Uni-Protractor Set tonearm alignment

Looks like Dertonarm has put his money where his mouth is and designed the ultimate universal alignment tractor.

Early days, It would be great to hear from someone who has used it and compared to Mint, Feikert etc.

Given its high price, it will need to justify its superiority against all others. It does look in another league compared to those other alignemt devices

Looks quite impressive! Great work, Dertonarm.
I agree. Wow. Hope you have a lot of success with this tool !
Congrats, fancywork! Look forward to adjust my system with this tool. Think first sets will be delivered next week.

Works easier than it looks...


Oh, first ones are already delivered. A few more infos about the results and how it works pls.
I think Syntax has taken shots of Dertonarm's first production unit.
The first run won't ship till March and my one will be in the first shipment.
I think it looks beautiful and knowing Daniel, I'm sure it will also work as promised.
If it does.......it will be what we've all been waiting for?
It is not enough for the discriminated Audiophile to get the tiny point for adjustment, it is - much - more perfect when the alignment is based on Cartridge cantilever position, too. You can hear the difference.

Cantilever Adjustment

syntax, outstanding photo's. I just wish I could hear your cart, arm and table :)

what lens? I think you used to have a nikon d200 or d300...still using this camera?
Ordered mine today. Can't wait to get it in action. Thanks Daniel!
No 22 is on its way to reach a forward looking client...
Syntax, great images, nice cart
I'm just curious to see how this template can work on the Graham Phantom .. by the way it looks great!
My compliments to Dertonearm
Dear Dertonarm: I already made it in other thread but this is more in specific: CONGRATULATIONS ! and best wishes for success.

regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Raul, dear all, thank you very much indeed for your kind comments and support. The 1st production run of 25 units has started yesterday.
Dear Curio, the UNI-Protector positioning arm has a round reticle locator - that way you can locate the exact pivot center of the tonearm by optical "locking in" the outer boundaries of the round bearing house.
That is done without touching the Graham at all.
I wonder what number I am. 007 would be good :-)

I am interested in how the Uni tractor's " Phantom" specific jig works.
The Graham alignment jig gives better results than the Mint when you use a magnifying glass.

I am more excited to see if the Exclusive EA-03/10 designers alignment sounds better than standard Stevenson
The Graham alignment jig gives better results than the Mint when you use a magnifying glass.

If you have a magnifying glass and a MintLP for Graham you 'll discover how much inaccurate & approximate is the Graham Jig

I have both the MintLP for the Phantom and use the magnifying glass and the designers Graham geomtry sounds better IMO.

I believe the MintLP tractor for the Phantom uses Baerwald geometry. Bob Graham does not. That would be the primray reason why the Graham alignment gauge (when used correctly) would not match the MintLP.

I too thought that the Graham jig was flawed, but guess what. I actually spent some more time and effort in using Grahams's geometry and it does indeed sound better and more musical to my ears.

that in the long run is what matters. That is why the Uni Tractor appeals to myself, as hopefully there will be another level of accuracy, but with the geometry of the tomearm designer.

Try it for yourself and let us know your results.

Dear Downunder, you are right. Baerwald IEC isn't always and a priori the best calculation curve for every tonearm. It is good for a 9" tonearm designed according to Baerwald IEC ( that is it's off-set angle ) and tracking mostly records cut following IEC standard ( means: long lead-out groove ).
There are good reasons why there are other calculation curves too.
I actually spent some more time and effort in using Grahams's geometry and it does indeed sound better and more musical to my ears

Spot on. Exactly that's the reason why Graham owners can listen to the most demanding records without any distortions in the last 2 tracks. The second Nullpoint is not in the middle of a record, it is later calculated. Of course, when the main listening to records is with those after 1985 with narrow grooves and Limiters in the Mastering/cutting process it don't matter so much. But when listening to the full swing records from the Golden Age of Vinyl...
Bob Graham is a good example for doing it right.
Very true Syntax and I thank you for getting me back to this train of thought.

I was getting OK but not brilliant results with the Phantom / dyna XV-1 in the last qtr of the LP using MintLP Baer version. I thought my Dyna XV-1 was almost worn out due to mistracking on some LP's.

I then read one of your comments an another thread when you indicated that the Graham alignment was not B,L or S but his own geometry and you are not hearing the magic until you align it correctly.

