Will SME-V, etc benefit with non-stock alignment?

it was suggested by some most knowledgeable member(s) on the subject of tone-arm alignment, to start a dedicated thread for 'fixed' stylus-to-pivot measurement arms.

To my knowledge those would be ALL SME arms, as well as ALL Linn arms -- there might be others.

The issue in particular is the method of overhang adjustment by moving the pivot (bearing arm post) a la SME to accommodate slight variations in cart design. Linn does not even offer that (go buy their cart(s), and get a life :-)

In the case of SME, the expected mounting hole to stylus tip distance being 3/8" or in more 'current metrics' 9.52 mm. (sorry not US quite as yet, i.e. both are valid)

If a cart has this design criteria, AS WELL AS! the cantilever in the centre AND STRAIGHT with respect to the cart body / mounting screw holes, and more recently all with a tapped thread in it, they would HIGHLY qualify, or?
BUT, how do you see, or know this is the case in the first place, when purchasing a cart?

Given ALL is right-on within spec. you then are 'stuck' with the alignment that, e.g. was decided (for you the purchaser).
As soon as you'd like to try some other alignment scheme, and there are some: Löfgren A (Baerwald) -- the SME point of view/choice, Löfgren B, Stevenson, plus in fact you may make up your own, that may be to your liking. BUT NOT with any of the 'fixed' type arms, since it'll play havoc with the arms intended alignment geometry. (Ask DerTonearm if you don't believe me. He'll give you the low-down right to the 100th of a millimetre!)

So far, so good. You can go to one of the expert template makers, state your case, give your cart and arm parameters and ask him to make on for you. 100$ ---- to 500$? somewhere around there.
BUT WICH alignment then please?!

One you think is better? The same? Why bother for the same?!
And IF different, will it actually work for you?

Well, if not, go spend some more 'greens' on the next try?

Of course if you are aware of these issue, you just go and buy another arm, right?
Hallo, but what about synergy for SME decks, ditto Linn decks and arms?

So hope to have made the point sufficiently clear. So let's see what we can learn, that we do NOT know as yet.
Could get interesting, I hope so.

But please keep it informative and don't come tell us a dentists drill will be a better choice than XYZ tonearm choice.
Thank you for reading,
Thank you for starting this thread, I have a question about your statement:
In the case of SME, the expected mounting hole to stylus tip distance being 3/8" or in more 'current metrics' 9.52 mm.
I also thought I read this somewhere, where did you get this information?
I contacted Yip at Mint protractor for the expected cartridge mounting to stylus tip distance but got no answer.
I use the SME IV.Vi with a Lyra Skala, I believe the Lyra has the 9.52mm cartridge mounting to stylus tip distance, so I should be close to SME's recommended 215.35mm mounting distance.
I have a protractor made to the 215.35mm spec by Ken Willis via the Vinyl Asylum over at AA, it includes Baerwald, Stevenson and Loefgren. I have only set up with Baerwand so far. I want to try a Mint protractor so hopefully from this thread I can gain enough knowledge to just order one made to my specs.

A side note to my above thread, Yip did reply to my question, at the time the email did not reach me. So...Yip is watching.....Thank you yip.

Hi Mike,
following a quote from the SME site:
>>> Intended to be compatible dimensionally with earlier SME models, the 'V' is a rigidly-pivoted tonearm with a 233.15mm stylus-to-pivot distance, and a 23.6350 offset angle. <<<

As you, I'm momentarily 'lost' and can't find the source of the 5/8" measurement, but am very certain that's what it was.
It might be fine to have the other, stylus-to-pivot distance up top.
on SME web site.
If I dig up the other reference I'll let you know. I think it was on one of the many sites discussing alignments.
following another info:

It mentions 9.2 - 9.5 for 'most carts, but it aught to be measured to make quite certain of the individual case.

NOTE: This DOES not take care of the actually assumed measurement by SME which I gave you in the previous reply.
In my case, my Lyra Clavis DC measured 8mm. Quite a difference to that stated by SME. Purchased a MintLP and have been very pleased with the improvement.
Hi Giggsy,

what you say relates to a Lyra Dorian I used, DEFINATLY on the shorter side.

