If step 1 is locating the pivot by aligning the crossarm with it such that the pointer sets down on the pivot point at a distance from the center of the spindle equal to the manufacturer's recommendation (thus setting the P2S distance; for this, the tonearm might have to be loose in the armboard so you can tweak the distance by a few mm either way), then they are saying you should now ignore that (after securing the tonearm in its mount) and go on to step 2, which requires rotating the whole platform in order to make the stylus sit down on the crosshairs. This usually requires some maneuvering of the cartridge in the headshell to set the stylus tip exactly on the single point in the crosshairs and to align the body of the cartridge with the parallel lines flanking the crosshairs. Once you've got that dialed in, then tighten the cartridge screws being careful not to disturb the position of the cartridge. THEN they probably ask you to swing the tonearm over to the second set of crosshairs and check that the cartridge also aligns with those (step 3). If the P2S distance was not exactly set in step 1, then step 3 won't work, because the arc described by the stylus tip will not pass over the second set of crosshairs. (I am reciting this from memory; I don't have the instructions at hand.)
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Thanks for the quick response. I'm still a bit confused about a couple of things - maybe I'm just having an off night :). First, I don't think I can change the P2S distance on the VPI Prime, at least not that I can see. The manufacturer recommends 258mm, and the measurement on the protractor is 261mm.
I'm not sure I explained the problem clearly. According to the instructions, the first step (it doesn't mention the P2S) is to place the gauge pin over the pivot point and then place the cartridge on the lines marked "Step 1" (actually printed on the protractor itself) to adjust the overhang. I don't have any problem getting that dialed in with a little patience.
So, once I have that dialed in, it asks me to move to the lines on the protractor marked "step 2" (which are on the outisde part of the protractor) by rotating the protractor. However, the protractor only moves in a circular motion, so as long as the stylus is over the lines marked "step 1" it can't ever be over the lines marked "Step 2". It's like placing your stylus over track 3 of a record and then trying to rotate the record until your stylus is over track 2. You'll just go in circles. You have to move the tonearm over to "Step 2", presumably without moving the protractor, to make sure that the arc is correct. Or am I missing something?
Here's a pic
Sorry if I'm just dense....
Yes you move the tonearm to the crosshairs in the second step. The first step is to get the overhang correct. Rotate the protractor some and swing the arm out to step two to set the alignment at the second point. You are then checking the cartridge (stylus) alignment at a second (null?) point. The cartridge should ultimately show correct alignment at both points and point 3. To move from one to the other requires rotation of the turntable platter (alignment jig) and moving the arm.
If the factory recommended P2S for your tonearm is 258mm, and if you are reading 261mm with the Feickert, then you probably should investigate whether you can loosen the joint between the vertical shaft at the pivot point and the arm board, in order to move the pivot so as to comply with the recommended P2S. This ideally would be done BEFORE proceeding with any additional steps. Check the underside of your arm board. You should see a large nut or some other fastener that holds the tonearm in position in the horizontal plane and that would allow some movement of the tonearm pivot, if you loosen it a bit. Without correcting the P2S, you may have some difficulty achieving Steps 2 and 3. (Or you may not; there is usually some margin for error.)
The Feickert can be used as either a one-position protractor (locked in place and not moved to make the adjustment-easiest use) provided that the exact pivot point can be determined and the arm is pointed exactly over that point. Alternatively, you can use the twin null point grids for any given alignment scheme, but, you have to then move the protractor or rotate the platter and determine for yourself how to move the cartridge back and forth and side to side so that it can fit both the inner and outer grid (provided of course you move the protractor when going from one position to the other). If you use the protractor as a single point protractor, the result is correct when the adjustment also works when you use the two grid part of the protractor. A lot of people don't like the two grid approach because of the need to move the protractor and one can get confused as to which movement will be needed to get closer to a fit at both positions. The two grid approach requires more trial and error to get a good alignment, but, ultimately, correct alignment is assured only when the two grid approach is a perfect fit. With the one point alignment, you have to achieve perfection in locating the pivot point, something that is not often easy to achieve.
With the one point alignment, you have to achieve perfection in locating the pivot point, something that is not often easy to achieve
And this assumes that the P2S your arm is mounted at is the P2S the arm was designed for -- which does not seem to be the case here and as a result may prevent any alignment being achievable ...
Thanks for the wealth of information!
@lewm I don't seen any way to easily adjust the distance, although I will post question on the VPI forum to see what they recommend.
I can easily find the pivot point as it's a unipivot design. With the protractor in place I can easily get the stylus to hit the cross hairs for the overhang. However, if I use the protractor fixed in place, it overshoots one null point and undershoots the other. I assume this is caused by the disparity between the specs and the actual measurements?
smrex, I probably should not respond to your last question, because I am not sure I visualize what you are doing. Your tonearm is also a VPI, correct? It must be interchangeable with other tonearms of your choice. At this price point, it is hard to imagine that would not be so. Therefore, there must be a way to correct the P2S distance. By the way, also, "P2S" refers to "pivot to spindle" distance, nothing to do with stylus overhang. Perhaps my use of that abbreviation was confusing. With the Feickert, you don't have to think twice about stylus overhang per se, once you set P2S correctly and then adjust the cartridge in the headshell such that the stylus tip sits within the crosshairs and the cartridge body lies parallel to the lines parallel to its sides. I hope that helps.