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Tips on Getting Perfect Alignment

Last update: April, 2009

 

A. Excellent Lighting
 

This is most important: Broad Day Light

 

  Excellent Lighting, a pre-requisite.

Have a good source of light for hidden corners, this helps a lot.

 

B. Levelling

Check and recheck the turntable level before any work done.

 

 

C. Keeping the Turntable Stable

For suspension turntables, arrange some books under the turntable.  The top of the books should be very close to the turntable bottom but never touches it.  This prevents the turntable from bouncing.

 

 

D. Fixing the Platter
 
   
Take a piece of soft Pencil Eraser Rubber, use a cutter to get some wedge shaped pieces.   Place them under the platter to make it standstill. Use tooth-pick to push it tighty in place.   Recheck Platter Level after doing this task.

 

E. Magnifying Power - Critical Element
 
Best Tractor uses a fine line for alignment reference. It is important that you use a good quality 8X or above Magnifying Glass to view the stylus tip spot on the fine line.

Viewing tool is very important and the 5X eyepiece on the left always tells you are spot on while the 10X Peak Lupe tells you are still way off, one side or the other.

Alignment game with Best Tractor is all about the 0.03mm distance. Many users who report excellent results agree with this.

 
     
When using the Peak Lupe 10X magnifier, have the glass pointing in front. Use your hand to distance and adjust the focus for your eyes.

Have both eyes open. Look at the magnified image in a very relax manner.

This may not be the perfect tool for the purpose, but if we measure value for money performance we cannot find any other alternatives.

 
     
The Peak Lupe we recommend has got the power and good image. The drawback is it has a thick housing and this prevents it from viewing the stylus tip behind a very low cartridge wall.

In such case unscrew and detach the transparent lower half housing from the Lupe.

 
     
By doing this you may view the stylus tip at an angle. Not a perfect way but it works.  
     
  One important function of the Peak Lupe is to ascertain your stylus tip is put right on the sight line for judging perfect alignment.

This is a most important step. If the stylus tip is not on spot then the whole exercise becomes meaningless.

     
The two pictures on the left are taken by a Best Tractor user, Thanat.

A simple and useful base made for the Peak Lupe.

 
It is a view through the Peak Lupe. Note the stylus tip is spot on the cross line.  
F. Azimuth
 
 

Some tonearms do not have azimuth adjustment. You have to help yourself.

Take some left over pieces of paper from your hole puncher. Use a small file or any point object to make paper shims for adjusting azimuth.

 
  This picture shows how to use the paper shims. It takes one to three shims. More than this we would advise you to put some paper shim to the armboard instead.

Paper shim costs nothing and sounds neutral.

Azimuth is critical!

 
       
For fine tune adjustment, use a blank disc and look at the reflection. Use the 3X magnifier to help you. Take a serious look at the diamond tip sitting on the disc.

You have to listen to the music to decide.  Adjustmenst should be done within the limit that the diamond tip must look good to your eyes - this is the most important reference. 

 

G. VTA
 
For setting VTA, I suggest this method:  

a. listen to a LP with bass - my reference is a Dire Straits - six blade life.  But any LP of your like will do  

b. lower the VTA by 0.2mm and listen again.  

c. repeat this exercise until you are sure you have too much bass. sound becomes murky.  

d. raise the VTA by 0.2mm and listen.  

e. stop when you have come to a music picture when there is a good balance of bass and highs.

I totally agree with Kuzma:  

"Beware of falling into the trap of accepting a too HIFI sound as opposed to a less bright , less spectacular, but more correct sound."  

Please read the link for practical suggestions:

http://www.kad.si/kuzma/index.php?stran=main&id=16

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