Your ears. Spend a day or two aligning the cartridge and adjusting the arm and phono stage and you will find the best possible setting. Or you can spend $700 on something sold here, spend an hour and possibly get the second best.
Thanks Inna, but surely you don't mount your cartridge by "eye-balling" it? I agree, final tweeks can be done by ear, but I would like to be in the ballpark to start with. I purchased the Rega because I do not really want to fiddle with setup, would rather play some records! Anyone else with a recommendation?
Pick youself up a Mobile Fidelity Geo Disk ( around $50 ) ...Very simple to use and will get you close enough to play and enjoy..You can tinker more using your ears for final adjustments......
Download an arc protractor from Conrad Hoffman's site. It's free. You simply enter the correct parameters for your table/arm combo and it does the calculation. I have virtually no inner groove distortion now that my cart is aligned using an arc protractor.
Anything that doesn't have a nail point that rests on the pivot point is useless as far as precise alignment is concerned. Buy the Feickert . The Geo disc is a joke for precise alignment.
I think all would concur, that an Arc Style Protractor will be superior to any Sight Line Protractor, such as the Geodisc, the Turntable Basics, or others.
I haven't used the Hoffman, but if it is an Arc Type, which I assume it is, it should be superior to the ones I mention above. Problem might be, is how fine is the Arc Line, the Null Grids, and the ability to precisely align the Zenith Angle of the Cantilever?
I'll suggest the MintLP Protractor as being about the best band for the dollar, not cheap, but I see nothing within this price range that will be as good-precise.
What you'll need to know beforehand, is what will be the optimum null points for this Arm, to insure that the arm you have is indeed mounted to its manufacturer recommended specs.
If Yip concurs with your findings, and what you want, then you will be all set. Although he's in Hong Kong, he is very reliable, ships quickly, and you get what you paid for.
Many here swear by this protractor, and virtually all have noted good sonic improvements with the use of this particular tool. I have it, and feel it was a wise purchase. When you're done with the alignment with this tool, you'll be assured of knowing, and hearing it is right. Mark
If you have more than one turntable, several arms or change cartridges often a multi-purpose tool like the Clearaudio or the Feikert is a godsend.
For simple alignment tasks or a single turntable, arm & cartridge combination, a simpler tool will get the job done. Some like the Turntable Basics mirrored protractor, and some will prefer Yip's Mintlp tractor. I have owned both and prefer the db Systems DBP-10 protractor. For simple alignment tasks, it is probably as much as you will ever need. Although I own and use a Feikert, I always keep the db Protractor around and I do use it on a regular basis.
Another thumbs up for Yip's MintLP arc protractor.
Are you familiar with exhaust sound of Ferrari? Can't confuse it with the others. I heard that they invite someone to tune it by ear. In any case, it sounds better than stereo.
Mounting cartridge by eye-balling it? That could be fun but I am afraid it would take more than a day or two.
I use DB as well and then fine-tune.
More thumbs for Yip's arc protractor. Ie for the individual
combo TT-tonearm because the (different) dimensions of the spindle are accounted for.
Thanks all! I will look into the MintLP.
Couldnt agree more with yip's mintlp. Highly accurate . Need bright light & suggest to set up with a 10 x 20 monocular
Can someone please explain how any of these alignment protractors being discussed that use line of sight from spindle to pivot can be as accurate as a protractor that uses an arm and pin/nail (Dr. Feikert or Clearaudio) that locks the protractor to the arm's pivot point ? Seems to me using line of sight, it would be easy to be off by a few millimeter's either way, resulting in an inaccurate cart alignment.
Rockitman, The arc protractor is a replica of the arc the
stylus is supposed to trace (aka 'eff. lenght') along the
record. On the Mint tractor you have also the 2 nul points.
The spindle - pivot distance determine where one need to
drill the hole for a given tonearm. Ie the arc protractor
'assume' that the spindle-pivot distance is already correct. All 'ordinary' protractors are made with this assumption.
Hi Nandric...so using a feikert as an example, the arm that touches the pivot point is only for getting the correct spindle to pivot point distance and has nothing to do with adjusting the zenith (offset) angle ? In other words, as long as the protractor is on the spidle, no matter where the platter moves, the null point alignment lines will be correct ? This now makes sense to me...duh
If this is the case, I need to get that mirrored protractor to better see my cantilever which is shorter than normal along with being a low riding cart that makes it very difficult to see the cantilever head on with the needle down on a traditional protractor.
In other words, as long as the protractor is on the spidle, no matter where the platter moves, the null point alignment lines will be correct ? This now makes sense to me...duh
actually on further thought, this doesn't make sense to me...The line of sight line on the protractor used to align the protractor to the pivot point seems prone to error. What am I missing ? TIA
Hi Rockitman, I am sorry if created the impression to know
anything about Feikert. This is not the case. I wanted to
explain the difference between spindle-pivot distance and
the arc protractor. From your reaction I may assume that
you 'got the picture'. However a mirrored protractor is not as easy to use as you assume. Our eyes are alas not 'omnipotent'. And those short cantilevers and styli which seem to hide from us are a p.in the a. So some magnifying instruments are needed. But you should try the
Mint protractor. I am in this hobby for 40 years and have
never seen something better. I have two of them for both of my tonearms (Triplanar VII and the Reed 2A).
As long as one attains perfect tangency at the chosen two null points, the proper offset angle and pivot to stylus distance has been attained (i.e., proper alignment). The use of the Feickert spindle-to-pivot measuring arm is merely a convenience. Once you know the distance, you can select the proper arc where the same sort of tangency points are marked. The convenience comes from the ability to firm lock the platter/alignment tool in a single spot when making the tangency adjustment. Unlike simple two point protractors, you don't have to rock the platter back and forth when moving from one of the points to the other. Some people have a very hard time figuring out which way they have to move the cartridge to adjust the overhang when they are also moving the platter when making the adjustment so they can never achieve agreement at the two points. With the Feickert, one first puts the tool into perfect alignment (needle point over the pivot center) then one locks the tool in place by putting some kind of wedge under the platter so the platter doesn't move. The distance measure tells you which curved line you should use to make your measurements. The correct overhang (stylus to pivot distance) will be achieved when the stylus sits in the tiny dimple on the correct curve for either of the two measurement points. This distance should be the same for either measurement point if the correct curve has been chosen. Once correct overhang is achieved, it is easy to twist the cartridge to achieve tangency as well.
The convenience comes from the ability to firm lock the platter/alignment tool in a single spot when making the tangency adjustment.
Thanks for clearing that up for me Larry.