I would also like to hear about the new Temp W and what phonostage works well. Raul recently posted that the bass was near perfect and the presentation was neutral.
74 responses Add your response
I own a Temper-v(low output),as does a friend.Usually,the lower output designs are superior in low level resolution.Only if you have enough gain in your phonostage.
Take a look at the latest issue of Hi-Fi News and Record Review,for a full review!!The results found are what I hear,but,there is a TON of REALLY GREAT cartridges on the market today!!Who knows which is best?I don't think you can go wrong with many of the top choices.
Hi: All the Temper's are great cartridges and looking at your audio system the W will be a very good match and an improvement over the Frog.
The Dynavector XV-1 could be a great improvemente in the quality sound reproduction of your very fine audio system.
+++++ " I know everything there is to know about ZYX's. " +++++
The ZYX cartridges are a good ones too, but I think that the W or the XV-1 have better balance and neutrality all over the frecuency spectrum, they are more delicated and are near to the " truth " than the ZYX.
+++++ "I don't think you can go wrong with many of the top choices. " +++++ I agree with Sirspeedy.
Now, if you have the money, you can go for the excellent Allaerts MC2 Finish: this cartridge makes a real " difference " in the music/sound reproduction.
++++ "Lloyd Walker's current favorite.)" ++++
Mr. Walker is an extraordinary TT/audio designer ( that it is in the audio business ), but remember that he have a brain and two ears like anyone and his music bias and frecuency response of his ears like his audio system is different from yours or anyone else.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi again: This is my current cartridges list:
Installed: Accuphase AC-2, Dynavector XV-1, Goldbug Brier, Ortofon MC 7500, Allaerts MC2 Finish Gold, Van denHul Colibri, Koetsu RSP, Shelter 90X, Ikeda 9REX and Transfiguration W.
Stand by: Audioquest 7000-Fe5, Ortofon MC 2000, Sao Win SMC-10, Supex SDX 2200R, Fidelity Research MC-702, Victor MC-1000, Highphonic MC-A6, Denon DL 1000, Denon S1, Denon 103, Audio Technica At-1000, Audiotechnica AT-37E, Audio technica ATML-180 OCC, Dynavector >Karat 23R, Empire EDR.9, ADC Astrion, Stanton 981 LZS, AKG P 25MD, Micro Acoustics 630 and Fulton.
Others in last 6 months: Clearaudio Insider Gold, Clearaudio Discovery, Sumiko Celebration, Benz Micro LP, Benz Micro Ruby 2, Lira Helikon, Lira Titan, Van denHul Frog, Audio technica At 2000, Audio Technica ART-1.
All the installed cartridges are really good ones and some of the stand by cartridges ( status ) are very good ones too.
Usually I hear the Allaerts, Colibri and XV-1. No, the ZYX do not come close to these ones ( I never own ZYX but I hear it ).
Regards and enjoy the music.
Nsgarch, I use the Magic Diamond cartridge, and I bought it from Lloyd Walker at his recommendation, and I use it on his turntable. I can't begin to make a ton of comparisons to other cartridges, but the Magic Diamond is very very good and well worth a top tier candidate consideration from anyone willing to consider this level of cost. Of course, I've also found over the years that Lloyd's sonic priorities and listening biases closely match my own.
The Magic Diamond manages to punch all of my sonic priority buttons for listening to classical music (chamber, vocal and large orchestral) and other acoustic music. It also does good justice to the occasional LP side of hard rock that gets played here from time-to-time.
To my ear, the Magic Diamond delivers a superb balancing of resolution, detail, soundstaging and musical naturalness that I find immensely satisfying; it is very neutral without being analytical and it never editorializes. Listening with the Magic Diamond also lets you hear every nuance of what's going on in the recording, and you can clearly hear and follow all the complex musical and vocal lines without blurring, without finessing, it's all simply "there" in the best possible sense.
