Strain gauge vs Zyx 4D/Atmos


Has anybody gone from a Zyx 4D/Atmos or Universe to the Strain gauge? I have a 4d/Atmos running into a Whest Ref V phono and the combo sounds fantastic. Do you think it would a sideways step going to the Soundsmith?

I have read a few people say the Straingauge beat their previous cartridges, but I don't think they had a phono stage as good as the Whest.

Has anyone gone back to another cartridge after using the Strain Gauge?

Unfortunately I cannot demo the soundsmith in my system.
Dear Leicachamp: +++++ " Do you think it would a sideways step going to the Soundsmith? " +++++

it is very dificult to compare apples with oranges: don't you think? and this is what you are asking for, let me to explain it:

your Zyx as any other LOMC/MM/MI cartridge performs ( along its phono stage. ) according to the RIAA standard curve as other straing gauge cartridges but the SS that the designer choose on porpose a different approach not performing according RIAA standard curve.

Almost all your LPs were cut with the RIAA standar curve eq. ( pre-emphasis. ) and when the signal of your Zyx pass through the Whest phono stage what happen is that the cartridge signal pass through an inverse RIAA standard eq. curve to attain flat/linear frequency response with minimal deviation, usually around 0.1db when the SS is over 2db.

Well the SS don't pass through that inverse RIAA standard curve but through its dedicated preamp where the natural cartridge SS curve is procceseed with the inconvenient that what you heard through the SS is not what is in the recording but an " adulterated "/equalized version way different from the RIAA standard curve that was how your LP was recorded.

That you like it more the SS or the Zyx does not means one is better than the other both are different: we IMHO can't compare in between. All depend what you want, do you want to listen what is in the recording or it does not matters?, if you care about then you need a MC/MM or MI cartridge and if you want to listen a different approach then you could hear the SS or add an external equalizer to your system and you can be done.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Thanks for the explanation. In summary you are saying that the SS does not conform to RIAA and because of that it sounds different not necessary better. Am I correct ?

That's all I need know, I think I will stick with the Whest and have fun using it with different cartridges.
Dear Leicachamp: Yes, correct. Has a different equalization curve that what is in the recording and in your Whest.

regards and enjoy the music,
Hi Raul...and you guys,

Have you considered the possibility that a strain gauge cartridge could be built, so that it mechanically meets the RIAA standard without the help of its associated electronics? After all, RIAA circuitry in a phonostage simply corrects for what a MM/MI/MC cannot do on its own. While doing that it also adds elements to the audio chain, and that is what we are all endlessly trying to avoid because the more components in the audio chain, the further away from the music it becomes.

The strain gauge, however, is so simple in its basic construction that damping can be mechanically tuned for a given desired result. How well? I don't know, but it is food for thought.

You really need to get off that soapbox. You sound like a broken record that doens't conform to anything except your limited, warped opinion. You don't own a strain gauge, and your comments about such have caused you to lose many friends. People have lambasted you repeatedly because your true issue is that you don't have the ability to listen. You are NOT an expert in this subject, you just insist you are. I grow very tired of your attacking my products, and as a manufacturer, YOU SHOULD NOT BE DOING THAT AT ALL.

People on this and other forums have asked you to stop, and you never do. You take over forum discussions, and are obsessed to do so. I, and many other people, would be shocked if you were actually able to not respond to this message, which has been sent to you many times. You do not understand that by not identifying yourself as a manufacturer, you are lying, and many of us are sick of it. Even though many people -including myself - have explained and given technical responses to the relative UNIMPORTANCE of conforming within .1dB, you sidestep these issues and just repeat yourself. I feel certain you will do so again here.

Raul - you have upset me to the point whre i will make a public statement - I will NOT work on any more of your cartridges ever - dont send me any ever again. You are not deserving of my time and skills. You have managed to anger me, nd that takes some doing. STOP, STOP, STOP. Your English is good enough to get that.

