"8 or 9 grams is the normal pressure"

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Maggie, Jul 12, 2018 at 12:14 PM.

  1. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Found this blurb on the back of an Art Pepper LP (2017 reissue on Omnivore, mastered by K. Gray). In light of the current hysteria about tracking force, it made me laugh. (Kudos to @vwestlife for his informative and entertaining videos on this subject, by the way!)

    [​IMG]

    Lesson to audiophiles: chill out about VTF.
     
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  2. googlymoogly

    googlymoogly Forum Resident

    Yup. We were talking about 1950s-era hi-fi in another thread here, and I mentioned that an older gentleman once told me his parents' console had a built-in turntable and tonearm, preset to track at 10 grams of VTF. Which really clarifies the development of both the Ortofon SPU in the late '50s, and then the Denon 103 in the early '60s, tracking from 4-5 grams or 2.5 grams, respectively.
     
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  3. Otlset

    Otlset Forum Resident

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    Early-mid fifties VTF recommendation: "Oh, 8 or 9 grams should do it."

    2018 VTF recommendation for my cartridge: "1.5 - 2.0 grams, no more, no less, experiment between these values for optimal setting."
     
  4. 5-String

    5-String Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    That's why most 50s albums have groove damage even if they look pristine.
    It saddens me cause you find all these amazing classical and jazz recordings from the 50s that look very clean because their owners took good care of them.
    Then the excitement of the find becomes disappointment. when you start playing them.
     
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  5. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog

    Location:
    Boston MA
    This phenomenon was also taken into the 60s and 70s. Plenty of groove damage from cheap and improperly set up tone arms. In fact, I would expect that it still exists today. We don't know what people are playing their records on. I'm sure there are some real groove grinders still out there.
     
  6. Combination

    Combination Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    2 grams is fine for needles.

    8 or 9 grams is about right for a month's supply of something else entirely, sniff sniff. :p
     
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  7. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I like the "full rang hi-fidelity".
     
  8. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Senior Member

    Location:
    OH
    So now I should tape two quarters instead of one to my headshell?
     
  9. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    They would have to be two silver quarters, current melt value today of $5.76 for the two.
     
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  10. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Recorded with today's most precise and expensive equipment!
     
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  11. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    The turntables needed that kind of weight for the arm to push the heavy auto return system on earlier record changers otherwise the arm would have got stuck in the middle of the record skippin. Probably most of the damage you are talking about is not so much because of the weight but because how hard were those arms to move side ways, the grooves took all that pressure, they were really bad.
     
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  12. googlymoogly

    googlymoogly Forum Resident

    Oh, I understand that; and not all turntables were autochangers, either. Consider the pressure from a steel stylus, or (possibly later in the '50s) a bonded conical sapphire or diamond one on the vinyl grooves, still running at a tracking pressure a multiple above what a modern listener considers "high VTF". Probably more groove damage was really inflicted on the vinyl from fairly poor phono cartridge setup in such a rig (what could be adjusted, that is!), compounded by the high tracking force. A lot of domestic tonearms in the vinyl era had little adjustment capability; the console my parents had in the '70s had a tonearm we couldn't adjust at all for VTF, overhang, azimuth, etc. - the only change one could make was to remove the old needle assembly and snap in a new one, and hope it was decently factory aligned.
     
  13. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    but @vwestlife will still claim the info provided on the back of a 60 year old LP is currently relevant, and that records aren’t subjected to undue damage using cheap conicals, ceramic carts, or short underhung tonearms… or all of the above. And then he’ll ask you to make a video proving him wrong. The records were “designed to be played that way” so it’s okay - his Pickwick LP said so!
     
  14. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Not to mention that the stylus tip would have looked like a medium size phillips screwdriver that was hardly ever changed. We always had adjustment for the weight but it was a very crude method with a huge steel spring that you clicked in different slots on the arm. Not in my case as most of my family records are in very bad shape but I knew people that even with these records destroyers still managed to keep them in very good shape to these days but they were a lot more careful than us. In the 70's ordinary turntables started improving dramatically. This is the kind of thing we and most people had when I was a kid.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. sberger

    sberger I like dirty records

    Groove damage comes from mistracking, not heavy tracking. It happened because the tracking force was not set correctly, or the arm geometry was off, etc. I have plenty of lp's from the 50's/60's with no groove damage, and it wasn't because they were using rigs that tracked at today's preferred very light tracking forces. I have plenty of 78's that were played with rigs that called for tracking forces of over 5 grams that play perfectly without any groove damage. I have played records for years on rigs that use cartridges that call for tracking forces of over 4 grams, again without any damage to the record. You are not going to hurt a record tracking at heavier tracking forces if the stylus/cart/arm calls for it and everything else is set up correctly.
     
