1. How can a cartridge be aligned to different arcs (Baerwald/lofgren, Loefgran, Bauer, Stevenson et al.) ?
- It probably can't be, unless you modify the arm.
2. Just be moving the base in the SME slide-frame?
- How would that change the alignment arc? Your stylus-to-pivot dimension is fixed, so the radius of the arc scribed by the stylus is fixed. Geometry 101.
3. Does the SME V do allow the alignment of cartridges with specific mechnaical parameters only?
- Yes, that is how SME designed it. They naively assumed that all cartridges would be built to one standard set of dimensions. (They were wrong.)
4. Any other way - aside from small washers - to align lateral tracking angle (lateral azimuth) ?
- Not that's practical. Use slips of thin paper or mylar, as Giggsy advised. It's clumsy but it works. In theory I suppose you could tilt the entire arm mount, but that would put the bearings off level. Wrong approach.
5. Is the only possible option for a perfect alignment an individual alignment tractor for a specific given cartridge - like the MINT tractor ?
- First, there's no such thing as a "perfect" alignment on a pivoting arm.
Second, arc protractors like the Mint are NOT designed for a specific given cartridge. They're designed for a specific, given RADIUS OF STYLUS ARC. Any tonearm with headshell slots can accommodate most if not all cartridges while using a Mint, or any other arc protractor designed for that arm. A specific cartridge is only required on the few tonearms which don't allow enough fore/aft movement of the cartridge to achieve the designed radius of stylus arc.
Since the SME is one of those few arms, an arc protractor will only work for cartridge(s) with a specific stylus-to-pivot dimension. You'll either have to modify the arm or use multiple arc protractors, one for each stylus-to-mounting holes dimension of your cartridges.
6. Does anyone have experience with modified SME V with custom made oblonged mounting holes and/or modified to detachable headshell ?
- Not personally, but I know a couple people who've elongated the mounting holes. It works. Just be careful to enlarge them in the fore/aft dimension ONLY. You want slots, not fat holes.
I've never heard of anyone decapitating a IV or V to get detachable headshells. Seems to me that would degrade the rigidity of the setup, rarely a good thing.
7. How to align the SME V to different zero-error curves?
- Make the holes into slots (or switch to an arm designed for real world cartridges).