Optimal loading for the Orpheus

I am in the process of acquiring a Transfiguration Orpheus cartridge. Despite a lot of very informative information on the 'Gon, I have yet to see insight regarding the optimal loading folks have found for the the Orpheus. Your thoughts and experiences, please.
33ohm on my nagra plp is the way to go rather than the 100ohm also they say on these forums that vtf around 1.97 , i disagree vtf is around 1.8 but lower than 1.9 . This assesment is after several hundred hrs of use.
I have had very good success with 1.98gr for VTF. Loading varies too much between phono stages, so I recommend you try many. I have had good success with 47k with the Lyra Connoisseur 4.2P Se, but also good luck with 330 ohms on a Nagra PL-P.
I am using my Orpheus at 1.8 vtf and 100ohm load for my ARC PH-7, I dont have any complains.
A fabulous cartridge!..Good luck....I and a friend own it,and we both load at 100 ohms,in a heavily modified ARC SP-15....VTF in both set-ups(phantom arm)sounds best in the 1.92-1.98 gm range.This is absolutely system dependant,as well as specific tastes.

Congrats on your O - its a lovely cartridge.

On different phono stages, I've tried values ranging from 80 Ohms to 250 Ohms using resistors from different manufacturers. I think the optimal value is a personal preference and can depend on how 'live' your room is on the top end. The higher values lending themselves to a bit more 'sparkle'. (Not a negative attribute here.)

On the ARC PH7 I used the 100 Ohm preset for quite a while and its simple to switch values with the remote - eventually I settled on 200 Ohms.

After trying different Caddocks, the "nude" Vishay S102s and several others, I settled on 170 Ohm Tantalum resistors for use in the Atma-Sphere MP-1. 220 was a tad tipped up. The S102s are nice and clear, but so are the Tants and they've a wee richer timbre.

I appreciate the great feedback. I am upgrading from the Temper V to the Orpheus. I use a Sutherland PhD phono stage. To Jtimothya: I tried a variety of loadings for the Temper V using blank configuration boards I got from Ron Sutherland. I settled on 60 ohms using the Vishay S102's. I also tried some generic tantalum resistors (too bright), Caddocks (nice sound but too rolled off) and Kiwame's (a little too 'Koetsu'). I was anticipating loading the Orpheus in the 60-90 range. I have a few Vishay's in this range.

I can't wait to get the Orpheus given the great threads and plaudits you all have generated over the past 2 years. I have read them all back to the Temper V dissertations(nB. SirSpeedy- I know you were a great fan of the V)through to the Orpheus which ultimately pushed me to upgrade. Extremely useful stuff!
I've settled on 250 ohms with a Temper V. Resistor is a dale metal film. No interest yet in moving to an o.
Dear Hickory: +++++ " I am upgrading from the Temper V to the Orpheus... " +++++

well I respect your opinion but I don't think that is an upgrading, IMHO ( I know very well both cartridges ) it is more a cartridge change for something different that it is not necessary an upgrade or better quality performance.

The V is/was a low rated cartridge that IMHO and in the right tonearm is a great performer with a better tonal balance and natural response than the O. Of course this is only a subjective opinion.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hickory - the Tantalums I'm using are AudioNote, definitely not bright. I've heard folks speak well of the Shinkoh Tantalums but I haven't heard those or the Kiwame. I concur with your comment on the Caddock if you're referring to a MK132 or TF020, though there are lots of different kinds of Caddocks - RalphK has an Orphues and he recommended the Caddock MM (fat body, gold leads), but I haven't been able to locate them.

I had the Temper W in my system for a month or so - a delightful cartridge. Imo, the Orpheus is an upgarde from from the W. I hear the O as more neutral (W is warmer), with 'deeper' tonality, and better top end extension. Could someone comment on the sonics of the Temper W vs the Temper V to help me gauge Raul's comment?

Raul,what cartridge(s) would you say is an upgrade from the Temper V
I don't see why (and apparently neither does Mr. Yoshioka) with today's very powerful magnets that there's any advantage to making a lo-output MC cartridge (meaning anything less than .4 mV.)

When magnets were weaker and you needed more coil windings (than you do today) to produce output, settling for really lo-output in order to reduce coil weight and increase transient response made some sense. But even then, there were trade-offs. Hi-gain phono preamps and/or step-up transformers were needed to boost the weak signal; and both of those devices defeated the benefit of the lighter coil assembly's better transients, to some degree.

It didn't surprise me, therefore, that with the introduction of the Orpheus, Yoshioka-san has abandoned the very lo-output model. Why bother? With the coil literally immersed in a "bath" of magnetic flux provided by the ring magnet design, a coil that produces .4mV (actually .65 mV using the CBS standard) won't need as many windings as in times past!

