"The high output has been suggested."
Your phono/linestage has a combined gain total of 77db's. You can use a very low(less than .5mv) LOMC. Unless there is some specific factor for your CJ gear to NOT use a LOMC, you have plenty of choices in all price points.
If you search here, or other forums, your arm is used by many. Cart choice is all over the place.
Also, following what is "correct" regarding compliance,it doesn't ensure your subjective "good sound" will be in line with paper specs.
IMO, your ears/wallet ultimately are the judge.
If you want to check the arm and cartridge compatibility you can use this tool from the Vinyl Engine. It will give you an idea of how both the arm and cartridge will match. Remember to put the correct information in! https://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge_resonance_evaluator.php?eff_mass=9&submit=Submit
A local Hifi store is where that high output recommendation came from. I was told that my phono pre had very low gain settings. I'm now wondering why such a comment would have been made.
The manual for my phono pre states it's gains will cover a variety of cartridge types.
Would be nice if I could find a matrix that would show the gain required for each cartridge type (low/mid/high) from the phono stage and preamp (combined I'm guessing) for successfully mating. Ever see such a thing? Or is there a formula? Something else??
Also, generally speaking, what's the difference between low/mid/high output cartridges? If a setup can handle anyone of them what drives the choice? Do they each produce a different sound?
I’m doubtful that a 0.4 mv cartridge would be suitable for use with your equipment. While as stated earlier the overall gain provided by the phono stage and the preamp would not in itself be an issue, several things suggest to me that unacceptable hiss and/or hum would be likely to result:
1)The phono stage’s specified hum and noise figure of 88 db below a 10 mv input corresponds to only 60 db below 0.4 mv, which seems marginal at best.
2)The 88 db figure may be based on psychoacoustic "weighting" techniques that are commonly used in deriving such figures, meaning that the unweighted performance may be worse.
3)The 52 db max gain spec of the phono stage is about 8 to 10 db less than the gains of most phono stages that are intended for use with cartridges having rated outputs in the vicinity of 0.4 mv.
4)The relation between cartridge output and phono stage signal-to-noise ratio is what primarily determines the amount of hiss that will be present when playing a record. Adding gain further downstream will not improve that; it will just result in using the volume control at lower settings.
I suspect that the 0.8 mv version of the cartridge would be suitable, but I can’t say that with any certainty. If you already haven’t done so, it would be a good idea to research what cartridges others have reported using with the EF-1.
Good luck. Regards,
As i said on your other thread...
jperry941 posts12-29-2017 5:57amBased on the information below I would select the medium output Benz
The C-J EF1 offers three different gain settings, 40, 46, and 52 dB, selected by switches inside the unit.
Benz Wood S models at $1,600 use the MR or Micro Ridge stylus and are available in Low .4mV (Wood SL), Medium .9mV (Wood SM) and High Output 2.5mV (Wood SH)
Perhaps a real expert will chime in, to give you real insight. Without getting into techie talk, all the high performance MC’s are low output-less than.5mv or so.
Maybe your local store was just referring to only the phono stage, not considering your line stage gain adding to the equation?
Your gear is ready for it. Plenty of AT’s/Denons value priced, along with the usual suspects-Benz,Dyna,Lyra etc.
Don’t forget the moving Iron(SoundSmith) line. They aren’t necessarily low output, and a different beast-if you aren’t already familiar with them.
Edit-I see noise factor is mentioned using a lower output cart. Makes sense.
Maybe your local store was just referring to only the phono stage, not considering your line stage gain adding to the equation?
Probably so, but please note no. 4 in my previous response.
Thank you for the response and taking this into a deeper dive.
Interesting and educational to me is how you relate hiss/or hum to the specs. That's what I'm looking for at the moment; concrete means to evaluate specs and to stay away from subjectivity. First things first...finding compatible cartridges from which to consider by having the basis to do so. After knowing what works, the fun will begin in seeking out the one that has the sound qualities I'm looking for!
Thank you yogiboy for providing a link to the matrix to check the arm/cartridge mass compatibility as well. Certainly want to be in the green there as well!
Thank you for that previous posting where you mentioned medium output. It's that (and a bit more) that got this thread going.
Why? When I contacted a local dealer to get the medium output Benz priced I was advised to go to the high output. That then got me to thinking, how does one objectively evaluate/calculate what's compatible? What should I be looking for in specs when I browse around?
