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  1. #1
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Digital Stylus Force Gauge: Jennings Mini 300

    So I've decided to treat myself to a digital stylus force gauge, since my dog decided he was going to use my trusty Shure SFG as his new chew toy. But the cheapest unit I could live with was priced at $89 by Steve Blinn. I didn't think it was expensive, but I certainly don't consider it cheap. Also, the Shure unit has upped its price by 50% to some $36.

    After a quick research, I've decided to steal the idea from the thread below and save #50.
    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67124

    Unlike DarqueKnight from the Polk site, I ended up paying $34.15 for the Jennings Mini 300 and a 100g calibration weight. I'm not going to post my procedures since DarqueKnight has already done a great job. The only difference is I used a corner of an empty CD case instead of gluing 2 pieces of thin plastic.

    Digital Stylus Force Gauge: Jennings Mini 300-w-flash.jpg

    BTW, when I had set the VTF with the Shure SFG, I had tried to set between1.75 to 1.8 grams.

    Digital Stylus Force Gauge: Jennings Mini 300-side-view.jpg

    Accuracy of the unit: Very Good.
    Since I just got back from a business trip in Japan, I have a handful of Japanese coins.
    One of the coins, 1 yen(currency), is made to weight exactly 1 gram. So, I've placed one coin at a time, upto 12 coins. Everytime a coin was placed, the unit calculated the overall weight in a proper 1.0 gram increment. This little test was repeated and showed with great accuracy on both Stylus rest (taped red) and the center of the stock tray.

    Ok, that sounded a bit confusing so I took some pics of another experiment with US Nickles. If you didn't know, a Nickle weights in at 5.0 grams. If you don't trust me, ask our boys in the RR section.

    Digital Stylus Force Gauge: Jennings Mini 300-5g-center.jpg

    Digital Stylus Force Gauge: Jennings Mini 300-5g-stylus-gauge.jpg

    Digital Stylus Force Gauge: Jennings Mini 300-10g.jpg


    Have Fun,
    JRA

  2. #2
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    How often would you use this product? Do you use it to calibrate an older table? It looks great but I'm just wondering how much value could exist in owning one...

  3. #3
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    How often would you use this product? Do you use it to calibrate an older table? It looks great but I'm just wondering how much value could exist in owning one...
    Poppabear, there are a few relatively cheap stylus force gauges available. They are a great tool and one of the best ways to set the tracking force accurately.
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  4. #4
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    Poppabear, there are a few relatively cheap stylus force gauges available. They are a great tool and one of the best ways to set the tracking force accurately.
    Do you use one LDB?

  5. #5
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Do you use one LDB?

    The guys at my local audio shop trust me enough to borrow theirs. I do the original setup with the borrowed gauge and hope nothing drifts or changes in the setup. This limits any changes to the VTA or other adjustments. I really need to get one to do periodic checks and allow more flexibility in my setup.

    It's kinda a oxymoron in that the more expensive arms usually have a more precise counter weight set up but the people that own these arms usually want a even more precise setting.

    IMHO, nothing beats a properly set up table for true musical involvement. Cheers
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  6. #6
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    The guys at my local audio shop trust me enough to borrow theirs. I do the original setup with the borrowed gauge and hope nothing drifts or changes in the setup. This limits any changes to the VTA or other adjustments. I really need to get one to do periodic checks and allow more flexibility in my setup.

    It's kinda a oxymoron in that the more expensive arms usually have a more precise counter weight set up but the people that own these arms usually want a even more precise setting.

    IMHO, nothing beats a properly set up table for true musical involvement. Cheers
    My interest is peaked because I am planning to switch mats. I have a good understanding of my TT's counter weight from the calibration I had done for my Ortofon. It's definitely not accurate...should probably pick one of these up.

  7. #7
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    My interest is peaked because I am planning to switch mats. I have a good understanding of my TT's counter weight from the calibration I had done for my Ortofon. It's definitely not accurate...should probably pick one of these up.
    Check out this link.

    http://www.turntablebasics.com/align.html
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  8. #8
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    VERY NICE, THX LDB. dude have u checked out my citizen? any info for me?