Then I had it re-tipped (J. Allaerts) and it was much closer to that 9.2 - 9.5 mm measure.

I can see, that with a difference of ~ 1 - 1.5 mm it could sound better if set-up appropriately.
Thank you for sharing this,
The SME V can ONLY be precisely aligned with either cartridges which do 100% comply with IEC standard stylus-mounting holes OR with a special tractor calculated on a given cartridge like the MINT tractor. And this will only work for a given sample (and with some dump luck for a few other individual cartridges - but just by coincidence).

All other experiments will lead to missalignment - to a smaller or larger degree.

The SME V does ask for a 100% IEC-compliant cartridge (at least in its pure mechanical dimensions) as conditio sine qua non.

Its the foundation of its design and geometry.
Dear Axelwahl, dear all, Dougdeacon posted an extremely precise and knowledgeable comment on my similar post which I believe belongs here.

Please see here:

Herr Tonarm you suggested to do this SME stuff on a different thread, and I concurred.
So now you better send yeah old SME enquiries this here way. I agree that Dougdeacon's contribution is rather over here in the right place.

I also happen to agree with him, however it did not get to the point asked on this here thread --- will a DIFFERENT, other then SME stock alignment (Baerwald A, SME flovour) be of known BENEFIT.

If we concur it's not, we can close the subject and don't waste money on aftermarket protractors for SME arms, 'cause it's a waist of money, right?

So let’s see if we find somebody that has change the alignment to other then stock SME, and can truly rave about the major improvement derived.

Let's make nails with heads and don't chew up the old mathematics and theories only, what say you?

Hello Axel,

it comes down to a simple statement:

- if you want to use a cartridge which does NOT comply with IEC-standard dimensions: get an individual tractor.
- if you use a cartridge with IEC standard dimensions - use the SME tool.
The SME V can't be aligned to different arcs anyway without altering the geometry of the tonearm.
Axelwahl: The Dorian is designed to have a mounting screwhole to stylus distance of 9.52mm (3/8 inch - not 5/8 inch which would be 15.875mm!). All of the present Lyra cartridges are made like this, with the exception of the Helikon (the oldest design in our lineup).

The Dorian's mechanical components are milled on an NC system, so even given component tolerances, it would be impossible for the 9.52mm dimension to be off by more than +/- 0.3mm.

Also, assuming for a moment that the Dorian was indeed considerably shorter than 9.52mm, the mounting screwhole to stylus distance is not a dimension that should change with a retip; unless the retip involves rather violent measures (grin).

In any case, Axelwahl, your story doesn't (yet) make sense to me.

As an aside, the suspension and dampers of an MC will gradually degrade with use, and should properly be replaced together with the cantilever system when the stylus wears out. Restated, a cartridge should be rebuilt rather than retipped when the stylus wears out.

However, no cartridge manufacturer that I am aware of is in the habit of making any of their components available to outside retipping companies (and none of these components are standard off-the-shelf parts).

Also, even for the original manufacturer, it takes time to understand the intricacies of a specific MC design and how to make it work at its best. Much of the prototyping cycle of a new cartridge model is focused specifically on that aspect - the design will be built and rebuilt in dozens of different ways until it can be figured out how to extract the maximum possible amount of performance from it.

Therefore, unless an outside retipper has a specific agreement to receive authentic rebuild parts from the original manufacturer, and has undergone a hands-on training program dedicated to that design, for him to rebuild an MC faithfully is an impossibility.

hth, jonathan carr
Hello Jarr,
sorry, 3/8" = 9.52 mm must've been a typo! Thank you for that correction.
That point was actually raised by some Lyra owner(older Lyra type I guess) quoting 8mm for screw hole to stylus distance. I guess he had measured it, but only he knows (you may check with him back in the thread)

Great to know, that Lyra is spot on 3/8", and thank you for making that clear (straight from the horses mouth, so to speak)

>>> unless the re-tip involves rather violent measures (grin). <<<
It was NOT a Lyra re-tip, you might have missed that part or it was not mentioned. In fact the boron cantilever was 'yanked' out of the alu-tube, so it was violent when it got damaged. The replacement was a Fritz Gyger Special with boron cantilever.