To answer Tim's question, I don't recall reading any direct comparisons of the Temper V vs. W with all else being equal. I would guess any perceived difference would be due more to having to drive the phono preamp harder with the V in order to match the volume to the W ;-)
Dear OEM: MC: Allaerts MC2 Finish ( but you need a very good Phonolinepreamp with enough active high gain ( no step-up transformer ), Dyna XV-1, Ortofon MC 7500, Van denHul Colibri ( the very low output models ) and MM: Nagaoka MP-50, B&O MMC1/2, Audio technica ATML 170/180, Grado The Amber Tribute, Astatic MF-100.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I'm glad I caught this thread
Rauliruegas,I would appreciate your opinion on which of the cartridges you mention would work well with a Basis Vector3
tonearm and 72db phonostage.
Rauliruegas (and Goldeneraguy): A brief history of cartridges in my system...I changed from a Benzmicro Ruby 3 (low output) to the Temper V a couple of years ago. This was a great improvement, particularly in realism/ natural tonality and presentation. Detail was also vastly improved. For the past 2 months, I have had a ZYX UNI in my system, which absolutely SMOKES the Temper V (enough said). Thus, I could not envision a scenario where I would return to the Temper V.

Given i) my original liking for the Temper V, ii) the generally positive reviews and thread dicussion regarding the Orpheus and an expectation/ recomendation (A.J Conti and folks at Oveture Audio) for a good system match of Transfig (I have had all of these to some extent on a Basis 2500 TT with a Vector 4 tonearm), I thought I would move on to the Orpheus (via a trade-in of the V). If YHO is correct (Orpheus underperforms relative to the Temper V), I will settle back and continue to enjoy the stellar ZYX. However, I anticipate (hope) the Orpheus will compete favorably with the ZYX.

Dear Goldeneraguy: I think that Hickory who owns a Vector tonearm already give you a good advice about.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hickory,you know I loved the "V",but BOY are you in store for a treat.The "O" is "that" much better.Actually it is a GREAT cartridge!
I simply cannot get enmough of it....good luck.
I find the Temper V to be very demanding of set-up parameters. If not dialed in just right, I would describe the sound as muddled/conjested/slow even veiled. Careful A/B comparision with the same mastered recording played back on cd as a reference reveals this trait. The V is dialed in though when the transient speed is near equal to CD. When I achieve this goal, the V sounds like the LP record it is tracing. In addition, the lack of inner groove distortion the V exhibits is nothing short of a revelation. The tonearm I'm using is a modified + rewired Rega RB1000 and I have ability to adjust VTA on the fly. Phonostage is a modified Lukasheck T-9 with outboard power transformer into a balanced tube pre. Are there more detailed cartridges than the V? Absolutely.. Better trackers?..I'm not so sure.
Rauliruegas,Hickory and All
Raul thank you for your advice and all your other informative posts.
Hickory,I went from the low output Benz Ruby to the Shelter 90x and then the Temper V.I find it bests the other two in every way.I would love to use the Allarts Raul mentioned but the price may be prohibitive.I still have time before my next cartridge purchase and will look into yours and of course Raul's recommendations.
Does anyone know the Internal impedance of the Orpheus
Raul,thank you very much for your list.
Dear Goldeneraguy: Thank you, my pleasure.

Rgerads and enjoy the music.
Dear Reb1208: I concur with you about. The V ( btw, like almost any cartridge ) is very sensitive to different tonearms.

I try it, example, with the Audiocraft ( that in some ways is similar to the Graham ones. ) and its performance was only ok but when I mountes on the MAX 237 then the very high quality performance of this cartridge appear. I really like your RB-1000 very good one I don't know why Rega take it out of production.

Now, with low output cartridges the Phonolinepream could make a difference for worst or the better performance, so we have to take in count this audio link in our observations about.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Like ANY cartridge, there is no "optimal" loading that applies in every situation. This is a matter of "tuning" the cartridge to the particular system and listener's taste. Even with no other changes in a system, I have found that changing the phono stage means changing other aspects of setup, particularly the loading of a cartridge. Different stages require different loading and some stages demand attention to loading while others are, relatively speaking, insensitive to loading change.

I've heard the Orpheus in a friend's system that affords only limited opportunities to change loading (e.g., 47k, 1,000, 100). The Orpheus sounded best in this system at 100. In my rig, there is really no easy way to change loading, so the best I can say is that it sounded better at 460 ohms than 1,000 ohms. I really was NOT tempted to go with more loading (lower value resistor, like 100 ohms) because at 460 ohms, the Orpheus was substantially more shut down on top than my Titan.

