Fozgometer


I've used this gizmo a few times before and think its a very valuable tool. I'm setting up a new cartridge, and nearing the end of a whole day job...anyway, I'm using the proper test record, yet, the meter doesn't work...I get a dull lights on the 2 red ones, although the middle power light works. Any suggestions?
stringreen
Did you check the battery? Maybe you need a new 9 volt?
I bought a demo Fozgometer a while back and it didn't work when I got it. I contacted the importer and they said some units have an issue with the meter connections shorting out on the aluminum box ( a little too tight a fit). Sure enough that was my problem, a piece of strategically placed tape solved the problem. If you have an unpainted internal surface or obvious wear on the bottom of the box then this could be your problem.
Thanks.....changed the battery..no help, no short on the meter. It is a bad brand new Ortofon cartridge. Back it goes.
I tried one recently...gave a funny reading and the cartridge did not look right (really tilted) I went back to what looked right and fine tuned by ear from there...

Not sure if it was user error...but just not that hard to use...
Have you tried connecting the meter to the output of the phonostage or the preamp? A lot of cartridges don't have enough output for the meter to work straight off the cartridge.
Yes...it is a new Ortofon that was manufactured with internal improper connections. Thanks
I think is a calibration issue. There is a way to calibrate the device, I used to have one light on even when not connected to a TT. What I don't remember is where the company explain how to do it. Try to contact the manufacturer.
Even more unacceptable when you realize the distributor has raised the price to $300.
Thanks Jorsan....I used it a few months ago to set up a Benz LPS and it worked fine. The brand new Ortofon was internally wired incorrectly. The leads I installed match the color of the pins, and itself matched the illustration on the enclosed brochure. Although the cartridge was not completely set up, I listened and discovered that the right channel was coming from the left and v/v. I've sent the cartridge back to Ortofon, and will post when I get another.
Essentialaudio, the Fozgometer may not be the problem. Read what Stringreen is saying; it may be the Ortofon cartridge.

Until the cartridge is replaced and the Fozgometer is used to align azimuth with the new cartridge, it's all speculation.

I've been using a Fozgometer for more than five years now and have been quite satisfied with it's ability to consistently get cartridge alignment very close to ideal. Fine-tuning by ear is the final step if needed. The price is still reasonable when you consider the alternatives.

Regards,
Tom
Fozgometer Calibration: http://www.musicalsurroundings.com/FozgometerCalibration/Fozgometer%20Testing%20and%20Calibration%20Procedure.pdf

http://www.musicalsurroundings.com/FozgometerCalibration/
I suppose an update is in order.... I got the replacement Ortofon and the cartridge is fine, but the Foz was indeed broken as well. I sent the Foz back to Musical Surrounding who told me the meters were shorted, and that they are sending me a new unit. Right now I have the cartridge set up and am eyeballing the azimuth. I'll readjust it when I get the new Foz. The sound on the Ortofon was piss poor for the first side or 2 playing LPs. It then started to strut...the fuzzy sound receeded, and was replaced with great hall ambiance. This cartridge replaced an LPS and right now even not fully broken in, it is a sound replacement. Listening to it gets better everyday is enlightening. It doesn't click to a better picture, but slowly the listener is aware of new "stuff". It reminds me of my flying....you don't realize the weather change, but then suddenly the sun breaks from behind some clouds. When the Foz comes I'll wright again.
Cool- which Ortofon are you running. Cheers -Don
I seem to remember the Fozgometer being somewhat discredited by users in general, the inference being it was only dependable in 2 out of 3 cases(?). If you prefer measurement perhaps a better option would be to wait for one of these :

http://sound-smith.com/cartright/index.html

I'm not sure the device ever fully went to market(???)
They've been telegraphing its release for some time.
Also it is/will be a good deal more expensive than the Fozgometer.
This seems like a handy device (and made in the US). I considered buying one a few years ago :

http://www.kabusa.com/canceler.htm

Looks more trouble-free than the Foz (no lights, you judge the sound minimum)?
It is bound to have its critics too I am certain ;^)
If you use the Fozgometer, you should heed Fremer's latest blog and also the bulletins from the distributor. Turns out the Foz is very dependent for accuracy upon the exact DC voltage being put out by its "9V" battery. 9V batteries never put out exactly 9V. Thus every Foz, new or old, needs to be calibrated prior to use. There are instructions how to do that at both sites. This revelation probably accounts for the wildly different opinions I have read here and elsewhere regarding the accuracy of the Foz.

