Technics SL1200: standard overhang gauge or MintLP

Hello Guys,

Some days ago I started a thread asking the difference from the cartridge setup on a Technics SL1200 with the stock white gauge and the Baerwald points by other Tractors
Well , as I told to Tvad I bought the MintLP Best Tractor and I tried the new overhang position.
Pratically is about 2.5/3.00 mm forward respect the standard white plastic gauge point so theorically the arm is longer with MintLP setup
I'm listening this new setup and I have to say Tvad was right when he said the sonic result is much better with the MintLP setup
Not only there is much less distortion like Tvad wrote .. but there is a large improvment in soundstage more wide depth and heigh more focus
As quality of sound I'm noticeing better bass quantity just tuneful and splendid heights super fine
I strongly suggest Technics SL12xx owners to buy that MintLP Best Tractor and to reset the cartidge position if done with the standard white gauge

Thanks Tvad for your suggestion

Best wishes to EveryOne

Sorry , I forgot to link the previous thread

Here it's!
Curio, congratulations to you for taking the step to buy the MintLP. I'm happy to
know it's working to your satisfaction.

Please state your needle shape.
Technics tonearm was designed with 52mm (from the tonearm tube end) to the stylus in mind, giving less distortion at the end of the LP then Baerwald (equal distortion) approach. I don't care how you measure this distance of 52mm: swiss caliper, micrometer, Technics gauge, etc...Looks like you changed this design assumption and your results can be better or worse depending on particular music material dynamic range and its location on particular LP. For example: for 12" singles it makes sense to user system that gives least tracking angle error on outer radius and disregard the high distortion inside.
Hello Siniy123,

As you can read to the link I wrote above I was the N°1 of sceptical about different null points for the Technics SL12xx and I promised Tvad to buy the MintLP Best Tractor just to test if he was right.
Well Siniy , I did it .. I have bought the Tractor from MintLP and I have set my Grado Prestige Gold first and my Grado Statement Master after .. thanks to two different stock headshells I have
Believe me the SL1210 sounds totally different from before and trust me I'm able to set cartridges perfectly also with the white plastic Technics gauge because I align the cantilever thanks to "carta millimetrata" (kinda paper with millimeters lines) so no doubt that was a perfect setup too.
Tvad insists there is less distortion with MintLP.. yes I agree but the big improvment isn't in less distortion but as way to sound!!
The SL1200 is claimed to give a narrow soundstage .. well this is true but now I know it is refferred to the Technics alignement (52mm.) not to the whole turntable way to sound!
When you listen with MintLP setup you partially lose the dance rhythm that made famous the SL1200 but you gain the audiophile way to sound of the great turntables
The soundstage becomes so large I have sound outer my Thiels 2.4 .. so hight sometime i watch the ceiling (3 meters height) so deep and clearly deep! you can count the numbers of distant Timpanis in Glory (LP soundtrack of movie) you can listen armonics from the so further trumpets etc..etc... never heard also with my old SME20/A with Koetsu Rosewood Signature and Van den Hul Grasshopper IV
Trust me Siniy you should try it , like I did , to understand what this tractor is able to do on the SL1200 (I haven't tried with other arms-tuurntables!).
I apologize my terrible english written and I'm not able to describe exactly what I want but I strongly suggest you (and the whole SL1200 troup!) to buy this Tractor
I don't have any reason to support MintLP , I don't know personally the person behind MintLP , I don't live in Singapore but I live in Italy .. pratically I don't have any increase or gain supporting MintLP


Could some one please explain the differences between the MintLP and the Vynilengine protractors?

Is it an ease of use issue or are they basically different?

Thanks, Ken
The MintLP website explains it well.

