Mounting hole-to-stylus variation / tolerance

Hi all,
I know this particular point has been touched on, raised, in some of the threads dealing with tone-arm-alignment in particular.
I truly think it deservers a dedicated thread since it has a more or less profound influence on various arm designs and their alignment.
It also has a profound influence in how accurate and beneficial any after market alignment tool will work for you!

We have had this far, feed back from Jonathan Carr, i.e. the variations and tolerances with regard to his product (Lyra).
We also had some rather powerful insights by Frank ..., who designs and makes arms i.e. the variations of various products he took note of.

Jonathan quoted, that his current products have a +/- 0.3mm tolerance from the 'standard' IEC...? of 3/8" or 9.52mm.

The findings of some contributors are different, possibly due to simple variations much greater than 0.3mm (Lyra's tolerance) or possibly due to subsequent movement of the 'motor' relative to the body, caused by rough handling, re-tipping, etc.

It is of most importance to get more feedback on this, due to the dependence of a close match to 9.52mm, on arms such as ALL of SME, to name but one. These rely on this to be fairly accurately aligned. If not, some pretty unacceptable misalignment follows as a result, if the stock alignment method is used.

Lastly, HOW can a 'normal' end-user measure this distance with some degree of accuracy?
I have no problem using a vernier (calliper) and measure a +/- 0.05mm variation.
I can not see that this tool will be of use in this case. Optical measurement (like tool-shops use) will be best I should think --- but who, I ask, has this at hand?

looks like Herr Schroeder (Tonarme) got it right.
I won't post his take, it'll blow the lid of some folks, nursing other opinions...
In short, don't get hang up on all these variable measurements, since you can't change them. Learn how to tweak what you have i.e. use your ear :-)

The maths is correct! But life seems to beat it all the time.

Fine by me, and what a relieve to learn it from a highly regarded Tonearm maker (and German Watchmaker by trade to boot). Something to learn here, methinks.

His profession is not making or servicing watches. His real life job is showing visitors the german parlament - the Reichstag. He is a tourist guide in real life.
Hi Daniel,
maybe I should have REALLY mentioned his first name, it's Frank and not Gerhard, ja bitte!

I think he IS too busy making his product(s), and of course selling it. Don't know if he has a shop at the Reichstag, though? So he would have forgone this endeavour for repairing watches, I would too.
But as I said it was his 'trained' profession, didn't I?

PS: A lot of people are crazy about his stuff. Having seen it at the RMAF I can see why --- and it sounds very musical too, so?
Well, I for one are certainly not enthusiastic about his tonearms. They strongly remind me of the Linn Sondek. Good marketing, lots of word of mouth. I have mounted 3 cartridges in these tonearms and was never inpressed with the results. Overrated. But after all - this is the case with many of todays analog products. Too much marketing - too little enigneers input. Too often designed by enthusiastic amateur audiophiles. The economic depression of the next months will clear the field.
Syntax put it nicely in one of his post in march:
"I avoid discussion with owners of Linn, Garrard and Schroeder".
Tz, tz, tz, Daniel, I see what this is here.
Now don't tell us Herr Dr. Feickert is also part of the no discussion theme?

I met HIM promoting HIS player at the RMAF, and he had little time for the SME products, he resides way above such non-scientific aberrations, oh yes.
He has a following that tries to enlarge on Herr Schroeder's, so at least my impression.

Note: Everybody has to pay his rent :-)

Speaking of Dr. Feickert, doesn't his alignment device measures the exact distance between the needle and the pivot point ? This is the question of this thread isn'it ?
Question: I am building two different turntables with different platter diameters, different spindle diameter and want to use the same removable armboard with same tonearm, what is the best way to achieve the correct mounting hole/ needle distance and offset ?
>>> Speaking of Dr. Feickert, doesn't his alignment device measures the exact distance between the needle and the pivot point ? This is the question of this thread isn’it ?<<<

Dr. Christian Feickert's device might do exactly as you say, but we are on about the shorter distance between stylus-point and the centre of the cartridge mounting-screw-holes.
All being equal (which it mostly is NOT) this aught to be 9,52mm or 3/8 of an inch.
This measure has of course a MAIN influence on the other measurement you ask about i.e. pivot centre-to-stylus point.
You might find a MAJOR discusion partner in "DerTonarm" (forum member's alias) to help you with your inquiry.
Take care,
Dear Axel: +++++ " The maths is correct! But life seems to beat it all the time. " +++++

This statement is a confirmation of almost none serious/in-deep research ( laboratory one. ) on several/many audio item/device subjects not only on tonearm/cartridge subject.

