what is the problem with too much tracking force?

I have a Lyra Delos on a Michell Tecnodec.  The dealer set it up for me.  2 years later, I would like to learn to do this myself.  I bought the MOFI Geo Disc alignment tool, a digital stylus scale, a powerful magnifier, and an ultrasonic stylus cleaner.  I am ready to up my game with my vinyl hobby.  I was on the sidelines too long!

The first thing I did was to weigh the VTF with the scale with my table set up as it has been for a couple of years.  It came in at 1.95g.  The Lyra documentation suggests 1.75, so clearly I am tracking too heavy.  Before I correct this, what is the issue?  Is there something I should look for when I change it to 1.75?

Any advice before I do this adjustment would be much appreciated!
lyra ranges from 1.75g to 2.25g so yours isn't "overweight" and normal.
setting it slightly heavier than recommended is OK. The tonearm compliance may also come to equation to ensure proper and stable tracking of cartridge.
precise digital tools are often waste of time especially if you have wide range of records of various thickness and various groove depth. setting it slightly higher than recommended setting is to ensure that cartridge will properly track all of your records. 
If you make any azimuth or other adjustments measure VTF afterwards again, as it has the potential to accidentally get moved a bit with many tonearm designs. 
FWIW, Walkeraudio.com has an old article on it that explains turntable setup very clearly and might be worth a read for you. Cheers,

Thanks for that.  In fact I called my dealer to chat, and told him I watched Michael Freemmer's setup dvd, and that I want to learn this on my own.  He told me that while Fremmer certainly knows his vinyl, my dealer does not agree with his method exactly.  He said that he also uses a well known record and does some adjustment by ear.

Are you sure about the 1.75 - 2.25 range?  The Lyra website says this of the Delos:
"Recommended tracking force: 1.7g ~ 1.8g (1.75g preferred)"

That's a pretty tight range!

Do you think I should try 1.75 precisely? Or that my dealer did something wise with the 1.95?

I have  a Rega RB250 arm modified with a michell tecnoweight.
czarivey05-29-2016 10:08am"lyra ranges from 1.75g to 2.25g so yours isn't "overweight" ... The tonearm compliance may also come to equation to ensure proper and stable tracking of cartridge."

Actually, Lyra specifies 1.7 - 1.8 grams so yes, 2.25 grams is a little high for this cartridge.

As for "tonearm compliance" ... pickup arms shouldn't really have any compliance at all, so I don't know how it can "come into the equation."

Cleeds, what is your advice?  1.76 exactly?  What would you expect the issues may be with 1.95 of force as the table is at now versus the proper 1.76?
Yes, Lyra's recommendation is 1.70 - 1.80 grams. Yes, this is a rather tight range compared to other cartridges.
The tracking range on my Transfiguration Phoenix S is 1.7 - 2.2 grams with a 2.0 grams recommended. 5 times the range of your Lyra.

First, I would not panic, as 1.95 is not so much off that any damage has occurred. Second, as sbank mentions, always check your VTF one last time after making any other adjustments, as changing azimuth, VTA, etc., can all effect the VTF.

Lastly, how many times did you check the VTF, and how much was it changing?
Generally, many scales have a certain "sweet" spot that could change the results a bit. For example, if I have the cartridge sitting right in the sweet spot, generally if weighed three times the weight will barely fluctuate, say +/- 0.01 gram. If you are off the spot a bit, you may get fluctuations of +/- 0.05 grams.

Just go ahead and make the adjustments to set the VTF in the 1.7-1.8 range. Shoot for 1.75, but don't worry if it is 1.73, 1.74, 1.76, etc., as the scales have some error in them as well.
Just enjoy the music.
FWIW, I don't get too caught up in getting an exact VTF setting.  IMHO, it is more about getting the correct combined setting of VTA and VTF taking into consideration the thickness of the record. I've always considered VTA to be the most important of the two and have often adjusted the VTF to effect a minor change in the VTA. I can more easily hear small changes in VTA than I ever have in VTF. 
Much too high can cause excess wear, too light and you won't track and will probably skip a lot.  Will you hear a difference between 1.75 and 1.95?  Doubtful, but you never know.  Try it and see.  You won;t hurt anything.
In my estimation there is:

Not enough VTF
Enough VTF
More than enough VTF
Too much VTF

In my experience with two Delos carts, measuring VTF with a 3 place digimeter, I aim for 1.80, what I feel is the Enough VTF setting. These both on VPI Aries 2 Black and Technics SL1200 Mk2 tables.

