Fidelity Research FR64s Headshell dilemma

Dear FR64S users can you help me please. I have an FR64S that i bought without a headshell. I have only just got round to getting it mounted. I did pivot to spindle distance of 231.5 (the alternative distance' I also have an armboard for 230.
I tried a Sony headshell that i had - it was 2mm short of correct alignment. So I bought a new Jelco headshell it was also too short. 
CAn you tell me what headshell does work to allow other cartridges to work. I'm just using a DL103 for alignment first as I fettle the rest of my front end.

Orsonic AV-101 silver or black
AudioCraft or IKEDA

or a bit ligher AudioCraft and Fidelity-Research

watcha like ?

what is the size and weight of the counterweight on your 64s tonearm ?

I have used Ortofon LH9000 (for high effective mass, weighs 18g by itself) and Oyaide and Yamamoto carbon fiber headshells (both weigh ~10g; for high-ish compliance cartridges).  In fact, I have never owned an FR headshell and wouldn't be looking for one, because they do not have the best reputation for sonics.  With the P2S set at 231.5mm, as in your case, the headshell screws are about midway in the slots of all 3 of those headshells, when doing Baerwald alignment.  So I don't know what your problem could be; it should work fine.
Actually i was using my clearaudio alignment gage - which i know is a bit different to Bearwald and Lofgren - although i must say i've always been happy with the results. I may try the other protractors first
I think I hae a universal protractor with My HiFi News Test Record - i am going to check that first as I bought a Jelco Headshell and I do not think it is any different to any other headshell in terms of dimensions
I have an FR-64 and I was using an Orsonic on it to mount other cartridges after damaging my FR-7. Worked fine.
Stevenson alignment is absolutely fine not only with FR tonearms but with most of the Japanese tonearms designed for use with Stevenson by default. To make sure you can try alternative alignment methods (Baerwald or Lofgren or anything else) BUT try to detect a difference yourself before you will be affected by propaganda. Trust your ears, not some other users words. Many FR users reported that Stevenson is fine, we use FR headshell integrated cartridges this way and they are absolutely stunning (FR-7fz).

If Ikeda can’t detect it, i’m pretty sure you will not be able to detect it too. Ikeda designed this tonearm for use with Stevenson alignment and this is first thing you must try and use before you will change it.


In fact for your Denon DL-103 with its conical tip the alignment method is absolutely irrelevant! Why? Because the stylus is CONICAL. Before you will twist your cartridge in the headshell to align it with something else like Baerwald please try to understand what is conical tip and what it the result of all that tricks with alignments with this conical tip (absolutely not worth the effort) **

Fidelity-Research headshells are all different, this one (RS-141) is very nice!
Can i just ask - whilst here - do most people use a mint or a wally style protractor? I use a clearaudio very similar to Llofgren A?
The best protractor for all tonearms and turntables with all 3 alignment methods on it to choose is Dr.Feickert, there are some more expensive similar style protractors, but Feickert is "best buy".  It's very important to have PS ruler integrated on the protractor. 

People use mint if they have only one tonearm, this protractor must be made just for one tonearm. The worst solution for people with many diffetent tonearms. There is no PS ruler, too bad. 

If you see many people using the same protractor do you think it is a better protractor? I don't think so. 

Protractor with HiFi Test LP is free if Feickert is expensive. 

Not only geometry but also the arm mass is important. For this
aim you have two possibilities. The added counterweight (170g)
as well the headshell weight. To reduce  arm mass lighter
headshells as well lighter weight (than 250 g standard) can
be used. As chakster I prefer( heavy ) Orsonic AV-101 and 
lighter and cheaper Sumiko (Jelko). So there is not one
specific criterion for the headshell. 
So i put it at 230 pivot to spindle and can get allignment. That said it is fully forward in the headshelll.
230mm Pivot to Spindle and Stevenson alignment method. 
230mm for Stevenson 
231.5mm got Baerwald

I use Feickert protractor or old version of SMARTractor. SMART is absolutely the best IMO. Feickert is much easier and faster. Depends how anal I feel that day.
There are also two versions of Feickert, the latest is NG
Dear @lewm  @lohanimal  : What defines the P2S distance is the effective tonearm length.

You can see it in the link I posted where the calculation alignments were made it for 231.5mm. p2s distance and here you can see the calculations for 230.00mm:

Both of you can note that with 230.00mm the overhang is a little forward with any alignment, Löfgren A/B or Stevenson .

