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Mint Lp/Best Tractor.....first impressions.

i've used linear tracking arms exclusively for the last 7 years until just recently. prior to that i used a Basis 2500 with a Graham 2.2 arm....and with the Graham i used the Graham 'jig'. so i've never had to do a full set-up on a pivoted arm.

i now have a Garrard 301 with a Triplaner VII and have a Technics SP-10 Mk3 coming shortly (i'm still in the process of choosing an arm). i had a SP-10 Mk2 for a short time with a Schroeder arm. in any case; i had attempted to use a paper template to set-up both the Garrard/Triplaner and the SP-10/Schroeder but my results, while 'fun', were not stellar by any means. in fact; looking back now; my results for either table were dismal.

after doing some research i ordered the Mint Lp/Best Tractor from Yip. it arrived on Thursday; but Thursday night i went to an audio club meeting and last night i went to a concert; so i had only been able to briefly look at it and play with it a little.

early this morning i started in earnst to do a proper set-up of my vdH Colibri XPP .3mv output on the Garrard/Triplaner. the instructions are excellent; i read thru them a few times, the pictures clear up any potential confusion one might have. i started out by checking to make sure the Garrard was level, that the VTF was in mid-range for the Colibri, and that azimuth was 'close'.

i had ordered the extra 'Peak Lupe 10X No.1961' magnifier; which turned out to be a good idea for an extra $10.

i placed the template on the Garrard in approximately the correct spot and lowered the stylus onto the surface. i adjusted the template so the stylus was exactly on top of the line at the outer edge of the platter, then moved the stylus to the inside near the spindle. it was off about 1/4"; the 10X magifier really helped my 57 year old eyes see this easily. i then loosened the Colibri and attempted to slide it backward.

i was having trouble adjusting the Colibri rear-ward in tiny increments. it seemed like when i would try to tighten the cartridge screws it would skew the cartridge no matter how hard i held it. it's possible that either the head shell slots were too narrow or the Colibri threads were too wide; but for whatever reason i could not tighten the screws and keep the cartridge body lined up. i tried using some plastic washers, i also took the cartridge off and cleaned up the surfaces as best i could. i could only keep the Colibri lined up properly at the front end of the head slots.

here the design of the Dobbins plinth came to the rescue. it was very easy to loosen the arm board set screw and minutely rotate the whole arm board to the exact point i wanted. i was able to quickly dial in the precise overhang.

next i set the stylus in the crosshairs for alignment and followed the instructions for aligning the canteliver. this was actually quite easy and fairly quick. then i went back to check the overhang and found that i was off by the tinyest bit. by this time i had only a few minutes before i had to leave. so i threw on an Lp.

huge positive difference. everything was cleaned up. much more refined, better precision and naturalness, any edgyness and raspyness in the highs were gone. more clarity and flow.


any prior comments i have made regarding the Garrard/Triplaner will need to be dramatically amended.

and this was my first effort with Yip's template. i know that next time i'll be better.

i've not used the Wally or other top level alignment tools. so i cannot compare this to any other.

i'm sold.


Edits: 03/14/09 03/14/09

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Topic - Mint Lp/Best Tractor.....first impressions. - mikel 14:10:28 03/14/09 (10)


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