The Magic Diamond also happens to be a great match to the Walker Audio Proscenium turntable's tonearm where it finds it's home in my system. Other than the turntable, Lloyd's audio system and mine are pretty different one-from-the-other, but we both find great value in what the Magic Diamond does well, and I'm yet to find any negatives in it after many hundreds of hours of playing time.
Thanks for your comprehensive description of the MD. It's really the first one I've read. Apparently, you've been listening to it long enough to know what it really sound like; yet you didn't compare it with any "known" cartridges (like vdH, Koetsu, Allaerts, etc.) so I was wondering what you were listening to before you acquired the Magic Diamond?
Nsgarch, not in the same system so no truly valid comparisons to be drawn - each of these cartridges have differing overall sonic "flavors" and characteristics that tend to show across various systems, but I don't consider myself sufficiently familiar, or to have spent enough serious time with various of them in systems whose sound I know well, to comment about comparisons. What I have are impressions and quick judgements that work for me, but are not sufficient to support making comments on them here. If you're interested in considering the Magic Diamond, I'd encourage you to give Lloyd Walker a call and chat with him.
Dear Nsgarch: No I don't have many interchangeable headshells or arm wands, what I have are many tonearms. What is happen is that I have three TTs with 10 tonearms in my audio system.
Normally, I put on sale one or two cartidges ( that I can find/buy again in the near future ) when I need to buy some other audio item/cartridge, right now I don't need nothing, but I can think about: which one do you like?, Please send me an e-mail.
Regards and enjoy the music.
I'm not indicating that the Temper-v I own is THE top tier performer in analog,these days,as seems to be the case everytime some folks upgrade to a new cartridge,but it is on a short list.However,what is beginning to be obvious to the "NOT TOO MANY" remaining,and loyal analog lovers,who have been at this for a long time,is the simple fact that the ENVELOPE has been pushed REALLY,REALLY far.This with the latest,and ALL superb tables/arms,and IMO UNBELIEVEABLY high performance cartridge designs currently available,to the "STILL LOYAL" crowd.I have no problem with digital,and own a fine player,for the newer music,but I can't remember a time when there were so many incredible analog designs available.
Thank God I have continued to collect LP's.I'll be reaping their rewards for a long time,God willing!!
Hi Sirspeedy: No and I am not a rich man. What happen is that through my audio life I buy many audio items: of every kind ( including cartridges ), then I sold those audio/items that help me to buy the cartridges/tonearms and of course I have to invest some money to do that.
I really learn a lot with these all stuff and I'm still learning about.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Nsgarch: Please tell me if this is true: you are using a crossover between your preamp and main amp.
What do you tell me if I tell you that you can have the signal that goes between your preamp and the 23.5/speakers with out any electronic crossover?, : a huge and great improvement in the quality sound reproduction of your system.
If you are interested please e-mail me.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul, sonic impressions aside, something that would be a stunning and exceedingly helpful contribution would be to post a picture of all of those cartridges in one or two frames, labelled with names (versions). While you assert that you are not rich, many of us could not even spring for one of the many cartridges you mention. An absolute smorgasboard of a picture of all would at least allow some drooling....
FYI Magic Diamond cartridges are a product of MagicMicro, a division of the Swiss company Bluelectric. They are distributed in the US by AXISS Distribution Inc. Copy and paste this long link into your browser to go to their website:
Actually, the the name is "MicroMagic" (I keep turning the name around, too :) )
Here's a clickable version of Nsgarch's link to the Swiss web site:
And with English translation:
dietiker-humbel, as above
And link to a page with photos of the Magic Diamond cartridge:
Well, I went with a Transfiguration Temper W. Other candidates were: Allaerts, Colibri, Airy 3, Magic Diamond, and Shelter 90x. My decision was based on four points:
1.) It appeared to have the best build quality. And the fit and finish turned out to be absolutely stunning in the flesh.
2.) It employs the newest design thinking and technology -- a yokeless design using double ring magnets and a special mu metal coil former which increases sensitivity by 30dB.
3.) It had reasonable output voltage (0.5 mV), good compliance (not too high or too low) and nominal loading requirements. There is nothing about this cartridge that is non-standard or requires special accomodation in tonearm or electronics.
