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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: The mystery of Koetsu Onyx Cartridges.
Post Subject: I upgraded to the diamond cantilever versionPosted by mem916 on: 12/4/2015
Well so my Coralstone reached the ripe old age of 4.5 years and something over 2500 hrs this fall so I thought it was probably time to rebuild it.  Then I got to thinking about the diamond cantilever option (which can be added to the rebuild at a much higher cost).  Finally settled on buying a brand new cartridge with the diamond cantilever which arrived this week.   I don't think any comparison between a new Koetsu and one with a bunch of hours on it that realistically should have been rebuilt at least a year ago is all that useful.  But here goes anyway.

The new one Coralstone measures 5.5 dB louder on a 1000 Hz test tone than the old one.  Based on my memory at least some of that increase is due to some change in the cartridge as I don't recall ever setting my volume so low when listening to this particular record (Firebird again).

After making sure I had the same levels set I did a back to back listening comparison between the two and what stood out was that individual notes seem much more "distinct" with the new cartridge. The "blattiness" of the horns was more pronounced. The sense of the recording space and the low level echoes from various instruments were more apparent. Overall the recording sounded more natural and much closer to the experience of hearing a live symphony in the concert hall.

I made two sample recordings at 24/192.  I did normalize the recording of the old cartridge to match the new one (had to adjust by 1.2 dB or so).  They can be downloaded here:

If anyone is interested in listening to the differences. 

Note:  I haven't broken in the new one, and haven't even gotten serious about adjusting VTA or azimuth yet.

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