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Introducing the Phono Cartridge Measurement Library

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After years of development we are finally launching our phono cartridge measurement library. These measurements were created using the brilliant cartridge response python script written by @scott wurcer and @JP. Information about its origins can be found in the following threads:




The script itself, user guides, information regarding test record compatibility and limitations, and discussion are available here:



Information regarding Floyd Toole's phono cartridge blind test experiments and the importance of frequency response is found here:



We invite you to join us and share your own measurements. It is our hope that this will be the largest, most detailed, and most reliable collection of its kind. We are indebted to the professional reviewers of the medium's golden age, who set the standard for third party cartridge measurements. This kind of data was once expected from the highest quality reviews in magazines such as Stereo Review and HiFi News.


Kindly abide by a few important rules:
  1. One measurement (or rather cartridge) per post
  2. Write the name of the cartridge on the post so that it is searchable
  3. Use the latest version of official script
    1. This helps with consistency (e.g. IRIAA filters may be off on older measurements)
    2. The script compensates for recording characteristics and allows for full range plots with custom biquad filters
  4. Provide as much set-up information as possible as well as stylus condition if known

Refer to the script thread for additional tips and guidelines. Please keep script and test record discussion in the respective threads. A lot has already been covered. It is important that this thread is somewhat orderly and legible as it is more a reference guide. If you want to check if the script supports your older measurements send me a private message, but generally sweeps at 44.1 and 96k are accepted. As long as you allow the results to be posted and can provide detailed loading information, I can make a graph out of your frequency response recordings should you want. Do allow me time. The script works best with JVC TRS-1007, Clearaudio CA-TRS-1007, and CBS STR-100 (Issue 3). Each has its limitations as you will see (e.g. CBS STR-100 and crosstalk). Spot rundowns have shown that frequency response measurements using JVC TRS-1007 are, for our purposes, correct when processed through the script. Think of Clearaudio CA-TRS-1007 as a lower resolution version. While CBS STR-100 is not as accurate, it is not too far off either, with a likely -0.5 dB bell dip between 2.5-17kHz. See the following for confirmation:



Note: Test records are not perfect and the turntables even less so with the many variables than can and do go wrong, so please use discretion as results are certainly not guaranteed on your set-up. Think of these as akin to Amir's headphone measurements. We are using modern capture technology with 50 year old test records so expect some compromise as the latter were never meant for this level of scrutiny and may suffer from pressing or warping issues. Additionally, the measurements are of sweeps located near the outer groove of the test records. Frequency response and distortion often changes a little as a cartridge progresses toward the inner groove. Those with larger radius diamonds, those with wear, and especially those with a combination of the two show larger differences. And a reminder that other factors such as trackability, channel matching, tone arm compatibility, output voltage, and condition also matter when considering a cartridge. Most importantly, your cartridge is just one part of your audio system chain (including RIAA implementation), with your speakers and room having the most impact on what you hear. So, for example, if--in a perfect world--your cartridge is neutral then what you hear is more or less the recording (with all the idiosyncrasies of the medium) through your speakers in your room. Please take this into consideration when offering or discussing anecdotes about sound quality. The circle of confusion has hit the vinyl community especially hard and we hope that by "democratizing" cartridge measurements we can begin to collectively move past it during the medium's, uhm, extended golden years.
 
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PHONO CARTRIDGE MEASUREMENT INDEX

A&R Cambridge (Arcam)
Acutex
  • LPM 320 III STR
AliExpress
Audio-Technica
Bang & Olufsen
Clearaudio
Denon
Dynavector
Empire
Grace
Grado
Kopbet
Lyra
Monster Cable
Nagaoka
Ortofon
Phasemation
Pioneer
Realistic (Radio Shack)
Rega
SAE
  • SAE 1000E 1
  • SAE 1000E 2
Shure
Signet
Sony
Stanton
Sumiko
Tayura
Technics
Thorens
Unitra

Victor (JVC)
Yamaha

Aftermarket Replacement Styli
Issues
Cartridge Body Swaps and Stylus Compatibility
EQ
Stylus Assembly Restoration and Transplant
  • Audio-Technica ATN15Ea Damper Restoration
  • Audio-Technica ATN71E Stylus Assembly Transplant
Professional Stylus Re-tipping and Cantilever Replacement