The life seems to beat all the time because around science ( maths, physics, etc, etc. ) we don't " measure " what explain the subject, we " measure " in wrong place, we don't " measure " with all the factors involve, we don't make that " measure "/research in scientific and useful way, the maths can't know what each one like, the maths does not explain which kind and which distotions level are what we accept, the measures can't co-related to explain an overall audio subject, etc, etc.

The science/maths is a very wide " tool " that is very useful when is aplicate in the right way and when take in count all the different factors that can/could affect an event.

Do you think that the tonearm/cartridge resonance frequency matching ( calculation ) can explain why a cartridge/tonearm combination ( with normal moving mass and right set-up . ) can/could sound bad, I mean " so, so " ?, certainly not there are many factors involve to realy have a " light " that explain the " event ". Like this there are many examples, so we have to take the " science " where really help us like in the set-up stylus geometry. But even here each one has the free will to make what ever wants.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Good evening Mr. Kurt aka Dertonarm,
Regardless of your disliking or lack of understanding of my products, I do not understand what gives you the right to post false or misleading information about my person.

For the record:
I studied graphic arts and industrial design at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin(from 1981)
I attended the AWI (American Watchmakers Institute, now called AWCI) throughout several extended visits to the US in the 80s, was further trained by both Berlin and Glashütte based watchmakers and was a member of the NAWCC for many years.
From 1988 until 2002 I worked freelance for (among others) the German Foreign Office, the Federal Press and Information Office, the Chancellary of the Berlin Senat and the Berlin Filmfestival.

Showing people the Reichstag was a rare occurrence, what all I HAD to do you can't even grasp.
And we are talking state visitors like Bill Clinton, Queen Elisabeth, Ehud Barak, Pulitzer prize winning journalists and holocaust survivors. NOT TOURISTS!!!

After that I registered a business of making equipment for replaying vinyl records. A genuine (more than)full time business ever since.

Your comparison to a Linn product and its marketing is astounding. I never placed a single ad in an audio magazine. I never told my dealers to "teach a gospel", a "philosophy", to create a "cult" or to tell their customers that all other tonearms are pieces of junk.
My total turnout is SOOO MUCH smaller than what Linn made and still makes in a year(probably closer to a month) that I wonder what agenda you have other than enjoying to be provocative(which, per se, doesn't have to be a bad thing).

You have insisted on the absolute value of physics and math countless times. Whenever I give figures based upon physics and math, you do nothing to disprove it or to present an alternate calculation that could be subject to scrutiny.

I have been building tonearms since 1976(!). I've continued to do so when nearly everyone loudly proclaimed "LP is dead!" , so the current economic situation doesn't frighten me at all(in terms of my own order book).

On a last note. If you previously were less than impressed with the results achieved with a setup incorporating one of my arms, please feel free to call me and ask for some tips on how to maximize the performance. I will be happy to do so and you may find that I am in fact an "enthusiastic audio amateur"(as in the original sense of the word amateur and as any audio manufacturer should be), but that I also deserve to be treated with respect, as I try to treat everyone else with respect too. Dignity may not mean much to some, but many a forum would benefit from the recognition of it's value.

To all: My apologies for not adding to the actual topic, but some statements posted above by Mr. Kurt deserved correction.

With regards,

Frank Schröder
I happen to speak to Mr.Schröder few days ago about ordering his arm, the discussion expanded to other subjects in audio.... What Frank did not mentioned in his "resume" that he is avid audio enthusiast, who tried so many things you could not possibly imagine.... I think what AT LEAST deserves a respect is his professional knowledge in audio.
Welcome to the world of sharing :-)

It just shows that it helps to keep things level.
I for one did not know that Frank was alias Berlinta (Berlin TA --- ah, so!).
Well at least I only had nice things to say about you Frank. And having met you, if rather shortly, at the last RMAF made my impression of a most approachable and VERY dedicated Audio professional (it was just great to what you tweaking your arm set-ups :-)
Now you shared some more, thanks to Herr Kurt's little bantering (not to call it indiscretion). So every cloud has a silver-lining, one man loss the other man gain, hm.