I re-thought my approach to aligning the Phantom and spend some time getting it right (or as right you can with Bob's tractor) and my XV-1 has never sounded better. It breezes through the last 3rd without any tracking problems.

People aserting that the MintLP tractor or similar B geometry is the best out there is flawed and fundamentally incorrect depending on the tonearm and its design geometry.

thank you
Hi Dertonarm,

will there be an individual template for the Raven 10.5 tonearm? Otoh, a Löfgren B template is provided with the Uni-Protractor...

Thank you.
I've heard about the special alignment that Derto suggest for FR64S and now ... the Phantom requires another one !

Can someone please explain to me about :
"the specific geometry" of an arm ?
What are the individual parameters ?

In my case, I've just bought the SAEC WE-308 SX .
The first thing that you can see, is the insanely small Offset Angle : 11.984 (the Eff. Length is only : 9.448")!!!
I've search & copy from the VA :
"This arm was the result of research by Sansui Co. to determine the optimum pivot position from a kinematic point of view, with the mass of the arm, the location of the center of gravity and the moment of inertia around the system's center of gravity taken into account to solve the problem of resonance. It is designed for dynamic balancing across multiple axes of rotation for stability against resonances. Any change in the arm geometry will change the resonance of the system "
The recommended by SAEC Overhang (for it's 240mm Eff. Length) is only 5mm
The IEC Baerwald equivalent for 240mm Eff. Length is 17.241
The difference between the Pivot recom. by SAEC (235mm) & the Pivot that resulting by the IEC Baerwald alignment (222.76mm) is huge !
The guys who tried the SAEC suggestion they confused so much with the distorted performance, that are convinced for this was the reason why SAEC arms did not make a success in their times. So, they rotate the cartridge on the headshell by another 10.93` to find the right Offset Angle of 22.914` and then they proceed by the IEC B alignment.
Why they choose the Baerwald ?
Is is wise to give a chance to every other known alignment geometry ?
How can any one determine the right method of alignment for a tonearm, IF the Offset Angle does not match with any known geometry ?
Can you advise specifically about my WE-308 SX ?

Thank you.
Dear Geoch, hardly any of the japanese tonearm designs of the 1970ies or 1980ies had Baerwald IEC calculation curve in mind. People look up Baerwald IEC distortion curve readings on VE and since they deliver the lowest reading at the 3 distortion peaks, some do automatically conclude this is the best for every tonearm.
It is not - for obvious reasons.
For your SAEC 308 SX may I suggest you try Löfgren B DIN instead.
It will give you much better sonic results, as the SAEX's geometry matches far better with Löfgren B DIN or Stevenson.
Baerwald IEC is great for most modern 9" tonearms AND when playing mostly modern records cut with a long lead-out groove (i.e. the area on the record actually engraved with recorded sound is rather small ).
If you have a tonearm with an effective length anywhere between standard 9" and 12" (which applies to most today) AND/OR are playing mostly older records from the late 1950ies to mid/late 1970ies with rather small and short run-out groove (i.e. cut close to the inner label ) then Baerwald IEC will inevitably result in high distortion figures in the last minutes of each record sides.
There is no free lunch here.
We have a large variety of different pivot tonearm designs which not only differ in their design apparent to the eye, but also in their geometrical design.
If you get a reading of less than 10 mm in overhang for a 10" tonearm (SAEC 308 SX), then the geometry in question is wrong for that particular tonearm.
I do not want to go into any more length about this ( I have done so intensely in the past and really dived into this topic till I reached solid rock....), but let me suggest you try Löfgren B DIN or Stevenson DIN and come back to us with your findings.
Hi Blammy, no customer request so far for a special Raven template. And yes, the Löfgren B is readily availalble for both DIN and IEC ...;-) ...
Thank you,
Dear Geoch, I have good news and bad news reg.SAEC.
The good news is that you can download the user manual for
the WE-308 NEW from Vinyl engine. The bad news is that there is no mention of the zero points by the specifications. I wrote there 61/89 but have no idea where I got this info from.
Your quote from the VA is probable from Kessler& Pisha;
Tonearm Geometry and Setup (Audio, January 1980). They
suggest to use SAEC geometry and setup. If I am well informed ony the WE-407/23 allows 'the usual' geometry (aka

Thank you all for your kind responses.
Unfortunatelly the users manual can not help but rather making the situation much worst & perplex.

