Rerurn to Romy the Cat's Site

In the Forum: Audio For Dummies ™
In the Thread: Say “no” to the light tonearms.
Post Subject: One of the Best Posts, Ever!Posted by Paul S on: 5/3/2010
That just about sums it up, all right.  You'd think it would be obvious that cartridges are not a viable subject for DIY/boutique building and/or modding; but, apparently, they are yet approached in this way by a small "underground" army of hopefuls, just like the field coil drivers, etc, etc., like jewelry, or Zen koans...

The dirty secret aired here is that even "big", serious specialty companies that might do good cartridges one after another yet find that the economics of scale work against truly serious efforts.  I do not know it for a fact, but I am guessing that Ortofon do the A90 - for instance - not for money from sales of this item, directly, but rather as a "statement", like "Ford's" race cars, etc., to bolster "credibility" and hopefully boost sales of more pedestrian fare,  which they continue to produce in quantity.  Certainly, Ortofon have "consolidated" their "line-up", and they are not at this time making the same level of effort at the forefront of sonic excellence that they once did.  For instance, where is the "companion step-up" for the Windfeld, or the newer A90?  This used to be de rigueur for Ortofon, for all their top cartridges.  As an aside, I think I remember that the old 2000, 3000, etc. were originally designed and built in Japan...  I have noticed a Japanese "underground" market selling weird Ortofon stuff that is not listed on Ortofon, Denmark's website...

I know little to nothing about cartridge manufacturing as an "industry"; but I do know a little about manufacturing, per se, and about spreadsheet analysis, which steers today's businesses.  Basically, it has to pencil, or it's out.

Not to veer too far off the subject, but cartridges are a very good example of Zako's rant about the incremental exposition of real advancement in engineering (and execution).  Yet, regardless, it seems to require a perfect combination of availablity (of technology and materials), capability, willingness, and ??? to "produce" a significant audio product. And from what I can see and hear, marketing still trumps technology and execution every time, for a whole host of reasons, the exploration of which would take us deep into the realm of pseudo-sciences, like sociology and social psychology.  And because of the purely technical challenges of building cartridges, if nothing else, the odds of getting a good cartridge are probably a lot lower than anyone generally supposes.

Best regards,
Paul S

Rerurn to Romy the Cat's Site