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Katli Audio review

Make sure your stylus is set up correctly

Meaure your stylus force with this little gadget

Our Verdict

If you play LPs, you need one. Share the cost with friends if it seems a lot of money for something used occasionally!


  • A time and effort saving device


  • Relatively costly for such a rarely-used gadget

For any lover of LP, stylus force is one of the major bugbears. It is essential to get right because it directly affects tracking and stylus wear, and interacts strongly with vertical tracking angles. This is why one can spend forever fiddling with stylus force.

The ideal setting is not necessarily exactly the notional value published by the cartridge manufacturers, for all sorts of reasons. So the value of a really good stylus pressure gauge is not principally in allowing one to set 1.7g downforce, just because that's 'what the book suggests'. Optimisation is always by ear.

No, the true benefit of an accurate gauge is only appreciated when for whatever reason a cartridge has to be disturbed from its mounting, or the tracking force re-adjusted for some reason (cleaning and servicing or simply trying a new cartridge). You spend ages tweaking downforce to perfection - and then lose the setting and have to start all over again.

Except that with a high-accuracy gauge like this you don't: you just make sure to measure downforce before changing anything, then when you restore original conditions, you know you can get at least that parameter back exactly where it was.

This is by far the best gauge we've tried, with repeatable resolution to a very few milligrams. Admittedly it took ages to calibrate (better instructions and/or internal software would be welcome!) but after that, it was simple and effective. It may seem expensive, but it's actually cheaper than some less-good gauges.

As it's apparently robust and impervious to being moved between measurements, it's a godsend. Richard Black