I think "767400" is pointing out this same issue.

IMO, Fosgate should make available at least an optional external 9V regulated power supply that plugs into the Foz. Get rid of that battery.
I have owned the fozgometer since it first was released. Bought it from Music Direct on sale for $200. My meter works great. I did read the post on how to calibrate the meter. I did check my meter per the manufacturer's instructions and my meter was dead nuts on spec. I have no complaints about this product.
I just got a brand new replacement Foz from Musical Surroundings. Mike (service) calibrated it personally, and sent me a new battery as well. It took about 10 minutes or so to get the azimuth perfect. Now that the cartridge/arm is set up, I'm going to monkey around with loading. I will return.
I thought I'd enter another installment in my saga. The Foz is back, and I set up the azimuth for my new cartridge. From the beginning, I didn't think much of the new Ortofon Windfield. I came from a Benz LPS and the Windfield was not even in the same league. As it broke in it got better and better, but even after a month or so (waiting for a new Fozgometer) it didn't capture me. I have a VPI 3D arm..and Harry gushed over this cartridge who really made be get it. I reviewed every parameter of setup, but loading....today, I worked on that. Harry told me that 500 ohms is what he uses and recommends, so naturally that is how I set it up. I was uneasy about something, and didn't know what. I called Ayre and spoke to Michael...a guru with this stuff. He told me that he would try 4700 ohms....no resistor in place. Ok, I did that and although it sounded better in many respects, it didn't have the magic I was looking for. OK...opened the Ayre preamp, and got in a 1000 ohm resistor and OMG what a difference. Here is magic in spades. The sound changed with the addition of resistance much like an arm reacts to damping. When you have too much damping, the sound just lays there....too little, and there is too much fuzz...not enough instrument placement...spaces between the notes are filled in. I Suspect that the Ortofon is still waking up, but I encourage you vinyl fanatics, to experiment with loading and not just select a value on a whim. Every system is different and you must experiment to find your prescription.
I love my Hagerman Piccolo step up. Just a simple twist of the knob and I can select from 6 different loadings. So much nicer than soldering and de-soldering resistors inside a box, and the sound is transparent and musical too. Thanks for a great design Jim,
I was having problems with the accuracy of my Foz, which was still very new (purchased from LP Gear). I tried to calibrate the unit using the test tones provided on Musical Surroundings web site, but couldn't get it correctly adjusted and sent it to Musical Surroundings for service. The service manager, Mike Fajin, told me that my unit was severely "out of whack", but he was able to accurately calibrate the unit using a special signal generator built for MS by Jim Fosgate. So, if you have a Foz that's not accurate, or you have problems with calibration, you might want to send the unit to MS.
Sdcampbell, that's great information. I used the Musical Surroundings test tones to calibrate my Fozgometer and it went smoothly and the Foz works well for azimuth adjustment. But if the unit ever seems to be "out of whack" and the test tone recalibration method doesn't work I'll know to just send it in for service. It's nice to know that the unit is so easily restored.

Regards,
Tom
How do you define "whack" and whether your Foz is in or out of it? It's based on a subjective impression, is it not? Unless the azimuth is so askew as to be impossible.
If it can't be calibrated to the test tones, it is out of whack. Nothing subjective about that.
Thanks. I had the impression from the other posts that the Foz could be calibrated with the test tones and then still give incorrect readings when used to set azimuth. If that were the case, one would have no way to be sure whether there was error and precisely how much error.
Yup.....mine was really wrong, and Mike send me a whole new one. He tested and adjusted it and it now works fine. I guess its like an Alfa Romeo. When its working, its wonderful, but you need to keep a repair shop close by. ( I had a Duetta...the red sports car from The Graduate)
An additional comment or two to my previous post:
Mike Fajin also asked me about the equipment I used during my
calibration attempts. I had downloaded the test tones to my HP
laptop, and connected the laptop to the Foz using an
inexpensive splitter cable with a mini jack on the computer
end, and RCA jacks on the other two "legs" of the
cable. Fajin said a cheap splitter cable (i.e., from China)
could be a problem, and also that playing the test tones from
the laptop, rather than burning the test tones to a CD and
playing it on a CD player, might also introduce inaccuracies.
His advice was to burn the test tones to a CD and use that to
calibrate the Foz, and to use good quality interconnects from
the CD player to the Foz.

