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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: Denon 103: myths and the reality
Post Subject: About cartridges, tonearms and a “Big Conspiracy”Posted by Romy the Cat on: 10/20/2004

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Actually the popular stiff Denons (103, 103R) with compliance of 5 need no less the 35g of effective mass, but even this mass will not help them. The Shelter has a “normal” compliance, I do not remember how much exactly but I think that it is somewhere around 12. With this compliance you might use an “average” effective mass arms. However, I personally have a tendency to the heavier arms and I usually add at least 30% to the “calculated” values. Besides, I use contemporary comparatively light cartridges that are too light anyhow. For instance in my system the Shelter 901sits in SME 3012. The 3012 MKII I believe has somewhere around 14g of affective mass that makes it according to “rules” a perfect match. Now is the interesting part: you begin to add mass to the headshell and you observe sound – it will be better (way deeper lower bass, more richer harmonics in upper bass, better tractability and more “connected” HF to the rest of the music). I purely experimentally figured out the I need to add 16g to the standard SME 3012 headshell (as an alternative you might use the older MKI version of 3012 with heavier tube (affective mass) but I really hate the old 3012’s output connectors). I personally stuffed the 3012’s headshell with 16g of silicone patch…

Generally most of the cartridges will be hugely benefited by using heavier arms. But here is where the story about the “big conspiracy” kicks in: the contemporary manufacturers do not manufacture heavier arms. One of the reasons because the morons-audiophiles unable to appreciate anything else then their industry sponsored sharp and punchy sound with the famous “fashionably-ported” bass, or exactly what the light arms help to produce.

Make a trip to any show-room or to any privet installation of any industry conformist and you will hear the same immediately-aggressive, hi-fi sound.  I’m not saying that this sound comes only form the light arms but the light arms is one of the means to get “there”.

Most of the cartridge manufactures (who know what they do) intentionally manufacture crappie needles especially optimized to be played with  those light arms…. why?… because no one manufacture today heavy arms. I remember the Grado owner was laughing when I complained him about it. He told that he read all drooling industry reviews about his own cartridges but those industry “professors” were completely clueless that it was necessary to add 30g to their “high-tech tonearms” to get out of those Grados what they really could…

However, here is the catch: if you are a “reviewer” who extorted from a manufactured a free $3000 worth tonearm (along with a number of other “reimbursements”) in exchange to write a 2000 word of brainless worshiping about their new product then will you suggest to a “wonder expecting audiophile” that they should spend $3000 and then begin to fix the tonearm in order the tonearm produce a Sound Result instead of an Industry Sponsored Idiocy?

The answer is not pending. You will find the answer in each and single audio publication.

Romy the Cat

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