Riverstone Audio Record-Level Stylus VTF (Vertical Tracking Force) Pressure Gauge - Graphite
Award Winning VTF Gauge
Riverstone Audio's Record-Level VTF Gauge recently received two awards - 2019 Best Buy Award and 2019 Highly Recommended Award by Mono and Stereo. Thank you Mon0 and Stereo for the awards! The review of Riverstone Audio's VTF gauge can be found here.
"There is one particular cartridge scale which stands out amongst the pack, and it is the Riverstone Audio VTF Gauge. Rather than telling you the disadvantages of all the other gauges, I’ll give you 7 reasons on why I believe this is the best VTF gauge under the sun. '' -- Mono and Stereo
A Professional Grade tracking force gauge designed for vinyl record purist's interested in more precise measurement of tonearm vertical tracking force (VTF). In addition to influencing playback quality, improper VTF can cause excessive record wear and damage. For accurate VTF measurement, the stylus tip should be at the same vertical position as the record surface - that is, at "record level". With Riverstone's VTF gauge's Patent Pending design, vertical tracking force is measured approx. 2 mm to 3 mm from the surface of a turntable mat or platter - which is the height of a stylus tip resting on an LP record (LP's have a thickness range of 1.9 mm to 2.9 mm). And, with our VTF gauge, there is no need to remove your platter mat - the gauge arm places the stylus tip at the correct height. Less expensive gauges typically have a stylus tip measurement distance between 6 and 8 mm – which can lead to errors in VTF measurement.
We carefully selected materials to reduce interaction with the highly directional magnets used in some of the newer cartridges. For example, the housing of the VTF gauge is manufactured from a durable plastic. The detachable cantilevered extension arm is made from 316 stainless steel, a premium non-ferromagnetic grade of stainless steel and the locking screw of the extension arm is machined from brass.
To ensure accurate VTF measurement, our VTF gauges undergo a rigorous multi-point calibration procedure to verify the linearity, repeatability and accuracy of the VTF measurement. All gauges we ship will have a measurement error within +/-0.005 g. We have confidence in our gauges and provide TWO calibration masses (5g and 20g) to verify the readings at any time and also allow for future re-calibration if needed (1-minute procedure). With additional calibration masses (not supplied) the gauge can be re-calibrated for use up to 100 g.
A polymer pad on the measuring platform protects the stylus tip and allows accurately centering the stylus on the measuring platform. The LED display (green) is bright and easy to read. A detailed instruction manual (in English) is provided. Overall dimensions: 52 mm (W) x 91 mm (L) x 12.0 mm (H); height dimension is with cover removed.
Another excellent review for our VTF gauge by Steve Clarke at Analog Dept., please read here.
Note: We have updated the circuit for easier operation (this is denoted by VTF-VER 2.0 on the User Manual). For the updated circuit, Calibration Mode is entered by pressing the "UNIT" button (with the earlier circuit calibration mode is entered by pressing the POWER button. Please refer to the user's manual for further details.
It was recently brought to our attentions that there is now a poor quality Chinese knockoff of our VTF gauge available on several e-commerce sites. From what we know so far, the knockoff utilizes inferior materials and has a low quality strain-gauge circuit (in addition to using high quality strain gauges, our measurement circuit utilizes high quality components for improved measurement resolution, repeatability and stability). The low quality circuit in the knockoffs can't pass our multi-point calibration procedure that we use to guarantee measurement linearity and stability.
Although no tools are required, installation of the record-level cantilevered extension arm requires a good pair of glasses, a bit of technical savvy, and a good dose of patience. The VTF must be placed on a level, stable, draft-free, surface during VTF measurement and during any recalibration procedure. Requires one Alkaline AAA battery (sorry, battery is NOT included).
A Professional Grade digital tracking force gauge designed for vinyl record purist's interested in precise measurement of vertical tracking force (VTF) at the correct vertical tracking angle (VTA). When used with the detachable cantilevered extension arm, the gauge approximates the vertical position of the stylus on the surface of a vinyl record when it is playing on a turntable- providing accurate “record-level” measurements of tracking force.
For optimal accuracy, tracking force should be measured at the same vertical position as the record surface. With Riverstone's VTF gauge, tracking force is measured 2 mm - 3 mm from the surface of a turntable mat - the height of a stylus tip resting on an LP record (LP's have a thickness range of 1.9 - 2.9 mm). With less expensive gauges, the measurement distance is typically 6 mm- 8 mm.
Precision strain gauge sensor provides 0.005 g measurement resolution and accurate measurements over the entire calibration range of the VTF gauge. Manufactured using non-magnetic materials (durable plastic housing with austenitic stainless steel cantilever extension arm). A polymer pad on loading platform protects the stylus tip and allows stylus centering on the measurement platform.
Switchable units: g/oz/dwt/ct, Low Battery and Overload indication. Compact size 52mm (W) x 95mm (L) x 12mm (H). Color: Graphite.
A detailed instruction manual (in English) is provided. Includes a tin storage box to protect the VTF gauge when not in use. Two precision calibration masses (20 g and 5 g) and a detachable cantilevered extension arm are included. ***Requires one AAA ALKALINE battery (sorry, battery NOT included)***.