In my experience a 3012-r + SPU beats the pants off any SPU + FR combination, including the 66s & the recent Ikeda arms. The FR mount doesn't have the flexibility of the SME and as you noticed, short of a new arm board you won't get the proper tracking angle for this combination.
From the German HIFI Magazine 'Das Ohr' (1984!) I learned that the pivot-spindle distance should be 231,5mm for the optimal geometry(64S+64FX) I use this geometry since and rcentlyordered by Yip his Mint Tractor fo this distance + the SP-10 spindle 'thickness'. Those seem to differ by different TT's.
DKarmeli, Perhaps your comparison of SME 3012 to FR and Ikeda was unfair, if you made the latter tonearms wear pants. They sound better naked.
Seriously, no one can argue with your considered opinion based on what you heard in your own system (the best possible data base), but based on reputation, your result is surprising, at least. Maybe that speaks to the abundance of hyper-inflated reputations in the audio world. (You can probably buy three 3012s for the current asking price of an FR66S.) Then too, the SPU is kind of a special case among cartridges. That may play a role in your experience.
The SME 3012 is inferior to any FR Arm. This has nothing to do with "personal taste", it is technical fact. The SME was made for the ultra soft Shure System and is not able to handle the energy from cartridges which guide their energy into the Arm (that is the reason why you can sometimes the comment "dancing bearing"). The fx can't be compared to a regular FR with the steel tube, maybe it is a mismatch with the SPU, maybe it is wrong alignment, maybe it is stiff grease inside...but anyway, a Garrard has so many internal vibrations that is very hard to rate something correctly.
Lewm, I've been at this for years now and spent enough time comparing arms and cartridges on high end tables to finally settle on the 3012-R, and yes the cost is also important. At any given time I have 16-20 arms setup on various tables, aside from sounding great the 3012-R is the most flexible and most economical too.
Syntax, it's not a fact at all, only your opinion. Technically the 3012-R's
sliding base makes them much more flexible and accurate setting tracking
angle on various cartridges, you're much more limited in your cartridge with
the FRs. Where do you get limited to Shure system from? I have everything
from Shure to Neumann DST set up on a pin modified 3012-R and they all
work and sound fine.
Yes alignment is an issue with FR arms with many cartridges, fx and steel
tubed, that's a design flaw. You can also add arm leads, mats and even belt
tension to your list of things that can affect comparisons. Garrard's
vibrations can be mitigated with a properly designed and built base
and even go further by having standalone arm bases which allow more
flexibility of alignment for FR/Ikeda arms. But the Garrard is colored
and not the ultimate in resolution making this kind of assessment difficult. In
my case I lived with FR66s and 64s for many years and had them sitting
side by side with 3012-Rs on the same tables, SX-8000mk2 and American
Sound AS-1000x, the most neutral and natural sounding table I heard or
owned. I find the 3012-R superior, specially in the low in the lower
frequencies. Let me add that I don't like the sound of silver wires and my
FRs are all wired with it.
I'll bring this back to your original question: "correct alignment for the arms designed by Ikeda son." All of his arms are optimized for Stevenson alignment, this is the only alignment method that he uses. I purchased a Mint Protractor and have absolutely zero tracking error with my SPU, Shelter 5000 or Denen 103r.
The downside on the Mint is that you can't vary the spinal distance. Dertonearm recommends the 231.5 distance on the FR64, you will have to buy a different protractor.
Dear Jeff, Regarding the 'original question'. I prefer to
put this question otherwise. Not as 'what is the correct
alignment' but as 'what is the optimal geometry ' for the
64 series? After all both , Stevenson and Bearwald should
be considered as 'correct' but, as I mentioned in my reference
to 'Das Ohr' Magazine and you to Dertonarm the
'optimal distance' should be 231,5 mm. But this means
Bearwald geometry as well the assumption that Bearwald is
'optimal' and consequently that Srevenson is not.
Question to those who use SPU:
Isn't there something "funny" about this cartridge, such that the tonearm has to be adapted for proper alignment, or something like that? I think it has to do with the distance between the rear of the cartridge body and the stylus tip.
Lewm, the SPU comes in its own fixed headshell so don't have ability to change the tracking via the headshell like a standard cartridge. In case of the SME the base is also adjustable but not with the FR. In this case you need to move the arm hole on the board for optimum tracking angle.
The set up instructions for the FR 64S and Ikeda 345 state a 50cm distance from the stylus to the headshell mount. Ortofon SPU's have this 50cm distance so there shouldn't be an issue if the arm is set up properly from the beginning.
"50 cm" = ~19.6 inches!!!!
Probably you meant to write "50mm", but I wouldn't know for sure.
I thought I read in one of Art Dudley's commentaries that the SPU required special mounting and/or tonearm adaptation. Dkarmeli's post suggests I was correct; the cartridge directly mates to the headshell mount on the arm wand. So I imagine you cannot either twist the cartridge in its mount to achieve, say, Baerwald geometry, nor move it fore and aft so as to achieve correct pivot to stylus distance. You have to take into account its stylus to mount distance when siting your tonearm pivot.
50 cm is equal to 19.6 inches. 2.54 cm per inch. Whew! I'm glad I got that off my chest.
Lewm, That's correct, it fits directly into the bayonet mount of the arm. The only twisting you can do is for azimuth adjustment.
LOL....yes mm and not cm. I set all of my cartridges to 50mm stylus to mount distance and the SPU is just plug and play.