>>> In any case, Axelwahl, your story doesn't (yet) make sense to me. <<<

I hope THIS makes more sense to you now. I had the opportunity to compare the re-tipped item to an original stock item and it was CLEARLY longer then the stock one --- BUT as I said nothing to do with your re-tipping service. There was no interest in a Lyra re-tip, rather a new sale as it came to the same cost as a new one, I recall. The stylus was not worn when it broke. It was quite new in fact (not done by me I might add)

I read the rest of what you say, and I agree. However, I didn't just want to throw this item away, so I had it done by someone that was prepared to re-tip it. So it goes at times...

This re-tipped Lyra sounds VERY good, so it was worth while to do in this specific case.

Dear Axel: You always can drill slots to the tonearm base.

It is already stated that the V is a non universal alignment cartridge where there is no orthodox alignment answer.
This SME subject IMHO give us a good lesson: " the necessity of oficial standards " like the distance between the stylus and cartridge hole.

I'm sure that Dertonarm like many of you already take note to add this kind of useful " standard " to what we will ask through our starting Association. To achieve some of those " standards " will make a more " easy life " with better results for all of us.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear friends: I miss the point, Dertonarm posted that already exist ( through the IEC ) that standard so what we have to do is try that the cartridge builders follow it, with no exception: right?

Regards and enjoy the music.
I mean: armboard.
Giggsy was referring to the Clavis DC. This is a far older design (its replacement was the Helikon, which itself has been in production for 10 years).

Your situation starts to make a bit more sense, Axelwahl, thank you.

But if you had a chance to compare the Allearts retip (which you said was closer to 9.52mm) to a stock Dorian (which I designed for 9.52mm) and found the retipped version clearly longer, again the numbers don't add up. The only plausible scenario that comes to mind is if the "stock" Dorian that you compared the Allearts-retipped cartridge to was actually not stock, but had been retipped with a shorter cantilever.

FWIW, I've had Allearts cartridges, and didn't consider the cantilevers to be so different in length from what I use, so I doubt if a Lyra-made Dorian would be much shorter than an Allearts retip.

BTW, we don't do retips. Only head-to-toe full rebuilds that involve complete replacement of all wearable and cosmetically blemished parts (although more than a few cartridges that come back to us only need a good cleaning and mild readjustment, rather than a rebuild). From what you have said, your Dorian would benefit from a proper rebuild (sounds like it has had a _very_ hard life).

regards, jonathan carr
Dear Axel: All of this alignment subject has its focus on " distortions ", which ones like us more or which ones make less harm. Of course which are the correct ones ( if exist a " correct " distortion. ).

Some of the vintage japanese arms does not conforms with Baerwald/Lofgren alignments. With some of those tonearms I set the cartridge alignment either with the builder specs and with the B/L ones.
I remember that in the Micro Seiki with the straight arm wands I prefer the tonearm builder specs that the B/L.

Other experience that I had ( by accident ) was with the FR 702 cartridge ( that for the ones that not know it comes with a dedicated headshell well you can't move rear/fwr the cartridge. ) that I buy many years ago and that I never mounted but like 6 years latter in the Lustre tonearm with out making any measures about stylus alignment and seat to listen and I remember that I was " shocked " with what I heard specially from midrange and up frequency range: it was almost glorious or at least that was what seems to me.
Was so impactant that I follow listening it with out take real notice of what was happening in the other side of the frequency range.

But the ears " wake up " and then notice that the low-mid bass were not totaly wrong but not good enough ( and this cartridge is very good in this range. ).
The distortions on both frequency range sides were different too and not acceptable in the LMB. If I remember ( I don't have mounted the Lustre right now ) the overhang was off by 5-6mm.
For those days I decided the absolute necessity to have some reference different recording tracks that can/could " tell " me what is " wrong or good " and where, obviously by ear only but this is a good way of training our brain/ears.

These and many oter experiences are learning and informative. One mm makes a difference in the alignment?, certainly yes; could we hear it? well you and your system quality performance are the best judge but the subject is not if we can hear it but that is incorrect.

