What is you tonearm’s Maximum Distortion?

I’ve been playing around with different cartridge mounting, as a Grace arm the plinth of my Lenco cannot be mounted at the recommended pivot-to-spindle distance of 222mm (closest it can get is 225mm).

My best figures in theory seem to be:
Max. Tracking Error: 3.51 degrees
Max. Distortion: 1.21 %
Average RMS Distortion: 0.73 %

This is with: P-t-s 225mm; overhang 11mm; offset angle 19 degrees.

What are your figures for your setup?


Thanks @wallytools ! You guys are doing a great job.

Yes, there is most likely bigger fishes to fry than select a alignment but we need one anyway so why not select one of the better ones.

But it is something that we can do easily. And by understanding what they’re bringing to the table makes it simpler to choose the correct one when knowing their strengths and weaknesses from our priorities.


The zenith error is baffling that the 3 different mounting companies that mount the diamond to the cantaliver is having that low precision!

Here we go and have different inventions of stylus diamond advance shapes that has very small cutting to make those shapes and ridges.

It feels that we have a made a very beautiful and precise part the diamond and then we have a cantaliver that is tapered aluminum, boron or other highly refined material.

Then we take those two parts and ask someone that has not the understanding of their beauty and precision made parts and their importance of their alignment when gluing them together as a whole unit. I mean it feels that it is not done with the proper care and attention that those parts deserve or with the same precision as they were crafted.

Keep up the good work and hopefully cartridge manufacturers start to put higher requirements on those manufacturers because their tolerances you have uncovered to the public is not doing their products and efforts any favors.💞



Zenith error should be able to be resolved with a compensatory alignment angle I assume. Ears seem an adequate way to hone it in, once an appropriate alignment protractor is chosen and set to (although time consuming).

@optimize , Like anything in life there is a range of tolerance usually decreased by monetary issues. A cartridge manufacturer orders so many of one particular cantilever-stylus assembly. Within that order there is a range of accuracy. The manufacturer selects the best units for his expensive units and religates the not so hot ones to lesser models. Perhaps the real bad ones are returned for credit. All the poorly mounted styluses I have observed have been on cartridges under $1000.00. I have three $10,000.00 plus cartridges and all are perfect. I also have a $3000.00 Soundsmith cartridge that is perfect.

Zenith error is a more critical issue for fine line contact styluses. If the error is enough for me to see it under low power I would return the cartridge as defective. Twisting the cartridge to correct the error now puts the coils out of alignment. Bending the cantilever is out of the question, try it if you do not believe me.

Most people do not look at their cartridges under good magnification. Good magnification is expensive. If you are an audiophile spending over $500 on a cartridge it is a good idea to have the stylus alignment examined by someone who knows what they are looking at like J.R. above. Do it early while the cartridge is brand new and under warranty. Do not assume because your cartridge comes from a reputable company that it is OK. The absolute worse cartridge I ever examined was from Audio Technica. Nobodies QC is perfect.