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A TK100LC came to me in very good condition, mounted to a Signet XK-50 arm on a Luxman PD444. So far I've only tried this cartridge on a Trans-Fi Terminator, on which it sounded fine. It is certainly in the upper echelon of vintage MM/MIs I've owned. I'll try it on a SME 3012R with 14gm effective mass and post results.
dgarretson, thanks so much for the quick feedback and the offer to try it in your 3012R, it's much appreciated. It will be interesting to see if you observe any detrimental effects using a higher mass tonearm.
I did read somewhere that the owner/designer of Signet cartridges preferred lower arm/cart resonant frequencies (below 7Hz). If that is correct then medium mass arms should be OK with the high compliance Signet.
Speaking of compliance, do you know what the dynamic compliance is. My guess is somewhere in the 30 - 35cm range.
Also is there a specific high end cart you have owned that you would call it's equal. For example is it better than the Signet TK10 ML?
Thanks again for your input.
A TK10ML also came in with the Luxman set-up on a second Signet XK-50, but the cantilever is too skewed for accurate set-up. Hopefully I'll find someone to straighten it.
On the Trans-Fi arm the TK100LC compares well to neutral and extended MM/MIs like Astatic MF100, Precept PC550ML, and Grace F9 with Soundsmith Ruby OCL. My comparisons to recent MC are more limited, but on Trans-Fi the Signet isn't far off from an AT ART7.
Wow that is a very prestigious collection of comparable carts. And to think I was contemplating selling it as I love LOMC carts so much. What I really need to do is find the time to swap out my current cart on the Ittok and audition the Signet for a while.
Apart from the Fidelity Research that I use in a heavy tonearm I also use an Audio Technica AT 32e II on the Linn Ittok. I do really love the presentation of this combo as it is lively and detailed yet reasonable smooth, with a good balance of both the upper and lower registers. It is also very very quiet in the silent passages. I am now wondering whether the Signet can offer me a better presentation. If it is close to the AT ART7 then maybe so.
BTW, did you ever hear the rumour that the Signet was a limited edition and retailed at a crazy US$1,200 in the eighties. Not sure if it is true or just some urban myth.
Well after further searching on google I finally found a 94 page Billboard magazine from June 1981 and lo and behold on Page 42 and 48 was an article about the many HiFi products showing up at the CES show.
In this article there was this to say about the Signet TK 100 LC.
"CARTRIDGES: Phono cartridges are getting lost at the jewelry counter. After ADC and B &O used sapphire cantilever last year, Dynavector and Signet are using rubies this year. The Signet TK -100 LC, new top of the line cartridge retailing at over $795 employs a tapered hollow ruby cantilever and silver wire coils. The former top of the line TK 9 receives new treatment with a tapered beryllium cantilever and new linear contact tip shape dubbed LCa, which adds $25 to the price. Signet is a desirable line for dealers because of its limited distribution but muscular support from the Audio-Technica parent company".
So there you have it. The Signet TK 100 LC has a tapered hollow ruby cantilever and silver wire coils and retailed at $795, or $2,000 if adjusted for inflation to 2015.
I am going to continue to see if I can find any more info on this elusive cartridge and if I do I will post here.
I just listed a TK100LC on ebay that unfortunately needs a stylus. It does have a sn of 047 on it so I do believe the myth that there was a limited edition. I got it from my brother in law who absolutely has to have the best of everything! I'll monitor this thread if you have any questions about it.