P.S. I got my Foz back from MS and it seems to be working
fine. When MS calibrated the unit, it was set to 30db, rather
than 20db as the unit's instruction manual states.
If this thread was the only source of information about the Fozgometer, I would conclude that the product isn't functionally reliable.
Onhwy61: I get your drift... I think I would have contacted Musical Surroundings before posting this thread. However, maybe the reason for this thread was that MS was contacted and no credible response?
Sdcampbell, thanks for the clarification. I have been wondering about some of the problemss people have posted on using and calibrating the Fozgometer. As Mike Fajin mentioned to you, the unit is sensitive to extraneous signal noise so you have to use good quality connectors and a clean signal. I found this out while using one of my phono preamps and a LOMC cartridge; the preamp had developed some signal noise in one channel that was affecting the Fozgometer and making it difficult to set azimuth. So I used the tonearm cables directly into the Foz. That's the preferred method but when you have a cartridge with low output, the range of signal output is reduced so it reduces the sensitivity of the adjustments in azimuth.

Your mention of the Fozgometer being recalibrated to a 30dB sensitivity got me to thinking that I could do the same in order to have a wider range of sensitivity for LOMC cartridges. I'm assuming that's how it would work. I'll have to experiment to see. Or have you already seen that effect?

I know it would cost more to implement but it would be handy to have two signal level settings on the Fozgometer, one for high output cartridges and one for low output cartridges. But that'd make the Fozgometer more expensive for everyone just to make it more convenient for a limited number of users.

Thanks again for posting the information. Helps to understand how these things work.
Onhwy61, on the contrary, it points out that you need to pay attention to how you use the Fozgometer and what the signal readings mean. As I said in my recent post, I think some of the difficulties in using the Fozgometer are the result of user error or misunderstanding, or faulty cartridges and/or phono preamps. The owners manual is fairly complete but it could be improved by providing more background information on how the Foz works, what the signal readings mean, and how to troubleshoot (and correct) for odd readings or behavior. That would also help users know when the device is actually deffective or needs to be recalibrated by Musical Surroundings. (And to expect that every single Fozgometer manufactured will work perfectly, forever, is unrealistic.)

The Fozgometer is a very handy device to aid in setting azimuth but it's not a purely "plug-and-play" device; you need to use it properly, use a fresh battery, have good connectors, and normally functioning cartridges and phono preamps. Playing vinyl can be very simple if you want it to be. But if you're wanting to get the highest level of playback that's reasonably possible, you have to take the time and trouble to make that happen. I don't consider it a hassle, it's just part of the enjoyment of a lifelong hobby.

Regards,
Tom
@Tketcham

(And to expect that every single Fozgometer manufactured will work perfectly, forever, is unrealistic.)

TOTAL BS! THAT IS EASY, AND WHAT I WANT!

It is just a meter, and a few parts, is a box, and way overpriced!

Why should it not work forever???
Well, Don, I guess your expectations are far higher than mine when it comes to consumer electronic gear. I suppose that for some things, like MRI, EKG, and X-ray machines I expect perfect manufacturing and they'll last almost indefinitely. Same for car ABS systems and airplane avionics. But for consumer stereo gear and accessories, not so much. I expect that every so often one of the units will have a defect, and that they won't work perfectly forever and will need some maintenance.

If that's total bullsh!t then I guess you're right.

Regards,
Tom
+1 Don. Could not agree more. We are not building rockets here either. Enjoy the music.
Does the Fozgometer indicate the optimal azimuth setting or does it just get you very close to that setting?
Tketcham, As I understood Fremer's review and the comments of others "in the know", it seemed that the absolute voltage produced by the battery makes a difference. Thus installing a new battery is not a panacea; it seems that doing so would require re-calibration of the Foz. Brand new "9V" batteries will vary from about 9.1V to 9.6V in their actual output voltage. (I had to buy several for another project, and I measured about a dozen "new" ones. No two were exactly alike in voltage.) So, if the Foz is sensitive to differences in battery voltage of 0.1V, which I am led to believe is true, then it's not so simple as to say that you need to use a fresh battery every time. Seems it's better to say you should re-calibrate the Foz every time you use it, which is a burden on the user. Probably does not make much difference to change the battery in that case, so long as it is still making 9V or more. I am more in Don's camp on this issue; the Foz should be more dependable, and it could be if Fosgate would make an outboard 9V PS for it. But maybe PS noise, even very low level, is inimical to its function. Hence the battery. But also, I don't doubt that what you said is true; a lot of the reported problems may be due to end-user and/or dealer ignorance of how to use it.