If you were a real engineer, you would post a curve of your stereo from your listening position - which by your requirements would have to be flat within .1 dB, and if it is not, then you would have to explain why that is ok, but not ok when any other device is not flat to within that amount. But you can't. So you will take this opportunity to sing your song all over again. How much begging will get you to stop?

For the last time, please post a curve or your stereo system from your listening position, or BE QUIET SO THE REST OF US CAN LISTEN.

Peter Ledermann/President/Soundsmith
Dear Mosin: That could be great just great. Hope some one doing in the future.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Slowlearner: +++++ " You don't own a strain gauge... " ++++

no I don't because I donĀ“t have any single LP that conforms with the SS strain gauge eq. curve. I heard it in different systems. Mr. Doobins know what was my comment a few time ago when I heard it at his place and that was before I been aware of the whole SS straing gauge facts.

++++ " because your true issue is that you don't have the ability to listen " ++++

yes I accept this statement, not all people have that ability but the best of all is that always exist the opportunity to improve and I try hard every single day. I'm not there but sooner or later I will arrive to other listeners top level.

++++ " tired of your attacking my products " +++++

IMHO my comments to Leicachamp are in no way an attack but what I understand about. If what I posted is untrue then just say so and the best way to tell me I'm wrong ( Certainly I can be wrong. ) is to post the SS strain gauge eq. curve where everyone could see that that ss curve even the inverse RIAA. eq. one: easy, not big deal.

+++++ " not identifying yourself as a manufacturer " +++++

sorry but I'm not a manufacturer, I'm not selling any audio item .

+++++ " I will NOT work on any more of your cartridges ever " +++++

your privilege.

++++ " If you were a real engineer, you would post a curve of your stereo from your listening position - which by your requirements would have to be flat within .1 dB, and if it is not, then you would have to explain why that " +++++

certainly not 0.1db.

+++ " But you can't " ++++

why ask for something tha's impossible to achieve.

In an open forum like this we can read several different opinions in different audio subjects/items where the most of the time almost we can't find out two similar opinions with ( example ) the same cartridge model: one person like some characteristics and dislike others and the other persons likes something different and dislike what the other likes:

Peter, what these two persons dislikes and they posted are considered a product/cartridge attack?, becvause from this point of view this as other forums all over the net are full of product attacks!

I'm not against any of your products per se or against you, I just like to analyze " things " and share my findings.

++++ " have caused you to lose many friends " ++++

I really sorry to hear that and I mean it. Maybe in the future to avoid that fact I will post opinions that goes against my own true/knowledge/findings that in some ways could be a deceit for my self and obviously to other persons.
Anyway, I think I can't do that because that's not my " own nature ".

Regards and enjoy the music,

Regards and enjoy the music,
Yes, I totally agree with Peter Ledermann.
Raul, please stay quiet, enough is enough.
I am not famiiar with the strain gauge system but heard opinions that it is up there with the very best. It is also a unique design. Not many can try it because of the price but those who can, I think, should.
Dear Leicachamp;

The below links may be helpful to you.

The Strain Gauge system has changed over the years I have been producing it. We are now in the 4th generation design. I have been working with them for the past 35 years. The below are some review links that might prove helpful in answering your question; one is from the second unit we ever sold; some are from later units.

You will also see some serious attempts to hijack the thread in one of them. But - there is also useful information from many who responded.

The bottom line is what users think - NOT what I think. I can tell you that it is a different animal altogether from magnetic devices, and explain the technical reasons and changes I have made, but since it is so different, the best any consumer can do is to listen to those who own
it, lok for "common" reactions, and assume that those are going to line up with many peoples responses, but not all.

It is an itneresting fact that when played in England for a well known reviewer, he turend to me and said that the SG was "unlistenable". When we got over the uncomfortable moment, he suggested we compare it to a CD of the same performance. When we did, he was shocked, and turned to me and apologized, saying "I never realized how accustomed I had become to magnetic sound". We then listened to his brand new $8000 MC, and .....he was further shocked. He then said the SG was "perfect". Of course, it is not, but it is unique.

