Analog Set-up Tools

What kind of setup tools do you use? I have a paper protractor that came with my Origin Live arm, but I would like to buy something better. There is a simple plastic protractor (or vinyl by the looks of it in one of the catalogs) made by DB Systems for $50 that is probably similar to what I have but maybe more durable. Mobile Fidelity makes the Geo-Disk for the same price. Of interest to me is the WallyTractor which for $150 is a laser etched mirror protractor custom made for a specific table/arm combination. Also pictured in catalogs are alignment gauges from Clearaudio and Pro-Ject which look very different and I'm not sure how they work, which I'd be willing to pay for ($100 to $179) if they can give more accurate results.

Finally of interest to me is the Wally VTA gauge. Again I'm not clear on how it works but the description says it mounts on the headshell and shims are used to simulate your cartridge's height. VTA is adjusted until "it's parallel to the record" and I assume the "it's" referred to is the mounted gauge.

Has anyone used any of these or other set-up tools I'm not aware of? Are they worth the extra cost by providing more accurate or easier set-up?
Another protractor worth a look is at Just $20 and virtually identical to the Wally. It's more universal, since there's no scribed arc for the overhang of one specific arm. It will do nearly as good a job, though not as quickly.

With an OL arm you have to be careful with some of these gauges, since the geometry of Rega's (and OL's) isn't ideal for Baerwald alignment. What TT is your OL arm on? If you can shorten the spindle-pivot distance slightly from the standard 223mm to about 219-221 then you should be okay, though you may need to move the cartridge toward the forward end of the slots. If your tonearm mounting position is fixed at 223mm then many cartridges won't just align at the Baerwald points. It depends on the dimension from stylus tip to mounting holes. Some carts are too short.

I've never understood the point of Wally's (or anyone's) VTA gauge. VTA (technically, SRA) should be set by ear while listening to music. The optimal setting varies from record to record, so if the armtube ends up perfectly level it's an accident. What's the point of scientifically dialing in a randomly changing parameter? I suppose if you have an unusually short cartridge, like an old Colibri, you'll want to put spacers below the headshell to get the armtube level at a normal SRA. But you shouldn't need a fancy jig for that. A 50c bubble level will do.
how about a string level to balance on the arm to tell when level? I picked one up from Home Depot for aruound $2. I just put the stylus guard on and estimate the height of the cart. while playing a record and find a relative level position and then adjudst by ear. This gives you a good starting point.
The reflective surface helps. It's not as precise as Wally's stuff, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper.

I also use the cheapo stylus weight gauge that Tim sells. I think it's fine for getting in the ballpark, you should fine-tune by ear anyway. But a nice digital scale allows finer comparisons while fine-tuning.
Thanks to all who responded. The turntable basics protractor looks good to me, and I agree no VTA gauge is necessary.
If you've ever used the Graham cartridge alignment tool, which unfortunately only works with the Graham arms, it's extremely tough to ever use anything else.

At least the old-style built-into-the-headshell Ortofons, which I'm using these days (original SPUs and the Classic reissues), when plugged into an Ortofon arm, require no alignment whatsoever. In fact, you can't align. So long as you've got the arm's pivot-to-spindle distance correct, everything else lateral is taken care of.

VTF and VTA and azimuth remain to be done, of course. But the Ortofon arms make all that relatively easy - if not as easy as the super-versatile Graham.

Aligning a Rega or any of its spin-offs drives me absolutely nuts.

Now, Patrick. Let's not forget that setting up a Rega is such good training and discipline, a real character builder. Any moron can set up a Graham! :-)
Doug, you're right.... I was forgetting myself.

Frankly, I don't think I've expended more sweat and tension in any physical activity - and I mean any - than aligning my Benz L2 in my Rega. What a workout!