Stringreen, Shame on you for comparing an Alfa Romeo to a Fozgometer. I drove a 1967 Alfa Duetto (with Weber carburetors) for six years as my only car, living in NYC with no garage, and it never ever let me down once, not even in snowstorms. In the end, a dishonest and unskilled mechanic "killed" it. (He later went to jail for fraud and theft in connection with his Ferrari repairs.) The post-1968 Alfas did have a rather unreliable fuel injection system that was necessitated by emissions requirements. That fuel injection system may have contributed to the reputation for unreliability. Many cars were converted back to use Webers in those days. Also, many troglodytes don't know the difference between an Alfa and a Fiat. The 60s and 70s Fiats were indeed problematic.
Lew, you're right, a new battery is not a panacea in preventing all the potential pitfalls in using a sensitive electronic device like the Fozgometer. And no, I don't put a fresh battery in my Fozgometer each and every time I use it. I made the suggestion because it helps to at least establish a baseline if anyone is unsure about the condition or quality of a battery. Do I recalibrate my Fozgometer every time I use it? No, but I do swap out the battery every year and I recalibrate after doing so. It's not difficult. It doesn't take much time. Not really a burden.

Now, setting azimuth by eye and ear, that's a burden. '-)

Regards,
Tom
The fozgometer is a PIA to use, and so is setting azimuth by ear.

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?9097-Azimuth-adjustment-the-easy-way

Optimizing Arms are a PITA no matter what approach, but the
end result should be pleasing to YOUR ear!

VTA/SRA and azimuth optimum setup tools only go so far, best to fine tune by ear in the end. IMO YMMV!
TKetchum...you evidently got a good one, or mine was made on Friday, just before a holiday. The first week I had the car, the exhaust system fell off....I found a wire hanger and crawled under the car and wired it in until I could get it to the dealer. The hood was designed (or not, but this did always happened) ...when taking it out in the rain, water would splash under the car and be routed into the 4 deep spark plug recesses, which would ground out the electrical system, and the car would stop. I had to carry a turkey baster to suck out the water..would be good for a block or 2....also, my car had brakes made from components from Girling and Bendix which didn't quite fit...it would suck air every time you stepped on the brake. I remember riding to NJ from Lime Rock Connecticut using only the hand brake. I could go on..but you get the idea.
The Feickert software is hassle free and you can see the relationship between crosstalk and phase and have the choice to align to either.
I believe the Foz is a very worthwile tool, even though it hit the fan recently with negative reviews. The difference when properly done to eyeballing, or setting by ear is quite large.
If minimal crosstalk is your goal and you don't have either a mono switch or special test gear, and you don't want to accidentally break your cartridge tags by trying to invert one channel, try this technique for fun.

Use ONE of the -20db pink noise test tracks from the HFNRR disc (or a 1KHz Xtalk track from the Ultimate Analogue Disc).

Listen only to one of those tracks but first disconnect the I/C for the "active" channel so that you are only listening to the "crosstalk channel".
One of the good things about your ears is that unlike test gear they can easily discriminate between random noise, surface noise & pink noise so gauging the level of the crosstalk signal is not a problem.
Crank up the volume of the silent channel until you can hear the crosstalk clearly then progressively adjust by ear for minimum cross-channel bleed.

One thing you will notice is that surface noise on the 25 second test track will become eerily quiet when you hit the sweet spot. (At least in the case of a line contact stylus)

If you try this method with headphones you may have to crank the volume up quite a bit before you hear any crosstalk at all. It can be done with both channels driven but not quite so easily. A useful side-effect is that you will notice the volume or presence increase on the active channel (yes, even with pink noise) when it hits the sweet spot, coinciding with a minimum in the other.
Personally, I bought a Signet Cartridge Analyzer about 25 years ago. All you need is a proper test LP, and it reads out crosstalk. Also has other uses. But I also think setting azimuth is a bit over-rated. Most cartridges sound fine if you set azimuth for 90 degrees. (I hate to say this; I used to argue quite the opposite.)
@Stringreen

Since you wear a hearing aid you "must" use 'tools" for all your arm setup!