Popular and press recommended cartridges
  • Dynavector Karat 17DX
  • Goldring E3
  • Hana EH/ML/SL
  • Nagaoka MP-150
  • Ortofon 2M Bronze
  • Sumiko Songbird
Legacy classics
  • ADC Astrion
  • ADC TRX-1
  • ADC ZLM
  • Audio-Technica AT-ML180
  • Dynavector Karat 23R
  • Empire 4000 D/III
  • Grace F10/L
  • Lo-D (Hitachi) MT-202E
  • Pioneer PS-1000/II
  • Shure Ultra 500
  • Signet MR 5.0 ml
  • Signet TK9LCa
  • Stanton 881S
  • Victor X-1II
  • Yamaha MC-1S
Audiophile
  • Kiseki Purple Heart
  • Soundsmith Cartridges
First-third gen stereo cartridges
  • ADC-1
  • Empire 88
  • Pickering Model 371
  • Shure M3D / Audio-Technica AT-6
  • Shure M7-N21D
DJ cartridges
  • Shure M44
  • Stanton 680E.V3 / Trackmaster / RS500DJ
  • Vestax VR-5E
  • Ortofon Concorde
Cheap ceramic (Crosley-style turntables)
  • Chuo-Denshi CZ-800
Others of personal interest
  • Denon DL-107
  • Ortofon MC 20
  • Precept PC440
  • Yamaha MC-3

If there is a cartridge that you would like to see measured let me know by PM and I'll add it to the want list.
 
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Understanding, troubleshooting, and adjusting with measurements

With a clear and total vantage afforded by these measurements we can see that azimuth adjustment is first and foremost about making sure that the left and right channel frequency response curves are parallel to each other. One bonus is that, yes, distortion at 1kHz will be lower, but the traditional set-up method privileging it does not consider the wider effects of adjustment. (Not to mention that test records are generally not very good for this.) So use FR as your main guidepost when setting-up.

The crosstalk measurements can be helpful if you are in your test record's range and, if so, they can tell you which side to focus on when adjusting azimuth. If one channel is "higher" (worse) than the other, experiment with lowering that side of the cartridge. Kind of elegant, no? You can even place one of the thin rings that often come with cartridges between the headshell and the cartridge as a spacer. Every test record (providing a good pressing) has its limits and gets wonky if crosstalk surpasses them. Generally CBS-STR 100 can go to about -25 dB until 1kHz, CA-TRS-1007 can get near -30 dB. (But we also have examples in this thread of records that don't meet these figures.) Don't be surprised if the results looks strange --simply refer back to the FR and if the channels are parallel all the way through you are good to go. I have a DIN 45 543 that tells me that a good cartridge can do about 5 dB better than CA-TRS-1007. This means that some cartridges are better than spec! And this makes sense as manufacturers use these very same test records. If out of range and the left and right crosstalk measurements are far apart from each other no matter what you do and FR is correct, use the "phantom" midpoint between them at 1kHz as your "official" measurement.

And, finally, remember that sometimes the diamond tip can be unevenly worn, the diamond itself improperly placed or cut, or the cantilever bent to one side and so results may not be perfect no matter what you do. Measurements are a snapshot of the entire set-up and with record players there are a large number of variables at play. Cartridge centering, alignment, tracking force, and anti-skating can also affect FR and/or distortion. But you will learn what works for best for you with practice and I encourage you to think of these remarks as an ordered checklist to go through when setting up.

Notice how the left and right channels are not parallel across the entire FR below. The right channel starts off at around the same point as the left but it has a stronger downward slope. The azimuth adjustment is off and it is likely the left side of the cartridge needs to come down a tiny bit to level the stylus tip. I would expect the right channel FR to shift back upwards if corrected.
Stanton 681EEE III - Denon DP-30L II - CBS²ᶜ - 2.png
Stanton 681EEE III - Denon DP-30L II - CBS²ᶜ - 3.png

Here is an example of azimuth adjustment. I lowered the left side of the cartridge by turning the headshell slightly in that direction. You can see how the crosstalk measurements reflect this and how FR becomes more balanced between channels as well as distortion results. Also note how the "phantom" center result is maintained at 1kHz.
Azimuth 1.gif
Azimuth 3.gif

In the end it is strongly advised that you confirm proper set-up by recording some tracks and looking at the left and right channel FR though a spectrum analyzer in a program such as Izotope RX. Check various tracks throughout the record to make sure that you have and maintain proper alignment as the cartridge progresses toward the inner groove.

