Magic Diamond vs Airtight PC1?

In my quest for a new cartridge I seem to be narrowing my choice down to a Magic Diamond vs Airtight PC1. I have not been able to hear either of these so I am looking for any insight anyone can provide. I will be using the cartridge on a VPI TNT IV with an Eminent Technology 2.4 tone arm with the high pressure manifold. I am running dual mono with two Krell KPA Phono preamps. Thank you for any input.
The Magic Diamond is supposedly and excellent cartridge and uses the conventional MC design employed by some other fine cartridges such as vdH and Allaerts. Lloyd Walker (the TT guy) sells them at a (slight)discount, and if you call him, he will be happy to talk to you about it. Also, email Rushton (a member) about his.

The Air Tight doesn't seem to have much press so far. It has the same specs as the new Transfiguration Orpheus, which is getting great reviews (I have a Temper W which is very similar) The Orpheus uses a Neodymium ring magnet which comletely envelopes the coils, and a high mu armature like the PC1.
Not sure what you mean by much press but Jonathan Valin has written at length about the Airtight and Mikey mentioned it in one of his recent reviews as well. I heard from another dealer who compared the Orpheus to the Airtight that the latter was the one to beat (for more money). Arm synergy, of course, is the wild card here.
Also, taste in sound?
I use the Magic Diamond Blue with the Walker Audio Proscenium Gold TT in a vinyl only playback system. From a technical perspective, it is a medium output MC (0.38mV) of medium compliance. The body is milled from a solid chunk of metal and the stylus/canteleiver assembly is potted to the body in such a way as to make it non-replacable should it break (trust me on this - as I just snapped the canteleiver off mine, and am awaiting the arrival of a new cart).

The Magic Diamond has no real sonic signature of it's own. It is a very neutral cartridge. It is a cart that requires some patience during breakin as it is likely to change from day to day over the first 100 hours or so. But once it settles in you notice the speed and attack of leading edge transients and it's uncanny ability to deliver a focused sense of the music across the frequency spectrum without any emphasis in one range at the expense of another. When used in concert with the Proscenium Gold TT (my only experience with the MD), music leaps from a velvety, ultra black background. Good recordings sound good - and bad recodings sound bad. It digs into the grooves of the LP and fleshes out whatever is in there. It is detailed - but detailed in such a way that lets you listen with ease through the cart and into the music.

Disclaimer: I have no experience with the Airtight and can only relate what I hear in my room on my system.
Though the PC-1 is getting some good press,the Transfiguration Orpheus just got a RAVE review in Hi Fi News,FWIW!My friend has it,and I have heard it enough times,now,to know it CLEARLY trounces the Tempers,which I happen to own(sorry Neil -:)!I have heard the Magic Diamond,and it was quite good.I heard it with my "own" Decca LP's,and it really brought out what I like about those irreplaceable recordings.
I am just a bit sceptical as to the PC-1,as the company has not released any previous models(I think),and suddenly almost all the mainstream reviewers(even those in Great Britain)are listing it as a reference."THAT GOOD",first time out of the blocks,usually states...1-New breakthrough design,or...2-Something relating to reviewer perks!
I hope it is #1!!I,too,am looking "hard" at both the Orpheus,as well as the PC-1!
Best of luck!!
Krc, I will "ditto" Slipknot1's comments on the Magic Diamond cartridge and also reference an answer I posted to another thread on the Magic Diamond a few nights ago and another from about a year ago, fwiw. These earlier comments continue to hold true for me. One additional consideration is arm synergy, as Piedpiper mentions. Both Slipknot1 and I use the Magic Diamond on the Walker Audio turntable with it's linear air bearing arm. You *may* find a similar synergy on the linear air bearing Eminent Technology arm.

The only person I know who may have listened to both the Magic Diamond and the Airtight PC1 in the same system is Lloyd Walker. I know he had an Airtight PC1, but I don't know if he ever mounted it for an evaluation. Lloyd's very approachable and he'll tell you exactly what he hears, bad or good. I encourage you to call him for a chat.