4.) I could obtain one new for a very attractive price.
In addition, it requires only a short (30 hour specified) break-in period, due no doubt to the new generation rubber suspension material, which is unaffected by temperature.
So far (one afternoon/evening-worth) , it's performance is
astounding compared to my Frog Gold, but I was expecting as much. I'll write a proper review after 50 or 60 hours. Thanks for all the input -- Raul, Rushton, and Speedy.
Reb -- congrats, another new Temper owner! Please stay in touch and give us your imprerssions. What kind of arm/tt/phono preamp? And current cart?
Higher vs. lower output was an issue I wrestled with a bit. My system (it's posted here) is up to either. My decision to go with the W was based on better volume matching to other sources (primarily CD) and also some technological changes.
I'm glad you quoted the ENTIRE output spec. It is important for folks to note that they are not all alike. Van den hul, for instance, specifies their outputs at 5.5 cm/s.
As a very happy owner of a "V",let me emphasize that the body MUST tilt backwards at quite a large degree.You must actually view the stylus tip from the side,and make sure(as best as you can) that it is(the actual diamond,which is small,so good luck here)vertical to the record.This is indicated in the instructions,though a good listen,over a few sessions is best.Good luck!!
Sirspeedy, can you confirm that the most recent batches of "v" does indeed have the same advances as the "W". Thanks for the tip, not unusual for a MC to be configured with the arm down at the rear.
Nsgarch, I'm in the process of upgrading my system to higher level components(after a temporary cut-back) So, most of what I own right now is around the 3k per component level. Nothing here right now that is at your level. But my system is set-up to deliver a flat frequency response aka-neutrality. The arm however is a modified Rega RB1000 and that will never change. Phonostage is a modified Lukaschek T-9 with custom external power supply. That also will not change as I have not heard a more transparent phonostage- even in stock form. I recently had a Klyne 7PX3.5 and sold it because I prefer the Lukaschek.
Reb -- sounds like you have (and will have) good support components. Why don't you post your system here when you get a little further?
Just for your and Speedy's info, I checked my Transfig W stylus position (in the groove) under high power magnification, with the cartridge body (actually the top surface of the cartridge body) absolutely parallel to the record surface. The stylus is raked at approx. 1.25 degrees (with no down force applied) which is the average cutter rake angle. So it makes sense that the Transfig instructions say to start with the tonearm parallel to the record before fine-tuning VTA (really SRA as far as I'm concerned :~)
I'm not saying you should keep it that way, but it will give you a point of reference. vdH cartridges, by comparison, have zero stylus rake angle when the body is parallel to the record. So to get a 1 degree rake angle on a vdH stylus, you need to raise the back end of the tonearm between 4 and 8 mm from a parallel setting.
Further info on my initial settings for the TTW (please let me know what you come up with) are: downforce= 1.90g anti-skate= 1.4g. SME V arm parallel to record (for now). BTW, here's a tip for setting anti-skate force that is absolutely infallible, but which takes a little observational practice (and you do need an arm with a lifting lever like the SME) It is very effective with the Transfiguration V or W because the stylus is so easy to see from the front: With the arm up and positioned midway over the first track, with a strong light pointed at the front of the cartridge and (if your eyesight's like mine, a big reading magnifier as big a your face!) watch very carefully from the front, the position of the stylus/cantilever as you lower the arm. Just as the stylus goes into the groove, (and with no anti-skate applied) it will appear to move closer to the outside of the cartridge body (because the arm is trying to pull in toward the center of the record.) It's a lot more obvious than it sounds like it would be. Begin applying anti-skate until you can no longer perceive this movement and the stylus appears to stay in the same place in or out of the groove. No need for perfection here, your ears are for that. Better though to err a little on the side of too little rather than too much, and then you can increase it a little, if necessary, as your hearing dictates.