Note that the stylus can have much more of an impact on channel balance than the cartridge itself. Measuring your set-up in this fashion will provide you with much more accurate information than traditional cartridge channel LCR or multimeter measurements will.

I will update this section with a comparison of 8 Shure VN5MR styli on a V15 V-MR body.

For now, as we have a limited number of examples in the library, stylus wear is more evident in distortion measurements than in the frequency response. Generally it is good to become vigilant once distortion is above -20 dB between 5-10kHz and approaches -15 dB above 10kHz. Reminder that there are no universal figures to look out for given the variety of stylus shapes and cartridge specs and set-up requirements. This is why it is extremely helpful to take a "before" shot so that you can compare later on. For my wear measurements I have posted images of the respective styli so that you can learn to intuit wear by reading measurements. Worst case scenarios have been posted and more are coming, including a Sumiko Blue Point, Pioneer PC-290T, Audio-Technica ATN71E and ATN110E. If push comes to shove I'd say once you reach -10 dB above 10kHz and/or -30 dB at 1kHz you have already been damaging your records for a while. Based upon the images below I would replace a stylus once 5 dB is lost, at least for a comperable stylus shape (HE). How wear manifests and affects distortion depends on a lot of factors including the diamond shape. Generally finer-tipped styli show wear faster above 10kHz, and bigger shapes such as ellipticals show 5-10kHz more readily. Reminder too that some cartridges can be tricky in these areas. Denon MC cartridges, for example, are notorious for having distortion above -20 dB starting below 10kHz so don't confuse normal behavior for wear-created distortion. Generally new cartridges start at around -45 dB at 1kHz, even $11 ones like the AT3600L. Some test records are limited to around -40 dB, such as the CBS STR-100, so by the time you see change below 5kHz there has already been some erosion.

Here is a NOS and a worn-out Realistic R16X hyperelliptical stylus. While the worn one is not exactly a "chisel-point" I would certainly refrain from using it further and seek replacement. Unfortunately azimuth adjustment issues affected the NOS stylus measurements so 2H distortion results are a bit muddy around the mid-band, not to mention that it is not the same exact stylus. But the trend is evident. This one lost around 5 dB at 10kHz, 10 dB at 5kHz, and around 5 dB at 1kHz, though this last one is hard to say.
ezgif-2-0e591c1ff3.gif
ezgif-2-a2232e01a5.gif

ezgif-4-5dbfd27414.gif

Here you can find an example of how an incorrect cartridge-tonearm match can affect your frequency response. Note in particular the off-chart resonance affecting the lowest frequencies measured when a lower compliance cartridge is used on a low-mass tonearm. This resonance has crept up above the acceptable 7-12Hz range. It is not there when a compatible, higher-mass tonearm is used. I note such effects when they arise in my measurements as sometimes they are unavoidable. See the post for information regarding the respective set-ups.
Audio-Techica AT71E vs AT95E - 2.png

Note that by and large the measurements on this thread are of sweeps located near the outer-groove of the record. As JP shows, frequency response rolls-off a bit as the stylus progresses toward the inner-groove of the record. We can see that there is a relationship between the stylus diamond shape and the degree of roll-off, affecting mostly the higher frequencies. Obviously certain historical record types require specific styli, such as 78 RPM records, but as a matter of everyday practice with modern records you will have more FR consistency with a microlinear or equivalent stylus.

Here is an example of what can happen if the connection is not tight enough between the cartridge connectors and the tone arm wire. Severe channel imbalance and splintering FR in the highs are two things to look out for.
Loose Cartridge Connection Effect.gif

Historically it has been thought that test records have a relatively short lifespan as wear alters the frequency response well before 40 plays. Indeed one of my most trusted sources says so. See this from Stereo Review 1976, Issue 7.

