Telarc 1812 revisited

I've posted several threads about the trackability of this record and have received many scholarly answers, with emphasis on physics, geometry, compliance, weight, angles,price and all sorts of scientific explanations about tonearms, cartridges, VTA, etc, etc. Let's cut to the chase: I have a 1970's Pioneer 540 in the garage I bought for $5 at a thrift store plus an Audio Technica cartridge for which I paid $30 This combo. tracks the Telarc 1812 perfectly without problems while my $4000 Rega and $1200 Project bounce out of the grooves.. I'd really finally like to get some explanation and resolution as to this discrepanccy
The Pioneer's tonearm and cartridge are heavy enough to keep the stylus planted in the grooves. This also means that the stylus is shaving away minute bits of the groove walls each time you play an album...

You don't say what cartridge you are using in your Rega/Project rig but I agree with Rlwainwright that it is most likely the heavier arm of the Pioneer.

However, it is possible to track the 1812 with a lower mass arm but you need to have a very high compliance cartridge to do it.
Dear Boofer: Pioneer builded very fine TT. I owned the PL-630 ( that today is still running in my brother place. ) that is really good and the 540 is way better thaat what any person could think.

My sample of the Telarc 1812 is main part ( for very good reasons. ) of my whole items evaluation test proccess.

It's a magnificent top recording " even " that was recorded so many years with " digital " technology.

There is no " black magic " for a cartridge can track it.

If a tonearm always is important the main actress is the cartridge and in specific: the cartridge self tracking abilities.

Vintage cartridges had and has extraordinary tracking abilities ( as your Audio technica one and other AT cartridges as the AT 20SS. ) either MM/MI and LOMC cartridges.

I tested several of those cartridges in different tonearms even with tonearms that supposed could not be a good match but when the cartridge has the " right " tracking abilities it runs the Telarc 1812 with out trouble.

Tracking cartridge abilities depends on its design: cantilever/stylus/suspension and the like.

Why many today cartridges has not those tracking abilities is something out of my understanding because the knowlege about is " there ". Maybe because some cartridge designers are thinking as many audiophiles that when you ask about, the Telarc 1812 challenge, they give an answer like this:

" I don't care if my cartridge can't track the 1812 that's the only LP with that kind of high velocity recorded grooves. What I care is that my cartridge can track my normal LPs. "

but IMHO these persons does not know that the main cartridge characteristic is: tracking abilities. Everything the same a cartridge with better tracking abilities always will performs/sounds better.

What we need is that the cartridge always stay with dead applomb in the LP grooves follow it with out minute/microscopic " jumps " that generate distortions that we can hear it and that degrade the audio signal.

So, it's not a surprise that your humble TT/cartridge performs in that way when some today samples can't do it.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Rauliruegas: Finally an answer I can live with; it's mainly in the cartridge itself! I know Audio Technica was instrumental in producing the Telarc recording; I have other older cartridges which can track the cannons, for exampe vintage Shures, and on many brands of TTs such as Onkyo, Kenwood, Technics, etc. of the 70's and 80's. TTs with Servotracer arms I also have found can track the recording, as on vintage Denon or Sony TTs. My Rega RP8 with Clearaudio Virtuoso is not up to the task, nor are other modern cartridges from Denon, Ortofon, Sumiko, and Rega, among others.
Dear Boofer: There are some today cartridges that I experienced can track the 1812: Denon S1, Linn Akiva, Wilson Bensh all these LOMC and from the past: FR MCX-5 or the Satin M21 or the Ortofon MC 2000 ( LOMCs. ).

As I posted almost all belongs on the cartridge overall design.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Interesting. I forgot some recent cartridges which could track the Telarc 1812: a Goldring 1022 GX and 1042, mounted in a Music Hall 5.1 SE. I'm sure there are more out there, but even more that cannot. I wrote the editors of our 2 most popular high end stereo magazines; one did not respond; the other one said that the industry in the last 20 or 30 years has been concentrating on sound and neglecting tracking ability.
You guys peaked my curiosity about the Telarc 1812. I have a much older version: Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, recorded on Columbia Masterwork. Also including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and cannons courtesy of the Valley Forge Military Academy. Spectacular recording. Now I have to source the Telarc version.

Raul ... do you think gizmo will be able to track the Telarc?? VPI Classic plinth, with Classic 3 tonearm upgrade. The cartridge is the Lyra Kleos (MC).

So far, no apparent problems with the rest of my LP collection.
Dear Boofer: ++++ " has been concentrating on sound and neglecting tracking ability. " ++++

what that magazine editor said makes no sense to me because tracking ability is a main parameter/characteristic for better or worse sound.
Maybe he does not understand the whole subject or I missed something here.

Regrads and enjoy the music,
My Benz Ref/SME tonearm combo has no issues tracking it. I remember buying the Telarc 1812 record back around 1980. I had an AT something ML, I believe, cartridge on my Kenwood TT back then. It tracked the record too. I saw it demo'ed once back in the early 80's on a high end rig, however, that could not track it. Raul, I think the cartridge/tonearm resonance frequency also needs to be in the optimum range, ie. around 10Hz, in order to not get overly excited when tracking those crazy cannon fire grooves.
Hi Raul:

>If a tonearm always is important the main actress is the cartridge and in specific: the cartridge self tracking abilities.

That doesn't describe my experiences. I can take the same cartridge and install it in different tonearms, and get different tracking performance. In fact, I can take the same cartridge, install it in the same tonearm, change the effective tonearm mass (through the judicious application of blu-tak), and get different tracking performance.

The match (or mis-match) between tonearm mass and cartridge not only affects the fundamental resonant frequency, it also changes the tracking performance.

While it isn't possible to reduce the effective mass of a tonearm, it certainly is possible to increase it. I suggest that users experiment with the effective mass of their tonearms before concluding that a cartridge's tracking limits are what they assume they are.