Good luck in your search, and let us know what you do!
Perhaps it's worth noting that both carts in question are distributed by Axiss. With that in mind I talked with Jaime, their analogue specialist today as I am also interested in upgrading my reference cartridge as well as selling them. He said that although he hadn't done a controled comparison, his sense was that the Magic Diamond was perhaps a bit more detailed with a little more extension and that the Airtight was possibly more "musical". Wayne Garcia characterized teh Magic Diamond as being unflappably refined but not as gutsy as the coarser Shelter 90x he was comparing it to, also distributed by Axiss.
Slipknot- I thought this might be a good time to tell how I ripped the cantilever off my benz micro glider. In an attempt to deal with the inexplicable absence of a dustcover on a multi-kilobuck tt, I laid a cloth over the tt. During each seesion I lifted it off the tt. One day I lifted the cloth and heard this disturbing suction sound. My worse fears were confirmed when I noticed the entire cantilever was gone. Never to be seen again
Sorry to hear that. Mine was the classic catch the cuff of your shirt on it while adjusting the belt. I watched it in slow motion as it tore off, tumbled through the air and dropped down onto the platter. I'm going to keep it in a little glass bottle near the table as a gentle reminder.
Sirspeedy, how did the Magic Diamond compare to the Orpheus or your Tempers? Thanks.
Krc,different set-ups,on different days.NO way to make a valid comparison!The Magic Diamond made "my" LP's,which I brought sound like what a DECCA should sound like!A fine cartridge,IMO.I remember saying to myself,it had a very good sense of stage width,knowing my LP's were recorded in Kingsway Hall.Nice harmonic and tonal balance,which is a very important area to me.Many hobbyists get too caught up in bass and dynamic flow.The tonal shadings can make or break Classical music,which I like alot.So the Magic Diamond impressed "this" hobbyist,which means little.Though my friend felt the same way.
The Temper is a superb cartridge,and I can easily compare it to the Orpheus,having a dear friend who had both.I set up his original Temper,and have recently re-voiced his Orpheus for him,since he got a new arm.I've heard both "tons" of times.
The Orpheus is more dynamic,has a better stage,and has better detail resolution,compared to the Temper-V.It can flesh out more subtle detail,than the Temper-V,and has better timbral balance.Particularly in the "treble region".This is one area I particularly care about,in the Temper vs Orpheus.I would say the difference is very similar to comparing "very good" phono tubes to "superb" lower noise phono tubes.
I have NO idea how it compares to the other great cartridges on the market.There are SO many good ones,that it is almost silly to get too caught up in which is best.As long as the arm/table combo is OK!
Thank you sirspeedy. I appreciate your insight here.
Just talked with Lloyd Walker and he does have a PC1 but hasn't mounted it yet to compare it with the Magic Diamond. I'll be sure to hear about if and when he does and relay the results. He did say he heard nothing but good from it when he heard it on other systems. It has almost twice the output of the Magic Diamond and the Transfiguration Orpheus has almost half again more than that.
Thank you .. .that should be an interesting comparison. I have heard that the PC1 is slightly more musical/warm and the Magic is slightly more transparent/neutral. The emphasis was on slightly though for both.
As much as I cannot wait for feedback,on the PC-1,the only real way to get a good feel for ANY comparisons is to hear it for ourselves.Playing familiar LP's.Just an opinion.
Someone, in italy, say that the magic diamond is only a denon 103 with different body and a cone shaped stylus!
Absolute nonsense.
I confirm that the magic diamond is a denon 103 modified by Mr. Reto Luigi Andreoli (Swiss) with a different body and the stylus is cone shaped like the denon 103 stylus. Indeed Mr. Andreoli think that the cone shaped stylus has the lower distortion and the better frequency response (see his article in german you can download from He build another cart, more expensive: the name is Tondoise. It is a Spu Ortofon modified.
I think you need to check your facts. Below is a letter to Positive Feedback Online regarding Mr Andreoli and his work.
I have also included a link to Micromagic for you for more details. As the owner of a Magic Diamond Blue AND a Denon 103, I can assure you that it is NOT a modified Denon...