Stereo Review 1976-07 Record Wear Damage.jpg


So far I have not seen much evidence pointing to such a limited lifespan in my measurements, including those of known worn-out cartridges. I have only seen this phenomenon when I damaged a test record with a destroyed diamond tip. The effect looked pretty much the same as above, so damage does seem to show up like how the article explains and the first place to look is the in higher frequencies. I re-measure my Shure V15 V-MR from time to time to make sure my CA-TRS-1007 results are consistent. I'll be sure to note when I see a change but I have over 100 measurements on the record at this point. I have done this with my older test record as well and have made numerous posts showing the results these past few years. Here is the last one.

CBS STR-100 after 100 measurements. I am confident the difference is due to changes in set-up.
WEAR COMPARISON (~100 PLAYS) · V15 V-MR.png

Damaged CA-TRS-1007. See these posts for information. I initially thought the difference was due to the use of a servo-tonearm. The results are consistent with all cartridges.
CLEARAUDIO TRS-1007 WEAR COMPARISON.png

Of course these are not the most rigorous tests as I am measuring cartridges of various diamond shapes and a different tracking forces. More, test records may have different physical properties and thus may be more susceptible to wear than others. I highly recommend having a control cartridge to create a master measurements graph and then confirm test record condition every once in a while in order to have confidence in your results.
 
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Measurement post template

Please use this simple post template so that measurements are more easily found through web searches:

Cartridge name in bold
Graphs
Notes

Please include the following information on your graphs in order to make your measurements useful to others:
  • Turntable
  • Tracking force
  • Phono stage and loading settings
    • Capacitance and impedance
    • SUT if used
  • Cable capacitance
    • Try to measure if you can as it matters with MM cartridges
    • Multimeters tend to exaggerate this, LCR meters work best and are a very useful tool to have
  • ADC
  • Test record
Stylus condition as a supplemental note helps us better understand the results. If official or review measurements are available for the cartridge, kindly link to them. Include both left and right channel measurements as this helps keep the results "honest" by better showing set-up issues. Finally, only use one of the three verified and compatible test records (JVC TRS-1007, CA TRS-1007, CBS STR-100 Issue 3).

Given the age of most test records they are often subject to warping issues. For example, some copies of CBS STR-100 exhibit flaws above 10kHz likely from warping caused by long-term storage. Flattening can help and is recommended. Measuring multiple cartridges can help in teasing out test record issues.

Bad batch of CBS STR-100
  • Record 2 is the best of the bunch
  • A flat cartridge helps you see errors more easily
CBS STR-100 COMPARISONgif.gif

Good batch of CBS STR-100
  • Purchased years later
  • Flattened
  • Different cartridge and loading were used for these results
    • Disregard FR curve difference
CBS STR-100 GOOD COPIES.gif

If reasonably priced, it is best practice to grab multiple copies of test records and compare them to determine the best copies.


Examples of flattening effect
(CBS STR-100 1) WARP COMPARISON.gif
(CBS STR-100 2) WARP COMPARISON.gif

ezgif-4-1bccf9bb31.gif

Note that I have personalized my graph aesthetics so yours will not look like mine. They are based on script version 16.5.
Superscript glossary: c = corrected, b = bent/issue, r = restored, x = damaged record; numbers identify particulars out of multiple copies.

New measurements
  • Denon DP-35F (with servo low-mass tonearm)
  • Sony PS-X50 (with high-mass tonearm)
  • Wayne Kirkwood Balanced Flat MM Phono Preamplifier (only clean gain, no RIAA)
    • +28 dB gain for XLR output
  • E1DA Cosmos ADC (instrument grade, 1.7V)
    • Goal is to have Shure V15 V-MR (~5mV) 1kHz signal at 3.5 cm/s (5 cm/s lateral) to be around -24 dBFS
      • This is an optimal setting for overhead in order to prevent worst case scenario clipping, even with EQ, during playback
Older measurements
  • Denon DP-35F (with servo low-mass tonearm)
  • Denon DP-30L II (with low-mass tonearm)
  • Sony PS-X50 (with high-mass tonearm)
  • Wayne Kirkwood Balanced Flat MM Phono Preamplifier (set to unbalanced)
    • E1DA Cosmos ADC
  • Manley Chinook or Cambridge Audio Duo Phono Preamplifiers
    • miniDSP SHD ADC
While I have posted measurements for a few years now, the ones in this library thread are to be considered my updated, "official' results. If I no longer have a cartridge I will post the older measurements. At times I may only have left channel mono sweeps. All measurements are subject to further update and refinement. Even if cartridges have been posted members are encouraged to measure their own copies and set-ups and add them to the library. Additional data is a good thing.

