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  • Stylus pressure gauge question

    I currently have two digital stylus pressure gauges: the cheap one that came with my VPI table that I find slightly suspect and one from Cartridge Man that I bought eighteen years ago and is thus suspect too. The Cartridge Man is accurate to only 1/50th of a gram while more modern ones are generally accurate to 1/500th of a gram. The battery in the Cartridge Man gauge is soldered in and hasn't properly help a charge for ages. I can spend about $80 plus shipping to have the gauge updated and re-calibrated or I can get a new, more accurate gauge for about the same cost as repairing the Cartridge Man gauge. What would you do?
    Analog: Holbo Turntable, Transfiguration Proteus; Forsell Air Reference, Transfiguration Phoenix S; Rega RP-8, VdH Crimson XGW; VPI Prime Signature, VAS Nova Mono, VAS Nova Signature, Symphonic Line RG-8
    Digital: Mac mini 6,2 with YFS PS-12M LPS; Exogal Comet Plus, Exogal Ion PowerDAC
    Electronics: Aurorasound Vida, Channel D Lino C; Merrill Cara, Gryphon M-100 Mkii (pair)
    Cables: Morrow, Gryphon interconnects; YFS USB cable; Morrow, XLO, Channel D phono cables; Morrow, Gryphon, Goertz speaker cables

  • #2
    Originally posted by jonathanb View Post
    I currently have two digital stylus pressure gauges: the cheap one that came with my VPI table that I find slightly suspect and one from Cartridge Man that I bought eighteen years ago and is thus suspect too. The Cartridge Man is accurate to only 1/50th of a gram while more modern ones are generally accurate to 1/500th of a gram. The battery in the Cartridge Man gauge is soldered in and hasn't properly help a charge for ages. I can spend about $80 plus shipping to have the gauge updated and re-calibrated or I can get a new, more accurate gauge for about the same cost as repairing the Cartridge Man gauge.What would you do?
    Didn't you just answer your own question? Unless you have an emotional attachment to your old gauge, your answer is very simple.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mep View Post

      Didn't you just answer your own question? Unless you have an emotional attachment to your old gauge, your answer is very simple.
      So the question becomes what stylus gauge to buy? Which one/s do you all use?
      Analog: Holbo Turntable, Transfiguration Proteus; Forsell Air Reference, Transfiguration Phoenix S; Rega RP-8, VdH Crimson XGW; VPI Prime Signature, VAS Nova Mono, VAS Nova Signature, Symphonic Line RG-8
      Digital: Mac mini 6,2 with YFS PS-12M LPS; Exogal Comet Plus, Exogal Ion PowerDAC
      Electronics: Aurorasound Vida, Channel D Lino C; Merrill Cara, Gryphon M-100 Mkii (pair)
      Cables: Morrow, Gryphon interconnects; YFS USB cable; Morrow, XLO, Channel D phono cables; Morrow, Gryphon, Goertz speaker cables

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      • #4
        Well, this is a good post. I have a Acoustic Sounds gauge and my dealer a clear audio gauge. The tear weights read the same. Then you drop the stylus and they read .2 oz' different. Go figure. I keep using my ears..but how could these differ so much? I think these are extremely susceptible to wear the stylus falls on the "measuring pad" for lack of a better word.
        Speakers: Rockport Altair 2
        Amps: Nagra HD Pre Amp & HD Amps
        Cables: Transparent Magnum Opus speaker and interconnects
        Power Transparent Opus Power Cords & Opus Isolators
        Digital dCS Vivaldi full stack w/ Transparent Reference XL Digital cables
        Phono: Grand Prix Monaco 2.0 TT, Spiral Groove Centroid, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement, Nagra Classic Phono & PSU
        Racks: Grand Prix Audio Silverstone F1 (x4)

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        • #5
          I also had this same problem. I have the Clearaudio gauge and have been using this for years. I set up my new Miyahima Madake to 2.5 grams, but the sound was still thin. My friend came over with two of his gauges. One was a digital one that everyone sells under different names for less than 100.00 and the other one was a vintage Techniques SH-50P1. I kept them for one week. Every time I took a measurement the digital gauge, just like my Clearaudio gave me different readings. The Techniques was exactly the same every time. As it turns out my Clearaudio was off by .5 grams. So a setting of 2.5 grams was really 2.0 grams on the Techniques. After setting the correct reading to 2.5 now my cartridge was swinging with some warm mids and good bass. I then bought a used Techniques, off of ebay, for 175.00. This gauge can be calibrated. It's worth every penny as it too measures exactly the same weight as my friends. I would either look for one of these used or get the Winds guage if you can find one. Those go for 800.00 to 1,0000.00 used.