The basic physical difference is the MintLPs precision cantilever alignment
method (using the parallax effect), its table/arm specific geometry, and the
MintLPs very detailed instructions.
There is a cheaper version from Turntable Basics that uses the same mirror type setup. It works very well and the mirror has many other good uses as well. I got my SL1200 set up great with that version.
Good luck, John
12-11-08: Jsd52756
There is a cheaper version from Turntable Basics that uses the same mirror type
I owned the Turntable Basics protractor. It is not
the same, although it does use a mirror, which is more helpful than protractor
printed on card stock.

The results with a MintLP are vastly superior on my table.
There is a cheaper version from Turntable Basics that uses the same mirror type setup.

Read about parallax error. Then read about how the MintLp is made. The TT Basics protractor is certainly cheaper, but it is NOT "the same mirror type setup". And it is much more accurate.

Just a very happy customer here.
The TT Basics protractor is certainly cheaper, but it is NOT "the same mirror type setup". And it is much more accurate.

I know the Turntable Basic mirror template and it's a normal overhang template just on a mirror , nothing special
No arc! Just two null points

The MintLP cantilever alignemt is done by fulcrum's arm alignement and not headshell alignement
Totally different thing!
I tried everything concerning cartridge alignement and I have read everything possible on the net regarding this problem .. nothing is comparable with the watchmaker precision of the MintLP Best Tractor

Before to know and to listen the result I was sceptical more than you all

I am not surprised that you had success with the MintLP protractor. I do not believe that I have heard anyone say they did not get some improvement after using Yip's fine tool. Enjoy!
Nice to see a thread, where once, we all seem to agree about something! Yep, the Mintlp Protractor is superb, no doubt about it.

The TB Protractor isn't bad, but everybody seems to note differences in alignment when comparing the two, so with that said, I then wonder, is it the inaccuracy of the Sight Line TB versus the Arc Tractor, or is the TB Tractor in error some other way?

I wonder, and have asked this before, about some of these Arms, with "odd" null points, and can Yip then provide some custom Tractor per given Arm which seems to "stray" from other well known geometries? (Stevenson-Baerwald-Loefgren)

As others may know, there's another available Arc Tractor available, by Ken Willis, looks to be a very good quality as well, but is not a mirror, so the Parallax aid in aligning Cantilever may not be as good.

Still, on this Arc Tractor that he makes, one can have all three of the mentioned geometries above on one Tractor. Of course, being an Arc Tractor, it is only good for one known Spindle-Pivot Arm distance. Mark
I'll come out and say it:

I hate the Turntable Basics protractor.

I wouldn't say the Turntable Basics protractor is *inaccurate*, but it is not very *precise*. Set up your geometry using the Turntable Basics protractor, and everything will appear aligned properly. Then check it with a more precise protractor - it *may* appear way off. Realign with that more precise protractor, then double-check with the Turntable Basics protractor. It will still appear properly aligned.

I would love to have someone with a MintLP protractor compare their results with an arc protractor that I've created using MS Visio and the John Elison "Enjoy the Music" Excel spreadsheet that calculates Baerwald & Lofgren geometries. It takes about 10 minutes to generate a new protractor with a different Effective Length. The one I have generated is for a Rega / Origin Live tonearm (240 mm Effective Length). It would be even better if someone could show me how to generate a MS Visio file automatically from calculated values in an Excel spreadsheet. :)

To take this free protractor to the next level, print this protractor on an transparent plastic sheet and place it on top of a mirror. This may be my low-cost activity this weekend.

Anyone care to try it? Just PM me. I'm interested in knowing how much I'm "leaving on the table" (pun intended) by not dropping $110.00 on another protractor).
Hello Nrenter,

I've had a few Protractors over the years, first the Mo-Fi Geodisc about 10 years ago.

Then Doug Deacon suggested the Turntable Basics Protractor to me, and I thought it was better than the Geodisc, being a Mirror, having two Null Grids. Doug explained-taught me how to enhance its aiming acuracy, with the use of a a piece of thread, to extend the Sight Line to Tonearm Pivot. I felt the sound did indeed improve.

