Try loading the cart 1k ohms. you'll feel the life come out. btw, what cart was it compared with?
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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!!
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
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 volumeIn 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".