I was actually trying to find out, what it was that caused this less then enthusiastic assessment of the Schroeder arm(s). Alas now I guess we will have some difficulty with this, I guess. Or what say you Daniel?

It also shows that sometimes this 'aliasing can be cause of embarrassing moments...
I myself put my foot in, when questioning Dave Slagle (THE trannie man around here) about his postings being 'oddly reminiscent' of some other originator(s). As it turned out most of it was of course his own -- under his non alias!
Well, Daniel, Frank, embarrassing as thing can be at times I still have to THANK YOU both very much for your valuable contributions, even if they do not converge...
This puts some spice and flavour in this 'blogging soup' :-)

Thank you for sharing,
If one has the means to adjust P2S infinitely, and has an arc-style protractor custom made for the arm in use, then the concept this thread was started on is moot, as well as any worries about effective length.
Hi Dan_ed,

thank you for your thoughtful input.
Though, the key word here might just be --- IF --- or?
PS: IF that distance is way out, as some carts seem to be, the stock adjusting templates e.g. SME can become pretty useless. You suggest to buy a new custom template for each new cart ---- IF that distance we talk about is truly KNOWN! A lot of IFS...
The only reason I say "if" is to keep my post in general terms.

I do have a means to infinitely adjust p2s and I do have protractor that was custom made to the effective length of my tonearm. I can change to any cartridge I want and be assured of the correct alignment. The distance from stylus to center of cartridge mounting holes is a "don't care".

But there is a correlation with what you are posting to this thread about. That is the correct effective length of any particular tonearm. I surprised to find out that sometimes there are differences of a few mm in the published specs for some tonearms. So, check your numbers before ordering a custom protractor. :-)
Hi Dan_ed
I'm not all the way with this adjustable p2s (pivot-to-stylus) protractor.
It obviously is not the 'fixed type' that you warn about below.

>>> So, check your numbers before ordering a custom protractor. <<<

The issue with mh2s is that it is part of p2s, and in any fixed mh head-shell arm of some pretty high importance to know, i.e. certainly no mute point --- lest your overhang AND zenith are out = more distortion.

So, your warring is BETTER well headed!
In the meantime I will stick to my stock alignment, since I DO NOT KNOW as yet what my PW's mh2s actually is.

"IF" my p2s comes to 233.15mm (please note the .15! part of it) I should be in the pound-seat.
No need to mention the arm, since that spec is too well known by now, or? :-)

The distance from the center of the tonearm pivot, to the [bold]stylus tip[/bold] is the effective length of the tonearm. This is the critical distance and does include the dimensions you are concerned with only because the overhang is parallel to this measurement. If you change the cartridge, all you need to is move the cart in the mounting holes until the stylus hits the arc again. That's it. Effective length is maintained and the mounting holes end up where ever they are.

In my previous post I probably should have left P2S out because this, along with overhang, were created to compensate for table/arm setups where the pivot point cannot be improved upon. I.E., P2S distance is fixed but to get the correct overall effective length the proper overhang would then need to be set. In such a setup the only adjustment of effective length is with overhang. The user has no other choice.

I never said that the protractor used had adjustable P2S. On the contrary, the arc on this style of protractor is fixed at the effective length of the tonearm it is being made for. If the maker of the 'table in question got effective length (and thus p2s) spot on there is no adjustment to the pivot point needed. However, if the pivot point is off by 1/2 mm that is enough to throw off the geometry. Although it will still reproduce music reasonably well, reducing this error will make an audible improvement.
Hi Dan_ed
you say:
>>> If you change the cartridge, all you need to is move the cart in the mounting holes until the stylus hits the arc again <<<

You obviously didn't take note of, that we are talking about a SME V in my specific case, and the case I've been talking about i.e. ... "IF" my p2s comes to 233.15mm! plus +++ No need to mention the arm, since that spec is too well known by now, or? :-)+++

Seems there was a need to mention it after all.

