Wally Tools are coming back

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#1
https://www.wallyanalog.com/

Relaunched in 2019 in a joint effort between Wally's former production assistant, J.R. Boisclair, and Wally's son Andrzej, who, like his father, is a highly skilled mechanical engineer.

I still use the Wally VTA - makes it simple to get a tonearm level for just about any cartridge.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
1,989
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#2
I checked into the Wally Analog Relaunch to see what's new. Several things, it turns out.

They are offering the Wally Tractor Universal alignment tool, an updated Wally Skater to set anti-skate, and a service to examine your cartridge (you send to them) for the correct or incorrect mount of the stylus to cantilever and will tell you its SRA when the headshell is perfectly level at a nominal tracking force. (Some manufacturers will let you return a cartridge with an improperly mounted stylus.) In-home system setup is also an offering.

I was really pleased to learn they will offer a new Wally VTA tool, renamed the Wally Level. I have the original and use it everytime I setup a cartridge. A new Wally Scale is also in the offing.

Also new is a blog named Wally School - informative articles covering various aspects of cartridge mounting. No cost, just read. All are recent within the last 2 months. I see: two articles on Skating Force and Anti-Skating, Stylus Rake Angle, 9" and 12" arms and others. All are well written quick reads and interesting based on your level of knowledge or curiousity.
 

kodomo

Well-Known Member
Apr 26, 2017
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#3
I'd be up for a wally vta tool.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
1,989
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#5
Re the Wally VTA, maybe pictures can help; the first is stock Wally photo, the rest are mine. This is the original tool:

Wally_VTA-gauge-1.jpg

Step 1 is to measure the height of the mounted cartridge, from record to bottom of headshell.

DSC01088.JPG

Step 2: Dismount the cartridge, then mount the tool along with shims of different thickness to achieve that same height.

Step 3: Using a practice record, adjust tonearm height so the long bar of the tool is flat against the record surface. I use a flashlight behind it and adjust for no light coming under the bar. You can get the headshell exactly level. You can do this for different record thickness.

DSC00946.JPG

Once level, I write down the mark of the tonearm's height gauge so its easy to return to level without re-measuring. It's quite simple.
 
Likes: MadFloyd

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
1,989
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420
the Upper Midwest
#6
I received an email for J.R. Boisclair pointing me to a series of educational videos he made about cartridge alignment and turntable setup.

Here is one about alignment patterns:
https://www.wallyanalog.com/post/th...know-this-stuff-if-you-truly-love-your-analog

The videos are brief, well made and Boisclair speaks clearly and straightforwardly on various topics. Of course they demonstrate the new Wally Tools, but the concepts involved translate to what many/some of us know about dialing in an arm and cartridge and perhaps offer a few tidbits you may not know.

I suspect novices and experts alike may enjoy viewing them. I'm kinda promoting these (no interest) because I think it is a good thing to see the vinyl-analog hobby stay active and made clearer to those just starting out.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
1,989
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the Upper Midwest
#7
I spoke with J.R. Boisclair the other day and he told me the replacement for the Wally VTA is available. For now it is named the WallyReference. There is support for both headshell adjusted azimuth (such as an SME Vd) and pivot area or armwand adjusted azimuth (such as a Kuzma 4Point or Tri-Planar).

He pointed me at this blurb about the WallyReference.
  • Allows simple, quick and repeatable confirmation that the top surface of your cartridge is perfectly level in BOTH horizontal axes – front/back (SRA) & left/right (azimuth)
  • Quickly and easily move your cartridge to other tonearms with the same ideal Stylus Rake Angle (SRA) and azimuth angle - No need for a second turntable or tonearm when you can setup all cartridge/tonearm parameters in 15-20 minutes
  • An essential tool for finding the ideal SRA for your cartridge
  • Displays the effect on SRA by adjustments to azimuth and vice versa. On most tonearms, changing azimuth also changes SRA. WallyReference allows you to compensate for this and keep SRA constant.
  • Includes personalized support from WAM Engineering
I have not seen or used this tool but from his account and seeing pictures, it looks like it has potential to be very helpful. Info on the WAM Web site. I have no affiliation.

Edit: Here is another information page.
 
Last edited:

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
4,942
1,677
680
Utah
#8
I spoke with J.R. Boisclair the other day and he told me the replacement for the Wally VTA is available. For now it is named the WallyReference. There is support for both headshell adjusted azimuth (such as an SME Vd) and pivot area or armwand adjusted azimuth (such as a Kuzma 4Point or Tri-Planar).

He pointed me at this blurb about the WallyReference.
  • Allows simple, quick and repeatable confirmation that the top surface of your cartridge is perfectly level in BOTH horizontal axes – front/back (SRA) & left/right (azimuth)
  • Quickly and easily move your cartridge to other tonearms with the same ideal Stylus Rake Angle (SRA) and azimuth angle - No need for a second turntable or tonearm when you can setup all cartridge/tonearm parameters in 15-20 minutes
  • An essential tool for finding the ideal SRA for your cartridge
  • Displays the effect on SRA by adjustments to azimuth and vice versa. On most tonearms, changing azimuth also changes SRA. WallyReference allows you to compensate for this and keep SRA constant.
  • Includes personalized support from WAM Engineering
I have not seen or used this tool but from his account and seeing pictures, it looks like it has potential to be very helpful. Info on the WAM Web site. I have no affiliation.
The tools look complex when you can simply use target level for starting point. SRA/VTA is best set by ear, don’t see the point of their shims and you can’t set azimuth from a dummy jig when cartridges are imperfect!
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
1,989
1,556
420
the Upper Midwest
#9
The tools look complex when you can simply use target level for starting point. SRA/VTA is best set by ear, don’t see the point of their shims and you can’t set azimuth from a dummy jig when cartridges are imperfect!
I understand the purpose of this particular tool is to get the headshell parallel to the record, front to back and side to side. I don't believe it is for actually setting SRA or Azimuth but establishing a starting point for doing so.

