My new alignment template generator

the thin end of the wedge
tketcham
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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by tketcham » 13 Jan 2018 00:33

Hi, mjwraw,

Why do you feel that "manufacturers recommended settings can be disregarded" and yet wanted to create a template that "actually mirrors the manufacturers recommendations"? (Your post seems to imply, to me anyway, that you don't believe manufacturers know what they're doing.) Just curious.

Regards,
Tom

Gelid
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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by Gelid » 13 Jan 2018 08:03

^ I like to start by having my TT set up just as the manufacturer intended. That way, I have a point of reference for experimenting with other alignments to see what effects would be enhanced or degraded, as the case may be.

I struggled with my Philips 677 which was my only reliable TT at the time. I just couldn't get a good sounding alignment, as I couldn't find any data at all on it. Finally I paid a pretty penny for a propriatery (non-adjustable) headshell and the original cartridge & stylus that came on it. I did so for the sole purpose of having the tonearm set up the way Philips intended. It was only then that I was able to finally enjoy listening to it.

Sometimes, people want (or need) what the engineers intended, before deciding to find something better.

tketcham
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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by tketcham » 13 Jan 2018 16:37

Hi, Gelid,

You provide a good example of why people should set up a tonearm up with the designer's/manufacturer's intended alignment geometry to start with. That's what I advocate; although, there are examples of tonearm geometries that, at least on paper, result in distortion levels that are less than ideal. I was wondering why mjwraw was first dismissing the geometry designed into a tonearm, which seems to be a recurring viewpoint among some vinylphiles. Just curious about the reasons for having that perspective.

Regards,
Tom

northa40
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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by northa40 » 13 Jan 2018 19:09

I can only respond to my own experience, which is" I like to try and get the best possible sound for the least amount of dollars." Sometimes I win sometime I lose, but I always have fun, and that's why I like audio. For example I was working on a Kenwood KD-2055 marble turntable, and with a different head shell and a little inward angle on the cartridge I was able to get the alignment geometry I was looking for. Did it sound better? While this is always subjective, I thought that this particular table had never sounded better. So to sum up, have fun and keep the records spinning!

Conrad Hoffman
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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by Conrad Hoffman » 15 Jan 2018 21:29

It's a bit of a fantasy that particular alignments are somehow designed into a given arm. How?
Any alignment you can achieve within the length of the cartridge mounting slots is fair game. If you want to do something non-standard, the template generator can usually be coaxed into producing it, though it may take some trial and error to find the numbers. I like the John Elison spreadsheet for working those things out. About halfway down the page here- http://www.enjoythemusic.com/freestuff.htm

tketcham
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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by tketcham » 15 Jan 2018 22:42

Hi, Conrad,

While it's true that most tonearms allow for a range of cartridge overhang distances and mounting angles, I don't think that it's a fantasy to believe that manufacturers design their tonearms around a preferred alignment geometry. Not the only alignment, but the one that they think sounds the best within the range of cartridges expected to be used with each tonearm or wand. I'm pretty sure that the designers of the most respected names in audio would agree.

John's spreadsheet is a comprehensive tool for calculating alignment strategies but your TemplateGen is an easy and intuitive way to quickly run scenarios, especially when paired with VE's Alignment Calculator Pro graphing comparison feature.

Regards,
Tom

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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by Conrad Hoffman » 16 Jan 2018 04:14

No doubt designers may have a preferred alignment, but my point is there's little to "design" so long as the preferred alignment can be achieved. I can't think of a single arm parameter that would be tweaked because of a preference for one alignment or another. Certainly effective mass for a range of cartridges, or an effective length that strikes a compromise between that and low tracking error, but nothing alignment related.

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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by tketcham » 16 Jan 2018 14:40

I think our differences of opinion are based on semantics. '-) -Tom

xfilian
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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by xfilian » 18 Jan 2018 18:47

First of all, I would like to thank Conrad for this incredibly useful tool.

