when dropped to the groove. With an arc protractor, you can easily verify both alignment and overhang. And the overhang is set with load applied to the suspension.
     
    bever70 likes this.
  4. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    If 5 minutes extra from being in the ballpark and good enough to being spot on is overkill to you...because that is what it usually takes me to adjust from the Thorens jig to the Thorens protractor...when I am very, very lucky I get it right from the first time with the Thorens jig, but that has happened only 1 time so far.
     
  5. twelvealo

    twelvealo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    schertz, tx
    after trying out various alignments and protractors i.e mofi geo-disc, two-point mirrored, arc template, 49mm pioneer etc...I finally learned how to correctly use the two-point stupid protractor (stevenson) from vinyl engine. it was the only one i could get my printer to make that was perfectly in scale. everytime i used one of the others, i was convinced i found the best way but now i feel i got it and can walk away from it. cymbals are clear as glass, vocals are a lot smoother and the cart eats IGD for breakfast, lunch and dinner. i cut out the spindle hole with an exacto razor and taped it to an old beat up record...but i’m not gonna lie, it took about an hour and had to walk away and come back so my eyes and neck could take a break
     
  6. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    The Technics platform is probably the easiest, most straightforward, no special tools required to setup turntable ever designed!

    52mm overhang from the body contact point, cartridge orthogonal to the front of the shell, no skew required....... it doesn't get any simpler. And after years of trying different methods on *many* 1200's (I still own a G and three mk variants), the recommended setup is still as good as any, if not best, for my ears... whodathunk the engineers knew what they were doing?

    The plastic tool can get you started, even be enough for some - but if your eyes aren't up to using it, or you don't feel confident with it - then draw a line on a piece of paper. I actually like the see through plastic gauge from Denon - graduations help - I typically don a 10 diopter visor/magnifier and done in seconds. I wouldn't use it without magnification though. But the cheap tool that comes with Technics biggest flaw is it is not close enough to the stylus tip to be entirely useful - just a little off center with your head / eye and the parallax effect kicks in.

    Here's something to consider as you're struggling to get the last .0001mm accuracy of the stylus tip out of your protractor --- consider that another type of alignment with the same cartridge on the same TT might result in the stylus overhang being as much as 2mm different. Now ask yourself if you really, really need the .0001mm level of accuracy? (you really don't, being a 1/4 mm off won't make much difference in most cases).

    On the flip side, I bet yet another protractor would look nice next to the anti-static gun, sytlus cleaner, record weights / clamp, RCM, and that bottle of LAST. :hide: Lovin' those doo-dads.
     
  7. psulioninks

    psulioninks Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest USA
    It matters quite a bit if you are ripping vinyl to digitize it.
     
    bever70 likes this.
  8. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    come out from under that chair ! doo dads are doo dads only if they don't "do" anything !
    i have tried the technics diving board so many times - and checking against the Mint it is usually off by quite a bit- mm not .00x.
    so the doo dad become a "do" dad. it works and sounds better.
    although for some "stylii"- conical and certain ellipticals, being a few mm might be fine.
    but the "tables" are capable of so much more !
     
    bever70 and TheVinylAddict like this.
  9. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    Toss the diving board then, just find another way to get 52mm. I mentioned a line on a piece of paper, simplest way.

    If you're problem is you're not getting the correct distance with that marginally useful plastic tool, there are many simple ways to get it without having to bust out the doo dads! Cheers.

    My point was more the Technics platform is one that sounds best to me if aligned as the engineers intended. And achieving that alignment *can be* very simple.......... but do understand the need to try different things, it's all part of the learning / experience. I've personally been there, done that on this platform!

    Besides, you gotta hide under a chair on this forum when you pick on doo dads! SHF Gear forum is the Doo Dad Capitol, both buyer and seller! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
    avanti1960 likes this.
  10. Brucedgoose

    Brucedgoose Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    SME have a long-standing reputation for the best alignment system. Partly for this reason, I always wanted a 309, but have never bitten the bullet.
     
    j.barleycorn and Jimi Floyd like this.
  11. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    BTW, that statement I could have a field day with........ for instance, people use LAST because they think it "does" something! But that's the whole point.

    On that vein, I don't own an anti-static gun, any special stylus cleaners, don't have any special potions to clean my LPs, no RCM, no LAST...... to each his own though.
     
  12. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    How does the Cart-Align work?
    Which method or geometry?
    Is it set-up for a specific arm length?
    You adjust overhang by sighting at the pivot, then align stylus shank at 2 null points.

    Can this be used with a SL1200GR?
     
