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I've seen the boutique audio sites selling these for upwards of 40 bucks. Ten bucks on Ebay.
I have no connection to the seller except that I bought one. Works like a charm and is accurate.
After reading this thread I decided to go ahead and order one after decades of using the little Shure scale. Very fast delivery, it was waiting for me when I got home from work today.
First off, it's absolutely fool proof to use, second, it works awesome. I was happy to see my accuracy with the Shure was greater than 90% towards my target weight, but I feel better knowing my repeatability with the new scale will be dead on.
I still like the little Shure for nestalgia reasons, but will be using the digital scale from now on.
Years ago..I bought a small Digi scale From Lee Valley Tools.
It's proven Both durable and accurate.
Plus these people give a V good warranty / service.
Even came with 2 sets of Lithium batteries.
No biggie though as even Ikea sells a package of 8 for 3.
Oh yeah! It cost me 18$.. taxes included.
As soon as one affixes 'audio' to an items label,
prices triple.. at least.
All you really need is a vtf gauge that lets you balance the cartridge within the manufacture's recommended range. From there, you adjust by ear. There is no need for a scale that is accurate to 1/1000 of a gram.
The recommended scale has accuracy (resolution) to 1/100 of a gram only. I think it's important to have that kind of accuracy. Furthermore, I don't believe in adjusting VTF by ear. YMMV
If you do not believe in adjusting VTF by ear, how do you determine the best vtf when most manufactures recommend a VTF range eg. 1.8 - 2.2 grams??
In addition, I have yet to see a manufacture recommend a tracking force to 1/100 of a gram.
Are you suggesting it's wrong for me to require my digital scale to have 0.01-gram resolution just because "you have yet to see a manufacturer recommend a tracking force to 1/100 of a gram?"
Are you also suggesting that it's difficult to figure out how to set VTF with a digital scale just because "most manufacturers recommend a VTF range, eg., 1.8 - 2.2 grams?"
Wow! I've never had the slightest problem with either one of those things.
You missed my question completely. Your Audio Technica ART7 has a manufacture's recommended tracking force of 1.6 to 2.00 grams. You mentioned that you do not tweak your vtf by ear. My question is, do you then just set your vtf at the midpoint of the manufacture's recommended range i.e. 1.8g and be done with it?? Would you pay a premium for a digital gauge with 0.01 resolution over one with a 0.1. If the former, I would be interested to understand for what purpose does the added resolution serve in your setup. Not an argument, just a question
Yes, manufacturers give a range as you've stated, but many also include the "optimum" weight setting and it's nice to know you've dialed in this manufacturer suggested setting as accurately as possible. If still requiring some sort of tweaking you now have a base to start from and an accurate means of repeating those settings.
The reason I jumped into this thread is because you implied the digital scale recommended by Batman had resolution of 0.001-gram. This is incorrect! It's resolution is actually 0.01-gram, which is the standard resolution for a digital stylus force scale and does not represent added resolution.
Furthermore, if you feel that $11 represents a premium price for a digital scale, you obviously have no experience with digital scales, especially those designed for measuring stylus tracking force. Needle Doctor sells the Shure tracking force scale for $39 and it's just a simple balance scale with accuracy no greater than 0.1-gram.
as did I
"Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to" Mark Twain
i see no reason to spend great sums on a small scale like this. its like those who package 2ml vials of contact cleaner for $20! BASTIDS.
all you need do is to make sure the weighing platform is somewhere CLOSE to the level of the record surface to be played. this little one has a reduced level platform that is more than adequate.
with a larger one i had, i stacked medium sized post-it notes until the platform approximated record playing height. VOILA! (WALLAAH!)
Budget and great. 8ve been using this for 3 years and went through 1 battery.
I case you don't have or lost the calibration weight that came with your scale, a U.S. Nickel weighs exactly 5 grams.
Better still and closer to the mark, a new dime is required to weigh exactly 2.268 grams according to the US Code.
Understood, but doesn't this digital gauge require a 5g weight in order for it to self-calibrate?
I don't believe it "self calibrates."
The point is that for stylus VTF, better to be accurate near 2 gm than near 5 gm. Or at least know how far off you are.
Perhaps your scale doesn't self calibrate, but mine does!
It requires a 5g calibration weight (included). All one needs to do is to follow the instructions that come in the package. A simple "Auto calibration" is performed in a few seconds, then you're G-T-G.
I've performed this procedure approximately eight times in the years that I've owned this scale and it's never failed to result in a spot-on calibration.
