Phil

If you are prepared to spend a little time and paper you might try the following to arrive at magenta and yellow contrast settings that suit your taste. The prints you make need only to be small, 5 x 4 will do so you'll get 4 from an 8 x 10 sheet of paper. You will need the little Ilford gizmo that you lay on the base board to read the light value it's called something like EM10.

Select a negative that shows a good range of tones and make a print using no filtration, the equivalent to grade 2. Make the best print you can but the most important factor is to get the highlight exactly where you want it to be. Make a note of the exposure time for the idea is to keep this constant. Dial in 10 yellow filtration and use the little gizmo to read the light value, it works on a three light system where the centre light shows the value to be correct. Leave the exposure time as it was for the first print and adjust the apperture to get the correct exposure. Continue this procedure but change the yellow filtration by 10 units for each print. You can carry on and do it until the yellow setting is at the maximum allowed by the enlarger, my suggestion is that you need go no further than about 80 yellow. Do the same for the magenta setting but this time test it in 10 unit steps right to the maximum setting on the enlarger. make a note of the filtration colour and value on the back of each print.

When the prints are dry lay them out in sequence from 0 filtration to the highest value in each colour keeping the magenta separate from the yellow. You then inspect them and select the soft and then hard contrast that you prefer. In effect you are selecting your own grade system for the paper. It is time consuming but you only need do it once.

Many years ago when Sterling VC paper was introduced into the UK the manufacturer gave no indication of filtration values and the importer asked me to help them produce some indication, this is how I did it.

If you do it please let us know how you get on. If you get frustrated when doing it blame me and I'll buy you a pint when we meet in October.