I have a classic 2 and had a classic 1 briefly. I use a Soundsmith VPI Zephyr. On both arms, the cartridge had to be rotated alight towards the center of the platter for proper alignment. The cartridge also sits pretty far back in the headshell too.
How do you like the VPI Zephyr cartridge? I am considering upgrading my ZU DL103 cartridge. How does it sound on rock?
Stereo5, I have a similar set up: VPI Classic 1, with a Classic 3 wand, and Zephyr carty. Great combination. I have a DV 20X2 H as a backup. It's a back up because the Zephyr sounds better . . . to me. I've also tried the Clearaudio Virtuoso and Maestro. Mike (VPI service) and I couldn't get the Clearaudio carties to play well (bass resonance).
For some reason (probably because I don't know what I'm doing), I did not have the same anomalous setup experience re offset angle??? Imaging, sound stage, bass slam, balanced mids and treble, and so forth and so on, just great.
Btw, I think the VPI jig is Baerwold. Mike told me the same and I have a Baerwold protractor. The stylus is spot on the same on both set up tools.
"Twist" are we are talking about aligning the cartridge body with the headshell front face? which is also offset from the tonearm? In my case Classic 3 both of my cartridges align pretty close to the headshell face as viewed from the front. So I have some overhang, cartridge further out than the headshell, but the cartridge body as viewed from the front has symmetric distance on either side as viewed from the front of the headshell. I use a MINTLP and get the same results with the VPI jig.
As you're looking from above, you can see that front of the cartridge's body is not parallel to the front of the headshell's face (my Delos also extends beyond the headshell). The Delos also has a symmetrical hole drilled through it for a different mount and you can see that the hole is not aligned with the symmetrical line notched through the front of the headshell. To describe it differently, you can see the mounting screws are not aligned symmetrically in the headshell slots. I had to twist the cartridge out to get the correct offset angle on the protractors (to have it parallel to the lines on the arc when the stylus rests on the null points). The cartridge appears perfect. Any ideas why the twist with mine is necessary?
I have a Benz LPS and aligned it with the MINT....it looks absolutely square to me....overhangs the headshell a bit.
Dyan xx2-mk2 is square in the head shell with 1/8 inch overhang from the head shell
Koetsu Black has a very very slight twist and with 1/8 inch overhang from the head shell.
To the uniformed eye, both cartridges look square in the head shell.
I suggest ensuring that you have zero azimuth when you are aligning the cantilever with the MINTLP. If you have azimuth other than zero, either cartridge tilted to the inner or outer groove, you might be twisting the cartridge to compensate for a visual artifact of the azimuth. I use the MINLP surface, and the azimuth rod, and an accurate ruler to ensure I have equal distance from the rod to the MINTLP glass before I align the cantilever. Both of my cartridges stick out a little from the front of the head shell, but for all practical purposes the cartridge is parallel to the face and the screws are also in the same place in the slots of the headshell.
Interesting. The twist is required for every alignment tool I've tried. This tells me the cartridge must have some sort of an asymmetric quality to it; I guess an almost imperceptible cantilever asymmetry. It'd be interesting to hear from other Delos owners.
That's a great point, Captain_winters. I'll recheck. Thanks!
Hmmm, I thought I posted last night...I spent four hours realigning the Delos yesterday, and it still ended up twisted in the headshell. The azimuth was as balanced visually as it could have been, using the VPI-supplied rod, and a tiny bubble level placed on the headshell. I suppose as long as the cantilever is "parallel" to the reference lines on the null points, it's what really matters.
I'll mention a couple of other things, even though I am sure you are already doing them. I find the 3x much easier to use for viewing the cantilever than the 10x. Too much distortion at the outside of the lens for the 10x for the cantilever. I keep both eyes open. I line up the lines from the reflective mirror first exactly while simultaneously looking at the cantilever. I take the most extreme angle I can, as far forward before the reflective lines separate to get a much view of the cantilever as possible.
As far as lining up to the geometry arc, I find the best way to align the geometry is the 10x on the inside, left channel, of the tonearm. With the front of the 10x loupe round cylinder unscrewed. Just place the 10x loupe on the MINT, on the inside, half inch away. Use the farthest out you can go. The loupe won't roll because your turntable is perfectly level. Lean over and you will see the stylus at the bottom of the loupe, don't even have to touch the loupe. Next point go all the way to the spindle. So the tonearm almost touches the spindle, loupe on the other side of the spindle, still half inch or so away. Lean over and look, from the side of the turntable. Using those 2 farthest points the accuracy increase in getting right on the line is noticeable. So farthest points, almost off the MINT to begin, then almost touching the spindle to end with 10x loupe to check, don't touch it, just lay it half inch away, and you will see the stylus towards the bottom. Since you just aligned, I bet if you check your geometry right now, with these extreme points you will see room for improvement. I have found this method exceptionally accurate.
The cantilever is the cantilever, as long as those reflective lines coincide when you stare at the cantilever to ensure it is parallel, and you are using the 3x not the 10x, then it sounds like you have it parallel, regardless of what the body looks like.
With such a precise method for aligning to the baerwald arc, you need to ensure you know your optimal SRA first. Which is an entirely different conversation.
The MINTLP is the thickness of a 180 gram record. Standard records minus 50 units on the VTA tower.
The common found digital scale, that goes to the third decimal place is 385 higher than a record.
So for example, my current optimal VTA is 9 full turns on the VTA tower, or 900.
Align with MINTLP at 900. Measure VTF add 385 for a total of 1285. When playing 180 gram records set to 900, for standard records 850. Always check VTF with the digital 3 decimal point scale at 1285.
Thank you very much for taking the time to share this detailed description of your process to align the cartridge. I'm a bit unclear what you mean when you say to place the loupe "on the inside." The only time I can view the cantilever on the arc from the left is maybe when it is in the most outside position. As you move the tonearm in, I'd have to be on the other side of my rack to view the cantilever from "the inside," which my set-up does not allow. All I can really do is to view the stylus from its right through a loupe or magnifying glass to ensure it is perfectly on the arc.
Also, my Classic does not have the VTA tower, unfortunately, so your advice on the settings cannot be implemented by me, but is sure extremely useful to all those who do have the VTA tower. I used a tiny bubble level to get the tonearm parallel to a thin record's surface so that the tonearm ends up either parallel or slightly tail down on all records. That seems to work quite well on the great majority of my records. I sure wish I had the VTA tower and ability to easily adjust the VTA though.
Again, thank you very much for all your feedback and advice. It's greatly appreciated. Perhaps when you happen to be in San Diego one day, you can drop by my humble abode to take a look at my humble set-up. Cheers.
Well I just mounted my Dynavector XX-2 MK II, I haven't used the cartridge since last year. And for precise cantilever alignment with the MINTLP it did require a slight twist. Very slight, the cartridge which is at the outer part of the tonearm needed to be slightly farther in towards the back of the tonearm. You wouldn't notice with a casual glance, you would have to be looking at it and asking yourself, if the cartridge face is parallel with the front of the tonearm headshell. Then looking carefully you would notice. You can also tell with the screws, the outer tonearm screw is a little bit farther back towards the tonearm pivot. But you would have to be looking for it to notice.