I ordered one from Music Direct and it arrived about a week ago. I haven't used it yet (intend to install a Lyra Skala cart. on a spare Graham 2.2 arm wand soon - - probably over the 4th of July weekend).
To answer your question about the strobe - - no light is included, so you will have to supply your own.
The apparent build quality of the disc and ruler is quite high. The instructions, however, are a bit sketchy for someone (like me) who hasn't messed with setting up cartridges before - - like you, I've relied on others in the past.
It's good. It does not come with a strobe light. I suggest you contact Ken Willis in the Vinyl section of Audioasylym.com and check out his protractors. They are the simplest I have ever used. Good luck.
Easy to use. Pricey. Provides a very accurate way to set overhang based on the arm's pivot point.
As Narrod mentioned, the Ken Willis protractor might be the way to go and save some dinero.
And yes, if you're gonna be into vinyl, you simply have to learn how to setup cartridges. Good luck!
I have top of the line equipment. I used the VPI jig. works just fine. Use a magnifying glass. Save your money.
I have used quite a few different models, including the turntablebasics mirrored protractor as well as the db systems protractor.
Most were good, with the db systems getting the best results in my direct comparisons.
But all of this didn't matter after using the Feickert Protractor for the first time.. Let me explain.
The Feickert is a GREAT product. It is in a different league than the others.
It is so accurate that after I finished my setup I finally KNEW with full confidence that my settings were as perfect as they could be.. And the sound backed this up completely.
It was the first time ever that I had zero doubts about my setup. So I'm done..
I sold all my other protractors and kept the Feickert.
I will not sell it.
It is not inexpensive, but it is worth every penny.
Try it. I think you will like it as much as I do.
I just used it to check my Aries-3 + JMW10.5i tonearm, which was previously calibrated using the VPI jig. It's much simpler/quicker to use compare to the VPI jig. The white colored template makes it much easier to align the stylus without the need of a magnifying glass. Yes, the VPI jig is probably sufficient, but it's more cumbersome. I wouldn't want to use the VPI jig again now I have the Feickert. It is pricy, but I figure in the future I probably will be buying a few more turntables so this is the only protractor that I ever need.
Thank you guys for your input.
Another positive testimonial, thats great.
The fellow I relied on to dial in my record players has probably set up more tables, arm and cartridges then Carter has liver pills.
He worked in various audio stores from the mid 1960s through into the late 1980s.
BTW, one other benefit of Feickert is that the thickness of the template is 3mm which is the same as an 180g vinyl. Most of my LPs are 180g so the Feickert allows me to set my VTA in a very handy manner.
I find that the user instruction on Feikert website is slightly better than the manual that comes with the package.
The Feickert is a two-point tool and appears to be quite well made with a great ruler for measuring spindle-to-pivot distance. For a slightly different take (which includes a few comments on the Feickert), here is an interesting read on Arc Style alignment protractors
. Be prepared to enter the world of cartridge setup. The diagram
at the Feickert site is helpful to have on hand to keep straight the key terminology/measurements of Pivot-Spindle distance, Overhang, and Offset. Once you have those planted in your mind, the discussion is easy to follow.
Arc Style examples include the Wally Tractor, the MintLP protractor, and the Ken Willis protractor.
I'm tempted to say use what you're most comfortable with, but until you've done it a few times and fiddled with the tool, you can't really gauge which is easiest to use. My best results come from using the Wally - it is easy to use and its mirrored lines are the best I've found for getting the stylus/cantilever in the proper offset angle. Placing the cartridge body square to a grid is better than nothing, but imo its optimal to align on the cantilever.
I can appreciate the trepidation that comes with setting up a cartridge, especially an expensive one. If you have an older cartridge, you might use it to gain initial experience with whatever set-up tool you choose.
- 4X and 10X magnifiers are really good to have at hand.
- A light, especially with a flexible stem (such as the LittlLight) is valuable. Light and magnification are your friends.
- Proper setup can make a huge difference - Give yourself plenty of time, take little breaks to ease tension, and don't forget to breath. :-) It will be worth it.
Thank you for the additional info.
Thats a great idea to become familiar with the tools practicing mounting and set up of an old cartridge first, I do have one which is somewhere.
I have mit size hands with large thick fingers, I have broke very fragile things in the past.
A Dynavector DRT XV1s will be mounted on a Graham Phantom B-44 arm.
There are fool proof set up jigs including some nifty tools and a Very good manual that came with the Graham arm.
I give the Graham instruction manual highest marks.
Searching around, people really seam to like using the Feikert protractor including industry pros right down to guy's like us.
Practically every comment and audio review gave top marks for ease of use with machine shop accuracy.
I have ordered one....
