SmartTractor

allvinyl

New Member
Apr 10, 2013
214
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68
Burnsville, MN
#2
I'll second that. I'll soon be using it when I move my stereo cart to the 12" 3D armtube for my VPI. Mono cart now finds a home on the 12.6 armtube. Looking forward to having 2 armtubes... finally.

John

This is the most accurate, by far protractor I have used

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/blog/smartractor.htm

It is distributed by Vanna Ltd. the importer of Vienna Acoustics.
 

allvinyl

New Member
Apr 10, 2013
214
0
0
68
Burnsville, MN
#4

allvinyl

New Member
Apr 10, 2013
214
0
0
68
Burnsville, MN
#5
Hi again Jam,

I also meant to ask if there are recommendations or suggestions on which scale to use.

John

Hi Jam,

Yes, agreed on the cost. My only dilemma is to figure out which scale will be best to use. I've been using VPI's gauge, mostly, which is Harry's own concoction.

John
 

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,881
12
38
North Shore of Boston
#6
This is the most accurate, by far protractor I have used

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/blog/smartractor.htm

It is distributed by Vanna Ltd. the importer of Vienna Acoustics.
Jam, have you tried this with an SME arm? It is a little more difficult to determine exactly where the pivot of an SME arm is.

I like the magnifying glass and the quality and precision look very impressive. I have considered buying one but I am getting great results with my MINT Best Protractor custom made for my SME V-12 and Air Tight cartridge.
 

jam

New Member
Jan 12, 2015
25
0
0
Auburn, CA
#7
John,

I am partial to the Lofgren B IEC alignment When I have more time I will try the UNI-DIN alignment, though I find the differences are smaller with longer arms.
I also have had good results with Baerwald (Lofgren A) alignment.

Peter,

I am still waiting for an SME 3012R as David has recommended, hopefully in a couple of weeks. My arm board is on the way.
I have used the Mint, In fact I have several and is a very accurate protractor but the use of the mint requires that you have the pivot to spindle distance exact or errors result, besides you need a different Mint
protractor for each alignment. With the Smart-Tractor this is not much as important issue and as a bonus it has a pivot to spindle measurement built in.
I highly recommend it. I gave away all my other protractors and I had a few.

Jam
 
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PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,881
12
38
North Shore of Boston
#8
Jam, do you work for Pass Labs? If so, congratulations, it is an excellent company with great service and products.

I understand that Pass likes their Technics SP10 Mk2 with a variety of arms and cartridges and plinths. And I would love to hear the custom Pass power supply one day. Now that would be an interesting product to develop for the market.

Please report back about the SME 3012R.
 

jam

New Member
Jan 12, 2015
25
0
0
Auburn, CA
#9
Peter

I have been with Pass for two years, best job I have had ever.

We at Pass use Technics SP-10 Mk2's with custom plinths, platter and power supply. I also use a Micro Seiki RX-1500 with a custom stainless steel platter and a Feickert Woodpecker.

I will report as soon as I have a SME mounted on the Micro.

Jam
 

allvinyl

New Member
Apr 10, 2013
214
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68
Burnsville, MN
#10
Hi Jam,

Thanks for the insights on the alignments. I will probably first try the UNI-DIN to find out what it's like. I've not aligned my 12.6 arm with the UNI-DIN or Lofgren A yet.

John

John,

I am partial to the Lofgren B IEC alignment When I have more time I will try the UNI-DIN alignment, though I find the differences are smaller with longer arms.
I also have had good results with Baerwald (Lofgren A) alignment.

Jam
 
May 11, 2015
29
0
0
#11
I have a TW Raven 10.5 and Dynavector 507 tonearms, neither of which has a dimple to identify the pivot point for purposes of accurately measuring the pivot to spindle distance. How effective is the solution implemented by the SmartTractor's round disc? Thanks.
 

jam

New Member
Jan 12, 2015
25
0
0
Auburn, CA
#13
The SmatTractor's graduated disc works pretty well, the best I have seen. Also if the center of rotation of the arm is the same as the center of the mounting clamp/collar that can be used.

To find the center of the arm mounting hole

http://www.mathopenref.com/constcirclecenter2.html

This is an issue we should be raised with arm manufacturers. We sometimes have to rely on their alignments which can often be in error.