So the lohanimal alignment is neither of them but something different, 

Thanks, Raul.  I think you are correct, now that I recall what I have read in the past.
Chakster, In your parlance, does "NG" mean "No Good", which it would mean in colloquial English?  I have the old original Feickert, made of white plastic with black markings, where the platform is the full size of an LP.
@rauliruegas I think you have hit the nail on the head.
If truth be told I have had the Clearaudio for quite some time, and have never thought to really question the various alignments, because with it, my cardas record sweep and HiFinews test record I always got a good sound and no more distortion issues than anyone else. - or so i thought...
In fact for your Denon DL-103 with its conical tip the alignment method is absolutely irrelevant! Why? Because the stylus is CONICAL. Before you will twist your cartridge in the headshell to align it with something else like Baerwald please try to understand what is conical tip and what it the result of all that tricks with alignments with this conical tip (absolutely not worth the effort) **
This is not correct.
Just because the stylus is conical, does not mean alignment is irrelevant.
Offset angle affects tracking and tracking distortion - correct alignment will minimise tracking distortion caused by offset angle.


Chakster, In your parlance, does "NG" mean "No Good", which it would mean in colloquial English? I have the old original Feickert, made of white plastic with black markings, where the platform is the full size of an LP.

"NG" is for New Generation

You’re using an old version, right. That version is no longer available.

New version is metal, no platic parts. This is "Next Generation".


Just because the stylus is conical, does not mean alignment is irrelevant.
Offset angle affects tracking and tracking distortion - correct alignment will minimise tracking distortion caused by offset angle.

When you choose between Stevenson, Baerwald or Lofgren with any cartridge the offset angle is correct for each alignment after adjustment is done. The OP having problem with cartridge in the headshell, it is all the way forward with Lofgren alignment, so he can use Stevenson instead, with FR tonearm Stevenson is correct and no need to twist a cartridge in headshell in this case, cartridge will stay parallel to the headshell with Stevenson only (on this tonearm without changing PS distance). This tonearm designed by Ikeda for use with Stevenson geometry/alignment using correct PS distance (230mm) from the manual. Trying to altering factory setting is irrelevant for Denon DL-103 with conical tip on this tonearm, i would like to read OP’s comment to make sure if he could actually HEAR the difference between correct set up for all 3 methods such as Stevenson, Baerwald or Lofgren. But he does not have a proper protractor to re-align correctly between all 3 methods.

Does it make sense to try the FR tonearm like it was designed by IKEDA first ? Not altering anything.

u have it right. I have one clearaudio guage - thats it.
the denon is not my only cartridge - just for initial testing. I have a paratrace tipped shelter 501 and a transfiguration temper at my disposal.
i’ve always aligned using my guage - i have never just put a cartridge into a headshell and put parallel as i thought that was too imprecise
Yeah, i'm not trying to say you have no idea how to set-up and align a cartridge, i just said that Conical tip is less sensitive to everything (to errors in adjustment of antiskating, vta, vtf etc) than for example Paratrace or any LineContact type of the stylus that require precise alignment and adjustment of everything (or they just don't play well). 

For this reason Conical used for professional needs on radio stations and in the clubs where everything can be off. 

Referential opacity. How does one know that ''Ikeda headshells'' 
are Ikeda's? How does one know that retip by Van den Hul is
done by Van den Hul? As we should know no cart producer
produce his own cantilever/stylus combo. Why should this be
the case with other parts? My opinion is that all FR or Ikeda
headshells are worthless. This also apply for FR phono cables.
But there is this illusion about ''original parts''. Americans seems
to attribute some special ''quality '' to the word ''original''.
Old cars with original parts are sold for millions dollars.
But then one also talks about ''improved versions''. How is
any improvement  possible  without  changing any original
part?  What about ''Japanese wonder''  Deed they not improved 
Western products by improving their parts? 
Post removed 
Addition, Typical example of referential opacity is Orsonic.
There are 3 versions : AV-1 ; AV 11 and AV 101. Those are 3
different ''animals'' to which is referred with the same name.
So those who don't like ''Orsonic'' probably mean the first light
version AV-1 . Its rigidity is obvious problem. But AV 101 weight
14.5 g and looks very sturdy (aka very rigid). 
The other way round is the case with Jelco HS-25 . This one is
offered under different names but with  the same bearer . Sumiko
HS- 12 is identical with HS-25 and some other. All with different
prices. So when one has not idea to which object an name refers
one can't know what he is talking  about.  I have seen Sumiko
for $30 and Jelco for $80. 