Don't forget that the Feickert also include a "Baerwaald" geometry (so-called "Arc Style") on the 'backface' of the template.
Does anyone who has the Graham Set up jig think they get better results with a protractor than the jig?
I recently got the Feikert adjust plus software turntable setup tool. Havent set up a cart yet.
I bought mine a year ago. I've been setting up turntables since the late 1970s. The Feickert is just great - the easiest protractor I've used.
Excellent tool. I would definitely buy one again. I've used it to set up my Dynavector XV-1s on my Phantom and it works like a charm, (as well as other carts on other arms).
I don't know what the hell I may have been doing wrong with the Graham jig but I got far superior results with the Feickert mounting the dyna on the phantom.
Easy and accurate.
More happy owners of the Feickert.
Over and above any review,in print or on line.
I value actual owners opinions of any given component and or product, be it a lawn mower or a pair of speakers.
Emailists I hear ya.
Most definitely I plan on installing a second arm on my table with a mono cartridge.
Of course I could buy another arm tube for the Graham, however a 12 incher would be my preference for a 2nd arm.
About a third of my record collection consist of vintage 1950s and early 1960s mono Jazz recordings including some early mono Rock and Roll.
Many are lightly used and in pristine condition.
Some of them have shocking natural sounding timbre that I would put against ANY reissue or NEW recording of today.
Upon initial set up, with ease of use.
If this tool helps dial in my arm and cartridge without going through nerve racking hair pulling tedium, the $250.00 will be well spent.
Just thought I'd mention this.
I noticed on DaVinci Audio web site a Feickert protractor comes with Davincis Grandezza tonearms.
I noticed something today about the Feickert template. I measured the spindle-pivot distance on my Aries-3 TT and it's 261mm. I then move my stylus to touch the 261mm mark on the Feickert template - so far so good. Then I thought let's try another point on the template, I move the stylus to 300mm mark and to my surprise it touches it as well. I then move my stylus to all other marks and it touches all of them.
So now what? I thought the stylus is supposed to touch only one mark?? Now I'm confused, why do we even bothered measuring the spindle-pivot distance?
A little off subject maybe, but Feickert also has new software available (adjust +). Anyone have experience with this yet? Does it work as well or better than the DMM method of azimuth adjustment? The website is a German-English translation and doesn't give me a good feel for how easy this would be to use or how effective it would be.
You've touched upon the weakness of all universal two-point protractors - overhang setting. The Feickert has a lovely pivot-to-spindle distance tool, but after that I find the pivot-to-spindle markings to be useless - you're correct, you touch all the points on that "arc" (and frankly how can that be ?); I find the lines on the alignment grids themselves to be too thick for accuracy, and that the lack of a mirrored surface introduces too much parallax. If you cannot set effective length (pivot-to-spindle distance + overhang) accurately, what's the point of continuing further? Then you move the protractor to do the actual alignment, but what are you aligning to - some random effective length? How does one derive a correct overhang setting with a "universal" two-point protractor?? The answer is you can't - you get it close, moving the protractor and/or the cartridge in the headshell back and forth until you come up with something that looks right, but isn't.
Obtain an arc-based protractor designed for your tonearm's measurements: pivot-to-spindle ditance and overhang (this is important, and why arc-based protractors cannot be universal (unless they contain multiple arcs)). Measure your pivot-to-spindle distance as accurately as possible with the Feickert tool: if your arm is designed to have a pivot-to-spindle distance of 261mm, and that's your actual measurement, then you have a properly installed tonearm; .5mm is the threshold of accuracy. Then place an arc-based protractor on the platter - start at a point on the arc either close to the lead-in or lead-out groove, and adjust the cartridge in the headshell accordingly so that the stylus lands exactly on the arc at both the inside and outside arc points, then proceed to the actual alignment. Ken Willis over at the Audio Asylum offers an excellent arc-based protractor, and there are several downloadable versions which vary in quality (be very critical of your printer's scaling). The next step up is a Wallytractor, and (IMHO) the MintLP protractor is the best of all.
I can almost guarantee that after some practice you'll find alignment easier, quicker, more intuitive and accurate with an arc-based protractor than any universal two-point protractor. Most importantly, you won't belive how good your table will sound. Good listening,
I don't think this is needed. I have a VPI arm which came with a VPI Single Point protractor. I was careful to align the cartridge to it, and no one has proven to me that there is any difference between my setup, using the VPI and any other method. Anytime someone brings some new protractor, it always measures the same. ...just do it right the first time.
Everyone, I appreciate your reponse.
Viper,what you discovered I'll check it out this weekend when I arrive home.
I did order one on the 21st, it apparently arrived today.
Richard, Palasr, did I waste my money on this protractor?
