VTF gauge


Trying to find a VTF gauge that had the measuring pad at the height of the album. Measuring VTF at the exact height of the album is critical. I have looked at numerous scales on line and none of them clearly states the height of the measuring pad. Can anyone recommend a scale that puts the measuring pad at the height of the album?

Thanks
 Steve 
sgunther
They all do. What you do, if its too low you shim under to raise it up. If its too high, you put it on a block of wood beside the platter. Either one of these is preferable because otherwise your next question is gonna be which one do I buy for 180g pressings and which for thinner and on and on endlessly on and on. The never ending saga then moves on to, doesn’t anyone make an adjustable height VTF gauge? And the answer is: don’t overthink it.
Don't waste your money. Measuring at the exact height of the album is not critical. What is critical is that you can make accurate measurements repeatedly. The manufacturer provides a VTF range  because each sample might vary slightly for any given model. You need to find out the VTF that works for yours in your system, with your preferences. Start with the median of the recommended range and move up of down. 0.1 or 0.2 g make a difference. To do that accurately, your scale needs to be on the same surface  (i.e. at the same height) each time you measure.
I haven't run across any scale that you could shim as they have all raised the arm to high. I was just looking for one as the OP recently with no success. I like to set up with 180 gram vinyl to get my basic setting as I have small adjustments available as I fine tune ( by ear ) later. Enjoy the music
mc hit it on the head. Any Gauge will do you just make a stand for it that puts it at the level of the record. Just place the stand at the platter's edge with the gauge on top. I would use a small block of wood planed down to thickness. If you do not have access to a hand plane just place a sheet of 100 grit sand paper on a flat surface like granite and rub the wood back and forth till you get the right thickness. You could also cut card board squares out and glue them together until you get the right thickness.
@imhififan , thanks for that, the first option of the Riverstone product looks like a winner and should be easy enough to check for accuracy with what I use now. Enjoy the music
Just ordered the Riverstone product off Amazon.
Tooblue.

I have been using the Riverstone gage for approximately 3 years.
Very accurate and easy peasy to set up and use.
Wonder what I did before I bought it... lol
@uberwalt, good to hear, don't know how it got by me for this long. Enjoy the music
Shure Stylus Force Guage - the old reliable! After my Ch*nese electronic scale stopped working I thankfully still had my Shure gauge! A great product deserving of Hall Of Fame status!
Love my Rega also but it and the old Shure which I also have do not address the issue at hand, which is to be able to set the tool so as to adjust a level arm and not to have to raise or lower arm to match the tool to achieve the task at hand. Enjoy the music
Just to close the loop. I bought a Riverstone VTF gauge which has a side attachment that measures VTF at album height. It works great and cost $27
@roberjerman,

The Shure Stylus Force Guage, is a piece of crap!

I read now that @tooblue was able to reboot his initial response with no consequence.,
The Shure stylus force gauge is a plastic and metal teeter-totter.... that the carefully used is about as accurate as any digital gauge, only it costs a lot less and relies on gravity which I'm told is more reliable long term than batteries. 
This is all you need
the height is just like a record (use that stylus platform for VTF).
on top of the gauge you can weight something else