  9. #9
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    VERY NICE, THX LDB. dude have u checked out my citizen? any info for me?
    Ya, that's a nice piece. Looks like a rebadged Kenwood to me. Maybe you should check out the Kenwood vintage line to see if one looks like that Citizen. I do remember the Citizen brand from years gone by but must of only been exposed to their lower end stuff as I remember it to be only so so, not up to the looks of your unit.

    Keep on Rockin' in the Free World, Dude
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  10. #10
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    Ya, that's a nice piece. Looks like a rebadged Kenwood to me. Maybe you should check out the Kenwood vintage line to see if one looks like that Citizen. I do remember the Citizen brand from years gone by but must of only been exposed to their lower end stuff as I remember it to be only so so, not up to the looks of your unit.

    Keep on Rockin' in the Free World, Dude
    Well I've made assumptions about your age based on your own comments in several threads. You are Canadian and were around for this amp in its prime, thought you'd be a good candidate for info. I'll try your tip and I've been looking over that link, quite a site, it's favorited now...

  11. #11
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Unlike DarqueKnight from the Polk site, I ended up paying $34.15 for the Jennings Mini 300 and a 100g calibration weight.
    That's pretty cool. I still use a Transcriptors micrometer type scale purchased back in '75 or so. You balance the unit with the built in bubble level using calibrated weights.

    Transcriptors's Gauge

    rw

  12. #12
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    How often would you use this product? ...
    I only use this device maybe once AFTER the tracking force has been dialed in correctly. It is very handy if you like swaping out to a different cartridge. Just this morning, I mounted a Shure M97eX and it sounds great.


    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Do you use it to calibrate an older table?
    At the moment I only have 1 TT, but the age of TT will not affect how the unit measures, unless the movement of the tonearm is restricted due to age. Also to clarify, the device is meant to measure the amount of vertical force applied to the tip of a stylus. But as always, it's important to have your entire TT assembly (Plater & tonearm mount) leveled.


    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    It looks great but I'm just wondering how much value could exist in owning one...
    The question I would have is "...just wondering how much I'm losing NOT owning one...."
    If your VTF is far off, then Stylus/LP/Sound Quality are being damaged. It's a same idea as driving your car with improper tire pressure. Significant difference in Wear/Handling/Noise if setup improperly. Just imagine driving your car with 1/2 or twice the amount of recommended tire pressure.

    JRA

  13. #13
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    That's pretty cool. I still use a Transcriptors micrometer type scale purchased back in '75 or so. You balance the unit with the built in bubble level using calibrated weights.

    Transcriptors's Gauge

    rw
    Very cool. I have looked for a vintage gauge on ebay for while, but I've never seen the one you have.

  14. #14
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    hey JRA, I am aware of the importance of precision on a TT. However, I've generally left these things to other people. I am capable, just never bothered, therefore my knowledge is poor. I have 3 TT's, all in excellent condition, I'm talking pristine, like new.

    Pioneer PL 516
    Technics SL Q2
    Harman Kardan T 35C

    I am considering a new Shure cart for my Pio. I think with your help and this great gear I will try it all on my own.

  15. #15
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    ???

    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    hey JRA, I am aware of the importance of precision on a TT.
    Yes, the precision of a TT is important, but that's not what this thread is about.
    It's about the amount of weight the stylus tip is being applied.
    Do you bring in your TT to your local audio dealer everytime you change a cartridge?
    How did your dealer setup your Ortofon Red?
    You might not want to assume your dealer tech has sufficient knowledge on how to properly set up a TT. Anybody can tighten a couple of screws...

    Anyhow, Enjoy your tunes,
    JRA

  16. #16
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Yes, the precision of a TT is important, but that's not what this thread is about.
    It's about the amount of weight the stylus tip is being applied.
    Do you bring in your TT to your local audio dealer everytime you change a cartridge?
    How did your dealer setup your Ortofon Red?
    You might not want to assume your dealer tech has sufficient knowledge on how to properly set up a TT. Anybody can tighten a couple of screws...

