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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: The Softer Side of a Hard-Tracing Cartridge
Post Subject: The Flaw in My OintmentPosted by Paul S on: 5/25/2009
Adrian, it was my thinking that if I could have whatever I wanted, then I would have a hot-rodded Studer and a big library full of 15 ips master tapes and 1st generation dubs.  But since I could not figure out/afford the tape thing, I went with the next best thing: the Ortofon MC 3000 II mounted in the WTR arm, tracking dead flat on the vacuum HD Sota, etc.  Like I keep saying, the MC 3000 actually sounds almost exactly like tape at its best.  The Deccas, etc., don't.

The biggest problem I had with the Deccas was what I perceived to be a lack of "integration", meaning I kept being conscious of their sonic parts, and those parts seemed to me to be a little erratic, to boot.  No, the MC 3000 does not have quite the uncanny presence of the top Deccas.  FWIW, I've never heard the equal of the top Deccas on that score (except MAYBE the old Wynn strain gauge cartridge; and what a piece of shit it was, otherwise!).  But the MC 3000 sounds like great tape, meaning it is, when used properly, a very natural sounding cartridge.  Nothing flashy; it just gets it about as right as I've heard, in the same totally straight-forward way master tape does.  There have been times when I have mistaken its ease for reticence; but then, when are you conscious of "speed" as a separate factor when listening to music?  Again, and the whole point of this thread, getting the best from any hard tracer takes some attention, during initial set-up and every time the record thickness varies.  Under these circumstances, the MC 3000 is "good enough".

I really can't say that the Windfeld is like the MC 3000 II, which was known as Ortofon's "studio" cartridge, and they never really "marketed" it.  If i had to guess, I would guess that the Windfeld is most like the Jubilee in terms of character, since they share a body, a designer, etc.  But it is VERY interesting to note that Ortofon made the Windfeld's response very flat despite the fact that listening panels consistently preferred a 3 - 6 dB tilt up to 20k Hz.  Again, the reviewers just sputter about it and then say it would be their choice for transferring LPs to CD, etc.  And I think this consensus says more than they realized or intended.

BTW, am I just fuzzing out, or do I remember that the top Deccas were among the most VTA-sensitive cartridges out there?  In fact, I'm thinking I remember that one had to be adjusted frequently for temperature, humidity, age, etc., ad nauseum?  None for me, thanks!

Best regards,
Paul S

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