Arm/cartridge weight measurement

I have a Thorens TD-110 with a Shure M97xE cartridge. While
this is a decent table, its strong point is not in
accurately measuring the weight of the stylus on the vinyl.
Recently, the weight became too light (extremely distorted

I adjusted it to be a bit heavier and it sounds better, but
not as good as it was a couple of months ago. Now I am
paranoid - what tools will I need to make sure the cartridge
is set up correctly? It was just installed a few months ago
by a local pro, but I would like to learn how to do this

What you need is a stylus force gauge, which measures the tracking force of the stylus on the record (as opposed to the actual weight of the tonearm / cartridge). The least expensive decent stylus force gauge is the Shure SFG-2, which costs about $20. It uses a balance arm, and can measure tracking force up to 3 grams.

The Shure stylus force gauge is available from lots of audio outlets, but the easiest way to get one is to order it online from the Audio Advisor. Click on the following link for more info:
Totally agree with Sdcampbell about the SFG.

If you want to get into other cartridge setup parameters you'll need a decent cartridge alignment tool. The best generic, bang-for-the-buck one is at for $20. Aligning your cartridge a couple of times with this tool will be a real learning experience. Prepare to spend an hour or so the first time you try, and bring all your patience with you.

While its ultimate utility is limited, the HiFi News test LP is also very educational. Available from the same online sources as the SFG.
Thanks for the excellent suggestions. I think I am still
getting some distortion on the really heavy bass, though the
only album that I also have on CD hasn't had the best care
over the years.

I picked up a couple of records that I have on CD. Jeff
Beck's Blow By Blow is likely to become my reference, what
do you think about that? I need to find an example that
will sound good on both CD and vinyl so that I can compare
the two as I build my analog system.

Thanks again,
Try Brubeck's 'Time Out'. It's available on both a CD reissue and a fabulous Classic Records reissue on 200g vinyl. and have them both. Extraordinary music-making on a fabulous Columbia 6 eye recording. It has a full range of frequencies from plucked string bass to cymbal harmonics and everything in between. I'm sure there are many others too.

Tons of choices. Nearly all of the JVC XRCD2 reissues of the RCA Living Stereo catalog are great, as are the corresponding LP reissues by Classic Records. Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Sheherezade' will test any system's dynamics, and the LP will destroy any CDP if your rig is up to it. There are many other excellent JVC/Classic Records pairs, but make sure the LP is available at a price you can stomach before buying the CD. Some of them are in short supply and they're priced accordingly.

You'll have to ask someone who knows!

BTW, read all you can in the FAQ's at Vinyl Asylum. Jon Risch's "VTA once and for all!" is essential, but every article there is worth reading.
Thank you, I bookmarked the Vinyl Asylum and will likely be
spending a lot of time there over the next months.