I have an Fr-64S.  I have a couple different alignment protractors but last year actually started using one that measures P2S distance (SmarTractor).  So I set the P2S to 231.5 and like the OP, was unable to get my cartridge forward enough in the head shell to set the overhang correctly.  I was using a Ortofon rosewood head shell.  Had to set it at 230.0 to achieve the overhang.  This strikes me as strange because using an arc protractor, I was able to use a Baerwald alignment. One of the two must be incorrect?  Probably the arc.
Oh, and the cart I was using was the Koetsu RSP.
AudioCraft headshells are excellent (after rewire) !
karl_desch, I think that you are confusing ''effective length'' with
''overhang''. Effective length is the distance between the stylus 
and the pivot which is by Bearwald 231, 5 mm. On your Ortofon 
headhshell there are slots along which you can move the stylus
in both directions in order to get the right distance to the pivot.
Speaking about confusion, The effective length is 246 mm.
And “effective length” is pivot to stylus; 231.5mm or 230mm is pivot to spindle for FR64S. The difference between the two is “overhang”.
@karl_desch  u have hot to the issue. Your answer coicided with a query i made to mintlp - the headshell needs to be longer to do Bearwald or my Clearaudio for that matter. I think i will stick with 230...
btw how are jelco headshells - i bought a magnesium one with azimuth adjustment
Dear @lohanimal  @lewm  @karl_desch  : All of you have a misunderstood of the overall cartridge/tonearm aliggnment  formulas.

Löfgren formulas  use 3 input parameters: tonearm EFFECTIVE LENGTH, most inner groove distance and most outer groove distance. Through the calculations of the alignment we will achieve mainly these output alignment parameters:
overhang, off-set angle, by difference P2S distance and inner and outer null points.

That is the rigth and orthodox way to make the alignment calculations.

Any one can manipulate those parameters, as a fact Stevenson did it when he made to coincide the inner most groove distance with the inner null point, as could be the P2S distance but any kind of parameter input value manipulations will gives us way different output parameters to the orthodox way to make the alignment calculations.

I will repeat here the links I posted along the orthodox way to make " things ".

and now P2S 230mm:

@lewm  you can see that the difference between 231.5mm and 230mm P2S is not the overhang: 1.5mm

Now the rigth way to do the alignments calculations taking as one of the input parameters the EFFECTIVE LENGTH:

where the P2S LöfgrenA/Baerwald alignment distance is: 228.14mm

even the gentleman behind MINT LP has a misunderstood too because if he takes this P2S distance we have not any single trouble to mount any cartridge in any headshell in that arm.n  Even we can change the 245mm EL for 250mm and we can set up that arm with any cartridge/headshell if the overall calculations takes that EL with the new P2S distance ! ! 

Till we understand it we will follow posting wrong post on the subject.

We need first to understand the overall Löfgren " idea ".

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Raul, Speaking for myself, I have written nothing at all about the alignment formulae.  I merely was trying to clarify the definition of the terms "effective length" and "overhang", for the benefit of the OP.  In your opinion, did I make an error?  If so, I would be grateful to be corrected.
But not only you have that misunderstood about because even reviewer as M.Fremer or TAS ones have it and several tonearm manufacturers too.

Here some examples of that misunderstood:

Years ago and by " accident " I found out that article on the MF site where any of you can read that MF had a total misunderstood about the overall alignment subject. I participated down there and explain him almost the same I did it here.

Inside that Analog Planet artricle was an alignment manipulation parameter that’s what the uni-din gentleman did it when he took/fixed a different most inner groove distance than the IEC or DIN standards, he took 54mm that when using IEC standards appears what is in the article chart/diagram.

Well even what I posted there months latter in other article about Technics TTs MF again made it same mistakes about.

Other example of manipulations was and is what the over 60K SAT tonearm designer did just for marketing and as the uni-din gentleman taking advantage of audiophile and professional reviewers ignorance levels/low knowledge. The SAT designer changed too the most inner groove distance and he surround his tonearm/cartridge alignment set up as something to special that only him or his distributor can make correctly the alignment and no one else. Go figure ! ! ! the SAT tonearm as any other tonearm can be aligned using the normal/orthodox kind of alignments: Löfgren A or B, no problem at all and nothing special on that tonearm set up as the designer wants it the owners must think.