Your comment " better to be accurate near 2 gm than near 5 gm " is an interesting point. For absolute accuracy you may be right, but I don't think I could differentiate the sound between VTF settings of hundredths of a gram apart let alone thousandths of a gram. :-)
I had one which was badged as "Pro-ject" and IIRC, I paid $70 years ago and a friend of mine purchased one as well.
Here were my impressions:
1. The batteries drained very quickly if not removed from the chamber.
2. The felt pads came off easily making it unevenly seated.
3. The platform is too thick to represent a vinyl LP of typical weight (120-140 grams), thus resulting in inaccurate or misleading measurement.
4. Overall impression of poorly made.
I later purchased a Ortofon DS-3 for $120 and I am now a happy camper.
$10 is really nothing these days, but it wouldn't work for me even if it is free when it is inaccurate or misleading.
$120 for a stylus gauge seems to be quite a bit of dough, but if you've already gone a long way and spent thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, why skimp on the last mile?
The cheap one I bought off ebay had none of these problems.
" The felt pads came off easily making it unevenly seated."
There are no felt pads. Just firmly glued on little rubber pads, easily replaced.
"The platform is too thick to represent a vinyl LP of typical weight (120-140 grams), thus resulting in inaccurate or misleading measurement."
The platform is 6mm thick. An LP is about 4mm thick. Do you think a difference of 2mm in height makes that much difference in the result?
Turns out the pad on my TT is exactly 6mm thick. I measured the tracking force with the pad on and the pad off. It's 1.24 grams with the pad off and 1.27 grams with the pad on. I remember something from metrology about least significant digits? Doubtful my ears could tell the difference.
Recommended tracking force for my cart is 1.25g +- 0.3g
The outer lip of many LPs can be 4mm thick but the lip doesn't ride on the platter or platter mat so doesn't affect record height.
For reference, I found that LP thicknesses range from 0.80mm to 2.20mm and the majority of "non-audiophile" LPs are 1.0mm to 1.2mm thick. That's based on measuring hundreds of LP records with a thickness gauge.
That's good info. Do you have measurements for typical 180 gm, 200 gm records?
I posted the results of 200 LP measurements on my AA gallery. I still take full measurements every so often, but don't plan on updating the results anytime soon.
Why do you measure with a record on the platter?
I don't measure them when they're on the platter, I use the top middle shelf of the stereo rack. Much easier. :-)
I measured the weight and thickness of 200 LPs just to answer a couple of questions I had about LPs. Now I know.
I continue to measure the thickness of each record so I know which platter mat to use to maintain a relatively consistent 2.0 mm record height. I just write down the thickness in the corner of each record sleeve. Doesn't take very long and once it's done, it's done.
That's the same one as this! Since I have it I never used my Shure again!
I bought one disguised as a minidisc for $8 on eBay about 5 years ago and it's still accurate (routinely agrees with turntables' built-in adjustments) and is still using the original battery.
What has surprised me is the accuracy of almost all turntables' built-in tracking force adjustments, based on agreement with the "minidisc" gauge.
> What has surprised me is the accuracy of almost all turntables' built-in tracking force adjustments, based on agreement with the "minidisc" gauge.
I agree! I use a digital scale but both my current tonearms have built-in scales that agree completely with my digital scale. One is my Technics tonearm on my SL-1200 Mk2 turntable and the other is my SME V tonearm on my Sota Millennia Vacuum turntable. Therefore, if you don't have a digital scale, you will find that many tonearms have accurate built-in scales for adjust VTF.
I am on my second one. Don't remember where I bought the first one, but one day I went to use it and it had lost some of the display. Could not tell what it was saying.
I have been using that model for several years, works fine. I heard that it will drain the bettery so remove them when not using.
I can attest that you'll want to buy those batteries by the dozen unless you can live with accuracy to ONLY a tenth.
........... for five years and never have had to replace a battery:-)
BTW, its two lithium batteries were included!
Do you have a bone to pick with the manufacturer or importer, or do you just have something against this accurate inexpensive stylus force gauge?
I own two Shure SFG-2 gauges, one over forty years old and the other that came with my VPI Traveler about four + years ago. This cheap digital gauge is at least as accurate as both Shures.
I just don't understand your "problem"!
It's an excellent digital gauge and no battery issues here. I've had mine for several years now on the same batteries.
I also have the mechanical Shure gauge which is pretty 'clunky' in comparison but it will be a nice museum piece someday like mechanical typewriters. ;-)
I am using a small digital scale from harbor freight tools. Not a dedicated scale, but works , providing the target point on the scale is record high. ABout the same price.
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