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!
"Plug for example the effective length of the Dyna DV-507 into Ellison's spreadsheet and you'll be surprised at how it varies from both Loefgren and Baerwaald"

The tonearm parameters given by Dynavector for the DV-507 are for Stevenson's alignment. From what I've read Elison doesn't think highly of Stevenson's method so it's not included in his spread sheet.
Hi JohnBrown,

I have had great experiences with a well implemented Baerwaald alignment as well. The distortion profile of the JMW did however catch my attention.

A note to owners of DV-507's and other unconventional mounts when implemented on a fixed mount plinth. Even though you may have a fixed mount, you can likely still achieve a Baerwaald alignment.

Your protractor of choice will guide you. In the case of an arc protractor, it will take some messing with the Ellison spreadsheet, because you need to derive a new effective length that is consistent with your pivot to spindle distance.

First, verify your pivot to spindle distance. Then, iteratively work through the Ellison spreadsheet to find an effective length that yields your (non-moveable) pivot to spindle distance.

Finally, verify that you can achieve this effective length - that you don't run out of fore/aft adjustability in your headshell slots. Use the method I propose above to determine the effective length.

Note that a difference of .5mm pivot to spindle distance will drive you nuts. As long as you can verify your pivot to spindle distance (or there's a enough play in the mount to compensate), you'll be fine.

Fun with geometry ;-)

Thom @ Galibier
As suggested by Johnbrown, I contacted Steve at The Analog Dept. He is sending me his protractor for the 12.5 arm - I'm looking forward to trying it out.

I have the Wally tractor for the VPI 12.5/6 arm
- effective length is 315mm
- pivot to spindle 302.1mm
- overhang (B) 12.9mm, (L) 13.3.

I have used the Wally many times, but ended up preferring the sound of Harry's plain old one point jig, which Harry indicated he chooses as it ensures better sound over the last 3rd of the LP, which is where most trackling issues occur.

Yip told me he is not confident that his baer algorithim will give you any better distortion figures based on VPI's effectibge klength and pivot to spindle dustance - at least for me on the 12.7 specs

I will quote Harry's last email to me regarding the 12.7 effective length details and other alignment methods.

" If you go by science, bumble bees can't fly, tell them that when a hive is chasing you. Seriously, I don't use either of those curves, I did it by ear on my system, not by math on a computer. If you go by distortion you would never use tubes, only solid state. I began using the Mitch Cotter system and tweaked it from there.

This is not a condemnation of either system, it's just that I know what they sound like (doing this since 1958) and like my system better. That does not say you shouldn't make the guage, it may sound better for you so I would do it.

They said the same thing on Vinyl Asylum and the German guy ran the number and said the distortion is higher, then he listened to the arm and said I understand why he uses it.

Just my take on audio, yours may be different and there is absolutley nothing wrong with getting the lowest distortion possible. "

Oddly enough, there seems to be some variation in the measured numbers - which wouldn't seem to make a lot of sense. Although it may become apparent that the VPI system is preferable, I'm curious enough to try an alternative or two. If nothing else it will be interesting to see what set up changes another system results in.