Btw, nice to see that Lyra conforms according the IEC standards, I wonder why some other cartridge builders did not, anyone thinks that that IEC standard ( stylus to cartridge mount holes distance ) is not adequate/right or put " heavy " limitations to the cartridge builders on its designs? it needs a change?

J.Carr could you share your opinion about?, thank you in advance.

Regards and enjoy the music.
According to the manufacturer, the Air Tight PC-1 stylus tip to center of mounting hole distance is "9.5mm, +/- 0.5mm." So, within the 1mm margin, that too seems to comply with the standard of 9.52mm. My actual cartridge measured 9.17mm which is the dimension I sent to Yip to make my protractor.
Raul, first we should ask if most cartridge manufacturers give much (if any) consideration to the IEC standard, or are even aware of it as a standard. Second, in reality it isn't easy to make each and every cartridge design accomodate a mounting hole to stylus pitch of 3/8 inch, and the greater the differences between a cartridge designer's individual designs, the harder it becomes to maintain 3/8 inch.

Some companies have exhibited little design variance in the cartridges that they have launched over a period of years, but others have shown major variances. I'm one of those who tends to make pretty radical changes between designs (or design generations), and I'd suggest that Dynavector is another such company.

I started out over 25 years ago with cartridge designs based on a classical-style single big magnet plus two polepiece (yoke) arrangement, but today my designs have evolved to two small magnets and no polepieces (with the exception of the Olympos, which is based on a platiron magnet that demands polepieces to function properly). The physical length occupied by a single big magnet plus two polepieces is _very_ different from two small magnets and no polepieces, and this is particularly true for magnets that prefer to be used long, such as alnicos and platirons. Such magnets require a long cartridge body (look at a Koetsu from the early 80s to see what I mean), and make it difficult to keep the mounting screwholes close enough to the stylus position. Now if I were to design something like the present Lyra designs but with a 1.7mm cantilever like a Dynavector DV17, I'd have the oppposite problem, and would need to integrate some kind of extender (like a stretched limousine) into the cartridge body to push the stylus sufficiently foward of the mounting screwholes.

The cartridge body outline (as seen from above) also turns out to be an important factor; cartridge bodies that remain square out to their corners are the most flexible because they give the designer maximum freedom to change the locations of the mounting screwholes without alteration to the other dimensions. In contrast, the signature Lyra body shape isn't well-suited for long magnet structures, because the angled corners midway along the cartridge body make it impossible to bring the mounting screwholes any farther forward.

IOW, 3/8 inch works well for some kinds of designs, but can be an ordeal and constraint for others ;-). I have been willing to adjust my designs to accomodate the 3/8 inch standard, but doing so has been tough going at times, and has definitely created a lot of extra work. If I didn't firmly believe in the importance of at least some kind of standard in cartridge dimensions, I'd likely disregard the IEC standard as being an unnecessary constraint on my design freedom.

When (not if) the 3/8 inch IEC standard is an impediment to cartridge design, it is understandable that some cartridge designers may choose to ignore it because it increases the design effort required and makes their work more difficult then they care to justify.

FWIW, based on engineering drawings that I have seen, even Ortofon doesn't always adhere to the IEC standard.

regards, jonathan carr
Jonathan :-)
you can cheer me up, thank you for your kind words.

If I talked about a difference, it is a small difference. The cart would not work properly if it was major --- but lo and behold MOST easily noticed when you swap a cart in an SME arm (fixed hole position and all). So I would have to guess and say, it was a ~ 0.5 mm variation. Looking at the two easily notice by a trained eye.

Now look at your quoted +/- 0.3 mm tollerance that takes care of a 0.6 mm variation alone (worst case), now I guess I'm making even MORE sense.

Good talking to you,
Fair enough, Axel. Thank you.

BTW, please note that applying tracking force to a cantilever will extend the stylus position forward by a small but noticeable amount. This is why Bob Graham's gauge uses a see-through crosshair piece that is weighted, to ensure that the stylus receives enough vertical force to shift it into the right location.