I have to assume(a guess)that the only diff. between the V and the W are the number of coil windings.I and a friend,both,bought the V together.We chose it over the W due to our experience in low vs high output.Low,usually a bit more revealing.In any case,High Fi News and Record Review has chosen this as their top performer,in moving coils.I purchased long after this,BTW.Also,I have to emphasize,again,that best performance is obtained with the body tilted BACK.Viewed from the side(if you have good eyes)the stylus tip should be vertical to the record,in play.Obviously,listening and adjusting,on the fly,will give best results.I spent too much time not really believing this,and wasted alot of listening.
I will not go on,as many have, of their own purchases,about it's superiority over the competition,however, it is an incredible performer.VERY low level detail/dynamics/true timbre of instruments,etc.
As a matter of fact,as I have heard quite a few of the elite cartridges in friends' systems,there really is a fantastic quantity of ABSOLUTE TOP performers out there now.I'll just bet that if there ever was a real cartridge SHOOT OUT,like the old days(of TAS,long gone,sadly),there really would NOT be a clear winner.So many are really GREAT!!
As a point of interest,hopefully,to some of you fellow hobbyists,The latest issue of Hi FI Plus has a fantastic interview with Mr van den Hul.,as well as a review of his latest designs.This interview,in particular,BLEW me away.There is a service to all customers that allows one to indicate what arm,table and general equipment we use,as well as our musical tastes.He then designs each cartridge,through the use of differing materials(platinum/silver/gold/copper coils,as well as body materials and cantilever length)to hand match out with,both the hobbyist's taste as well as arm and table.WOW!!I love this guy.Also,he is the ONLY person that touches your cartridge.No other employees.You can then send the cartridge back,after 200 hrs,for a tune up.No additional charge(though they are not cheap)for any of this hand design.I'm not affiliated,here,and don't own one,but if I were buying new,I'd really seriously consider a COLIBRI/custom.I don't care how good my Tranny is!
He blew me away,by stating that if one owns a large collection of original DECCA's (I DO),he can actually voice the cartridge for these.MAN O MAN!!I have to declare him the Viceroy of Vinyl!!Good luck everyone,and have a great weekend.
I know all about vdH's customizing service, and I think it's great (he reconfigured my Frog Gold for my arm and phono preamp.) But I think that the Transfig Temper is simply a better design (and build) than the vdH's. Just the diamond on a Transfig is a thing to behold (compared to a vdH stylus)
I'm having trouble understanding why you would want to get the stylus vertical in the groove (when viewed from the side as you say) when all cutter heads are raked. (An average of 1-2 degrees from vertical.) To get the stylus to "lock" into the groove undulations, and thus extract the most information, wouldn't you want it raked at the same angle as the cutter head was? It seems to me, especially with these new micro-ridge styli, that one would want the stylus rake angle to approximate the rake angle of the cutter head as closely as possible, no?
Hi Nsgarch: +++++ " But I think that the Transfig Temper is simply a better design (and build) than the vdH's. " ++++
I wonder: who in the world can say that. Btw, why the Transfig is " simply a better design than the vdH's " ?
If the quality music/sound reproduction is a proof of the design, then you have to hear a Colibri ( low output ) with the right analog rig in your home system after the Colibri returns for the tune up. Before this I think that your risky statement about has no validity at all.
I think that when we are talking of these high performance level all the cartridge designs are great ones and the main differences are in the designer music/sound reproduction priorities, the voicing of the cartridge and the execution of the design.
I can tell you which cartridge is better than other, but ( till now ) I can't tell you which is a better design and why it is. Can you?
Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul, I will take your response as a "no." You can find descriptions of the Transfiguration generating system online. It is new and innovative. Based upon my understanding of electromechanical physics, it represents a more efficient way of producing a current in a moving coil cartridge. I suggest you do some research and then perhaps you will understand the reason for my comment.
I could have got a new Colibri XCP for the same price as the Temper W. In fact, the Temper W is my first non-vdH cartridge in some time. I could only afford to buy one cartridge of course, but I'm very happy with my decision to leave the conventional van den Hul design for something new that I consider more intelligent.