I am providing images of the styli whenever possible. They are taken with this USB microscope. Do note that these images are at the cusp of usability to judge stylus condition, though they do get there. What you are looking for is the size of the two white dots near the tip as well as the amount of space between them. Think of them as a supplemental aid to help understand the measurements, especially when odd phenomena are encountered. Everything helps.

If it matters to you, the ambient temperature in my room is between 68-72°F year round.
 
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How Our Results Compare to Official Laboratory and Professional Review Measurements
Click on images to increase size

Sony XL-30
Sony XL-30 Official.jpg
Sony XL-30 - L - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 2.png


When possible, my posts will include official measurements for comparison. Here I am providing a single channel measurement to make the introduction easier to understand. You can see that the 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion results set our measurements apart from most others (the distortion axis is on the right). Note that the B&K QR 2009 and Victor (JVC) TRS-1005 Sony used both show a frequency response dip between 2-10kHz when compared to the more accurate JVC TRS-1007 and CA TRS-1007. For our purposes, assuming correction, these results match almost perfectly. Not bad considering the 45+ years separating the measurements!


Audio-Technica VM540ML
AT-VM540ML.png
audio-technica-review-img14.jpg


The first measurements are from Low Beats and were taken with JVC TRS-1007. The second are from Home Theater Hi-Fi using CBS STR-100. Note that measurements from the latter are generally not reliable. The reasons become clear when you consider every other example.
Audio-Technica VM540ML - Sony PS-X50 - CBSᶜ - 1.png
Audio-Technica VM540ML - Technics SP-15 - CBSᶜ - 1.png

The first is a single channel measurement made by @Digital1955 for an early version of the script. I adjusted the frequency response to match CA TRS-1007. There is no crosstalk information available with a mono recording.

The second was made by @mackat. Again, FR was adjusted to match CA TRS-1007. Total capacitance is unknown but likely high. The limitations of the CBS STR-100 test record remain with respect to the other variables and can be seen clearly in the crosstalk results, which are here limited to around -20 dB at 1kHz (use phantom center point).
1688781648470.png
Audio-Technica VM540ML - Sony PS-X50 - CA¹ - 2.png


And here are two more recent measurements. The first is from @dougi. The final one is my own measurement. Note the graph style is slightly different from the two above, with the distortion axis located on the right side.

This might be the most measured cartridge out there! All things considered (including the different loading settings and phono stages), the results are very consistent. So much for turntables having a unique sound signature of their own. Readers can have confidence in the measurements, compare the frequency response to that of other cartridges, determine best or preferred loading settings, and even figure out if a cartridge is incompatible with their set-up (e.g. total capacitance afforded by phono stage does not produce optimal results).
 
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Shure V15 V-MR
Click to increase size
Shure V15 V-MR⁴ - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 2.png
Shure V15 V-MR⁴ - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 3.png

S20230705_0004.jpg
ezgif-5-bf15882d4b.gif
S20230705_0006.jpg

Notes
  • As good as it gets!
    • Essentially flat at ±0.5 dB
      • I would ignore the waviness of the left channel highs and follow the peaks
        • Each test record has its pressing problems
  • Lightly used, micro-ridge stylus with beryllium cantilever and dynamic stabilizer brush
  • Denon DP-35F has a servo tonearm
    • Compare results at 20Hz with one below to possibly see effect on resonance
  • Recorded with Wayne Kirkwood Flat MM Phono Preamplifier (no RIAA for precision) and E1DA Cosmos ADC
  • You need to record in 192k for full 3rd harmonic distortion data
  • Crosstalk is limited with CA-TRS-1007 but center point at 1kHz should be the measurement (-30 dB)
  • I also have copies that show a slight downward slope after 10kHz and I will run a comparison later

