As DD has pointed, I am in the luxurious position of having both a precision bubble level and a digital inclinometer (the LD-2M) from Level Developments, a company that seems to be the go-to choice if you are serious about getting things level (or really precisely angled). I have both because they do different jobs with different equipment. Also like DD, I have various bubble and digital box levels, for general work. But when it comes to turntable set-up there is no substitute for the PEL – and when comes to speakers, the LD-2M with its 30 degree measurement range and simultaneous numerical readout of inclination in two axes is equally indispensible. Could I use the LD-2M on turntables? I could – but having done so I don’t find it nearly as intuitive to use as the PEL and comparing results across the two, it isn’t as accurate either. Close, but in this hyper-critical application, no cigar.
What the LD-2M does have going for it (besides the obvious range of angular measurement possible) is its physical form. Unlike the Blu-tooth unit that Stirling uses, the LD-2M is self-contained with an internal, rechargeable battery. It also has a shorter length. In one sense that makes it less accurate across longer lengths, but it does make it a lot easier to place on a speaker with limited flat surfaces (an increasing problem these days). You can also place it horizontally or vertically – and if you must, there’s an RS232 interface to hook up to a lap-top so that you can have the screen bigger, although I’ve never felt that need.
Because I work with complete systems on a daily basis, I really do need/use both devices. But for people who don’t make their living doing this, I’d start with one or the other. If you are a digital listener, go for the LD-2M: it will do more, different things for you and you’ll be surprised how much use it gets. But if you have a turntable, then the PEL is a must. Its cost, compared to even a moderately high-end turntable is out of all proportion to its contribution. As DD stated – indispensible! Just one word of caution – it is also heavy, so sprung sub-chassis decks or decks mounted on a Vibraplane-type isolation platform or other flexible support will be out. Otherwise, purchase with confidence, purchase immediately and enjoy the (somewhat shocking) musical benefits that accrue…
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