remove the batteries if you don't use the gauge
03-07-2020 3:00amThe Shure stylus force gauge is a plastic and metal teeter-totter.... that the carefully used is about as accurate as any digital gauge, only it costs a lot less and relies on gravity which I'm told is more reliable long term than batteries.
Absolutely agree with the old reliable Shure.  My digital project is reliable as well but eats batteries all of the sudden.
Unfortunately, the Shure is no longer accurate enough. Most cartridges now come with a specific recommended tracking force which put the cantilever in the optimum position. The recommended VTF in many cases comes down to hundredths of a gram certainly tenths. An accurate counter balance scale would be impractical. An accurate digital gauge can let you dial it right in. I would be worried about the Riverstone gauge. It is very inexpensive. I would use some calibrated weights to check it's accuracy. The best gauges are 75 to 100 dollars. Even so I always take a calibrated 2 gram weight to check the gauges accuracy every time I use it.  These are a whopping 6 dollars!    https://www.amazon.com/Hestya-Calibration-Digital-Balance-Tweezer/dp/B078Q3JZY7?ref_=s9_apbd_otopr_hd_bw_b5Reiup&pf_rd_r=3MSYHZRTRFQWRVR5CDBC&pf_rd_p=37e1cdac-2bef-5b2f-9157-f1a14bd6
The Shure SFG was for decades all we had available. In that regard, surely it is an audio classic. You may want to put it in some sort of Hall of Fame. That would be OK with me. However, now we have inexpensive digital stylus force gauges that are miles ahead in every conceivable way. The Riverstone is even cheaper than the Shure, so the Shure loses its one remaining virtue-low cost. Besides the Riverstone, there are a myriad of other good choices that also place the weigh pan roughly at the level of the surface of a typical LP, which IS important, IMO. Any decent digital scale is going to be more accurate than the Shure and provide much more repeatable results. One other thing to be aware of: some weigh pans on some of these scales are faintly magnetic. This property will not go well with a low output moving coil cartridge that has a very strong magnet structure. In this regard, I don’t know about the Riverstone. I use an Ortofon DS3.
By the way, the Shure SFG is among those scales that are faintly magnetic. I own two of them and both misbehave with LOMC cartridges.
If one isn't concerned about actually getting a correct reading, shure, the Shure is the ticket. At almost $50.00 now, a way out there product.
Thanks guys for letting me know how crappy my Shure gauge is!  And all this time...
millercarbon
The Shure stylus force gauge is a plastic and metal teeter-totter.... that the carefully used is about as accurate as any digital gauge ...
The Shure is accurate as far as it goes, but it's nowhere near as precise as a good digital gauge.
... it costs a lot less and relies on gravity which I'm told is more reliable long term than batteries.
If batteries not sufficiently reliable for you, perhaps you should consider installing a hand crank on your car to help you get it started.
Ortofon DS-1 is the best digital gauge, period
you can close the topic 
My $2.95 (vastly more expensive today I see) Chinese gauge is accurate to within 0.01g at all points with its intended range.  How exactly is the Ortofon better?
Just for the record, the Riverstone absolutely solved the problem for me as it does exactly what I need it to do for a price of $28.00. Not sure of what reboot someone mentioned or consequences I might of subjected myself to. Enjoy the music
Although I paid much more for my Ortofon  DS 3, too blue, I am sure you are fine with the Riverstone. Good for you. I bought the Ortofon  when I was in Tokyo last spring, and I felt I needed to buy “something” so I could say to myself I got a bargain.
@lewm , after looking at the Ortofon models that you and @chakster mention, I do believe I would like them better than the Riverstone which I purchased, simply based on the fact of no assembly required with them, but I do find solace in the fact that the Riverstone does work well and is accurate. Enjoy the music
I have both. A couple times now after setting with my digital gauge I pulled out the Shure just for fun. Both times got the same reading. There is nothing inherently more or less accurate in a digital gauge. Seeing decimal places is only the illusion of accuracy. You can get the same with the Shure, it only requires you be more patient and interpolate markings. Also it turns out if you go long enough between uses the battery will die and require replacement. Gravity never has had that problem.

I suppose some smartass will correct me... "yet". 

I really do not know what it is about people here always trying to catch the other guy out even at the expense of making a fool of themselves in the process. You should know better than that by now. This site really could be so much more. You don't have to turn it over to the GK's and dajoneses. 
Rega Atlas: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&...

