Hayabusa

Cartridge Set Up - Mint LP Arc Protractor

34 posts in this topic

Those who have been following the Feickert thread in the analogue section of Audiogon would have read some very enthusiastic comments regarding the improvements gained from using the Mint LP arc protractor. For those who do not know the details, this unit is made for any specific TT/arm combination by a fellow by the name of Yip based in Hong Kong.

It is a plate glass rectangle with a fine arc line traced on it (looks laser etched on an opaque covering) and has tow clear sections with cross hairs and lines at the null points to allow for very precise cantilever (as distinct from cartridge body) alignment. The unit comes with a magnifying glass and you need it!! The MInt LP is, according to Yip accurate to within 3 decimal places It costs US$90 delivered and with this you get the protractor, a magnifying glass with light, a sample of his record cleaning solution, some samples of the famed Magic Eraser from the USA and a truly excellent set of instructions.

I have found improvements, as has everyone else I have spoken to simply astounding and my set up was pretty close to right but it wasn't exactly right as I now realise. With my cartridge set up using the Mint LP protractor the music is more vibrant, images more clearly defined in the sound stage, details I had never heard are now very distinct, height, width and depth are improved and well it just sounds more like the real thing. I would go as far as to say that anyone not using one of these (linear trackers aside) is simply not hearing all that their system can deliver. It is without a doubt the best $90 I have ever spent in Hi Fi. If vinyl is your thing you really have to get one of these. It is that good.

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Hhmmm, thanks for the review......just seems odd to me he supplies this tool with additional samples of other items.

I'm not so keen on this & seems a rather tactless attempt at selling other items & not at all related to this arm protractor.

Anyway, can you provide a link so that myself & others can read the necessary details. :eek:

I'm not sure how this guy would be able to make this tool for every & any TT/arm combination as there are just so many possibilities & what about the cartridge?

Sorry, but I am dubious. :)

Cheers!

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http://www.mintlp.com/best.htm

You have to provide the particular measurement (pivot to spindle) to him and he will custom make one up for you. A few who have used it think it's a good product for the price and very accurate.

It's cheaper but if you do change your tonearm in the future, it's no longer useful unlike Feikert Universal Protractor which can be used with various combinations.

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1214065860&read&3&4&

The Canadian guy who started the thread has both Feikert and Mintlp and plans to do a comparison this weekend.

Edited by jaspert

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If I might enquire on what TT/arm/cartridge you have tested this - purely for interest, not to dispute your findings.

Having read a little of the background to this tool it would appear to have the support in principle of at least one turntable manufacturer.

It does address one problem I have with conventional single point (Rega - Stevenson) and two point type protractors in that it does not rely on the rather difficult and error prone method of setting offset (and hence effective length) by sighting a line to the horizontal bearing centre. The Feickert tool does address this problem but I have not used one so cannot comment on it.

This tool operates by allowing accurate setting of the effective length, whether by pivot movement (as SME and some others) or cartridge movement in headshell slots and then provides marks for cantilever alignment as opposed to cartridge body.

In that respect whilst the tool is specific to a particular effective length (and spindle diameter) I would imagine it to be usable for any arm/TT combo of equivalent effective length.

I certainly find it of interest and thank Hayabusa for bringing it to my attention - I will follow the outcome of the comparison with the Feickert.

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Firstly to Nostro, well the guy has other products that he is trying to sell and I can't see how including a few samples is tactless just a standard marketing method which in my case I happened to find gratifying. You're a hard task master! This is US$90 including postage!

Ophool, my analogue set up is a Basis Debut vacuum/Vector 4/ Transfiguration Orpheus combination.

Yes the protractor will work with any cartridge but change arms or TT and you are up for a new one. When you consider the cost of the protractor in relation to the cartridge or arm cost then it is likely to be a minor percentage of the overall investment and the sonic benefits are so great that I think it's a no brainer even for comparatively low cost arm/cartridge combinations.

I too will be interested in Doug Deacon's comparative test with the Feickert. I doubt the Feickert will be more accurate but it does retain its versatility for those of us who do rotate arm and TT combinations.