By the way Richard, on your page I clicked on your Triplaner Ultimate,
Man oh man!, you DO Not see record players and tone arms like this too often....Adjustments, thats an understatement....WOW
Also the rest of your system looks to be very well thought out, just great!
I concur with Palasr's account of first using the Feickert to obtain a highly accurate pivot to spindle distance and then using an arc protractor to get the overhang spot on.
A protractor with a tonearm specific arc etched into a mirrored surface yields a satisfingly definitive result - you will set the effective length correctly or not - as Yoda might say, 'there is no close'. The etched groove is just wide enough to take a stylus and the stylus will be in the groove across the arc or not. To that end, results are accurately repeatable.
This is not to say one can't obtain excellent alignment with the Feickert, just that with it there is opportunity for greater 'operator variability' because of the thickness of it markings. And the Feickert 'spots' do not obviously accomodate fractions, one must do less than whole numbers by eyeball. Yes, its crazy dealing with fractions of a millimeter, which is why 'in the groove or not' removes approximation.
Likewise, the centering spot on the Feickert offset grid is a bit thick - guesstimating its at least 3X the width of a line contact stylus. This means it is easy to hit the bullseye in different places between the inner and outer grids yet still be off by seveal grooves of a record. An etched offset aligner is again as unequivocal as an etched arc, and the mirrored surface gives a positive indicator that one is looking at the cantilever in exactly the right position to gauge if it is aligned on center. You can do it with the Feickert, but repeatability becomes partly the result of operator skill rather than positively getting the stylus in the groove (or not).
All these words may not mean much until you actually go through the process a few times and see the point of the stylus through a magnifier, sitting on a dot or in a groove.
And I don't think you wasted your money on the Feickert. It is a quality, well made tool. Coupled with an arc style protractor (together less than 10% the cost of a top flight moving coil) one has a complete toolkit for doing cartridge alignment. Uh, well, except perhaps for azimuth. (If you have a voltmeter, there all you'll need is something like the Cardas Sweep test record, or you can do it by ear.)
Best of luck with your first cartridge setup - you'll do fine.
Tim , I follow what your saying,it makes perfect sense.
Viper, thank you again for bringing attention to this.
I have a VPI table so if measuring the spindle to pivot distance is all I need to do with the Feickert then it's definitely not worth the $250 price-tag. Because I can measure it with ordinary ruler and it's exactly the same as measuring it with Feickert.
Now I'm seriously ponder whether to return the Feickert and get a MintLP tractor instead.
I've owned the Feickert and and Ken Willis' arc protractor.
I sold the Feickert.
So take the Ken Willis, or any printed out arc protractor, and increase the accuracy several times. That is the MintLP tractor. The difference is in the method and fineness of the arc and alignment lines. You will need at least a 6x magnifier to see properly. And, as Palasr posted before, it gives the added benefit of the mirrored surface. It's $90 and you will get it within 3 weeks.
I have been using the protractor that came with my Triplanar for several years. This is also a mirrored protractor that is very much like the one offered Turntable Basics. It is very good and works very well. The first time I used the MintLP protractor I was floored at how much that extra bit of accuracy made in my LP playback. Everything was more articulate, from the lowest to the highest frequencies. And I know the change was much less that .5mm in length a just a nudge here or there.
Sorry to get carried away. I have to interest in the MintLp other than to be a very happy owner of one. And I need to add thanks again to Palasr for introducing this protractor to me.
Unless i've missed it here on this thread, where/how do i get the MINT LP tractor. Who sells it?
I find the Feickert too "finicky". I adjust my SME V with it and check again with the cardboard protractor that came with the SME and there is no difference in the adjustments. One must ask how precise it is.
Anyway, i'm intrigued with this MINT LP tractor.......
Smoffat......MintLp.com ,product Best Tractor.
Dan ed ,Using the Best Tractor.
I read on MintLps site ,you were able to further dial in your cartridge resulting in note able improvements over your Tri-Planers protractor including Galibiers.
A highly accurate device, more so then others.
Others on Mints site have similar stories to tell.
For anyone interested, read through the entire site.
I punched in Ken Willis on Audioasylum members search, no results.
You still need to find the spindle to pivot distance, whether you use a Freickert or some other brand.
I arrive home today, I'll check the Feickert out.
The Galibier protractor (not really, it was just one Thom Makris printed out to show people how an arc protractor works) did work. The difference, and I think you got this from what you read, is that the protractor Thom sent as well as the KWILLIS (that's the AA moniker to look for) are printed out on any home printer. The thickness of the lines and the inaccuracy of the printer does leave a larger margin of error.