  16. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    It happened one of these days. I swapped cartridges and forgot to set VTF. I ended up playing a pretty rare and expensive 12” 45RPM with a shibata stylus at more than 4g. Recommended was 1.5g. I ruined the record, it’s completely destroyed and I will have to buy another one.

    If only I was in the 50’s...
     
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  17. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    And on top of that, the real recommended tracking force for an LP (and this is 1948, was 6 grams and CBS recommended practice). Don't be surprised if your stylus suspension also got wrecked. 6 grams was typical broadcast tracking force in that era for LP, Transcription, and 78 RPM use on typical broadcast tonearms, by the way!
     
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  18. Jeffreylee

    Jeffreylee Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Louisville
    The only hysteria about tracking force originates from people like vwestlife, who’s a defender/advocate of Crosley and thinks that people who complain about grinders are overthinking things. I’ll just keep overthinking because my records sound great after decades of plays and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I use nice turntables and 1.5-2 grams VTF.
     
  19. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    That's a gross misrepresentation of the views of a member here (who has, in no uncertain terms, warned people not to buy Crosley) and a personal attack.
     
  20. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    In the 1960s, up to 10 grams was "ideal" for monaural LPs and declared to "not distort or wear your record", while 5 to 6 grams was recommended for stereo LPs:

    [​IMG]

    And instead of casting aspersions about what I've said about the Crosley Cruiser and similar cheap record players, I suggest you get it direct from the source:



    The section in which I discuss tracking force begins at 14:04, and my final conclusions and recommendations begin at 26:41.

    But I sum it up in the description: "Don't buy a Crosley Cruiser record player. But don't fear or hate it, either."
     
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  21. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    For this label accepted practice. I go by the practices of CBS, Incorporated of 1948, and they were later codified and accepted as standard by the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) who actually set most of the same standards and practices in the record industry as far back as 1949-1950 used today. Main modern changes were RIAA/RCA New Orthophonic curve as standard, 45/45 Westrex/Audio Fidelity Stereo LP system, tracking angle standards set in 1964, changed in 1967, and phono stage time constants changed in the late 1970's.

    These standards cover most every aspect of disc recording and playback. And the RIAA also accepted them as standard. They're why LP discs and 45 RPM discs are standardized to the degree they are today. The basic lingua franca of the record industry. Also thank the NAB for their giving us standard tape recording/reproduction curves. Thereby making tapes recorded on one machine, playable on another of same speed and track format.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018 at 9:54 AM
  22. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    A lot of those VTF recommendations were aimed then at record changers and crystal cartridges. Record changers were very crude then and required high tracking forces compared to manual high end arms. And also, the GE RPX was the audiophile cartridge then, many broadcasters used them also, and tracked in the 6-8 gram range. 1954, the GE VR II took over and tracked in the 4-6 gram range.
     
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  23. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    One of the things that your research really exposes to me are the terms that the internet audio community tend to think in.

    The truth is, the vast majority of "audiophiles" are just affluent hobbyists with no background in science or technology. And that's fine. But their hobby is a morass of math and physics, and the problems begin when they try to back up hobbyist prejudices and normal "team" mentality with some recourse to these concepts they don't fully grasp.

    Tracking force is the best example, because the idea that heavier=more damaging is such a seductively easy concept to understand intuitively. But, leaving aside the impact of different stylus shapes and mistracking caused by below-spec VTF, the difference between 2.5g of force and 5g is so minute as to make the conversation academic. If records hadn't been engineered to produce good results from "heavy" tracking and long use, the LP would never have taken off in the first place. And indeed, almost all vintage LPs have been played at such forces in their lives.

    But audiophiles like to focus on VTF because it gives them a single number that creates the illusion of emprical legitimacy for their prejudices. It thus trumps everything else, even if the number itself is almost meaningless.

    As you note, there are plenty of reasons why Crosley tables are crappy, but they are diffuse and complicated and can't be reduced to a single number.
     
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  24. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    grams = pressure

    o_O
     
  25. OldSoul

    OldSoul Well, I'm a lonesome schoolboy...

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    That was a highly entertaining video! Didn't even feel like 30 minutes. I didn't realize you were on this forum--I watched a few of your videos when I was getting fed up with my old LP60.
     

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