The Cable Company/Ultra Systems would be my first choice. I can't say enough good about them. Been dealing with them for at least 15 years. Acoustic sounds is another great choice.
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I've never installed a cartridge before, so I'm looking for equipment that's dead simple, reliable, and affordable. For example, the MintLP protractor is $110, whereas the TurntableBasics protractor is $20. I have no idea which would be best for a novice, or why there is such a big difference in price.
Ditto for stylus force gauges. I've seen prices ranging from $15 - $400, and at the end of the day, it's just a digital scale!
So, can you please tailor your suggestions for someone who knows nothing about cartridge installation? That means identifying specific products (for a novice) and where to get them at the cheapest price (no ebay?). Sorry for my complete lack of knowledge!
I've purchased Turntable Basics mirror protractor more than 10 years ago over the internet and still use it with ease as well as Shure VTF mechanical gauge.
Definitely no need to purchase fancy schmancy digital gauge because at the end you'll still test it by ear and would want to adjust it more to one or another side and see where it's better.
If you're using Turntable Basics protractor try to adjust more precise at inner gauge position. This way you compensate possible stretch of cantilever towards the disk edge.
I don't know about many folks preference here but I've never experienced need to upgrade my protractor and VTF gauge purchased for $25 total more than 10 years ago.
On another thread, someone linked to this scale on eBay, here. I have a very similar one from the same seller I believe and it works fine.
Mint LP is great but if you want cheap just print out a free protractor at vinyl engine and fiddle with it for a bit to get a feel for different geometries. Then if the spirit moves you go buy a Mint.
As for pliers and screwdrivers, go to a hardware store and buy them. Quality on those varies dramatically (I went through 3 sets before I was happy). I've been content with wiha screwdrivers (here) and xuron pliers (here).
No affiliation with any seller.
Good point, Roscoeiii. In my previous set up, I could put the scale just beyond
the platter resting on the 'plinth' of the sp10. It just so happened that at that
position the top of the scale was right at the level of the record. Having said
that, I compared many times the readings with the scale off and on the platter:
more or less the same, out to a hundreths of a gram. I'm not looking for
maximal accuracy but rather repeatability for when I swap carts and want to
roughly and quickly hit the mark I have recorded for the cart I'm swapping in.
Then I adjust by ear.