Ideally, Bob should add some kind of force or weight adjuster to his gauge so that it can be dialled in precisely for cartridges that have different tracking force requirements. Also there should be some type of height adjuster to enable the crosshair piece to remain in a horizontal state regardless of the cartridge height. But this, I suppose, belongs in a different thread - perhaps "Will Grahams, etc benefit with....." ;-)

regards, jonathan carr
Hi Jonathan,
still at it I see. Me, I'm just done with breakfast :-)

Your points made about the Graham are very good!
Pity I don't have one --- the thread is after all about the SME-V which is what I use.
But still a very good point, particularly once we start accepting that 0.01 mm are of any major? import.
Me, I'm not yet convinced, it would relinquish all 'fixed' stylus-pivot measurement arms to the scrap-heap, not so?

And as regards to the Graham, this alignment facility (marvellous as it seem) comes with additional connection points and might just undo what was gained by some hyper-accurate alignment.

I'm surmising, as I have not had an opportunity to compare a well 'stock' set-up SME V with a e.g. Phantom.
Also SME V's have not (to the very best of my knowledge) gone through that multitude of changes as did the Grahams. One sign of a good initial design is that it LASTS. Do you agree, or am I sounding too conservative here?

Yip urged me to do my own measuring, I un-mounted my Lyra Skala to measure yesterday and mine is close to 10.5 mm.
So, if you're looking for something other than a ballpark number you might want to do your own measuring.

Holy momma,

I declare, that's gotta give Jonathan some'm to say, and then some!

He is quoting +/- 0.3 mm from 9.52 mid-point (the IEC, hm... Gold-Standard as we have it right now) - and now this here situation.
10.5 mm! You can only make this yet more by adding VTF!

So this 10.5 mm is for sure from centre screw-hole (across the two hole-centres and midpoint between them) to the stylus tip, are we quite sure there?

So now what's next?
(I hope not turning in a version of Dynasty like my other thread :-)
Dear Jcarr: Thank you for your explanation. For what you say maybe it would be a limitation to the cartridge designers to have and meet a " standard " on that distance. Do you have a sugestion of a " safe number " on it?

Regards and enjoy the music.
I definately measured center of screw holes to stylus tip.
I did it a number of times to be sure because I was expecting it to be in the 9.2 region and it took me by surprise.
now what?

Mjglo measures, and Giggsy confirms?!
Are you the same?
Or are we having a crossed wire?
This is important to know...

cross wire, i'm referring to my measurement of 8mm.
Ok Giggsy, you see so things can get mixed up.
Now in your 8mm case, Jonathan, and as you know he's the Lyra main man, mentioned the Clavis of yours is rather old, by design and otherwise not been sold anymore for some years by now. It being the pre-dresser of the then early Helicon, (itself changed at least once by now, my edit)

By this he explained why it was so 'otherwise' than their newer cart, and i should say a NO-NO for a fixed arm type. I hope this makes some sense. (I better ask this more often lately...)

Yes, I think I bought this back in 1996. I've had the same arm and cartridge since then. Prior to that I had a Lyra Lydian.
Mike, it sounds like the base of your Skala has been pushed backward relative to the pillar, probably during a mounting/unmounting operation. Unlike any of our other cartridge models (which are all monolithic structures), the Skala employs a two-section structure which is comprised of a small-footprint vertical metal pillar (which the cantilever assembly is mounted to, and a larger-footprint horizontal polymer base which carries the mounting screw bosses. A slide-and-rail system friction-fits the two sections to each other, thereby providing a relatively lossy interface (and therefore greater mechanical damping), but the downside of such a system is that under certain circumstances the sections can move slightly relative to each other.

Once the mounting screws are torqued down, they cause the polymer base to compress and bend, which then pulls the footprint of the vertical pillar firmly against the headshell surface so that everything is locked in position and cannot move. But if the polymer base is pulled or pushed before the mounting screws are in place and properly torqued down, it is possible for it to slide fore and aft. There is a built-in stopper to prevent excess base movement, but the base can slide a little before it hits the stopper. Mike, if you have measured 10.5mm from mounting screwhole center to stylus, it means that the polymer base has been pushed back relative to the metal pillar and should be pulled forward a little.

It is possible to pull the polymer base back forward, but you need to be very sure and very careful when doing this - otherwise there is a good chance that you will break the cantilever. If you want to try to nudge the base back to where it belongs and feel that you are up to the task, send me an email and I will think of a suitable way to describe the procedures that you need to take, with as little hazard to the cantilever as possible.