The MintLP protractor is made for your tonearm. You provide the effective length and pivot-to-spindle distance specified by the tonearm manufacturer. (You also give the spindle hole diameter of your table.) So you are setting P2S and overhang very accurately when you use the protractor. There is really no need to use a ruler or anything to measure P2S. For me, the MintLP has been the best tool I've used to setup my cartridge. YMMV, IMO, IME, etc.
Dan ed, have you compared the Ken Willis to the MintLp to KNOW there is a difference? If you have I will have to consider buying a MintLp protractor. If not, Ken's protractor is a bargain at $55
I've compared the two. Ken's protractor is an excellent one to be sure. The MintLP protractor is the same essential concept, yet constructed on plate glass mirror (a big advantage for parallax reduction) and has extremely fine lines to better facilitate accuracy. While Ken's protractor will certainly get you extremely close, we're dealing with the LP groove here and ANY device that facilitates even better accuracy is worth it. I'd estimate the line pitch on the MintLP protractor to be about 5-8 times finer than those on Ken's unit - when microns are the unit of measurment, this can make a substantial diffference.
I'm not trying to "sell" you anything. I'm just sharing my experience. Ken's protractor is fine, I'm sure, and if you are happy with it who cares what anyone, including me, says. Other people whose opinions I greatly respect and value are perfectly happy with their 2-point, one-size fits most, protractors. I do have a KWILLIS protractor file that Palasr sent me, but I have not printed and tried it out for reasons I'll explain below. If Ken would like to send me one that he designed and made for a TriPlanar VII I'd be more than happy to compare it to my MintLP protractor. ;-)
If a protractor is not mirrored there is a good probability of user error due to the parallax effect that Palasr posted about. If it is printed out on what ever printer one has to use, the thickness of the lines vary from user to user. This is another source of error. Perhaps Ken has a means to produce lines with a thickness of around .008". If so that would certainly boost the accuracy a user could achieve by using a protractor that he printed for them.
These issues also exist for the protractor that Thom sent around to some of us to try, which is also a printed out protractor. I doubt that Ken's is anymore accurate than what Thom designed. Perhaps Ken can print much more accurate lines. Even with these issues I was still able to get better results using Thom's printed protractor than with the mirrored protractor supplied with my TriPlanar. Still there is that parallax issue.
So for another $35 over the cost of a KWILLIS protractor, I chose to purchase a protractor that addresses both of these issues by offering more precise lines and a mirrored surface.
I see this as just a comparison between tools. I freely admit that this is getting into the realm of obsession over cartridge alignment. Even so, there is no disputing that the more accurately you can get the alignment, the more you will be rewarded from the sound from your cartridge.
My apologies to Stiltskin if I've helped steer too far off the subject of his thread.
Dan ed, I'm not challenging your opinion. I just want to know. I prefer Ken's to the Feikert. Both of which I bought. If the MintLp is actually, not just theoretically, better I will have to buy one. Most importantly, is there a difference in sound after a setup with each? $90 is a good price.
sorry if I missed your point. I think Palasr and I have pointed out the short-comings of printed protractors. I bow to Palasr as he's way out in front of me when it comes to evaluating a large number of protractors. I personally find the arc-style protractors more user friendly.
To your question, I found the largest improvement came when I first used Thom's protractor. I found that all notes, instruments, and voices were more articulate and clear. I did a few iterations of adjustments but didn't really attempt to optimize further. The improvements I heard convinced me to take a little risk and order the MintLP. It's more accurate so the results should be better. Right, I thought.
When the MintLP arrived I spent just 1/2 an hour improving the alignment I had from Thom's protractor. Here the improvements most notable was the way notes began to hang in the air much longer. At this point I'm starting to get increased details, articulation and harmonics. I believe I have finally unlocked my lp playback.
After getting to this point I sent an email to Yip, owner and manufacturer of the MintLP protractor. To generalize his response, he kind of yawned out "I'm not surprised" and then proceeded to gently lecture me that if I had only spent 1/2 hour there was no way my alignment was as close as it could/should be. (I understand that his personal protractor has even finer lines, but he won't market that because one would have to be completely nuts to try for that kind of accuracy. I want one like his even more, but I might change my tune once I tried to use it.) This response made me laugh with joy as I realized that there is even more magic to unlock. So I've tried to spend some time each weekend just attempting to get the alignment even better. Did I mention that this is bordering on obsession? :-)
I think Dan has touched on several key points: accuracy and obsession. My own quest for alignment accuracy started many years ago when I too struggled with making sense of "universal" two point protractors (db systems, dennessen, et al). When I tried my first Wallytractor seven or so years ago (when I owned my Linn), I knew I had found the ever-elusive path to the holy grail of alignment. When I got my Triplanar a couple of years ago, I tried in vain to get another Wally, and eventually used several printed card-stock arc protractors with varying degrees of success. I think Yip's (MintLP) protractor raises the bar even on the venerable Wallytractor with regards to precision for the reasons outlined above by both Dan and myself. The only failings I can see of the MintLP protractor comes from the user's end - bad magnification, bad lighting and poor eyesight (pick your order) ;-))
I think those of us who have invested substantial sums of money in both hardware and software (I've been collecting LPs since I was 11 or 12 and now have around 4500 or so) want to pursue analog to the lunatic fringe. And yes, it can become obsessive, but that's what being a hobbyist or enthusiast is all about, whether it's audio, coins, knitting, model airplanes or your dog. We're all about extracting maximum pleasure from our investments (and ourselves with regard to our hobbies).
