Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?

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greg7

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Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« on: 3 Feb 2013, 06:03 pm »
I'm getting serious about vinyl finally. I'm looking at the DB Systems Protractor and Mobile Fidelity Sounds Labs Geo-Disc. Both are the same price, $50.00. Which should I buy?

Devil Doc

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Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #1 on: 3 Feb 2013, 06:12 pm »
I have the DB. It's a great tool...after you figure it out. Wasn't easy for me. I understand the Geo-Disc is a much easier tool to use.

Doc

orthobiz

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #2 on: 6 Feb 2013, 12:21 am »
The Geodisk requires your ability to accurately sight the pivot of the tonearm.
I like Wayner's tools sold on the Van Alstine site. System 1 and 2 (under "Products," "Accessories," "Turntable Setup"). The "stringer" thingy gets you over the pivot really well, and the two systems are 30 or 55 dollars.

Art Dudley (Stereophile reviewer) swears by the DB protractor.

Paul

richidoo

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #3 on: 6 Feb 2013, 12:46 am »
I used a borrowed GeoDisk a couple months ago. It was very easy to use. I just put my eye down at the plane of the platter to line up the pivot easily enough. Maybe Wayner's tool is even easier?

My cart does not have flat sides, so I had to use only the front surface to align to the grid, but it worked.

roscoeiii

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #4 on: 6 Feb 2013, 12:56 am »
Someone asked this on a different forum recently and people were raving about the Ken Willis protractor. Maybe that was over on Audio Asylum...

NIGHTFALL1970

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #5 on: 6 Feb 2013, 01:00 am »
Wayners tool from AVA. :thumb: :thumb:

Letitroll98

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Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #6 on: 6 Feb 2013, 04:24 pm »
Forget spending any money on fussy alignment tools, the best one is free, albeit you have to be able to print 1:1 from Adobe and it's best if you use a sheet of photo paper.  Go to Conrad's Free Stuff page and download the "Custom arc template generator for phono cartridge alignment".  http://conradhoffman.com/chsw.htm  You can input Lofgren A or B or Stevenson alignments, as well as DIN, IEC, Conrad's custom typical solution, or your own choice of record groove spec.  It will also print out 50 hz and 60 hz strobes.  Again, it's free and you end up with a customized alignment gauge for your specific arm with a two point alignment with an arc trace as well.  This makes alignment so friggin' easy and perfect you'll never use anything else. 

It's nearly foolproof, there are calibration lines on the edge of the paper to check if you printed it out correctly.  It's also best if you have a good quality exacto knife to cut the spindle hole (you only need to cut an X, not a circle).   

richidoo

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #7 on: 6 Feb 2013, 05:27 pm »
I tried Conrad's protractor, easy to generate. The readme.txt file included in the .zip answered all of my pertinent questions.

Another way to cut out the spindle hole (as describe on Vinyl Engine's Technics printed protractor) is to use a thin sewing needle to stab along the printed spindle circle until it is loose enough to fall out. That worked better than exacto knife for me, leaving a snug, perfectly centered hole.

Wayner

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Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #8 on: 6 Feb 2013, 06:32 pm »
Take a pencil and draw a triangle that's line of which fall on the circle. Then cut out the triangle. The 3 edges will be the exact diameter of the spindle hole. If you can't get this right, you might as well throw the protractor away. It's all about accuracy, right?

Wayner

SET Man

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #9 on: 6 Feb 2013, 11:40 pm »
Hey!

    Two weeks ago I stop by a fellow ACer's place and he showed me this...

http://mintlp.com/best.htm

    Of which he swear by it. Instead of align the body of the cart you actually align the stylus cantilever. I find it is interesting. But it is a custom made to a specific arm mean that you can't use it for other arms.

    Not sure if anyone here using this. I might get one.

Take care,
Buddy :thumb:

stevenkelby

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Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #10 on: 7 Feb 2013, 12:20 am »
Hey!

    Two weeks ago I stop by a fellow ACer's place and he showed me this...

http://mintlp.com/best.htm

    Of which he swear by it. Instead of align the body of the cart you actually align the stylus cantilever. I find it is interesting. But it is a custom made to a specific arm mean that you can't use it for other arms.

    Not sure if anyone here using this. I might get one.

Take care,
Buddy :thumb:

I bought one of them 4 years ago, price was the same back then too. I love it, very easy and super accurate to use :)

wushuliu

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #11 on: 7 Feb 2013, 12:24 am »
Hey!

    Two weeks ago I stop by a fellow ACer's place and he showed me this...

http://mintlp.com/best.htm

    Of which he swear by it. Instead of align the body of the cart you actually align the stylus cantilever. I find it is interesting. But it is a custom made to a specific arm mean that you can't use it for other arms.

    Not sure if anyone here using this. I might get one.

Take care,
Buddy :thumb:

? I thought that's what you were supposed to do anyway. Align the cantiliver, not the body...

neobop

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #12 on: 7 Feb 2013, 04:24 am »
? I thought that's what you were supposed to do anyway. Align the cantiliver, not the body...

