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Stylus/Cantilever Microscopic Analysis & Correction

If you have a fine line contact stylus, there is only one ideal orientation for it to read the groove walls without mechanical distortions and phase errors. The only way to know how YOUR stylus was mounted to the cantilever is to use specialized microscopy.

Our analysis will:

  • Identify YOUR cartridge's native stylus rake angle (SRA) and vertical tracking angle (VTA) with instructions on how to align for dynamic conditions

  • Identify YOUR cartridge's ideal azimuth angle

  • Identify YOUR cartridge's zenith error and provide a very quick and easy way for you to align your STYLUS (rather than your cantilever) for ideal groove tracing accuracy at home

  • Inspect for even stylus wear

  • Upon return of your cartridge and armed with the data from the analysis, use the WallyReference to align your tonearm to provide your cartridge's its ideal SRA/VTA and azimuth angles in <10 minutes

  • Includes a custom made ultra-rigid shim made specifically for your cartridge. Install between the headshell and the cartridge to achieve ideal azimuth and SRA under dynamic conditions. Have your vertical tracking force, overhang, stylus rake angle, azimuth, anti-skating and (an industry first) zenith error correction all set up to perfection in 20-30 minutes!

We have found that even the most expensive cartridges can often have a poorly aligned stylus. Thankfully, most cartridge manufacturers will take back your cartridge for repair or replacement when such problems are found. In most cases, mount errors can be corrected for by using the custom shims.

We will be the first to assert that even a misaligned stylus/cantilever assembly can sound wonderful during playback. However, it is a mechanical certainty that a misaligned assembly will not be optimized for performance. For just one example of this, see our video on zenith error.

Kuzma tonearm owners: Optimization process could not be simpler and more accurate for Kuzma tonearm owners. Read about the Kuzma Pre-Mount Service HERE

$495; 7-10 days service time; $795 with Kuzma pre-mount

Cartridges without threaded screw holes or lacking stylus guard - add $100


INTERNATIONAL CLIENTS: We use a third-party shipping insurer. The shipping courier and customs control do NOT see the insured value

Read more on the importance of learning about your stylus mount in the WallySchool blog and Analog

Zenith angle 1.jpg
Cobalt Blue Zenith 4.jpg

Tom F., Texas

The results of the  stylus/cantilever microscopic analysis have been flat out amazing.  I had upgraded my cartridge from a $2K to a $9K unit that had excellent reviews but it never sounded quite right.  Spent many hours dialing in VTA and it seemed either to tinny up high or too muddy down low. 


When I sent it in WallyTools found that the stylus angle was about 2.5 degrees off under dynamic conditions so they made a customized shim as my tonearm could not drop down far enough. I really didn’t think this would work, but the moment the needle hit the vinyl I was amazed.  All of a sudden it was “all there” - rich but precise tones across the spectrum.  Didn’t expect such a difference at all; hugely pleased!

Rex H., WA

I'm sitting here tonight and my vinyl actually sounds a lot better. The best way to describe it is, I sense the musicians working their instrument's more. I feel more connected. It's much more clean. Clean as in vocals are easy to understand. Instruments are separate and distinct. Stereo imaging is wide and placement is distinct. I'm really liking the vinyl tonight. I'm very happy.

I can not see any other way to know you have set up a cart correct than to have it analyzed. It's peace of mind. You take the guessing out. I could never get to where I am without WallyTools. No way. I feel its one of the single best investments I have made in my vinyl system. Especially for the cost to benefit ratio.

Steve Z., WA

Earlier this year I contacted J.R. with some questions about his WallyTools which he very promptly answered and an informative dialog ensued that ended up with me making the decision to send the Grado to J.R.’s facility for the cartridge analysis...

...The Grado sounded very, very good before but now, it just sings. The sound is wider, deeper and more immersive than ever before, timbral balance is spot on, and there is a wealth of detail with no hint of stridency or tipped up frequencies, so in my opinion, the WallyTool cartridge analysis, custom alignment shims and suite of tools are an unqualified success.

Wonderful sound from a painless process!