Jam
 

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,881
12
38
North Shore of Boston
#15
Thank you for the responses and Jam thanks for the excellent link.

While on the topic, I also find Acoustical Systems SmartStylus of interest for assisting with the setting of SRA. Here's a link. What do you think?

http://www.arche-headshell.de/smartstylus/
That is an interesting product. Thanks for the link. Is it meant to be used for adjusting for VTA for different LP thicknesses or cutting angles?

I have tried to look at the angle of the contact patch while it is in an LP groove and it is mostly obscured by the groove sidewalls. It is extremely difficult to see, even with 30X magnification. I have also found that records of the same thickness sound better with different SRA settings because there was no standard cutting angle, so I try to match the cutting angle by ear and raise or lower my arm accordingly. With a 12" arm, a 1mm difference in height at the pivot point is less than 1/4 degree of SRA at the stylus. Surprisingly, that is audible.

For Azimuth, I would think that using this device would presume a perfectly plum stylus in a correctly aligned cantilever. This is often not the case and one is left with manufacturing tolerances that are imperfect. Angles and distances of this magnitude matter as was written in that SmartTractor review.

Adjusting by ear is an alternative method.
 

jam

New Member
Jan 12, 2015
25
0
0
Auburn, CA
#16
In fact I just read about the SmartStylus. It looks like a really useful tool. In fact I should order one tomorrow.

All the products from Acoustical Systems are innovative and cutting edge including prices but this is What's Best forum and the best usually costs more.:)

I have tried the head shell and that works amazingly well if your arm takes an SME bayonet mount type head shell and can handle some extra weight..
 
May 11, 2015
29
0
0
#17
Peter, I assume that it will work equally well for records of varying thicknesses. Since the groove walls can obscure the view, I recommend using a CD instead of a record to make the adjustment to have an unobstructed view of the stylus tip.
 

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,881
12
38
North Shore of Boston
#18
Peter, I assume that it will work equally well for records of varying thicknesses. Since the groove walls can obscure the view, I recommend using a CD instead of a record to make the adjustment to have an unobstructed view of the stylus tip.
Yes, that is how I have gotten some great photos of my stylus using a USB digital camera, though I used a mirror or piece of glass. Unfortunately, the best SRA matches the original cutting angle of the lacquer, and there was no standard for this angle, so 92 is just an average and not optimal for each LP, regardless of thickness. I have tried 92 degrees as is printed on that SmartStylus and as advocated by Fremer. However, I have found that it varies and LPs of even the same thickness have different ideal SRAs, so I adjust for each LP and then make note of the setting for subsequent listens.

Most people will not go to this effort, and that is fine. This device used to set an SRA of 92 while the stylus is on a CD should work fine and approximate a good SRA for most LPs, but I have found that an average setting is not optimal for every LP and the sonic differences with optimal SRA can be greater than differences heard between phono stages, phono cables, and even cartridges.

I applaud Acoustic Systems for developing these tools. They seem very precise and well made.
 
May 11, 2015
29
0
0
#19
Unfortunately, it's the nature of the beast, but I do admire your dedication in adjusting VTA/SRA for different record thicknesses. I have no patience (a/k/a too lazy) for tweaking, but yearn for the comfort of precision. It's the difficult quandary in which I exist. I'll just settle for a happy medium.
 

jam

New Member
Jan 12, 2015
25
0
0
Auburn, CA
#20
SmarTractor at work

Here as promised are some pics of the SmarTractor in use.

David Karmeli convinced me to try an SME 3012-R and I was so impressed with the arm's performance I bought a second one..........David is going to send me to the poorhouse!

Thanks David you were absolutely correct in your assessment of the 3012-R, no wonder you own twenty of them.

As you can see the SmarTractor is fairly easy to use and provides five different alignments including Uni-Den which is propriety, I shall be experimenting with this alignment soon.

I stand by my statement that this is by far the most accurate protractor I have used, a bit expensive but well worth it if you consider what went into making it. Not unreasonable when you consider the cost of cartridge, arm and table.

After all we are using performance products and everything has to be optimized.

The pivot point is fairly easy to obtain on the SME if you mark the center of the top the yoke on the tonearm, when you get there rotate the arm and if the marker stays on center you are there.

A word of caution, be sure to lock the platter when you are making alignments to avoid any accidents.

Jam
 

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