2 or 3 grams is no problem: I have a Grado that seems to track best at around 2.7
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...believe it or not i was always placing the cartridge tracking force without any gauge to measure by the stylus tracking angle.
i now decided to buy the tracking force gauge and set up finally the cartridge tracking force in the appropriate range as instructed and did not get positive results.
my initially set tracking force of >2 grams was better performer than the one set with the gauge 1.5 grams -- what a waiste of bucks.
Marakanetz, it is possible that by tracking your cartrige for a period of time at a heavier tracking force than that designed for the cartridge the suspension, which is analagous to a simple spring, has been compromised just as when one overstretches a spring it does not assume it's original shape. This may cause it to be out of spec at the correct tracking force leading to unacceptable sound quality.
Marakanetz, I suspect that your vta is set to high and when you apply more tracking force this will lower your vta. You should set your tracking force to the recommended weight, and adjust your vta until all the instruments are heard clearly,or come into focus. If your arm does not have adjustable vta then I think you know why you have to track heavy to get better sound. You will not get the magic unless you have both the tracking force and vta right.