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Firstly to Nostro, well the guy has other products that he is trying to sell and I can't see how including a few samples is tactless just a standard marketing method which in my case I happened to find gratifying. You're a hard task master! This is US$90 including postage!

....

.....I too will be interested in Doug Deacon's comparative test with the Feickert. I doubt the Feickert will be more accurate but it does retain its versatility for those of us who do rotate arm and TT combinations.

Yes, maybe so Hayabusa & fair enough, maybe I was being a little tough. :)

Anyway like some others here it will be interesting to read the comparison b/w Mint LP & Feickert.

Thank you & Cheers!

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Hi guys,

I did not have to use such a tool as my SPJ came with a whole bunch of tools and jigs for me to setup my cartridges. It is a breeze and pleasure when you have all the right bits as the installation is accurate and easy.

However, since I have a few more turntables to play with, I need a tool that is versatile and accurate. I think the Feickert has much to offer.

I know Mr. Yip of Mint personally and we used to have lunch at least once a week. He was kind enough to make me a Mint Template for my SPJ TT. The Template is very well made and accurate.

As you all know, the Template is made for a specific TT and arm, having a new TT would require a new Template. This is something individuals have to decide whether it is worthwhile.

DSC_6096.jpg

DSC_6097.jpg

DSC_6098.jpg

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Well I've bought and used my MintLP protractor. ordering was straightforward and delivery from Hong Kong was prompt. Reassuringly the glass protractor wasn't broken although I'm sure that Mr Yip has a lot of experience in packaging these things securely. It came with a small container of record cleaning fluid as well as a stylus cleaner.

Mt turntable has been recently set up by Warwick Fremantle when he installed my Kuzma Stogi Reference tonearm and he used a Feickert. My experience from playing around with my MintLP this afternnon is:

this is more difficult to use with a suspended turntable as the platter needs to be horizontal but as soon as you put on the protractor of course it becomes unbalanced. Wedging a small eraser under the platter can balance this as well as stop a very expensive rotation of the platter!

if you don't have 6/6 vision and young elastic eye lenses with good powers of accommodation and very bright light you will find this more difficult. In principle this is a very elegant system that uses visual cues of parallax error to get the alignment correct but I found it very fiddly with my turntable, even after I relocated it to a well lit kitchen table and used a x10 loupe to see what was going on.

Result:

The MintLP protractor concurred with the Feickert as far as I can tell. perhaps I would have had just as much trouble seeing with the Feickert as well. Who knows because I didn't do the setup with that.

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Hey Prof,

Just wondering then why you didn't go with the Feickert from Warwick F & decided to purchase the MintLP?

Was this purely a matter of cost or did you perceive this device to be either more accurate or easier to use?

Cheers,

Nostro. :eek:

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it was $50, came with some other stuff, and I was interested. i haven't changed the setup as on my Tt they give the same results.

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Aaah,

Thanks Prof, so you were more or less just checking the results of the Feickert with the MintLP protractor.

The only thing now is that as it has proved to be accurate you now have a tool that will not operate if you decide or need to change your cartridge, although I'm sure you knew this prior to purchase.

I think if I needed such a 'Tool' I would most likely buy the Feickert, due to its versatility.

Sometime shortly (within the next week or so), I will be changing cartridges & will use the Feickert, so I will at least be able to see first hand whether it is user friendly, buy way of use.

I have seen the manual & there are a number of steps involved & I'd assume for first time users maybe somewhat difficult, but for regular users relatively straightforward.

I will soon see for myself. :eek:

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all I can say is that within the limits of my eyesight, they concur on my turntable with my tonearm

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Aaah,

...."The only thing now is that as it has proved to be accurate you now have a tool that will not operate if you decide or need to change your cartridge, although I'm sure you knew this prior to purchase...."

Sorry Nostro but this is not the case. The Mint is specific to the arm and turntable combination only. Any cartridge may be successfully aligned with it. I agree that many of us change cartridges with some regularity but changing arms is not all that regular an occurrence for most of us(this naturally does not include Turntable!!!). If indeed you are heavily into changing arms and tables then perhaps a Feickert would be a better bet financially. I have not done an A/B comparison of the two products so am prepared to accept the conclusions of those that have.