Hi Boofer:
>other one said that the industry in the last 20 or 30 years has been concentrating on sound and neglecting tracking ability.

While the quote isn't completely correct, there is some truth to it. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, practically the entire Japanese analog industry plunged in the direction of tracking ability above all, and preferably at lighter and lighter vertical tracking forces. Very low-mass tonearms became all the rage, and cartridges were designed for ever-lower mass (employing plastic bodies and the then-new samarium cobalt magnet compounds) and ever-softer suspensions. Efforts to make more compliant cartridge suspensions included, deleting the tie-wire that normally prevents the signal generator from being pulled for and aft by the LP groove, making the suspension from multi-stranded non-springy metals rather than springy metals, and in extreme cases, making the suspensions from non-metal fibers and plastics.

Some of the new suspension efforts resulted in heightened failure rates in the field, but more importantly, after a few years of high compliance cartridges and low-mass tonearms, an increasing number of reviewers and audiophiles began saying that the new design direction sounded worse; that the "tracking above all" movement was forgetting about the sound quality.

Some of the analog engineers seemed to think so too, and while most Japanese cartridge manufacturers did not revert to SPU compliance levels (many Japanese audiophiles did), medium-mass tonearms and medium-mass medium compliance cartridges of more solid materials became more popular.

It is as though the pendulum started at one extreme (SPU, DL-103 etc.), shifted to the opposite extreme (Denon DL-1000a, Highphonic MC-A6 etc.), and settled somewhere in the middle.

The takeaway message is probably that a well-balanced approach tends to work better than anything too extreme (smile).

hth, jonathan carr
If the stylus does not track groove modulations accurately, the resulting signal cannot be an accurate reproduction of the original. No argument there.

That said, it's conceivable that the ability to track the Telarc 1812's extreme amplitudes, velocities and clipped waveforms may only be achieved by compromising other performance parameters. I'm no cartridge designer, but as Raul well knows, improvements in one area often impair performance in others. In some instances, every solution may involve compromises.

If such is that case here, if better performance on most records can be achieved at the cost of not being able to perfectly track rare and unrealistic extremes, my own choice would be in favor of the music I actually listen to.
Heh... I was writing my post while Jonathan was posting his. We're saying the same things, though as usual he says it better and with more authority.
Hi Jonathan, maybe you can answer my question. Do you think my set-up, using the Kleos, could handle the Telarc??
That Telarc is analogous to a has no relevance to real music on a real record. If your cartridge/arm can track it fine, if not so what. Its the music that counts.
Fair point Stringreen. Last night I played my old Columbia recording of the 1812. The Valley Forge Military Academy band and cannon made my poor wife jump out of her groove. ;-) And that was no trick.
Bifwynne: There are three different versions of the Telarc 1812 that I am aware of, and they are cut differently. The original version was cut by Stan Ricker and has "SR" engraved in the deadwax (groove leadout area). The second version, cut by Bruce Leek, can be identified by a "BL" engraved in the deadwax. It is less hot than the "SR" version. Bruce Leek cut one more version, which doesn't have any initials engraved in the deadwax. This the hottest of all (grin).

In contrast, the hottest any abnormal LP will max out at is about 100µm. By "abnormal", I mean a really extreme 12-inch dance single, probably 45rpm.

According to Stan, the "SR" version of the Telarc 1812 has a maximum groove level of 455µm - 4.5 times the level of any other "extreme" LP. I don't know how much hotter the unsigned version is.

I am surprised that Raul managed to get the Akiva (which I designed) to play cleanly through whichever pressing of the Telarc 1812 cannons that he has. Since I know how far the Telarc 1812 is outside of any normal (or even extreme) LP, it has never been my goal to track it.

The "New Angle" generation of Lyras - Delos, Kleos, Atlas, and now Etna, have a more linear suspension system than the two-generations-older Akiva - and with more equal compliance in the horizontal and vertical directions. That said, for a Kleos, I would consider 60µm tracking ability to be barely passable, 70µm normal, 80µm better than normal, anything higher would be unusually good.

Keep in mind that, in addition to all of the normal setup requirements like perfect leveling, optimum anti-skating, ambient temperature, relative humidity etc., the tonearm effective mass will alter the tracking ability, so expect that you will need to put in some trial-and-error work on your tonearm before achieving the maximum tracking ability that your Kleos is capable of.

The tracking limits of a cartridge also depend on age - it increases as the suspension limbers up through usage, but as the stylus wears, it starts to fall again. And if anything happens to the impair the flexibility of the suspension (the reason could be as simple as excess dirt build-up in the cantilever and coil area), tracking will be worse.

hth, jonathan carr mention the proper application of Anti-Skate in your 10/11 post....Do you say that to increase the tracking ability, or to provide the maximum audio ability of the cartridge? I personally find that a/s acts much as a damping factor does, and actually inhibits the ultimate sound ability of the cart..
Dear friends: Some way or the other I think all ( but Stringreen, please read here: are " right " and of course that I can be wrong.

I think that here could be a misunderstood because we are discussing two related subjects that are different with different meaning: cartridge tracking abilities and cartridge/tonearm resonance. Let me explain and try to give some answers on what you all posted:

there is no doubt on the cartridge/tonearm resonance match ( 10 hz. ) importance but as many subjects in audio on playback many theories can't be proved ( at least today there is no scientifict test that do it. ) and example of that is that the LOMC Ortofon MC 2000 ( that I own two samples. ) was reviewed by expert B.King in the Audio magazine in 1984 and this cartridge mounted in a Technics EPA 250 ( SP 10 TT ) had a measured resonance frequency of 5 hz ( way out of the desired 10 hz. ) and the cartridge track perfectly the Telarc 1812.
This experience is exactly mine with the MC 2000 ( from those times cam the Denon DL 1000A, Highphonic MC A6, FR MCX-5. I own all of them and all are tracking champs as the old Satin MP21 or today Denon DS1 or the Wilson Benesch that is builded by Benz Micro: yes Tony you are right about Benz Micro. ) ) in several tonearms. I post this because is not my bla-bla-bla- experience but something with scientific measurements.

