Catch 22 in turntable setup

Hey everyone,

I am just getting into vinyl - I have been given a Marantz 2270 receiver and I purchased a Technics 1210 mk2 table. The plan is to use this for casual home listening. I just received my new Grado black cartridge as well and I am having some issues with initial setup.

The information I have gathered from several places seem to contradict themselves. I used the Technics printable protractor from to mount the cartridge to the headshell. The technics manual says that the VTA should be set according to the cartridge height (Grado black = 17.5mm I believe), which puts the arm at a 2.5mm VTA. The instructions with the Grado say to make sure of a 90 degree angle between the cart and the record. When using the settings mentioned, I cannot seem to achieve this angle - the cart is aimed slightly upward.

Can anyone offer some input on where I may have gone wrong?

Any and all help is appreciated.

every cartridge will be slightly different heighth. set the grado initially parallel (90) degrees to the record, regardless of heighth. Then if you want to try lowering the back of the cartridge a little to increase bass or change the balance experiment by ear. This tonearm does have a post which can be raised or lowered? Good luck. Not familiar with the vinyl engine download. But after getting the 90 deg, make sure cartridgge is as close to possible lined up to be parallel to the grooves at the 2 points on the record along the needles arc.
This is just to get started.
The tt/cart manuals gives you a good place to start. I believe (don't quote me) you spindle to mounting distance is 215mm. You can print out a free custom arc template on-line. You may find that easier for cartridge mounting. Is the vinyl engine template a universal style ? It will get you close.
When a record is playing, start with your tonearm level with the record, then adjust by sound. It should be close to level in the end. Buy a tiny/light bubble level to check your azimuth. You can set it on your headshell at rest to see if your headshell is level. All bayonet headshells are not perfectly level.
All of the instructions are general. Actual setup will vary based on the vacissitudes of construction. Once you are close you will have to adjust by ear.

Just because the arm is parallel to the top of the platter doesn't mean that the engine of the cartridge is perfectly square to the platter. That's why there are hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of set up tools and jigs.

Some tables and arms make it impossible to obtain the proper set up, but I don't think that is the case for the Grado/Technics...
Sounds like Technics may have made an error in the TT if you have the correct specs for the Grado.
The Technics originally came with a 17 oz. 1/4" thick rubber mat. They currently ship with a lighter, thinner one. You could stack another mat on top (sometimes I used to use the felt DJ mat plus the stock rubber mat to add record height), or you can order the original 17 oz. Technics "Supermat" from for about $20. That should help get the Technics' tonearm height adjustment into the right range for your cartridge.