I had Ortofon DS-3, it´s OK with MM carts but with LOMC kind it suddenly after a few months use started to show odd readings resulting in lightly different readings almost each time, in the same situation, one measurement after other... Eventually it went totally unrealiable. I changed new batteries, twice but didn´t fix the problem. But it worked fine with MMs so I sold it.
 Now I´ve been using the Atlas for more than two years, with the original big 9V battery. Never had any problems but it does have one downside. It doesn´t measure anything under 1.0 gram. When I try reduce VTF of my beloved Highphonic MC R5 to its minimum 0.9 g, the display goes black. But that doesn´t worry me at all.
The best gauge there is, but as always nothing´s truly perfect.
Cheers
Harold, I don’t know what to tell you as regards your experience with the DS3. Your story sounds like a case of magnetic attraction between MC cartridge magnets and the weigh pan of the DS3. Ive tested mine for that problem, and it passes. Otherwise I can’t see how a scale could have a problem with an MC and no problem with an MM. I bought the DS3 after I discovered that my Ortofon MC2000 cartridge, which clearly has the most powerful magnet of any I own, was attracted both to my Shure SFG and to my generic Chinese-made but good quality digital scale. The DS3 shows no symptoms of that issue.
I own 4 kinds: Technics SH-50 P1, mini digital scale, Ortofon ''ordinary'' + FR-64 S own (spring) kind. Each of them give different
''values''. But the most easy to use is FR-64 S. However my
Allaerts MC 2 ''allows'' only deviations of 0,2 g. So I just ordered
Ortofon DS-1 on recommendation of my Slavic brother. If this
one does not function as it should or as promised  by my brother
I will kill him (grin).
Forget about specs. Many of these gauges are 2-3 tenths off. Get that calibrated set of weights for $6. Trust but verify.
Dear mijostyn, way do you assume that we don't own those ''calibration weights''? I, for example, own 3 of those. 
I tried those Chinese digital gauges before, a few of them, they were OK, but they did not have that lower platform on the level of vinyl record which is a nice bonus. Ortofon DS-3 was more problematic than my Ortofon DS-1. I swear the cheaper DS-1 is just great!

More expensive DS-3 that i bought once was very strange, i returned it because the weight was displayed incorrectly. Probably it was defective sample. DS-3 sucked energy from the batteries quickly and i could not deal with it after i swapped batteries many times.

DS-1 has different batteries (just 2) and i think it’s a better gauge (at least for me).
Dear chkaster, I don't know why but in former East Europe 
Aristoteles with his strange methodology of ''essential'' and
''accidental'' properties of things is still assumed to be true.
Despite Galileo in physics  and Frege in logic. This may explain
your opinion  about  ''essential'' parts in MC carts like stylus shape
and cantilevers while other parts are considered to be ''accidental''.
You may, according to this philosophy, think that the only risk in
our hobby is of financial kind. That is when we buy things which we
can't afford. As the debt crisis learned this is an real danger. But
as you can see from my response to your P&R for Ortofon DS 1,
which btw is more expensive than DS 3, there is also ''life danger''
involved. This my dear brother is certainly not ''accidental '' issue.
The American philosopher Quine invented following joke about
those ''éssential'' properties by describing humans as ''featherless
biped ''.   

If Chak says so, DS1 must be superior to DS3. 1.6g measured by the DS1 must sound better than 1.6g measured by my DS3. Mea culpa.

Mijo, most of the better digital scales come with one or more test weights included. I’ve never seen an error greater than .01g, which is within the expected error of the test weight itself.
Chak, I just looked it up out of my own curiosity and because I could have bought either one last time I was in Tokyo. So there must have been a reason I chose the DS3.
DS3 sensitivity .01g
DS1 sensitivity 0.1g

DS3 more sensitive.

I thought so @lewm but that "super DS3" sucked the energy quickly and does not display the weight correctly, so i returned it to Japan when i bought it (new). They want me to be a bankrupt on batteries, changing them every week. Something was wrong with that unit.

DS1 is just fine, smaller, cheaper, completely different batteries.. using it for over 2 years. I can easily measure 1.25g on DS1 and i’m not crazy about 0.01g

DS1 was dirt cheap, i paid probably 30 USD for it, also from the Japanese shop.

Not sure what we discuss here, the DS1 is what i use and can recommend to others, and it’s nice device.