That kind of experience repeated not one but many times with other cartridges, I remember ( posted in the MM/MI thread and other threads. ) what happened with two of the Astatic cartridges: it runs and track the 1812 even that the resonace frequency was 3.6 hz!!!!!!

I own tonearms with an effective mass ranging from 6 grs to over 35 grs. and I use removable headshells ranging from 4.5 grs to 22 grs.
I made every kind of test any one of you could imagine on the cartridge tracking abilities subject.

My Stanton 981 ( in theory a tracking champ. ) can't track three of the 16 cannon shots, things are that I own too a Pickering ( similar cartridge. ) XV 5000 that use the same stylus assembly well I put the XV 5000 stylus in the Stanton 981 cartridge body with out any other change and this stylus assembly tracks all cannon shots ( both stylus in pristine/mint condition but fully broken. ). I tested this cartridge on different tonearms with different effective mass and the result always the same: tracks with no trouble when the own 981 can't do it, in the other side the quality performance during normal LP playback is ssuperior with the 5000 stylus that with the 981.

When I want to change the tonearm effective mass I don't like to use blue-tack because other than the increment on TEM it works as a damper too and this sole characteristic change the sounds colorations. What I use is similar heaviest headshell ( I own no less than 70+ different headshells. Audio Technica and Technics are some headshells that permit to change the TEM with out add any other change or damp. ). We can't have a conclusion when we changed more than one parameter at the time.

J.Carr, you posted about the 70's-80's old times about the type of cartridges and tonearms and I differ with you because I own several those times tonearms that have high effective mass as the SAEC, FR, Micro Seiki and the like. IMHO were not the Japanese whom made that low mass tonearms growing up but USA and Europe designers: Black Widow, SME and others.

In those all times MM/MI cartridges were exceptional cartridge trackers where LOMC were poorer ones ( but with exceptions. ) and IMHO were the LOMC manufacturers and reviewers ( owners of LOMC cartridges. ) the ones that forbidden the Telarc 1812 telling us: " Hey! does not matters that your cartridge can't track the infamous 1812 LP what's important is that can track a " normal " LP ", this is the way I learned but today through several ( hundreds maybe thousands of tests. ) first hand experiences I know all of them were plain wrong because tracking cartridge abilities is way critical for a top quality performance level.

J.Carr I posted: everything the same the cartridge with better tracking abilities always will sounds better.

Other example of what I'm posting happened with the Audio Technica Precept line ( 440 ), things are that this cartridge came in three different versions: with elliptical, Shibata and line contact stylus.
All of them shares the same construction and specs on compliance, well no one but the line contact version can track the 1812 and obviously is the one that performs ( in normal LPs. ) at higher quality level even better than the 550 ML version.

I own several cartridges ( MM/MI/LOMC/HOMC ) and in many models two or three samples of the same cartridge. One of my latest experiences about was/is with the today top of the line Audio Tecnica ( MM ) AT 150ANV, if we check against other AT ( vintage ones ) cartridges the compliance spec is almost the same but when the AT 20SS can track the 1812 with out trouble the 150ANV just can't but because its design the sound has better quality.

Something that makes me think are my Lyra ( Clavis DC, Helikon and Titan i. , Audioquest ( Fe5 ) and Akiva latest ( Linn. ) experiences:

all these cartridges were builded by Scan-tech and no one but the Akiva can track the 1812 and not only that: the AKIVA is the only one of any other cartridge I tested that track the last cannon shot ( at the very inner LP grooves. ) in precise and clean way and I mean it. All the other cartridges that normally track the 1812 can track this last cannon shot but not at the Akiva level.

It was after my Akiva experience that I really know for the very first time the Glorious of that last cannon shot.

The best of all with the AKIVA is that its quality performance level surpass all the Lyra named as the Audioquest too and several totay top LOMC I experienced in my system.

In my whole evaluation proccess I use sevarl other LP tracks but on the tracking subject I use too the RR Dafos and a Shefield LP : Michael Ruff side 4 ( I will be there ), things happen that this track is a long version and higher recorded velocity that the side 1 version .
Well, I don't know if my LP sample had a pressed fault but there are at least three ( high frequencies as cymbals. ) passages that can be tracked only for the trackers champs: only the cartridges that can track " cleanly " the 1812 are succesful with this Shefield track.

Now and if we forget about cartridge tracking abilities the resonance frequency value differences even with the same cartridge ( different tonearms. ) always makes and put a different overall coloration in the cartridge quality performance.
This is: if a cartridge/tonearm combination resonates at 10 hz that same cartridge in the same tonearm ( added effective mass ) that could resonate at 8 hz or 11 hz has a diferent sound response colorations. So the importance of the cartridge/toneam matching is very important as I said.

I think that if any one ( today ) is dimished the critical importance of self cartridge abilities ( as I said ) is a misunderstood .

Any one of you can make the tests I already did it and if not own those cartridges then ask me about.
Till you experienced the tracking abilities subject you just can't understand what I posted.

Btw, all my tests are repeatable and I want to state and repeat:

it does not matters the tonearm effective mass when a cartridge has the right tracking abilities always performs in that way and when a cartridge has not " good " tracking abilities it does not matters that the tonearm combination resonate at 10 hz the cartridge stay with its self not so good tracking abilities and will performs in that way.

No one believe it?, easy come to my place: be my guest.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Stringreen: To increase the tracking ability on difficult passages. Since skating forces are dependent on tonearm geometry (they are not constant across the LP) as well as instantaneous groove modulation (the heavier the groove modulation, the bigger the skating force), unless you use an electronic servo-controlled tonearm, there will be no single, optimal setting.