" ... what is your advice?  1.76 exactly?  What would you expect the issues may be with 1.95 of force as the table is at now versus the proper 1.76?"

I think it's generally wise to follow the manufacturer's  recommendation.  In this case, you may have some increased stylus and/or vinyl wear because of too much VTF.  But I think that's unlikely, especially because the recommended VTF is within such as narrow range.

FWIW my upgraded Skala on an Origin Live Illustrious arm is at 1.75 & tracking is absolutely fine. 
When you wrote the dealer does final setup by ear, that's the ticket.

Let's look at it this way: The diamond on the end of the cantilever is kinda small. This diamond may have been installed by a human hand, or with a small 'guide', then glued. Does the glue allow a fraction of 'creep'?. Is the hole accepting the diamond perfect?.

It is likely no diamond is exactly perfect.

Final alignment should always be done by ear. Protractors are a starting point. Azimuth is my single most important 'fine tune'. VTA changes with album thickness.
Tracking to heavy will get you a closed in sound with no air.
Mark Tomaras, The fact that you now read VTF at 1.95g does not necessarily mean that your dealer originally set it at 1.95g; did he confirm that value?  VTF can drift over time for various reasons, so it is wise to check it once in a while.  Why don't you set it to any value within Lyra's recommended range, narrow or not, and listen?  If you hear signs of mistracking, it's never too late to increase VTF.  This is not such a big deal, and there is no one single exact correct VTF.  (Witness the fact that cartridge makers always give you a range of values.) Finally, you say nothing about what gauge you are using to check VTF.  There's good ones and not so good ones; it is crucially important that the stylus tip should be at about the height of the thickness of an LP, when VTF is measured, because VTF will change with height of the stylus tip.  So, if you have a good scale that puts the weigh pan down low at about the height of an LP, and if you made your determination with no LP under the scale, flat down on the mat, then you probably did get a fairly accurate measurement.
With modern elliptical diamonds that can respond to high frequencies, it is imperative that the diamond can follow the groove into the tightest cut. To do this properly you need an USB microscope as in Fremer's guide.

I always track as lightly as possible as the top end is better.
Too much tracking force can cause skipping too, by the way.
I would set it at exactly 1.7 to begin with and listen. If Lyra gives such a tight range, they must have a reason and want you to be quite precise, you are tracking too high - if your gauge is correct.
If 1.7 doesn't sound quite right, I would then set it at 1.8.
As others pointed out, analog set-up is a complex system, one small change will affect other elements to various degree.
I was impressed how my Nottingham Spacedeck/Spacearm with Goldring 1042 MM set-up reacts to small changes in anti-skate, more than changes of VTF but less than changes in VTA.

What does ''optimal VTF'' mean? Certainly not ''recommended

VTF''. We often see something like : 1,5 -2, 5 g. But this make

no sense. Look at J. Allaerts specifications. Those ''allow'' an

deviation of 0,2 g from the recommended VTF. This imply that

Allaerts uses exact and reliable suspension material . The story is

that he somehow got a block of 100 years old natural rubber.

From this block he cuts the ''rubber rings'' for his carts. His own

story is that he will stop to produce carts when this block is used

up. The ''optimal position'' of the cantilever in relation to the

magnets is probably a better description of the problem. Alas we

can't see this position in our carts. This parameter is , so to

speak, of ''optical nature'' rather than ''weight nature''. Aka the

first should be translated in the later.

As I recall, the Delos is physically designed such that, at the correct albeit narrow range of VTF provided, the optimal position of the coil relative to the magnet is assured.  


stevecham, yes your  description is more correct than my but

I was aiming at the same correlation. There is this ''joint pipe''

in which the cantilever is glued and on which the coil and suspension

are fastened. The VTF is working on the  cantilever and coseqently

on the coils (position) and suspension.

To judge from provided specs J. Alaerts is more precise regarding this  ''optimal position'' than Jonathan.