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          • #6
            I believe you can buy little weights to check the calibration of your scale off ebay
            Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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            • #7
              I have a calibrated weight and that did not matter because each time I took a reading it changed. This did not happen with the techniques.

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              • #8
                If a scale cannot give consistant readings within its working range, its garbage. And probably has some kind of inner friction problem.
                Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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                • #9
                  JCOConnell, I agree with you those gauges are garbage.

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                  • #10
                    Hmmm, even though the Cartridge Man gauge is stated to be 1/10th as accurate as the newer digital gauges, it is a strain gauge based device and was always accurate. For $80-90, I think I might as well have it refurbished/recalibrated as I know it will be accurate. I'll just have to settle for accurate 2.00 gram readings instead of inaccurate 2.000 gram readings.

                    But, assuming I didn't have the Cartridge Man gauge and wished to buy a sanely-priced stylus pressure gauge, what would you recommend?
                    Analog: Holbo Turntable, Transfiguration Proteus; Forsell Air Reference, Transfiguration Phoenix S; Rega RP-8, VdH Crimson XGW; VPI Prime Signature, VAS Nova Mono, VAS Nova Signature, Symphonic Line RG-8
                    Digital: Mac mini 6,2 with YFS PS-12M LPS; Exogal Comet Plus, Exogal Ion PowerDAC
                    Electronics: Aurorasound Vida, Channel D Lino C; Merrill Cara, Gryphon M-100 Mkii (pair)
                    Cables: Morrow, Gryphon interconnects; YFS USB cable; Morrow, XLO, Channel D phono cables; Morrow, Gryphon, Goertz speaker cables

                    Comment


                    • MylesBAstor
                      MylesBAstor commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I reviewed the Cartridge Man when it came out and it is very accurate and the readings are very reproducible. While it's nice having a gauge accurate to a few more decimal points, in the end it still comes down to your ears.

                  • #11
                    I use the Ortofon scale. It displays only to 1/10g but is consistently accurate when I check with my calibrated weight. The stylus landing is at the correct record surface height when you place it on the turntable platter (without record). I thought a display to 1/1000g was needed, but in actual practice, I don't really miss it. Display to 1/10g is good enough for me, because the scale only gets you in the neighborhood. Once you are in the zone, you need to fine-tune by ear! However, if those of you can consistently hear the difference between say 2.002g and 2.003g, my hat is off to you.

                    Click image for larger version

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                    Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
                    Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
                    Phono 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable with 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Decade Phono Preamp
                    Phono 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable with 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
                    R2R Tape: Studer A810 with Bridge Console
                    Digital: Lumin Network Player with Lumin NAS
                    Cables: Genesis Advanced Technologies/Absolute Fidelity Interface Interconnects, Speaker, Phono and Power
                    Power: Audio-Ultra Power System, IsoTek Super Titan Passive Power Conditioning for Amplifiers
                    Accessories: Custom Acrylic Equipment Stands, Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

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                    • #12
                      I like the Ortofon DS-3 which reads 1/100th....this model was from Ortofon Japan which I bought several years ago and not intended for the US market but recently Ortofon US has brought them in and I'm told this will be the version Ortofon US stocks. With all digital scales there sensitive in landing the stylus in the identical spot, I take a sharpie and mark a dot on the platform and land the stylus on the dot......I get close to identical readings.

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                      Jeff Whitlock
                      A/V Solutions

                      www.avsolutionsca.com

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                      • Joe Pittman
                        Joe Pittman commented
                        Editing a comment
                        OK. I need to get one of these!!

                    • #13
                      those ortofons look nice. Is the metal non magnetic?
                      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
                        those ortofons look nice. Is the metal non magnetic?
                        Yes.....non-magnetic
                        Jeff Whitlock
                        A/V Solutions

                        www.avsolutionsca.com

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          A reality check here. Any lab I have ever worked in, when you are weighing the small amounts we are talking about, it's done inside an enclosed environment. At these levels, stray air currents and other small events like your breath can change the readings. Using cheap scales and yes a $300 one is cheap we can't be worried about absolute numbers. Just make sure your scale is consistent over multiple readings over time.
                          Turntable: - 1. Fairchild 750/OMA slate plinth
                          2. Analog Engineering AE-2008 MinusK support.
                          Tonearm: 1. Schroder Custom
                          2. Schick 12"
                          3. Abis SA-1
                          Cartridge: Miyajima Kansui and Premium BE Mono
                          PhonoPre: AprilSound LR, EMIA Strain Gauge, EMIA silver SUT
                          CD: Wadia 860x
                          Server: Innuos Zen Mini Mk3
                          DAC: Computer Audio Design 1543 Mk2
                          Preamp: Bent Audio TAP-X w silver autoformers
                          Amplifier: AprilSound SET50 monoblocks
                          Speaker: Pioneer PAX-30C

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