Further- The Tondose uses ONLY the housing from the Ortofon SPU

Hi David,
I read your comments about the magic diamond cartridge and couldn't agree more... and I had to smile because many people talk about these MCs (many w/o having heard them, but that's the web...) and nobody seems to know more about them... so I figured you might be interested in a little background.

The guy behind these Swiss made cartridges is reto luigi andreoli, a good friend of mine. He studied architecture at the ETH in Zurich (also Albert Einstein's alma mater), but audio has always been his home turf. don't be fooled to think he's a cartridge manufacturer just because his MCs get such rave reviews—he's more of a contemporary Leonardo da Vinci, a true genius if I know one. He was a concert pianist, still occasionally builds houses, plays a wicked guitar and when he wanted to know more about cartridges, he went to the garrot brothers in Australia to learn the trade from them. He worked with them for (iirc) three years. (before committing suicide, they offered him their company, but he declined.)

Anyway, he also builds VERY good amplifiers and loudspeakers. I've added the PDF of an article we published in sound practices about my blue thunder speakers.

He also built my turntable, an EMT 930 with two tonearms. I think you know Lynn Olson; here's what Lynn wrote about my system when he was in Zurich: john Atwood also commented on my turntable needless to say that I also use reto Luigi Andreoli's cartridges; my favourite is his top model, the "tondose" which uses the housing of an ortofon SPU (it's the grey headshell on the rear arm in Lynn's article). in 1992 I bought a battery powered line stage from him that to this day is my preferred line amp and I keep returning to the pair of custom push-pull amps he built for me in 1994.... all in all, your description of the magic diamond cartridge (see PFO Issue 23, January/February 2006, at pretty much sums up his "trademark sound," if there is such a thing: it has drive, punch, a very solid bottom end, a smooth and yet detailed midrange, a natural top end with no glare; lots of details and air, and at the same time very homogeneous. I'm sorry, but the best way to describe Andreoli's sound is: if I were an LP, that's exactly how I would want to sound. .... ;-)

Did you know that all magic diamond cartridges have spherical styli? I find this especially noteworthy because according to conventional wisdom it should be impossible to have such an extended, smooth top end with a spherical stylus. but what do I tell you—you know how good this cartridge sounds... however, Andreoli is convinced that spherical is the only way to track an LP correctly. And the proof is in the pudding... his explanations are absolutely logical and convincing; it's not black science but simple, straight thinking of what a stylus tip does in the groove. Compared to a spherical stylus, all other styli produce more distortion. This is not only logical, but is backed up by the scientific studies the BBC conducted in the 60s. They also thought that an elliptical stylus should have less distortion than a spherical stylus and were very astonished when their studies showed the opposite.

In the 90s, I published a hifi magazine not unlike PFO (just nowhere near as big and thorough). For this magazine (HiFi Scene Schweiz), Andreoli wrote a two-part article on LP reproduction that has been dubbed "seminal" by people who don't use such a term lightly. The article is in German, but there are many scribbles that illustrate w/o words why cartridges should have a spherical stylus. You can download the article as PDF from my website (which is in English):; it's the last of the three links on that page. the article caused quite a stir in the German speaking hi-fi world because he put the finger right there where it hurts...

Andreoli is a very low-key person. The owner of the Swiss hi-fi shop "Dietiker-Humbel" is Andreoli's cousin and that's probably the reason why is to my knowledge the only shop that sells Andreoli's entire product line. He builds most of his stuff in very little series—and down to the last screw, he builds all by himself. the build quality of his stuff is absolutely incredible, fit & finish are quite simply sensational for one-off products. This kind of quality cannot be cheap, but here in Switzerland, his stuff is not nearly as expensive as in the US or in Asia. And this for a very simple reason: he sells most of his stuff directly or thru one dealer. The price range for his cartridges is between CHF 3000 and 5000 (US$ 2500 - 4200; your magic diamond would be the $2500 cartridge. Just goes to show how distributors add to the cost of living or listening...)