No tonearm designer think first than all in the kind of alignment before make his design, only a stupid person could think that SAT, FR, Technics, Ikeda designers made it that way.

A tonearm designer is just that: a tonearm designer. The cartridge/tonearm choosed alignment is totally independent of the pivoted tonearm design. What the designer has to choose is his tonearm effective length and when he finish his project then he can choose the alignment that likes him the " more ". It’s our choice to use what the designer says or make a different alignment choice if and only if goes in the orthodox way.

Japanese designers choosed ( almost all. ) Stevenson A alignment by their overall misunderstood/ low knowledge level in the subject or total ignorance because is the worst of any alignment you can choose. Stevenso B is his solution similar to Löfgren A/Baerwald.

In the past I used Stevenson by my very high levels of ignorance.


Btw, all tonearms has a limit for the choice of the EL especially the removable headshell designs as the FR. The ones with fixed headshell permits the designer a litle more " play " to choose the effective length. I posted 250mm for the FR but I don't know if it can works because I'm not going to mount and test it in my TT again.
Alright I must be a total luddite. I tend to use my guage where i place the tip of my stylus in the little circle and put my cartridge body parallel to the lines.Where i put the stylus i was led to believe is the overhang. At present it won't reach that hole.
I am familiar with the vinyl engine calculator - it tells what my cartridge is doing @rauliruegas it does not set out where to place my stylus/cartridge within the headshell
Dear @lewm  : The difference between P2S 231.5mm and 230mm is not overhang. Now if what you said is that the difference between EL and P2S distances is overhang then is correct.

Now, according orthodox alignment calculations we can't know the P2S  distance till we have the overhang that's an output of that alignment calculations.

Dear @lohanimal  : I have no idea of your protractor. When you are making the cartridge alignment what  must be parallel is not the cartridge body to the lines but the cartridge cantilever.

If the stylus tip " won't reach the hole " then the set up is not " perfectly " accurate.

You need an universal protractor as the Feickert that you can use with any cartridge/tonearm combination using Löfgren A/Baerwald alignment alternative.

Dear @dover : ""  Just because the stylus is conical, does not mean alignment is irrelevant. """

you are rigth, stylus tip shape has no " interest "/is not involved in the cartridge/tonearm alignment set up.
That is only common sense that stupid persons not have because in any pivoted tonearm design always exist tracking error/tracking distortions all over the recorded LP surface but at the alignment null points.

Now, that a person can't detect the tracking distortions generated by that tracking errors and as you said does not means does not exist because always are there .

Problems about always exist with persons with extremely low knowledge levels.

In the article written by Kessler and Pisha (Audio, Januari 80)
''Tonearm geometry and setup'' there is an chart with all adjustment
parameter for the most tonearms of this time . The possible errors
by the construction are also mentioned. The most errors are made
by ''offset angle''. The ''optimal offset'' is also mentioned.
By FR-64 S the Stevenson geometry is assumed . As we all (?)
know the spindle - pivot distance is different for Bearwald. This
geometry provide the best AVERAGE values for the record surface.
Stevenson give better results for the ''inner groves'' which distance
to the spindle is not clear. Besides the most records in my collection
have no ''inner grove problem'' at all. Only few records are ''cut'' 
near the spindle. For Stevenson geometry the ''effective length''
is 245 mm . For Bearwald 246. 
BTW by the most protractors the spindle dimension( thickenss) 
is not taken in consideration. Well by Mint tractor. As chakster
mentioned Mint tractor is meant for one tonearm only. I use 3
tonearms and ordered 3 Mint tractors. Those are very easy to
use. As far as I know only Dertonarm protractor has this
''spindle adjustment'' possibility. 
By FR-64 S the Stevenson geometry is assumed.

Exactly, this is how IKEDA designed his tonearms and it’s easy to check, because when PS is correct the stylus of his fixed (headshell integrated cartridges like FR-7fz) drops at Stevenson point without any adjustment, not at Baerwald or Lofgren, and ONLY in this position OFFSET ANGLE is correct with PS distance that stated in the manual and printed on FR template that comes with the tonearm.