And since normally there is no single, optimal setting, you will need to find the "best" setting empirically.

I agree that for normal listening rather than circus stunts, to error on the side of less anti-skating rather than more, usually gives better sound.

hth, jonathan carr
Hi Raul,
Those cartridges' tracking abilities would be severely limited if the Cartridge/Tonearm system frequency were approaching 15Hz. Big difference going the other way because all of the musical energy on the record is higher than 10Hz. A system that is down to 5Hz or 3Hz is going to have warp or footfall issues however, correct?
Most of your cartridges are very old, up to 30 yrs old, and you cannot possibly know whether the cartridges compliance and stylus tip are within the original specifications. The compliance could be lower, due to gummed up suspension, or higher, due to deteriorated rubber. Therefore, with all due respect, your test results are irrelevant and cannot be used to provide conclusive evidence of a particular cartridges tracking ability.
Fwiw, I have just played the 1812, Antal Dorati, Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, recorded in 1958 on Mercury SR90054 - original pressing.
With Final Audio Parthenon, VM7 4.5kg Copper Mat, VDS17 1.8kg Stabiliser ( with washer under the record ), Fidelity Research FR64S with 230g counterweight, Koetsu Black Goldline ( 2 yrs old, played sparingly ), all the drums play with no mistracking. The bells are clean and despite the surface noise cymbals and their decay are as clean as a whistle. The cartridge is tracking at 1.93g with static balancing employed, no spring.
The best tracking LOMC I own is the Dynavector Nova 13D, 2nd rebuild less than 2 years ago, by Dynavector, which when mounted my Naim Aro will track Chris Rea "On the Beach" cleanly despite a severe warp which is about 1/4" high on a small section of the record. The stylus does not leave the groove.
For VTA/SRA and antiskate settings one of the records I use is
Venezianische Konzerte, Harmonia Mundi 1C 065-99 614, where you can clearly hear the sound reverberating off the back walls of the recording venue when everything is correct.
Others are Emma Kirkby recordings, excellent for pinpointing anti skate to get a clean rendition of voice in the upper registers without mistracking.
Elizabeth Maconchy on Lyrita, original pressing, you can hear the conductor breathing in through his nose ( must have been blocked ) and the gap between the rostrum and the orchestra is clearly defined.
Walter Leigh, Trevor Pinnock, Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings, Lyrita SRCS 126. On this record the sound changes dramatically between 1st and 2nd movement. In the 1st movement the recording venue sounds congested & humid, in the 2nd movement the humidity disappears and the space around everything opens up. When the VTA/SRA/antiskate are correct you will hear clearly the location in space of the harpsichord and the gap between it and the orchestra.
Ragtime Razzmatazz on Wilson Audio, is worth seeking out. There are liner notes on the microphone placement and what to listen for when setting VTA/SRA. Dave Wilson explains clearly what happens when the SRA is too high or too low. When it is correct you "see" the keyboard and each note up and down the scale is equidistant - the mikes are up close behind the pianist and the upright piano.
For devotees of linear tracking arms :
Sota Vacuum/ET2/Madrigal Carnegie Model One/Counterpoint SA5.1/Quicksilver 8417/Martin Logan CLS : try William Jackson: The Wellpark Suite (Mill Records MR001, 1986). On Track 6 you can clearly see the walls of the recording studio as they are defined by the reverberation of some "woodblocks" in a percussion piece. The reverberation runs along the back of the recording studio room to the top left corner and then proceeds to come toward the front up the left hand wall.
The same mistake I continually see in audio is enthusiasts using VTA/SRA to adjust the spectral balance of their system, compensating for aberrations elsewhere in their system. I look for natural sound, least compression, harmonic completeness and accurate timing (harmonics and decay of notes) when setting VTA/SRA. Tracking tends to move naturally to an optimum when you look for these attributes in reproduction in a decent system.

JCarr - have you tried a FR64S on your Final Audio TT ? I do not get any upper midrange coloration in my system. I use static balance only with this arm which opened the soundstage and improved resolution considerably compared with the use of dynamic balance when using a LOMC.

Dear Tonywinsc: It's not easy to have 15 hz resonance value, it needs a non-sense cartridge combination but could happen. Now, That I remember I experienced only two times that a cartridge/tonearm combination skipped in a normal LP but because the resonance frequency was in the low side that is where belongs warps ( as you said. Remember that all LPs comes with warps. ) but I never experienced a trackimg " trouble " because the resonance frequency was to high.

Now, a cartridge with intrinsic good tracking abilities will have a lot less " problems " on extreme situations and you can see it on demanding inner grooves on different tracks where the good trackers never fail and you can't be aware of any single sign of mistracking when in a non so good trackers almost always distort.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear J.Carr: What's " out of my mind " is why the Akiva differences on tracking abilities not only against the Audioquest but especially against the Lyra's when you designed both cartridges?

Btw, my Telarc 1812 is the original SR one.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Hi Raul: The Audioquest is a very, very old design that has little to do with the Lyra cartridges of today. The mechanical concepts are different, the magnetic concepts are different, the suspension concepts are different, the stylus design is different...

The Akiva's weight, compliance, key dimensions etc. were designed to optimally match the Linn Ekos tonearm. And unlike our "Lyra" branded designs, it had a plastic body. However, the core design of the Akiva (including the cantilever and suspension sections) is not so different from other cartridges that I designed around that period, such as the Argo and Titan.

I repeat that to track the 1812 has never been my goal - not even remotely - so for me personally this entire thread is a non-issue. The only major statement that I dispute is that extreme tracking ability is the key parameter that should be used in general to distinguish OK cartridges from not OK cartridges. This is like claiming that the ability to take a certain corner at 455mph at one particular race track in the entire world is what distinguishes an excellent motorcar from a so-so one, even though the legal limit for public roads in every country is 60mph or 80mph.

