You have to balance the arm first, then set up ZERO on the tonearm counterweight and only then add the actual weight according to the manual of your cartridge.
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If it was me I would back off 3.8, it has to sound dull with that much over recommended force and can't be good for your cartridge. Your range is 2.0 to 2.4 start at 2.4 since you are use to that much weight. Lighten up til you hear highs to your liking, once bass is light go up or down to find a happy medium.
....just get it in the ballpark, then listen as you raise/lower the rear end of the arm. When you think you have it right, check the vtf with the scale at the same height as you zeroed the arm...if not, your indication will be wrong. I would double check the azimuth....I think it is a very important adjustment.
Anyone with a cartridge required to track greater than 2.0 g in this day and age should have his/her head examined
Can you please explain that? I have a Clearaudio Concerto V2. All their cartridges in that range and up have a 2.8 gr. recommended tracking force, which is what I use based on listening tests. I've used it for years and it sounds fantastic. Would like to know what it is that you know better than Clearaudio.
Thanks everyone for your input. (Well, nearly everyone) It has helped me to plan ahead.
My cartridge at the present is the basic Clearaudio Concept. For the last 20 years I have had Grado's, the last being a wood body Reference.
I find this Clearaudio Concept to be very "bright" by comparison. That is what moved me to buy the scales to check it out, I just assumed Clearaudio would have it right.
dwette69, have you had experience with sound of other Clearaudio? Would you describe the Concerto V2 as "bright"?
vino, far as I can tell the Clearaudio is not only a bright cartridge, but bright everything else. Worst waste of money I ever heard, same setup you have, only I add blame to Definitive Audio. Whatever. Maybe you will like it. My bet is you will like a Grado a lot better. I know I would.
To answer your question and correct gaps posted above-
Correct VTF matters because if you look closely as you lower the cartridge you will notice the cantilever angle changes as the weight of the cartridge presses down. What you don't see is at the other end inside the cartridge, as the stylus end goes up the inside end goes down. The end where the coils are. The coils that must be centered within the magnetic field produced by the fixed magnets. So if you hear anyone saying VTF shouldn't be such and such, they have no clue what they are talking about. The manufacturer knows how much force is needed to put the coil where they want it. You set to that force. Period.
Now within that narrow range of in your case .2 g then yes you can tweak a bit by ear. Although what you will be doing mostly is trying to get the sound you want. Which you should rather be doing by buying the correct cartridge instead.
So now what are the challenges with making sure you're setting VTF accurately? Well first you zero and tare your scale by using whatever known weight it comes with. Next you check to see if when the stylus is resting on the scale it is the exact same level as when playing a record. Most scales are thicker than a record so you can't just set it on the platter or the cartridge will be too high. The arm will be high and whatever VTF you get will be different when playing a record. Only way around this is make a little stand, block of wood or whatever, so the scale is exactly at record level. Then you lower the stylus precisely to the center of the scale. Whatever reading you get you raise and lower and repeat until you are sure you are consistently in the middle of that 0.2 g range.
All this of course is assuming the overhang was done correctly. Being they were so far off on VTF that is not an assumption I would make. Trust but verify, as they say.
dwette, have you had experience with sound of other Clearaudio? Would you describe the Concerto V2 as "bright"?
No, I do not consider it overly bright. It has a very neutral and balanced presentation. I had a Talismann V2 that was overly bright. When I checked the frequency response graph that came with it, there was a 5 db peak in the 12K-15K range. I complained and they replaced it: actually they replaced it with the Concerto V2 I have now for a reasonable upcharge.
I plan to upgrade this year. I am going to audition a Benz-Micro Gullwing SLR, but if I don’t go with that I plan to get the Stradivari V2.
The coils must be centered within the magnetic field produced by the fixed magnets.... The manufacturer knows how much force is needed to put the coil where they want it. You set to that force. Period.I have cartridges with a single number for VTF (e.g. 2g) so that must be the magnetic field bullseye. But others give a range. I start at the mid-point, figuring that's where the coils are centered. Maybe giving a range is to cope with user issues, such as tracking warps, where playability trumps perfection. Then again, I may depart from the recommended force if it sounds good; I use the aforementioned 2g cartridge at 1.6g and it sounds just as good. Save some wear on groove and stone. And they always say "Recommended", not "Thou Shalt."