OL silver vs. Clearaudio Unify

Has anyone compared the sound of these arms on a Teres TT with a Shelter cart? (265 and 501mkII). I would appreciate any direct comparisons. . . I am leaning toward the Unify though I have heard many are happy with the OL Silver. . .


Showing 4 responses by dougdeacon

Hi Joeljoel,

I don't know anyone who's tried a Shelter on a Unify, so the following is my attempt at deductive reasoning. ;)

Several people both here and on VA have tried a Shelter on other unipivots. Of those, Graham 2.x users seem happiest and Spacearm users are okay too. Many VPI 10.5/12.5 users are satisfied, but I know of two who cannot track the Teldec 1812 cannons (at all) and have trouble on the HFN record too. Users of some other unipivots have been even less succesful, particularly low mass, undamped unipivots. Some of these arms just could not handle the energy a Shelter can feed back into an arm. They ended up switching arms or going to a higher compliance cartridge.

OTOH and AFAIK, no one has ever been dis-satisfied with a Shelter on a Silver or higher OL arm. I may be biased because that's what I use, but I have some evidence for deducing that the Silver is the better choice. OOTB, the Silver has greater stability than any unipivot, just by virtue of its dual gimbal design. And OOTB it works quite well with a Shelter. However, the Silver can be easily modded for even greater stability with a little invention of Twl's. The differences this mod makes in bass response and control during dynamic passages are quite amazing, and would be instantly audible to anyone.

Conclusion: if the performance of an already stable arm can be so dramatically enhanced by increasing its stability still further, it's unlikely that an inherently less stable arm would be suitable. Just my $.02, hope it helps you think through your decision.

Thanks for the kind references. I don't have your broad personal experience with arms and cartridges, but I certainly believe you that very few combos can track those silly cannons. I imagine even fewer can do so and also display a high degree of musicality on real music (of which that particular record contains exactly zero.)

My limited personal experience, however, has discovered at least one combo that can do both. My Shelter 901 on a Twl-modded OL Silver blasts through the cannons with no undue excitement or gymnastics, yet plays music that will break your heart. I'm only guessing that a 501mkII on the same arm might perform similarly, perhaps with slightly less bass response and top end detail.

I totally agree that the HFN record is of marginal utility for setting up good combos, but I think it's pretty good at showing up bad ones. If a combo does especially poorly on fairly simple test tracks, I'd worry about how it might handle the far more complex problems presented by real records.
Nothing lame about aesthetics. We both fell for the Teres 265 and I'm certainly not ashamed of that! A Moerch DP6 or Basis Vector might answer all our concerns, but not at a price you or I could stomach.

I agree the OL arms look pretty humble, even humbler with Twl's goofy-lookin' HIFI Mod stickin' outta the sides. (Just kidding Tom, I post referrals every week.)

Here's how to get around the look: cue up a good record and watch your friends faces. Trust me, they won't care or even notice what anything looks like. The normal response is closer to that of the great Art Dudley, "Holy mother of crap!"

Totally agree on the value of aesthetics. If I had the funds I'd probably get a Basis Vector. That arm certainly satisfies in aesthetics/BQ and seems to have suitable engineering to handle a Shelter or most any cartridge.

Even if the mass/compliance of a Shelter/Unify is perfect, it will never have the higher lateral inertia of an OL Illustrious, Encounter or modded Silver. In my system, high lateral inertia in the arm is essential to attain the deep, controlled bass and extraordinary dynamics that a Shelter 901 is capable of. Silver users with the 501mkII report similar results. YMMV in the end of course.