  13. Brucedgoose

    Brucedgoose Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    The Cart-Align system, which I also own, is purely generic, so it can be used with the SL1200GR, or pretty much anything else. Not sure which alignment protocol it uses, but its probably Baerwald, which I *think* was most commonly used at the time Cart-Align was released.
    One of the nice things about the Cart-Align system are the instructions, which are methodical and comprehensive and include useful illustrations. Its one of the better systems I’ve tried. Haven’t seen one for sale in many years. FYI, the Cart-Align instructions say the process should take about a half-an-hour.
     
    Ingenieur likes this.
  14. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    Thanks

    Once you get the hang of it, like looking at the reflection vs the shank, and all 3 to line up, the shank reflection and the parallax mirror lines you can get it right on.

    It took me a few tries but patience prevailed eventually.
     
  15. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Like my Sony PS-4750.
     
    Shawn likes this.
  16. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    Thanks much for this picture. I’ve always had excellent results with the Technics alignment (even if doesn’t correspond to other alignments ) but never thought to visualize how it’s lining up this way.
     
    rebellovw likes this.
  17. Brucedgoose

    Brucedgoose Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    Been using LAST for years. Works very well. Plain-as-day proof of its effectiveness can be easily seen in these scanning electron micrographs of record surfaces before and after treatment.
    https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-All-Audio/Archive-Audio/80s/Audio-1980-09.pdf
    But of course, to each his own!
     
    TheVinylAddict likes this.
  18. Do you happen to have a picture? Looking online I don’t see any that do this, but it could be those don’t have all original parts.
     
  19. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
  20. Warksman

    Warksman Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Rugby, UK
    Crikey all that is way too beyond my understanding. I just use the paper protractor that came with my Pro Ject turntable. I adjust the cartridge so it’s straight in line with the grid and the sound is great. What else I could I possibly do? Genuinely curious
     
    bever70, theMot and Brucedgoose like this.
  21. ghost rider

    ghost rider Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    As has been said it is not a plastic thingy. It is etched onto a mirror. All the grid tractors you set the overhang and eyeball the cartridge body to the grid lines. Depending on irregularities with your cantilever you may be way off.
    The Mint Tractor is custom made for your arm with the correct overhang. It is only good on your TT or something with the exact same overhang. You get a new arm you need a new Tractor.
    The genius of the Mint is the mirror. When you eyeball the black null alignment marks if you are not perfectly positioned with your sight line you will see it in reflection of the black marks. This photo kind of shows it but you get the idea.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    33na3rd, Jimi Floyd and Brucedgoose like this.
  22. theMot

    theMot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    But the process of playing a record in and of itself allows for some margin of error. It’s more a tolerance than needing to adjust everything to be exactly spot on. Close enough is good enough and that’s what the supplied two point protractors allow you to do. Let me ask you, if you go to all this trouble do you adjust everything again when you play different weighted vinyl? If you think it matters that much then you should be adjusting geometry and vta/vtf every time you change records.
     
    csgreene and clercqie like this.
  23. Brucedgoose

    Brucedgoose Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    You could also start messing with VTA (Vertical Tracking Angle), which can be adjusted if your tonearm can be raised slightly, usually from the rear with an adjustment screw. This parameter controls the *vertical* relationship the stylus has with the groove, whereas the adjustments you have already made (the most common ones), control the *horizontal* relationship of the stylus to the groove. Small adjustments to VTA can make audible improvements, but some tonearms can’t be adjusted this way and some stylus types (conical) are not very sensitive to this parameter, while others (line contact types) are more sensitive. So you might go through this very tedious process and not notice any difference. Or you might. Either way, it will be a pain-in-the-butt to both make the adjustment and to hear the difference, if any! Isn’t audio great?!
    In my case, I tried it and did notice a small improvement. Not entirely sure its worth the hassle, but I was younger and more patient and energetic back then. Probably also had better hearing!
    You can learn much more about VTA here (“More Than One VTA”);
    https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-All-Audio/Archive-Audio/80s/Audio-1981-03.pdf
    Have fun!
     
  24. Brucedgoose

    Brucedgoose Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hawaii
    I’ve heard of nutcases who actually do this!
     
  25. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    [​IMG]
    Look at the clear plastic gauge which is suspended over the strobe portion of the platter. When the stylus is positioned to rest in the bullseye of the gauge the stylus to headshell tail distance is 49mm. Then squaring up the cart to the headshell delivers the Sony tracking error scheme.
     
    33na3rd, DPM, Big Blue and 3 others like this.

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