Can you set up and align your own cartridge?

As technology marches on, some of the old audiophile ways become lost arts. Do you still have the skills needed to set up and align a cartridge on a tonearm and turntable?

Can you set up and align your own cartridge?
59% (89 votes)
With a little help
9% (13 votes)
No, I let the dealer do it
16% (24 votes)
No, I have a pal that does it for me
0% (0 votes)
I don't have a cartridge
16% (24 votes)
Total votes: 150

Jose Freire's picture

But it's a Linn in a Ekos arm with 3 point fixation system.

Ron in Vancouver's picture

I cannot.. I would love to learn to do this and eventually help other in my area!! Fixing tables would be cool as well.

Carbonman's picture

I'm one of the folks that have been installing and setting up cartridges for most of their lives. I did my first cartridge setup at about age 18, in the early 70s. There was a lot of expertise available and it wasn't yet the age of cartridges that cost a month's salary. The lessons I learned (by trial and error and with the help of more experienced friends) have stood me in good stead through the past 30+ years. It's not rocket science, just finicky!

Tube guy's picture

I handcrafted my amplifiers and my pre-amp, as well as my speaker wires and interconnects. I like to be in control of my system and I would not feel comfortable ceding that control to a dealer for cartridge alignment. Besides, my turntable and tonearm have achieved vintage status and I probably know more about them at this point than most dealers.

Mark G.'s picture

Just follow the instructions, it's not hard. I wouldn't touch a CD player though.

Roy E.'s picture

Well, I used to let the dealer do it but they went out of the analog business in 2001 in favor of something involving gigantic TV sets and lots of speakers. I can't figure it out.

craig's picture

None of your answer seemed to apply. Here is my sitituation. I have a 20 old turntable/arm combination. It has been set up for a long time. I still have a lot of records but rarely play them. CD's are just to convenient, reliable and maintainence free to spend a lot of time with the turntable.

mfc's picture

I enjoy the process of setting up a new cartridge. It's so much more satisfying than plunking a component down and plugging in the power cords and interconnect. I also find analog more musical and involving than digital, although digital is getting very close IMHO.

Ali TABBAL's picture

I have just set up my Clearaudio Aurum beta S wood with a Shure stylus gauge on my Modified Rega 2 (15 years old) and long live vinyl !

John O'Meara's picture

I enjoy setting up my cartridge, although I kind of feel like I'm cheating with my Graham 2.2 tonearm. The Graham set-up jig really makes it easy to align the cartridge in armwand, but there's a lot more left after that task is complete. I use a test record, but do not have an oscilloscope. Setting up the cartridge is part of the overall fun of playing vinyl!

Mike D.'s picture

I downloaded a cartridge protractor and bought a cheap force gauge. It may not be "perfect" but it's dramatically better than before I set it up.