So yes, obsession is part of the equation, and if struggling with the minutae - accuracy of measurement, parallax and overhang seems like too much of a PITA, then that's why there's both "close enough" and the compact disc. Good listening,
I'm finally out of that stage. As long as it sounds good I don't worry about it. I'm not one to use a 6 step, 15 minute process to clean a record either. It's simply not worth it to me. Ken's is the easiest protractor I've ever used. The MintLp certainly warrants further investigation but, unless, I can hear the difference it is a moot point.
I just wanted to explain how I get my overhang with the Feickert. (there seems to be some confusion about needing additional tools or protractors, and multiple arc points)
1. Set up the Feickert measurement tool to measure your spindle to pivot distance. (put it in the correct hole for your length)
2. Now set the spindle to pivot distance to the arm mfg's exact length in mm using the tool..(different procedure for every turntable)
3. Now - Do not move the platter. While keeping the Feickert measuring tool exactly centered over the tonearm pivot point at the correct distance, TAPE the platter with masking tape so it cannot move at all. (After taping you can remove the tool or leave it there)
4. Now swing the arm over the platter. Adjust the cartridge so the stylus touches the only available arc at the exact mm setting from before. That is the perfect overhang for that distance. The sylus will only cross the arc at one exact point. (not several)
5. After the overhang is set, untape the platter and use the 2 grids on the Feickert to fine tune the offset angle by slightly twisting the cartridge clockwise or counter clockwise as needed.
6. Go back and double check the arc and 2 grids.
If all 3 are good you are done..
I have been getting good results this way..
So, Out of all this great discussion. I am more confused than ever.
Is there a best way to set your arm and cartridge up to minimise groove distortions, generally sound the most musical and leave it resonably easy.
Or is a combination of eg Feikert and Wally/Mint specific to your tonearm the best way to go.
If you use the Mint, there is no need for the Feikert since the Mint is manufactured specifically for your table/arm combo. You set spindle-pivot distance with a ruler to get is approx. correct and then get effective arm length dead nuts on by adjusting overhang til it hits all points on the arc specifically made for your rig. Then you go to the two null points to set the alignment. Its mirrored and has a very fine alignment grid. With my Schroeder its not easy because there is only one bolt in the cart carrier, so when you loosen it to adjust alignment you can easily change the overhang and vice versa, but you can also easily see that you botched it on the Mint. With a more conventional headshell, I would think it would be pretty straightforward with the Mint. The only downside is that if you change arm or TT you need a new one. But as is usually the case, "one size fits all" usually doesn't, while a custom item from a quality supplier does the job very well. Disclaimer- I've never used the Wally or the Feikert, but I find the Mint much easier to use than the TTbasics mirror or the cardstock protractor supplied by Schroeder. No surprise, really; its 3 or 4x the price of the TT and infinitely more expensive than the cardstock one Frank Shroeder sent me.
Quite a few points to touch on here as this thread continues ...
I. Graham Alignment Technique
Please note that I've not played with the Phantom. My experiences and comments relate to with the 2.2. I believe that the Phantom sets up identically to the earlier Grahams. In any event, consider this to be at a minimum, comments on versions 2.2 and before.
The Graham setup jig, while brilliantly simple in concept and use, is predicated on one step which is difficult to achieve the highest level of accuracy with - setting the pivot to spindle distance. If you pay attention to your technique in this step, you can do quite well. If you don't, then a casual setup with a two-point protractor will be superior.
The great part about the Graham technique is the fact that you use parts machined into the actual tonearm to perform your measurements (the hole drilled in the headshell). What could be better? Well, the answer lies in keeping the unipivot bearing from tilting when you perform this operation. If you can do this, then your pivot to spindle distance will be spot on and life is good.
I've thought about how achieve precision in this step. One method would be to develop some sort of "U" shaped stabilizing part to support the main body of the tonearm so that it doesn't tilt, and thereby distort your pivot to spindle setting. Something so simple as some pieces of cardboard stacked up to the right thickness would likely work fine. I don't have an arm on hand, and thought about this after my 2.2 left my house, so I can't advise you on its construction beyond these passing comments.