DS3 was practically worst. I do not use inconvenient devices, i gave it a change, it’s failed, no more



I'm confused, maybe just a bit thick. How can you measure 1.25 grams
on the DS1 if it only resolves to .1 grams?

What am I misunderstanding?
How can you measure 1.25 grams
on the DS1 if it only resolves to .1 grams?


Very simple, i will set it to 1.2 first (and will check in on my DS1) and then i will just add 0.05g on my tonearm counterweight. Any proper tonearm have precise counterweight balance with adjustable tracking force within 0.05 visually. It works like a safe lock. For example Technics tonearms are always spot on. Been using EPA-100 this way and now EPA-100 mkII. Lustre GST-801, Denon DA-401 whatever, all of the can be adjusted within 0.05g.  

There is a range of VTF for any cartridge anyway, when i’m between 1.2 and 1.3 the tonearm counterweight VTF meter indicate the difference for me.

What’s the problem ?

Honestly, i bet no one will ever detect a VTF difference within 0.05g by ears and every cartridge have a range of VTF so no harm for a cartridge.

I know that some tonearm does not have an option to measure VTF on the counterweight (like my Reed 3p for example), but this is the only tonearm among 6 others in my collection. The rest of them can be adjusted right on the counterweight within +/- 0.05g

You guys always overestimate the problem as i can see.
When measuring VTF is there a “proper” place on the platter to set the device?  I have a fairly cheap digital model and the meter reading usually changes by a few thousandths depending if I measure at the outside, middle, or inside of the platter?  I realize I need to get a better scale but assuming I do is there a location on the platter that is the proper place to weigh?  Is it normal for different areas to read differently or should it be consistent across the platter?  FYI, I am measuring a VPI Prime unipivot but with the second pivot installed. 
Jeez, Chak. I’ve been using the DS3 for 2 years, still on its original AAA batteries. So indeed yours must have been defective.
Eking, I wouldn’t worry about a few thousandths of a gram. Ideally it shouldn’t matter where you make the measurements. But I wouldn’t blame your scale for the tiny deviation.
Should have said few “hundredths” not thousandths. Outside say 1.75, inside about 1.72?
Before people knock the River Stone gage maybe try one first......

I have verified it's total accuracy repeatedly with known calibrated weights similar to a jeweler uses.

Oh and it's still on same battery it came with.
Good for you nandric. Many people do not. They assume their new gauge is accurate. Uberwaltz also checks his gauge. As for whether or not you have to check the VTF at exactly platter height dependson the geometry of the arm particularly what plane the vertical bearings are in. Ideally they should be at the level of the record. 
I own a number of digital scales. For me, the Shure (which I remember using as far back as the 70s) is easily the worst.
Then there is a very common stylus force gauge made in China and rebranded by everyone from Acoustech ($79 at Acoustic Sounds), Audio Additives ($49 at Music Direct ) to, well you name it, which is pretty bad providing wildly differing results within seconds of each other (Issues with magnets in lomcs?). I purchased a few different versions of that model. They were all unreliable.
Unhappy with the above, I purchased a Clearaudio Weight Watcher which was better but awkward to use in my set up and also did not measure the stylus force at the level of a record on the turntable. (The new version appears to have been improved with a measuring spot.) Finally, I purchased an Ortofon DS-3 which does everything right at what appears to be the average thickness of a record on the table. Expensive--but worth it.
Following in to Mijo, I would say that after you’ve set VTA, then you set VTF with the weigh pan set at the level of the surface of an LP. That’s in the best case.
What about the prices? There are some Ortofon products which
are made in Japan. I assume that Japan need to pay licence
rights to Ortofon . But chakster paid $ 30 for his Japanese DS1
while I paid 139 euro for my . In E. Union we need to pay 13% 
import duty + 21% VAT (Holland; 19%  Germany) . So we try
to buy European products in Europe. Gpgr mentioned China with
even lower prices than Japanese. I don't understand such price
differences . Anyway not In the so called ''global economy'' .