However, you want far and away better precision for less then half the price?, look up MintLp in the archives preferably Stringreens thread on the subject.
Cartridge alignment is only one aspect of a turn table set up, however crucial.
Agree, the Feikert protractor is convenient for set up of multiple brands of tone arms and cartridges, at best, a handy tool for a dealer.
Now think about this , with all the work and expense involved with analogue play back and as critical as cartridge alignment is.
Why would anyone stop short of precisly dialing in their cartridge with a Feikert when high precision protractor's like the Wally or MintLp are available?....Again I refer you to member Stringreen's thread on the MintLp.
More agreement with Stiltskin.
Even if the lines on the Feickert were as fine as those on the Mint, which they're not, it would still suffer from the fatal flaw of not being built on a mirror.
Without the parallax effect afforded by a mirror, it's impossible to by sure you're sighting precisely down the line you're trying to align the cantilever to. Unless you've used a mirrored protractor you've no idea how easy it is to be off by several degrees - which defeats the whole purpose.
I humbly disagree with Stiltskin and Doug.
Alignment is only one of the functions possible with the Feickert. For me the greatest benefit is setting the spindle to tonearm distance accurately which allows the absolute effective tonearm length and overhang as specified by the tonearm designer.
Only those with adjustable (swinging) armboards (as on the Ravens), will appreciate this function but with the Feickert it is possible to get these accurate to 0.2mm.
I have the DaVinci 12"Ref Grandezza tonearm which comes with the Feickert complete with the set-up platter with one side dedicated to the DaVinci and the other side applicable to all arms.
I also have the Continuum Copperhead tonearm which comes complete with a dedicated Wally Tractor.
When I set up the Copperhead using the Feickert, I obtain 99% accuracy when I then test it against the Wally Tractor.
However when I try to set it solely using the Wally, I can achieve little better than 90%?
Halcro, sorry I don't quite understand your last paragraph, are you talking about measured pivot to spindle accuracy?
An arc protractor such as your Wally that inscribes a specific arc your cartridge stylus follows and if set up is done correct you will know the stylus is where it should be.
The proof is heard in the play back.
I didn't get this with Grahams ingenious set up jigs for the Phantom, nor did I get this with the Feikert.
Sorry Stiltskin if I was unclear.
If I try to set up the Copperhead by adjusting the cartridge to follow the arc of the WallyTractor which (correct me if I'm wrong) has the same mirrored base and inscribed arcs as the Mint, I can't seem to achieve a perfect match without taking hours and hours.
However if I adjust the Copperhead using the Feickert and THEN run it over the WallyTractor arc, Le Voila!!!
And yes you are right......the proof is definitely heard in the playback.
Henry Yes using an arc protractor for some can wear patience fast,for me,by the third attempt every step became a whole lot easier.
Setting up your Copperhead with the Feikert are you saying your stylus follows the inscribed arc of the Wally?
One major feature of a mirrored arc tractor its designed to allow the ability to align the cantilever and stylus tip to a extreme degree of accuracy which further reduces distortion.
And yes the MintLp and Wally tractors are similar as far as design goals are.
However the Wally as far as I know right now is next to impossible to get.
Nice one Doug.
Having been in the building industry for 40 years, I can assure you than trying to 'eyeball' a hand-held ruler over the dead centre of a 4mm diam shaped spindle at the same time as 'eye-balling' a mark on this ruler over an ill-defined tonearm pivot hidden by the tonearm is no more accurate than a generic 2 point alignment card downloaded from the internet.
The Feickert 'locks' in both spindle and tonearm pivot and is attached to an aluminium 'beam' which has NO deflection compared to a wooden, metal or plastic ruler over the same distance.
It seems a little odd to be so adamant about 'thinner' etched lines and parallax error compensation of the mirror backed Wally and Mint protractors whilst at the same time proposing such an inaccurate method of effective length and overhang measurement?
with a custom made arc protractor, the need to be highly accurate at setting P2S doesn't exist. You just need to be close, 1/2 mm or so. Aligning to the arc takes care of the rest of the precision because the arc was drawn using the effective length. No futzing with overhang, it all comes out in the wash. That is why the lines are so important. And, the same tool is used to do the rest of the alignment so nothing moves during the process after the arc is being traced. It really is hard to explain, and much easier to demonstrate. There really is more than one way to approach things. I'm not saying any is better than the other. But some are definitely less expensive.
What Dan_Ed said.
My TT spindle has a lathe mark that's dead center. Easy to see and measure precisely.
Your spindle doesn't have a center mark? You can make your own - for free.
How? Simple. Mark a dot, as tiny and precise as you please, on a square of Scotch Tape. Stick that on your spindle and spin the platter. If the dot oscillates it's not centered. Move the tape, spin again, reiterate until the dot remains stationary. Voila!