So, just wanting to educate myself on how to use cartridge and equipment specs to determine what will/will not work (well anyway) with my setup.
First things first...finding compatible cartridges from which to consider by having the basis to do so. After knowing what works, the fun will begin in seeking out the one that has the sound qualities I’m looking for!
As I’ve said in a number of past threads the main usefulness of specs and measurements, IMO, is in **ruling out** from consideration candidates for purchase that would not be optimal (or even suitable) for use with other components in the system. Or in some cases that would not be consistent with listener requirements or preferences, an example being the maximum volume and hence dynamic range capability that can be provided by an amp/speaker combination.
Which thereby reduces the randomness of the selection process, and minimizes the likelihood of expensive mistakes.
You can use the calculator on this page
to see gain needed for a particular output. For example, for 0.8 mV output you need gain of 52 dB.
Details of how they arrive at this value is explained in the page.
However, gain matching is only one aspect. One also needs to match the compliance of the cartridge to the effective mass of arm. 14/15 cu would put the cartridges in mid compliance range. SME IV effective mass as per SME's web page
is "10/11" gram which is mid mass, so ought to be a good match for the chosen cartridge.
10-4 regarding your point. A great spec to be aware of when pulling the trigger and possibly investing a chunk of cash.
KAB calculator that jls001 linked to above is very helpful. Unless you are running a very unusual system (passive pre-amplfier, flea type amplifiers with extreme hi-efficiency speakers, etc.), I think you will find it will give you a very accurate read on the type of gain optimization you need to do with the cartridge/phono stage interface.
It has been pretty much deadly accurate for me using multiple cartridges and phono stages over the years.
For compliance calculations and cartridge/tonearm matching the calculator at vinylengine will also work wellhttp://https//www.vinylengine.com/cartridge_resonance_evaluator.php
Your phono preamp has probably close to perfect gain for either the high output or medium output Benz and the compliance numbers are favourable on both with your SME arm which has an effective mass of 10./11.
Your decision IMO should be based only on whether the medium output Benz will outperform the high output version as the gain numbers from your phono pre are just about perfect for both and your phono pre also has load adjustment/capability that is also favourable to both. And the cartridge(s) would appear to also be a perfect match with your arm. Consider yourself very lucky!
I would definitely avoid the low output version.
Thanks everyone for the help! The calculators are just great, bookmarked!
One last question: If a system can accommodate both medium and high output versions of a cartridge, why choose medium (i.e., why choose a lower output version)? What do lower output cartridges do better than higher? Thinking that's the case...
From the internal resistance figures and loading recommendations, low and medium outputs look like MC cartridges while high looks like MM. So I guess it's a toss up between MM and MC.
One last question: If a system can accommodate both medium and high output versions of a cartridge, why choose medium (i.e., why choose a lower output version)? What do lower output cartridges do better than higher? Thinking that's the case..."
With moving coil cartridges the theory is that the lower output version will have smaller coils with fewer turns which can reduce mass and impedance thus improving performance.
That is the theory as I said but one also has to consider that the lower output cartridge will require a higher gain in the phono stage; higher gain,
higher quality amplification, though, also becomes more expensive so it can sometimes be more difficult and costly to realize that better performance.
Thank you for explaining the difference between low and higher output MC cartridges and what low may lead to. Been waiting for this...
Consider a step up transformer, which allows you to choose a low output cartridge. The thing about sut's is that they don't wear out - you buy them once, for life. That makes them a very cost-effective purchase.
Building a pair of sut's is dead easy. All you need is a box, four RCA connectors, and two transformers. Solder them together as indicated, and you've got yourself a really fine item. K&K audio is where I bought the Lundahl transformers for my Koetsu platinum, and I could not be happier.
As was noted above, lower output MC cartridges have lower mass weighing down the cantilever. Therefore, these tend to be more resolving and just plain musical. IMO.
Unless you are running a very unusual system (passive pre-amplfier, flea type amplifiers with extreme hi-efficiency speakers, etc.), I think you will find it [the KAB calculator] will give you a very accurate read on the type of gain optimization you need to do with the cartridge/phono stage interface.
This is a good point, which emphasizes that an online calculator should not be applied blindly.