I wrote a portrait of Andreoli in an earlier issue of HiFi Scene Schweiz. It's also in German, but at least with a picture of him. If you're interested, I'll scan the article and mail it to you as PDF file.

That's it for the moment. Pardon my English—it's not my native language... I hope I hadn't bored you to death with my laudation.

Have fun with your magic diamond!

Best regards,

Christian Rintelen

Slipknot,great stuff,as usual.The site you provided was fun to view,as well.I can clearly see the Magic Diamond as a viable product offering,but a cartridge called "VIRUS"????That might scare me off -:)
Dear Slipknotl: It was my impression too about a relation between the Magic and the 103. Good that you put some " light " about " ( I could not find nothing in the website that named Terzilaw ).

Now, the important subject is that the Magic Diamond is a great top performer and this is all about. It does not sounds in any way like a 103.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Speedy, you think "Virus" is a scary name? Wait'll you find out what "Tondose" means!
OK Nsgarch - I'll bite: What is a Tondose?

The Virus cart's underside is a bilious green color, just as the MD Blue's is blue. So- I guess it's "virus green" Kind of like the van den Hul "Frog"....
Slip. I admit I don't know what the word "Tondose" actually means, however there is/was and EMT tonearm called the "Tondose" that accepted an integral cartridge/headshell with a different pin layout than the SME, etc. Apparently Micromagic makes a unit for that tonearm which you can see at the bottom of this page:

In Germany, cartridges are even sometimes called “Tondose”. So the Germans know by experience that a cartridge body makes its own “Ton” or sound. (from vdH website)
OK, I get it. Seeing as though the Ortofon SPU is an integral Headshell/Cart combination, I guess it makes sense that Mr. Andreoli would have christened his with that moniker...
I made the mistake of listening to Mr Andreoli's "Silver Spirit" cartridge at Lloyd Walker's house. (It's the the "big brother" to his Magic Diamond cartridge.) I'm ruined. As much as I like my Magic Diamond, the Silver Spirit is even better. Too bad I can't afford it at U.S. retail prices. Such is life in this crazy hobby of ours... :-)

I think, "Tondose" can be tranlated with Tone (Ton) and Box (Dose), let's say, Tone is coming out from a little Box.
I am not sure, but I think, Tondose was the name from a very early Cartridge in Germany.
I own a magic diamond and a denon 103 too: both have a conical shaped stylus and the same cantilever
That in and of itself, does not mean that the MD is a modified Denon. Many carts use the same type of stylus configuration and canteliever materials. When you refer to the Magic Diamond's "conical" stylus, I am assuming you mean "spherical"- as that is the actual shape of the stylus.
Slipknot,I cannot thank you enough for the post from Pos Feedback,re:the letter.
Absolutely great stuff!!
BTW,it seems clear that these Magic Diamond products are WAY under the radar,and seeminly intentional!Low volume sales usually means attention to detail.I'm always willing to learn,and surely have done so here,in gaining more perspective.This does not mean that we run out and buy the product,but we can ALWAYS add to our "little inner computer memory"(mine is small),and call on the data at some point down the road.Buying decisions should take many factors into consideration, and at least with me thay certainly do.
Thanks sirspeedy! The Magic Diamond was not on my radar until I heard it mated with the Walker Proscenium Gold Signature turntable. It's no understatement when I say it was an ear opening experience. It was at that moment I decided that I had to have the Walker TT, and I never even thought twice about considering another choice in cartridges to go with it. I am very lucky that the synergy of that TT/cart combination also was a good fit for my phono stage.
Does anyone know the output voltage of the Magic Diamond?

I have heard 0.25mV, 0.3mV, 0.35mV, and slipknot1's system lists it at 0.6mV (

Thank you! I'm not as concerned with the difference between 0.25 & 0.35... but I am shocked if it could be as high as 0.6mV.