(It took me longer to type that than it takes to actually do it. It's so easy it's trivial.)
Your tonearm pivot point is "ill-defined"? No problem. Use the same trick. I've done this with Rega and OL arms and it should work with most arms where the bearing center isn't obvious or accessible to a ruler. Again, so easy it's trivial.
Your ruler deflects over a 9-12" span? Even I'm not THAT cheap. Buy a sturdier ruler.
As I said, I've used a Feickert and I agree it's well made and measures S2P quite accurately. However, I can and do perform the same task with similar accuracy for 99% less money. So can anyone with a little thought and care. It's not the cost of the tools, it's how you use them.
I have been using my Feickert for a while and could not imagine getting a more accurate tool for S to P distance and overhang for my Triplanar.
However - I read the threads about the MintLP arc protractor and the accuracy that it has inherent to its design.
So I ordered one and received it last week.
I got ready for cartridge adjusting mode - plenty of time available with no distractions on a nice calm morning and I prepared to do battle..you know the drill..
I had the greatest surprise ever that morning..
The Feickert setup followed the MintLP arc exactly.
Yes, exactly - even with high magnification.
It was as perfect as I could ever get it.
I put my tools away and listened to music instead, very happy with Chris Feickert and his protractor.
So it boils down to: both of these tools are excellent with the Mintlp being less expensive. But -do not take anything away from the capabilities of the Feickert - In my case it is exactly as accurate as the MintLP and still my favorite analog tool.
Enjoy the music.
I think what is being misread here or just plainly ignored is the fact that a mirrored protractor such as the Wally or Mint will take your set up to a higher level regardless what you think a Feikert will do.
Just because your stylus traces the arc doesn't mean your set up is finished.
There is a host of testimonials through out the threads I mentioned above including others on this topic that explain this.
My experience using the superb Phantom jigs including the Feikert protractor repeatedly, clearly demonstrated to me after using the Mint that my cantilevers alignment was always off.
Incredible as it may seem to some, FINE tuning the alignment of your cantilever has a sonic benefit, one that is readily heard.
This is why mirrored protractors such as the Wally and Mint exist produced by people that know a few things about analogue play back.
Try all you want with the Feikert it will not get you there.
As Doug points out above and as I know ,the reference lines are too thick and the disk is not built on a mirror. Clearly this limits what the Feikert can actually do.
However some may not be so inclined to fuss with such minuscule adjustments to the cantilevers position and close is good enough ,that's fine.
fwiw, my experience is identical to Joe55ag. I had the Feickert and bought a Mint....my set-up was dead-on.
If I had to choose one to begin with, I would choose the Mint due to the inherent accuracy and lower price. However, the Feickert can be a great general purpose tool for those who want some flexibility in their tools.
I own the Feickert and find it both useful and easy to use.
FWIW, I also own the "Turntable Basics" phono cartidge alignment tool (mirrored). I also own both the "TT Basics" and the Shure stylus force gauges.
For folks like me, with a combined investment in table/tweaks, cartridge/stylus and phono stage of $2000, the "TT Basics" alignment tool plus their little seesaw stylus force gauge for $35 total are the only tools needed. I do find the Shure gauge easier to use...but no more accurate.
Looks like this thread has gone silent but I'll bring up one point that has not been raised. I use a Koetsu cartridge where the stylus tip is BURIED under the cartridge body. For this reason - I didn't order the Mint. The only way I can align the cartridge is to see the stylus tip fall into a divot (light at a very steep angle, using magnification). I'm not sure if the Feickert has this (most likely not) but a divot can be properly created even in metal.
there is no divot, but there is a circle at the proper cross . I did replace the pointer at the end of the beam with a laser pointer. with the protractor the feikert adjust+pro and my ears i am confident that i get very accurate cart alignment.as with most things, the more you use something the easier it gets.
If you are only going to have one turntable and never own another one the Mint is the way to go, it is very accurate, but it is made for your specific combo of table and arm, so if you ever change one or the other you must get a new one made.
I have a Mint that I bought and used for a year or so. It gets things aligned very well, but it take a while to get things correct. It takes me, by far, the longest to align a cartridge with the Mint that any other I have ever used. Meaning it takes a long time to get it set up just perfect. It's not difficult just time consuming.
Eventually I bought a Feickert protractor to try. Surprisingly it took me less than 10 minutes to align my cart, so quick that I really didn't believe that it could be accurate. Pulled out my Mint and it was spot on. So plus one for the Feickert.
