That depends on the cartridge and turntable.
Properly installing and setting up a cartridge with the right hardware and precisely calibrating overhang, azimuth, tracking force, anti-skate, VTA, arm lifter position and height using the right tools and test records can take up to an hour with a complex deck/installation. It’s much quicker fitting basic cartridges to affordable decks, but you get the idea – doing this stuff properly takes time and expertise.
With this in mind, it’s obviously not a reasonable expectation that we fit every cartridge for free. We have a system that works well though:
- We offer free precision installation and alignment on cartridges we supply with an RRP of $375 or more. In standard cases with regular decks and arms, we absorb the cost of the installation and alignment, giving customers a better deal and encouraging the correct fitment of better cartridges. Try getting that from an online discounter!
- With cheaper or customer supplied cartridges, we charge for installation, but you get a full, precision alignment and it’s a perfect opportunity to have your deck carefully inspected and precisely adjusted, something that may never even have been done before. Either way, you come out ahead.
Be wary of general offers of free alignment. Keep in mind that many retailers/salespeople cannot correctly install and set up cartridges and lack understanding of the subtlety of really precise installation. Many stores only offer a ‘quick and dirty’ alignment’ using a generic paper or plastic protractor. This isn’t a proper alignment.