Nsgarsh,my instruction manual(that came with my cartridge)indicates this stylus angle as preferred.I,in the beginning, had the BODY fairly parallel,but found myself tilting backwards,as I played more and more records,over numerous listening sessions.I fully understand your trepidation with this,as I never would have thought the body needed this degree of back tilt.However,as time went on it became obvious to me.What I find hardest to obtain,in analog,is TRUE timbre in instruments.Too many hobbyists get off on bass.To me,dialing in the cartridge using various records,showing off timbre, results in ALL ELSE falling into place.I have a friend with the exact cartridge(vintage of about 18 months old),and his tilt back,is virtually identical.Once done,when one looks at the stylus tip from the side,the diamond seems to be about vertical in the groove.Obviously this is not written in stone,and some slight variation can be preferred.But,all in all,close to vertical is close to correct,in my set-up.As for the "W" I don't know.
Please understand,I'm not trying to get into any kind of an arguement.It's just that on my set-up,what my instructions(coming with my Temper-V)state,is in fact what my results came to be.I will admit that I overlooked the instruction recommended angle,for a long time,since I set up by ear.The only reason I went back,and took a hard look at the instructions,was because I,myself,could not believe that I had to go back on the arm,as I did.A paralel body,or even close to parallel,will be off sonically.When I noticed that the instruction manual said to check for stylus tip vertical,I did so,and found that my ears were not far off.The tip was,just about vertical,as stated.As for cutter rake,etc.,I could care less.I'm only concerned as to what sounds best,to me.
As an aside,what happened at my friend's home was very interesting,and aided my own set-up.We had numerous fellow audio-buffs over,One was my friend Sid(who is obsessed with Decca's,Mercury's etc).He will not,under any circumstances,let any of us off the hook,if something is off.You can KILL him sometimes,but,he's usually(actually,always)right.He wrote the Mercury column,for TAS years ago,and is now retired.I was the set-up man,unfortuneately,that night(actually several nights,under same circumstances)and after all was done,and Sid was FINALLY happy,with how voices sounded etc.,we checked tip angle,and it WAS just about vertical,from side.
In an effort to try to push the envelope,a bit farther along,we are now in the process of tube rolling,in the phono stage.We,both,have the same Great Northern Sound modded,Audio Research SP-15's.A three tube phono section affords us the ability to try out several of the leading 6dj8 types,without going bankrupt.The results have been REAL EYE-OPENERS.Virtually every type we tried,from Tele/Mullard/Ediswan 5358/Amperex 6922 vs 7308 etc.,have been completey different sounding.I was sworn to secrecy,as to the results,due to the rediculously overpriced nature of dealers,but,since I've been bloviating here,you deserve a result.We find the Joe's Tube Lore statements,to be DEAD ON.The winner,so far(we're still not done)is the early 60's Amperex 6922.Now if I can only get my hands on some nice "Pinched Waist" sets.Maybe Larry(Cello)or Dougdeacon has some lying around.Well that's it.Sorry for going on so long.Hope it wasn't a waste,to anyone!
Speedy, luuuvved your post! You can go on as long as you like, on any subject you please! I'll give the vertical setting a try once my W (or is that DUBya?) is broken in and let you know what I think. You implied that the instructions that came with your V state the arm should be tilted back or that the stylus should be vertical? I wasn't clear on that. For comparison, the instructions that came with my W are as follows:
"As a final point, run a few records with which you are very familiar, and experiment with VTA - vertical tracking angle. (When viewed from the side, a stylus does not sit vertically in the groove but 'points backward' slightly.)"
"Check with your arm handbook for recommended arm angle; most are designed to provide correct VTA when the arm is parallel to the record (not turntable) surface."
From the foregoing, you can understand how I came to the conclusion that the cartridge (and arm) should be parallel to the record surface, and that I should expect to see the stylus "point backward slightly" when viewed from the side, which it did. I must say it sounds terrific, focused and alive, strong controlled bass, etc. FWIW, my instruction sheet also goes on to say:
"When VTA is 'spot-on', instrumental location, dimensionality, and other important detail will should move into optimum 3-dimensional focus and away from the immediate surfaces of the loudspeakers.