Fast forward a few years later and I bought a new tonearm and turntable, used the Feickert to setup the cart and found it just as easy and fast, have changed carts a few times and it was always quick and easy to get it properly aligned. Two months ago I decided to get another Mint (better to have more than one way to verify the carts alignment, I'm thinking) made for my table and arm. After I got the Mint I put it on my table and put the cart down on it that was aligned 4 months prior with the Feickert and the cart was perfectly aligned on the Mint protractor. Didn't have to tough or adjust a thing.
So at this point I would say to just buy the Feickert and use it correctly and you will be just as good as if you had bought the Mint (or any other protractor).
mohawk, I've used a Dennesen for years. It predates the Feickert and works on the same principles but is not as versatile. It has been out of production for years and was offered in both metal (which I have) and plastic versions (lower cost). It does have a "divot" to precisely locate the stylus tip. Used examples do appear from time to time.
While I've never used a Feickert I expect it has the same limitation as my Dennesen. They really only work with arms which provide some means of identifying the precise pivot point for the arm. That can be a bearing set screw, damping fluid well, etc. If you are simply trying to estimate location of the pivot point, whether by eye or by measuring, I don't believe you can have the necessary accuracy for something as precise as the stylus alignment.
Feickert is great, worth the price (especially used), i use it with all my tonearms and i don't need any other protractors. I like the build quality. design and accurasy and if you can find any better it must be very expensive. The cheaper protractors are not as good and the design of the cheaper protractors are funny. Feickert is the real thing!
I also have the metal Dennesen. I prefer the Feikert. As pryso identified, finding the pivot point can be daunting.
Yes, but ANY alignment tool is worthless if you have not accurately set the P2S distance in the first place. This (difficulty in locating the pivot point) is not a flaw of the Feickert; it is a flaw built into the tonearm by a designer who neglected to account for it. I actually believe that the Feickert (I have the older original version that uses a white plastic platform shaped like a full size LP, not the newer one that uses a black platform which is about half of a circle in shape) is better than most protractors for helping to precisely set P2S, so long as the pivot can be located with accuracy. I also own a UNItractor, which is yet another much more elaborate take on the original Dennesen. For its high cost, the basic original UNI does not incorporate a measure for P2S. I was offered such a device as an accessory, for a mere $395 additional. (In fairness, this issue may have been fixed in later versions of the base UNI.) Anyway, I use the Feickert to set P2S, and then depending upon how anal I want to get, I may use the UNI from there forward. I also have a metal Dennesen, which sits in a box.
Good point Lew.
Actually I've utilized my Dennesen to precisely locate the spot to drill to mount an arm. With the P2S dimension given by the arm manufacturer and a steel metric ruler I set that distance on the Dennesen. Then placing the alignment plate on the spindle I can swing the device to identify the arc on which the arm should be located. From that I chose a position on that arc which best accommodates the arm and mark that point to drill.
All this seems obvious if anyone owns a Dennesen or similar alignment tool, but those considering buying one may not realize this extra benefit of this type of alignment device.
I guess I did not make my point very well, but for me the beauty of the Feickert is the cross arm that is graduated in mm, with a vertical spike at the far end that can be set down on the pivot point exactly. If you measure P2S with a conventional ruler of any kind, there is that awkward requirement to estimate that you are "over" the desired location of the pivot; if the ruler does not lie in a horizontal plane parallel to the pivot point on the tonearm or the blank tonearm mount, there will of course be an inaccuracy due to parallax. The Dennesen and even the original version of the UNItractor, incorporate cross arms that are not marked in units of distance. (I am guessing that this fault has been remedied in newer versions of the UNItractor, because I think I see in photos that the SMARTractor includes a crossarm marked for distance in mm; the SMARTractor is less expensive than the UNI.)
Lew, another method which I've done over the years is to create a template out of sturdy stock such as a file folder. I have basic drafting skills so can lay out a line with the exact center hole for the spindle, the P2S distance from that to arm pivot point, and then mark that with a vertical needle. Rather than attempt to cut out a circle for the spindle I found a simple X cut with an X-acto allows the template to be fitted over the spindle. Anyway, it worked for me.
I use AccuTrak arc protractors for my arms. I have a TT where I can adjust P2S distance easily. I think this point was made earlier, with Arc protractors you don't need highly accurate P2S measurement, just need accurate enough to get within the overhang adjustment range of the headshell. When you are on the arc you have the overhang correct.
For most cartridges where the cantilever is visible, the AccuTrak allows for very precise adjustment of zenith. Especially with a magnifying glass. For some cartridges, a mirror would be helpful. All this being said, if money grew on trees, I would enjoy using the SMARTractor which seems to offer all these features.
I've used a Fiekert tool over the years on several tables to great success. I just bought a new alignment "block" for $50 that is another great tool when verifying cartridge alignments.