Setup by ear is not your option. LOL!
Lew, for about 29 years I used an LP12 with a succession of Linn MC cartridges and enjoyed the success you describe.

Almost total noise suppression (even on dodgy and warped discs) allied to first class tracking, even when the carts were well worn.
Must have been a combination of good bearings, accurate manufacture and the benefit of properly controlling all the parts to minimise error (or I just got lucky :)

At the moment I have what you might call a "Feickert situation" i.e. if we physically measured the cart we'd find that the perfect alignment wasn't exactly 0 degrees (either cantilever axis or diamond azimuth) but still within the limits of cart manufacture in general.

No harm in adjusting alignment to get back to Nirvana. ;^)
All the best,
Onhwy61, it all depends on who you ask as to whether or not the Fozgometer indicates the optimal azimuth. Opinions on the merits of the Fozgometer are all over the map, with a wide gap between camps. Not surprising for a device that's attempting to measure weak signals from a limited frequency range based on an imperfect source. Just do a search on how (im)perfect many of the test LPs are. Compounding that is the level of exactitude that is used during the alignment process.

In my opinion, based on setting azimuth for five different cartridges (4 LOMC and 1 MM) with three different turntables, is that the Fozgometer makes it very easy to set azimuth that is darn close to optimal. Sometimes the azimuth is probably perfect, but I wouldn't know because I don't have a way to test for perfection and I don't spend the extra time necessary to validate perfection by ear.

All I can say is that after setting a Baerwald alignment, getting VTF and SRA adjusted, and then quickly setting azimuth with the Fozgometer, I can put an album on the turntable, queue the tonearm, and sit back and enjoy some of the best sounding music I've ever heard in my home.

Man, that's optimal. :-)

Regards,
Tom
I've had a Foz for maybe four years now. During that time I've installed five cartridges on four tonearms on three turntables. All sounded better after setting azimuth with it--that is, better than eyeballing perpendicularity with a Millennium block. The device is not perfect but it's darned handy and works quite well when calibrated properly.
Did connect the FOZ to a dedicated 230 V AC to 9 V DC powersupply .Did control the calibration test several times ,stays perfect.
Now test my cart with the proper test LP , saw a difference between L and R of two scale points , I mean reading L is 15 , R is 17 .In both cases the leds did only light for the proper channel.Do you think I have to try to make the difference smaller ? With a LP with pink noise you don't hear the other channel.Hope for some input
Regards Hans
Hans, the readings you're getting seem on the low side but perhaps you have a very low output cartridge. The channel separation indicated by the Fozgometer is not bad but I would try to adjust the azimuth so the channels are closer to being balanced (smaller difference).

If this is the first time you have used the Fozgometer I suggest experimenting with azimuth settings to see much stylus tilt affects channel separation. Try tilting the cartridge first one way and then another. Not too much but enough to see a difference in the readings. I check the amount of tilt with a small level. When you get the channel separation to be very close, stop and enjoy some music. :-)

Then, when you have some time, carefully listen to an LP with clean solo vocals and/or acoustic instruments to see if you can hear differences as you make fine adjustments. For example, listen to the LP before you make any adjustments using the Fozgometer and then listen to the same LP after you make adjustments. (Use an LP that you don't mind playing several times without resting it between plays.) Vocals and instruments should come into sharper focus when you're at or near optimum azimuth. As you become familiar with how the readings on the Fozgometer relate to the sound you hear, you'll know when you've got good azimuth alignment by the readings alone.

It's a learning process and takes time so don't be in a hurry and enjoy some music as you go.

Regards,
Tom
Nansk...make the difference as small as you can do it. Mine is exactly right....needed lots of time.. Every time you change the azimuth, you should check to see if the vtf was disturbed. Any raising or lowering of the back of the arm needs rechecking of all parameters including where the stylus sits on the alignment protractor. I know...very tedious....