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  • What Alignment Protractors Do You Use?

    With only one arm/table combination for the past 30+ years, I've had great use out of a Wally Tractor. But since it is specific to a single arm/table geometry, I might want to pick up a second universal protractor. What do you all use? How would you describe its pros and cons?

    Wally Tractor - Pro - works easily, quickly and accurately. Cons - specific to one table/arm geometry, expensive at $149.

    I also use the Wally VTA gauge, which is really nice and fast if your goal is to set the arm parallel to the record. also $149
    Steve Lefkowicz
    Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
    -
    Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
    Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
    Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
    Speakers: Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
    Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
    Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Audioquest Type 5
    Digital cables: Aural Symphonics USB, iFi Gemini twin-head USB.
    Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
    Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

  • #2
    I use the Feickert universal protractor. It's quick to set up, it's easy to use, it's accurate for any arm and multiple geometries. The downside is that it costs ~$259.
    Analog: Holbo Turntable, Transfiguration Proteus; Forsell Air Reference, Transfiguration Phoenix S; Rega RP-8, VdH Crimson XGW; VPI Prime Signature, VAS Nova Mono, VAS Nova Signature, Symphonic Line RG-8
    Digital: Mac mini 6,2 with YFS PS-12M LPS; Exogal Comet Plus, Exogal Ion PowerDAC
    Electronics: Aurorasound Vida, Channel D Lino C; Merrill Cara, Gryphon M-100 Mkii (pair)
    Cables: Morrow, Gryphon interconnects; YFS USB cable; Morrow, XLO, Channel D phono cables; Morrow, Gryphon, Goertz speaker cables

    Comment


    • #3
      Some of the arms I've bought come with protractor's.

      Once set up, now the fun begins.

      Let's see if I can convey this next part: The diamond tip was polished by a person or machine. Is it perfect?. That diamond was now installed on a cantilever. Do they install every diamond perfectly, zero derivation?. Once the cantilever/diamond is installed onto the body, by hand, is it perfectly aligned?

      Protractors are only a starting point. Fine tuning starts on track 2 or 3 of an album. Never fine tune with the first track of an album. Think of the first null point. Double check near the second null point.

      Azimuth, azimuth, azimuth. If this is off, your on your own.

      If my neurosis isn't bad enough. The cutting head of the master lathe was installed by hand. Most of my albums sound amazing, some have tracking error distortion?. Where's my medication?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jonathanb View Post
        I use the Feickert universal protractor. It's quick to set up, it's easy to use, it's accurate for any arm and multiple geometries. The downside is that it costs ~$259.
        Looks like the Pro-ject protractor is a simplified, low cost ($149) version of the Feickert. Wonder they compare in actual use.
        Steve Lefkowicz
        Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
        -
        Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
        Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
        Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
        Speakers: Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
        Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
        Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Audioquest Type 5
        Digital cables: Aural Symphonics USB, iFi Gemini twin-head USB.
        Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
        Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

        Comment


        • #5
          I've got most of them. The current Feikert is just ok IMO. The landing notation on the gauge is it the size of a SUV.. it is not that accurate- really. The old Feikert was better with finer notations. Both are easy to use

          The scribed MINT is excellent but maddening to use it is difficult to see even with good light and magnification, It is prescriptive to a given arm table only

          The very best is the Acoustical Systems Tractor. It is incredibly easy to use and see with laser imprinted divot for the stylus and precise alignment choices. There are two versions , one made for professional installation constructed of aluminum- I believe & one made for the layman made out of plastic and aluminum.

          I have the layman model but if you thought $149 was expensive you won't like either of the Acoustical Systems solutions. You get what you pay for in this instance. I get repeatable results in minutes not hours of frustration with other gauges.

          The difference is with the Acoustical Systems product I don't feel like sticking a pin through my eye when I am done . It is so easy and precise and quick I'm ditching all the others I have.



          Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
          Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
          Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
          Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
          Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
          Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

          Comment


          • #6
            The Pro-ject protractor is designed specifically for Pro-ject turntables and, from what I've read, is rather difficult for use with other turntables. There is no mm scale on the Pro-ject protractor nor is there the ability to choose Lofgren, Baerwald or Sorensen curves when setting up your cartridge. The Feickert protractor is to me a much better value even if it costs ~$110 more.
            Last edited by jonathanb; 07-03-2020, 11:14 AM.
            Analog: Holbo Turntable, Transfiguration Proteus; Forsell Air Reference, Transfiguration Phoenix S; Rega RP-8, VdH Crimson XGW; VPI Prime Signature, VAS Nova Mono, VAS Nova Signature, Symphonic Line RG-8
            Digital: Mac mini 6,2 with YFS PS-12M LPS; Exogal Comet Plus, Exogal Ion PowerDAC
            Electronics: Aurorasound Vida, Channel D Lino C; Merrill Cara, Gryphon M-100 Mkii (pair)
            Cables: Morrow, Gryphon interconnects; YFS USB cable; Morrow, XLO, Channel D phono cables; Morrow, Gryphon, Goertz speaker cables

            Comment


            • #7
              Has anyone tried the Wally Universal Protractor?
              Steve Lefkowicz
              Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
              -
              Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
              Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
              Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
              Speakers: Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
              Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
              Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Audioquest Type 5
              Digital cables: Aural Symphonics USB, iFi Gemini twin-head USB.
              Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
              Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

              Comment


              • 1morerecord2clean
                1morerecord2clean commented
                Editing a comment
                I use the Wally U Steve. Works the same way your single use Wally works. What I really need is a younger pair of eyes.👀

            • #8
              Most all of the templates are butkus unless you know what you are doing and understand the geometry and mathematics involved. I have the original Feickert which is good. I use the Roksan template which is excellent with the Artemiz arm. And I have a couple others.