As far as the Feickert is concerned, I got to play with one for the first time this weekend. It provides a nice method of getting a starting point for spindle distance. For the price of the Feickert, you can get three dedicated arc-style protractors from Mintlp. Anyone who has shelled out $250 for a Feickert is obviously serious about their setup, and I'm puzzled why they don't try to compare their results against an arc-style protractor.
Perhaps the promise of the nicely machined parts lends the impression that you can't do better. Well as I've written many times about things analog (as have others), the tool with which you relate to best is the superior tool. Perhaps many relate to the Feickert. I can understand the appeal of a precision machined tool.
III. Arc-Style Protractors
My take on the very critical parameter of pivot to spindle distance is that all non arc-style protractors (including the Feickert) help you to set the pivot to spindle distance in the neighborhood, and nothing more. With the Feickert, you can get to perhaps 0.25 mm. An arc-style protractor will increase your precision in this regard irrespective of your starting point - whether you begin with a .25 mm error or 3 mm.
The way arc-style protractors work can drive you crazy until you understand them, because small changes in pivot to spindle distance (when measured at the record spindle side of the arc) will be multiplied dramatically at the lead-in groove side of the arc. 0.25 mm error at the record spindle side of the arc will translate to about 5 mm at the lead-in side. Therein lies it's beauty, precision, and frustration potential for arc-style protractors.
Palasr (who first pointed me to the Mintlp protractors) articulates the remainder of the argument in favor of arc-style protractors very nicely (as do Tim, Narrod, and Dan_ed), but rather than debate all of this, why don't you all try this out instead of discussing something without having experienced it.
IV. Take the Challenge
I'll tell ya what ... I'll reduce your risk to maybe a buck, and we all know how much that buys on the international market these daze.
I'll send the first 5 people who e-mail me an arc-style protractor made of card-stock material for your tonearm (Baerwaald alignment).
As long as we can establish the effective length of your tonearm, I can make one for you. Please note, that many Japanese tonearms specify weird numbers and we might have to work a bit to get one made for you.
Please e-mail me using this link from the Galibier website (instead of the Audiogon mailer) if you're interested: http://www.galibierdesign.com/contact.html
Be prepared to send me an 8.5" x 11" envelope with the proper postage on it. If you don't want the postal service to bend it, line the envelope with a piece of cardboard. Again, this applies to the first 5 people who e-mail me.
If you like it, you can order one from Ken Willis or Yip at Mintlp. I'm not interested in being in the protractor business and don't have any financial interest in recommending these products.
The card-stock protractor (as Dan_ed mentioned) was merely a proof of concept experiment, and I supply them with all tonearms I sell, along with a recomendation to contact Yip at Mintlp for the real deal.
V. Fixed Headshell Mount Tonearms (SME)
Oh yes (Smoffatt), you have a challenge in using an arc-style protractor. You'll need one protractor for each cartridge you use, which can be quite expensive. Swampwalker touched on this point with respect to his Schroeder as well.
I believe I went into it in depth on another thread on this forum, but in case I haven't, you can read about it as well as quite a few comments from Palasr, Dan_ed, and Salectric in depth on my forum in this thread: http://www.galibierdesign.com//phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=75
Thom @ Galibier
thanks for trying to explain this in more simple terms with the pro's and con's. due to the fact I live in Australia, I'll leave it up to some of the other folks in the US to take advantage of your kind offer.
just a few comments/questions
- Graham - you set the pivot to spindle by using the actual arm and attaching it to the spindle adaptor - should be then perfect. with the magneglide on the phantom - no unipivot wobble.
- Feickert - Exactly what does this tool do, except to align pivot to spindle distance very well. Or can you adjust the overhang like Joe said above.
- looks like arc protractors like Wally / Ken / Mint are the best but most difficult to get right??
Okay, I've procrastinated on this long enough. Thom's post finally swayed me to purchase the MintLp arc protractor. I've used a Wally Tractor before on a different arm and while I liked it the Feickert was quite attractive to me. I'll buy some new LPs with the savings.