In the case of 'fixed' arms there is no: "move the cart in the mounting holes" therefore one HAS TO RELY ON some reasonable proximity to 9.52mm s2mh...

You are OF COURSE right, that for arms other than that, it could be considered a mute point ---- until your mounting holes run out of adjusting space i.e. with some arms using an e.g. a Dynavector 17D3 Karat Cartridge.


I can't do this with you anymore. Your threads always end up as some vague argument where you change the subject to promote some, as you see it, thought provoking concept.

If you have always intended this thread to be about your SME I do wish you had stated that in the thread title.

Best to you,

Oh my,
if a s2mh is a mute issue to you, so why do you bother at all?!
Isn't it YOU that is now promoting a particular arm concept, which then makes this enquiry NONSENSICAL?

Sounds like some ego trip to me. Closed case for you, fine. I was just trying to get you to understand that it is NOT a mute issue - yet.
There are OTHER 'fixed' arms made in this world then SME e.g. Linn and Origin Live I'm told.
You make the issue mute, I say not so, unless you come up with something more convincing than 'mute issue' because it's not your case... or you just want to right?
Please kindly consider this at least.
Thank you,
Dear Berlinta, rest assured - I got from the 3 samples what was possible. I just wasn't impressed. That was not a problem of the respective set-up nor of my abilities. As for the sientific dispute and my non-reaction to your mathematical and physical "facts" - I reacted and answered.
It just wasn't posted.
The dispute about the TT drive mechanism between the "gang" and me some weeks back gave a good example of my phrase about Galileo. If your and the comments of your gang-members regarding drirect drive vs. belt drive were indeed serious - than I am definitely Galileos legal successor.

But thanks for your extensive viae vitae anyway.
I've got to agree with Dan-ed. I've been trying to follow Axel's threads hoping to learn something new, but they seem to dissolve into nothing more than idle navel gazing. My god, the math for cart alignment has been available for decades-just choose your poison, and set up your arm and cart however it needs to be done! When you *do* arrive at a new, never-before-used alignment procedure, that you've used extensively and decided you prefer, please open another thread with your info. Otherwise, these pseudo-intellectual meanderings are just a waste of time-it's little wonder they attract few of the regulars.

saying that, I wish you luck, and vaya con dios
Hi Johnbrown,

I truly do not intend this to be some 'navel gazing' :-)

I initiated this thread after there was quite some discrepant information coming about in some of the other related threads on set-up and arm geometry.

It was Frank that made me start (of sorts) when he mentioned some pretty widely spread measurements of a variety of carts. I have no problem with the notion that with a 'variable' head-shell type of arm this to be a mute issue. Not EVERY one might agree, but I certainly do.

If an inquiry into that subject comes to "pseudo-intellectual meanderings" I not so sure.

Look, if carts vary from ~ 7mm - >10mm s2mh it may be good to know. Particularly if as a result the off-set ability of ones arm is past it's limit. Let me hasten to tell you, it just so happens to my case...

I don't know if that makes it more acceptable for you understanding the underlying motivation? Having just spend $5000 on an otherwise good tonearm doesn't make me go out and by yet another one just because I'm a bit lost with these cart variations, that happen do result in increased IGD.

So let see if this will make it a bit easier for to accept our 'meandering navel gazing' :-)

Good evening Dertonarm,

It has been my experience that even "seasoned" vinylphiles do benefit from a few words of advice when it comes to setting up one of my arms. If you feel that you don't need to take advantage of my offer, - no problem.
I would be most thankful though, if you could reply to me in private with the posts that were appearently banned by the moderator.
I was never referring to or greeting "my" gang, as there in no such thing. I was merely using a tongue in cheek expression to address everyone active in this forum.
And it looks as if you still don't think that an apology is in order for your remark about my "real life"..

Trotzdem schöne Grüsse nach Utting,

Frank Schröder

transmission break? Where is our man from Utting? Taking a break? Subject exhausted?

Frank, will it be a fair question for you to let us have the various makes' measurements of the s2mh posted?

PS: s2mh - stylus-tip to mounting-hole.