Ikeda designed his tonearm with Stevenson alignment/geometry, period.

Everyone who think he’s smarter than IKEDA-SAN can experiment with alternative alignments or alternative PS distance, but in my opinion this is not necessary until a person can actually HEAR the difference according to his personal preferences.

I’m using FR-7fz with FR-64fx tonearm and this combination is stunning!

I can’t hear any f*****g distortion some people are talking about here. And i already have in use 2 more tonearms with Baerwald alignment next to my FR-64fx / FR-7fz combo with Stevenson. I can’t say which method is better, they are all good, no audible distortion for my ears (and my system is pretty good with all top quality components).

Anytime i have new tonearm and cartridge i follow manufacturer recommendation only, i trust to tonearm/cartridge designer more than to anybody else! Until i will be actually HEAR there is a problem i don’t care about all these pointless theoretical speech that one alignment is better than another.

Trust your ears (and experienced tonearm designer).

Dear chakster, the assumption that manufacturer ''knows better''
is based  on sand. By Ikeda's FR-64 S the offset angle is 21.930 
while the optimal offset angle is 22.421. By overhang the values
are 15.948 (Ikeda) and optimal 16.863. 
Being member of an authoritarian society does imply belief
in authorities (grin).  
Using FR-64fx tonearm I can put my FR-7fz or SPU on Dr.Feickert and the cartridge body is perfectly aligned according to all lines printed on my protractor (for cantilever and cartridge body alignment). The stylus tip on FR-7fz or SPU is on cross point of Stevenson. This is 100% accurate and sound is simply amazing. This is all i have to care about, thanks to Ikeda-San.

Enough said.
Anytime i have new tonearm and cartridge i follow manufacturer recommendation only, i trust to tonearm/cartridge designer more than to anybody else!
The experts once thought the world was flat, too, until someone ventured west, and was stunned to discover they did not fall off.
Until i will be actually HEAR there is a problem i don’t care about all these pointless theoretical speech that one alignment is better than another.
This reminds me of an old doctor who received a visit from an attractive lady. Upon asking her why was she there, she said to him "I have acute angina". Unfortunately, as he was hard of hearing, he lost his license.

Dear dover, what does ''I have acute angina'' means for an
deaf person? Some foreigners among us have no idea why the doctor ''in casu'' lost his ,uh, license. 
If to look into details you'll find that  the world isn't perfectly round. But devil is always in the details. 
But better to believe in round globe. 
Although of course 0,001 mm is very important as feeling of mindfulness can be lost.
16.863 or 15.948 that is the question for the doctor.
Stevenson alignment was the latest BTW (after Baerwald and Lofgren).

I know for sure that people lost their hearing abilities at certain age, i must admit i am far away from that age.
Dear Nandric, I live in a society that is purported to be anti-authoritarian. Like many of my fellow citizens I’m deeply committed to question authority of any kind. Most of all when derived from power, ego or just a big mouth. Like politicians and certain members in this community.

However, when authority comes from real experience, skill and creative thinking I’m inclined to be more of the ’obedient’ kind. I assume most audiophiles would agree that Ikeda San firmly belongs to this category. So I’m inclined to follow his guidelines.

At least until an alternative method would prove itself superior. That proof should be in the listening and to my ears this other ’optimal’ alignment doesn’t sound superior.

Ignorance is a bliss when you know what to ignore....

I'm sure you can figure it out, but if you cant, the doctor mistakenly thought she said  "I have a cute vagina".
Hi all.  Love this forum.  Maybe my earlier post used some incorrect terms. Let me clarify best if can and ask for help about setup (appreciate the vocabulary lesson). I have a TT where the arm board can be adjusted to alter pivot to spindle length.  I have the SmarTractor (smarter than me evidently) where you can measure P2S.  When I set the P2S at 231.5, and proceed to set the cartridge in the head shell for overhang adjustment for Baerwald alignment, I am unable to to move the cartridge forward enough in the head shell.  This is what I thought the OP was also having problems with.  So two questions, am I setting the P2S distance wrong with my SmarTractor?  I don’t think so as I followed instructions. Second, is the 231.5 P2S only for Stevenson alignment? This would confuse as I thought the different alignments were agnostic to P2S as long as this is set correctly for the individual tonearm.

edgewear, how can an ignorant person know what to ignore?