By the way, I like the sound of the Orpheus a lot. It may be more upper midrange prominent than the Temper W (whose to say which is more "neutral"), but it sounded more dynamically alive than the W (a big plus).
"In my rig, there is really no easy way to change loading"

There is no such thing as not having an easy way to change loading. Anyone can have infinite ability to load a phono cartridge any value below 1000 ohms. All you have to do is modify the interconnect from tonearm to phonostage. I soldered in a female RCA using jumper wires at each cable male RCA connector. Into this I plug in a male RCA with the resistor of choice soldered from positive to negative.

After experimenting, you could simply solder the high quality resistor of choice right across the RCA connector (from Positive to negative) on the cable.

Again, all you have to do is set your phonostage to a know value and consult the chart for the parallel value. Or if your good at math, use the formula.

If you consult a resistor parallel chart, you'd learn that a phonostage set at 47K + a resistor of 1K equals a loading value of 979 ohms. 47k + 250 ohms equals 249 ohms.
As asked,the internal impedence of the Orpheus is 2.5 ohms.This is an astonishing figure,that only(as of now) the Air Tight PC-1 matches,though the Air Tight may actually be better,in this measured parameter.I am not so sure about the PC-1 vs "O" on an overall comparison though.In truth the "O" is just SO good that I am currently in the "could care less" state of mind.

AMAZING in virtually every way!Sorry for this sort of over the top post,but it SO outclasses my beloved "V" that I literally "need" to post this!...As to the "V",I had previously owned the Temper and Temper Supreme,and the "V" absolutely was the best of the lot!I loved it,in every way.Yes,it was/is sensitive to set-up,but before I upgraded to the "O" I was just SO happy,that I sincerely questioned why I should spend the extra money.Though I know the "O" is far superior,the "V" is still an amazing cartridge!Speed/detail/and much more authority than some will let on.

Yet,the "O" just put my jaw on the floor,it is totally astounding!!This absolutely "needs" to be heard to make any sensae at all!The "O" wipes the floor with the "V",in dynamic terms,and has far better tonal qualities.
Please don't take this as any negative "shot" against the "V",which was amazing in resolution,detail,balance and had fabulous stage depth and presence.To get all it has to offer though,one really MUST experiment ALOT with set-up variables as well as having a group of reliable audio friends to reinforce these impressions.

I am ONLY talking in the frame of Transfiguration designs,as I have heard almost all competitive designs and love them all...Almost! -:)
Good luck.

You are right, I could make different loading plugs to experiment. That is a very good idea. I think I will get some high quality low wattage resistors for this purpose. Still, once I selected the permanent resistor and hardwired my unit, I would have to go into my unit and disconnect one leg of that resistor to then do further experiments (I have hardwired a resistor in parallel to the back of the RCA jack). This is not quite as easy as spinning a knob on something like the Manley Steelhead.
Sirspeedy said about the V:

"To get all it has to offer though,one really MUST experiment ALOT with set-up variables as well as having a group of reliable audio friends to reinforce these impressions."

IMO, more so than any cartridge I've ever owned. To the point of it being a real PIA to deal with cause you really have to keep after the darn thing. And I'm not sure really why this is.
"In my rig, there is really no easy way to change loading"

For parallel resistors you need not be that good at math:

1/R1 + 1/R2 = 1/Rsum

1/47000 + 1/1000 = 1/979
Hickory, the thing is that if you are looking for a load anywhere from 0 ohms to say 2000 ohms, you can do fine by just inserting a loading resistor of the desired value -- since having a 47,000 ohm resistor in parallel with it won't reduce its value by any significant amount, as your calculation illustrates. BTW, the formula you give only works for 2 resistors in parallel -- there is a more general formula for multiple resistors in parallel.

I have often stated that a good place to start loading a given cartridge (getting into the ballpark) is to multiply 25x the cartridge's internal resistance/impedance. The optimum will vary, but not more than +/- 50% of the 25 multiple. Raul and I agree that the best procedure for discovering the optimum load is to listen to the bass while starting at the low end of the loading range and working up to higher resistances. If you do it this way, the bass will go from looser to tighter and then as you go too high (in load) the bass will begin to weaken (thin out and lose strength) the mid/high won't change (except in relative terms, to the bass) that much throughout the procedure.

