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Just now, Dasher said:

Hi Dikki

I find these quite useful. They can be a bit hit or miss  as to whether they work or not. I find though, that if they do work (they usually do) then they are accurate. If they break they tend to break completely, rather than read the wrong value. Cheap enough and certainly help if setting the VTF by using the counter- weight. I set mine in the same way as Thomas (Ekos 2 here) and agree  - it works!

oops!  Link helps!  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/0-01g-Digital-Cartridge-Stylus-Tracking-Force-Scale-Gauge-Turntable-Stylus-Tool/254900730152?hash=item3b59447928:g:f~4AAOSwf-5gTCAC

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Just found this article on stylus profiles - some may find it interesting (some may not) https://www.hifi-advice.com/blog/audiophile-insights/analog-insights/phono-cartridge-stylus-shapes/ ‘troll

For me, it's about how engaging the music is, how much you become "immersed" in it. For example, in a previous post I mentioned that I dialled the tracking force back a bit to 1.7 for a try. It sounde

The suggestions I made about how to set the tracking force on an Ekos do not apply to an Ittok LVII.  In that case the reading on the dial will be the same as what a scale would read if you floated th

2 hours ago, dikki said:

For this I have only my ear, as I don't have a gauge. I'm still getting used to the new sound, so it might take a while. Thanks, this is very useful!

Your ears are certainly more useful, than a gauge, to enjoy the music 😁 and what you hear is more important, than what you measure. 

Nevertheless, when you try to optimise VTF by shifting the counterweight, a gauge is a very helpful device to see what you're doing, and to create reproducible results. Even the very cheap China made thingies on Amazon are good enough to achieve this. Mine is pretty accurate, as compared to an older Panasonic gauge (still with an analog indicator), and a very old purely mechanical device.

You aren't targeting ultimate calibration accuracy anyway. It's good enough, if you can reproduce your own results within a slight margin of error.

Happy measuring may cause happier listening 😜

Edited by TooManyCatweazles
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4 hours ago, Dasher said:

I’d second that design as a dependable and cheap one.  Years ago, on the original Linn forum these were recommended.  I bought mine direct from somewhere in China or HongKong but it never arrived.  They resent one after some correspondence for another couple of dollars for ‘insurance’ and this time it arrived.  Another time, I’d buy from UK or EU where it is actually in stock!  The scales work very well.  Frankly, you can’t own any record player without owning stylus scales!

You’ll see almost identical designs badged with leading manufacturers names for £60, £80!  Whether they have added QC I cannot say.  Here is an example.

https://www.analogueseduction.net/stylus-force-tracking-gauges/project-measure-it-s2-digital-stylus-force-gauge.html
 

Edited by Nopiano
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19 minutes ago, TooManyCatweazles said:

Nevertheless, when you try to optimise VTF by shifting the counterweight, a gauge is a very helpful device to see what you're doing, and to create reproducible results.

Indeed, that is the thing. From what I can see I guess it is at 1.6, maybe 1.65. But from what I read here, I need more precision. And yes, after that it's down to listening. 

The dust under the stylus is definitely dust, not crud. So a anti static gun might help. However, I never needed one before. 

When it skips, it skips over very minute spicks (is that English?!?) on the record surface. However, it never skipped on those before. I get the sense it is way more sensitive there now. I can imagine that has to do with the weight difference, as I used to have a much heavier setting. 

I am happy with the many suggestions here, and I will try to find a gauge. Thanks!

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The suggestions I made about how to set the tracking force on an Ekos do not apply to an Ittok LVII.  In that case the reading on the dial will be the same as what a scale would read if you floated the arm properly first.  As to optimum tracking force that can vary a bit from unit to unit, although the Krystal and Kandid seem very consistent at 1.75 grams.  Note that although the Ittok is only marked in .05 increments you can go between the marks.  Don't be afraid to try down to .01 increments.  On the Akiva I found most were best at 1.72 grams.

You can pick up one of the no-name tracking force gauges from China for around $15 or less.  (You can also buy the same exact thing with a brand name on it for over $100.)  I have one of these and they are mostly OK.  Sometimes after reading the TF it will settle back to .003 instead of .000.  Then I just reset it and measure again to make sure it is right.  I now mostly use a Rega gauge as it is more consistent, easier to use and built like a tank.  But it is also $245 and big enough I have to carry it separately from my turntable toolkit.  But getting one of the cheap ones lets you make sure everything is OK with the settings.  Cheap peace of mind.

