Cartridge Experts

I am wondering what sonic impact is there between long vs short cantilevers? I assume a longer one will have more mass and be more damped. Of coarse it will depend on the material as well.
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Thanks Elizabeth, I realize this is a difficult question to answer. I think only a cartridge designer and or rebuilder can really say for sure. I understand if they are reluntant to answer. Maybe they use whatever length is optimal for any given design?

I sent in a Colibri XGP to van den Hul to match the compliance to my tonearm. It came back with a longer cantilever than before. I'm not sure if it was to help with compliance or if it was just what they were using at the time? From what I have read there is usually a wire attached to the back of the cantilever and compliance is adjusted by how tight the wire is stretched. The suspension material also plays a roll by being either soft or harder.

Any experts care to explain?

You've probably had the damper changed. A softer one will give you a higher compliance. Harder suspension means lower compliance. The shorter cantilever gives more attack, rhythm, timing. I believe van den Hul uses 6 and 7mm boron cantilevers.
A shorter cantilever can make for a more direct and lively sound. Currently using a Decca London Super Gold that essentially has really no cantilever. It's the "livest" sounding cartridge that I've owned/heard.
Doak, That is interesting. Does the Decca track well compared to the other carts you have owned?
Sarcher30, tracks at least as well as any cart I've owned -- and that's PLENTY of them over the last 35 yrs.
BTW: Using the Decca SG on a Well Tempered Amadeus TT --- a "marriage made in heaven" IMO.

These carts do best with a well damped, i.e."tempered" arm. :-)
Thanks Doak, I will put it on my list of carts to hear. It is a very interesting design.
VanDenHul feels longer is worse (from his q/a on his site)but some of the clearaudio cartridges have very long cantilevers and sound pretty good. I think its more a question to the overall cartridge designer and how he/she designs the entire system.
Yes, I saw that on his site. One problem with short cantilevers is the cart will bottom out on warps easier. Before I had to be careful that the coils did not hit the warps in records. Now there is more clearance. I think it sounded better with the shorter cantilever. Hard to say for sure as it was about a month turn around.
Sarcher 30, I like to pretend to be modest but the reason is, I assume, similar with Lew's. I overlooked his comment otherwise I would try something else.
Got it. I was not sure which post you were referring to. I imagine there could be alot of money in the cantilever enlarging business. Anyone want to be an investor?
i know some people do not like them but i love a vacuum hold down. Helps on some records with warps and provides solid contact. Having used an apollo that has a short, linear arm, warps can drive you crazy. Previous owner did not use vac hold down and when i got the table about two years ago, was wondering how to get around the issue. I got the vacuum working and it made a great difference in the system
No, a longer cantilever doesn't necessarily mean more mass. All variables must be taken into account when designing ANYTHING including cartridges. Magnet strength, flex, mass, suspension compliance, resonance, etc., etc., etc. That is what makes it an art and best be left to the artists.
Stringreen, are you trying to say if I'm not an artist I should mind my own business? If everyone listened to that advise nothing new would ever happen.
naw, i think he is saying that whether short or long cantilever, the designer understands why he/she made it the way it was made and took a lot of variables into consideration besides length. but again i could be wrong!!!!
No are correct. Then too if Sarcher could provided works of notable effort, he would be an artist.
I have a theory. It seems to me that a shorter cantilever will cause the coils or magnets to move a larger distance than a longer cantilever. The effect of this would be a difference in output voltage.

When I got my Colibri back from vdh with a longer cantilever I had to turn up the gain alot to get the same output as before. I contacted them about it and was told they had not changed the coils and did not know why the output would be different. I asked if the longer cantilever had anything to do with it and the person (not vdh himself) I was in contact with did not think so. I asked about having higher output coils installed and was told around $800.00. This was sometime ago and I have still not done this.
your theory is strictly dependent on the "pivot" point for the cantilever. if the pivot point to the coil is the same and you increase the length from the pivot point to the stylus (ie needle point), then you are 100% correct.
That makes sense. In the case of the Colibri the coils are visible. I don't believe it is possible to changes the distance of the coils away or toward the pivot point. I could be wrong though.