I think maybe the T-Basics Tractor's one flaw is thicker Grid Lines, and one doesn't really realize-know this until something better comes along.

Print-ups from Vinyl engine just didn't seem worth the effort, they were in no way better than the Geodisc, or TB Tractor for Baerwald Alignment IMO.

Then for a period, Ken Willis, and I had collaborated, and Ken kindly emailed some PDF files of some Arc Tractors for my particular S-P Distance. Here again, I noted errors, and a slight improvement, versus the TB Protractor. Things kept getting better, and sounding better, so at least I knew I was headed in the right direction.

Then enter the MintLP Protractor. I like others, took the chance, there was lots of very good buzz about this product, giving good gains in playback performance, and like others here, I wanted to reap those benefits as well.

Of course one might find it hard to shell out $100-$110 for a tool, and be aprehensive-skeptical of its worth, I was a bit at first I admit.

The gains I feel was worth the cost to me. Before, my sound seemed to sound "almost right, not bad, getting better, but was still feeling like something still wasn't just right, or correct". After the careful use of the Mintlp, the sound was improved to the point, that I feel this is now one area, where I haven't induced any incorrect set-up errors, from lack of knowledge, or expertise-experience.

I'm certainly not anywhere near the league of Frank Shroder, who can listen to a Table-Arm Cartridge, hear certain shortcomings in an instant, and quickly, and wisely know "the VTF is too high, VTA is off, there is inner groove distortion being caused by this or that, etc." (in other words, to make a long story short, an average Shmoe like me needs all the help I can get!) This one tool has helped me to better my sound, and to better understand this one facet, the geometrical mechanics of achieving optimum vinyl playback.

Ken Willis, like you, has made very recent mention as well, of perhaps manufacturing a Mirror Arc Protractor. I wish him well in his pursuits, he's a great guy, and helping to provide good tools, and help to the audio community.

As I close, one very unique property of the Mintlp Tractor, is that the Vinyl Overlay on the Glass Mirror is a translucent material, except where the two Null Grids Are. There, the material is trasparent-crystal clear in that area, thus aiding in better ease of accurately sighting of both the Null Points, and the Alignment of Cantilever. This man apparently had his thinking cap on when he made this Tool. Mark
I hear you, Mark. The point I'm trying to make is that, just like everything else in this hobby, there is a a point of diminishing returns from the dollar spent. And I believe a bit of understanding can not only yield great satisfaction in terms of turntable setup, but also save some serious money. Plus, it takes a bit of the mystery out of analog reproduction.

Take a simple free, downloadable arc protractor (with 2 null points) - not unlike the one I've created, take it to Kinkos and have them print it out on an overhead transparancy. This will cost you $0.75 + tax. Make sure they have Page Scaling set to "None".

Then hit a Michael's or Hobby Lobby and purchase a 5" round mirror for $0.99 + tax. Assuming you have an Exacto knife ($4.99 + tax) and a steady enough hand to cut a hole for the spindle, you're probably 99% to 99.9% the way to the MintLP protractor for somewhere between $2 and $8.

I just did this, and quite frankly, even with the parallax advantage of the mirror, I did not change my setup over simply aligning it via a simple printout of the protractor. Maybe I've hit the accuracy limit of this approach. Maybe I just got lucky.

Unfortunately, the overhead transparancies are not crystal clear. I'm going to stay on the lookout for some that are.

My other point I'm trying to make is that we, as a collective, can help educate each-other on some low-cost, common sense things that can improve our systems (like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser). Assuming I'm not way off-base, if this can help one person improve their turntable setup *without* spending $110, then I feel I've contributed in a positive way to the audio community.
I haope I'm not dragging this thread out, and "wasting" Bandwidth by responding again.

I do agree Nrenter. I'm not at all upset spending what I did for the Mintlp Protractor, he does include a nice Lighted Magnifier, a small trial bottle of record cleaner, and one can bypass the option of Loupe if they choose.

