1st MC

fredeb

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
528
Location
Somerset West
For years now , I have bought 2nd hand turntables when they come up at affordable prices . Inevitably they come with cartridges , moving magnet or moving iron . I then over time source replacement needles for these ( I normally try different sources , so-as to get variety ).

I have learnt that even the worst MM cart with bonded spherical , can sound fantastic on the right tonearm . I've also learnt that some vintage carts can sound absolutely fantastic with excellent stylus profiles . These days I try acquiring only nude mount styli , whether they be elliptical , hyper-elliptical , fine-line etc. I have many turntables and tonearms , so I can always match the setup to ideal dynamic compliance , either by calculating or by hit and miss , ie try on a number of arms till you find the "One" .

Some of my favourite MM/MI carts are :

1. Empire 1000Z/EX ( various styli aquired from Fleabay , turntableneedles and thevoiceofmusic ) High compliance , likes the lowest eff mass arms and tracks at 1g and under

2. ADC 660XE MI( various styli - various sources ) Med compliance I find , tracking 1.5 - 2g

3. Piezo YM308 MI( various styli - various sources )

4. Audio Technica AT450 p-mount ( nude ellipitical )

Empire 1000Z/EX

20150717-172750.jpg


Piezo YM308

a02874ff40a5580657f1bec2f2a8ba72.jpg


Audio Technica AT450

IMG-20191226-182204.jpg


Also lots of others that are very good , Audio Technica's AT140 , AT130 , AT120 , AT110 ; Ortofon SME30H , OM30 , VMS20 , FF15XE mk2 , 300 series and more ; various Shures V15 , M95 , M92 , M75 , M70 , M55 , M44 ; Goldring , Grado , JVC - many of these are exceptional carts given good styli . There are many more , but let's move on ....

As you can see , I have quite a vested interest in MM/MI , considering that for many of the individual carts I have up to 5 different styli .

There are many threads on the various "usual suspect" forums debating MC vs MM/MI , go read them and see .



As you can imagine , the MC thing has been biting at the back of my mind for years now , many times I've almost pushed the "buy" button , but hesitated and stopped . I always reckoned that an entry level MC could not stand up to some of the best MM/MI's .

Finally , about a month ago , whilst researching current popular SUT , I left a message for Geary who was at the end of the 3rd group buy for Cinemag CM1254 transformers on diyaudio.com  . Geary contacted me and said that a pair of CM1254 were available for purchase . I asked if he perhaps had a 2nd hand MC for sale too ? Yes ! He had a Fidelity Research FR1 Mk2 , re-tipped by Soundsmith with nude fine-line on ruby cantilever with suspension setup medium compliance . Now that sounds alot more interesting than entry-level regular MC !

FR1-mk2-03.jpg


FR1-mk2-01.jpg


FR1-mk2-02.jpg


While waiting and finalizing , something else came up . [member=19995]hope[/member] offered to loan me his Denon DL103R and Llundahl SUT for my 1st experience , what a guy ! Thank you kindly Ian !

The Denon and Llundahl SUT arrived 1st this week , followed shortly by the FR1 mk2 and Cinemags . What a week ! I work 14 hour days Mon-Fri , so let' have the Denon DL103R 1st . Possibly the most popular choice of MC cartridge around the world (the non-R version 1st and then this slightly improved version) .

Just look at my fluffy little cloud of fun received from Ian - I love the packaging !

Fluffy-cloud.jpg


Fluffy-cloud-01.jpg


Yes I have removed as much of the fluff as possible  ;D

Denon-DL103-R-04.jpg


Denon-DL103-R-03.jpg


Llundahl SUT

Llundahl-SUT-02.jpg


Llundahl-SUT-01.jpg


Denon DL103R specs

DL103-R-specs.jpg


I decided to fit the DL103R to a late model oil bearing Garrard 301 and SME S2 effective mass 12g arm , fitted to slightly heavier than SME headshell that allowed forward and backward movement to allow perfect setup . Setup - Stevenson protractor , will print Baerwald later this coming week . First tried Geco MM stage with SUT , and then Creek OBH15 mk2 with integrated headamp . I read various opinions on loading options , including those by Rothwell . Settled on 60dB gain , 100ohm , 1100pF on the Creek without SUT . Other gear is Wim Bouwman 12BH7 pre , Geco T-Rex and 3way DIY speakers .


Garrard-SME-01.jpg


Denon-DL103-R-02.jpg


Denon-DL103-R-01.jpg






For now , I'm a bit tired of writing , will fit FR1 next weekend , but a quick summary of impressions with Denon DL103R :

Do I want a Denon DL103R ? Yes ! What a a fun , full sounding , easy-listening cart(musical) . Good solid bass . I want one !