If I get it right ...
Dertonarm is the only one who suggest a different alignment than the Baerwald IEC. It seems to me that he explores some new or underestimated parameters in tonearm geometry and obviously he discovers a relationship between the alignment for the least tracking error & the alignment for better control of resonance for any given tonearm !
Every other guy in my search, -all of them- are following the usual Baerwald IEC :

John Elison about SAEC WE-308 :

Wally Malewicz suggesting : "to use dedicated W-tractor for Rega Arms , but be prepared to twist Cartridge in the Headshell"

Allen Wright that from 1982 becomes the Australian importer claims about the WE-407/23 :
"...and am actually responsible for the /23 part of the model number. It stands for the 23 degree offset (bend) angle of the headsheel that is correct for the two point "western" arm/cartridge aligment as used today.
The original 407 used the non standard SAEC offset angle that was much less than 23 degrees, and only offered correct alignment at the inner grooves of an LP. I had them make the arm with 23 degrees offset angle to match "our" alignments and be saleable in the West"......

Allen Wright for the SAEC WE-308 :
..... "I actually don't have a 407/23 as I sold them all way back, I got a mint NIB 308 a couple of years ago and use it - with the cartridges weirdly twisted in the headshells to get the angle correct"

As you can see..........there is no doubt about the general acceptance for the Baerwald IEC standard alignment geometry.

I hope not to fall far from topic, but maybe this is a good opportunity, once the SAEC WE-308 has rundown to torture his users for the last 27 years.

Thus Im wondering if the time has come for Dertonarm to release some knowledge to the rest of us...
But are we ready to accept his "paradox" findings ?
Can we handle any truth beyond the graphic diagrams ?
So far the listening tests are giving credit to him for his new FR64S' alignment geometry & I can't think that he acted randomly without a very good reason behind this !
Is it really just the Offset Angle that determines the chosen geometry ? I doubt.

Thank you for your patience & my apologies for my ignorance.
Dear Geoch: IMHO the alignment geometry alternative we can choose for cartridge/tonearm set up is " independent " in which tonearm we will make the set-up.

Löfgreen, Baerwald, Bauer, Stevenson, Pisha, etc, etc, set up geometry equations are mathematical/abstract " items " that the only tonearm factors that take in count is that the tonearm must be a PIVOTED and its effective lenght and that's all.

If you or any other person ( like the Sansui colaboration you posted. ) thinks in different way this kind of thinking IMHO is only a misunderstood or only a false marketing " tool ".
Goech, all geometry options for set up that exist ( till today ) has its foundation on Löfgren equations that comes from 1938 ( when your SAEC/Graham does not even exist. ) and no one option outperform the Löfgren B one.

Yes, with the SAEC tonearms if we follow the manufacturer set up information with many cartridges it is a pain for the headshell wires set up and that SAEC manufacturer set up advise does not gives any real advantage.

Löfgreen B IEC is very good option and has the best/lower overall distortion. The DIN one gives you a lower inside grooves distortions but with a higher distortions outside the inner grooves: I don't like it, my take is that good tonearm with good cartridges are very good trackers and I prefer lower distortions overall against a tiny lower inside grooves distortions that I'm sure you can't detect because the difference in distoprtion level between IEC and DIN is extremely small.

Anyway, the real subject is IMHO that you can use any geometry equations option it does not matters which tonearm you own.

Nothing impede that you can test Löfgren B or Löfgren A ( that's similar to Baerwald with the same offset angle/overhang. ) or Stevenson set up and decide which set up please you.

Be carefully when doing that because for you can hear the real differences everything reside/foundation in how accurate you made each one geometry option set up. If there are differences on accuracy options set up then the differences you will hear will be because those different inaccuracies levels.

If I was you, with your SAEC or any other pivoted tonearm, my choose will be Löfgren B (IEC. ) but you can choose whatever you want, it's your call.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Geoch: That general acceptance on Baerwald is IMHO a wrong way to go, nothing I repeat nothing outperform the overall low distortions ina Löfgren B geometry set up: it does not matters what other people could say or already said it.