Sometimes it's hard to see the cantilever. You have to position yourself in front of, and a little above it.  Some grids are easier to see than others.  Adjustable lighting is mandatory for me and a low power magnifier can help if you're having trouble seeing it. If the cantilever looks perfectly centered, you could probably get away with aligning the body.  Somehow, I have to check the cantilever every time.

Arc protractors are nice if you have a factory installed arm. If the mounting distance is off, the arc protractor is off. You can still get a good alignment, you just have to use a conventional protractor. A Geodisk, conventional, or Db Systems work regardless of mounting distance, unless it's too far off or factory design won't allow a certain alignment.  Single grid protractors like the Geodisk or Feikert work because, instead of a second outer grid they're aligned with the pivot. They're based on the Dennesen.  A problem with most any protractor, especially a single grid is if it moves on you. I got in the habit of always checking the position when I use a Dennesen.
neo   

Delta Wave

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #13 on: 7 Feb 2013, 06:42 am »
I have a Geo and it's not that great IMO. It just seems to rough it in. I thought the paper one that came with my Hi Fi News test LP worked much better. Then I bought the Feikert Universal and I'm pretty much sold on it until someone comes out with some sort of laser alignment tool .

audiophil1234

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Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #14 on: 7 Feb 2013, 08:17 am »
I also have returned to vinyl, albeit in a low cost way so to speak.  I bought a Music Hall MMF5 and am using it with my old records and a large collection I "inherited" from a friend whose father passed away and she cannot use a turntable due to disability.  I finally decided to get out my old Shure V15-VMR that had the stylus damaged in the late 70s due to the usual late night casues and bought a new stylus from Jico.  As I was now faced with the prospect of aligning a cartridge ( a task that was eliminated by the head shells of yore), I went looking for an option instead of spending half of the turntable cost on a protractor.  I found this program on the Vinyl engine page to generate and print a Lofgren layout specific to your table and arm length/overhang and it works well.  I used the specs from the MMF5 to set the arm length and overhang.  After printing it out I cut it to size to fit as a pie from the stylus area back past the spindle/arm pivot line and used a small manual paper hole punch to punch out the spindle hole.  I sue a metal ruler held against the spindle and the small screws outline on the top of the arm pivot to set the line on the paper exactly to be linear between the points (as both are the same diameter, by sightin at a slight angel you can make sure it is aligned.  I then use the rubber wedges that came with the Shure to wedge the platter so it does not move.  Then the Lofgren curves and the two major tangent points let you align the cartridge.  I did it first with the original cartridge int eh MMF and then with the Shure and a Stanton.  All sound great, in fact, the Shure is really amazing.

I tried to insert some photos, but the upload and insert tool does not seem to work (using current Firefox browser).  If you send me a PM I will forward you photos of how I use it.

Anyway, here is the link:

http://www.vinylengine.com/tonearm_alignment_calculator_pro.php

toocool4

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Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #15 on: 7 Feb 2013, 09:25 am »
I use the Dr. Feickert alignment protractor, yes it cost more but worth the money. If you are serious about vinyl check it out and also the Adjust + software, takes guessing out of setup.

www.feickert.de


Delta Wave

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #16 on: 7 Feb 2013, 01:00 pm »
I use the Dr. Feickert alignment protractor, yes it cost more but worth the money. If you are serious about vinyl check it out and also the Adjust + software, takes guessing out of setup.

www.feickert.de



It's definitely worth it to me, it has all three geometries and it works perfectly with all of my arms.  :thumb:

neobop

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #17 on: 7 Feb 2013, 01:24 pm »
The Feickert protractor is great if you can sight the pivots intersection from the top.  You can usually do that, depending on the arm. The Geodisk will do the same thing, but it's usually harder to get it perfect, sighting from the platter level. Geodisk, Db Systems are Baerwald only.

Feickert didn't invent the Feickert protractor.  It was invented by Dennesen, but was Baerwald only.








This is a plastic one, it was also available in metal.  Plastic was $35 ('80s) and metal was $100.  Considering inflation and the other stuff you get with Feickert, I guess it's a pretty good value.

Dennesen had another tool that was great for making an armboard.  It was a arm hole locator. Like a ruler that fit over the spindle.  With it, you could drop down a scribe at the exact mounting distance and make an arc.  It would be nice if Feickert came out with one of those.  They're nearly impossible to find today.
neo


 

WireNut

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #18 on: 9 Feb 2013, 07:45 pm »
I'm not sure what cart alignment gauge I should D/L from VE for a Pioneer PL-117D turntable?
The TT specs say it's effective length is 221mm with a 15.5mm O/Hang.

Thanks

JackD

Re: Cartridge alignment gauge -- which to buy?
« Reply #19 on: 10 Feb 2013, 01:03 am »
Wirenut

Most of the Japanese S-shaped arms from that era used Stevenson, though if you have enough room in the headshell to move the cartridge forward then you can use either.  Would probably try both if it were me.