Mint LP Best Tractor---HELP

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that the creation of this arc style protractor for a particular turntable/tonearm combination requires the accurate measurement of the distance between the platter spindle and the tonearm pivot. My question is, if this is true, exactly how precise does this measurement have to be?

Recently I ordered one of these, got it, and realigned my Dynavector 17D3, which had previously been aligned with the jig that came with my VPI Classic 1. When I listened after aligning the cartridge with the Mint lp protractor, I didn't like the sound I was getting, it just didn't sound "right", the VPI jig alignment sounded better to my ears. I had a sick feeling the spindle to pivot distance that I gave Yip was wrong, so I remeasured it with a better ruler than the one I had used originally (which, I'm embarrassed to admit, was 2 rulers carefully taped together because I didn't have a long enough one). Sure enough, I had given him a measurement that was 1mm short. Sh****t...

So I emailed Yip and told him the problem, and that I wanted to order a new one based on the correct measurement. To my surprise, his response was: "it may not be unfit. I urge you first to check all parameters before making a move.I would like to find out if the stylus tip falls on each and every point on the effective length curve as printed on the Tractor."


I thought the whole point of this very well-loved Mint lp Best tractor was the extreme accuracy with which it aligns cartridges. So why would he tell me this if the measurement I gave him turns out to be 1mm off? Doesn't that specification have to be right on the money? Isn't that why I had to order a custom made one rather than one of the ready-made ones he already has in stock? Yes, when I line everything up correctly the stylus tip follows the curve faithfully, but why would that make everything right, wouldn't it do that wherever the arc was printed on the mirror?

I'm confused guys, please help me out here...
I'm confused as to why you had to measure the spindle to pivot distance. I bought two Mint LP's from Yip that both worked perfectly and I never measured that distance once. Is that because in both cases my table/arm combo was the same (Basis/Basis and VPI/VPI)? I just ordered the standard kit for my table/arm combo.

I would send Yip another email, EMPHASIZING the fact that your original measurements were incorrect. I'm sure that will affect proper alignment. I don't think his English is great, with proper emphasis he may better understand your situation. He may have interpreted your original e-mail as a mistake made on his end.
I'm also a bit confused why Yip asked you for the P-S distance as the Classic protractor is surely one of his most popular protractors. I ordered mine over two years ago, and at that time there was some confusion as to the P-S distance as VPI does not provide this information publicly. If I remember correctly, what I had differed by 1 mm from what Yip had. You'd think this would be settled by now.

Btw, the alignment with the Mint (at least mine) puts the stylus closer to the pivot than with the VPI jig. And I also ended up preferring the sound with the VPI jig.
I own three Mint tractors and the only specs. Yip needed were the (exact) diameter of the spindle on My Kuzma S.R. and the specs. of my Reed 2A. He already has all the data of the most TT's and tonearms. But the user need of course to install his tonearm at the exact right distance from the spindle. Otherwise the stylus will not follow the curve.
The first e-mail I received from Yip after I placed my order contained this instruction:

"Note the Mounting Distance [spindle to tonearm pivot] of your tonearm is 259mm, you have to ascertain this is correct at your setup as it affects performance. Effective Length adopted would be 274mm. This is factory specification. "

Note the two words "affects performance".

I was never asked for the spindle diameter, or any other relevant measurement. So, at the risk of repeating myself, I'm mystified why he would say that the protractor he made for me could still be correct, when it was based on an incorrect measurement (257mm, MY FAULT, it's actually 258mm), a measurement that he clearly states in the quote above "affects performance" and the only one he wanted to know!

His English seems fine to me, so I don't think that's an issue.
I think there are two distances for the Classic, depending on what model year you have. This may be why is asked you for the info. I used one for my current production Classic 1 and it worked great. I'm going on memory about the two distances, but it would be worth researching here.
Been there done that.

Harry's VPI alignment sounds better than either the baer or Loef alignment that Yip does.

Why, because Harry's alignment is his own and does not follow any B, L or S standard.

IMO, Don't waste your $$ on mint or any other alignment guage for VPI tables.
Well I am asked for the spindle diameter of my Kuzma because Yyp had no data about this model and because spindle diameters vary by TT's for more than 1mm. For my Triplanar he needed no specs. from me while for my FR-64 I asked Baerwald geometry and not Ikeda's original which is Stivenson (the most Japanese arms are Stivenson). This means spindle-pivot distance of 231,5 mm. Yip is 'paranoid' about dimensions so one get fractions of 1 mm which are not easy to see not to mention adjust. But that is why many of us want Mint tractor. With 'affects performance' he means of course deviations from the 'optimal distortions' connected with different geometries.