If the load exceeds a cartridge's optimum by even a small amount (say running a cartridge at 800 ohms where it should be optimum around 100 +/- ohms) it will be hard to detect because it will sound pretty much the same (bright) from 800 all the way up to 47,000!
Dear Hickory: What Nsgarch posted: +++++ " the optimum load is to listen to the bass while starting at the low end of the loading range... " +++++

is a very good key about and I totally agree, of course it is not the only one.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thanks for the great advice about the variation in theresponse of the bass to loading. I have tended to listen to the highs, e.g. avoiding excessive brightness and edginess with high loadings. I have often started with the 20x - 25x priciple for loading relative to the output impedance. To be honest, this has been one of the best predictors for getting fairly close. Also, I rarely fool with resistors in parallel. I have broad selection of resistors (albeit different brands hence different character), mainly in the 40-1000 ohm range that I can usually define a good and fairly narrow window for loading. Sometimes I will use resistors in parallel just to get to a better defined loading. In the end, I have gravitated to ordering Vishay's resistors that appear in the middle of the desired window. These have been the most neutral and transparent from my listening and generally very satifactory.
Hi Hickory,

Nsgarch mentioned concentrating on the change in bass response and you concentrate on the high end. Both extremes are critical. Because I expect a good MC cartridge to deliver an open and airy top end, I am particularly concerned with loading that maintains enough top end response while avoiding excessive brightness and sibilance. I tend to, like you, concentrate a bit more on the change to top end response.

Just to clarify things, "high loading" is where you use a lower value resistor. Whether you are using one resistor or several values, these resistors are in parallel with the signal from the cartridge and act as a voltage divider -- a high value resistor mean LESS current is flowing through that path and more is flowing along the original path. Hence, a very high value, like 47k or 100k acts almost as if that path is not existing at all.

Another thing worth mentioning is that changing the loading of the cartridge has a similar effect on tonal balance as changing VTA of the cartridge. A high VTA tends to sound somewhat like lower amounts of loading (i.e., a high value of loading resistor). So, to some extent, you can juggle small changes in VTA with changes in loading to get an optimum combination. This adds to the complications, but, it also adds to the possibilities that an ideal combination can be found. If you have a tube phonostage, you can throw into that mix changes in brand/model of tube to further complicate things.
Great points, Larryi. The VTA/SRA and loading have always presented a vexing challenge since they tend to track/compensate as you indicate. Thus, among the challenges of analog is getting all of the variables (e.g. loading, VTA/SRA, VTF, crosstalk) 'optimized.' I seem to be constantly fiddling with all of these, probably never really getting it exactly right (whatever 'right' is), but gravitating toward a sweet spot, to meet my aesthetic appeal. However, this is also one of the joys of analog - you can personalize via the tweaking.
Just a point of interest...Before I bought my Orpheus,I spoke in depth to the US distrubitor(a super nice fellow).He felt that he got the best from the "O" with a loading of 100 ohms.Have fun finding the sweetspot,'cause when you do,you will "definitely know it",as there will be a rather large puddle under your fanny!

BTW,Hi Neil,hope all is OK -:)
Larryi said:

"Nsgarch mentioned concentrating on the change in bass response and you concentrate on the high end. Both extremes are critical. Because I expect a good MC cartridge to deliver an open and airy top end, I am particularly concerned with loading that maintains enough top end response while avoiding excessive brightness and sibilance."

In my experience (albeit it is extreme experimenting. I not not only concentrate on high freq transient respone but also on low frequency quality and balance when dialing in a reference level transducer. In fact, I find the bass and lower midrange the most difficult challenge to get right. As far as highs and resolution are concerned. I've heard MC that definitely avoid any trace of sibilance/clinical sound yet sound artificialy detailed. The Tranfigs appear to avoid this trait. And that why I have stuck with the V.

the RB 1000 is still in production, as far as I know.
Online retailers are listing the RB1000 at $1,995. Dang, the weak dollar has really inflated the price of UK Imports.
Dear Piedpiper: So, I was wrong and this was because I recomended this tonearm to a friend and he told me that was out of production.
Thank you for the up-date. Now, Reb1208 give us its today price that it is higher than in the past, anyway it is a very good tonearm even at that price.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Back on to the subject at hand. I have recently bought an ASR Basis Exclusive and have been experimenting with loading for my Orpheus. I have to concur with those who state that the ideal loading is determined by the phono stage. With my Xono I found 47K to be ideal. Many may disagree but this is what worked for me in my system.

With the Basis Exclusive things are very different. There is no 47K option and I think for good reason. At 1000, the lowest resistance setting the sound is detailed but overly bright. At 95, the closest available setting to the ideal (as claimed by some) 100 ohm setting the overall presentation lacks impact and resolution. I have found that for me anything below(higher resistance) 360 ohms and some of the detail(such as the fingering of a double bass) is lost. It is not an etched sound, just more natural to me with the 360 ohm setting.

So as other posters have said. Don't get locked into thinking that a particular setting someone else with a different system recommends as perfect must be right for your ears and your system