Will I be running out and selling all my MM/MI ? Certainly not ! I love 'em all  ;D Besides , re-tipping is not too easy a task here from the southern-most tip of Africa .
















 

chrisc

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Dec 24, 2008
Messages
14,257
Reaction score
1,325
Location
Cape Town
Ari sold me an Audio Technica AT450 and I can say without doubt it is one of the best cartridges I have listened to.  Before this, it was a Shure V15-V of 1980's vintage
 

fredeb

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
528
Location
Somerset West
chrisc said:
Ari sold me an Audio Technica AT450 and I can say without doubt it is one of the best cartridges I have listened to.  Before this, it was a Shure V15-V of 1980's vintage

Hi Chris . I still have 2 , the one I use and one new that I'll keep for when the first is finished . Amazing detail .

I'll give further listening impressions later , first want to listen some more .




 

HBAutomation

AVForums Super Veteran
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
1,832
Reaction score
153
Location
Ramsgate KZN
I have a 450 that I haven't used as I don't have the p mount adapter.
I forgot about it till I read this. Now I'm intrigued.
 

fredeb

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
528
Location
Somerset West
HB said:
I have a 450 that I haven't used as I don't have the p mount adapter.
I forgot about it till I read this. Now I'm intrigued.

I can give you the 2nd p-adapter I have , you can just give me the Postnet cash .

Thanks for comments , I'll be able to fit the FR1 on Saturday , then do a write up on Sunday . Possibly need to change to lower effective mass arm for FR1 . Perhaps a 3009 S2 improved w removeable headshell (eff mass 9g) . That is still pretty close to the non-improved arm .
 

Ingvar Ahlberg

AVForums Super Veteran
Joined
Jan 16, 2014
Messages
1,899
Reaction score
693
Location
The Swedish westcoast
Wellcome to Denon County Ari!

I?m certain that the FR1 will also be a magic device for You correctly matched with arm/SUT, better resolution and tracking than the Denon, will not match it in the low end thou.

Keep sharing Your opinions!

Ingvar
 

fredeb

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
528
Location
Somerset West
Ingvar Ahlberg said:
Wellcome to Denon County Ari!

I?m certain that the FR1 will also be a magic device for You correctly matched with arm/SUT, better resolution and tracking than the Denon, will not match it in the low end thou.

Keep sharing Your opinions!

Ingvar

Thanks Ingvar ! I'm hoping the Soundsmith retip makes the FR1 sing . I'm so scared to break that cantilever , I almost feel like I need to construct a stylus protector .  :pray:


 

Ingvar Ahlberg

AVForums Super Veteran
Joined
Jan 16, 2014
Messages
1,899
Reaction score
693
Location
The Swedish westcoast
Don?t wory about the FR1 cantilever Ari, the Saphire and Ruby canilevers are far tougher than they look, far tougher than a thin wall aluminium cantilever, just keep an eye on the cats, they like to disect those kinds of assemblies.

Ingvar
 

fredeb

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
528
Location
Somerset West
Ingvar Ahlberg said:
Don?t wory about the FR1 cantilever Ari, the Saphire and Ruby canilevers are far tougher than they look, far tougher than a thin wall aluminium cantilever, just keep an eye on the cats, they like to disect those kinds of assemblies.

Ingvar

Thanks Ingvar  ;D

Unfortunately no furry friends , I'm sure mine would be excellent surgeons .



 

fredeb

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
528
Location
Somerset West
Well hell ! A couple of hours ago I set up the FR1 Mk2 with Soundsmith ruby cantilever and Nude Contact Line Diamond .

Specifications
Frequency response: 10Hz to 40 Hz
Inter channel balance: within 1dB at 1kHz
Stereo separation: better than -22dB at 20kHz
Output voltage: 0.10mV
Load impedance: 30 ohms
Tracking force: 1.8g (with SoundSmith med compliance ruby cantilever)
Vertical tracking angle: 15 degrees
Stylus tip: nude line contact diamond
Weight: 10g

I did a quick setup , just moved the ryder weight to backmost position which brought the arm to equilibrium ( so , it appears , the same weight as Ian's DL103R with top metal shim attached ) , then set VTF to 1.8g . Never even bothered with alignment ( just too hot in Somerset West today ) , so must be extremely lucky setup because it sounds absolutely phenomenal !

The anti-skate weight had been removed for the heavier tracking Denon , but has gone back on for the FR1 as it is necessary with lighter VTF .

