A Learning Tool, A Listening Tool, A Protractor

A gift from Uncle JA: The DB Systems DBP-10 protractor. This thing has been around since the dawn of time. When Jesus needed a protractor to properly align the Denon DL-103 moving-coil cartridge on his heavily modified Technics SL-1200 turntable, he called up David Hadaway at DB Systems. “Thou shall never sell this kick-ass protractor for more than $49, David,” said Jesus. David, of course, allowed Jesus to keep his sample on “a long-term loan.”

So, what do you do with a protractor?

Hell if I know! I haven’t used a protractor since Mrs. Aikins’ seventh-grade class, and that protractor wasn’t anything like the DBP-10. Some of you expressed concern about the Denon DL-103 phono cartridge’s compatibility with the Rega RB301 tonearm. I’m guessing the DBP-10 protractor will alleviate some of that concern. Somehow.

I do know that the DBP-10 is John Atkinson’s favorite alignment protractor. (It says so in our “Recommended Components” list. The DBP-10 has been on the list for longer than I’ve been working at Stereophile.) And, really, do I need to know anything else? The thing costs $49 and JA recommends it. What else is there to know? Let’s see what Uncle Art has to say about it:

The DBP-10 is easy to use and it was instrumental in helping me envision and understand the relationship between overall length and tracking error in an arm such as the 997, where an increase in the distance between record spindle and tonearm mounting hole must go hand-in-hand with a concomitant increase in the distance between stylus and pickup-head collar. In that sense, the DBP-10 is as much a learning tool as a listening tool, and, as a surprise bonus, it will last forever.

So, the DBP-10 has been around forever, will last forever, is highly recommended by both John Atkinson and Art Dudley, is cheap, and does something cool to your turntable.

Good thing I have one...

warren hannemann's picture

why would anyone want to modify a sl-1200 technics turntable???

stu gatz's picture

Nerd chic?

Fred J's picture

Out away the protractors and you might actually meet a lady.

Nick's picture

It is not an either or, I have a Dennesen protractor and a lady friend. You can have both!!!

Doug Bowker's picture

Could Art or anyone knowledgeable comment on if there is any advantage to using a protractor like this if your TT came with one made for it? I assume no, but it never hurts to ask. Thanks for the Post Stephen!

Nick's picture

Years ago I bought an Oracle Alexandria MKII and the supplied alignment gauge that came with it was off (this was verified by a local hi-fi magazine editor). I went out and purchased my Dennesen protractor which I have had ever since. I used to have a Geo Disc but the Dennesen was accurate enough so I kept only one. My point is that while I don't think it happens as frequently as it might have in the past, another alignment gauge is handy to make sure all is accurate with anything the manufacturer might supply. Never trust and always verify.

Stu Gatz's picture

Dear PenthouseI was using my protractor when a tall red head walked by and smiled. She asked me "what else can you measure with that?" and I said "lots of things."

nunh's picture

Stu's a buttmunch spammerJA seems like a pretty generous pal!

Stu Gatz's picture

Huh? "Buttmunch?" Is a spammer someone who blogs with items you don't like?