Despite the accuracy of setting up, still use your ear to fine-tune optimum tracking pressure, lateral angle, vertical angle, and vertical tracking angle. Such adjustments allow for subtle individual variations from cartridge, and for any setting-up instruction compromises made by the arm or alignment device manufacturer. Ultimate alignment is based on the cantilever -- NOT on the cartridge body."
I wondered if the instructions that came with your V contain the same language? BTW, in an earlier post, Reb mentioned that the V he was about to receive had a 0.38mV output. I thought V's were 0.25mV? The W is actually only 0.48mV, so have they made changes in the specifications they've not yet published?
Dear Nsgarch: I really don't have compliants about the W but I like a little more the Colibri ( very low output ). I own both and test bis-bis ( hard choice ).
+++++ " If the quality music/sound reproduction is a proof of the design, then you have to hear a Colibri ( low output ) with the right analog rig in your home system after the Colibri returns for the tune up. " +++++
When I buy my Colibri I was very disappointed: to bright, bass shy, detailed/fast but uninvolving, etc...after 100 hours my first Colibri accident: cantilever-bend.
When I receive the Colibri already fixed, things stay in more or less the same stage like the first time, another 50 hours and my second bend cantilever.
Then return my third Colibri and after 200 hours things begin to change for good: no more bright, fuller bass, very good tonal balance, etc.... then I decided that it is time for the tune up, I send it to Van denHul, three weeks later I receive it, mounted and play my first record with it: what a surprise, I swear I receive other Colibri than mine, but no was the same, but now sounds marvelous, it had something that the W and some other cartridges can't give: " you can see through and you can " feel " everything is on place ...".
As you know I own several cartridges and never buy one of them because its design, except the Stax CP-Y that I already sold.
++++ "and the main differences are in the designer music/sound reproduction priorities, the voicing of the cartridge and the execution of the design. " ++++++
I think that the design( per se ) can't tell you the " whole history ".
Regards and enjoy the music.
Nsgarch: +++ " From the foregoing, you can understand how I came to the conclusion that the cartridge (and arm) should be parallel to the record surface, and that I should expect to see the stylus "point ..." +++++
You are right. But as you know this position can change with a different audio system/ears/music priorities.
Regards and enjoy the music.
I'm loving this thread, everybody is being so civil and informative! Thanks Raul, Reb, Speedy, et al. I'd like to know what everyone has found to be the best loading for the Transfiguration series. I'm using 100 ohms with my W right now. It's a convenient preset on my (ML 25s) phono preamp. Perhaps I should customize it up or down? What are the rest of you using?
Nsgarsh,you are a GOD.Thanks for prodding me into a bit more experimentation!As I have just(last week)gotten my SOTA COSMOS back,from the latest update,and added a Symposium Ultra Shelf as a support,I did some more experimentation last night.Stayed up 'til 3:00am.Well guess what?You are right.My tip sounds best a WEE BIT tilted back.Unbelieveable!!That does mean my 2.2 is tilted down,in the rear.AND my instructions print,as your's do.Thanks for questioning me.
One thing I've learned here,is NOT to take myself too seriously,as I can always learn new stuff,about "The art of music reproduction in the home",by being open minded!
As for loading,I am at 47k,but there could be a better setting,for all I know.I have tried all the settings on my phono's outside switch,and the 47k sounds best to me,but,what do I know?I'm not about to start sodering resistors,inside the unit,unless I had real confirmation,about optimum,in my own gear!I did find 100 to be slow,on my set-up,but all set-ups are different.Thanks,and good luck to all,who have replied to this interesting topic!
