Cartridge Alignment Tools for 7 Inch Records

For collectors of 45 RPM singles, this is a must-have item.

Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 12 Inch Platters
Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 12 Inch Platters

By customizing your setup for the narrow playing band of a 7-inch records, you can reduce the maximum and the average angular error between the stylus tip and the record groove by a factor of more than 6 to 1.  Using a 7 inch alignment tool to set up your turntable for 7 inch records will bring a dramatic improvement in the tracking quality and accuracy of playback from your 45 RPM collection. Aligning the cartridge for 7 inch records on a 9-inch tonearm will reduce the average angular error from 0.6657 degrees (with a maximum error of 1.312 degrees) with a 12 inch setup down to  an average of 0.1017 degrees – with a maximum error of 0.205 degrees.

Angular Tracking Error on 7 inch records
Alignment Error when playing 7 Inch Records goes down dramatically when you custom-align the cartridge for the format you’re using. (Baerwald geometry)

The chart of angular errors across the playing band of a 7 inch single illustrates far greater angular error between the stylus and the groove when playing with a 12 inch setup. This is partly because the inner groove of a 7 inch record is closer to the spindle – it’s outside the dimensions of a 12 inch records.  But the major reason we can achieve more precise cartridge alignment on a 7 inch record than on a 12 inch LP is that the playing band is so much narrower.

Headshell and Cartridge set up for 12 inch alignment
This tonearm is mounted for 12 inch alignment, and the cartridge is set up with effective length and angular alignment correct.
Cartridge aligned for 7 inch records
Headshell and cartridge aligned correctly for 7 inch records – see how the mounting screws have been moved back, and are slightly offset, to twist the cartridge outwards.

Naturally, you will not want to re-align the cartridge every time you switch between 7 inch and 12 inch records. What we recommend is that you obtain an extra headshell and cartridge for your tonearm (many tonearms have standardized, interchangeable headshells) and set one up for 12 inch records, and the other for 7 inch. Or, you may also want to set up a dedicated turntable for playing 7 inch records.
Cartridge Alignment Tools for 7 Inch Records are in stock and ready to ship. There are five versions within each geometric model.  The most common is made for turntables with 12 inch platters.  People usually choose the Standard Spindle Hole, for most turntables.  Its spindle hole has a diameter of .282 inches.  The Oversized version has a spindle hole diameter of .288 inches, and is necessary for a few brands of turntable: Acoustic Research, Empire, Garrard, Luxman, Music Hall, Sota, Systemdek, Thorens, VPI, Well Tempered.

There are also two models for 45 RPM players with smaller platters that play 7 inch singles only, and whose tonearms are mounted closer than six inches from the spindle center, which would cause interference with the 12 inch platter version.  You could use the 7 inch alignment tool for 7 inch platters on a 12 inch platter; the alignment geometry is the same.  However, the sight lines don’t come as close to the base of the tonearm as the 12 inch platter version does, and you’ll have difficulty sighting the pivot point in the mirror.

If your 45 player has a permanent full-width spindle, we have a model with a 1-1/2 inch spindle hole as well.  You could use this alignment tool on standard-spindle turntables with a record spindle adapter, but you’d lose a degree of accuracy in the spindle center position, as well as the continuity of the mirrored sight-lines.

7 Inch Alignment Tools – 12 Inch Platters – Baerwald Geometry

Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 12 Inch Platters
Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 12 Inch Platters

Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 12 Inch Platters – Baerwald Geometry


Spindle Size




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7 Inch Alignment Tools – 7 Inch Platters – Baerwald Geometry

Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with Standard Spindles
Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with Standard Spindles

Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with Standard Spindle Hole (0.282 inches/7.163 mm) – Baerwald Geometry

Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with Standard Spindles
Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with Oversized Spindles – necessary for a few brands of turntable: Acoustic Research, Empire, Garrard, Luxman, Music Hall, Sota, Systemdek, Thorens, VPI, and Well Tempered.

Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with Oversized Spindle Hole (0.288 inches/7.315 mm) – Baerwald Geometry

Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with 1-1/2 Inch Spindles
Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with 1-1/2 Inch Spindles

Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with 1-1/2 Inch Spindle Hole – Baerwald Geometry


Spindle Size




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Circular Bullseye Bubble Level
Circular Bullseye Bubble Level

Bubble Levels $5.00





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Ensuring that your turntable platter is perfectly level is critical to obtaining correct tracking performance. This simple, accurate bubble level is perfect for the job. It is 36mm or 1-7/16 inches in diameter. Remove the platter pad and place the level on the bare metal platter with the motor off. Place shims under the foundation as necessary to make the bubble appear in the center of the printed circles. Observe the motion of the bubble to test for wobble in the foundation. Do whatever you can to make the foundation heavy and stable, to prevent the transmission of feedback to the turntable. Quiet foundations allow enhanced detail and dynamic range in the audio signal. Made in USA.