I'm now more sort of sdaddened of the now two uneeded Geodisc, and TB Tractors. which have now become redundant, and are sitting-collecting dust. Of course, they served their purpose for me in the past, and were of course better then using nothing, or a poor printout Tractor.

One thing I failed to mention in my last response, which may also be a benefit for the Mintlp Tractor, or ones that may follow it, is the Mintlp Tractor has a very fine Arc Trace, and literal "microscopic" Null Ticks, and Null Grid Lines, permitting I believe, much better resolution, and fine tuning of this critical alignment.

I feel any Protractor to come along in the future, which would not possess this same ultra fine detail of Alignment respolution will most likely fall short of Yip's Mintlp Protractor.

I totally agree, that not all Vinyl Lovers have front ends that cost what a new BMW cost, and some have very nice Decks-Cartridges, at more down to earth prices.
Yes, it would be nice, that these folks too, could have a tool that is more reasonably priced, is readily available, and will do a very good job.

Right now, I see this option at the present, as Mr. Ken Willis. The more players in the game, the better it gets! Mark
One thing I failed to mention in my last response, which may also be a benefit for the Mintlp Tractor, or ones that may follow it, is the Mintlp Tractor has a very fine Arc Trace, and literal "microscopic" Null Ticks, and Null Grid Lines, permitting I believe, much better resolution, and fine tuning of this critical alignment.

Yeak! Mark you got it
This is the power of MintLP Tractor
You can make a super-very-fine setup , obviously thanks to a good magnifier lens , and when you have finished you are alway sure about the perfect tracking point of your cartridge and you can listen this every time you spin a LP
i have an sl1200 with the upgraded, fluid-damped arm from KABUSA, i think it is the same length as the stock arm. i also am using a different headshell than the technics one. would the mint protractor still pertain to my setup? if so, is there anyone who would like to loan it to me? i can't buy one myself, but i would pay for round-trip insured shipping. i live in the western USA so someone close by would be the cheapest shipping. e-mail me if you can help. thanks.
I’m in Laguna Beach , California USA. I get mixed feedback on the 52mm vs the MINTLP and someone said that given the use of the turntable the 52mm, does meet some sort of standard derived with the arc having two null points within the stylus tip arc.

I have a TECHICS 1200MKII, (2) TECHNICS 1200GAE , a Mitsubishi LT-30, and (2) TECHNICS DZ-1200 MKII.

I’m wondering if the overhang has changed with the GAE series vs the original 1200 MKII? I'm doubting it chas changed for Pmount usage.

I would like to hear the differences before buying a MINTLP not knowing if a baerwald or Stevenson or modified Stevenson (technics 52mm)  delivers the best sound for my cart.

I am using a LINN TRAK or Asak on the 1200MKII and I am considering using Grado Prestige Gold with the DJ200 styli for the 1200GAE and swapping to the MCZ styli (with different than 47kOhnm loading to optimize the sound  )when I want them to do duty as high end turntables.. I might pot the carts with some sort of deadening Chapstick, I do know some thick hair gel has some sonic attributes as you can her resonance of some my guess is you want to know what is the resonance of the system and pot oth something to exactly counter act that .

has as anyone tried  these Grado Gold carts with MCZ styli with these tables? Seems like people like the Denon 103R.

I have two Grado DJ200i and DJ100i, the generators of both is identical to Grado Gold. My reference Grado is Grado XTZ (top of the line signature model) and this cartridge is superior by far, it’s close to my top vintage MMs (i have many), i use it on Luxman PD444 with Victor 7045 tonearm and Grace carbon headshell. It’s also works fine on Sl1210mk2.

As for the overhang gauge for Technics SL1200 you don’t need anything else, but standard plastic gauge designed by technics for this tonearm. For technics stock arm it works fine!

