|Dear friends: Over the time and testing/trying different cartridges ( " old " and new ones ) with different tonearms to find the " best " performance on each cartridge I find some interesting subjects that I want to share with all of you:|
Denon 103: this is one of my oldest cartridges that I own and I use it for a while many years ago. In the last three years every time that I mounted and hear it I can't heard it for more than half hour, that's why I always treat it like a " rubbish cartridge " in my posts about. I try it with almost every single tonearm that I own and the result was always the same.
Then, I take in count that in all the tonearms ( removable and fixed headshell ) I can't tighten to much the headshell screws because the 103 is " open " ( input to output ) all the way where the screw goes and if I try to really tighten then the screw goes out of the cartridge body ( it is dificult to me this explanation because my English problems, I hope you can understand ).
I don't like to tailored the cartridge sound through tight ( more or less pressure ) the headshell screws, I always tighten the screws at " its limits " where IMHO and experiences there are less resonances/vibrations on it with better overall performances.
So, what to do?, it happen that I have an Audio Technica AT-LH18/OCC headshell ( headshell weight: 18grs. ) that has screwed holes underneath the headshell ( these holes are 2mm in deep, don't cross/pass the headshell ) in this manner I can tight the screws at maximum with out any trouble, well this was a great solution ( along with the weight of the headshell ) because I mounted the 103 in the Dynavector 505 ( similar to 507 ) and the performance change for the better like night and day, now I can hear the 103 for more than half an hour: very good improvement, this not means that now the 103 is at the XV-1/Myabi/etc performance level: no, but now the 103 has a decent performance that for its price is very good.
Dynavector XV-1: this one is one of my favorite cartridges, I really like it. It is a cartridge that almost always perform very good in almost any tonearm. Well I never be satisfied with " very good " performance I always look for excellent/exemplary performance.
I read some posts where XV-1 owners posted that this cartridge is a very good match with the Dynavector 505/507 tonearms and this was not my own experience about, it sounds good but nothing more.
I decide to try a little hard on the subject with: VTA/VTF/load impedance/etc,/etc with out any " great " results.
Then I decide to try with different headshells ( other than the original 507/505 ones ) till I find that with a light weight headshell ( Denon 100% magnesium, 6gr. The Dyna headshells weight: around 14-15 grs. ) the performance was/is glorious for say the least: I never heard ( any where ) better XV-1 performance that in this set-up.
Fidelity Research MC 702: this is a very " old " MC cartridge design. It is an integral headshell design, bulky one ( " ugly " ? ) at 30-32 grs, low compliance 6-7 Cu, low output 0.2mv and likes VTF 2-3grs.
I own this cartridge for at least 20 years and I buy it second hand in almost new/pristine condition. After many years I set up ( last December ) in my Micro Seiki MAX 282 tonearm ( it likes tonearms like: Ikeda, Dynavector, Audiocraft, SAEC, etc, etc ) and for the very first musical note I knew that this cartridge was something very special.
After 20 hours the sound performance was/is formidable/marvelous, I don't have words to describe my " surprise ", the best I can tell is that the music flow easily through this cartridge like in almost any other ( any where ) cartridge I heard.
If you " see " it ( second hand ) and if you have the right tonearm and phonolinepreamp then buy it!!!!!
Supex SDX 2200R: Another " old " MC design with screw open body type design ( like the 103 you need the right headshell ), ruby cantilever and low output 0.2mv. Man
I make the set-up on the Lustre GST 801 tonearm and sound was terrible at the begin, I have to wait 30 hours for the suspension settle down.
This was/is a great cartridge too, IMHO it competes with cartridges like the Universe ( are very similar in quality performance ) or any other today ones. Many people look for the Supex 900 series ( that I owned ) well the Supex Ruby beats easily those ones.
Audio Technica ATML 180 OCC: One of the greatest MM cartridges ever made.
This model ( I understand ) never sale in USA, the one that was on sale was the ATML 170 and 160 ( still very good ).
Till you hear a MM cartridge with the right phonolinepreamp you can't understand how good/great are the MM cartridges. During my last trip I was in San Diego and Norm heard in his system ( I think for the first time ) a MM cartridge the Empire EDR.9: he was happily surprised, he really likes the quality sound performance of this 100.00 dls MM cartridge.
Some MM cartridges like this one not only compete with any top MC cartridge out there but in some ways beat them, yes ( IMHO ) is better that any single Koetsu I heard it, that any ZYX or Lyra.
It is incredible that a 500.00 MM cartridge could be better performer than a 6-8K MC one.
This cartridge I mated with the Technics EPA 100MK2.
Technics 205CMK4: A marvelous MM cartridge. As good the Audio Technica is this one is better!!!!
What can I say about?, almost nothing but: Magic Diamond, Allaerts, Dynavector, Transfiguration, you named: the Technics is at least at the same level in any single sound performance parameter and beat almost all those MC cartridges for neutrality/natural tone balance, like I already say: marvelous cartridge!!!!!, if you have the tonearm and right phonolinepreamp then buy it!!!!
Mine is matched with the Micro Seiki MAX 282.
Ikeda 9REX: This one is a today MC cartridge with a unique design characteristic for a MC cartridge: it does not use cantilever ( like the cutter lhate/heads on the recording ), the design is with out cantilever. It is a very low output 0.16mv, weighty: 17grs, low compliance: 6CU and like VTF 2.8grs.
It is obvious that this cartridge is not for everyone, not only need the right tonearm and the very best phonolinepreamp out there but a lot of patience to obtain the best performance.
When you achieve this " best performance " you knowed because you will be in heaven.
The sound performance of this cartridge is a " little " different for all we know: the inmediacy of the sound and transients are second to none, the pitch/texture/no overhang/tight/fast bass is second to none, the high frequencies extension and speed are second to none, etc, etc.
You can't be near the live music like with this Ikeda cartridge: this one really is truer to the recording audio device!!!
You have to be a experienced music lover who attend very often to live events to understand what you are hearing through the Ikeda cartridge, you can't compare its sound performance with the sound performance of any other cartridge: it is not only the subject if it is better or not but the subject is that is different/near the live event.
It is an infamous bad traker: it does not like any single dust in the LP or in the stylus, we have to have everything in pristine condition. It takes more than 200 hours to hear it at its best. Like I told you: we need patience and know how.
Regards and enjoy the music.