(I am a prospective buyer.)
I think slipknot must have a typo in his description. The Magic Diamond is a medium output cartridge and, as I recall from speaking with Lloyd, the output voltage is about 0.36mV.
Actually- My post above says 0.38mV, but Rushton's figure may be a little closer to reality.
Slipknot, the 0.6mV typo Ebalog mentions is in your System description under Magic Diamond. And the correct output figure might be 0.38mV -- it's certainly somewhere in that range. I'll check this evening to see if the output figure is printed on the packaging materials anywhere.
Yeah - that WOULD be a typo :o I'll go away now.......
thank you so much for the clarification! i didn't mean to cause a stir -- just happened to notice the conflicting information in a sparsely-populated "sea" of information about the cartridge.
Does anyone know the compliance of the MD and the PC1? Thanks
I pulled the Magic Diamond spec sheet that came with mine, which is identified as serial number "MD-B 10003" (there may be some minor variations among these since they are all hand made in very small production runs). The specs listed are:

Tracking Force; 2.2 - 2.5 grams
Source impedance: 42 ohms
Load impedance: 40 - 250 ohms
Compliance: 6 cu

Output voltage is not listed.
I just mounted a recently purchased Magic Diamond and am interested to know other MD owners' experience with break-in as mine is sounding a little anemic, especially the bass, at the moment. Also, regarding VTA, do you have preference for a neutral setting, up in the rear or down in the rear? What about VTF? Thanks!
My experience with breakin was just what you are seeing at the moment. it will likely go through several stages before it settles in. A little weak in the bass at first, at some points dark and closed in, then sounding a little tipped up in the HF. Once you get about 100 hrs on it, it will stablize.

with respect to VTA - My MD was installed with my tt by Lloyd Walker. Neutral VTA was set as a baseline using 180g LPs, then reset again for 200g and then again for 140g LPs, so that each LP thickness can be quickly dialed in prior to play.

VTF was set at right around the middle of the manufacturer's guide line: 2.2-2.3g?

My turntable is so stable with respect to settings, it has been pretty much "set it and forget it" except for VTA adjustments where needed.

currently have the cart loaded at 100 ohms.
Give the Magic Diamond about 50 hours of playing time before assessing it. Then be sure to re-do your finetuning for VTF and VTA to account for the suspension loosening up. The bass perfomance does improve with breakin, just be sure to readjust. As a starting point in setting VTA, try angled down very slightly to the rear at first. The best turntable finetuning process I know of is the iterative process described by Lloyd Walker at his web site: Also, keep in mind that the Magic Diamond is a very neutral cartridge. It won't be exaggerating any part of the frequency range.
Thanks Rushton .. great info.
Dear Krc: I think that you have to look too to the Allaerts MC2 Finish, great performer!!!! and at least in the same level that the other two you asked.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thank you Raul

Thanks for the responses. One thing I noticed when setting up the MD on the Phantom is that I had to adjust the azimuth sharply to the left in order for the bottom of the cartridge to be parallel with the record. I'm not sure if this is an issue with the cartidge or the arm. Any thoughts? Thanks.

Raul, are there any qualitative comparisons you can make about the allaerts vs the MD vs the PC1? Thanks.
Ejayncrrcom, keep in mind that you are aligning the cantilever and stylus to the record groove, not the cartridge body. It is possible for any cartidge to have it's body and its cartridge assembly out of alignment with each other due to some variability in assembly; that in itself will not affect playback performance. Just focus on setting your asimuth based on the cantilever/sylus assembly relative to the record groove, and use some careful listening to optimize.
Dear Krc: I don't heard the PC1, but the difference between the MD and the Allaerts is that the Allaerts has a better low bass: definition, pitch, tight/lower, texture, accuracy. Other difference is that the Allaerts has less " I'm here ", almost " disappear ".

Fopr what I read about the PC1 this one is more " I'm here " than the MD and Allaerts, but I can't be sure till I hear it.

If I be you my choose will be between the MD and Allaerts, you can't go wrong with either.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thanks Raul. Mid range, particulary female vocals, need to be spot on for me. Resolution is important as is extension on both ends. Neutral yes .. analytical no. Given those desires do any of these cartridges rise to the top?