I am something of a novice at all this and I am sure I am about to ask a question which will sound foolish to many of you. :oops: I have a Project Carbon Esprit turntable and I have upgraded the standard Red cart to a Blue and now to a Bronze. Obviously, this requires removal of the existing cart and I have done this and screwed in the Bronze cartridge. Using the template generator I have printed out the template and placed it on my platter. Now, here's the thing - how do I know in which position the template has to be placed on the platter? The instructions state do not attempt to point the spindle to pivot line at the pivot and that position will naturally occur as I try to trace the arc. Thing is the arc is traced accurately whatever position the cart is in in the head shell. Whether is pushed right back or as far forward as it can go, the arc is traced accurately. Therefore, I have no idea what position the cart should be located in the head shell as all position seem to trace the arc. Because all position seem to trace the arc I have positioned the template with the spindle to pivot line in line with the pivot and adjusted the cart based on that which results in it being as far forward as it will go.It sounds fine but is this right?

Any Help much appreciated!

Conrad Hoffman
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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by Conrad Hoffman » 19 Jan 2018 04:41

That's not really possible. If the cartridge is fully back in the slots, the stylus will trace a certain size arc around the arm pivot. If the cartridge is fully forward, the stylus will trace a larger arc. You have to block the platter while tracing the arc- you can't move it (or the template) while tracing the arc, only to get a new position for another try. This is fussy stuff, so the error might only be 1-2 mm. Trace as much arc as possible. You can start out by pointing the reference line to the arm pivot, but most people can't get it well enough aimed. In theory that works, but you might need a string or other aid to get it pointed well.

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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by xfilian » 19 Jan 2018 18:17

Thank you for your reply Conrad.

Its odd - I am sure I doing something wrong. If I place the cartridge all the way back in the headshell and place the stylus on the first null point it traces the arc perfectly and lands on the second null point. If I place it all the way forward in the headshell and place the stylus on the first null point it will trace the arc perfectly again and land on the second null point. This is without either the platter or template moving. I will mess about with it some more over the weekend!

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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by northa40 » 19 Jan 2018 19:06

Hi xfilian, I looked back in this post and could not see what settings you have chosen for you spindle to pivot distance, I believe for the Debut it is 200 mm and the factory overhang is 18.5 mm. I think if you print a protractor using the Lofgren B DIN setting you should produce a pro tractor with the correct arc for the 18.5 overhang. I usually start at the shortest position in the head shell and work out until I get it set to where I want it. Start with the stylus at the most outer edge of the protractor, NOT at the outer null point, and make sure it follows the arc exactly. When and only when the arc is traceable across the entire arc do I place the stylus on the grids at the null points. The grids will only be used for alignment not setting the cart in the head shell. Note, every time you change the position of the cart you need to move the protractor and re-secure it and again start at the outer most edge of the protractor. I hope this helps and I haven't made it worse. Just a side note, the slots in this arm are very short and you will most likely be good at almost any position, as long as the cart is fitted squarely in the head shell. Good luck.

xfilian
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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by xfilian » 20 Jan 2018 15:52

Thanks Northa40.

Thank for your reply. I have just tried the Lofgren B Protractor having previously used the Lofgren A. This method produced a slightly different result - there was some variance in terms of where the cartridge was placed in the headshell. Neither fully forward or fully back traced the arc accurately. Having said that, even at these extremes thing were not miles out. As you say, the slots in the headshell are very short. In the end, after much back and forth measuring, I have got the cart positioned as close as possible and the cantilever lined up as accurately as I can. I think I will leave it alone for now and just listen to some music which, incidentally, sounds sublime. :) Guess that's the most important thing.

Thanks again folks.

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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by northa40 » 20 Jan 2018 19:50

I find myself overthinking cartridge alignment and can find myself worrying about the technical stuff and not about the music. If things are sounding good and you are not noticing anything evil, you are most likely good to go. Remember, Keep it simple, but not to simple. Cheers!

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Re: My new alignment template generator

Post by StuieJW » 28 Jan 2018 18:15

Xfilian,

Just read your post about being able to track the protractor at any position in the headshell of your Project arm.

I have the Debut Carbon III and the only position it traces the arc is having my 2M black about 2mm from the end of the headshell. (This is by roughly aligning the protractor to the pivot as a starting guide).

At the very end of the headshell it traces to the 2nd null point (just) then overhangs the guide towards the spindle. 2mm back from the end is near perfect.

Saying that, I have never tried to push the cartridge to the very rear but if it isn`t tracing perfectly at the front, I can`t see how you are tracing much further back?

Anyway, just an observation and my findings.

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