|Dear friends: Well here it is my second cartridge review that I make because this ACUTEX LPM 315 III-STR IMHO deserve it.|
Acutex was a cartridge manufacturer not very well know for many of us.
We can read in the cartridge manual: " Acutex USA was a " newly " created ( 1977 ) trade name of a fifteen years old engineering company that has specialized on computer designs, aereospace engeneering and high fidelity. Acutex USA International represents a new direction on high fidelity productos under name Acutex. So the name Acutex is new but the Acutex traditions are old. "
ACUTEX means: Accurate Technological Excellence.
This Acutex cartridge was manufactured by NIPPON AZDEN ( whom build cartridges for other companies like Empire and build cartridges with his own name like the great top performance YM-P50VL. ) where the stylus comes/build by Ogura Jewel Industry Co. of Tokyo.
The LPM cartridge designation means: Lowest Possible Mass, under tip stylus and cartridge weight.
Under the LPM line Acutex has/had seven models from the top was the 320III STR and at the down " lesser " model the 206II.
The 315III STR under review is the first step down from the top and according to Acutex:
" The frequency response, separation, distortion, transient response, trackability and PERFECT sound of the 315 are, for all intents, the same as the 320. "
When I write the specs I will point out on this subject.
As you can see in the pictures the 315 comes in blue where the 320 ( not in pictures. ) is totally in black.
The Acutex LPM line born in 1981 and was " alive " till/around 1984. I have to say that before the LPM line Acutex build ( 1978-1981 ) the M line where exist too the 320 III STR and 315 III STR cartridge designation with the same motor design and same STR stylus shape but in a square cartridge body, I own the M320 III-STR that I don't test yet.
In those times the price of the LPM 315III STR was 145.00 where the LPM 320 was 195.00.
I bought my LPM and the M cartridges years ago through the net for no more than 200.00 each ( I can't remember in precise way ) and both are second hand/used.
As you can read through my virtual system I own more than 80 cartridges and this LPM Acutex was on the " closet " waiting to be heard/hear some day but Timetel accelerate the whole process because in the MM/MI long thread he tested other Acutex models and he ask if I can try mines so I did and that's why I'm here: than's for that Timeltel!
The LPM 315III STR is a moving iron design with these specifications:
Frequency Response 20 to 20khz: within 0.75db
Broad Band Frequency:.......... 20-40Khz ( 320: 45khz. )
Output voltage:................ 3.5mv
Separation 1khz/10khz:......... 32/28 (320: 33/29. )
Compliance cu:................. 38cu ( 320: 42cu.)
Trackability at 10khz: ........ 36 cm/sg ( 320: 40 cm/sg )
Traking force:................. 0.9-1,9grs.
Channel balance:............... 0.75db (320: 0.5db)
IM distortion:................. 1.2%
Load impedance:................ 30k to 100kohms
Effective tip mass:............ 0.6mg (320: 0.5mg.)
Cartridge Set Up:
first I give a clean service to the cartridge: pin connectors, inside cartridge/stylus body assemble and stylus.
I mounted in the Grace G-940 tonearm and in the Audio technica LS-12 magnesium headshell (12grs. ) where I set the VTF at 1.2grs, VTA/SRA a little on positive angle, no antiskating, perfect azymuth as you can see in the picture, load impedance: 100Kohms and no adding capacitance, only the cable one ( 100-150pf. ).
The cartridge is very " easy " to performs right/good, only take it five minutes to settle down at 95% of its whole top performance.
I try every single recording that I used on the Technics EPC-P100CMK4 with same or better performance than with the Technics.
I don't want to repeat what already were writed there, please re-read that Technics review.
In the Acutex review I add some other recordings like the ones in the picture that I tested too with the Technics, the Audio Technica ATML180-OCC and the Grado The Tribute as with the Empire 1000 ZE/X, all of these top MM/MI analog source quality performers that in the quality performance ladder are at 10+ level for the Technics, 10 level for the AT/Grado and 9.5 level for the Empire and where top LOMC cartridges like the Ortofon A90, Lyra Olympos or Allaerts Formula One are on 8 near 9 level on that same quality performance ladder.
The Acutex cartridge is really really god and I take it a little more time that regular I take to be sure of its true performance against all other top performers.
Is the LPM 315III STR a better quality performer than " The Best " cartridge Technics?, this is a hard hard call for any one but IMHO due to some unique Acutex characteristics I have to accept and say a big: YES it is better and the new King of the Hill and obviously the new " The Best " !!!!!!
Do you know the power that has the music when you hear/heard it in a live event? the power, fierce and endless dynamic impact that only live music has? that powerfull presence physical presence that live music has? the power, delicacy, ( when the music ask for ), natural music agresiveness, natural music flow notes, low low of distortions, see trhough transparency and emotions that only the live music has? the " pay attention " that a live music ask for? the " you know when you are hearing live music " characteristic?
Well, with this Acutex cartridge for the very first time I heard all that in a very different way that with other analog or even digital sources ( including open reel ones. ).
This cartridge is the truest performer I ever heard, it is the nearest to the recording source you can ever dream, the nearest to the live music event you ever dream and the truest source you can ever dream. Hearing it is believing and a whole new different and better way to hear music at home.
Nothing in my experience comes near this Acutex and when I say " you ever dream " it is in that way you can't even dream this kind of quality performance:
IMHO almost any other cartridge ( especially LOMC ones. ) sounds not only " anemic " but its performance is only a bad " caricature " where the Acutex shows its true/real music performance greatness.
Both frequency extremes set new standards as the midrange too. In the highs I never heard ( only live music. ) this kind of harmonics reality that makes that the whole presentation has an " I'm there " feeling/sensation.
On the other side of the frequency the bass is so real/true powerful that I'm asking me if I'm imagine what I'm hearing.
That power on the bass does not comes because goes deep or comes in more quantity NO this power ( all over the music recording. ) is the power/presence that you heard on live music, this characteristic gives to the whole music presentation accuracy that we are loosing through lesser analog sources and this accuracy put " new " sounds in what you here through the Acutex with a layering definition and with a layering presentation that is almost impossible to say other that hear it, at least I don't have the right words to explain.
Do you know ( like I was thinking ) if you already know everything about quality performance sources music home presentation?, dear friends all of you and with out any single doubt and IMHO: I think you did/do not till you hear this Acutex in your loved today home audio system.
I want to share something that happening yesterday during the test cartridge recording:
I take the Montserrat Caballé RCA Red Seal recording ( LSC-2862 ), first side first track: from Bellini, Norma: Casta Divina.
I can't believe what I was hearing from the very first Caballé " celestial/heaven " note of her voice, I start to feel a shivering/chill that was going up/coming slowly from my waist and through my spinal column and up to my brain/senses.
An experience that only rememeber I had on live music events sometime.
Well, I continue on this recording and when I was hearing the side two dedicated to Donizetti somewhere in that recording my wife comes and see me and ask me: Raul, what happen why do you have tears on your eyes?, just incredible!!!!.
I can following speaking of several experiences with this cartridge in way different recordings in way different kind of music but I don't want to waste your time.
The only think I want to share with you is that in any single recording the hearing experience is a TOTALLY NEW EXPERIENCE, yes a totally new different and unique experience.
Can I ask for more?, normally my answer will be: no but today I can't say it because I have a lot of other cartridges ( humble cartridges, unknow cartridges. ) that one of them could give us a new surprise, who knows?
Yes, this Acutex 315III STR is at 10++ level on the quality performance cartridge ladder, alone at the top.
Regards and enjoy the music,
Please see my Agon virtual system
Read inside the review.
by Rauliruegas on 05-02-10