But Raul, if the Akiva is the cartridge that pushes your buttons, I am happy for you. Enjoy, and perhaps consider picking up a spare (prices of low-hour Akivas have dropped somewhat now that the Kandid has replaced it as Linn's top model).

Regarding tonearm resonance and tracking performance, a tonearm acts as a high-pass mechanical filter to relieve the cartridge of reproducing low frequencies that are below the tonearm resonant frequency. The resonant frequency is normally placed between 8-12 Hz because this filters out pressing defects such as warp wow components while leaving the music mostly intact. If the resonant frequency is set higher than 12Hz, the tonearm will start to respond to bass signals rather than the cartridge, which is good for tracking, but may attenuate what the cartridge reproduces of the LP's lowermost frequencies.

Hi Dover:

>have you tried a FR64S on your Final Audio TT?

Certainly. It's not bad, although outclassed by modern tonearms such as the Graham Phantom Supreme, and vintage arms such as the Technics EPA100MkII (caveat - my EPA-100 has been completely rebuilt with ceramic ball-bearings rather than the original rubies, and rewired with flying-lead signal outputs instead of the original 5-pin connector).

>I do not get any upper midrange coloration in my system.

In my applications, adding constrained-layer damping to the armtube made it considerably more neutral to my ears, and made the dynamics more linear.

>I use static balance only with this arm which opened the soundstage and improved resolution considerably compared with the use of dynamic balance when using a LOMC.

After trying dynamic, static, and combining the two, I found that a combination worked best.

I have a spare FR-64S that I am planning to rebuild with an alternative armtube of different geometry and more sophisticated construction. The FR64S is a nice tonearm for experimentation.

BTW, Dover, are you aware of the original Kitamura generation Final Audio Labs, or are you only familiar with the brand post-Takai?

kind regards, jonathan carr
Dear friends: Maybe you can think that I'm in love with bass frequency range because some of the LP's that are in my overall evaluation process shows it.

The original Telarc 1812 is a great recording, and not because the cannon shots, by any standards. Yes, it's an old full digital recording ( Soundstream system. ) and way better than several full analog recordings.
Other than the cannon shots the recording has several bass passages with timpany and big drum along explosive cymbals with a dynamic power no other recording I heard ( elsewhere ) can even, it's the nearest sounds ( on that regards. ) to a live music experience.

Do you want to know how good is your system? do you want to know how higher or lower are the distortions generated by your audio system?

Well, you need this recording to know it for sure. In the other side the Telarc 1812 is a very good tool to be sure about the VTA/SRA and LOMC load impedance set up, the recording can tell you how good is your set up on these and other regards.

the recording has 2-3 passages where you can hear at the rear of the stage the sound of a triangle and tambourine instruments. Well, the first time that appears is after the first timpany/big drum/cymbals grooves followed by a passage with chords, horns and wood instruments: here on the left side must be appears first the triangle sound where you need to identify ( clearly/precise ) the triangle full melody identifiying not only the fundamental notes but the triangle distinctive harmonics.
Depending on the VTA/SRA set up accuracy you will hear it complete or only the fundamental notes or can't listen the triangle melody or even you can't hear the triangle sounds.
When you can't hear it even with changes in VTA/SRA then you want to try a different load impedance and for sure it will appears. The quality level you achieve on this triangle tell you a lot of your system set up and kind of resolution and distortion levels.
In this same first triangle passage comes a short passage ( last recording soundstage layer too. ) with the tambourine in the same left side that you must heard if exist the right cartridge overall sxet up.

As I said the 1812 is not only a good digital recording but a useful set up tool.

+++++ " And that was no trick. " ++++

the Telarc 1812 is in no way a " trick ".

Btw, the bass " jump " ( as you said ) factor means more about system higher distortions than real low bass with full power dynamic.

If your system has a " pristine " bass management that " jump " doe's not exist ( I know because I had in my system when I thought that that were the right deep bass performancve but I learned to confirm I was wrong. ) not even " bass flor-shaking ". What makes that flor shacking performance in that low frequency range normally are more high distortions than an accurate and neutral quality performance to achieve this we always need a pair ( at least ) of powered subwoofers with a system integration in a true stereo fashion not using it as system bass reinforcement.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Dover: +++++ " Most of your cartridges are very old, up to 30 yrs old, ...... your test results are irrelevant and cannot be used to provide conclusive evidence of a particular cartridges tracking ability. " +++++

you can't be more wrong with that.

The Akiva is not a 30 years old or the Dynavector XV-1s or the Denon DS1 or the Wilson Benesh or the Lyra Helikon or the Lyra Titan i or the Clearaudio Goldfinger or the Koetsu Coralstone or the AT Supreme or Allaerts F1 or Allaerts Gold or the Audioquest or the Colibri or or or or .... I own or heard in my system all those " modern " cartridges ( and many more ) along 30+ cartridges and with all I runned my evaluation process that include the Telarc 1812.

If you have no evidence today first hand evidence/facts with original Telarc 1812 then IMHO what's irrelevant is what you posted against any of my posts here.

I know that you are accustomed to higher distortions that I'm that's why you are in love with tube technology or FR64/66 or even the 13D ( I own two samples on this. ) that can't track the Telarc 1812.

Of course that I respect your opinion but you are talking of a " no-sense " subject.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear J.Carr: ++++ " However, the core design of the Akiva (including the cantilever and suspension sections) is not so different from other cartridges that I designed around that period, such as the Argo and Titan. " +++++

I don't have a second sample of the Akiva so I don't know for sure if my sample kind of performance is a Linn characteristic or my sample is a " faulty " one with that great characteristic and great quality level sound.