The FR1 has a much lower output than the DL103R - 0.1mV vs 0.3mV , so now I could crank the pre volume a little higher . At 12 o'clock it has enough volume for my listening preferences , all settings on the Creek OBH15 mk2 left the same . ie. 60dB gain (lowest possible for low output MC) ; 100 ohm input impedance and 1100pf capacitance .

From the get-go I could hear a big difference , sound-stage opened up radically and highs are crystal clear and super-defined . I know now what people mean by "black background" . The sound quality is so good that I'm not going to bother messing with any settings or SUT right now , I just want to listen , and enjoy .

First LP is old Weather Report - "Night Passage" . LP is old but properly cleaned , sounds like a fresh new pressing  ;D   

I was going to fit lower effective mass SME 3009 S2 improved , but [member=18284]HH NS1000[/member] convinced me use the same arm . Seems to track adequately for the dynamic and often fast bits on "Night Passage" , can hardly imagine it getting better but will probably try the lower effective mass arm in the future . Bass seems adequate and well defined , if not slamming . That said , it may be time to chuck on LKJ's "In Dub" .





 

fredeb

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
528
Location
Somerset West
OK , gooi'ed on the LKJ "In Dub" . Bass certainly is slamming and adequate , but what is immediately obvious is that the quality of LKJ Mango pressing is nowhere near that of the Weather Report ARC pressing . Levels may be a little high on the LKJ too .

Still , SQ is good , individual sounds seem etched in the air with a clear contrast between individual sounds , excellent 3 dimensional sense of space . Certainly must be the best ever for me  . Gonna have to haul those MM's out sometime and compare .

LKJ "In Dub"  :  https://youtu.be/7wrWvmh2yVs?list=PL58B558B2B6947FD3


LKJ_in_Dub_%28album_cover%29.jpg




Could possibly just be the horns on the 1st track were levels are high , thus some distortion , the rest are fine . Come to think of it , I recall hearing this horn distortion before with this LP .



 

fredeb

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
528
Location
Somerset West
Been listening to some classic and opera , working my way to industrial psychedelic metal  ;D , and hey , good MC is really really good .

Geary , who sold me the FR1 , pointed me at this link , for a quick summary of the Fidelity Research heritage : https://www.artisanfidelity.com/tonearms/ikeda-it-407

"Isamu Ikeda?s passion for the perfect analog sound began in the  1940?s when, being dissatisfied with the production at a previous audio  company, Mr. Ikeda decided to form his own company ? the world famous  Fidelity Research Inc. Its products have been welcomed by audiophiles and music fans the world over, including the Imperial Household Agency  and the Imperial Family. By the time the company released such systems  as the FR-7 and FR-64s in 1978, it had grown to be a world-class audio  manufacturer, developing the world?s first air-core quadropole structure  for FR-7.

?Nevertheless, Ikeda?s enthusiasm for the revival of analogue records continued unabated.  In the same year (2000), he established the Ikeda Sound Laboratories Company.  For Ikeda san, this company was a place where he was  able to do things that had been impossible under mass production at  Fidelity Research, that is, enhancing the precision of manufacturing,  pursuing handmade production and experimenting with new ideas freely.  Of course, all the products were designed, built and inspected by Isamu Ikeda himself.  He also accomplished such feats as realizing air-core structure and developing the world?s first MC cartridge without a cantilever, both of which had been his long-sought goals. As cutting  heads used in manufacturing of analogue records have no cantilevers, he thought a MC cartridge without a cantilever could be created. Ikeda is a  perfectionist. All Ikeda Labs. products, including those sold overseas,  are repaired by Ikeda himself in Japan."






 

HH NS1000

AVForums Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2016
Messages
94
Reaction score
32
Location
JHB
LKJ -  :clap:  Grappies op n stokkie Bly om te hoor die FR1 klink  so goed, het gedink dit sou better klink as die Denon. Nou dat jy die verskil op dieselfde arm gehoor het Sal dit interresant wees om te hoor watse verskil die ander arm mask?
 

fredeb

AVForums Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 29, 2012
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
528
Location
Somerset West
Ja .... LKJ is cool  ;)

I notice right at the beginning of the record , the lead-in groove , that the arm does shudder slightly . This makes me wonder if I shouldn't try an even lower effective mass arm than the 3009 S2 improved ( w removeable headshell - 9g ) . The S2 improved with fixed headshell has effective mass of 6g .

https://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge_resonance_evaluator.php

Considering the Soundsmith retip and suspension was configured for medium compliance , and cartridge and headshell mounting screws are ~11g , it seems that an arm with 6g effective mass would be ideal .



 

VeeDee

New member
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Location
Cape Town
Hi Fredeb
Thanks for great insights especially because it comes from real life and not theories. Appreciate the honesty.
 
Top