Clearaudio Insider Wood output question???

Evening all,

I have a couple of questions about the Clearaudio Insider Wood Reference Cartridge, but first - the background...

This weekend I visited a friend who has relatively recently purchased a Clearaudio Insider Wood cartridge, and a very pricey Clearaudio table. A couple of us spent the day Sunday troubleshooting some noise and setup issues, and the output of the cartridge seemed a little bit low. The cartridge is rated for an output of .6 mV, and it seemed to us that a cartridge that we compared rated at .35 mV sounded several dB louder at given volume levels on the preamp.

At this point, I have to say that the Clearaudio cartridge sounded like it was working well enough - no distortion or unbalance, good tracking, very musical, etc, in other words it sounded right, just not as loud as it should be given the spec sheet. The cartridge loading was 100 ohms.

Is there a chance that this cartridge is flawed, and is there any certain way to test it? Does anyone know of any reason to think the the output of the cartridge is over-rated? If it was your cartridge would YOU be concerned? Is there anything I'm not thinking about that could be an issue?

As always, your helpful input is greatly appreciated,

Try loading the cart 1k ohms. you'll feel the life come out. btw, what cart was it compared with?
Have you verified the VTF? it is slightly higher than normal. When you say not loud enough, it is as if you have to strain at 'normal' volume? I have loaded mine at 100 ohms on Clearaudio MR TT /Master TQ1/Everest stand and with Vendeatta Reseaech and I am in absolute heaven. You cannot better the performance!!
You'll first have to play with loading -- as suggested above. Start with 100pF and increase impedance in large increments, just to determine where the sound becomes very "lively" while remaining reasonably extended: mid-bass and highs should be present and complementary (i.e. homogeneous).
Just to put a few things straight - the quality of sound is not in question, just the output level. The volume of the Clearaudio most closely matches a Dynavector 17D mkii, which has an output of .26 mV. The Clearaudio seems a little bit louder than that, but not loud enough to warrant an output rating of .6 mV.

It's not a question of liveliness, lack of presence, or strain, the cartridge sounds quite good. It's just that as a group we were surprised that given the rated output of the cartrudge that there wasn't more volume compared to other cartridges with lesser output ratings.

Other cartridges we compared:

Accuphase AC3 - .6mV
Monster Cable Genesis 1000 - .35mV
Dynavector XV1 - .31 mV
Dynavector 17DmkII - .26mV

George, like others have said, it could be the cartridge loading may be too low. If I recall correctly, recommended loading for this cartridge is around 500 ohms. Compare this value to the other's. This could explain the descrepancy. (Assuming that all cartridges were loaded at 100 ohms)
Yeah, the next thing we are going to try is adjusting the cartridge loading. However, having played with loading once or twice (literally :) my experience is that there is far more of a gain to be had in terms of sound quality than in terms of pure volume - am I mistaken?

The next loading values we are going to try will be 500 and 1000 ohms.
more of a gain to be had in terms of sound quality than in terms of pure volume
In this case,the loading suggestions aim at exploring possible losses in the cartridge -> phono input interface.
As you note, the sound quality is satisfactory.

Comparing to the Dynavector, and all other things being equal, the Clear should be giving you s/thing like +3dB in "volume".

That's what we figured too...