By the way,I have a BEAUTIFUL LP,of a handbell concert,recorded in a Church(in Princeton NJ)using bells weighing up to 17lbs.Incredibly detailed an dynamic,with multiple bells adding to a true room filling,and floor to ceiling perspective.This has been a FABULOUS disc,to dial parameters into,due to the fact that it is really easy to "get off" on the incredible open, lilting and almost vaulting sound.However if the cartridge parameters are not perfect,you lose the metallic sound,and the bells begin to sound glassy.Especially the tiny bells.If you have all set correctly,and this is where I MUST thank you,Ngarch,the final vta,yields some of the LOWEST distortion,sweet and airy bell tones(one really must hear this disc to believe how great it is)imagineable.So STUNNING,in fact,that I laughed,last night,at the thought that I did not own diamond tweeters,and only had "lowly" titanium drivers,that were ONLY ruler flat to 25k!
The name of this treasure is-The Pealing Bells Of The Westminster Handbell Choir!Cost me a buck,at the Princeton Record Exchange.Finding gems like this,to me,is what this hobby is all about.Not, how much technical knowledge I have picked up over the years.The knowledge we obtain,should only serve the "accuracy"of our systems.Being open to questioning,of our own practices and experiences,only furthers our understanding and ultimate enjoyment!!
PS-If anyone could add experiences as to the subject of phonostage tube rolling,I would be very interested.As my amp is a modded Rowland(2 chasis)8t,with switch mode power supply in second chasis,I only have 3 tubes to deal with,which are in the phono section of my Pre.Thanks to all!!
My V will be delivered on Tuesday. I plan to start with VTA alignment by ignoring the body and taper of the armtube. Concentrating on the angle the stylus is at when VTF is at 1.9gm. I have the ability to infinitely adujust VTA with my set-up. From there, I'll spin the tunes and not be too picky until break-in occurs. I tend to prefer minimal cartridge loading. In my case, the phonostage I'm using allows 22k and down. My experience with loading down MC's has not been very positive.
RE: cartridge loading and stylus rake angle:
Maybe the reason some of you are getting seemingly better response with the cartridge/arm at a negative angle is because that would compensate for the kind of non-linear response created when the cartridge load is set way too high (like 47K ohms)
The recommended load for the W is >9 ohms (>3 ohms for a V)
so I think it behooves one to start at the lower end of the scale and work one's way up. I tried 30 ohms (the lowest preset on my preamp) and the response was great in terms of information retrieval, but not much focus, no "sparkle" and bass was a little "wooley." A friend who tried 50 ohms said that 50 ohms wasn't quite enough either, and that I should try a little bit higher setting. Well, my next two higher presets are 100 ohms and 825 ohms. I had already tried 825 ohms when I installed the Temper W because that's where the preamp had been set for my vdH Frog. But that had sounded very bright and lacked bass and body. So this time I only went up to the 100 ohm setting, and it was magic -- HOWEVER -- please bear in mind that all this was with the arm/cartridge parallel to the record, meaning the stylus was raked back (from the side it looks like it's leaning forward) the standard 1+ degree or so that the cutter heads are set for.
Groove undulations not only wiggle from side to side, they also angle forward, because a cutter head has to point backward (at 1 degree) like a chisel, so the wax cuttings will fly away as it's making the goove. If you have a spherical or elliptical stylus, it doesn't matter a lot if the stylus is vertical, or leaning a little forward or backward, because it fits in the groove more or less the same (inaccurate) way in all three cases. BUT, with the new generation of micro-ridge styli, vdH being one of the first in the early 1990's, (if not THE first) it's a whole 'nother matter. These styli are chisel or "spade" shaped, almost like the cutter head itself. If they sit vertically in the groove (or -yikes!- tilted backward) then their sharp side edges actually scrape over, or "clip" the tops of the forward-slanting groove undulations! Paradoxically, even "mis-set" that way, they still sound better than conventional (old-type) styli because their very tip (at the bottom of the groove) can still "see" information that elliptical styli miss.
To extract all the information in the groove, these new styli must "see" the groove from top to bottom, and the only way they can do that is if they can lock into the groove by leaning forward at exactly the same angle as the cutter head.
Now, one can go on and on expounding on the vagaries of different systems and components and tubes and rooms ad nauseum -- however, there are certain scientifically proven mechanical and electronic rules that must apply "across the board" regardless of the equipment or the room. I have just described a couple of them.