Which cartridge alignment do you use?

  • Löfgren B
  • Löfgren A / Baerwald
  • Schön
  • Clearaudio (apparently use their own nullpoints)
  • Other

0 voters

Even though I know there’s no Naim turntable, as I was reading about the different cartridge alignments, I was just wondering what people here were using. And if you did any comparing, what your thoughts were.

I have absolutely no idea what is being asked here. What do these words mean?

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Nigel they’re different alignments where the two perfect tangential alignment points in the arc of the tonearm are at different places. This ensure that distortion is least at those perfect tangential points, and also often (but not always) aims to ensure it is spread evenly elsewhere

On my Rega RP10, I believe that Rega have their own alignment that ensures least distortion at the inner grooves; the idea being that at the outer grooves the effects of the higher geometric distortion is lessened due it being at the outer edge.

Hmm. I’m none the wiser. My lovely dealer attached my cartridge and it works fine. I’ve not tried it with Nils Loftgren because I don’t like his music. Nils Landgren is Ok though.

I’m fairly sure Rega uses Stevenson which I indeed omitted from the poll. Would you be able to add it? Thanks.

As the tonearm travels in an arc, the stylus can’t be perfectly aligned in more than two points, and there will be an amount of distortion everywhere else. These are about which two points are chosen.

Originally a man called Percy Wilson calculated the tracking error to be spread evenly, but as Richard indicated it matters more on the inner grooves (relative tracking error) no one uses these.

Lofgren and Baerwald made the calculation for the relative tracking error, and essentially all others use this calculation. The difference being which null point to choose, i.e. where to optimise.

Stevenson (who I accidentally omitted and can hopefully be added in), takes them much closer to the center based on the theory that classical records often have crescendo’s near the end. Sacrificing the outer edge of course. That’s of course not the case for all records/music. It’s known that producers even used to take that into account and put certain pieces near the end of an side because for those it would matter less. Additionally many modern records will be spread out over more sides and not actually use the space nearer the label, so others might make a lot of sense as well.

Schon is interesting as he suggests that alignment is inaccurate. i.e. it’s done based on sight and the assumption that the stylus is absolutely straight and centered relative to the cartridge body. So he calculated the optimum (based on Baerwald if not mistaken) including some tolerance. I.e. in theory Baerwald’s points are better, but assuming there’s a margin of error, his will be better on average.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to explain. It’s a great example of something I sort of know - that records sound worse near the middle - but had simply relied on others to get right. I’m not sure one can realistically answer which is preferred as surely a cartridge is bought for the sound and the alignment just happens to go with it. That said it’s certainly interesting and, unlike some of the digital stuff, entirely understandable. I shall look at my Rega Bias 2 with a new respect!

No, only within the first 5 minutes can a poll be edited. I guess Stevenson will fall within “Other”.

Ok, that’s a shame. I think it’ll be save to assume that other will be almost exclusively Stevenson in this case. I don’t think there are (m)any others in use.

If you do happen to use something other than Stevenson a comment to that extent would be appreciated.

That’s not correct. A cartridge is aligned in the headshell, any cartridge can in theory be aligned to any of the above.

Except in the case of something like the Rega 3 point mounting which doesn’t allow you to change the alignment. Or the Naim Aro which requires either a Linn Troika or a cartridge with a similar stylus to mounting hole distance.

That’s what I was thinking of, having owned an Aro and various three point mount cartridges, where it’s just a matter of lining it up and screwing it on. Is one of these alignments therefore assumed in the design of the headshell?

Well Tempered…A whole new world but not…It Works Though.

Yes, and as long as the matching 3 point cartridges remain available you’re good to go!

Ugh. Didn’t know they did that, but yet another reason for me to dislike Rega. Unless they only do this with their budget offerings? I guess there it’s okay for plug and play to trump any choice.

No, it’s only when you use a top end Rega Cartridge with one of their arms. The three point mount is much better than two points as it makes the connection more rigid and secure. The alignment should then in theory be bang on to whatever Rega specify.

If you want to use a different cartridge then you can still mount via the regular 2 point method and in that case you can align any way you want.

Ah, good to know. Thanks for clarifying!

I found that the hi-fi news test record and an old two trace oscilloscope made for the very best and most accurate cartridge set up

There really is no substitute for actually seeing the changes you make in real time …and how they affect the difficult tracking tests on the record
Far easier that sitting listening for minute differences and I ended up with the best sound I have ever had from my R8 / alpheta 2 combo

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I use the Dennesen Soundtracktor tool. I think it utilize Lofgren / Baerwald aligment geometry.

But you’ll have to start from somewhere, right? I can see how you finetune using an oscilloscope, especially azimuth & anti-skating, but setting overhang, offset etc.?