Confirmation of results
Shure V15 V-MR⁴ - Denon DP-30L II - Puffin - CA¹ - 2.png
Shure V15 V-MR⁴ - Denon DP-30L II - Puffin - CA¹ - 3.png

Notes
  • Here I used a Parks Audio Puffin on flat mode with digital out in order to compare and confirm results
    • 44.1 recording limits 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion data
  • Here turntable is Denon DP-30L II (with low mass tonearm)
    • Non-quartz direct drive with much beefier motor and different tonearm
      • So much for turntables having completely different sound signatures!
      • Obviously wow & flutter, rumble, tonearm compatibility, loading, and set-up also matter

CBS STR-100 (Version 3)
Shure V15 V-MR⁴ - Denon DP-35F - CBS⁸ - 2.png
Shure V15 V-MR⁴ - Denon DP-35F - CBS⁸ - 3.png

V15 V-MR - Stereo Review Dec 1984 Measurements.jpg

Stereo Review, December 1984. I would say it is spot on.

Notes
  • Biggest difference is a wide 0.5 dB bell dip in the frequency response
    • Account for set-up and general test record margin of error
    • CBS STR-100 test records can vary a little above 10kHz (flattening helps some)
  • The sweep oscillator switches at 5kHz very clearly on every CBS STR-100
    • This is how the test record track was made
    • Ignore it and use the midway point
  • Crosstalk is limited here to -25dB at 1kHz
  • 2nd harmonic distortion is also more limited here at 1kHz to about -40 dB
  • Still, this is the best test record still available and at a reasonable price!
 
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Audio-Technica AT7V (Older Japanese Version)
Click to increase size
Audio-Technica AT7V² - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 2.png
Audio-Technica AT7V² - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 3.png

rectangle_New-Out99986-sharpen.jpg
rectangle_New-Out99987-sharpen.jpg
rectangle_New-Out99990-sharpen.jpg

Notes
  • Japanese import that was an enthusiast favorite
  • Was my preference for an affordable medium compliance Audio-Technica cartridge
    • Perfect for a medium or high-mass tonearm like a Sony PUA-7
  • NOS, nude, 0.2 x 0.7, special elliptical stylus with aluminum alloy cantilever
    • As nice as it gets below microlinear or shibata diamonds
  • Signature Audio-Technica frequency response
    • Small rise at 20Hz is due to slight tonearm mismatch
      • 2g tracking prefers a heavier tonearm
      • Denon DP-35F has a servo low-mass tonearm
        • Servo tonearm keeps the resonance lower than non-servo low-mass tonearm would
      • The resonance is mitigated on an appropriate tonearm
        • I will demonstrate this in a supplemental measurement
 
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Grado Prestige Blue1
Click to increase size
Grado Prestige Blue1 - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 2.png
Grado Prestige Blue1 - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 3.png

S20231127_0002.jpg
S20231127_0008.jpg
rectangle_New-Out99995.jpg
original_f3e083a7-6307-4aba-a25e-3f1060a51f60_PXL_20221110_203409592.MP.jpg

Notes
  • NOS cartridge and elliptical stylus
  • This cartridge seems to prefer medium-mass tonearm instead of this low-mass one
    • You can tell by the off-the-chart resonance that is lifting the results at 20Hz above 2 dB
  • Azimuth is off by a tiny little bit
    • Right and left channel FR are not parallel all the way through
    • Here I would try lowering the right side of the cartridge
      • The crosstalk measurements tell me this as right channel results are a little worse
      • Depending on the tonearm it may be difficult to make the small adjustment needed
        • Perhaps a sheet of paper between cartridge and headshell on the right side would suffice
          • Yes you read correctly
        • The results are certainly acceptable so don't go crazy over this
  • What do you think of the frequency response?
    • Is this voicing or cheap construction or both!?
    • Would this sound "warm?"
 