These are the parameters for Löfgren B ( IEC ) SAEC 808SX: overhang: 17.729 with an offset angle: 22.914.

Distortion between null points: 0.424% with an average distortion: 0.366%.
Against DIN that has higher distortion figures: 0.469 and 0.376%

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Geoch, Raul and I agree here to a large extend. I have not "discovered" any "paradox" here. I just questioned the universal used baerwald IEC as I know from personal experience with many tonearms and from a large record collection with many samples from the late 1950ies and 1960ies (i.e. cut close to the inner label...) that Baerwald IEC is not always the best possible.
The fact that it is the most widely used lead to the evolution that it is no longer questioned at all.
It is indisputably the best possible for a 9" tonearm AND for tracking modern records with longer lead out-grooves.
But there are 10", 10.5", 11" and other odd tonearms out there and there are many Mercury SR, DECCA SXL, Impulse, Columbia 6-eye tec. out there.
And Baerwald IEC is not ideal for them.
The records you play do have an important role here. If the majority of them is cut following and taking advantage of the wide area of DIN, then IEC is sub-optimal and an alignment following DIN might be better suited.
And no - an offset angle does not determine a tonearm's geometry. But if your cantilever when aligned is far off line with the offset of your tonearm, then that should tell you something .....

I did long research when designing the UNI-Protractor and I offer a wide range of universal as well as individual templates for good reason - and certainly not just to fill the books....;-) ...
Dear Raul, thank you for your contribution.
Your words exactly were my belief in so many years.
Please read my argument with Dgad about this subject at the link below :
But I'm sure we are missing something.
Again, how we can explain the Phantom's unique alignment ?
By default ?
What is the point of concern in a tonearm's geometry to dictate it's prefered form of alignment ?
Our ears are the final judge, yes, but I don't think that the result is not predictable. It must be at least one crucial point in arm's geometry that can direct us to choose
what is best.
OK. but even then, how can anyone find the special & unique individual alignment that is different from all the B or L or S, IEC or DIN that we know how to calculate ?
Maybe the listening tests are cheaters and the only way for pure & neutral performance is the graphic diagram of distortion & tracking error. I don't argue about this.
But then, we must all stay at the side of Technics amplifiers with 0.003% THD and B&O speakers with perfectly flat freq. response.
It is not that bad to explore something new, even if it is radical and going against our traditional view.
It's the fun part that opens our horizon to new possibilities & maybe offers new & unfound pleasures.
Gullible & optimistic am I ?
Dear Dertonarm,
NO !
I don't appreciate to read behind your lines !

What is supposed to said by my cantilever if you accept the usual logic of only this matters & not the arm's geometry ?

What's the point of providing individual templates if you declare the usual & known alignments ?

Please be straight & specific about your thoughts to the subject this time. To confusing my or perhaps and others mind is not your will I would like to believe.

PS :
I'm greatful for your effort to offer this protractor to the community,
but remember that your act for doing this, was directed by your commitment to this hobby & your will to help us.
Dear Geoch: Graham unique?, well it is the same with SME V or other " unique " tonearm/cartridge geometry set-ups.

IMHO the only " unique " that has all those " unique " set ups are higher " unique " distortions and that's all.

Geoch, you can explore new things in the subject ( I love to explore and that's why I'm where I'm. ) but here is only mathemathics and only if you have a proved mathematical new " process " could change what we have today on that subject.
This is not that you can do it " by fault " or because " you think " is better some other way.

Now and IMHO, like with the Graham and other " unique " tonearm set ups: that a higher generated distortions likes you or likes other people does not means is right: it means only that you and those other people likes HIGHER DISTORTIONS and that's all.

You don't have to believe me, please put those " unique " tonearm set up ( any ) parameters in a " calculator " ( like the VE one. ) against the öfgren B ( IEC ) one and you can confirm what I'm saying.

Goech, distortions are not only gernerated by cartridge/tonearm tracking or tonearm/cartridge geometry set up, things are more more complex than that.
There are several other factors that " determine " any tonearm/cartridge quality performance level, this subject already was discussed in many other threads in the past.

