Walter, You may want to look at a Smart Tractor. It has a really nifty magnifier so you can see what you are doing and it has got to be the most accurate protractor on the market. It is pricey but after looking it over most definitely worth it.
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While you track down the ‘scope guru, order a MintLP protractor and get yourself a cheap USB microscope. Accurately setting up a cart isn’t that difficult if you’re not optically straining (and you’re using a mirrored arc protractor). Will a ‘scope allow for a more accurate setup? Yup. Will you be able to tell the difference? Doubt it.
Many thanks for all of the responses. It appears the best bet is to take a valium, chase everybody out of the house, say a prayer, and devote an afternoon to setting it up myself. I have a Clearaudio protractor that served me pretty well setting my current cartridge, but I will look into the Mint LP protractor and a cheap microscope (hat tip to you, nrenter, for this suggestion) to help me ensure I've got it lined up correctly. Much obliged to everyone.
I do not recommend the Mint. I have been down that road. It is very difficult to see the parallax implemented by Yip with his mirrored protractors and worse, it does nothing to guide you to proper azimuth or SRA or VTA. And, even if those shortcomings were ignored, the Mint relies on accurate specification of P-S. Good luck with that. I guarantee you a stiff neck, bleary eyeballs, and frustration if you use the Mint.
As for Schubert, I would love to know "1/4 inch off according to what?" Schubert must have been too cheap to pay for Brian's travel time and his work could easily have gone "off" in transit. Further, Brian is for all intents and purposes using an oscilloscope by using a software system that implements the same methodology in more sophisticated form.
There is so much misinformation on this forum that my head wants to explode. I need to find a better forum with better informed denizens.
I guarantee you a stiff neck, bleary eyeballs, and frustration if you use the Mint.This is why a USB microscope (with a small stand attachment) is so helpful. Once you have the alignment and focus of the microscope set, it’s very easy to confirm alignment of the cantilever and physical azimuth. Plus there’s no stiff neck, bleary eyeballs or frustration. Sure, using a ‘scope may yield “better” results, but for the love of all things holy, don’t let really, really good be the enemy of great.
This is why a USB microscope (with a small stand attachment) is so helpful. Once you have the alignment and focus of the microscope set, it’s very easy to confirm alignment of the cantilever and physical azimuth. Plus there’s no stiff neck, bleary eyeballs or frustration. Sure, using a ‘scope may yield “better” results, but for the love of all things holy, don’t let really, really good be the enemy of great.I used one of those too. Good luck getting the scope in the position you need to check parallax (Yip’s clever method). The plinth usually manages to get in the way. The gooseneck stands are simply not long enough or stable enough. And again, what about VTF, VTA, SRA, and azimuth? The Mint does nothing for those parameters.
And way too many make the mistake with the Mint of relying upon the manufacturer’s stated P-S. And yes, VPI is the worst-that I know of-for being sloppy or disregarding their own spec.
I echo the recommendation of a SmartTractor along with a very accurate VTF gauge (Riverstone).
My USB stand is very small and sits on the platter itself. Took me probably 90 seconds to position the scope, set focus, and rotate for relative perspective.
The Technics 1200G table (presumably with stock arm and headshell) is a pretty known table...there’s enough practical experience to determine the appropriate parameters for an arc protractor.
You seem to be very defensive about Yip and the MintLP product. I apologize if I’ve struck a nerve. I have no dog in this hunt. Respectfully, I just don’t think a SMARTractor will deliver 4x the benefit at 4x the cost (especially if you’re not frequently setting-up a litany of tables, swapping tonearm and cartridges, or experimenting with different alignment geometries).
Also not sure how a SMARTractor is any better at VTA / SRA, azimuth, or....VTF(?) than the Mint offering.
Sure, a ‘scope can help optimize those parameters, but as we’ve established, that type of resource may not be practical.
I have nothing at all against Yip/Mint.
I always say this;
There are so many variables-it all depends.
A conical stylus needs a tenth of the exactitude of a replicant/fine line.
There are many other ways to compromise one's analogue based system beyond alignment and set up issues.
When I chime in, it is only to be constructive. I hate to see people make the same mistakes I have made.
The OP says he went all-in which is naturally relative. Certainly the phono stage and cartridge he mentioned are pretty damned good. Overkill even imho for this deck but....It sounds like he is going with the Mint. Let us see who is right and who is wrong when he reports back.
Circling back to report my experiences with setting up my new cartridge. I did order the Mint LP protractor and a USB microscope, per nrenter's suggestion. But perhaps the key ingredient was the assistance of my wife, who held the microscope at just the right angles for me to view the stylus from different angles to ensure it was sitting dead on the correct points. Of course, there was some trial and error with the tiny incremental adjustments of the cartridge in the headshell, but it took less than two hours to get it pretty well perfect according to the settings on the Mint LP, and it sounds great!
Thanks for the input of everyone who participated. The combination of the Mint LP protractor, the USB microscope, and my spouse's steady and patient hand turned out to be a winner.