We do have a "type" of acountic memory that says - this is is how it's "supposed" to sound - and for about 10-20% of folks who have heard the SG, it sounds so different - it's wrong to them. But many of those who then listen on, change their minds. It is a different animal - that is the bottom line. Nothing is perfect, BUT....the path to go is in choosing what things to try to technically do well, and optimize the rest as best as possible.

Thank you for your post -

Peter Ledermann/Chief Cooka nd Bottlewasher/Soundsmith
Paul and I heard the Strain Gauge in Peter's room at RMAF 2008 (apparently not the current version). We're also intimately familiar with ZYX 4D/Atmos, having penned the first ever review of that cartridge. See my signature.

From this experience I agree with much of what Peter wrote. We would not consider moving from one of these cartridges to the other to be a lateral move. They are very different cartridges with very different strengths and weaknesses. Our own preference for one over the other was quite strong, and for specific reasons having nothing to do with Raul's concerns.

If you like a pure, simple, dynamic sound that's quiet, accurate and makes no errors of commission, the Strain Gauge we heard might work for you. OTOH, if like my partner and me you are very (some would say inordinately) sensitive to the presence (or absence) and accuracy of upper order harmonics, if you enjoy very low level detail, then the ZYX is more likely to satisfy.

If you enjoy the strength of the 4D/Atmos in these areas and simply want more, buy a UNIverse or get your hands on a Lyra Olympos or Ortofon A90. Any of these outperform the Strain Gauge we heard in the reproduction of harmonic subtleties.

Those sonic priorities are ours of course. Only you can decide on yours.
Well, then I would take Strain Gauge any day.
Dear Slowlearner: This is what you posted:

+++++ " I can tell you that it is a different animal altogether from magnetic devices.... " +++++

++++ " It is a different animal - that is the bottom line. Nothing is perfect, " +++++

these are what I posted:

++++ " That you like it more the SS or the Zyx does not means one is better than the other both are different: " ++++ " All depend what you want, "

+++++ " and if you want to listen a different approach then you could hear the SS " +++++

and this what Dougdeacon posted:

+++ " They are very different cartridges with very different strengths and weaknesses. " +++++

You can see that what I'm saying is not different from what you or Dougdeacon stated.

I even not posted any statement regarding " preferences ", I don't posted that I don't like it or said to Leicachap: " don't buy it " or stay away from it ".

Even Dougdeacon posted that prefer the A-90 or Olympos in some audio performance areas over the SS. I did not nothing like this and I never posted anywhere in the forum any cartridge comparison trying to dimish the SS. I think that all I made it was to say is different.
You can read any of my posts elsewhere on the subject, IMHO there is no single attack but a simple explanation on the ss differences against MC/MM/MI cartridges and that's all, you said is different and I agree with you!

As I posted, I'm not against you in anyway: I have no single reason to.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Thanks for all the feedback guys. I am trying to not add any more fuel to the topic, but would like to ask Peter this question. Has any customer that Could afford the Strain Gauge go for the Sussuro/Paua instead? Or is the Sussuro short in performance against the Strain Guage?

A good phono Stage(say 3 to 5k) + the Sussuro is well above the basic Strain Guage package.

Sorry about all the questions, but i cant seem to find any direct comparisons between your Susurro range and Straingauge.

Yesterday i finally heard a Straingauge on one turntable and a Lyra Kleos going through a RCM phono on another. Both sounded great to me ears, with the prize going to the Lyra/Kleos Combo. Mind you the Kleos was mounted on a Kuzma 4point and a Stabi XL turntable and the Straingauge was on a Kuzma Stogi Reference arm and Kuzma Reference Turntable. So really we were not really comparing apples with apples.

Dear Leicachamp;

If the Lyra sounded better, that's great. THe whole purpose of this endeavor is to find what works for you.