Between those other factors are: type of tonearm pivot bearing, bearing build material, tolerance level on that bearing system, tonearm effective length, tonearm build materials, cartridge whole characteristics on compliance/stylus shape/MC or MM design/body build material/cantilever build material/etc/etc, arm board build material, etc, etc, and I can go on and on on this factor list.

I don't know where you want to go. Intrinsic tonearm resonances and cartridge resonances has almost nothing to " see " with those geometry equations.
IMHO if a tonearm was designed with a " unique " geometry set up equations on mind with greater distortions due to that geometry " unique " set up and even if you like it for me that tonearm design is a faulty one.

A good tonearm design must left ( very clear and precise. ) that you can discern between different set ups and not only that but that you can be aware that a higher distortion geometry equations set up almost always have to sounds with those higher distortions quality performance level, other way IMHO that tonearm design is not a good design.

Geoch, IMHO here it is not what we like but what is wrong or good/right.
This time and in this subject I'm with what is right. What other people could think on the same subject does not affect what is right because you can't change ( for the better ) that: 2+2=4.

IMHO your example of Technics/B&O has no aplication in this subject because we are not speaking of technology but mathematics: elemental mathematics for say the least.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Dertonarm: I think that the IEC and DIN subject is in someway " academic " because as you can read in the SAEC 308SX example the distortion " figures " in between are so small that I think no one but a bat could heard it.

So, for me Löfgren B is all what I have to say about and the IEC only for " calm in mind " and nothing else.

regards and enjoy the music,
Direct & Straight
You are my man !
Dear Raul,
To where I want to go with this subject, it is surely has to do with the claims of new findings, other than the known ones.
Is it my imagination or someone talks about that ?
I'm not pretending that I know something different from you, but I was hopping for a clarification about those guru settings & uknown methods of unique geometry alignments...(?)
Dear Geoch: Like you: just waiting for.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Geoch, sorry - but
but I was hopping for a clarification about those guru settings & uknown methods of unique geometry alignments...(?)
is certainly not the way I want to attend things and I do not want to be addressed.
This is about attention to detail and about viewing a scenario from all sides. Then addressing the topic with the needed precision and that's about it.
Nothing about "unknown settings" - this is all euclid geometry and approaching things with a kind of engineers approach.
It is just not "brushing everything with the same brush".
Dear Daniel,

Good job. Keep cool, you're a manufacturer now. Remember what they said about better mousetrap ?

Good luck,
Dear Geoch, tonearm geometry and thus optimized alignment is indeed predictable. The mere geometrical parameters of a given tonearm do show which calculation curve is suited best to its inherent design.
However - I do not want to stress that point, but I need to mention again - it does play an important role too, whether the majority of one's records is rather older vintage and more cut following DIN or whether your platter is only spinning reissues of the 1990ies and our day ( which are indeed all following IEC standard).
Tonearm geometry is one of the few truly predictable areas of audio.
But it needs attention to detail and taking into consideration all aspects.
In the past 2 decades tonearm geometry was sadly neglected by many - in the awareness of most people we had Baerwald IEC and that's it.
Few did question why there still were other calculations and why certain tonearms did sound fabulous in one system set-up and were trashed aside by other audiophiles as mediocre at best.

To address your question of a few posts before: If the line of your aligned cantilever is off-line compared to the offset angle ( i.e. they do NOT share the same angle compared to your tonearms main) of your tonearm (or a fixed offset angle in a fixed headshell ( SME V for instance )) then you have another - an additional - breakdown torque moment in the static force model of your tonearm.
Now what does this mean in plain words and practical sonic results ?
In most cases it will result in an increased skating force - resulting in higher unlinear distortion figures.

Now why "specific" templates for specific tonearms when Löfgren, Baerwald or (sometimes ..) Stevenson would satisfy all our needs ?
Because some tonearm geometries are VERY strange (read: sub-optimal .. . for instance the SAEC 506/30 which geometry is optimized to track 10" records !) and some are just a way off and can be MUCH improved with small alternations to the designs geometric parameters ( my "beloved" FR-64s for instance...).
As said before - Raul and I are in agreement on most of these topics. But IMHO and following my personal experience I believe that there are some designs out there which call for a bit more attention to detail and which can not be optimized "following the books".

