What about Uni Din?

I finally broke down and purchased a Smart Tractor. The owner of that company created another cartridge alignment he calls Uni Din. He makes a very reasonable argument for favoring the inside third of records particularly those cut down close to the label. This is at the expense of the outer grooves. But the outer grooves are traveling three times faster thus a given tracking error has 1/3rd the significance in terms of distortion. 
Has anyone here tried this alignment? If so how did you like it? I will certainly give it a spin as reorienting the cartridge in a Schroder arm is as easy as it gets. 
I bought a SMARTractor recently also. I haven't begun exploring the various alignments yet myself, but I found this article interesting.


Dear @mijostyn : Obviously that you can try it. Now, how many LP’s you own and listen often to them with inner grooves at 64mm. and beyond?

As with Stevenson all that marketing is only that: bs. for new comers or very low knowldge level audiophiles that do not understand perfectly how " things are "/overall alignments issue. And as Stevenson that alignment is only of number manipulations at the most inner groove data need it for the calculations, SAT made it the same but instead to goes at lower than 60.3mm ( IEC ) gone a little higher than this number. The alignment you are talking about choosed the most inner groove distance around 54mm. Now tell me how many LPs you own with innergrooves at 54mm.

As I said you can try it, why not?


I have used the pro version of that protractor for quite a few years now. The Uni Din can be really good. I like it on my FR64S, but in truth I haven't developed a metric for when to use it or not. Try it on for size :)
I also use the UNI-Pro version, the big brother to the SMARTractor.

I like it. It works well for classical works that have complex climactic third and fourth movements. .

Here’s Fremer on UNI-Din playing off an excellent chart from Wally Malewicz. But he doesn’t talk about listening.: https://www.analogplanet.com/content/uni-din-versus-l%C3%B6fgren-b-just-clarify
Thanks guys. I'm will try to evaluate it but not having two arms at the moment might make it difficult. My own feeling is that for the vast majority of records ending by 65mm Lofgren B is going to be the best.
Raul, the inner null point of Uni Din is at 63.3 mm. 
jtimothya, I do believe Mr Fremer's graph is mislabeled. The Y axis I think is degees of error not Harmonic distortion although the two are most likely related. Notice at the null points it is listed as Zero. Harmonic distortion is never zero.
If you were really interested in inner groove error I think you would go with Stevenson. Some of my older classical records do run darn close to the label and the big crescendos are always at the end but this represents maybe 1% of my listening. I love string quartets.  
Mijo, You assume that at the outermost grooves the increased stylus velocity compensates for tracking angle error. That is actually an interesting question. I am not so sure one can assume that your assumption is correct. They are two different phenomena.
Dear @mijostyn : I'm not talking of null points, this is what I posted that is one of the input values to make alignment calculations:

"  alignment you are talking about choosed the most inner groove distance around 54mm. ""

Dear @jtimothya @solypsa : First than all to make compartisons between different alignments the first premise to be stricted unchangeable is the tonearm effective length, it’s not the same if we make the comparisons with the same P2S distance because the effective length changes.

In the other side and only as an example:

if we take Löfgren A ( could be B too. ) the difference in tracking distortion between the groove at 69mm and 68mm is : 0.06% .

So, both of you are saying that can be aware of that difference between two concecutive inner grooves?

No one can detect even 0.8% and that tracking distortion is going up or down at each single groove: how can any one be aware when the changes are so small and continuous? and if any one can detect it then something wrong with the alignment or the room/system.

All alignments are a compromise and Löfgren A and B perhaps have the best compromise certainly Stevenson and the mijostyn alignment is talking about  are not the best compromises.

Dear @lewm  : "  They are two different phenomena.. ", agree.

Löfgren A ( example. ) distortion at 139mm is 0.19% and at 75 is 0.42%.

Why doesn't anyone ever mention that the whole idea of alignment by protractor is flawed since it assumes that the Zenith of the diamond is precisely 90.0°?   Zenith being skewed by 0.3° is enough to make alignment A behave as alignment B.  If your diamond Zenith is off by 1.5° it is possible that you will completely miss both null points entirely.  