Larry D., OR

Just a quick follow-up on the Ortofon A95.  Things seem to have settled in a bit and you're correct: I'm finding a more three-dimensional presentation.  On the Eva Cassidy Songbird album, there's always been some extra sibilance on the last tracks of the album, that has diminished and on Bill Evans, Waltz for Debbie, which I've never been terribly impressed with the production quality, I'm hearing detail that I've never heard before, so I'm very happy with your work.  Your analysis and subsequent mitigation of the alignment errors has brought more life and detail to my system - Thanks!

Dan B., KS

I can’t put into words, yet, how much more clarity, definition, and sound staging has improved in the Opus One. Like I said, you took it to the next level.

Scott K., CA

I should have sent this email a few months back.
Sending my Nagaoka MP500 to you for analysis was a gamble. Could it sound any better than what I heard out of the box? The question was answered. I found the perfect sound now that I have the proper shims in place. Money well spent. And my lingering question of “It already sounds good…can the cartridge really sound any better?” And the answer is yes.

Russell A., VA

I installed the cartridge you analyzed for me this afternoon.  I'm listening to Richard Thompson's Rumor and Sigh.  There's more impact, bass, bite, drum tone, attack.  Images and instruments are locked in.  Thank you for your work and effort on my cartridge.  Your tools are easy to use, and very effective.  Your service is easily the best bang for buck audio investment I've made.  Wally would love what you're doing with his legacy. Audiophiles spend so much chasing miniscule improvements, they need to know what $500 can do in your hands.

Todd W., NV

I’m blown away by the results on my $600 Audio Technica OC9XML; totally 100% happy with my investment on the tools and your evaluation. I’m really grateful for all of the research you’ve done and the quality information you share online. It really makes a difference. I like to see what my carts can do or not do I terms of tracking performance. I’ve always thought AT carts were the best trackers out there (I’ve owned carts up to $8,000) but I think the custom shims, the Wally Tractor and WallyZenith had a profound effect on what the OC9XML is capable of. It passed every test. I’ve never ever seen this. Those ridiculous AS tracks on the Hi-Fi News… no mistracking, even on the +18db tone. Ortofon record… sailed through the 100
µm tracking test with zero distortion. My favorite tracking test… the loudest concert bass drum hit on the Shure TTR-101 - absolutely no breakup. This is insane. I think this proves how critical alignment of fine styli is and how profound the results are from using the Wally Tools.

Fred S., CA

Improvements large and as expected.   Focus is better along the dimensions of separation of direct and ambient sound revealing the always apparent "cloudiness" of [my reference] recording was really playback blur, better localization of many moving performers on the stage, more open sound stage, more delicate technique and timbres, better delineation of multiple and especially secondary musical lines, sections of performers are more clearly groups of players, improved articulation for improved comprehension of words, more relaxed and exciting at the same time, better correlation between timbres and actions, and, finally, more bass grip, the hoped for improvement. In addition I can hear the virtuosity and feeling of the bass players better than ever before.

Nick H., WA

The results are excellent! I am very pleased with the how the analysis, corrective shim and the alignment works. I can honestly say that I have never heard better. Outstanding!

Tomorrow, I plan to send you my Ortofon Cadenza Bronze for the same treatment. 

Mark L., WA

The results were really unexpected. I'm pretty familiar with the cartridge set up using Graham's proprietary jig for overhang and offset which I THOUGHT was acceptable. After installing the cartridge with the shims and making sure every step of the process is correct, everything just seemed to balance out so effortlessly. Imaging was tremendous and absolutely solid with believable height, width and depth. Very detailed and revealing of image placement. Hadn't experienced this level of imaging and couldn't have said my speakers disappeared using the Graham jig. With really good 45's they certainly do now. Was amazed after the first 15 seconds of dropping the needle.

Michael M., FL

Got the Hana and set it up yesterday. The benefit of your setup recommendations and custom shim are immediately obvious. Much more balanced frequency response and better reproduction of upper frequencies and transients. I would say the cost of the analysis is more than justified even on a modest $1200 cartridge like the ML.

Sylvain M., Canada

I was able to spin a few records that I am very familiar with. I never thought that this cartridge could sound this good when properly set-up with the analysis and corrective shim service. Sonically, it kills my Dynavector XV1s that i was listening records with for the past few years. 

I just can’t imagine that it will sound even better when I correct for the 2.54 degree zenith error. I will have to get the WallyZenith for that.


The analysis/shim service is a small price to pay in order to get the best possible sonic performance of a $5000.00 phono cartridge - or any cartridge for that matter.

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