I have Dr. Feickert protracktor, but it make sence ONLY if you need alternative geometry like Stevenson or Lofgren.

Seems like people like the Denon 103R.

Those people who won’t pay for a good tonearm and good cartridge. They use low compliance Denon 103R on low mass technics 1200 tonearm designed for lightweight mid or high compliance MM cartridges only. This is so stupid. It’s a total mismatch!
Curio, what type of music were you listening to when you heard the lower distortion?  I found the standard Technics alignment to be the best for classical LPs where lowest distortion at the end of the LP is desirable.  It is also easiest way to get the correct offset angle since you only have to square up the cart in the headshell.  To each his own I guess....
@rotarius You are assuming that the cantilever and cartridge body are both straight and parallel. Many carts have different shaped bodies and many carts, especially if you buy used, have cantilevers that aren't parallel. Only a mirrored surface that lets you view the cantilever instead of just the body will allow you to properly adjust the cart to any grid lines. 

I have a Technics alignment gauge and using it doesn't give anywhere near a high level of precision. Yeah, it's the easiest to use, but results are weak. Cheers,
@sbank, you don't need a cart to be rectangular or have parallel sides, all you need is symmetrical sides and a measuring tool like calipers.  I do agree, the cantilever needs to be in line with the cart axis.  Eyeballing with lines on a mirror is less precise, at least with eyes.  I have held on to a technics DD for years (along with others), always liked the Technics alignment (similar to Stevenson) for classical.   
@sbank, you don’t need a cart to be rectangular or have parallel sides, all you need is symmetrical sides and a measuring tool like calipers. I do agree, the cantilever needs to be in line with the cart axis. Eyeballing with lines on a mirror is less precise, at least with eyes
Calipers? I don’t think that’s a good tool for phono cartridge alignment. @sbank I agree with you - nothing is better than a good mirrored alignment gauge. I like the WallyTractor, but there are others as well. A WallyTractor aligns the cantilever - not the phono cartridge body. So if the cantilever itself is a bit out of alignment - and many are - you’ll still get good results. Using the reflection in the mirror also has the benefit of magnifying the amount of alignment error, simplifying the process. A magnifying loupe can also be used.
If you need to square up a cart in a headshell why would you not use the precision of digital calipers to measure distance of each side of a cart to the headshell edge?  I am an engineer, I like to confirm with actual measurements rather than eyeing something!
If you need to square up a cart in a headshell why would you not use the precision of digital calipers to measure distance of each side of a cart to the headshell edge? I am an engineer, I like to confirm with actual measurements rather than eyeing something!
If you use calipers to "square up a cart in a headshell" then you are aligning the cartridge. If you use a proper mirrored alignment gauge, you align the actual cantilever. Given that many phono cartridges have cantilevers that are misaligned - however slightly - the mirrored gauge produces a better result. And yes, you can confirm that superiority using measurements.
It seems that @rotarius is focused only on the overhang aspect of cartridge setup, and not on adjustment of the offset angle. 
If one only was mounting perfect carts with perfectly straight cantilevers this wouldn't be a problem, but in this world it's an issue to be worked through by using a two point protractor with a mirrored surface and grid lines.
Note that the Technics gadget is called a "Technics Overhang Gauge". 
You are much more likely to adjust the cartridge correctly with a MINT even if the exact same measurements are on any other gauge.  It eliminates site errors.
Spencer, the offset angle is precisely set  if the cantilever is straight and cart is square.  Why even buy a cart with a crooked cantilever?  You can easily measure how parallel the cantilever is to the cart axis. How accurate can you get eyeballing with grid lines?  0.1, 0.5, 1 degree accuracy? I cannot quantify that but I do know what 0.5 degree offset error does to tracking error and distortion values.

...always liked the Technics alignment (similar to Stevenson) for classical.  

