Mint LP a no go – now what?

After some back and forth with Yip and after relaying some particulars supplied by VPI, Yip said that he would not be able to provide a protractor for my set up (a VPI TNT 6HR with a JMW 12.5 tonearm). After all the great things I’ve read about the Mint, I was pretty disappointed.

I currently am using the VPI jig for set up, and I’m wondering if there is another product I might use to dial things in a little better. Any suggestions would be welcome!

I go nuts when manufacturers won't divulge a simple spec. like effective length.

I've been trying to find this number for the Well Tempered arm for someone, and Well Tempered treats this number as if it were a military secret.

Don't these guys want their products to sound good? I consider an arc protractor to be an essential tool for vinyl playback and actually put up a dedicated page to Yip's product in my accessory section. I consider it to be be that important.

Rant off ...

How good are you at using a ruler? You can find a good enough working number for effective length for Yip to make you a protractor.

The easiest way to measure this is as follows:

1. Put a thin strip of masking tape on your headshell - between the two cartridge mounting slots and extending forward to the front of the headshell.

2. Move your cartridge midway (front to back) in the headshell slots.

3. Find the midpoint between the two cartridge screws and mark this point.

4. Measure forward of this point by 9.25mm (9 and "little bit").

This is the point where the "average" cartridge's stylus is located. This offset differs by manufacturer and is one reason for the slots in the headshell. The other reason is to allow for fine rotational adjustments to compensate for skewed cantilevers.

Now, measure the distance from the tonearm bearing pivot to this point where your virtual stylus is located.

This is your effective length, and all that Yip needs (other than your record spindle diameter).

Note, that a few of my customers have gotten confused by tonearms with offset mounts like your JMW, the Tri-Planar, and the Schroeder Reference. They mistakenly think of the center of the Tri-Planar's VTA tower knob as being the bearing pivot.

The with your JMW, this should be a bit more intuitive. If you remove the arm wand assembly and do this job on your desk, you won't inadvertently measure the distance to the VTA knob. It's too far away (grin).

As long as you're within 1 or 2mm, you'll be fine because you'll be able to compensate for various cartridge brands (having differing stylus offsets from the mounting holes) by moving the cartridge in the headshell slots.

Let's say you arrive at a 290mm effective length and later discover that the "real" number is 288. Don't lose any sleep. The difference is meaningless and don't let any "experts" tell you otherwise. As long as you align to a 290mm arc you'll be grinning ear to ear.

Thom @ Galibier
What makes you think the VPI jig is in some way deficient? I have set my Aries II with the jig and I cannot imagine achieving any better performance. I realise that as good as I have my rig sounding there may be greater improvement to be had, but then again, there may not. Have others found the jig is not accurate enough, especially when using a JMW arm?
I should have been a litle more specific as to how this played out. I want to be clear that VPI did indeed provide the arm to spindle distance, the overhang and the amount of adjustability. When Yip plugged this information into his formula (Barewald algorithm), the degree of adjustment allowed by my set up was insufficient for things to work out. I'm afraid this is far over my head as to the principles involved.

In looking at information as to the Wally, I note this same algorithm (and optionally another one) is used. I can't help but wonder why the Wally would work and the Mint wouldn't.
>>What makes you think the VPI jig is in some way deficient?<<

It's not deficient.

But the Mint LP is far more accurate.

I have several (well many) of them and not a single tonearm manufacturer's jig/gauge/template has been as precise.

Some of these tonearms are very highly regarded in the audio world.

Dealer disclaimer.
I believe the VPI jig is meant to be easy. The Mint takes patience to get it just right. Very worth the effort IMHO.