Hear my Cartridges....🎶


Many Forums have a 'Show your Turntables' Thread or 'Show your Cartridges' Thread but that's just 'eye-candy'.... These days, it's possible to see and HEAR your turntables/arms and cartridges via YouTube videos.
Peter Breuninger does it on his AV Showrooms Site and Michael Fremer does it with high-res digital files made from his analogue front ends.
Now Fremer claims that the 'sound' on his high-res digital files captures the complex, ephemeral nuances and differences that he hears directly from the analogue equipment in his room.
That may well be....when he plays it through the rest of his high-end setup 😎
But when I play his files through my humble iMac speakers or even worse.....my iPad speakers.....they sound no more convincing than the YouTube videos produced by Breuninger.
Of course YouTube videos struggle to capture 'soundstage' (side to side and front to back) and obviously can't reproduce the effects of the lowest octaves out of subwoofers.....but.....they can sometimes give a reasonably accurate IMPRESSION of the overall sound of a system.

With that in mind.....see if any of you can distinguish the differences between some of my vintage (and modern) cartridges.
VICTOR X1
This cartridge is the pinnacle of the Victor MM designs and has a Shibata stylus on a beryllium cantilever. Almost impossible to find these days with its original Victor stylus assembly but if you are lucky enough to do so.....be prepared to pay over US$1000.....🤪
VICTOR 4MD-X1
This cartridge is down the ladder from the X1 but still has a Shibata stylus (don't know if the cantilever is beryllium?)
This cartridge was designed for 4-Channel reproduction and so has a wide frequency response 10Hz-60KHz.
Easier to find than the X1 but a lot cheaper (I got this one for US$130).
AUDIO TECHNICA AT ML180 OCC
Top of the line MM cartridge from Audio Technica with Microline Stylus on Gold-Plated Boron Tube cantilever.
Expensive if you can find one....think US$1000.

I will be interested if people can hear any differences in these three vintage MM cartridges....
Then I might post some vintage MMs against vintage and MODERN LOMC cartridges.....🤗
F047e6d3 4ab4 4f0d 81a3 1d06afd11319halcro
Soon, I promise.  It’s been a little busy.  Probably tomorrow.
Haha. No one is going to hear a difference in those smartphone mic videos with the room echo going on.
Where does one find an SAS stylus for the Victor Z-1 ?
Sorry for the delay.  Some thoughts on the latest trio of cartridges.  This time I listened on my Stax Lambda Signatures with SRM-T1S tube amp fed by my iPhone.  

I should preface my comments by pointing out that while I like and use MM’s a lot, I am not in the camp that feels that they are inherently superior to MC’s; or viceversa.  I have used enough examples of both persuasions to feel that neither type, as a whole, is superior to the other in the ways that matter to me.  I know some will disagree, but I feel that there are certain sonic qualities that are shared by all of either type; and each type generally has certain specific strengths relative to the other.  In my experience MM’s excel in the area of timbre and tonality and MC’s excell with dynamics.  By dynamics I mean the feeling that the music is alive and the musical interaction among the musicians is realistic.  In a nutshell, that summarizes for me what I heard as the differences between the two Ortofons and the Signet.  I get seduced by the full, saturated and realistic tone of a good MM, but end up missing the immediacy and rhyhtmic definition of a good MC.  That has been my experience with the gear that I have owned over many years.  Other details:

SPU Gold:

Beautiful and rich midrange tone.  Sweet.  Seems to be weighted toward the lower mids.  Good feeling of immediacy and clarity.

SPU Silver:

Noticeably brighter sound with even more “clarity” in the mids and highs.  Sounds like it probably does a better job than the Gold of fillling and enveloping the room.  But there is a glare throughout that range that is annoying.  Seems to play slightly louder.  Again, great feeling of immediacy.  

Signet:

Darker, fuller and thicker tone as well as thicker sense of rhythm; not as lithe.  A little more clarity up top would probably be a good thing.  There is less of the sound of metal from the sleigh bells one hears throughout the beginning of the tune compared to the SPUs.  Great realism in the sounds of midrange instruments, but the music doesn’t flow with quite as much natural flow as with the SPU’s.  At times the music almost sounds like it is being performed a tiny bit slower.

There is a cowbell that enters @1:57 - 1:59 (depending on which clip) and plays on every beat.  It’s way in the background, but can be heard.  With the SPU’s one can actually hear or sense the feeling of forward drive that a player can coax out of the lowly cowbell.  On the Signet track the cowbell sounds like the player stuck a towel in it.  It sounds muffled with less definition on the beat and this diminishes the sense of forward drive in the rhythm of the tune.  

They each have strengths and I’m sure all three sound great on Halcro’s system.






Where does one find an SAS stylus for the Victor Z-1 ?

Good question......
It used to be easy....just go to the Jico Website, look up the cartridge you're interested in (Victor Z1) and see all the Jico replacement styli available for it.
One of them would be a SAS....the most expensive!!
The SAS was a radically profiled diamond (some say similar to the AT ML Microline) glued to a solid boron cantilever.
A few years ago, when boron became scarce.....Jico changed to sapphire cantilever and ruby cantilever and call them Neo-SAS(S) and Neo-SAS(R).
Since about Feb 2018 the Neo-SAS has not been available.
One rumour is that the elderly Master Japanese Craftsman who was the only one able to assemble the SAS styli has retired and Jico can thus no longer supply them 🧐.

This is tragic for the analogue community IMO and we all hope that Jico can solve their problems and return to supplying the SAS Styli once again.
Meanwhile there is an 'extortionist' market on Ebay where SAS styli are being offered at higher prices that Jico sold them when NEW.....🤯