Definitely reduces surface noise in my set-up. One thing that has become increasingly apparent is that older analog recordings are simply amazing. Much increased detail throughout the frequency range. I can hear plucked bass strings vibrating against each other where they are innocuous on the lesser arm. Tiny details like the metallic shimmer of a percussion bell are exquisite. For a relatively low-budget level phono rig like mine ($12k), this arm is transformative. If you are in the market for a Jelco 750 or 550, or indeed, a Rega, I implore you; spend the extra and get the 850. It is that good.
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1. The arm rest clamp is not great. It doesn’t grab the arm like a friction type. It simply rests on it unless you close it and the hard plastic feels cheap.
2. There is a very mild and barely detectable upper bass/lower mid dip in the response more like a slight veiling of that portion of the spectrum. After swapping out the arm stub and counterweight on my 750L for an Expressimo Audio brass substitute, and experiencing the improvement wrought by that, I believe the same rubber stub on the 850 is causing this coloration (note 3). Again, it is minor. I will follow up if EA bring out a brass replacement for the 850. I spoke to Brian there and at this time there is none available.
1. It may also be not broken in yet as I only used it for 4 hours.
2. I have not played with VTA - too busy listening to my albums all over again.
3. I also have a standard 750L with which comparisons were made.
4. Amps are Croft 25R/EICO HF35 monos, Quad ESL 57. See Virtual Systems
5. The arm looks better and bigger in the flesh than in pictures.
Listened for another 15 hours. The clasp is annoying. I have to lock it every time I rest it. The bearings are VERY free moving. One tiny touch and off it goes so be careful. I do not use anti-skating on 12" arms.
I'm not sure why but with the same cartridge and head shell, it is, or the music is, very sensitive to changes in VTA/Stylus overhang compared to the 750. Maybe the increase in info retrieval in general betrays errors in the setup in a more obvious manner.
Anyhow, I seem to be at the sweet spot and it's sounding good. The jury is out on this aforementioned upper bass/lower mid coloration. Increasing the stylus overhang to 2mm past where it is spaced (13mm) helped.
I'm also reluctant to call it coloration - it is as if there is a slight hump in the response in the upper bass and a slight dip in the lower mids. I would love to see test results. It could also be an issue with my rig heretofore not noticed. To reiterate, it is very slight but comparing old favorite LPs, I can hear it. Overall, a good improvement offering improved detail, insight, color, sound-stage and dynamics. It's just not quite magic yet.
Have a few hundred hours on it now and it seems to be settling in or I am getting used to it. I played one of my reference recordings: Frank Zappa Joe's Garage - Little Green Rosetta. It's got a lot going on with singers spread across a wide soundstage. It's always sounded much the same no matter what rig I've had over the years with the usual improvements. Not this time. The soundstage has increased in depth by 300%. Texture, transparency and insight into how the song is constructed are much improved. The best bit is the space between performers front to back has changed the presentation completely. Good fun.
Dear @noromance : There are at least 3 tonearm characteristics than changed in the 850 against the 750: new bearing type ( knife. ), lower vertical bearing sensitivity and lower effective length.
All those characteristics are main part of what you are listening and maybe exist a four characteristic change that could be a better internal wiring quality but I can’t say for sure:
""" Increasing the stylus overhang to 2mm past where it is spaced (13mm) helped. """
well you can do that but increase the distortion levels even if you can’t aware of it.
They said that Jelco uses IEC and Baerwald/Löfgren A alignment protocol but the Jelco specs/parameters are wrong either with the 750 and the 850 and you need to re-aling it:
in your 850L that comes with 303mm on EL ( in the 750: 305mm. ) the correct alignment tonearm/cartridge parameters are:
P2S: 289.5mm overhang: 13.5mm offset angle: 17.96°
If you can try it and see what happens. Certaninly must be lower distortion levels but you are the best judge in your room/system.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
PS.: to make things easy for you and stay with 290mm P2S distance you can test both tonearms with the correct Baerwald/Löfgren A alignment parameters and not the Jelco gaves:
overhang: 13.45mm offset angle: 17.9°
In that way your listening tests between both tonearms will have a better " meaning " and the 850 will be with a correct alignment set up.
Dear Jelco 750L owners: According with the information in my posts all of you can/could re-align your tonearm to achieve lower distortion alignment levels.
Btw, I don't check the other alignment parameters in the other Jelco models but probably shows the same " behavior " and needs new alignment parameters.
@vasaudio Steve, $895 from George Merrill at GEM Dandy. But yeah. Be nice if it had C37 option but I don’t find what it has got to be lacking. Changing out tonearm wiring is a bit risky. What if one doesn't like it? I have tried a few more expensive phono ICs only to go back to the standard pink Jelco because it sounded better.
noromance, since your already dealing with Brian talk to him about a rewire he's an real honest and good guy, if undecided on rewire you could try replacing tag wires, but what a pain breaking in wire all over again. I don't use it much anymore but I have a 750 with Expressimo weight and rewire it did improve the arm.