View Full Version : Panic moment - What's wrong with my DL304!!

24-03-2009, 09:52
OK, that was reasonably horrible.

So, following Marco's sage advice (thank you), I purchased a handy little set of digital scales in order to correctly set the tracking force for my DL304, as it's mounted on a Sumiko headshell and with the extra screw-in counter weight, the standard Technics scale was bound to be inaccurate.

They arrived this morning and carefully set about measuring the tracking force having got the scales in a suitable position, level, zeroed out etc...

I gently lower the stylus down and the suspension just compresses until the cartridge body is resting in the scale!!

I should point out that had I played a record this morning, the ensuing panic wouldn't have happened.

'It's broken!! The suspension has disintegrated!! The cat's knocked the arm of the rest and knackered it!!' :steam:

Generally panic and chaos reign for about 10mins until I try playing a record, which works fine and I try something else and measure the weight not by resting the stylus on the scale, but the tip of the finger lift (which is fortunately parallel to the stylus tip) and I am able to correctly measure and set the tracking force.

Can anyone else work out what had happened??? :confused:

Well I suddenly remembered some words from the DL304 instructions 'the cartridge contains an extraordinarily strong magnet, therefore care should be taken to keep steel tools away from the cartridge body'....:doh:

Yes, that's right, there was obviously some metallic content in the construction of the scales which was sufficient attracted by the magnetic filed of the fixed magnet in the cartridge to increase the down force and compress the cantilever suspension. :lolsign:

Fortunately, all this was done with great care and very slowly so no harm was done and it's happily playing as I type. :)

Oh and interestingly enough, the standard scale on the counterweight was only 0.1grams out....

24-03-2009, 10:49
Firstly, you are also aware that the 304 isn't like a 103 and actually has a high compliance stylus assembly for an MC cartridge?

I really don't think the 304 wants or NEEDS a heavy-weight arm, headshell or counterweight, as ripply records may cause instability. I'm not suggesting an SME S2 headshell, but the standard article may just be fine in this instance. The standard counterweight should then be perfectly accurate to set the 1.25 gramme down-force.

24-03-2009, 11:12
For your digital scales you need to make a simple step arrangement. I use some plastic sheet about 1mm thick, I've used double sided tape to stick this to the scales, one end overhangs the edge of the scales. Under the overhang I've glued some foam spacers and another piece of plastic sheet that I drop the stylus onto. This 2nd piece of plastic sheet should be approx at the height of a record when you place the scales on your platter. I know a photo would help....

24-03-2009, 11:27
I've always used the Shure SFG-2 Stylus Tracking Force Gauge with no issues, easy to use accurate and non magnetic...no need for batteries either ;)

24-03-2009, 21:56
I have one of those digital scales and a Denon 304. You're right, there is magnetic material under the pan.

When I use mine, I remove the platter from the tt, put a plastic bottle top on the scales the same height as the platter and rest the stlus on top of that, about 15mm above the pan and well out of the range of the magnet. No good if you can't remove your platter though....

24-03-2009, 22:02
You must check what you're buying with some of these digital scales, some of them that are sold as 'stylus scales' are nothing of the sort.

Non magnetic ones are essential!

Also, make sure that the arm is level with the stylus resting on the weighing surface, sometimes just removing the rubber (or whatever) mat from the platter could be enough.

Tony G
24-03-2009, 22:31
FWIW - I have experienced this problem (magnetic attraction to scales) with other Denon cartridges.
I have experienced this with a cheap set of digital scales and also with the Shure SFG-2,
so there may be different productions of that scale.
I now use the Canrong digital guage and find no problems with it.

Prince of Darkness
25-03-2009, 10:10
I have been using a cheap digital scale for some time, with good results. Even before noticing their magnetic properties, I always placed a small plastic box on the pan to achieve the height of the record playing surface.
As an experiment I tried weighing a small but powerful magnet with the following results:
Direct on pan = 2.8g
1cm above pan = 2.7g
9.5cm above pan = 2.7g
These results were consistently repeated over several weighings.
I was surprised by how little difference there was, bearing in mind that the magnet sticks very strongly to the pan.:lolsign:
Obviously some scales will be affected more than others.

Tony G
25-03-2009, 11:50
My concern in this is as much for possible damage to the cartridge suspension as the potential inaccuracy of VTF measurement.