crackles & pops

So, I have a pretty decent rig, and just wasn't happy with platter sound and the "usual" cracks & pops. Leveled my rig to the 'enth degree and raised my tracking force from 1.75g (I played with VTF and went below MFG recommenede) to 2.15 (mfg rec's 1.8g to 2.25g) and... voila... no surface noise and cracks & pops (very, very limited) are soooo outside the sound plane...

Vinyl, once again, rocks.

Good news: you found an adjustment that helped. :-)

Bad news: if raising VTF reduced clicks and pops they may have been due to mistracking, in which case you may have been damaging your LP's.

Out of curiosity, why were you playing with VTF below the cartridge manufacturer's recommended minimum?

You should never do that until:
a) the cartridge suspension is thoroughly settled in (hundreds of hours at least), AND
b) you have a well-developed and reliable ability to fine tune VTF by ear.

Do you consistently recognize, after a few seconds of listening to any familiar music, whether VTF is more than a few hundredths of a gram below or above your cartridge's optimal downforce? If not, you risk your LP's by using too little.

Playing with inadequate downforce is a sure-fire way to ruin vinyl LP's. I've heard a thousand that were by destroyed by just a hair too little (including not a few of my own old ones). I've never heard even one that was wrecked by a bit too much VTF, I doubt it's even possible.

Good lesson learned...

I had set my weight with the clearaudio digital scale to 1.8g (cartridge rec is 1.8g to 2.25)-just assumed lighter in that scale would be best. I fine tuned VTF and all sounded great, but the platter sound (surface noise) bothered me. Mostly all brand new records. I took my scale out to tweak and realized I lost .05g when fine tuning VTA. Something also told me to try the higher side of the recommended tracking force, which I now did. I was so happy with the loss of platter sound, I broke out with some older 20yr+ records and, not only was I delighted to hear no surface noise, but even happier to hear that the very few cracks and pops on the older records where outside of the music plane. Very happy now and records just sound awesome.