As to the differences between the Strain Gauge and the Sussurro, I would say that They are day and night. 80 percent of fols who hear the two prefer the SG. About 2 days per month, I prefer the Sussurro. The Sussurro has gotten very high marks, for with we are very glad. We have a new top of the line MI cart being introduced at RMAF called the Hyperion. It is a collaboration with Frank Schroder, and we are excited to play it for folks. It does lots of things the SG does, so.....exciting.

I somewha agree with the statements made above, but, the statement about micro detail I would take some issue with, as if you will read in the owners reviews, that was one of their strong points about the Strain Gauge. I am happy to discuss the responses to magnetics VS. SG carts with you on the phone - I will be in the office tomorrow and part of wednesday, but then leaving for RMAF. Please feel free to call.

Peter Ledermann/Soundsmith
One addition note -I do not deny anyone's tastes -however, I question the statement about lack of upper order harmonics. The SG cart has lower distortion than most magnetic carts, a near perfect square wave, and amazing phase accuracy in terms of grip delay and lack of perturbations in a small region. Tube gear sounds more " musical" to many in part because it generates harmonics. I submit that some MAgnetics sound more welcome not because they are accurate but because they are possibly less so. Have these gentlemen taken spectrum analysis of the two or is this a tech statement based on listening??

I am on a boat -typing is HARD HERE! GROUP DELAY was what I was trying to type -Peter
Raul et al,

Your argument on equalisation is irrelevant. Strain gauge cartridges have a non linear output and therefore require different "equalisation" to achieve a flat response. My understanding is that the output is close to the inverse of the riaa curve and the compensation required from the phono is not far from flat.
Nonwithstanding that, you actually need multiple phono preamplifiers to reproduce records properly as there are differences arising from the use of different cutterhead angles from label to label even for standard riaa. I have a colleague who has analysed the cutterhead angles across the various labels and recording studios, and has a built phono stage with adjusted riaa compensation for the various cutterhead angles. Records I have heard that supposedly conform to standard riaa, for which the riaa compensation has been adjusted for the cutterhead angle have been revelatory.
Possibly a better way to think about the SG is this: when RIAA is applied to a magnetic cutterhead, it reduces the low end,and boosts the highs. This is done for various reasons, but the result is basically a contant displacement groove modulation for a flat, swept input from 20 to 20K. Since the SG is sensitive to DISPLACEMENT ONLY, and not velocity, it reproduces a flat signal from a constant displacement groove calling it non-linear is not descriptive enough.

It is somewhat serendipitous that the RIAA curve evolved in such a manner as to cut a nearly flat displacement groove from a flat swept input signal.

As regards EQ; one has to realize that many records are mixed in such a way as to allow the engineer to EQ each instrument, not to mention the coloration for varied mics,not to mention the final EQ that ALWAYS gets done so the the losses incurred from the multi-step process in making records is compensated for, not to mention to two BAD resonant points well in the audio spectrum that cutterheads suffer badly from and are EQ'D out (mostly.....) and the list goes on and on.....So what we finally listen to can often bear little or no resemblance to the orignal EQ of the live instrument or performance.

I am always amazed that it goes so well most of the time.

What I can say is that when I cut a lacquer dub on one of my Neumann lathes, and play it back with MC or my MI carts, it is no contest when compared to the Strain Gauge. I am bringing a lacquer I cut at half speed (22) to be played at 45; those coming to RMAF can ask me to play it to hear the newest generation of Strain Gauge, compared even to the new Hyperion.- VERY revealing - This is a piano/bass duet.

Peter Ledermann/Soundsmith
Dear Dover: I respect your point of view but for me is relevant and not matters what the cutter-head angle been because this fact does not affect the RIAA eq. what we do on playback is to set the SRA according with that label recordings. Somewhere is a list where we can have that recording information for we can adjust/set that cartridge SRA according to.

About different recorded eq. cuve you already know that exist over 10+ of them other than the RIAA standard. Before RIAA standard curve almost each LP label recorded with its own eq. and that's why exist some phono stage designs with several inverse eq. curves additional to the RIAA even the ones that include the Neumann correction at high frequency.