+++++ " The only major statement that I dispute is that extreme tracking ability is the key parameter that should be used in general to distinguish OK cartridges from not OK cartridges. " +++++

of course that I can't argue your opinion: you are the expert here you are a cartridge designer where I'm only an audiophile that likes to make tests and time to time think " out of the box ".

J.Carr, I'm " absolutely sure that the Titan i or the Atlas or the Ortofon Anna or any other today cartridge would/could ( ? ) performs at way better quality if the cartridge tracking abilities ( by design ) were better were improved.

Please forgeret about any other related cartridge subject ( are so many. ): IMHO a better intrinsic cartridge tracking abilities means lower distortions and if your goal is a better sound then try to lower distortions ( by design ) at all cartridge stages is a main target ( I think??? ).

As I said I'm not an expert but if today I want to start a cartridge design enterprise my first target is to design a cartridge with the lower distortions I can. A lower distortion audio item means: accuracy and neutral performance. Of course that there are several characteristics/parameters on the cartridge design that we have to acomplish for the cartridge sounds good and at the same time with the lower distortions we can.

The main audio system enemy are: distortions in all its forms.

Thank's for your patience and if you can: think about.

Regards and enjoy the music,
The triangle/tambourine passage I named start 7 minutes after the begin the first note on the 1812 LP.

Btw, is important that when you are evaluating the quality performance of an audio system t do it at different SPL's especially in the high level that can tell you more than at low levels.

When I make this kind of system distortion evaluations the acid test is at: 95-97 continuous SPL at seat position with peaks in the 105-107 SPL.

Hi Jonathan
Yes I have the original Kitamura generation Final Audio Labs VTT1 with the SPZ plinth like this:
Mine has the VSM-2 Oscillator Preamp/separate motor/VM-7 copper mat and VDS-17 Stabiliser. I use an Onix OA401 power amplifier & MIT wiring loom for the drive.

I acquired the Final from the estate of Warwick Mickell who was the Japanese foreign correspondent for The Absolute Sound back in the 70's/80's. Warwick passed away some years ago. This is the same TT Warwick reviewed in TAS June 83.

I purchased the complete front end which included the Dynavector DV501 and Dynavector Nova13D cartridge. Warwick's reference system at the time included the NYAL NCP2/ HTMPS preamp & OTL1's driving Stax F81/Onkyo SL1. Dynavector has been very helpful and has rebuilt the Nova 13D twice for me over the years. I keep the DV501 for posterity.

I use primarily the Eminent Technology ET2 (modded) or Naim Aro but latterly the FR64S for the convenience of changing cartridges.
My preferred cartridges are the Ikeda & Decca Garrott, but they are too brutal for everyday use. Daily runner is a Koetsu Black.

I did correspond with a gentleman back in the 80's in the US who had a Final, possibly the one HP reviewed. Kitamura was most upset that HP used an air suspension on this deck. I have the original compressed stone plinth. The later iteration that you refer to as sold by Top Class Audio appears to have a far less substantial bearing. I also see the Audionote/Kondo Ginga seems to derive from the same family. Do you know who builds these ?

Where did you acquire yours ?


PS A tip for you. The only maintenance I have had to do over the years is clean and lube the main inverted platter bearing and motor bearings. I use Motul V300 Power which is a double ester motor oil that is both highly unctious and slippery. It will hold a film between seized motor parts. You might want to look at this. This oil improved transparency and lowered the noise floor.
Hi Raul:

>I'm " absolutely sure that the Titan i or the Atlas or the Ortofon Anna or any other today cartridge would/could ( ? ) performs at way better quality if the cartridge tracking abilities ( by design ) were better were improved.

Been there, done that. It is quite easy to improve the tracking performance, for example by designing a wire suspension with a longer-than-normal free length. This has the side-effect of lessening the intensity of the loads on the tonearm, which can seem to be a benefit if the tonearm has a resonance-prone mechanical structure, and can improve the tracking of a tonearm with lower-grade bearings or imperfectly adjusted/unevenly worn bearings.

But doing so means that the suspension's fulcrum point will shift position, depending on what the frequency being reproduced is. This won't necessarily sound bad, and some cartridges are designed like this. But it certainly isn't accurate.

OTOH, you are free to prefer whatever you like.

>In the other side the Telarc 1812 is a very good tool to be sure about the VTA/SRA

For the Telarc 1812, yes. But since this value may or may not be applicable to the other LPs in your collection, "to be sure" may not be the best words to use.

>and LOMC load impedance set up

Ah, interesting. Can you teach me about LOMC load impedance setup? Why do you load a cartridge, what causes the need to load a cartridge, how do you determine when a load is too high for a given cartridge, how do you determine when a load is too low, what do you hear when the loading is right, what do you hear when the loading is wrong, that sort of hint would be welcome.

>The main audio system enemy are: distortions in all its forms.

Agreed, but what you are suggesting is just as likely to cause distortion as reduce it (and this is not the first time that you have done so). Trading one form of distortion for another, or increasing distortions in the name of reducing them is not my idea of progress.

kind regards, jonathan
Dear friends: For those of you that has no idea about the historic Telarc Tchaikovsky 1812 recording I share with you some information:

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by: Erich Kunzel.

Recording venues: Music Hall Cincinnati, Emery Memorial Carrillon tower in Mariemont, Ohio and the court-yard area ( for the live/true cannons ) on the campus of the Balswin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio.

Producer: Robert Woods

Sound Enggineer: Jack Renner

Mastering engineering: Stan Ricker.

Recording date: September 6 and 8 in 1978.

Recording: fully DIGITAL using Sounstream system.

Microphones ( Orchestra ): three Shoeps/Studer SKM-50U .

Microphones ( Cannons. ): Brüel&Kjaer.

Console: Studer model 169.