Its a mess this vinyl thing that we love :)
Sure most carts are a series of imperfect connections, and even with a really good protractor its hard to see everything perfectly. So in comes software. In the end these tools get us in the zone but we use our best tool to finish. Ears.
@lewm , I think if you look at phase angles with a given tracking error the phase angle difference between the left and right channels will be three times greater at the very inside of the record than at the very outside. Because the outside is traveling three times faster the peak to trough distance at a given frequency will be three times longer. This makes sense to my meager brain.
@rauliruegas , Are you saying the label edge is at 54 mm?
@intactaudio , I examine every stylus under a microscope. If it is not dead on the cartridge goes back. The beauty of the Smart Tractor over priced as it is is that is has a really nice magnifier making it significantly more accurate than the Feikert. Does it really matter? I seriously doubt it but it makes me feel better.
Can‘t you compare on your own with the Smart tractor? The new Uni din is really worth a try ... specially with high dynamic cut records ( classic originals from the 60‘s) ... I use it.
Dear @syntax : I know you are not a stupid audiophile or an audio rookie.

Any gentleman as you ( including me. ) can’t really be aware of real/true differences in between different kind of alignments but with Steveson one and we can’t do it because the distortion level changes in between groove after groove are really tiny to detect it and the sound is continuous and you can’t detect those changes even at the first null point or even at the inner null point.

So what are you talking about on that alignment or any otehr than Stevenson?, in Stevenson there is a chance you can do it because is a extreme kind of alignment where Stevenson in porpose puts the inner null point exactly at the inner most groove on IEC standard.

Now and just an example if you take the alignment that you are talking about and with the same tonearm and cartridge change it for Löfgren A or B with out changing the tonearm EL the differences if any that you could listen will be thank’s to the differences in the accuracy of each alingment changes you do but not because the alignment it self.

Do you think that when you change between two alignments where you need to change the P2S distance and the cartridge overhang and off-set angle the accuracy on those two alignments were perfect?.
You are rigth, can’t be perfect and exactly same " perfection " on both different alignments.

So if we can’t be aware of differences between alignments other than with Stevenson why are we " figthing " and discussing in to many threads over the internet audio forums?, easy: to have our mind in calm.

So we choose what we think is the best alignment compromise for our needs and that’s all.

There is no way, no matters what, that our alignments ( any ) can be do it with Zero error: NO WAY.

Differences we are hearing in the best cases are because that kind of errors when we made it the alignments and where those errors can’t be avoided and only we can put at minimum but does not exist two similar different alignments ( that we did it. ) with errors at minimum in exactly same way.

Unfortunatelly the alignment is not a " virtual " one kind. So what you are interpreting in your alignment is only a true " illusion " and nothing more. Even using the same kind of alignment we choosed if we made 2-3 alignment set-up ( meaning unmount and mount again the cartridge and the tonearm too. ) at different " times " at each time you can be sure that you will listen " differences " even if you know that can’t been differences because is the same kind of alignment.

@mijostyn,  Having looked at lots of stylus profiles under a microscope at various magnifications I think it would be exceedingly hard to confirm zenith angle to say 10 minutes.  I'll side with Raul that even with the best tools setting the same cartridge up three times is likely to end up with three different alignments.  At the scales we are talking about here the possibility for measurement error is large and even seemingly small errors can be consequential.  


Dave you are absolutely right. Under magnification ( I use a medical microscope with special lighting) The best you can do is confirm zenith relative to the cantilever then you have to get the cantilever parallel to the protractor lines all by eye. So, there are multiple sources or error some, such as the cantilever alignment to the coils are unseen. All you can do is hope to get close. I should have said, "dead on as far as I can see."
Then next question is does it really matter? I use Lofgren B because it results in the lowest average distortion over most of the record. The reality is you can be a little off one way or the other and very few people if any would know it. So why even bother? I'll tell you why. It makes me feel better and my psyche will think things sound better. Perhaps I will limit record wear.
I for got to mention that the way you do this micro a microscope is under high magnification you orient the stylus so that the long axis is perfectly horizontal. Then you back off to low magnification and the cantilever should be perfectly vertical. I have an eyepiece with a grid so I do not have to guess were 90 degrees is. Regular microscopes are not the best tool for this job. 
To these ears, Baerwald has a lot going for it. I find Lofgren B, Stevensen, Uni Din or anything that is more leading edge forward in the arm to actually sound that way - forward.

