Vintage Empire EDR.9 Moving Magnet Pickup
This Vintage Moving Magnet Cartridge came highly recommended for good reason. Out of the box the EDR.9 delivers music that is in another class of sound reproduction when compared to the respected Ortofon OM-30 Super. Until now I enjoyed the Ortofon. However as Cole Porter wrote "Night and Day" - that is exactly the difference between these two cartridges- Night and Day!
The Empire EDR.9 gives greater definition and clarity, opening up a wider and higher soundstage that included more precise detail and lusher sound. The EDR.9 has an extended dynamic range that is aparent during the quietest of passages extending into the higher volumes that my amplifier can provide without beginning to clip. I noticed details on my reference recordings now that went unheard before.
Anticipating the EDR's arrival in the mail I began listening to my favorite recordings with a ear bent towards critical evaluation. I played at least a dozen of my favorites throughout the 3 week wait. The cartridge arrived complete with a glass stand holding a stylus brush, stylus cleaner, two sets of hardware(black and silver}, a screwdriver and a warranty-user manual and spec sheet plus one pair of new ears....After the package arrived I did a quick set up cleaning the contacts on this brand new 25 year old vintage cartridge. After attaching the new cartridge to the detachable JVC QL Y66F tone arm wand and conecting the arm wires to the the cartridge body I was almost ready to begin the begin.
After reinstalling the tone arm wand I brought all values on my computer servo controled JVC QL Y66F turntable back to zero - rebalanced the arm, checked overhang as well as verticle and azimuth alignment. I dialed in the values for tracking force, anti-skating and Q-damping and chose a record.
Believing that there are more then 2 kinds of music(country&western) I started with Arthur Rubinstein's live Chopin performances. Recorded at The Manhattan Center in 1959 & 61 Rubenstein is at his best.These performances were concieved of as recording sessions and employed RCA studios state of the art Reference Recording equiment and techniques.
During the Funeral March-Sonata #2 in B Flat Minor, Op. 35 - I went into a trance.The sound was equisite. It was all there, all I could do was listen, I was transmuted, it was an epiphany.
As the piece ended I heared the virbrato pedal release! that snapped me out of it and brought me back to earth - SOMETHING I HAD NEVER HEARD BEFORE ! Right out of the box with zero hours, no break in, it was a new day. Music that was always there set free for me to hear for the first time.
There was more. All across the board the sound was lower, higher, softer woody, crystal, smoother, sharper, rounder and full. During a psychobilly rave up The Cramps spring reverb snapped like it was a Fender Twin in the corner of my living room. Horris Silver's percussion piano on "Quicksilver" , recorded live at Birdland, exposed the counterpoint figures against Art Blakey's brushwork suspended in clean clear silence. Just like ringing a bell.
Layer after layer of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound remained translucent as instument after instrument joined into the emotional mix of sound piled on again and again behind Darlene Love's cries of teenage lament while singing "Christmas Baby Please Come Home" by Bobby Soxx and the Bluejeans. Masterful !
I have been told this Empire EDR.9 outperforms many MC Cartridges costing many times the price paid. I believe it. This cartridge design, more than 25 year old, may be the best MM cartridge in its class. It is an understatment to say it is an outstanding value.
If you don't have an MC phono input, rather then adding a MC phono stage or step up transformer that could degrade your signal, think about using a high quality MM pick up.The MM Empire EDR.9 is a great choice, and a better value then using a high priced high output Moving Coil Cartridge.
The Empire EDR.9 Moving Magnet is a fine musical instument. It recreates the sound of music Live. Never have I heard music like this in my home only in the clubs and concert halls have my ears been so blessed.
BTW Although this cartridge was manufactured 3 miles from where I grew up in NYC, I had to send to France to find one! Still a bargain, thanks Raul !
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