There is only 1 absolutely proper tracking force which puts the magnets/coils, suspension load etc. in its optimum position ...all balanced with each other as the designer intended.  Sure, it will play at the range that the manufacturer says it will....without damaging anything, but the cartridge is designed for that one vtf.   If the cartridge was manufactured with loose tolerances, then who knows, but Lyra is a good manufacturer, and I would respect the design.
Nicola, Does this mean that the Allaerts rubber suspension will last another 100 years, or has it reached its expiration date, like a carton of milk?  I presume that Mr. Allaerts believes the former hypothesis.
Hello all, I made the adjustment to the vtf.  It is now 1.76 precisely!  Listening now.  I have another question about anti skating, which I will write in a different post. Please have a look!
Hello all, I made the adjustment to the vtf. It is now 1.76 precisely! Listening now.

and.......did you notice any difference?

Dear Lew, I don't like advertising except when some interesting

story is, uh, sold together with the product. But there is this other

interesting fact. The suspension (rubber) used by Ikeda in his

FR-7 series carts is considered to be ''indestructible''. I own 3 of

those and all of them are still in ''perfect condition'' (since the 80is).

However he never mentioned how old his ''rubber block '' is (grin).

Dear stringreen, The intention of the designer will not do.

All carts producers depend for their parts from their  supplier.

The most get cantilever/styli combo's, the coils and the ''rubber

ring'' from elsewhere. We all (except Raul) know what ''low rider''

means. The suspension is the obvious cause.  According to my

friend Axel Schurholz the EMT's and ZYX are notorious examples

independant from their age.

Dear friends: The @marktomaras thread's question gave us the opportunity to show each one of us as the " expert " we are on that subject where each one ( as always . ) has its own opinion according each one ignorance levels.

My first reaction to the thread was to recomend mark to email JC directly at Lyra but because of time I did not and now I can see to many opinions  and I made a search to Delos owners experiences about and all of them said that the Delos is " extremely " sensitive " to minute VTF changes out of 1.75 gr., I found out two gentlemans that had not that kind of experience but was because they made it a wrong tonearm/cartridge set up parametrs even one of them bought a MINT LP protractor and when used/reset the set up light on at 1.75 .

Each cartridge manufacturer has its own design targets and JC is no exception and he is the real expert on his cartridges not you or me, we are only speculative persons or with very bad advisors behind us.

Now, JC is not only a Lyra expert but one of the best  knowledge level overall cartridge designer if not the best one.

Please read carefully what JC posted several years ago about what everyone is speculating:


Regards and enjoy the music,

Tracking force in excess of 0.2gramm shouldn't cause anything.
If tracking is too light the skips and the grove damage is possible.
Usually heavier settings may cause cantilever suspension go to low premature, but seriously not .2 gramm.

JMCGrogan,  I made the change, but haven't had time to sit and listen critically.  Got caught up with work!  While I was making the VTF adjustment, I did notice that the alignment may be minutely off, but I am not sure.  So it looks like I may start from the beginning!  I'll keep you posted.  thanks, Mark
Dear @czarivey : Maybe you don't read yet the link in my last post that I think is a learning lesson for each one of us.

You will know that your 0.2 grs comment is just out of place because ignorance about. The Lyra designer ( JC. ) explain it very well.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I have been having problems with tracking I have a SURE M75ED cartridge but have fitted a 
Dreyer and Kauf replacement stylus but have found that if I try to track at1.5 grams or less many of my records stick but if I track at around 2 grams the sound is very good and plays through without sticking should I be worried about tracking at 2 grams ?
Marktomarus.....are you sure your scale is correct at the height you measured the tracking force.   That force will vary if the arm is higher or lower to the platter/record.
nandric.....I would suppose cartridge manufacturers check parts sent to them and have the ability to accept or reject those that wouldn't work as to the designer's performance standards.
In the case of moving coil cartridges too much tracking force will mean that the coils are operating more in the non linear range of motion ( by non linear I mean there are non linearities in the induced signal from the coil and magnet at the extreme edges of motion ) and increase distortion; unless there is no suspension like the Ikeda cantilever-less cartridges. 
Dear @kevp1958: You are using an after market stylus replacement that not necessary means is similar to the original that runs at 1.5grs. You need to ask the stylus after market source to know which is its VTF range.

Normally after market replacement does not meet cartridge original specifications.

Now too much VTF or too less/lower VTF means you are making a non-reversible LP damages.

@stringreen this thread comes from 2016.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,