Another interesting take on the process:

Using extensive target zone magnification, don't fall into the potential pitfall that cantilever grid alignment will yield optimal zenith - it won't unless you're running a conical stylus :-)
I find Lofgren B, Stevensen, Uni Din or anything that is more leading edge forward in the arm to actually sound that way - forward.

When you align a cartridge by Stevenson it will be backward (not forward) compared to Baerwald on a tonearm.
When you align a cartridge by Stevenson it will be backward (not forward) compared to Baerwald on a tonearm.

May have to give it a go. Thanks for that clarification!
I’ve used Clearaudio jigs in the past with a target behind Baerwald (closer to the pivot) and felt it sounded excellent.
The Uni-Din alignment does not make sense to me personally. It has higher distortion than Baerwald in the 65-70 mm area where 90%+ of my records have inner grooves that turn into deadwax (not a lot of classical here with inner grooves at 60-62 mm) and inner groove distortion would be an issue.

And it has grossly higher distortion in the outer grooves and the highest outer groove distortion among the "Big 4" alignments (if you want to count it as one of the Big 4) from about 117 mm to the outer edge (around 146 mm) of the record. 

It does have very good performance between 75mm and 115mm but I'm not hearing any kind of distortion in that area anyway on my records. Nor am I experiencing any real inner groove distortion issues that I can really hear. 

I might be imagining things but with my analog setup, if I had to pick one area of the record that might be problematic for me it would be the outer grooves from about 140-145mm or the beginning of each record. This doesn't make sense to me in terms of the numbers as the distortion figures for Baerwald (which I'm aligned to) are very close in that area to what they are in the middle of a record. And they are the lowest of any of the Big 4 alignments-again, if you are counting Uni-Din as a major alignment.

So I've come to the conclusion that I'm either imagining things in that first minute or two or have a few records where the first track is cut just a little hotter than others. Or it is a question of the cartridge suspension warming up in the first few minutes of any kind of playing session that is causing me to hear this. 
Here is a test.  Have a person put on a album you are not familiar with.  He can choose various spots on the album.  Now you listen without seeing the turntable.  Now tell him when you hear the most and least distortion. 

If you can identify the null points successfully then I would be worried about where they are.  Also please explain  how a RS labs tone arm got rave reviews, except it is a pita to use.  It breaks almost every rule in the tone arm book.

That being said I think it is a good idea to experiment  he has a nice new tool have some fun with it.  All theory aside he has to listen to his stereo  with  his ears.

Enjoy the ride
All the science and physics related to setting up a turntable is just another part of the hobby which some enjoy and appreciate more than others.  I appreciate the fact and joy some users achieve when they view their cartridge under an electron microscope, use mega $$ protractors, test equipment and software to set up their tables.  Some may argue the virtues of using complex tools to set up their tables, but we must keep in perspective that this complex process is also a significant part of the hobby for them.  
Testpilot, sort of. I have used the DB Systems protractor for ages. $45.00
However with aging eyes I am having trouble seeing things. The Smart Tractor has a magnifier mounted to it that by all accounts works well. That is the only reason I made the plunge. Having just spent 19,000 on a record playing apparatus I want to get what I paid for.  
Some may argue the virtues of using complex tools to set up their tables, but we must keep in perspective that this complex process is also a significant part of the hobby for them.
But what is the intent.

The reality is that a properly set up mid price cartridge will usually sound better than a poorly set up expensive cartridge.

Optimising set up can also reduce stylus wear & record damage.

If you have a significant investment in a vinyl collection, investment in  decent set up tools are essential in my view.