I am not going to post this information publically, because someone is going to follow the instructions, make a mistake and trash the cantilever.

FWIW, the exact location of the polymer base means absolutely nothing for the sound and performance (the Skala can play happily without any base at all), but for easier setup with arc protractors, it is better that the base is in the right position.

regards, jonathan carr

PS. Is anyone familiar with the Max Townshend gauge (US patent 166,447)? The actual gauge is a little different from the patent, primarily in how the error lines are defined. The patent shows straight error lines which indicate the error amount in degrees, while the actual gauge has curved error lines which indicate the error amount in distortion percentages. I find this tool to be quite useful, and extremely versatile (even when the hole for the arm pillar has been drilled in the wrong location, or the geometry data for the tonearm is missing).

Thanks for your PS reference. I think you are referring to US Patent #4,351,045 - I tried a search on the number you gave and it spit out a result from 1875 - a bit before Max's time.

This sounds like quite the fascinating tool/idea; I've never actually seen the device, but I'm always on the lookout for new and different ways to skin the proverbial cat. Cheers,

Hi all,
seems that thread got exhausted quite quickly. And what I take from it:
There is NO benefit with non-stock alignment.

Jolly good to know, it will save me some bucks spending on any of these aftermarket protractors.

Thank you for sharing,
My answer is YES. The MINT Tractor was a big improvement over my stock SME protractor. Once I supplied Yip with my exact cartridge specs (stylus tip to mounting hole distance) he made a protactor for my specific cartridge/arm combination. I found that my overhang was off by about 1.5mm and zenith or offset angle was off by a couple of degrees. There is no way to accurately confirm offset angle with the SME tools, but it is very easy to align the cantilever with the parallel lines on the MINT tractor and rotate the cartridge until everything is correct at the null points. The sound of my system improved considerably, and I assume that it is because the cartridge is better aligned and now I hear less distortion. The cost of $110.00 was easily worth it for me.
Raul: Yes, I think that to insist on 9.52 would be a severe limitation on cartridge designers. I can easily envision configurations which would tend to be shorter than 9.52, and I can envision configurations which would tend to be longer, too. Of course, if cartridge designers all avoided architectural diversity and only used configurations which fit into the 9~10mm range, 9.52mm would be OK (grin).

One other major variable is the rubber damper systems used in most cartridges. In the small sizes used in cartridges, rubber is not a very consistent material. The characteristic that you are looking for primarily from a damper is consistent damping behavior, but due to the variable nature of the material, consistent damping behavior is not the same thing as consistent thickness, or even consistent pressure. When I was just starting out in cartridge design and still inexperienced, I thought that a consistent pressure system would be perfect for adjusting the dampers and suspension, and would make a major step towards consistent dimensions. So I designed a calibrated adjustable weight system to apply consistent pressure to the dampers and suspension during the building process, and instructed a batch of cartridges to be built like this. The dimensions were fairly consistent (albeit not absolutely so). However, the performance measurements were all over the place, really bad, and that batch of cartridges needed to be built again.

I learned the hard way that each damper is unique, it is better to let a trained and experienced cartridge craftsman adjust the dampers individually, and accept whatever dimensions that arise from this.

You can, of course, prioritize consistent dimensions (like I did decades ago), but most likely you will find that the cure leads to worse diseases in other areas.

One thing that I haven't seen yet in these threads is an effort to _quantify_ the change in distortion that will occur if a cartridge is not precisely 9.52mm, what happens to the distortion if the base is shifted backwards (assuming an SME), how much the headshell offset angle needs to be changed to compensate, and how much slack you need between the headshell screwholes and mounting screws to accomplish the requisite change in offset angle. Cartridge alignment is never going to be perfect - for example a Baerwald alignment only results in zero tracking distortion at two tiny places over a span of 100mm or so. If we are going to talk about distortion, at least let us try to first quantify it, and then we can decide for ourselves if the level of distortion is acceptable or not.

FWIW, also note that some other tonearms with fixed screwhole headshells, like the Naim Aro, appear to have been designed with a much shorter cartridge in mind, From what I can tell, these were designed for cartridges of 7.5mm or 7mm pitch. The same applies to the Linn arms, if you use the third hole.