OK, I wasn't going to chime in but Downunder is right. I had a MINT and found it to be a royal pain to use. Finally got the alignment of my AT OC9MLII just right on my Scout (according to the MINT) and didn't like the sound. Then I realigned using Harry's jig that came with the table being very careful to get the overhang spot on and the cantilever parallel with the lines on the jig and it sounded WAY better. Sold the MINT.
Thanks for this thread. Was just looking into getting a MINT for my Classic 1. Yip asked me to measure, and I got 257-258mm as well. Rather than deal with these inconsistencies, I'm gonna stick with the VPI jig.
I wonder why every discussion revolving around tonearm specs seems to relate to VPI arms? Maybe if VPI published accurate specs we wouldn't be having this discussion. This comes from a happy Scout/JMW-9 owner using the correct pivot to spindle distance of 223mm not the 222mm Rega recommended that everyone originally assumed for the JMW-9.

P.S. I have both a Wally and a Mint for my arm. I prefer the Wally, but given that they are unobtainium, the Mint is a good second choice.
There is obviously a 4th tonearm geometry invented by Harry
from VPI. Downunder forget to mention on which part of the
record this one 'sounds best'. The other 3 geometries are all designed in relationship to the record diameter. Bearwald is the best in the sense of average distortion,
Stevenson cares more for the inner-grooves distortions, etc. How then can one make a general statement like Downunder? He probable likes Harry? Well I like Bearwald more then the other 3 ( Harry included).
I don't know why Harry is so reluctant to publish the specs on his arms, but I too agree with Downunder. I had my Classic/Delos combo set up with first the Mint and then the VPI jig and I prefer the VPI jig as well. Who then cares what geometry Harry uses?
I had this same problem, I was told that the distance was 223mm, but every time I measured, I got 222mm. Too late as I already had ordered the Mint. I am now waiting to get the new Classic 3 tonearm and I just purchased the Feickert rather than deal with measuring the spindle to pivot accurately.
I own a VPI Classic. When I first bought it, I recall calling Mike at VPI to ask what geometry the VPI jig was based on. Mike told me Baerwold. I also own an old, 40 years old, alignment protractor kit that is based on Baerwold geometry. Just for the fun of it, I aligned my cartridge using the VPI jig. Then I checked it with my old protractor. The stylus was spot on when checked. So, if Harry is using his own custom jig, maybe this is a new development????
Well, alot has changed since I started this thread, and for the better. I ended up replacing my Dynavector 17d3 with a Lyra Delos, and forgot about the Mint protractor altogether and bought the Feickert protractor because of it's ease of use and selection of alignment geometries to play with. I couldn't be happier---I aligned the Delos using the Stevenson curve (which sounded the most correct to my ears, Baerwald just sounded wrong), and I swear my vinyl has never sounded better! So, at least for me, there is a happy ending.

Anyone want to buy a Mint LP protractor? :)
Will_herrera, From the logic of your story one would expect
Feickert recommendation. Your question :'Anyone want to buy a Mint LP protractor (yours)?' assumes some 'nitwit' among the members.
Not necessarily a "nitwit", that is only his opinion (which is clearly stated in his post) AND the Mint costs $150 less.
I own both the Feickert and MINT and while I find the Feickert good and easy to use the MINT allows you to really get things precise.
Ditto Sksos1. I initially use the Feickert with the Baerwald geometry points. Once set, I then pull out the Mint (Yip also set for Baerwald) for precise placement. I find the Feickert gets me 90% there but the Mint adjustments and precision are definitely audible and an improvement.
I've had two Mint protractors and can not recommend them enough. I especially like the Zenith adjustment at the null points. This is extremely precise and easy to verify. I've not tried the Feickert.
Tswisla, Mint protractors are made for specific TT /tonearm combo's. This means that they are not 'universal' or, to put it otherwise, not usable for other TT/tonearm combo's.
That is because not only the tonearm geometry is accounted for but also the spindle 'thikness' of the involved TT.
To buy a second hand Mint protractor imply not knowing the specifics of this protractor. Except, of course, if the buyer owns exactly the same tonearm / TT combo. BTW that
is why I own 4 Mint protracors made for 4 different tonearms and two different TT's.
Thank you, I own both protractors as well. It seemed from your post that you were implying that the Mint is inferior to the Feickert. I simply wanted to point out that that was not necessarily the case. I never stated that the Mint was a universal protractor.