Lyra Kleos: tracking force/VTA/azimuth questions

I just bought a Lyra Kleos and I'm mounting it on a VPI JMW 12.7 (HRX turntable). I've done a bit of research, including Jonathan Carr's many posts here), so I know VTF is critical. I've done a trial set up to Lyra specs, and it doesn't sound right - piano in particular is distorted as if the cartridge is approaching break-up. I suspect the way I've set VTF. VPI recommends measuring VTF at the level of the record, which is impossible with the electronic scale I currently use - I simply put it on the platter and took readings, after first calibrating the scale, of course, and left it at 1.75 g. VPI says that simply measuring tracking force that way will under-represent actual VTF at the level of the record by a substantial amount because of the height of the gauge over the platter. Could that be the source of the problem I'm hearing? With other carts, I've done a couple of tests that seem to verify VPI's advice, so I plan to carefully measure the plinth to platter-top height, remove the platter, and build a temporary platform lower by exactly the thickness of the scale's pan. I'll put the scale on that, and then set VTF to Lyra's specs. This will result in VTF at the level of the record measuring correctly, when I put the scale on the mock-up platter, but NOT when I just slap the scale on the platter - it will measure higher. So my question is: does anyone see any potential problems flowing from my use of this process? I plan first to set VTA slightly tail high to approximate the magic 92 degrees SRA that seems to be the consensus of opinion these days.

Also, I'd like a bit of advice on using a fozgometer to measure azimuth. In my trial set up, I've never been able to get exactly the same readings left vs. right channel with the Foz; the best is a two-division difference, right higher in level than the left. I also get a one division reading, rather than zero, on the channel balance test, with both channel lights very faintly lit. Could this be a function of insufficient tracking force, or is there something else at play?

Thanks to any and all who might feel the spirit to respond (hopefully including you, Mr. Carr).
Bif....I personally believe if you track it a bit heavier, stylus wear would be the same....anyway....I like the sound of no anti skate.
Stringreen: One of the evaluation systems at Audioquest (our US distributor) consists of a VPI Classic 3 turntable with a 3D tonearm on it. Phono stage is an Audio Research Reference 2 SE, speakers are Vandersteen 7s. Our results on this turntable (as well as others) run counter to yours, with sonics and tracking performance demonstrably superior with an appropriate amount of anti-skating engaged.

Your suggestion to increase tracking force is also not correct - tracking our current cartridges outside of the recommended 0.1g range (+/-0.05g) almost always leads to poorer sonics.

If you think about it, to the cartridge, inappropriate anti-skating is the same thing as inappropriate tracking force, only applied horizontally rather than vertically.

hope this helps
jonathan carr (Kleos designer)
I totally agree with Jonathan, I know the sound of my Lyra Skala cartridge
as good as him ;-D and I can assure you bias force is absolutely important
to get the best sound for this cartridge, but of course for any cartridge I
have had in the past from Denon/Benz Micro/Clearaudio.....

At this time I am amazing how this Skala is well made. SRA angle is really
near to the neutral VTA position of my tonearm (microscopic test) and
Azimuth was compensated properly thanks to the Fozgometer, a really
useful tool. Some anticlock wise movement.

Please, begin the music!!!!
Jonathan ... I have a VPI Classic 3 tone arm and base. The wand is the original stainless steel version. As I said above, I use one donut about 3/4 the way down the AS shaft. I realize the 3D arm is a different beast. Nevertheless, would you pleae share how much AS the Audioquest Classic uses -- if you know?

Bruce: I'll have to send Joe at Audioquest a query. Right now he has an Etna on the 3D rather than a stylus, but the stylus profile is the same for both cartridges. The New Angle suspension, designed to equalize the compliance in all directions when tracking force is applied (and precisely align the coils to the magnets), is also present on both cartridges. So the overall trend (for various adjustments) should be similar (barring any differences between your tonearm and the 3D).

BTW, you really should be putting your recording cleaning machine into heavy use. Lack of doing so, is a key reason why Andy Kim was able to "improve" the sound of your Kleos. If you would get into the habit of using your RCM to get the LP grooves as clean as possible, and our SPT to clean off whatever gunk gets onto the stylus, the stylus will always be sparkling clean.

kind regards, jonathan