Monitoring sessions: bi-amp ADS speakers driven by Threshold amplifier.

Distributed by: Audio-Technica.

The Orchestra was augmented by 12-piece brass band.

The electronic and mechanical keyboards were manned by four players ( normally needs only one. )

It were used three autentic and different 19th century cannons, owned and manned by the Fifth Virgina Regiment. The lower recorded frequency coming from the cannons is: 6 hz.

Regrads and enjoy the music,
Dear J.Carr: +++++ " But doing so means that the suspension's fulcrum point will shift position, depending on what the frequency being reproduced is. This won't necessarily sound bad, and some cartridges are designed like this. But it certainly isn't accurate. " +++++

you are the " boss " here. In all the cartridges I name here ( that can track the 1812 ), including the Akiva, I just not been aware of any sign of unaccuracy during the different playback sessions.

Which kind of unaccuracies could I find out down there?

++++ " For the Telarc 1812, yes.... " ++++

well, if we are extremely strict I agree with you: nothing is diffrent with the Telarc that with any other LP on the VTA/SRA set up but my meaning was not for that strict criterium but about that triangle/tambourine passage that when is really " right " you can easy confirm it trhough other LP's ( in the whole evaluation system process. ).

Certainly you don't need that I teach about loading a cartridge that's well know for any audiophile. What maybe you need is to read again my post on reference to that and then test in your system because you own the Telarc recording.

++++ " Trading one form of distortion for another " +++

yes, and almost always exist trade offs in audio ( as Dougdeacon posted. ) that's why I always say that is in your own overall knowledge level and skills to choose the trade-offs that makes the less harm to the audio signal and to do this we need carfully training to identify each kind of distortion sounds, with out this self training no one can do it.

Regards and enjoy the music,
++++ " The electronic and mechanical keyboards...... " ++++

this is refred to the Carrillon play.

Btw, the 1812 Carrillon passages is another way to know about not only the cartridge set up quality level but the audio system resolution levels.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I forgot:

++++ " It is quite easy to improve the tracking performance, for example by designing a wire suspension with a longer-than-normal free length. This has the side-effect of lessening the intensity of the loads on the tonearm, which can seem to be a benefit if the tonearm has a resonance-prone mechanical structure, and can improve the tracking of a tonearm with lower-grade bearings or imperfectly adjusted/unevenly worn bearings. " ++++++

and IMHO not only an advantage for the tonearm but for the cartridge it self and for us listeners. With a cartridge with high tracking abilities, especially with classic music,
the normal higher distortions in the last thrid part of an LP goes lower and lower distortions on this regards means more music information.

I was thinking that there were no negative trade offs ( only advantages. ) improving the cartridge tracking abilities by design till your post but you don't really explain what we have to look for during playback so it's not clear for me especially with so many different experiences with cartridges with top tracking abilities where its quality level performance is really good.

Denon, Ortofon, Benz Micro, Highphonic, Technics, Satin, Linn, Sumiko and many more choosed ( at least is what their cartridges shows during playback and with specs. Example Today Ortofon specs on tracking abilities in the A-90 or Winfeld is 100um. ) as one main cartridge characteristic high tracking abilities and their cartridges performs ( overall ) really good where Lyra choosed a different " road ": nothing wrong with that ( is your privilege. ) only makes me think more that if we want top quality sounds IMHO we need high cartridge habilities. I have no test/proved fact against my take on that critical regards.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Nowhere evidence at all.

Well I just bought on ebay my third original Telarc 1812 LP sample.

IMHO and even if your cartridge can't track the cannon shots with aplomb or even if you don't like this kind of score the recording is a must to have.

I own all the Telarc LP catalog ( thank's that the Audio Technica CEO ( in those old times. ) in México was a very close friend of mine. ) and by a wide marging the 1812 is the best recording down there.
There are other Telarc scores very well recorded and some others not so good but in general are ok and some excelent.

Regrads and enjoy the music,
Dear friends: There is no doubt that the Akiva tracking abilities was unexpected for me but the " bigger " surprise was and is ( a welcomed surprise. ) the top tracking abilities of the Fidelity Research FR MCX-5 because no other FR cartridge I tested and own or owned ( including Ikeda's. ) can track the 1812 not even mounted in FR or Ikeda tonearms.

Not only that the FR MCX-5 outperform any other FR/Ikeda cartridge I heard including the ones coming from the 7 series.Btw, I read somewhere that the favorit of Mr. Ikeda cartridge was the FR 1MK3 and because of that I tested this vintage item and is just " terrible ", poor performer.

I was wondedring what happened down there because the MCX-5 has top quality performance level ( I'm not talking here of tracking abilities but soun. ) til I find out that that cartridge was the design of some one that wroks in FR and that latter started My Sonic Lab that today has top fame because its cartridge designs as the Emminent model and others.
So, this discovery makes me to go for a sample of a My Sonic Lab cartridge.

I know that a well regarded Agon's friend Dgdad own it ( between other top tiers. ) and like it.

Regards and enjoy the music,
It's easy to find out on sale the original Telarc 1812. I think people do not know how useful can be.

Raul, the designer of My Sonic Labs also designs Air Tight cartridges. Can't remember his name, but you can look it up on the net.
Dear Peterayer: I did not know about AT that I already listened.

Thank's for the info. I will look for a cartridge model My Sonic Lab.

I think that there are several " gems " out there ready to discover it and we just don't know because we are " followers " of the audio marketing and reviews and this is a " mistake ".

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Peterayer: Take a look what A:J Conti and customers comment on the My Sonic Lab cartridges:

quite remarkable. I have to listen it.

Regrads and enjoy the music,
Raul, you made 15 of the last 20 posts. Are things a little slow down there? ;-)
Dear Dougdeacon: Well, could be that audiophiles does not cares yet on the critical importance of cartridge tracking abilities to achieve top quality performance levels, improved levels on what they are already experienced.