Specifically, the KAB calculator indicates the gain that would result in the cartridge’s rated output being boosted to 0.325 volts. As indicated in its description that value was chosen based on what is appropriate for driving a CD recorder. However power amplifiers will typically require inputs in the vicinity of 1 to 2 volts to drive them to full power, for single-ended inputs, and twice that for balanced inputs. Which means that the gain of a typical active line stage, perhaps 6 to 15 db or so, will be required to assure that the phono stage gain specified by the calculator will make it possible to drive the power amp to full power.
On the other hand, like most CJ preamps Randy’s 16LS provides unusually high gain (25 db) for a line stage. So if a gain problem were to arise it would most likely be in the other direction, resulting in the volume control having to be used at undesirably low settings. That is very unlikely to occur with a cartridge/phono stage combination, but is certainly a possibility with a CD player or other digital source depending on the gain of the power amp and the sensitivity of the speakers.
Great thread and info guys. Al could you expand on this item a little further with another example or two? Maybe a good and bad senario?
"4)The relation between cartridge output and phono stage signal-to-noise ratio is what primarily determines the amount of hiss that will be present when playing a record. Adding gain further downstream will not improve that; it will just result in using the volume control at lower settings."
Robd2, an example of what is likely to be a good scenario would be the combination of a 0.5 mv cartridge with a 60 db phono stage and a 10 db line stage. Those numbers are fairly typical for a system utilizing an LOMC cartridge, and the 60 db phono stage gain can be taken as an indication that the designer intended it for use with such a cartridge. Also, the 70 db total gain that is provided by those components (when the volume control on the line stage is turned all the way up) would boost the 0.5 mv output provided by the cartridge under the standard test conditions (which correspond to a volume that is quite loud but not as loud as the dynamic peaks of some recordings) to about 1.5 volts, which is right in the ballpark of the voltage that is required to drive most power amplifiers to max power.
An example of what is likely to be a bad scenario is the one discussed earlier, involving use of a 0.4 mv cartridge in conjunction with a 52 db phono stage and a 25 db line stage. Even though the total of those gains is more than adequate for use with a 0.4 mv cartridge, the four factors I cited suggest that noise performance is likely to be inadequate.
The reason for my repeated use of the word "likely" is that different phono stages having the same gain can have considerably different levels of internally generated noise. And manufacturer specs on signal-to-noise ratios, when and if provided, should be taken with multiple grains of salt because the input or output signal levels they are based on are often not specified, and the "weighting" they may be based on (such as A-weighting
) is also often not specified. If Stereophile has reviewed a particular phono stage, though, John Atkinson’s measurements and his associated commentary about noise performance can often be helpful.
Dear @rbschauman : Your phono stage is a solid state design a FET design with enough gain for almost any LOMC cartridge.
Been a solid state unit is " weird " its noise level spec, maybe a " finger error by CJ " . Something is not exactly clear/precise down there.
Anyway the Benz low output will works wonderful in your C&J combination.
Your SME 4 is a very good match for it too and the only advise to you is to add the damping SME mechanism for that IV model.
No, you don't need the Benz high output version. As a fact as higher the MC cartridge output as more degradation exist in the cartridge generated signal. This means that the 0.4mv is way superior to the high output version.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Interesting system.. I use CJ Premier units in two systems - a 15 phono in a heritage system and a 14 and 11a in my main system.
With the 15 I run a Lyra Clavis low output cartridge. The 15 has lower gain than the Vendetta I use in the main system, but it still has enough gain for a low output (0.25 mv), particularly as that is my acoustic music system with inefficient (Martin Logan CLS) speakers.
I see no reason why you can't run a medium or even a low if the output cartridge. The solid state phone stage you use has higher gain than my tube one does.
I don't think 0.4mV is all that low to begin with. It's the same output as a Denon DL-301 and people hook them up to all sorts of phono stages with impunity.
Why let your phono stage hamstring your cartridge choice? Get something like a Musical Surroundings Phonomena which has gain settings up to 60 dB and use any cartridge you want. I got a used Phonomena II (there is a newer version, the II+ available) for less than $300. That won't bite into your cartridge budget too much. Or as was suggested a step up transformer (look at Rothwell for information). SUTs have enthusiastic fans, as well as an equally vocal opposition. I've never heard one, so I feel very strongly both ways. ;^)
You could always buy the Benz low and if you don't like the sound you've got those two options to turn to. You might even ask to audition the Benz low with several phono stage candidates at the dealer.