As long as we're talking about tonearm alignment in general, I'd like to bring up the experience of my oldest audio friend (both in years of friendship and age). I went to his house to help him set up his new Dynavector Karat 17D3 in his Well Tempered Reference tonearm, using my Turntable Basics protractor, which I think falls into the category of an "arc-style" protractor. The experience was very stressful, because the platter of the WT tt will not stay stable without the drive belt to hold it up, because the WT tonearm is fixed in position by a very difficult to access nut underneath the table, and one must loosen that nut to adjust stylus overhang, because the WT tonearm also has only two holes in the headshell for cartridge mouting with no provision for fore and aft movement of the cartridge, and finally because the DV Karat seems to have an unusually short stylus-to-mounting hole distance. Every time I thought I had the DV stylus tip sitting in the right place, the act of tightening the nut under the table would inevitably twist the vertical shaft at the pivot end and throw out the alignment. We achieved some semblance of success after about 2 hours, but the combo sounded horrible, IMO, because I think the alignment was not good. He subsequently bought a Feikert; I don't know how that works, but he just told me that the alignment on the WT table and tonearm cannot be done with the Feikert, either. I think his frustration is due to the fundamental design of the WT and perhaps the unusually short cantilever on the DV Karat, but it points up the problems that can arise.
I'm not sure if you mean "difficult to get right" to refer to making or using an arc-style protractor. I doubt you are interested in making one, so I'll assume you are talking about using the protractor.
I don't find an arc-style protractor any more difficult to use than my 2-point style protractor. In fact, I find the arc style easier to use and much easier, for me anyway, to get alignment right.
Using any protractor is an iterative process if done correctly. That is, once you get your second point adjustment you really should go back and double check the alignment on the first point. This is also true of the arc-style, with one big exception. With the arc-style nothing is moved except the arm and cartridge. There is no re-aligning of the protractor for the first point. Unless one can do this re-alignment of the protractor with the exact same precision every time, this change in position of the protractor introduces error.
With the arc-style, you find the correct position for the protractor by locating the position in which the stylus lands exactly on the arc at a point near the spindle and a point near, preferably beyond, the outside edge of the platter. BTW, this can't be done unless the P2S distance is right for the specific arc. Once you have this the protractor is fixed in position. Now when you start the process of aligning the cantilever you are only concerned with that alignment and with keeping the stylus on the line. This alone makes the arc-style much easier for me to use.
Now as for how much time and effort one wants to put into the iterations, that is where the difficulty comes in. But this is true for any method or tool one wishes to use to do alignment. How close is close enough becomes a personal choice. My experiences lately with fine tuning cartridge alignment has shown me there is a huge reward for increasing the accuracy. This is no revelation to LP playback, we all know this. Some of us have found a tool that works even better for us to get cartridge alignment even more precise. Others may have a different tool that does the same for them. As always, YMMV.
Yea Dan, I was talking about using the protractor and paraphrasing Thom.
I have used a wally for some time with my JMW. When I upgraded from 12.5 to 12.6 - worked fine. from 12.6 to 12.7 the P2S distance changed - can't use the wally anymore.
Me I might be joining some of the folks here and getting a Mint. The Friekert for me seems to offer nothing.
Thanks for the feedback on the Phantom, Downunder. I really need to play with this fine tonearm. I hope my earlier post wasn't taken as a negative one, but rather as one to describe how to increase the precision on the very fine method that Bob Graham has designed for his earlier tonearms.
Yes, if the magnetic mechanism keeps the unipivot from wobbling during the alignment process, then you are correct and the problem is solved. As I mentioned, the fact that you're using the actual tonearm for the alignment process is a wonderful thing.
For those not familiar with the Graham alignment technique, a small nylon step-down adaptor is fit onto the record spindle. It tapers down to fit into a hole drilled in the headshell. This procedure needs to be done once - at tonearm mounting time, and before the cartridge is fit onto the headshell.
The object of the game is to fine-tune the pivot to spindle distance (using the built-in play in the arm mounting holes) until you can swing the arm over the record spindle and engage the hole in the headshell into the spindle adapter.
The other brilliant thing about the Graham technique is that the remainder of the alignment work is done with the jig which snaps onto the headshell - work which can be done on a well lighted desk.
Turntable Basics, Well Tempered Experience, Dyna 17D3 ...
Regarding the Turntable Basics protractor, its the two-point protractor of choice - for those inclined to using a two-point protractor. I'm guessing that you were trying to use the alignment line to aim at the tonearm bearing pivot.
This likely drove you batty and is not recommended. Small errors in aiming are magnified, and I know of no one but Frank Schroeder who can use this technique - whether with the aid of a thread or not. You're welcome to try.
When using both the Turntable Basics protractor as well as the one supplied by Triplanar (made in the same shop), use it as a two-point protractor and forget about the sighting line.
Yes, the Dynavector 17D3 has a very difficult cantilever to view. Even with great lighting and a magnifying glass it will drive you nutty. I love this cartridge, and it plays well above it's price point, but viewing the cantilever during the alignment process (intentionally short - by design) is not its strength.