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Aaah,

...."The only thing now is that as it has proved to be accurate you now have a tool that will not operate if you decide or need to change your cartridge, although I'm sure you knew this prior to purchase...."

Sorry Nostro but this is not the case. The Mint is specific to the arm and turntable combination only. Any cartridge may be successfully aligned with it. I agree that many of us change cartridges with some regularity but changing arms is not all that regular an occurrence for most of us(this naturally does not include Turntable!!!). If indeed you are heavily into changing arms and tables then perhaps a Feickert would be a better bet financially. I have not done an A/B comparison of the two products so am prepared to accept the conclusions of those that have.

Thank you Hayabusa for this correction. :)

Now, that makes much more sense to me, I had totally misunderstood the concept. I couldn't quite fathom it's worth, if it was dedicated to not only TT & tonearm, but cartridge as well.

Now, I do not regularly change arms, if I did I would most likely have a TT rig with multiple arms already set up, but that is not the case.

The MintLP now seems to be a tool, on the assumption it is accurate (which I do not dispute), that probably is a fair alternative to Feickert.

Apologies all, it has taken me sometime to grasp this concept. :)

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User report # 3

An initial cursory inspection of current setup using this tool showed it to be quite close.

I was not therefore expecting any great improvement, I also took note of the need of adequate lighting and platter stabilising/locking.

During the afternoon I purchased a plastic pencil eraser from which I cut 4 wedges from the cross dimension of the eraser, these worked admirably to lock & stabilise the platter during proceedings. I also managed to set up a swing arm light with a circular fluoro tube in a position to provide a good even light without undue reflections.

Taking my time, I carefully checked all alignment points and accustomed myself to using the magnifying glass to assist in this without sending the arm skittering off across the protractor.

My cartridge has a fairly low body but a nice vertical line on the front and a good gap through which to sight the cantilever from the front.

The biggest difficulty I encountered was sighting the stylus from the side to ensure it was on the line.

The checks showed that overhang was out by about .5 - 1mm and while the cantilever was fairly well aligned on the outer marks adjustment was needed on the inner ones.

Taking my time I made these small adjustments, then rechecked everything to the best of my deteriorating visual acuity.

Satisfied with my results I packed up all the gear and spun a record or five.

From the first track, with the cartridge still cold, the improvement was noticeable.

With a much less exotic setup than the OP (I bought my cartridge for less than the price of the Feickert) the difference was largely as he described.

In a nutshell, more focused, cleaner and more detailed, with better separation of channels, instruments and vocals, exactly as one would expect from improved alignment.

I have and have previously used, a number of different protractors, most quicker and less painstaking to use, none have given this good a result.

Well worth the expense and the time required to use it effectively. IMO

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I have an used Feickert Universal Protractor bought from YSW which will be handy with all the various arms and turntables i'm collecting and it's really quick and easy to use. But having read this thread and the good feedback from Audiogon members, turntable seller and maker like Galibier,i was curious so i ordered a Mint Best Protractor for my main table/tonearm recently.

The price has gone up by US$10 and with the A$ dive, it's not as cheap as last year but compared to the actual cost of my vinyl front end, the cost for a precision tool is still not too much IMO.

The manual instruction is clear with nice photos illustration but it's still not something that can be rushed in 10 mins. It can be tedious to complete depending how obsessive you are and it took me just over an hour last night. I found my overhang was out by 1mm and i needed to realign the cantilevel a tiny bit too.

When i spun my favourite LPs, i had a big smile after a few bars.The improvement was not that sublte with better instrument separation, soundstage and definition. I have been enjoying the fruit of the labour for the last 2 hours and it's bliss.:rolleyes:

I guess i'm just maximising my front end potential with minutely better alignment and for the price of a few good LPs, i'm stoked with this.

