Cartridge Tracking Weight


New member
Jul 23, 2008
A question for the guys that have listened to viynl for longer than I have.

How does the tracking weight of a cartridge alter the sound?? I assume it means that the stylus rides deeper in the groove?

For instance the Goldring 1042 has a tracking weight of 1.5g to 2.5g with a nominal weight of 1.75g. So I take it that in theory you could weight the cartridge up to 2.5g without damaging the stylus or LP's??? But what benefit would you gain from doing this? Also does this mean that if you are just using the tecnoweight to weight the cartridge then being .5g out wouldnt make a huge difference?

Also the 1042 rides very low to the LP anyway at 1.75g so would this mean that you risk the possiblity of the cartridge body catching the LP if you apply too much weight?

Sorry about all the question, just interested in other peoples findings and knowledge regarding this subject :)


New member
Jul 20, 2007
Yep, you're right, Jase, you could go as high as 2.5g if you wanted to, without causing any harm to the vinyl. From the advice i've been given here, it's having the tracking weight set too low that can cause damage to records, rather than too high (obviously within reason

Basically, do what I did: start at a couple of points below the recommended tracking weight (1.7 for you?) and gradually increase it, 0.1g at a time, til you find your sweet spot. My experience has been that when it's too light, the sound is a little sibilant and when you get up towards the upper regions of the weight range, the sound becomes a bit recessed and treble loses it's sparkle.


Well-known member
May 21, 2009
I've never really experimented with mine. The Ortofon 2M Blue states specifically 1.8g so I have stuck rigidly to that, using my manual Shure SFG-2 gauge which is a nice piece of kit and accurate too. I only reset it yesterday when having a mess around with the set up, and I'm as happy as I can be that I'm getting the max out of my setup without going into the realms of out of proportion expensive upgrades.

One thing I picked up off the RB250 setup instructions on VinylEngine was that though they state that the Anti Skate Bias should be set at the same weight as the tracking force, it is not critical and anywhere between 1 - 1.5g is sufficient for most MM cartridges.



Correct tracking weight is vital. Not enough downforce/bias will cause damage to the groove walls. The volume of the recording is directly linked to the velocity of the groove, the faster it pushes against the stylus the louder it is. When you consider that the stylus moves from around 20 to 20,000 times a second in the audio range, and undergoes tremendous accelleration as the pitch of the note goes higher, it is a marvel that it all works so well ! Temperature affects tracking ability too. Cartridges are generally designed to work best at 20-23 degrees C and a popular tracking force range of 1.5 - 2 grammes. So to play records safely and get the best sound quality always play at higher tracking weight than lower one. Next is the bias setting. Conventional arms travel across the record prescribing an arc. So the pull on the stylus is clockwise, inwards towards the label. Some method of equalising the inward force is required, or the stylus will play one channel of the groove better than the other. Stereo records are cut using a 45 degree/45 degree system. Imagine two walls leaning at 45 degrees to each other with respect to the vertical. The wall towards the lable is the left channel and the outer groove the right channel, without an equalising force(bias)the left channel tracks better than the right. So downforce and bias should be set at the higher range. Invest in a good stylus cleaner like the carbon fibre ones from Ortofon/Dynavector or Lyra. Use a carbon fibre cleaning brush to dust off the record before playing, keep your records in anti-static sleeves and store them upright in a suitable cupboard.


New member
Aug 21, 2009
chebby said:
Only took 6 months for the last reply.
Yes.......but well worth the "weight". :)
I was only aware of some of it, so found it informative and not heavily "biased". :D