If you look at my post about the original Wally VTA, it explains how the shims are used. But yes the new tool looks more complex than the original.
 
Oct 14, 2018
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#10
@tima, Hi Tim did you have the chance to compare Wallytractor with Smart Tractor?
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
1,989
1,556
420
the Upper Midwest
#11
@tima, Hi Tim did you have the chance to compare Wallytractor with Smart Tractor?
Hi Savvas.

I had an original arc-based WallyTractor for my Tri-Planar- the version that is tonearm and pivot-to-spindle specific. I liked that over the Mint because the WallyTractor had a pin-point size hole or dimple for the stylus to go in, which I thought helpful. Also I could call Wally on the phone and ask questions.

I switched to the Dietrich Brakemeier UNI-Pro and UNI-P2S when it first came out in 2010 - it has been expanded since then. The SmartTractor is a less expensive version of the UNI-Pro protractor, though the UNI-Pro includes other tools. The UNI-Pro and SmartTractor work with a wide range of arms. Wally did eventually came out with a WallyUniversal that worked with a variety of arms.

So I did compare the original WallyTractor with the UNI-Pro - three point versus single point alignment. The UNI-P2S gave me more confidence in geting the pivot-to-spindle exact than using a ruler. Imo, both protractor tools will align a cartridge correctly. I did find the UNI-Pro much easier and faster to use, largely because it made viewing the stylus/cantilever much easier and because it was a single point. It also supported multiple arms and I didn't have to purchase a new Wally if I got a new arm.

Times and tools have changed. I have not used a SmartTractor or Wally Universal. And now there is an updated Wally Universal. What would I choose today? Depends on how much I'd want to spend. I think my first choice would probably be the UNI-Pro kit though it is even more expensive now. I'd also feel confident with the SmartTractor based on using the UNI-Pro; the SmartTractor also includes the precision P2S function. The new WallyTractor includes P2S, but from what I see, it will not be as accurate and the UNI-P2S. I believe (not certain) both Wally and SmartTractor support Baerwald and Loefgren; only SmartTractor supports Brakemeier's own UNI-DIN alignment. I would definitely investigate the updated WallyTractor. There is a Fremer review of the new WallyTractor in Sept. 2020 Stereophile, but I haven't read it.

Edit: Found that Stereophile Fremer article on the new WallyTractor is on-line and read it. You can find it here. This updated tool includes recalculated null points for records with "a significant increase in innermost groove radius." Those can be post 1990 LPs and 45rpm 12" records. Fremer says the tool's P2S measument is "super-accurate." Maybe it now competes well with the SmartTractor.
 
Last edited:
Likes: Vienna
Oct 14, 2018
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#12
Hi Savvas.

I had an original arc-based WallyTractor for my Tri-Planar- the version that is tonearm and pivot-to-spindle specific. I liked that over the Mint because the WallyTractor had a pin-point size hole or dimple for the stylus to go in, which I thought helpful. Also I could call Wally on the phone and ask questions.

I switched to the Dietrich Brakemeier UNI-Pro and UNI-P2S when it first came out in 2010 - it has been expanded since then. The SmartTractor is a less expensive version of the UNI-Pro protractor, though the UNI-Pro includes other tools. The UNI-Pro and SmartTractor work with a wide range of arms. Wally did eventually came out with a WallyUniversal that worked with a variety of arms.

So I did compare the original WallyTractor with the UNI-Pro - three point versus single point alignment. The UNI-P2S gave me more confidence in geting the pivot-to-spindle exact than using a ruler. Imo, both protractor tools will align a cartridge correctly. I did find the UNI-Pro much easier and faster to use, largely because it made viewing the stylus/cantilever much easier and because it was a single point. It also supported multiple arms and I didn't have to purchase a new Wally if I got a new arm.

Times and tools have changed. I have not used a SmartTractor or Wally Universal. And now there is an updated Wally Universal. What would I choose today? Depends on how much I'd want to spend. I think my first choice would probably be the UNI-Pro kit though it is even more expensive now. I'd also feel confident with the SmartTractor based on using the UNI-Pro; the SmartTractor also includes the precision P2S function. The new WallyTractor includes P2S, but from what I see, it will not be as accurate and the UNI-P2S. I believe (not certain) both Wally and SmartTractor support Baerwald and Loefgren; only SmartTractor supports Brakemeier's own UNI-DIN alignment. I would definitely investigate the updated WallyTractor. There is a Fremer review of the new WallyTractor in Sept. 2020 Stereophile, but I haven't read it.
Thank you, I am very happy with the Smart Tractor
 

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