Sometimes I might be a bit too obsessed with attention to detail and questioning undisputed "facts", but IMHO tonearm alignment and geometry are fields of plain and rather simple physics and need only attention and precision to pay off their "sonic" fruits for all of us.
Dear Mesael, thank you - especially for your good minded advise ..;-) ... I really appreciate.

Interesting Feature

Overhang Adjustment

Dear Daniel,
I have a great respect for your work and I've never questioned your hard earned knowledge.
I hope to understand my queries resulting by daze & excitement when I've heard that there are more parameters of concern about the tonearm's geometry in the search for a more sophisticated integration combining some physics to geometry.
I'm still quite perplexed for I can't find those "simple (?) & basic (!) engineering approaches" but I'm trying really hard to become an adherent of your findings and comprehend your meticulous sense of premium execution of every plan & any project.
I respect your wright to insulate your method as a matter of business ethics & I'm reluctand to pushing more this chapter that is full of mystify sequences (for me at least).
I suppose its time for faith or rejection.
I ... need my time for shure.

Kind Regards
Dear Geoch, no problem - it is just that I don't have the patience right now to go into this topic step-by-step.
In general my position is, that so far tonearm alignment is seen in a way too small perspective. There is more than just the two zero points and average or maximum distortion figures. It is very important where these zero points actually are located and where the maximum distortion figures occur on the arc over the record side. The actual curve of the groove gets ever smaller and as such it is IMHO very important to get very low distortion figures close to the innermost grooved area. But not in the narrow minded way that the Stevenson alignment concentrates each and everything on the DIN or IEC limit of grooved area.
The actual offset angle of a tonearm in comparison and sometimes in fight with the actual offset angle determined by the alignment curve is another topic which can significantly influence the skating force - and such the sonic performance.
Wherever I have re-aligned a tonearm/cartridge in set-up and systems of befriended audiophiles I always earned amazement due to the improvement in sonic performance.
No mystic - no "secret" here, just care, a view from many different point, precision and attention to detail.

I have the Clearaudio jig. It has 4 different setups including the standard IEC one. They contend that the 72mm is better for most LPs because they have a long lead out groove.

By the way, does your jig work with cartridges with very low bodies? Like a Grado Statement1? It is very tough to see the cantilever because of the square body hiding the cantilever from the front.
Dear Jazzgene,
let me address your last question first:
the UNI-Protractor works even with an Ikeda or a FR-7f - compared to these two cartridges' ultra low bodies, the Grado Statement is walking on stilts .....

The Jig you mentioned and use allows alignment only for either Stevenson IEC or one of 3 recommendations by it's manufacturer.
These e are suitable only for very modern records cut for audiophile purposes (like 45 rpm short cuts) or reissues.
The Stevenson IEC isn't all that great to start with, but try any of the three manufacturer's recommendations with an old Mercury, Impulse, Columbia, RCA LSC - in fact most any record from the 1960ies or 1970ies - and you will run into high distortion towards the last 1/2" of your records groove, as the derivation from the tangential ideal rises steep with these alignments.
These alignments are mainly suitable for the 9" tonearms of the jig's manufacturer and for records cut following IEC standards only and offering a rather small actually grooved area ending way apart from the inner label.

A rather specialized tool - and specialized for a very certain kind of records mainly, but even among those, there are pressings which will not really suitable to be tracked with such an alignment.
What is the "ULTRA PRECISE P2S-positioning instrument w/new features, matching the UNI-Protractor system" that is referred to at the end of the UNI-Protractor advert?

Do you know which alignment works best for dynavecotr 507mk2?

My compliments to you for your protractor, it looks to be thought out to the extreme, a mature product, ultra precise & easy to use.
Dear Kostas_1, it is an independent (there is a P2S scale coming with the UNI-Pro) and extremely precise P2S instrument which gives the mounting distance on digital display and with 1/100 mm accuracy.

It works with the special tt-spindle adapters of the UNI-Pro, but is a kind of rather speciality for professional use.

There will be another very nice add-on for the UNI-Protractor available end of march.
Stay tuned.

Dear Glai,
according to it's manufacturer specifications the Dynavector 507MK2 asks for a special geometry ( like many other japanese designs like Fidelity Research, SAEC, Technics EPA to name just the most prominent).
There is an individual template available for the Dynavector 507MK2 in the UNI-Protractor-system.