              Click image for larger version

Name:	KOSMIC 222mm template for Rega.jpg
Views:	1053
Size:	164.6 KB
ID:	43273

              Since I do turntable set-up and optimization for my customers, I make my own custom templates. See this link for my typical Rega 222mm spindle-to-pivot geometry as an example. As you can see, the angular difference between Baerwald, Lofgren and Stevenson null points are extremely small. Depending on the size of the cantilever, your eyesight and precision and unit-to-unit variation of cartridge manufacture, I think you are lucky to be within 2 degrees of the ideal alignment even with the best templates.

              I think the arc that the stylus travels is more important than cantilever alignment. The arc incorporates the overhang dimension which is directly related to the angular error as the arm tracks from the outside to inside of the LP, and thus gives you the lowest average noise (most important at the inner grooves). Get the stylus to accurately track the curve and you are in the zone.

              Templates get you close, however, listening by ear is the best especially for hyper line contact styli. Time and effort can reward you with best sound.
              Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
              Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
              Phono 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable with 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Decade Phono Preamp
              Phono 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable with 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
              R2R Tape: Studer A810 with Bridge Console
              Digital: Lumin Network Player with Lumin NAS
              Cables: Genesis Advanced Technologies/Absolute Fidelity Interface Interconnects, Speaker, Phono and Power
              Power: Audio-Ultra Power System, IsoTek Super Titan Passive Power Conditioning for Amplifiers
              Accessories: Custom Acrylic Equipment Stands, Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by Steve Lefkowicz View Post
                Has anyone tried the Wally Universal Protractor?
                I have the Wally Universal protractor and also have one of his dedicated arc protractors made specifically for my arm.

                It's good but I MUCH prefer the MintLP protractor. I find the arc on the Mint to be much easier to see and appears to be a more precise, finer line to boot. As a result, I have much more confidence setting up a cartridge using it than the Wally protractors.


                All of these tools are hard to use and require good lighting. The secret, I've found, is to get the proper magnification. Just enough but not too much magnification....
                Speakers: Rockport Avior
                Amp: Ypsilon Aelius Mk II (Silver Edition)
                Preamp: Pass Labs XS
                Phono preamp: EMIA LR Phono Corrector, Slagle Silver SUTs
                Phono: Continuum Criterion, Kuzma 4-Point, Lyra Etna SL Lambda
                Digital: dCS Network Bridge, dCS Scarlatti DAC
                Tape: Studer A80 RC, Doshi V3.0

                Comment


                • #10
                  I start with the SME template and then I do the finetuning with the Accoustical System Smartractor that I barrow from my brick and mortar dealer. My dealer usually pays me a visit to check that I did the right thing.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by kcin View Post
                    I've got most of them. The current Feikert is just ok IMO. The landing notation on the gauge is it the size of a SUV.. it is not that accurate- really. The old Feikert was better with finer notations. Both are easy to use

                    The scribed MINT is excellent but maddening to use it is difficult to see even with good light and magnification, It is prescriptive to a given arm table only

                    The very best is the Acoustical Systems Tractor. It is incredibly easy to use and see with laser imprinted divot for the stylus and precise alignment choices. There are two versions , one made for professional installation constructed of aluminum- I believe & one made for the layman made out of plastic and aluminum.

                    I have the layman model but if you thought $149 was expensive you won't like either of the Acoustical Systems solutions. You get what you pay for in this instance. I get repeatable results in minutes not hours of frustration with other gauges.

                    The difference is with the Acoustical Systems product I don't feel like sticking a pin through my eye when I am done . It is so easy and precise and quick I'm ditching all the others I have.


                    I've had the DB System Alignment Protractor, Wally Tractor, both of the Feickert protractors, and the Acoustical Systems. I wish the Acoustical Systems alignment protractor was available when I started this journey. More than likely would have only purchased one, and not spent for the others. I could not agree more about how "easy and precise and quick" it is for setting up cartridges, and pivot to spindle distances.
                    [TURNTABLE] TW Acustic Raven One [TONEARM] Dynavector DV 507Mkii & Graham Phantom [PHONO] BAT VK-P10 & Dynavector PHA200; [CARTRIDGE] Dynavector XV1S, Lyra Kleos, Ortofon Cadenza Mono [TAPE] Otari MTR15 & Technics RS1500 with JRF Headblock [DIGITAL] Grace Design M920, Lynx Auroa 8 ADC/DAC, Mac Mini with roon labs [PRAMP] McIntosh C2300 [AMP] McIntosh C601s [SPEAKERS] Legacy Audio Whisper & Wavelet [ACC] Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by RoadDawgWest View Post

                      I've had the DB System Alignment Protractor, Wally Tractor, both of the Feickert protractors, and the Acoustical Systems. I wish the Acoustical Systems alignment protractor was available when I started this journey. More than likely would have only purchased one, and not spent for the others. I could not agree more about how "easy and precise and quick" it is for setting up cartridges, and pivot to spindle distances.
                      I have all those and more too. When you use the Acoustical Systems Smart Tractor you know you could gotten back about 10 years of your life.