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Sony XL-30
Click to increase size
Sony XL-30 - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 2.png
Sony XL-30 - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 3.png

rectangle_New-Out99998.jpg
S20231127_0012.jpg
rectangle_New-Out999999.jpg

PXL_20230628_200352796.MP.jpg

Notes
  • Look at this little guy!
  • Used but with low hours, nude, elliptical stylus
  • Channel balance is a bit off, would need to bring right channel down 0.5 dB to match
  • Need to fiddle more with set-up as left and right 2H distortion don't line up
  • Middle-class cartridge, but well-engineered
    • Sony elegantly pushed up resonance to avoid most audible frequencies
    • Standards were very high during the turntable golden era
 
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Grace by Sumiko F-8L
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Grace F-8L - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 2.png
Grace F-8L - Denon DP-35F - CA¹ - 3.png


Grace STR-100.jpg
PXL_20230704_195617782.MP.jpg

Official measurement on a CBS STR-100
S20230924_0006.jpg
S20230924_0001.jpg
S20230924_0011.jpg

Notes
  • Lightly used nude, 0.2 x 0.8, elliptical stylus with aluminum cantilever
    • Gorgeous "luminal trace" diamond
  • About an average frequency response for the time
  • Cantilever material has a lot to do with the resonance
    • Best cartridges use lighter boron and beryllium cantilevers or even short ones to lighten mass
      • This tempers it or pushes it out of hearing range above 20kHz
      • Above average cartridges show more control, especially at 100pF total
    • Here the plan was clearly to hollow out the cantilever
      • But this cantilever is especially delicate because of this --be careful with one
    • Of course there is often little information above 10kHz in LPs
      • And so these comments are more about engineering excellence
  • Excellent distortion and crosstalk results
  • This particular cartridge body has about an 87% channel and inductance match
    • The inductance mismatch can be seen in the measurements
      • Different higher frequency resonance curve shapes (taper)
    • The test record may exaggerate channel imbalance slightly
    • This is the risk of buying vintage (look at it, I couldn't help myself)
 
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Stanton 681EEE III
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Stanton 681EEE III - Denon DP-30L II - CBS²ᶜ - 2.png
Stanton 681EEE III - Denon DP-30L II - CBS²ᶜ - 3.png

Stanton 681EEE III - Denon DP-30L II - CBS² - 2.png
Stanton 681EEE III - Denon DP-30L II - CBS² - 3.png

stanton.jpg
PXL_20221104_185213695.MP.jpg

Stereo Review, 1975

Notes
  • The first set are CBS STR-100 measurements with frequency response corrected to CA TRS-1007
    • This is noted by the superscript "c" (the "2" is for my own reference and refers to the particular test record)
    • Please don't compare this to a typical CBS STR-100 result
    • Only FR was changed and the limitations of the CBS record still apply (e.g. crosstalk, distortion at 1kHz, etc.)
    • The second set of measurements are the original and are for reference
  • Used, bonded, special elliptical stylus with damping brush
  • These measurements are old and I no longer have the cartridge
    • Set-up could be better, particularly azimuth adjustment
      • Proper azimuth adjustment would result in parallel left and right channel frequency response
      • Here the right channel slopes down more sharply compared to left channel
      • Left side of cartridge likely needs to be brought down (the crosstalk measurements can tell you what to do)
      • LCR meter channel measurements show 98%+ channel and inductance match so neither is the issue
      • I just noticed the heavy corrosion on the connectors in the picture
      • It is also hard to figure out how age affects brush compensation tracking
        • These measurements are excellent set-up tools
    • While I wish I could run this again the resultant curve was found in prior review of original 681EEE so it checks out
      • Someone else measure this!
  • Here we see a fine example of a popular "voiced" cartridge
    • The usual high frequency resonance is not there below 20kHz
      • FR is well controlled: the shorter cantilever likely pushed up the resonance
    • This cartridge was deliberately tuned this way and you can see the elegance of the engineering
 
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dlaloum

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Stanton 681EEE III
Click to increase size
View attachment 296641View attachment 296642
View attachment 296499View attachment 296500
Stereo Review, 1975

Notes
  • This is on a CBS STR-100 whose FR was corrected to CA-TRS-1007
    • Please don't compare this to a typical CBS STR-100 result
  • Measurements are old and I no longer have the cartridge
    • Set-up could be better I think
      • I could likely get right channel to match better
      • It is also hard to figure out how age affects brush compensation tracking without something like this
    • While I wish I could run this again the resultant curve was found in prior review of original 681EEE so it checks out
      • Someone else measure this!
  • Used, bonded, special elliptical stylus with damping brush
  • Here we see a fine example of a popular "voiced" cartridge
This one could definitely be re-voiced with either cartridge loading or digital EQ

(I had one of these in the late 1980's - enjoyed it a lot! - long before I was aware of such things as "loading")
 

Haskil

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Bravo !!!
 

