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Difference of $200 cartridge vs a $6,000+ cartridge?

Already here for $500 - Parks Waxwing.
They are a bit different.

Technics auto eqs the cartridge and lowers the crosstalk and then eqs vinyl era records.

Waxwing just has a manual treble control and one band of peq, but EQs any disc from any era, and has all the mono controls that technics is missing for some unknown reason

So they do very different things
 
The effective tip mass is the main driver of the cantilever resonance.

Even with exotic solid tube cantilevers, that resonance can be in the 14kHz to 16kHz range.... I have 2 Jico SAS samples, both boron rod cantilevers one with a resonance frequency of 14kHz and the other 16kHz.... Needless to say, these impact directly on the FR!

You can adjust for them via loading but generally you have to compromise between flat FR in the 1k to 14k region, followed by dramatic fall off thereafter, or a less perfect midrange FR, but with good extension.

On the other hand, if you have an original V15VMR needle - with substantially lower effective tip mass, it results in a resonance frequency of circa 32Khz... and with appropriate loading adjustment, you can achieve a nice flat FR right through to 20kHz

So yes the key is as you say "FR being relatively close" - but effective tip mass affects FR directly and noticeably.

The Dynavector Karat has a very low effective tip mass achieved through its tiny short cantilever.... resonance frequency is around 50kHz.... and it easily achieves a ruler flat FR....

I have not had an oppotunity to test/measure/listen to some other designs that claim very low tip mass, eg: Soundsmith "The Voice" - the development of the B&O MMC1.

The lovely TOTL stanton's had a cantilever resonance around 19Khz... and achieved it with very thin walled aluminium tubes.

Technics EPC100mk4 was the lowest tip mass ever made, achieving a resonance frequency of aroun 100kHz - well outside the audible range. - This was achieved by making boron tube cantilevers. - Sadly no one is making such cantilevers today. - all the current styi are either aluminium tubes, or boron/saphire rods.

I think if you investigate the math you'll find that ETM figures were likely derived from where the resonance is, so a correlation is a given, though perhaps not deservedly so in all cases. LD did a great treatment on that quite awhile ago on VE.

Regardless, there are plenty of higher ETM carts with flat(ter) FR, and plenty of lower EM carts with not flat(ter). My point stands.
 
I'm pretty much convinced that cartridges are 80% hi-fi jewelery. Hence the conspicuous gemstone and 'rare' wood bodies etc.

Purely out of nostalgia I recently purchased a refurbished Revox B795 turntable (I was big into vinyl in the 80's). I'm 100% a digital advocate now and just wanted one for the design and look of it. Anyhoo, I initially fitted it with a cheap Ortofon OM5 cartridge (c.£80) until I could source something more authentic and contemporaneous. Later I secured a vintage Shure V15MkV and fitted it with a brand new Jico micro-ridge stylus . Neither cartridge are in any way exotica, but the Shure should, by conventional 'vinyl logic', be significantly better (many regard the Shure V15 V5 as the ultimate MM cart). In practice, the difference between them is startlingly small - blind I doubt I could tell them apart.

Also, back in those dim and distant 80's, (when I was working in high end audio) I was asked to fit a Kiseki Lapis Lazuli (at the time most expensive cartidge in the world) to a customers turntable. It was then one of only 16 yet made - and my hands certainly trembled as I installed it! However once up and running it was no better than the Van den Hul it replaced (at about a quarter of the price) but I recall my colleagues and the customer gushing that it was incredible. It certainly looked the part, but definitely a case of the kings new clothes!

Doug
 
I'm pretty much convinced that cartridges are 80% hi-fi jewelery. Hence the conspicuous gemstone and 'rare' wood bodies etc.

Purely out of nostalgia I recently purchased a refurbished Revox B795 turntable (I was big into vinyl in the 80's). I'm 100% a digital advocate now and just wanted one for the design and look of it. Anyhoo, I initially fitted it with a cheap Ortofon OM5 cartridge (c.£80) until I could source something more authentic and contemporaneous. Later I secured a vintage Shure V15MkV and fitted it with a brand new Jico micro-ridge stylus . Neither cartridge are in any way exotica, but the Shure should, by conventional 'vinyl logic', be significantly better (many regard the Shure V15 V5 as the ultimate MM cart). In practice, the difference between them is startlingly small - blind I doubt I could tell them apart.

Also, back in those dim and distant 80's, (when I was working in high end audio) I was asked to fit a Kiseki Lapis Lazuli (at the time most expensive cartidge in the world) to a customers turntable. It was then one of only 16 yet made - and my hands certainly trembled as I installed it! However once up and running it was no better than the Van den Hul it replaced (at about a quarter of the price) but I recall my colleagues and the customer gushing that it was incredible. It certainly looked the part, but definitely a case of the kings new clothes!

Doug
We listen with the brain, hence the ABX audio where it operates in pure analytical mode. Considering the very poor performance of analog where the microgroove vinyl record is at the back of the pack, investing disproportionate sums in reproduction systems involving artisanal as well as industrial production at the start of the chain -costing fortunes- is hardly justified. The disc has a serious surface noise problem that cannot be overcome without taking into account rapid wear.
 
I have 4 cartridges

Audio-Technica AT-VM95SH - MM - ~$200 (2024)
Shure V15 Type III - MM - ~$200 (1980)
Sumiko Blue Point Special - HOMC - ~ $300 (1985)
Sumiko Blackbird - HOMC - ~$1200 (2010)

I’d be hard pressed to tell them apart, in a test
Agreed. It takes serious intent. After writing notes on carts/stylus the past 20 years I've noted some differences but if I were to listen to them all and music secondary I wouldn't like be able to tell much difference. I had a Clearaudio setup with their phono pre in 2007 and was kind of pissed it didn't make huge leap in sound.

I only asked the question based on material costs, labor, R&D. I know enough to know most have very little difference. I could make more of a difference with treble and bass controls.
 
I'm pretty much convinced that cartridges are 80% hi-fi jewelery. Hence the conspicuous gemstone and 'rare' wood bodies etc.

Purely out of nostalgia I recently purchased a refurbished Revox B795 turntable (I was big into vinyl in the 80's). I'm 100% a digital advocate now and just wanted one for the design and look of it. Anyhoo, I initially fitted it with a cheap Ortofon OM5 cartridge (c.£80) until I could source something more authentic and contemporaneous. Later I secured a vintage Shure V15MkV and fitted it with a brand new Jico micro-ridge stylus . Neither cartridge are in any way exotica, but the Shure should, by conventional 'vinyl logic', be significantly better (many regard the Shure V15 V5 as the ultimate MM cart). In practice, the difference between them is startlingly small - blind I doubt I could tell them apart.

Also, back in those dim and distant 80's, (when I was working in high end audio) I was asked to fit a Kiseki Lapis Lazuli (at the time most expensive cartidge in the world) to a customers turntable. It was then one of only 16 yet made - and my hands certainly trembled as I installed it! However once up and running it was no better than the Van den Hul it replaced (at about a quarter of the price) but I recall my colleagues and the customer gushing that it was incredible. It certainly looked the part, but definitely a case of the kings new clothes!

Doug
Same. That was what I was getting at with OP.

If labor, material, R&D are all the within a thousand dollars, then the rest fairy dust and magic if played on equal gear like an entry level Yamaha amp, Rega P1, Schiit Mani Pre, and some Elac entry level speakers. Play carts from $99 to $10K on that equipment (no bullshit it has to play on elite equipment) and I’d want the best Koetsu to stand alone in a contest. I doubt it would.
 
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