Their own plastic alignment tool (if you mean this one) is not Stevenson, with real Stevenson the cartridge must be twister a bit more, that's what i have double checked with my Dr.Feickert alignment. Stevenson is great not only for classical LPs, but for any record of the smaller size as well (7 inch vinyl singles).  
Chakster said
" Their own plastic alignment tool (if you mean this one) is not Stevenson..."

I’ve read elsewhere that the Technics SL1200 and OEM headshell *was* designed for Stevenson alignment.

If not, what is your take on what alignment it was **designed** for?

Others have stated that in order to use a different alignment method, the OEM headshell doesn’t have enough adjustment in the slots to move the cartridge forward enough - you need to use a non-OEM headshell.

So, now I’m confused.
@erikt It's confusing, but you are not confused! You answered your own question. With my SP10mk2/EPA250 arm, which share 235mm pivot-to-spindle with the 1200, the OEM headshell doesn't have long enough slots with some carts when you try to align with other geometries(e.g. LofgrenB or Baerwald aka LofgrenA). 

@rotarius "why buy cartridges with unstraight cantilevers?" Well, because sometimes they can't be avoided. Also, accidents happen and I've run into plenty of folks who have carts that play fine but aren't perfectly straight, and they still need to be setup optimally. Manufacturers have varying tolerances on straightness of cantilvers, not that I condone it.
So if you use the Technics gauge for overhang then what are you suggesting users do to set proper offset angle? Also, FYI, I've compared results of the Technics tool alone to Stevenson on a Feickert protractor and they aren't the same offset.  Cheers,
It's not Stevenson but it's close if you set the Stevenson inner groove radius at 57.5 mm which is then the inner null point. The Technics alignment inner null point is 58.8 mm if I recall correctly. I have set up carts both ways and the difference is not audible to me.  I have no issues with IGD, sibilance or tracking.  I like it for orchestral pieces and for minimizing offset angle error. 
Well, all I can say is there a body of postings on different forums that claim the 1200 is Stevenson.

And here it isn't.

Hence my confusion - and humble curiosity to something definitive from the actual 1200 specifications.
You can read the manuals on vinylengine database. Cheers,

Do you mean Technics SL1200 or SL1200 MK2?

 I'm talking about SL1200 mk2, the earlier 1200 comes with different tonearm, i have never tried.

So the 52mm cartridge overhang alingment tool that comes with 1200 mk2 tonearm is not Stevenson geometry for sure!

 I know this because i use Stevenson on this tonearm with stock technics headshell (gold version) with my grado cartridges.

My tool is Dr. Feickert alignment which is presicion device to set up the carts to Stevenson, Baerwald or Lofgren. When my cartridge set to Stevenson the overhang is not 52mm, but a bit more than 53mm. It's easy to check by inserting the cart/shell back to Technics plastic tool to make sure the diamond is not on the 52mm mark (where it should be according to technics tool), but 1.2mm forward and a little bit twisted toward the center on the platter. 
I was referring to the SL1200mkII - which I have.

I’ve not tried any other alignment other than that using the overhang tool as I’ve read elsewhere that the mkII is designed/aligned for Stevenson, and any other alignment requires a non-OEM headshell with longer slots.

As I look at my current OEM  headshell with a DL-160, the bolts/screws are already close to the top end of the slots, so that lends credence to needing a different headshell for different alignments.
@erikt depends on the cartridge, my grado cartridge mounting screws are in the middle of technics headshell slots when i use Stevenson on 1210mk2 stock arm. 

I think you need headshell with overhang/azymuth adjustment like the AT Technihard AT-LH13 for example. 
@chakster Good point, azimuth is well worth adjusting in most systems and clearly audible. With some cartridges and tonearms even tiny adjustments yield large improvements.  Other headshells w/adjustable azimuth include the Jelco HS-25 which I really like and use mainly, and the Yamamoto wooden series. Caution though the Yamamotos also have a somewhere shorter pair of slots that don't allow my to move certain cartridges far enough forward with certain alignments. Cheers,