                      Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
                      Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
                      Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
                      Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
                      Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
                      Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Joe Pittman View Post
                        Most all of the templates are butkus unless you know what you are doing and understand the geometry and mathematics involved. I have the original Feickert which is good. I use the Roksan template which is excellent with the Artemiz arm. And I have a couple others.

                        Click image for larger version

Name:	KOSMIC 222mm template for Rega.jpg
Views:	1053
Size:	164.6 KB
ID:	43273

                        Since I do turntable set-up and optimization for my customers, I make my own custom templates. See this link for my typical Rega 222mm spindle-to-pivot geometry as an example. As you can see, the angular difference between Baerwald, Lofgren and Stevenson null points are extremely small. Depending on the size of the cantilever, your eyesight and precision and unit-to-unit variation of cartridge manufacture, I think you are lucky to be within 2 degrees of the ideal alignment even with the best templates.

                        I think the arc that the stylus travels is more important than cantilever alignment. The arc incorporates the overhang dimension which is directly related to the angular error as the arm tracks from the outside to inside of the LP, and thus gives you the lowest average noise (most important at the inner grooves). Get the stylus to accurately track the curve and you are in the zone.

                        Templates get you close, however, listening by ear is the best especially for hyper line contact styli. Time and effort can reward you with best sound.
                        Well, I can agree that there is optimization to be done after the protractor for certain and that you need to know how to use the given protractor.

                        You absolutely don't have to know the mathematics involved or geometry . The protractor does it for you.

                        You just have to follow the instructions and make the choice and get the prescribed results from the protractor. The choice for geometry can be personal there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Music genre and personal preference may come into play here.

                        Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
                        Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
                        Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
                        Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
                        Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
                        Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Steve Lefkowicz View Post
                          Has anyone tried the Wally Universal Protractor?
                          A better magnifier is beneficial. A folding lupe for photographers is good. Something like this, as you can set it down sideways for a good view
                          https://www.amazon.com/Carson-LinenT...otography+lupe
                          Steve Lefkowicz
                          Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
                          -
                          Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
                          Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
                          Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
                          Speakers: Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
                          Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
                          Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Audioquest Type 5
                          Digital cables: Aural Symphonics USB, iFi Gemini twin-head USB.
                          Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
                          Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

                          Comment


                          • chris h
                            chris h commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Hi Steve,
                            I checked your link There are a # of that style magnifiers to choose from even one with an led light. Not sure if that model was available when you bought yours? What model do you have? Also when you set the two null points you rotate the template on the platter not the platter? I see in your photo that you have some wedges in place to keep your platter stationary. I have seen in some videos the platter rotated to do this part of the setup Thanks

                        • #15


                          I draw my own in cad then print to heavy grade paper, then cut, then put to use.
                          When possible I will make use of Baerwald null points at 66mm and 120.89mm. Draw arc to match the effective length of the particular tonearm. In most ways it is a paper version of a Wally Traktor.


                          One cautionary note: when printing your own paper protractors, beware that laser printers heat the paper and toner up to a temperature that, when the paper cools, results in some shrinkage. Using a laser printer, I typically see shrinkage on the order of .015" per 1-1/2 inches. Therefore my preferred printer will be an ink jet where the heat involved does not shrink paper.

                          I think what I am doing in a way honors the overall design of the Wally Traktor, while making it available to myself for the cost of materials and my time and effort. Typically I will stick with Baerwald / Lofgren "A" and, when necessary, Stevenson which are determined by the null point locations. Drawing the geometry is basic 2D layout that involves ; null points, pivot to spindle distance and effective length.

                          -Steve


                          webmaster at The Analog Dept.
                          system list:Classe' CAP 151 integrated, Carver TX-11b Tuner, NHT 2.9 Speakers, Thorens TD124 ( plus other Thorens models), Otari MX-5050 BII-2 R2R, Jolida JD100 cd player, ML-9600 digital recorder

                          Comment


                          • Kingrex
                            Kingrex commented
                            Editing a comment
                            When I print to paper I use photographic paper. Since I am measuring the scale after printing, shrinkage does not matter. I just make sure the scale is correct with a very good ruler before using the template. I have a Smarttractor, but I still like paper. I have noticed my needle falling into the hole of the Smarttractor will sometimes deflect the cantilever without enough force to move that actual arm. Paper does not do that. Having said that, the Smarttractor is irreplaceable when it comes to getting the P2S correct.
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