I have been doing this for over ten years and am unique in providing this level of service in the midwest. Committed to the best possible analog performance at almost any budget level, I have the tools and knowledge to apply them for your benefit and listening enjoyment.
The service usually takes between 3 and 5 hours to do, not counting the time to and from your home. I don't time myself, though. I just get it as perfect as humanly possible. Read the testimonials.
The cost of the Ultimate Setup service is $300 within 50 miles of Barrington, Illinois, plus the cost of gas consumed and any tolls and parking costs. Beyond a one day round trip, other reasonable travel expenses such as a modest hotel room apply. It's as serious as it gets and a deal that cannot be beat.
If the cost of the Ultimate Setup is too much, you can opt for the Standard Setup for $100 (plus any mileage, etc. from Barrington), which includes the bold items below. If your turntable system is worth say $2000 or more I highly recommend the Ultimate Setup.
Please note: The service covers the alignment of the cartridge and optimization as described below. If necessary cartridge installation can be provided. The service does not include other items such as tonearm installation, which can be provided for an additional fee. Sourcing of additional items and machining are available at extra cost.
Please also note that the fee covers one visit to the client's home to perform the work. Return visits for the following purposes can be arranged:
Missing or defective items (cartridges, for example) and any other changes by the client affecting what can be accomplished during the visit.
Followup visit to optimize the setup after a new cartridge is broken in. A new cartridge takes 50 to 100 hours of playing to fully break in. Even 10 to 20 hours is significantly better than none at all. The suspension relaxes and components of the cartridge break in, resulting in possible adjustments of tracking force, antiskating, azimuth, etc. to be fully optimized. I recommend that you install and break in your cartridge ahead of time if you can.
For clients beyond a 100 miles radius, the full travel cost is to be prepaid prior to scheduling, nonrefundable upon cancellation. This may be waived at my discretion.
Cost Saving Option
Dp you know others in your area wanting setups, to split my travel costs? Even if you don't know someone, there's always a chance I'll be in your area and can do my best to accommodate you, so send me an email. By ground or air, I'm happy to come to your home and give you the listening experience you've been looking for, or quite possibly what you didn't know was possible.
Referrals: Once you have had the Ultimate Setup service done, for each friend you refer for the same service you will receive $50!
Dealer inquiries invited - contact for info
What the service includes
- Leveling the turntable
- Setting overhang and offset angle using the Acoustical Systems SMARTractor
- Setting vertical tracking force
- Setting antiskating
- Azimuth adjustment by measurement of phase error and crosstalk
- Platter rotational speed measurement and adjustment for 33 1/3 and 45 RPM. Adjustment for minimum wow and flutter.
- Frequency response
- Resonance and vibration measurement and minimization
- Vertical tracking force optimization
- Cartridge loading optimization
- Phono preamp gain optimization
- Stylus rake angle (SRA) optimization
- Antiskating optimization
The SMARTractor's extreme accuracy is due to its precision machining, where at the correct overhang distance the diamond stylus tip drops into a tiny divot in the mirrored surface, much like a golf ball going into the cup.
This photo shows a Lyra Atlas cartridge I set up using the SMARTractor. The stylus is in the divot.
Some of the tools used
- Acoustical Systems SMARTractor
- Dr. Feickert Analogue Adjust+ Pro software and test record
- AnalogMagik software and test records
- USB mciroscope
What differences can you expect?
- Better imaging
- Deeper, wider soundstage
- Lower noise and distortion
- Clearer high frequencies
- More tuneful, better defined bass
- Richer tone and harmonics
- Reduced record wear
- Longer stylus life
You will be satisfied
People consistently say this is by far the biggest improvement with highest return on investment you can make on your system. I am so confident of that, I am willing to put my money where my mouth is.
You must be absolutely delighted with the results of my setup service, or you don't pay the base fee.