Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

the thin end of the wedge
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conoroconnell
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Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by conoroconnell » 22 Nov 2019 18:59

Hi all.
I probably come across as the most dumb person on this forum, but I have tried and failed to align my VM95E cartridge multiple times. My question is this- is it possible for me to bring my cartridge and headshell along to a record store to get some knowledgeable person to align it for me, or is it a matter which is very specific to my own turntable and tonearm? My turntable is an AT-LP3- is it possible for the store worker to just align the cartridge on a model in the shop? I don't drive as Im only a student, so cannot bring my own turntable. I also do not know anybody who is properly into vinyl.
I consider myself as someone who sticks at something until I get it done, but I'm waving the white flag on this cartridge business!

BTW I would not have these problems if the VM95E had the same shape as the AT95E. Audio Technica uselessly tried to 'modernize' the shape of it by introducing loads of curves- nice to look at, but a b'stard to align.

Umberto_V
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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by Umberto_V » 22 Nov 2019 19:35

Have you tried aligning the cantilever (as opposed to the cartridge body). With whatever stylus alignment protractor you are using, put the stylus needle onto the crosshairs of the outer marker and align the cantilever so it is in lined up correctly by twisting the stylus body and moving it back and forth if required in the headshell. Do the same for the inner marker or get it as close as possible and then tighten cartridge bolts, put on a record and listen.

Happy listening :)

conoroconnell
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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by conoroconnell » 22 Nov 2019 20:04

Umberto_V wrote:
22 Nov 2019 19:35
Have you tried aligning the cantilever (as opposed to the cartridge body). With whatever stylus alignment protractor you are using, put the stylus needle onto the crosshairs of the outer marker and align the cantilever so it is in lined up correctly by twisting the stylus body and moving it back and forth if required in the headshell. Do the same for the inner marker or get it as close as possible and then tighten cartridge bolts, put on a record and listen.

Happy listening :)
Hi there, yes I have and I find that near impossible without maybe a mirrored protractor. I just can't tell whether the cantilever is straight to the line or a bit off, even with the aid of a magnifying glass. Also I'm unsure when to twist the cartridge and when to move it up and down (for the overhang). I would PAY someone to do it for me #-o #-o

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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by lenjack » 22 Nov 2019 23:22

Depends on the store. If you didn't buy it from them, they will charge you. Not all stores know how to do this. Of those that do this, their range of skill goes from excellent to awful. You might get someone who will charge you to do this, and do a lousy job. You'll need to ask around for recommendations. Otherwise, you're rolling the dice.

chgc
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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by chgc » 23 Nov 2019 02:48

I know this isn’t answering your question. Sorry if you don’t want any more how-to advice, but maybe try the old pencil lead trick? Tape a pencil lead/toothpick/part of a paper clip to the side of the plastic stylus assembly and align that to the protractor grid.

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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by 33audio » 23 Nov 2019 05:42

Hi, Forget "qualified personnel" at the store, very rare.

Your turntable looks to be of sufficient quality to have the geometry reasonably accurate.

Take the head shell off. (it appears to have a removable head shell)

Use the overhang gauge to set the overhang and simply align the cartridge in the head shell straight.

Probably more accurate than wrestling with an alignment gauge. Regards, Mark

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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by lenjack » 23 Nov 2019 17:03

This turntable does not come with an overhang gauge. There are instructions on page 12 of the manual, on how to set the overhang, which will take care of alignment.

conoroconnell
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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by conoroconnell » 23 Nov 2019 19:30

lenjack wrote:
23 Nov 2019 17:03
This turntable does not come with an overhang gauge. There are instructions on page 12 of the manual, on how to set the overhang, which will take care of alignment.
Yes- so if I manage to set that there is no need to fiddle around with protractors?

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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by lenjack » 23 Nov 2019 20:03

Right. That measurement will give you the proper alignment. No protractors needed. Follow it carefully. It's a real size diagram.

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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by hoolio » 24 Nov 2019 07:28

Hello conoroconnell

I followed your other post. It appears you are frustrated, please don't take that as a slight on you. By all means take your turntable to a shop that sells turntables and stereo equipment. There must be someone in your area, make some enquiries. You are not defeated. In the future you can align another cartridge.

All the best. :D

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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by Issuesman666 » 24 Nov 2019 11:52

On YouTube and the rest of the Internet is so much help on this topic.

Here is a link to a video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM-aIDwfrhc&t=177s

conoroconnell
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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by conoroconnell » 24 Nov 2019 12:38

hoolio wrote:
24 Nov 2019 07:28
Hello conoroconnell

I followed your other post. It appears you are frustrated, please don't take that as a slight on you. By all means take your turntable to a shop that sells turntables and stereo equipment. There must be someone in your area, make some enquiries. You are not defeated. In the future you can align another cartridge.

All the best. :D
Cheers hoolio, yes I am determined to learn how to do this properly and im sure I will. Conor

conoroconnell
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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by conoroconnell » 24 Nov 2019 12:40

lenjack wrote:
23 Nov 2019 20:03
Right. That measurement will give you the proper alignment. No protractors needed. Follow it carefully. It's a real size diagram.
It just seems that that is such a fiddly diagram- with lots of room for parallax as you try to align the stylus with an imaginary straight line...

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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by rewfew » 24 Nov 2019 14:58

You might try taping a mechanical pencil lead length to the area of the cart that has a straight surface. Which looks to me like the front of the tabs where the screw inserts are. You could even use the back of the cart, or the side's that are flat if it's over a grid line. I've had to do this to the mounting area of a challenging surface of a cart I have. But, I use the pencil lead length regardless with all my carts. It gives you a more accurate means to view parallelism looking down to the alignment grid lines. You'll get the hang of this alignment pixie. Everyone's had their learning curve's with it.

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Re: Cartridge Alignment- can I just get the store to do it?

Post by Alec124c41 » 24 Nov 2019 15:04

Joe SP9 already posted this, in the other thread:
At the top of this page, click on Tools, then on Cartridge Alignment Protractors. Download, and print the generic "Stupid" protractor to size.
A 2-point protractor can be used with any arm.
With a 2-point protractor, set the stylus on the crosshairs of the outer grid, and square the cartridge to it.
Move to the inner grid, stylus on crosshairs.
If the cartridge angles toward the middle of the record, move it forward a bit, and start over.
If the cartridge angles away from the middle of the record, move it back a bit, and start over.
When the cartridge sits squarely in both grids, stylus on crosshairs, you are done.
When you have used a protractor, do not then try to adjust the cartridge to any other "overhang."
If the cartridge does not have straight lines, or if you prefer, align the cantilever to the central line in the protractor. You must be looking from straight in front of the carttridge to do this.
There are no imaginary lines to deal with.
Take this step by step, and it is not hard.

Cheers,
Alec

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