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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: What is the difference between the cartridges?
Post Subject: Cartridge Frequency responsePosted by morricab on: 5/15/2007
Hi Romy,

Interesting test you have conducted.  Were the responses mostly unflat near the frequency extremes or was there variations even in the midrange?  The reason I ask is because if you look at most of the published curve responses it is easy to see that most MC cartridges have a rise starting around 5-8 Khz and often there is a dip preceeding this rise.  This dip often is occurrring right in the presence region and could explain why some cartridges sound "spacious" regardless of the recording (many loudspeakers are "voiced" with a dip in the same region).  Could you elaborate on what the responses of each of the cartridges are like and how that correlates with what you hear from them?

The behavior of MC cartridges in this way is mainly due to resonance occurring from the cantilever assembly.  Have you ever tried a Dynavector 17D3?  This is actually the most unusual cartridge currently on the market.  Why?  First it is using a cantilever of pure diamond.  The only other one I know of is from Koetsu (but maybe they no longer make it).  Second the cantilever is extremely short, only 1.7mm long!  This is the shortest cantilever that I know of in a phono cartridge.  Third, it is using a microridge stylus, which when aligned properly, has the greatest contact surface area.  Fourth, they have gone to great lengths in understanding the magentic flux and in controlling it. 

What does this mean then in terms of performance?  Well, it has essentially no resonance below 100Khz.  This means that it is totally flat in the high frequencies without a rise like nearly every other cartridge.  Likewise, there is no dip in the presence region.  The measured specs I have seen show less than 1 db deviation from 30Hz to 20KHz.  They claim flat response to 50Khz!  This also means that it makes a very good attempt at a square wave.  The low mass of the cartridge and the cantilever and lack of resonance in the highs means that transient response is probably the best of any cartridge in existence.

How does it sound?  It is the closest cartridge I have heard to saying, "what does what sound like?"  It has essentially the character of the recording.  Close miked recordings sound very up front and naturally recorded classical music sounds deep and wide with plenty of space.  Tonality seems good because the frequency response is so flat.  I went away from it for a while because my phonostage didn't have enough gain (it is less than 0.3mV output) but now I have fixed the noise and hum problems and I will likely go back to this cartridge. 

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