Hi Jonathan,
GREAT post, thank you!
Hell, and I just had though my thread's gone stone dead.

You mention the rubber damper, I guess it's what some older folks call the 'gummi' right?

If that is so, than there is that other item, 'Spanndraht' tension wire? , which more than anything else seems to contribute to compliance, if you can confirm this.

Still with the damping, there is as always yet more. I think of Ortofon's 'mixed bag of gummi, gold and what not flux-damping rings --- and the more obvious flux-damping coils on Dynavectors V flux bracket, yes?

Now, why I ask this is related to the effect(s) of these. Your Dorian, is very 'open' and with exemplary channel balance -- BUT it goes 'dilly' past 10kHz and needs some good old down-loading i.e. to 'clamp it down' before it goes screaming at you. No fux damping here by design choise, yes?

So, no way of running this cart into 47k i.e. un-loaded.

Now we look at the other two mentioned, using flux-damping, they perform jolly nicely into 47k.

And here's the kicker, a statement by some guru: "The better the cart, the less loading it needs." That so?

Would be nice to get your take on this, plus to correct some possible misconceptions on my side. No harm done, promised.

Dear Jonathan: Thank you for your explanation. The whole subject is try to find a " number " to be a standard but I can see is very complex.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi Jonathan,

For a start, please check out:


You wrote:
"One thing that I haven't seen yet in these threads is an effort to _quantify_ the change in distortion that will occur if a cartridge is not precisely 9.52mm, what happens to the distortion if the base is shifted backwards (assuming an SME), how much the headshell offset angle needs to be changed to compensate, and how much slack you need between the headshell screwholes and mounting screws to accomplish the requisite change in offset angle. Cartridge alignment is never going to be perfect - for example a Baerwald alignment only results in zero tracking distortion at two tiny places over a span of 100mm or so. If we are going to talk about distortion, at least let us try to first quantify it, and then we can decide for ourselves if the level of distortion is acceptable or not."

If you define the amount of displacement, I'll gladly provide the measurements for the resulting changes: Null points, max. or specific distorsion for any r.

As you said, any alignment method worth considering will result in two Null points. The location of those will determine the distorsion magnitude at the error maxima.
In a previous post(different, but related thread) I asked what the threshold of tracing error related distorsions was(how far can we deviate from tangency before the distorsion becomes audible?). Off course there was no reply as this is largely dependent upon the individual(its tolerance to such distorsions) and the resolving power of the replay system.

What hasn't been addressed is the question whether different stylus profiles cause a difference in the magnitude and in the makeup(even/odd order harmonics) of those distorsions.

More specifically: Will a line contact stylus equipped cartridge produce less objectionable distorsions than, say, an otherwise identical one with a spherical stylus for the same alignment deviation from tangency in degrees and position on the record expressed as r ?

I realize that it makes limited sense only to produce identical cartridges with different stylii, when ideally a change of stylus profile requires other design changes(suspension etc.) as well.

Time to hit the sack...

All the best,

Frank Schröder
Hallo Frank,

you say:

>>> What hasn't been addressed is the question whether different stylus profiles cause a difference in the magnitude and in the makeup(even/odd order harmonics) of those distortions. <<<

It is ECAXTLY because of this question, that I'd started the thread: "Influence of stylus shapes on distortion"


It has as background the notion, that even such 'old' stylus shapes like 'round' or 'elliptical' have still their following. They seem to trade a little less detail, for less 'unpleasant' if not truly LESS distortion.

To clear up this often held misunderstanding once more :
"Other than at the two null-points (where ever they are, due to Baerwald A, B, Stevenson, YOUR OWN flavour!, etc.) there is always DISTORTION. This can be seen on the various 'arc/distortion' graphs produced by these alignments.

Frank, I think your question about the HARMONICS related to these inevitable distortion is where such inquiry aught to be headed.
If a round or elliptical shape will produce more even-order, less odd-order harmonics AND we can somehow prove that, it will be of GREAT help and inside, I think.

Thank you, for your most valuable input --- but shouldn’t we move this over to the dedicated thread as pointed out above?