I owned the Win and Panasonic sstrain gauge but these ones conformed according to the RIAA standard.

In the SS that is not happening this strain gauge gives its " natural response/curve " with almost no signal manipulation ( and that's why sounds and perform DIFFERENT " from any other magnetic cartridge. ) to make its response flat according to the RIAA standard and this is why shows a RIAA deviation around 2db when the RIAA deviation in a phono stage ( for magnetic cartridges. ) that deviation are around 0.2db to 0.1db as something normal ( the Atmasphere phono stage shows 0.07db and if I remember one of the Rowland's: 0.05db. ).

Now, in my case one of my main quality audio system performance level is to add and lose the less from the cartridge signal. Yes, I know that that SS 2db frequency response deviation could be maybe not so important when we can have 10+db frequency deviations on the speaker/room response but this is not my point: my target is add and lose the less from the cartridge signal.

I almost don't care what happened during the LP recording because I can't have any control about.
What I care is what is in my " hands " to preserve the cartridge signal integrity.

Now, Mr. Ledermann choosed that the ss signal instead to pass for an inverse RIAA eq. curve process ( as any magnetic cartridge signal. ) to shows its " natural response/curve " with that frequency response 2db deviation.

He made something that in his opinion could gives a better quality performance level.

As always in any audio choices/alternative exist trade-offs: he choosed what for him was and is his best trade-offs: to have that frequency deviation instead the ss signal pass through the RIAA. inverse eq. proccess.
In both cases the cartridge signal " suffer " a degradation in its " integrity " over what came in the recording.

Which is the best trade-off?, I think that this is up to any one of us.

I prefer that if the LPs I own were recorded using the RIAA standard eq. curve on playback the phono stage must apply the inverse RIAA eq. curve to achieve flat frequency response at this stage/link on the audio system chain. Other people could like a different approach and this different approach is what is the ss device.

Mosin posted something that could be the best of both " worlds " ( with almost no trade-offs. ): a strain gauge design that can performs the inverse RIAA eq. curve with out the necessity to pass to that proccess on playback and with out no frequency response deviation other that the normal 0.1db one. This could be just great! and I think that this idea could be a good challenge to Mr. Ledermann to work about because he has the knowledge.

I hope Mr.PL does not take this post as an " attack ".

Regards and enjoy the music,
Hi Raul,

I must point out that the Win Labs never produced a flat frequency response-- please have a look at some magazine test reports.

I own(ed) the Panasonic, and in the Jeff Rowland strain gauge preamp for it, Jeff applied a very mild amount of mid-band EQ to make the output 'flat'. And it was. I owned the stock cartridge, but my favorite was the boron cantilever version with a vandenHul stylus.

And then there is the Soundsmith Strain Gauge-- it also employs a touch of midband EQ, and definitely measures flat in my experience.

Raul, can you please show us what information or test that you found to show this 2dB frequency-response irregularity please?

Everyone should know that the frequency response of any cartridge depends on the brand of test record used-- CBS, and JVC being the most common. There is quite a difference in their highs. Have a look at USA magazine tests from the 1970's to see the difference, as some publications used both test records.

Obviously both CBS's and JVC's top engineers believe they each produce a reference-standard test LP. Yet this means only that there is no ABSOLUTE standard for which to MEASURE any cartridges using a test LP.

However, there is a way to measure the response of a test disc itself without playing it, by looking at how each modulated groove reflects white light, as the sine-wave signal is slowly swept from 20 to 20k Hz. This is pictured and described in my 1978 copy of the Audio Cyclopedia. I do not remember the mathematics involved, but this was a very useful and accurate technique according to that text.

Of course, it helps that Peter at Soundsmith has his own disc cutting machine. I know he has created his own test records containing impulses and other test-signals not available on commercial test discs.

And why would an already-renowned cartridge designer create his flagship cartridge with such a frequency-response error, one which anyone would discover? Makes no sense.