    Anyhow, Enjoy your tunes,
    JRA

    Well, at the risk of sounding argumentative, you brought up the "domino" effect of poor VTF. As well, you added that tonearm/platter levelling is important. You also used the analogy of car tires, therefore I tell you that I understand that precision is important, as one aspect can effect another. I'm well aware of the topic at hand, and actually quite interested. I was hoping to purchase one, and possibly try my hand at installation.

    No, I usually have a friend set up my cart. Does that seem odd? I have only bought 5 or 6 since my first table, so it's not a big issue for me. I am not the type of person to pretend I know, when I don't, so I have someone who knows, do it.

    Yes, my dealer set up the Ortofon and I can assure you, he's a skilled expert. I bought it from him, and I'm quite friendly with him and his staff. He maintains a high end shop dealing brands such as Pro-Ject, NAD and Harman Kardan. But I suppose any ol' hack can maintain dealer contracts with those companies. Even still, I'm sure he couldn't even stand in your shadow. Here is a link to his shop, notice the similarities to Best Buy...http://www.targethifi.com/ Maybe in your next post, you can include the link to yours. I'm sure its full of perfectly weighed stylii...

    Sorry JRA, but a little condescending....think? Not quite sure where it came from. Perhaps you mistook my humility for stupidity.

    Anyhow, enjoying my tunes,
    Chubbs

  17. #17
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Condenscending?
    Me?
    To you?

    No No No No! I'm not the type.

    Things are getting blown out of proportion here.
    I think everything was started with your question

    "Do you use it to calibrate an older table?"

    I'm still not sure what you maent by that,. but I don't wanna get into it anymore.
    Here are some links if you are intersted. It has nothing to do with audio, but all of these have been more important to me than audio.

    http://www.x-rates.com/d/JPY/USD/graph30.html
    http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/trade/cargo_security/carriers/security_filing/10_plus_prgm.ctt/10_plus_prgm.ppt

    Have Fun,
    JRA

  18. #18
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    I have an AWS 100G digital scale I bought with the 100G calibration weight for about $15 on Amazon. Very nice little scale. I do like the extension platform idea added to the Jennings scale in the first pictures.

    In my pic you see 2.25 grams. That's 1.25 grams VTF for the stylus, + 1 gram for the brush.


  19. #19
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    hmmmmm...well fine then, I apologize. I don't care for confrontation either, however...

    My comment about the "old" TT was maybe not detailed enough. Assuming that a newer or higher end TT has good and accurate calibration, I figured this device would be best suited for an older table. I see now though that clearly no one trusts their table's values.

    I'll check out your links and hopefully we can just forget this messy little misunderstanding, yes?

  20. #20
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Yep, bought this unit.


  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Assuming that a newer or higher end TT has good and accurate calibration, I figured this device would be best suited for an older table. I see now though that clearly no one trusts their table's values.
    Actually in my case, the calibration on my turntable is quite accurate, which I have confirmed with the digital scale. But using the turntable's counterweight scale is not nearly as fast and easy when it comes to swapping around cartridges. With the little digital scale I have, I don't have to carefully re-zero and balance the arm and the gram scale on the counterweight every time. I have several cartridges that I like to change around to spread the wear, and for their different "sound" depending on the particular record.

  22. #22
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed_in_Tx
    Actually in my case, the calibration on my turntable is quite accurate, which I have confirmed with the digital scale. But using the turntable's counterweight scale is not nearly as fast and easy when it comes to swapping around cartridges. With the little digital scale I have, I don't have to carefully re-zero and balance the arm and the gram scale on the counterweight every time. I have several cartridges that I like to change around to spread the wear, and for their different "sound" depending on the particular record.

    Yes, with conversion, my cartridge needs are expanding. I guess I'm in a bit of an experimental phase, trying to find a well rounded cart for playback and recording.

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