Using the stylus force gauge: place the needle in the etched line for the weight desired
Using the stylus force gauge: place the needle in the etched line for the weight desired

Stylus Force Gauge $15.00





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Correct tracking force is not optional. Incorrect stylus force will damage your records as well as your stylus. Running the tracking force too low can be as damaging as running it too high. Always follow your cartridge manufacturer’s specifications when adjusting tracking force. The stylus force gauge is a balance beam. It pivots on the two nubs that project from the bottom. It will balance at rest when the stylus force on any one of the laser-indented lines is equal to the force indicated. If 1.5 grams is your target weight, set the stylus on that line. If it tips the balance, then the force is too great, and you need to move the tonearm counterweight further away from the pivot and try again. If placing the stylus on the 1.5 gram line does not move the gauge, then the force is too light, and you’ll want to move the tonearm counterweight closer to the pivot. When the force is exactly 1.5 grams, the gauge will be level. If you can get it off of either end but not perfectly balanced to the horizon, you’re close enough.
This gauge is made in the USA and hand-calibrated for accuracy. Ideally, this adjustment is best made with the stylus sitting at the same level as it would during playback. Either place the force gauge directly on the platter pad, or remove the platter pad and rest the force gauge on the mirrored alignment tool. The mirror will help determine when the gauge is perfectly level.

The force gauge will balance when the weight indicated on the etched line equals the tracking force of the needle.
The force gauge will balance when the weight indicated on the etched line equals the tracking force of the needle.

Stylus Force Gauge
Stylus Force Gauge – Place the stylus in the etched line indicating desired tracking force and the gauge will balance on the two pivot points when tonearm is adjusted correctly

It may be necessary to re-mount the tonearm slightly farther away from the platter spindle in order to get the cartridge to align correctly. Hopefully there is enough adjustment available in your headshell to allow you to align for 7 inch records without re-mounting the arm.  The alignment tool comes with complete setup instructions, and we have complete charts of tonearm mounting distances along with offset angles and overhang lengths for every tonearm length, for every size of record (7, 10, 12 and 16 inch) and for both Baerwald and Löfgren-B models.

For the same mounting distance (the distance from the platter spindle to the pivot point of the tonearm), the effective length will need to be slightly longer for a 12 inch setup than for 7 inch. For example, a tonearm with a 9 inch effective length will need to be mounted 8.285 inches away from the spindle for a 12 inch setup. To align that tonearm for 7 inch records without re-mounting it, the effective length would need to be about 8.68 inches. This means that you would need to move the cartridge body 0.32 inches back from its 12-inch setup position. Also, the offset angle would change from 24.12 degrees to 17.61 degrees, meaning you would have to rotate the cartridge body about 6.5 degrees away to the outside from its original position.

Another way of thinking about the difference between the 7 inch alignment setup and playing a 7 inch record on a 12 inch setup is how much shorter the overhang length is.  In the above case, overhang would come down from 0.715 inches to 0.395 in, a reduction of 45 percent.

Playing a 7 inch record on an alignment setup that’s customized for the narrow playing band (it’s barely more than an inch wide) instead of using a 12-inch setup may reduce the overhang length by nearly half – very impressive – but the reduction in angular tracking error is phenomenal. The maximum error at the start of the playing band will be about one fifth of what it used to be.  At the end of the track, error will be one ninth.  Average error across the entire playing band is reduced by a factor of six and a half to one.  This means less noise and crackle, less record damage, and better quality playback all around. If you play 7 inch records, it’s impossible to ignore the benefit of customizing one turntable, or one headshell if yours is interchangeable, for the purpose of spinning your singles.  It will sound better and minimize damage and wear on your needle, and record grooves.

And, you’ll want to choose between Baerwald and Löfgren-B alignment geometries.  The Löfgren-B model provides a lower average angular error, and lower error in the middle of the playing band, at the cost of greater maximum errors at the beginning and end of the playing band.  The Baerwald model provides the lowest maximum error.  Here are some numbers to consider.

7 Inch Setup Baerwald 7 Inch Setup Löfgren-B
7 Inch Record Mean Average Error (degrees) 0.10172617 0.08864393
7 Inch Record RMS Average Error (degrees) 0.11418562 0.10462842
7 Inch Record Max Error, Playing Band Start (degrees) 0.20549425 0.24847419
7 Inch Record Max Error, Playing Band Middle (degrees) 0.16128524 0.10893667
7 Inch Record Max Error, Playing Band End (degrees) 0.14670166 0.20982285
Angular Errors on 7 Inch Records, Baerwald and Löfgren-B Setups
Angular Errors on 7 Inch Records, Baerwald and Löfgren-B Setups

7 Inch Alignment Tools – 7 Inch Platters – Löfgren-B Geometry

Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with Standard Spindle Hole (0.282 inches/7.163 mm) – Löfgren-B Geometry Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch Platters with Oversized Spindle Hole (0.288 inches/7.315 mm) – Löfgren-B Geometry
Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 7 Inch platters with 1-1/2 Inch Spindle Hole – Löfgren-B Geometry

Spindle Size




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7 Inch Alignment Tools – 12 Inch Platters – Löfgren-B Geometry

Phono Cartridge Alignment Tool for 7 Inch Records on 12 Inch Platters – Löfgren-B Geometry

Spindle Size




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