Best regards,
Roy Johnson
Green Mountain Audio
Dear Royj: This can shows you that the SS does not mimic the RIAA as you are assuming ( see those magazyne pictures. ):

and here MR. Lendermann told us about that deviation level:

+++++ " I have measured the SG in many arms, and recently in my Schroder Reference SG, the new SG design (which you did not hear) it was +/- 1dB from 50 Hz to 12K " +++++

weird on the frequency range, he does not given how the ss performs between 20hz to 50hz and between 12khz and 20khz.

Royj, I'm not against the SS device and obviously not against Mr. Ledermann: I'm only share my findings about, that's all. Why that so " big distress ", that's not my opinion ( I reserve to me that opinion. ) are only facts coming from other " sources " ( SS site and Mr. Ledermann. ) but me.

Why Mr. Ledermann and other persons try to blame me for something that's not my opinion?, makes no sense.

Regards and enjoy the music,

I appreciate your concern. That magazine test gave no scale at all to their Figure 4. Also, on their page four, their author states, "We can now state, with an excellent accuracy level, that the natural frequency response curve of the SOUNDSMITH cartridge is equal to the RIAA curve,"

I think it will help if I share some facts that make more sense of this whole issue:

-- Top-line cartridges producing a +/- 1dB deviation between 50 and 12kHz are not uncommon (note how few manufacturers even publish response curves anymore).

-- Measurements below 50Hz change with a turntable's construction and its tonearm's effective mass.

-- Measurements above 12kHz depend on the test disc chosen. Which test LP is accurate? How about none.

-- 50 to 12kHz is exactly the range in which Stanton 'calibrated' their 681EEE. So did Empire and Pickering as I recall.

-- A cartridge claiming +/- 0.5 dB variation cannot be verified nor duplicated outside the factory because of the different turntable, tonearm, headshell, platter mat, cables, cartridge alignment, and test record employed.

-- These test records use steady sine waves, which indicate little about the dynamic response of the cartridge and nothing about phase accuracy- both far more important in my and many other's professional opinions. Example, how many times do we comment on the "lighter sound" of certain phono cartridges which we know to 'measure flat'? Heck, they even come with a graph.

In summary, all of the above certainly shows simple measurements/tests are at best only a guide, especially when the test signals do not simulate much about music. Furthermore, we lack the ability to reproduce any +/-0.5dB variation claimed.

Finally, in my experience also as a transducer-design specialist, a smooth +/- 1dB variation in response from 50Hz to 12kHz is never the reason someone "doesn't like the sound". That sound is not being enjoyed for many other reasons-- not from that cartridge having a +/- 1dB spec in that range instead of +/- 0.5dB.

By the way, I don't know which commercial music-LP could be chosen for someone to say "I can hear this phono cartridge has a perfectly flat frequency response."

If you did not like the Soundsmith Strain Gauge, either it was not well-setup or its sound was just not your cup of tea, as Peter wrote does happen. What you heard cannot be laid at the feet of a +/-1dB response in my professional experience.

As a side note, I hope we all can agree that passing the 1812 LP's torture track is no indication of a cartridge's musicality.

Best regards,
Dear Royj: I don't know what kind of cartridges are you accustom to hear or like it but the ones I like almost all are dead flat, you can take the EPC100CMK4 frequency response diagram and you can't see/detect any minimal deviation ( not even 0.1db. ) from flat.

+,- 1 db means a 2db swing. I can understand that this kind of performance level achieve your targets but certainly not mines.

++++ " SOUNDSMITH cartridge is equal to the RIAA curve " +++++

this is a non-sense an IMHO almost a stupid statement against evidence on that pictures.

+++++ " If you did not like the Soundsmith Strain Gauge " +++++

where do you read that statement?, please don't infere what could be or not my opinion on preference.

