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Shure SFG-2 Stylus Tracking Force Gauge
|Price:||$39.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details|
- Precise, 0.05 gram increment scale measures force of stylus on record
- Prevents mistracking, excessive record and tip wear and poor sound reproduction
- For use with all Shure and other brands of turntable stylus
- Tracking force is measured with tone arm in actual playing position.
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From the Manufacturer
Shure's Highly Accurate Beam Balance
The Shure Model SFG-2 Stylus Tracking Force Gauge is a highly accurate beam balance that is designed for measuring stylus tracking forces from 0.5 to 3.0 grams in 0.05 gram increments. Its rolling bearing pin pivots are engineered for minimal friction. Each SFG-2 Tracking Force Gauge is factory calibrated.
- Ensure that your turntable is on a level surface and that its platter is level.
- Place the SFG-2 on your turntable platter so that the turn-table spindle fits into the vee notch of the SFG-2, as pictured above. For better stability, you may instead place the SFG-2 on top of an LP record. Temporarily set anti-skating controls on your turntable or tonearm to zero.
- Position the sliding weight on the SFG-2 at the tracking force that you would like to set for your tonearm (measured in grams). For forces over 1.50 grams, set the weight to half the desired force.
- Carefully lower the tonearm and cartridge so that the stylus rests in one of the grooves on the lever arm. If you dialed in the force desired, use the groove labelled “TIMES 1"; If you dialed in half the desired force, use the “TIMES 2" groove, as illustrated below.
- Carefully lift the stylus out of the groove and adjust your tonearm's counterweight to reduce or increase the tracking force as necessary. Adjust the tracking force until the white pointers, visible in the mirror, are edge to edge.
- When finished, reset any anti-skate adjustments according to your tonearm or turntable manufacturer's instructions.
Top Customer Reviews
The range of this gauge is any weight up to 3 grams. Unless you have a prehistoric phono cartridge (which you need to stop using!), or are using a specialty cartridge made for listening to 78s, it should fit the bill nicely.
The black body of the unit is made from a precision heavy plastic material that is extremely durable. The weight scale is metal. There is also a mirror with two white pointers. When the two pointers are aligned, the tracking force is indicated by the position of the sliding weight on the scale. It's packaged nicely with easy to follow instructions on it's use.
Some pricier digital scales are probably a bit more accurate, but when you get down to accuracy of 1/10th gram, that's splitting hairs. A highly recommended accessory for any vinyl lover.
Description and Use: Balance scale just like at the gym. The unit is placed on the turnable mat extending from center to edge. The weight is adjusted from 1-3 grams. Tonearm is lowered and needle placed in the gauge groove. measurement taken. Tonearm lifted, tonearm weight adjusted. Repeat.
The stated tolerance on this gauge is +-0.1 grams. For the tech, that's pretty darn good, and for the price is outstanding. I can easily say this gauge has saved me from buying a new cartridge that much sooner. And heaven knows how much it has helped extend the life of my records.
1. Value for dollar unsurpassed. Consumer reports best buy or Stereophile three dollar signs, take your pick.
2. Reasonable accuracy, especially for moving magnet cartridges, which seem (at least to me) less sensitive to weight differences than Moving coil. Your ears may vary.
1. Balance point is a metal pin on a plastic platform. When I used it, because of such low weights (1-3g.), I sometimes questioned the accuracy of the device, as it seemed to get stuck at either end of the scale. A metal platform would reduce friction and (I think) have more accurate results. However, it easily showed my tonearm was waaaaay overweighted.
2. Balance indicator can be difficult to read. The balance indicator is merely a small (approx. 1/8" wide by 1/2" deep) black platform. The other end of the balance scale floats up or down in accordance with your desired weight and the tonearm weight. When viewing the balance indicator front on, this 1/8" wide nub can be difficult to tell how far off you are. If you have vision issues, you may want to look elsewhere.
Overall a very nice addition to my setup. Way overdue as a matter of fact. My recommendation is a tracking gauge is a REQUIRED piece of equipment. This will work with acceptable accuracy. Better options are available (digital) but only you can say if you want to spend way more to get a more precise result. Also remember you are going to have to adjust your counterweight on the tonearm, which was hassle enough. More precise scale will require smaller adjustments to your tonearm. The real question is: Is your tonearm good enough for a digital tracking force gauge?
Then I outsmarted myself by buying an Acoustech digital force gauge, that gave me a readout to the hundredth decimal place. Only after a long time, did I decide to test the accuracy of the Acoustech against the Shure gauge using a lab-calibrated weight. It turns out, those hundredth decimal place readings don't mean a d*** thing. Nor do the tenth decimal place readings. The Acoustech is built from the cheapest parts imaginable, and the strain gauge at its heart is sourced from a place that doesn't know the meaning of quality control. Therefore its readings are nearly random. Oh, and after a few years the electronics completely gave up and died.
Whereas, the Shure gauge is based on such simple principles of physics ... i.e. gravity ... that it's easy to build it to a high degree of accuracy. All one has to do is to make the balance beam longer, and it becomes more sensitive. Since there's minimal wear to the pivot point, in practice the parts never lose their precision. So while it looks crude to our 21st century eyes (accustomed as they are to electronics everywhere) the Shure gauge is actually the more accurate, and obviously it's the more reliable option. Used in various forms for centuries to measure everything from potatoes to gold, you can trust the balance beam gauge.
You do need a gauge of some kind to set up your turntable for the best sound. So buy this one and then get some LPs with the $ you saved.