Turntable Basics

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Turntable Basics - Cartridge Alignment Tools

Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool. $20

Standard Spindle Hole (0.282 inches/7.163 mm)

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Oversized Spindle Hole (0.288 inches/7.315 mm)

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Turntable Basics has made the best cartridge alignment tool possible.

An essential tool for installing any phono cartridge. Obtaining correct overhang length and alignment is essential to obtaining proper audio reproduction, and avoiding unnecessary record and stylus damage. This is a precision job and cannot be done by eye alone.

Based on long-accepted alignment geometry, but superbly executed, this alignment tool has a combination of features not available anywhere else. It is also the easiest to use.

The mirrored surface makes all measurements easier and more accurate. The mirror's parallax effect allows the elimination of sighting errors, and provides better lighting, critical in making fine adjustments on small parts. The two null points on the alignment tool are surrounded by concentric squares instead of a grid, so that the user will be measuring the cartridge body's lineup against parallel lines at each edge.

Finally, the horizontal sight-line, which is to be pointed at the pivot point of the tonearm when measuring alignment in the outer grid, ensures correct overhang length on any tonearm, irrespective of its effective length. There is an inverse relationship between the effective length of the tonearm and the optimal offset angle of the headshell.

Regardless of tonearm effective length, the two null points at which the stylus should be perfectly tangent to the groove, are the same. They are optimized for 12 inch records. A properly designed and mounted tonearm will allow the cartridge to line up properly in both grids. For more information on the relationship between effective length, mounting distance and offset angle, click here.

Complete instructions are included. They cover:
  • levelling the turntable
  • adjusting vertical tracking angle
  • calibrating and adjusting the tracking weight
  • setting overhang length
  • adjusting the tracking angle
  • checking and adjusting azimuth
  • Because some turntable models (i. e. Empire, Thorens, Luxman, VPI, Systemdek, Well Tempered) have larger spindles, this alignment tool is available with either a standard or oversized spindle hole. All other brands of turntable will take the standard spindle hole.

    Stylus Force Gauge $15.00

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    Correct tracking force is not optional. Incorrect stylus force will damage your records as well as your stylus. Running the tracking force too low can be as damaging as running it too high. Always follow your cartridge manufacturer's specifications when adjusting tracking force. This simple balance-beam stylus force gauge is easy to use. Simply place the stylus on the mark indicating desired weight and adjust the tonearm counterweight until gauge balances straight and level. Ideally, this adjustment is best made with the stylus sitting at the same level as it would during playback. Either place the force gauge directly on the platter pad, or remove the platter pad and rest the force gauge on the mirrored alignment tool. The mirror will help determine when the gauge is perfectly level.

    Bubble Levels $5.00

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    Ensuring that your turntable platter is perfectly level is critical to obtaining correct tracking performance. This simple, accurate bubble level is perfect for the job. Remove the platter pad and place the level on the bare metal platter with the motor off. Place shims under the foundation as necessary to make the bubble appear in the center of the printed circles. Observe the motion of the bubble to test for wobble in the foundation. Do whatever you can to make the foundation heavy and stable, to prevent the transmission of feedback to the turntable. Quiet foundations allow enhanced detail and dynamic range in the audio signal.

    Home | Drive Belts | Idler Wheels | Record and Stylus Cleaners | Cartridges and Styli | Alignment Tools, Stylus Force Gauges and Bubble Levels | Tonearm Mounting Data | Headshells and Cartridge Mounting Hardware | Silicone Damping Fluid | Phono Stage Preamplifiers | Sleeves, Jackets and Bags | Links | Contact Us | Advice Page