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 correct tools and test records can take a significant amount of time with a complex deck/installation. It’s much quicker fitting basic cartridges to regular decks, but you get the idea – doing this work properly takes time and expertise.
With this in mind, it’s obviously not a reasonable expectation that we fit every cartridge or customer-supplied cartridges for free. We have a system that works well though:
- We offer free precision installation and alignment of cartridges we supply with an RRP of $300 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 customer-supplied cartridges, we charge a standard price 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 have been done before. Either way, you come out ahead.
Keep in mind that many retailers cannot correctly install and set up cartridges and tonearms, and lack an understanding of the subtlety of precise installation, and the tools necessary to do it. Many only offer a ‘quick and dirty’ alignment’ using a generic paper or plastic protractor. This isn’t a proper alignment.