+++++ " As a side note, I hope we all can agree that passing the 1812 LP's torture track is no indication of a cartridge's musicality. " +++++

musicality?, where I heard that " term "? oh yes, an audiophile term that means colored/distorted performer aways from accuracy/neutrality. I don't use that term any more for very good reasons.

Yes, the Telarc 1812 could tell us several things, between others if the cartridge always stay in full touch with the grooves ( at microscopic level. ). A cartridge that pass this music recording normally has low very low tracking distortion that the ones that did not and lower tracking distortions means IMHO more MUSIC and less colorations. It is a lot better to have a cartridge that always is in the groove that other cartridge that are " jumping " ( again: microscopic level. ) in between because poor tracking habilities. No contest here between one and the other. IMHO the better the cartridge tracking habilities ( everything the same. ) the better quality performance.

Low cartridge traking distortion is one main cartridge design desired characteristic and of course that this characteristic per se can't tell us if we will like it or not during playback.
Poor tracking cartridge habilities perhaps is the factor that makes more harm to what we hear in a cartridge, problem is that almost no one but the designer cares about and I can see that you don't care enough and nothing wrong with that.

I don't where do you want to arrive? or why are you questioning me? why not question to that magazyne or SS people?. I'm just an audio customer and an Agoner that like to share its findings/experiences as any other person in this and other internet forums.

Btw, my opinion is as valid as yours nothing less and nothing more.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I don't see.

Please learn from the facts I and others give you. When we ask questions of you, just try to answer them, as that is what you would wish from us of course.

I will summarize one last time: We may desire better than +/-1dB from 20-20k, but this is not attainable for the FACTS I posted above, which you have ignored. Your loss.

I thought you had posted elsewhere about not liking the SS strain gauge sound. If not, I apologize but I will stand by my altered statement:
"If SOMEONE did not like the Soundsmith Strain Gauge, either it was not well-setup or its sound was just not HIS cup of tea, as Peter wrote does happen. What ANYONE would have heard cannot be laid at the feet of a +/-1dB response in my professional experience."
Does anyone disagree with my last sentence here? If so, then please explain why.

Another fact for everyone:
There are many studies showing we are far less sensitive to changes in loudness (amplitude variations/frequency-response flatness) than to shifts in phase (altering the timbre of thenotes) and changes via other modulations.

One more fact:
One peer-reviewed AES paper shows how the math proves that any non-linear system (including the ear) is MOST sensitive to changes in what is called the waveform envelope. It is a paper on LINEAR Distortion by the way.

Small frequency-response variations affect the waveform envelope only a very, very little. This can be proved mathematically. Things which do greatly change the shape of a waveform envelope include:
Dynamic defects such as undershoot or ringing.
Phase shifts between when the lows emerged versus the highs.
None of those can be measured via a simple frequency response test.

Raul, you say above
"musicality?, where I heard that " term "? oh yes, an audiophile term that means colored/distorted performer aways from accuracy/neutrality. I don't use that term any more for very good reasons."

I always thought the term musicality was about hearing and FEELING the music. Certainly you physically and emotionally respond to music, yes? Making you want to move, to dance, smile, to cry... Well, those are some of the things I meant by musicality. And I would add the ability to hear and feel whatever groove the band settles into, the sway and richness of the play between melody and harmonies...

You wrote above:
"Yes, the Telarc 1812 could tell us several things, between others if the cartridge always stay in full touch with the grooves ( at microscopic level. ). A cartridge that pass this music recording normally has low very low tracking distortion that the ones that did not..."

Have you any proof of that last statement at all, Raul? There is none. You are wrong, and one must study the math and physics involved to know why.

Let me say it this way: It is a large-swing groove. If a stylus can track the wide-swinging groove, then that is a measure of only how far it can swing- exactly like how far a car's suspension can extend when airborne like a dune buggy. No difference at all.

That means we still do not know from that extreme extension how it will do on short-radius turns taken very quickly, like an unpredictable road course, which of course is music.

