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Cartridge alignment

Digby

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How do you do it? Not in the literal sense, but in the what is the best way you have found sense.

I have a Technics Sl-1200MK2 and have tried printing off protractors from vinylengine with so-so results (how can you be sure you are making a hole at precisely the right point regarding the centre hole?) and the Technics protractor, which I feel is hard to tell how straight or exactly how far you've got the overhang. It all seems a bit too rough and ready.

Any tips as to what works best regarding this malarkey?
 
How do you do it? Not in the literal sense, but in the what is the best way you have found sense.

I have a Technics Sl-1200MK2 and have tried printing off protractors from vinylengine with so-so results (how can you be sure you are making a hole at precisely the right point regarding the centre hole?) and the Technics protractor, which I feel is hard to tell how straight or exactly how far you've got the overhang. It all seems a bit too rough and ready.

Any tips as to what works best regarding this malarkey?
simply... no? ;-)
(gauge technics etc or denon etc or just a caliper ;-) )
 

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you feel the technics gauge is good enough for the job?

to offer some more info, I found the technics gauge fine until I tried a Gyger tip stylus (Goldring 1042). I am having some occasional distortion with the cartridge and either it is properly aligned and picking up damage in the groove ellipticals miss or, more likely, it is not accurately aligned and that is causing the issue.
 
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You can buy a protractor, not a paper one. Works fine, needs to be bought only once.
 
you feel the technics gauge is good enough for the job?

to offer some more info, I found the technics gauge fine until I tried a Gyger tip stylus (Goldring 1042). I am having some occasional distortion with the cartridge and either it is properly aligned and picking up damage in the groove ellipticals miss or, more likely, it is not accurately aligned and that is causing the issue.
no... protractage is in essence something... relative... yes yes
 
you feel the technics gauge is good enough for the job?

to offer some more info, I found the technics gauge fine until I tried a Gyger tip stylus (Goldring 1042). I am having some occasional distortion with the cartridge and either it is properly aligned and picking up damage in the groove ellipticals miss or, more likely, it is not accurately aligned and that is causing the issue.

If the stylus is at 52mm from the rubber in the headshell and ...
- headshell top is parallel to the record
- Stylus is perfectly perpendicular to the record
- cartridge don't have any "angle" with the headshell (aligned with the headshell, screws at the same distance)
- stylus and record are clean

if you hear distortion ... It is other stuff ... preamp overload, record damage, etc
 
But there shouldn't be an issue with the Technics one you have. Occasional distortion should be found in the same place in the same record. And in similar problematic pressings.
Otherwise may want to check your cables, bad contact perhaps?
 
I'm way beyond the anal nonsense about different geometries, tracing arcs and so on, as any differences tend to be academic and totally inaudible once the hobbyist attitude slowly becomes music listening as the years pass.

The Techie arm is/was designed to put the inner null point on a protractor at 57mm or so from disc centre (my mid 70's Dual 701 tonearm is exactly the same). The effective length is fixed as is the offset angle, so no need to worry about all that as the greatest theoretical error will always be at the opening grooves where it's inaudible and academic due to the faster 'read speed' at the beginning of side.

The difference on my tonearms between Stevenson and Baerwald (forgive spelling if not correct) is one to two millimetres maximum in the headshell slots, the Stevenson 65mm or so alignment bringing the cartridge forwards more in the headshell slots from memory. I'm damned if I could ever hear a difference back then when I thought it mattered and I certainly wouldn't and cannot now :D

Just set the blasted pickup up the way Technics tell you to, make sure VTA is as accurate as you and maybe a pal's eyes can tell you, set downforce (which should be within 10% accuracy) and play some bloody records on it :D The vinyl medium is so flawed and basically distorted (albeit in charming-to-the-ears-ways) despite being able to entertain our human ears so well, it's no point getting truly anal about it, really it isn't. Technics knew what they're doing when designing their tonearm geometry and no way would they get this all wrong over the last fifty five years or whatever!



As for inner groove distortions, this can be in the pressing, especially if played by a groove-grinder in the past as some of my earliest LP's were. Later cuts were a bit on the 'hot' side in terms of level and with some pickup-phono stage matches, the latter can overload with nasty results. I love AT's cartridges which have a lower output than traditional (3mV rather than 5mV at 5cm/sec) and these tend to be safer with less expensive phono stages. I'd add that tip quality can make a *huge* subjective difference at high frequencies, a bonded elliptical not always as 'clean' as a naked elliptical stone, an ML having pin-sharp definition (maybe a little too much in some models) and the later Shibata tips a lovely (to me) compromise of refinement, unforced detail and low surface noise.

Just don't EVER expect vinyl to be always as consistently 'clean' in tone as digital most often is.
 
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I don't play records anymore but it's not something I'd be obsessed about. Most cartridges are physically similar and you should be OK as long as the cartridge is "square" in the headshell.

The stylus traces an arc (unless you have a linear tracking turntable) and it can't be perfect across the full arc.
 
I can highly recommend the "Custom arc template generator for phono cartridge alignment (also prints nice strobe disks)" from Conrad Hoffman.


If you know your turntables specs, you can easily print a protractor just how you like it. I wrote a lot on the topic here https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...s-cartidges-and-phono-stages.7174/post-610786

Short version: Use Löfgren A alignment with DIN inner groove radius and maybe buy a cheap USB microscope.
 
This is why I use a spherical stylus because anything beyond eyeballing it is overkill.
 
I don't play records anymore but it's not something I'd be obsessed about. Most cartridges are physically similar and you should be OK as long as the cartridge is "square" in the headshell.

The stylus traces an arc (unless you have a linear tracking turntable) and it can't be perfect across the full arc.
My Garrard Zero 100 conversation piece (well, it does actually play records too) gets pretty close, but obtaining nigh-on zero tracking error makes no audible difference really and the extra pivots on the headshell assembly and second tonearm 'rod' don't aid rigidity here (thank heavens for gravity loading of said pivot ball races). To hell with high fidelity, I just love the thing regardless...
 
My Garrard Zero 100 conversation piece (well, it does actually play records too) gets pretty close, but obtaining nigh-on zero tracking error makes no audible difference really and the extra pivots on the headshell assembly and second tonearm 'rod' don't aid rigidity here (thank heavens for gravity loading of said pivot ball races). To hell with high fidelity, I just love the thing regardless...


;-)
 
for anecdote:

a simple (just the sales support for denon cartridges...effective)

and
one more complete (not common)
,-)
 

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