MintOrtofonKBside.jpg

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the main problem with the MintLP is that us old blokes need a really really well

lit room to be able to see it properly:(

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When I changed TT and arm a while ago I ended up with an arm in which the headshell gives you an overhang reference. The headshell has a dot on it which you align to the diamond on the end of the cantilever. So, I did this and then checked it with the Ortofon protractor I have and it was spot on. I wonder why there isn't more of this?

That said, the idea of getting a protractor custom built for your arm/TT and which has an arc rather than just a couple of alignment points does make a lot of sense. Looks to be a worthwhile investment. I suppose the line would have to be very thin to be accurate, I'm lucky in that I don't wear glasses even though I'm >40 but I can see how this could be difficult for some - I have a mirror protractor too and sometimes it can be tricky light wise because of the reflections, it seems there are always going to be compromises in any design.

DS

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Since I don't plan on changing my tt/arm any time soon, this sounds like a great product.

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I have had the Mint for a while now for my Graham Phantom. However since changing cartridges is such a PITA it has been a while since I set it up for my Dyna XV-1.

Well yesterday I set up a Miyajima Shilabe and the Mint does indeed work as advertised and extremely good in aligning your cantilever, which of course means better, less distorted sound, especially in the last 3rd of any LP.

I do still think tha the wallytractor is a better tool, unfortunately Wally is crap at supplying anything, whereas Yip is very responsive and provides excllent customer service.

cheers

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Well yesterday I set up a Miyajima Shilabe and the Mint does indeed work as advertised and extremely good in aligning your cantilever, which of course means better, less distorted sound, especially in the last 3rd of any LP.

Hi Shane,

Great to see that you are having a play with the Miyajima Labs Shilabe, I will be very interested in your thoughts.

The Mint LP protractor is very good and the next best thing to an elusive WallyTractor. As with all precision instruments the limiting factor could be one's eyesight and patience when it comes to extracting every last drop of accuracy.

My recommendations regarding setup of the Shilabe.....

VTF = 2.95 grams

VTA = level armtube in my system but this will vary depending on one's system and tastes

Loaded at 100 ohms currently but have had great success at 200 and 400 ohms on the RCM Sensor Prelude IC (will be getting custom 0.01% tolerance naked foil TX2575 series resistors to try 100, 200 and 300 ohms loading with the Audia Flight Phono). I suspect that 300 ohms will be on the money for my tastes.

The cartridge sounds great fresh out of the box but really "matures" after 50-100 hours of play.

Enjoy,

Aaron

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a good protractor is worth it.

Just take the time to do it properly.

I was scared at first to play, but within a few days of owning the TT, i pulled out the wally tractor when i had a free day and spent almost 2 hours to set it up.

At first i used a magnifying glass with inbuilt light, but was not 100% satisfied that i was accurate enough.

I then decided to use my macro lens. Took longer but was well worth it.

So do not rush, get a very powerful magnifying glass with good lighting.

if you get frustrated, walk away and come back to it later.

There is so much to this dark side and everything makes a difference.

After the small phono stage GTG, i am now re examining the differences i can achieve by playing with the load settings on the phono stage.

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John

You are a lucky boy as you have the BEST - the Wally tractor dude. Must have been a nice guy who gave you that :cool:

seriously thou, the wally is great as you can try Loef and Baer alignments and choose which one you prefer. Because of the laser etching on the arcs, one can quite easily " land" the stylus into the arc for easier aligning.

With the Mint, you have to reply totally on your eyesight/magnifier.

cheers

a good protractor is worth it.

Just take the time to do it properly.

I was scared at first to play, but within a few days of owning the TT, i pulled out the wally tractor when i had a free day and spent almost 2 hours to set it up.

At first i used a magnifying glass with inbuilt light, but was not 100% satisfied that i was accurate enough.

I then decided to use my macro lens. Took longer but was well worth it.

So do not rush, get a very powerful magnifying glass with good lighting.

if you get frustrated, walk away and come back to it later.

There is so much to this dark side and everything makes a difference.

After the small phono stage GTG, i am now re examining the differences i can achieve by playing with the load settings on the phono stage.

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he was a top block indeed Shane.

Couldn't thank him enough :cool:

shame he didn't leave any spare belts for the platter, just ordered some ;)

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