Cartridge tracking abilities is an almost " new " cartridge subject for us audiophiles. Well, I care about and trhough several first hand experiences with vintage and today cartridges I understand its main importance on a cartriudge design.

In the other side, the Telarc 1812 recording ( as I posted ) was and is forbidden by the audio analog community mainly by ignorance, I was part of that but when you go deeper in the Telarc 1812 subject and listen and learn about then you know that was a mistake not take that recording in count.

The recording is not about ( but it is. ) the cannon shots, the recording tell us many other things that helps not only as a cartridge set up or audio system evaluation but a good recording too.

I remember when I started my first posts in Agon: there were several audio subjects that no one " touched " and when one of us touched no one posted about and the ones that did it were against those audio subjects that today all are in agreement.

Dougdeacon, here in México people say: " everything fall down through the time by its own weight ".

Today a gentleman that was a digital hard enemy already accept the today top quality. I told him several times that digital is a top alternative and he said no: he even started a thread where he already learned about.

This is the way is the audio life: a continuous learning road.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Dougdeacon: This is what " finally " JC posted here:

++++ " This ( better cartridge tracking abilities ) has the side-effect of lessening the intensity of the loads on the tonearm, which can seem to be a benefit if the tonearm has a resonance-prone mechanical structure, and can improve the tracking of a tonearm with lower-grade bearings or imperfectly adjusted/unevenly worn bearings. " ++++

he named as " side-effect " when I name that: advantages ( what is inside the brackets is mine to understand the quote. ).

he said: " if the tonearm has a resonance-prone mechanical structure... ", well all tonearms some way or the other has it.

++++ " a tonearm with lower-grade bearings " ++++

it does not matters if has low or high grade bearings because bearings always vibrate/resonate causing distortions at the cartridge trhough the tonearm wand feedback.

But there are oter important advantages at the cartridge/LP level:

the cartridge rides the grooves, staying in contact " always ", easily following the grooves modulation adding almost no other vibrations ( generated because not so good cartridge trackin abilities ) transmited by the cantilever and from here to the overall suspension/motor/cartridge body.

All those additional vibrations/resonances at the cartridge/grooves/tonearm means higher distortions and less and non-accurate musical information.

I insist that there is no precise evidence that cartridge tracking abilities is not a welcomed characteristic for the MUSIC and we listeners.

Dougdeacon, I can't find out any single trade-off but only advantages. So for me today the high cartridge tracking abilities is a must to have by design and a parameter that always ( today ) makes a differencefor the better.

That's my take: which's yours?. Yes, I can be wrong but some one must prove it with facts.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Doug, I made me several times questions about all those old white papers by Shure, Stanton, Empire, ADC, Ortofon and many others where they were very emphatic of the critical importance of self cartridge tracking abilities in a cartridge design to achieve the best cartridge quality performance.

Could been wrong?, I don't think so: to many facts and experiences around that tell me all were right.

then: why vintage and today LOMC cartridge designers almost " does not cares " about?

whom told almost all LOMC manufacturers that 60um to 80um on track abilities value is enough?

why almost all LOMC designs came and comes with low to " medium " compliance?

any one of them tested their designs with high compliance against the low one or even intented to improve ( " severely " ) their cartridge design trackin abilities ? what they found out?

Years ago I was thinking and almost convinced that exist a serious impediment ( by design ) to manufacture a high compliance ( high tracking abilities. I know that there are other parameters to take in count through the cartridge design to achieve it. ) LOMC cartridge that can performs at top new quality level: to set new standards.

I was wrong because there is no cartridge design impediment to achieve it and the several vintage and today LOMC cartridge with high tracking abilities and top quality performance level: prove it.

Denon, Ortofon, Highphonic, Entré/My Sonic Labs, Linn, Satin, Sumiko, Benz Micro, Wilson Benesh and many more are proved facts on the whole subject.

For me is important to continue insisting in the subject because for whatever reasons we don't have the quality cartridge performance that can be achieved: in favor of MUSIC and in favor of we audiophiles that at the end are the ones that mantain ( through our each one money ) the lovely audio industry.

Where are the professional reviewers that many people ( certainly not me ) think are the " gurus " that is supposed are the ones that must help ( IMHO is their main responsability. ) all of us audiophiles in MUSIC benefit?

Why in October 2013 after so many many years of analog audio are we discussing ( almost starting!!! ) the cartridge tracking abilities that must be a solved issue?

Yes, maybe some manufacturers/audiophiles/reviewers think is a solved one when ( IMHO ) certainly it's not, a mistake or a wrong way to think about: but why? because no one ask it? or because ignorance?

Why in October 2013 after so many many years of analog audio are we discussing...
Where is this we? Who's discussing? The latest 25 posts are but vain soliloquoy.

This thread might cautiously ask of itself, "To be, or not to be?"

Lest some player recklessly declaim, "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly."

This one is a forgotten classic and features spoken commentary explaining how the actual ordinance used was set up and recorded. I suppose people actually cared about such things in their recordings back in this one's day (1958 I believe). Vinyl was the actual target medium to show of back in 1958 with the MLP. It's also included in the MLP CD box set, volume 1, which is the copy I own.
Dear Mapman: I own two samples ( I bought it second hand. ) of that recording, very nice whole recording.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Dougdeacon: Well there are at least two gentlemans that really cares about: J.Carr and T.wynsc. and you can read their posts.

Now, I would like and appreciated that more than put in evidence that " vain soliloquoy " ( that IMHO does not apport nothing to the whole subject ( as the Dover posts. ) ) and due to your recognized knowledge level try to post something that could be useful about, you are way better than all that.

In the other side you are following the thread, well try to follow it in a more positive sense.

Waiting for your contribution.

Regards and enjoy the music,