Cart adjustment, that moment when you nail it!

Dang, after futzing with my analog system, and getting it “ok” but with some distortion here and there etc, FINALLY got the thing dialed. All I can say is WOW... Lot’s of trial and error, tiny adjustments, etc. and then ding! Nailed it. Finally! Just awesome. If you are in the tinker mode, keep trying, you WILL get there. It’s worth the time!
I’ve had many of those moments. But it’s pretty routine now. I have 105 cartridges. 27 are in my favorite stands, waiting to be rotated in.

Once getting it “right” becomes routine, and you’ve chosen an exact, easy alignment protractor, only then do you have a level of TRUST. 

THEN, when you hear something that’s not quite right, you KNOW it’s not your setup. You immediately know you have a record with groove damage or a bad pressing. No wondering or second-guessing your alignment.’ve arrived!
I find that a deck of cards is useful in adjusting the vta. On my particular tonearm I have a cueing lever collar at base of tonearm. There is a gap there between the plinth and the collar. I take a base measurement of that space with numerous stacked cards and count the total amount of cards it took to "take up" that space. That’s my arbitrary starting point or reference, as that space will differ depending on where that collar was set at factory from table to table (in my case pro-ject). I then add or subtract cards to raise or lower the arm, upon loosening vta adjustment screws. I log the amount of cards used for each particular cartridge and use as reference. Been doing this for years with great success. In the end, it is your ears that are the final judge on the "sweet spot". However, That sweet spot won’t be optimal for all records. That is virtually impossible to achieve due to varying thickness of vinyl and quality of the pressing etc. You can only obtain a happy medium/average, unless you want to futz with it every time you play a record.
@geof3 you ain’t lying....
This past year I picked up 3 tools that made all the difference..
A Mint LP protractor made specifically for my TT and arm set up.
A USB microscope and a Fozgometer.

Sound stage, center imaging, bass response, all improved. Congratulations its a great feeling.
Yup, been there. Great feeling. Unfortunately my neuroses won’t let me enjoy for long. I always think there’s just one more tiny adjustment that can make it even better. And so the cycle continues...
Most of us forget that things change over time. You set your stylus angle to 92+ degrees. After a while it will settle to 91 degrees. You need to adjust or tweek your cart after it breaks in or set it to 93 degrees at the beginning. Winterfeld is coming or actually it’s here. In the northern states we get freezing temperatures that can cause frost heaving of your house foundation. This is why your house gets cracks. You need to level your turn table again for winter and summer. Or in Chicagoland area we call it winter or construction. This will affect your distortion and anti-skate or maybe your VTA depending on which way your house has shifted compared to the position of your table. Just something to keep in mind. If you are in the Chicagoland area and need your TT setup or to purchase a new one I use a local shop for all my hifi gear. Mainly VPI and Rega and the new Sutherland Little LOCO MK 2 that now works with Rega turn tables.
They will set up your TT or cart for free if you buy it from them. Plus they have an upgrade program so you don’t have buyers remorse.