WallyZenith Coming Q1 2021
Years ago, we were instructed to align our cartridge body at the protractor null points to achieve ideal alignment. Later, Wally Malewicz gave us the original WallyTractor and a way to improve upon this by aligning the cantilever at the null points.
Until the WallyZenith, there hasn't been a way for audiophiles to use what ACTUALLY matters when setting your stylus/cantilever assembly for ideal horizontal alignment: the stylus groove contact surfaces. These are the two facets of the stylus that TOUCH the inner wall (left channel) and outer wall (right channel) of the record groove. Your cartridge is in perfect alignment on the horizontal plane when these two facets form a straight line pointing at the center of the record. This straight line SHOULD be perfectly perpendicular to the cantilever - which is MUCH easier for us to see and therefore align for optimum playback quality.
However, cartridge manufacturers often work with 2 degrees of tolerance with their stylus mount accuracy (though we have seen as much as 4.5 degrees off of perpendicularity with the cantilever.) This means that even though you aligned your cantilever perfectly at the null points, your stylus could be badly out of alignment - completely nullifying your best efforts to achieve minimum tracing distortion.
This zenith error (which, as a function of alignment is alternatively referred to as angular error) can cause you to experience quite audible tracing distortions without being aware of it. You may not notice that the soundstage isn't as wide and deep as it should have been. Nor will you notice the imaging isn't as pinpoint as it could be. Dynamics - muted; high-frequency extension dulled and the "suppleness" that vinyl playback is known for is just not what it could be - if your stylus was properly oriented in the groove.
In addition to offering the ability to align the stylus contact edges to be perfectly parallel with the record radius and thereby read the left and right channel grooves SIMULTANEOUSLY, the WallyZenith allows the user to align for ideal cartridge azimuth BEFORE aligning the cantilever. Using either the WallyReference (or the customized shim included with the WallyTools Cartridge Analysis service) to quickly and easily align azimuth followed by an alignment of the cantilever with the WallyZenith saves an enormous amount of time and hassle and ensures maximum playback optimization with absolute accuracy and ease.
The only way to measure your stylus zenith is with very high quality microscopy. To that end, WallyTools has invested heavily into a state of the art microscopic laboratory to ensure cartridges can be played to their best by measuring angles crucial to optimizing the playback experience and providing the tools to align the cartridge with those known parameters.
The solution is coming soon!