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7 hours ago, dikki said:

Is there any specific thing to listen for when checking the tracking force? 

I would say just listen for how musical, natural and focused the record sounds.

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1 hour ago, ThomasOK said:

I would say just listen for how musical, natural and focused the record sounds.

For me, it's about how engaging the music is, how much you become "immersed" in it. For example, in a previous post I mentioned that I dialled the tracking force back a bit to 1.7 for a try. It sounded great and I enjoyed the music, but dialling it back up a bit for the final side I just "felt" the music more. I wasn't just listening but I was "part of the music" and it became an experience not just a listen; my head was nodding, my feet tapping and (despite a bit of a stiff knee) I wanted to get up and dance. That, for me, is when I know I've got it set up right.

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24 minutes ago, Andyt916 said:

For me, it's about how engaging the music is, how much you become "immersed" in it. For example, in a previous post I mentioned that I dialled the tracking force back a bit to 1.7 for a try. It sounded great and I enjoyed the music, but dialling it back up a bit for the final side I just "felt" the music more. I wasn't just listening but I was "part of the music" and it became an experience not just a listen; my head was nodding, my feet tapping and (despite a bit of a stiff knee) I wanted to get up and dance. That, for me, is when I know I've got it set up right.

It's so difficult to describe, but I know exactly what you are talking about.

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On 08/04/2021 at 11:36, dikki said:

Indeed, that is the thing. From what I can see I guess it is at 1.6, maybe 1.65. But from what I read here, I need more precision. And yes, after that it's down to listening. 

The dust under the stylus is definitely dust, not crud. So a anti static gun might help. However, I never needed one before. 

When it skips, it skips over very minute spicks (is that English?!?) on the record surface. However, it never skipped on those before. I get the sense it is way more sensitive there now. I can imagine that has to do with the weight difference, as I used to have a much heavier setting. 

I am happy with the many suggestions here, and I will try to find a gauge. Thanks!

@dikkiwhen I had the Adikt first fitted I had similar-ish issues, inasmuch as when I lowered the cartridge to the record surface it occasionally skipped as you described, appeared to pick up a tonne of dust and skated across the record or just fell off the side of the record. I got hold of one of the scales as mentioned by @Dasher and my Ittok LVII 1.75 was actually reading 1.65. So I rebalanced from zero, got 1.75 on the dial reading 1.75 on the scale and have not had any further issues with dust / skating, etc. ~£10 very well spent! 

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I would say just listen for how musical, natural and focused the record sounds.

I'd agree 100%. Another way to describe it for me is to listen for things to sound more "free" - less constrained, more "flow", better timing, things start "dancing". It's a similar thing to finding the right position for a speaker in a room - there are certain spots which allow the speaker to "escape" the constraints of the room. In the case of a phono cartridge I like to think of it as there being a certain point (or points for that matter, depending on the cart) where the cantilever and magnet/coil assembly are working in synergy and allowing the music to flow more naturally from the spin of the record. The way the rod interfaces with the motor assembly seems to have a huge impact, as anyone familiar with the Kandid would know well :)

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Those are already the things I usually listen for. I noticed a big difference in musicality with the new setup. It feels more in the middle of the room, I noticed a considerable effect in sound stage. 

So what I'm hearing here is that tracking force can also be an influence on this. Difficult to listen for that, because the conclusion I reached so far is the result of several days of listening (hehe, I'm a slow learner...). But with a measuring device it should be possible to try it. 

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17 hours ago, Elad Repooc said:

The way the rod interfaces with the motor assembly seems to have a huge impact, as anyone familiar with the Kandid would know well

When adjusting level, tracking force (I leave this to the dealer), and bias, I visualize the coil end of the cantilever being placed perfectly in the middle of the motor (magnets). After all, this is where the electrical music signal is created.

Edited by akamatsu
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On 07/04/2021 at 14:44, dikki said:

That is interesting. I didn't think of that. 

Just found this article on stylus profiles - some may find it interesting (some may not) https://www.hifi-advice.com/blog/audiophile-insights/analog-insights/phono-cartridge-stylus-shapes/

‘troll

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8 hours ago, Moomintroll said:

Just found this article on stylus profiles - some may find it interesting (some may not) https://www.hifi-advice.com/blog/audiophile-insights/analog-insights/phono-cartridge-stylus-shapes/

‘troll

Great read. Thx for sharing. It also contains some infos on stylus lifetime, which we discussed in another thread recently.

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