DrCWO

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Very cool, will test mine too!
What I haven't found out at my first quick view is which test record to use. Will it be file to have a logarithmic sweep from 20 to 20k? Or do I need a test record from a certain manufacturer?
 
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Very cool, will test mine too!
What I haven't found out at my first quick view is which test record to use. Will it be file to have a logarithmic sweep from 20 to 20k? Or do I need a test record from a certain manufacturer?
The script works best with JVC TRS-1007, Clearaudio CA-TRS-1007, and CBS STR-100 (Issue 3), in that order. On all the first track is comprised of left and right channel sweeps so record that. The guides will show you what to do. The CBS STR-100 is by far the cheapest and easiest to find. (They are available on eBay for a modest price, though it has gone up significantly recently--likely because of us, lol--so don't wait.) The JVC is near impossible to find but is the gold standard and the Clearaudio has recently gone OOP but copies float around sometimes.
 
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This one could definitely be re-voiced with either cartridge loading or digital EQ

(I had one of these in the late 1980's - enjoyed it a lot! - long before I was aware of such things as "loading")
A member posted measurements of the Nagaoka MP-500 back in the earliest days of the script and it seems to perform similarly. Clearly people love that curve as that is a very well-regarded cartridge as well. Hopefully we can get updated measurements for the library.

I think that with these measurements we will be better able to explore EQ, which will make nice marriage of old and new technology. I look forward to testing out results with it, by, say, seeing if AB tests using matched recordings flattens the field in a good way (much like in Toole's old experiments).

EQ has great potential to help out with archival work, which is why I got into all of this in the first place.
 

robwpdx

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Thanks for this! Electronics are very linear.

Microphones, phono cartridges, and loudspeakers (and rooms) are much less linear. We have good public data on speakers thanks to ASR and DIY testers. There are standard microphone testing groups like https://www.audiotestkitchen.com/. Phono cartridges are the missing link.

The electromechanical systems have varying frequency response, harmonic distortion, intermodulation distortion, and other nonlinearities.

Logging measurements by test disc, stylus pressure, stylus radial angle at measurement, and phono preamp would be useful. A reference cartridge tip wiggler and a reference preamp would add value.

It would be the ASR of cartridges!

(One wonders how cartridge makers test designs and do quality control)

Again if you want this comment on another thread, glad to move.
 
Last edited:

robwpdx

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Stanton 681EEE III
Click to increase size
View attachment 296641View attachment 296642
View attachment 296499View attachment 296500
Stereo Review, 1975

Notes
  • This is on a CBS STR-100 with FR corrected to CA-TRS-1007
    • Please don't compare this to a typical CBS STR-100 result
  • Measurements are old and I no longer have the cartridge
    • Set-up could be better, particularly azimuth adjustment
      • LCR meter channel measurements show 98%+ channel and inductance match so issue isn't either
      • I could have likely gotten right channel to droop less and match better
      • It is also hard to figure out how age affects brush compensation tracking
        • These measurements are excellent set-up tools
    • While I wish I could run this again the resultant curve was found in prior review of original 681EEE so it checks out
      • Use left channel results
      • Someone else measure this!
  • Used, bonded, special elliptical stylus with damping brush
  • Here we see a fine example of a popular "voiced" cartridge
This was our reference in the 1970s in a recording studio. We had an historic archive of concert performances cut to disc before tape. To transcribe them our reference arms were the SAE 3000? large diameter disc curved on a large mass large diameter 16"? mains synced platter. At home at the time, I had a V15-IV on a Philips GA312 which I gave to a friend to sell at a garage sale in the 90s. Then I went linear tracking for distortion before getting out of vinyl. There are probably some AES papers useful to your project.

If you want comments like this on another thread, glad to move it.
 
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