As far as the remainder of the Well Tempered, the wobble and such is characteristic of the design as you mention. I recommend stabilizing it in some fashion (e.g. cardboard shims under the platter at three points), because no alignment technique will obviate the need for doing so. You probably thought about this on the drive home ;-)
In general (with all turntables), it's helpful to use a piece of masking tape to keep the platter from rotating. Of course, in the case of the Well Tempered, the stabilizing shims will accomplish this.
I've not played with a Well Tempered arm, but from your description, it fits into the same category as the SME, and Schroeder Reference/DPS as far as fixed cartridge mounting - from the perspective of the stylus position relative to the cartridge mounting holes determining the tonearm's effective length. Your effective length will vary depending on the cartridge manufacturer and model. See below for further comment.
Arc-style Protractors - Difficulty of Use ...
Well, they're difficult to use in the way that any fitness coach is. They won't let you off the hook until you get it right. If you want someone to whisper sweet lies in your ears, then don't choose an arc-style protractor.
I look at the Feickert as sort of a weigh-station, on the route to using an arc-style protractor. I say this because it emphasizes getting pivot to spindle distance right to a higher level of precision than measuring with a ruler. It also has a number of alignment points for various arm lengths which means that you won't get as easily confused when you shift your attention to working at the headshell slots. This is a good thing and I applaud this effort.
I hate to come down so hard on such a nicely executed design, but it reminds me of the current trend in software design - called SOA (service oriented architecture). This design philosophy emphasizes usability and the problem that the software is intended to solve. There's more to the philosophy than that, but the point is, that the best software design in the world is not as useful as that which is designed in collaboration with the user community which ultimately has to live with it.
As far has how the Feickert works, the photos linked to here should make it quite clear. http://www.feickert.com/engl/schablone_handling.html
The relevant point is that for a particular arm geometry (one that is defined by a pin and dedicated pair of alignment grids), you get less confused between cartridge offset angle and fore-aft adjustment in the headshell (effective length/overhang). This is a good thing.
Lastly, I find it curious that Feickert in his instructions shows us a Schroeder tonearm for his setup example, because (as with an arc-style protractor), the Schroeder Reference, DPS, and SME arms (those without cartridge mounting slots) will give you varying results depending on the cartridge and how far its stylus to mounting bolt distance varies. This would mandate (in the case of the Feickert) another set of grids and alignment pin hole, or in the case of an arc style protractor, either a different arc (on a universal protractor) or a different protractor. Of course, a universal, two-point protractor will work. I go into this in the thread I link to in my previous post.
Again, the caveat with all of this stuff is that the tool you relate to best, is the best tool. For many, this might be the Feickert.
The experience of everyone to date has been that once they go to an arc-style protractor, they find it easier to visualize the solution as well as to implement it. Most importantly, the results are audible. Again, this doesn't necessarily mean a faster setup, as the precision level will demand that you really get it right and not just approximately right.
I liken this "getting it right" (in comparison to getting it approximately right with a two-point protractor) to be an order of magnitude improvement in the musicality of your analog rig - an ease (lack of distortion), delineation of musical lines, along with everything else that Dan_ed reported. Now, the higher the resolution level of your rig, the more you'll hear the improvement, but it's still a very worthwhile investment for owners of Regas and such.
Another benefit I've found with getting your setup perfect is that it is much less finicky in terms of VTA adjustment. I first noticed this in my work with the ET-2, linear tracker. For those without an easily repeatable finely adjustable VTA mechanism, this is not a trivial advantage.
I have no doubts that people can get it right with a two-point protractor, with my good buddy Frank Schroeder being one notable exception. Doug D. tells us that he can, and they're both to be congratulated for this. I'm going to send Dough an arc-style protractor to try. I suspect that he is so fastidious with his alignment process that he won't note an improvement, but it will be interesting to hear from him nevertheless.
For the large majority of us however, I think that a better tool is a worthwhile investment.
Thom @ Galibier
Dear Thom, We did use something straight and rigid (no joke intended) to extend the linear guide on the Turntable Basics protractor toward the true pivot of the WT tonearm, and I did use masking tape to immobilize the platter AND to try to keep it from flopping over. Eventually I think we did shim it. The confounding thing, along with the tiny cantilever of the 17D3, was the unavoidable tendency of the WT tonearm to twist when one tried to tighten down on the screw that holds it in place. At home with my Triplanar, I find the Turntable Basics very easy to use, but I agree with you on the difficulty of sighting down those lines toward the pivot, and on the drastic effect of a small error in sighting the pivot.
Thom, my SME V situation with the Feickert is a moot point as i will be receiving a Phantom shortly i hope (after a 6 months wait or so). I will be selling my Feickert and will likely order a MintLp. For discussion purposes here, if you had to mount and adjust an SME V to the highest level of accuracy, what type of "jig" would you use?
P.S. Cart is Dynavector XV1`s
All the best....