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Newbie turntable question [cantilever + cartridge adjustments]

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Had a couple of questions,


1) I bought a AT-120EP or thereabouts cartridge and installed it to the headshell. I noticed the cantilever is slightly off center (maybe half to a full millimeter). It came in new. Is it worth uninstalling it and sending it back or is this ok?


2) What exactly do I do next? I have the Shure tracking force gauge. Do I need some kind of alignment protractor? If so, what one should I be looking at? Do I do the alignment before doing the tracking force measurements? Can someone enlighten me on the process? I have a Technics 1200.



post #2 of 6

1. When you say off center do you mean when seen from the front or from the side? If it is from the front then it is no good. It will damage the cantilever eventually.


2. You don't need a tracking force gauge. The tonearm has a weight and markings on that weight that are spaced at 1 gram intervals. You need to read up on how the balance the arm, before dialling in the cartridge tracking weigth.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

It's off center when you look at it from the front. Guess I'll return it then.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Is the tracking force gauge more or less a way to see if the counter-balance is providing accurate force? So basically it's unneeded (assuming your counter-balance is providing enough relief to the tonearm?) I'll read up on it.


Also: Is there really any difference between the paper protractors and the 'tools' you can buy for $25? Thanks.

post #5 of 6

Yes the tracking force gauge is just a tool to do the same thing as the counter weight.

What I have done is to calibrate my counter weight with a tracking force gauge and checked that the counter weight was accurate. Haven't used the gauge for at least three years now. I have switched to an electronic scale as used by the boys in the Hood to measure out illicit substances. It cost me about £6 from ebay and is more accurate than my £20 Shure gauge.


I don't have any of the paper protractors. I got a mirror and plastic based version.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice! I got the turntable today and just threw on a crap record (haven't received my cart yet) and used the old cart attached. Is there supposed to be a 'scratching' sound coming from the needle-> vinyl contact? Is that normal at all? I just did a swift setup since I didn't care for the record/needle. I have quite a few illicit substance measuring devices (obviously not used for illicit substances, obviously) that could probably be of use. Are you using a MG scale? What exactly is the technique for that? I know with the SHURE one you place the needle on the little device, do you do the same with the scale? Or are you just measuring the counterweight itself? What's it supposed to be at (if you're measuring the weight itself).


Hope that's not too much. Thanks for your time.

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