" and lower tracking distortions means IMHO more MUSIC and less colorations. It is a lot better to have a cartridge that always is in the groove that other cartridge that are " jumping " ( again: microscopic level. ) in between because poor tracking habilities..."

Raul, the Telarc 1812 LP has a very large, quite visible groove when the cannons fire, yes?
That means it is a MACROscopic test only, not a microscopic test. It cannot reveal anything of a cartridge's ability to reveal the nuances of a performance.

This cannot be argued when one understands both the math and physics involved in reproducing that Telarc cannon waveform. Doesn't mean you are stupid, but as you have said elsewhere several times, only that you are "ignorant" of the facts, which is fine-- they are not your specialty. Therefore, take the opportunity to learn from those with training- such as myself and Peter. Dover made some good points as well, here, along with Dougdeacon.

Best regards and good luck!
Dear Royj: I always am prepare to learn, learn to me is a main target in audio for different reasons.

Nothing you posted I'm not aware of it. In the 1812 recording only two of the shots can really say " are macro " but the whole point it is not this one and maybe you can't understand it because you have no deep experience about, let me explain it a little and with this I would like to end this discussion that till today has no additional " light " on the ss main subject:

years ago I decided to understand in a better way different kind of distortions generated in an audio system and especially those one by the cartridge playback so I begin to investigate what is what the cartridge makes when in the groove and what makes during cartridge playback that distortions generated go higher or lower and how I perceived to know that was a tracking distortion type or an overhang wrong set-up or a SRS subject.
To make all these very difficult work I started with the normal LP dedicated test recordings ( Shure, CBS, Denon, Ortofon and the like. ), these ones help to understand part of the subject but really can't give and telling me the whole " history ".
So, I change to five-six LP recordings with real music that I knew and know so well that I can tell you in the tracks I use any single tick/pop on the recording and not only that because the tone on that click/pop I can tell you part of the cartridge performance. I use several months listening and learning about to be sure that what I heard and what I think on any cartridge performance level be repetitive and not only because in that cartridge " I have luck to predict " about.

Today with any unknow cartridge to me and from the very first five minutes on playback through one of my listening tracks I can tell you a nice cartridge " history " that you can't believe could be true till you listening and confirm it. I have this kind of hard training and that Telarc recording is only one of my music test recordings along my music tracks recordings to set up. All these has nothing to see ( directly ) with mathemathics or the like but with a deep training and that's all. You could do it as any one else with a training about. I have my own proccess but any one can works in his own: no big deal and not only a learning " job " but very revealing.

And yes: cartridge traking habilities is one of the main targets/characteristics that separe a good performer from the excelent one.

Do you know why Dougdeacon preference was for the A-90/Olympos over the ss in some performance areas?, I know why but this is another topic.

I'm done for now in the whole subject, thank you for your time and learning posts.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Knowing the sounds of several LPs is a very useful tool, and we all believe what you hear is what we would also hear in your home. We know you are a good listener and very careful in your setup and testing methodologies. This takes a lot of work and dedication.

However, when you do not consider facts, you will never understand WHY you are hearing what you do.

Again, best of luck.

If you are close enough to take a trip to NYC, you can hear the Strain Gauge on our Phantom II arm on a TTWeights Momentus Duo Drive table.

The speakers are TAD CR1's which as a point source are phase and time accurate enough to hear the Strain Gauge's qualities in just those 2 areas. And of course the ability to quickly change styli is just fantastic, and using different profiles lets you tailor how much information you get from various LP's.
Is that a post or a commercial emailists?

I have had my SG playing for just a few days now but it has already blown me away. (and it's gonna get better!!)
Is it for you and your system...who can tell.
But with my set up and room it is a thing of wonder.

Listen not to the negative poster and all his "science". Rather take Emailists' advise and go listen.
It really is worth the effort.
Thanks for your offer emailist, but I live in the land of oz!! I have got2 friends that has ordered the SG, so I will be able to get a better audition once they get it. They have ordered it without the ghastly blue LEDs! I always thought the LEDs was part of the design!