I'm Done with the Fozgometer and the Foz XTR

Let me make sure I make my self clear up front, if any of these items work for you and you love them, I can respect that. Now let’s begin, I bought a Fozgometer on Dec 17, 2017 based off of the reviews and I thought it would make my life easier in resetting up my VPI Classic 1 Anniversary Edition and trying to dial in my Azimuth. I did read what Michael Fremer said about the calibration process and that he said he stopped using it. I do have the Analogue Production Vinyl Test disc. I downloaded the wav files and did the calibration and the couldn’t get the needle to stay according to the instruction and left and right should be at 20. I sent it in to Musical Surroundings and they provided great service and recalibrated it and sent it back to me. I tried it out and the meter readings were like before, when you turn it on, the center green lights up and the right light lights up at the same intensity, which didn’t instill confidence, but some of this was explained in the instructions.

I sent it back to the vendor that I bought it from and they sent out another one and it seemed to work better, only the green center light came on like it was suppose to and the left and right accordingly, which was great. I decided to check the calibration by using the prior wav file disc that I created and the settings were off, which is probably because their wasn’t a battery in the unit at the time when it left the factory. I recalibrated it and upon doing so the red light would come on even when their wasn’t anything plugged into it, which was one of the characteristics of the first unit that I returned. I changed cartridges from the Dynavector 10x5 to the Denon DL301 MKII because I hadn’t heard the Denon in 5 years and hadn’t had the Denon connected to my newer Audio Research PH8, which I feared would be a problem because the Denon is 4mv and the PH8 has a fixed 58db of gain, but there was no problems and the PH8 had plenty of gain for 4mv.

Using the Fozgometer the center and left lights came on and even when on the second track where the right channel or light should have come on the left light would stay on some times 3 out of 4 and then the right led would come on maybe the last 3 times, I tried this a total of 7 times. The readings were all over the map, which didn’t instill confidence. I bought a Foz XTR last week, Monday and it arrived Friday. I tried it with both the Dynavector and the Denon and their was no difference in sound with it in or out of the system. I listened and had my wife also listen while I used it in active or inactive mode.

The only time we both heard a difference is when I turned the power of the Foz XTR, which dropped the volume and caused a wavering low tone. I tried the Foz XTR for 3 days and just heard no difference. I will say I bought it as a clearance-used item from a dealer, so I will be sending it back. As much as I wanted to like and have both devices, i have found out that the best ways of doing this is the old way, which is tried and true. I do have a Dr. Feickert Protractor and I love it, it is quick and works the same way every time. Now setting up both of these devices with a Unipivot arm is a little challenging to say the least and really challenging with this tone arm, but not impossible.

After setting up the Denon again on my Classic 1, I used my Dr. Feckert, a mirror-type small protractor(pocket) a tonearm bubble level, a shure(manual) and a digital tracking force gauge. After turning and twisting the counter weight far to the left or right, I was still off using both the Foz devices and using the old tried and true methods and VPI metal rod eyeballing method, not only got me close but spot on after listening. The dealer that I bought the Fozgometer did tell me that he has had 3-4 devices go bad a year, but hadn’t had this year, yet. I have heard about their being a grounding method and people using electrical tape to correct this, but I won’t be doing this. That dealer was wonderful to deal with. I will be sending both devices back and staying with what I have done for decades, but it was worth the try. After all of this, I still wouldn’t have traded this experience for nothing in the world, because I can say I had experience and I still think I’m better for it. I did change the Battery in the Fozgometer from the generic to a very good Duracell 9volt (red), no dice. I even tried a Digital Microscope, but it didn’t work with Windows 10, so I sent it back as well.

Even with Digital tracking force gauges, I have seen problems with them, which is why I use the Shure to check what I’m getting and the Shure has never failed me. Overall this was worth it to put the Denon back into my system because it is a beautiful cartridge to listen to, it is an excellent tracker and digs deeper into the vinyl providing a quieter experience, especially with used vinyl. The Denon isn’t better than the Dynavector, because the dynavector is clearer from top to bottom and this has nothing to do with the higher output. The Denon has great bass and draws you into the music and for it’s price, it’s an excellent way for a newbie to get into Moving Coil. I will leave it in for a couple of days, weeks okay maybe months, we all need a change at times. Neither cartridge is as good as my former Van Den Hul Gold Frog.
Amen brother, bought a foz xtr and paid 325.00 to find out i nailed the cart set up in the first place , no change in vol/sound with the gizmo on or off, life lesson just set up the cart in a few weeks youll dial it in by eye and ear, you cross into ocd territory after that, and that can just ruin the purpose of enjoying the music in the 1st place.

Good for you! I hate that you had to waste money to learn this lesson but then so didn't I.

The best solution to a problem is always the simplest. The stylus has to be a perfect 90 degrees to the groove to prevent asymmetrical groove wear. This can be easily determined by visual means. Whether or not this aligns the coils correctly is not the issue. If the cartridge is well made it will. 

It's easy to go down the OCD rabbit hole in audio. Cartridge set up, speaker placement/angle, etc. I get the closets I can get using "normal" methods and measurements and I'm good to go. Heck, who knows how accurate or what kind of cutting head placement each mastering engineer prefers. 

My Fozgometer functions well but has been hit and miss sonically, mostly miss.  I picked up a new o-scope off Amazon and now set azimuth by crosstalk instead. It doesn't stop at "sounds good" - it brings that analog magic out - and for less $ than a Fozgometer.  

Your post is kind of a candy mint, a breath mint, and a floor polisher, all in one.  Brief reviews of the original Fozgometer, the Foz XTR, digital stylus force gauges, and two cartridges.  Sorry you've had so many problems with so many audio gadgets. But the notion that the Shure SFG is superior to or is at least a way of checking the accuracy of a good digital SFG is.... questionable. I don't know what problems you had with what digital SFG, but there are a lot of good ones out there that are far more accurate than the Shure SFG.  Buy any one that places the (non-magnetic) weigh pan in the plane of the LP surface, and you'll be pleased.

There has been enough "bad press" around the original Fozgometer that it now amounts to a quorum.  I own an ancient Signet Cartridge Analyzer which I used to use to set azimuth.  With high output cartridges, it works admirably.  However, it does not have enough internal gain for modern LOMC cartridges.  Then I read articles by Korf about azimuth setting, and I was converted to what Mijo says above; just set azimuth so the stylus tip is perpendicular to the groove, visually, and I'm done.