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Introducing the Phono Cartridge Measurement Library

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Thanks folks, an At33ptg/ii has been on my list for a while. Will probably use it with a SUT.

Bit of a rare beast, but does anyone here have experience of strain-gauge carts such as the Win-Labs or Panasonic CD4 carts (EPC 451 onwards). These with a microline stylus would surely have very low cantelever mass?
Recommended tracking force is 2g. I think a regular mid-mass tonearm would be ideal. I'm simplifying but once you get to around 1.25g you should consider a low-mass tonearm. Dynamic compliance is 10×10-6cm/dyne, but that is Japanese standard so *maybe* around 15 for a calculator such as the one on vinyl engine? Someone else can confirm. Plus Audio-Technica says that they lowered the mass by shortening the cantilever. That may be why it doesn't need lower tracking force.

And no experience with strain-gauge. Hope we get a measurement.
 
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Empire 2000Z

Empire 2000Z - Victor QL-Y5 - CA-TRS-1007 - 1.png

Empire 2000Z - Victor QL-Y5 - CA-TRS-1007 - 3.png

  • Original stylus in used, unknown condition.
    • Nude elliptical
    • Looks to be well used, still some life left
  • Test record: Clearaudio TRS-1007 side A track 1 & 2 sweeps
    • Warped and hole is off-center
  • Cable capacitance estimated to 125 pF, not actual measure
  • Slightly less ‘ruler flat’ than official freq plot
    • High freq roll off from warped record?
    • Something else affecting results?
Empire 2000Z official specs.jpg
 
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Empire 2000Z

View attachment 314620
View attachment 314621
  • Original stylus in used, unknown condition.
    • Nude elliptical
    • Looks to be well used, still some life left
  • Test record: Clearaudio TRS-1007 side A track 1 & 2 sweeps
    • Warped and hole is off-center
  • Cable capacitance estimated to 125 pF, not actual measure
  • Slightly less ‘ruler flat’ than official freq plot
    • High freq roll off from warped record?
    • Something else affecting results?
View attachment 314622
I am finding it hard to resist the urge to buy an Empire 4000 D/III. Hopefully someone here already has one.

Based upon your other measurements, I'd say that your test record is not drooping because of warp, or at least not too badly. You did mention fussy tracking at 1g, so maybe something is a bit off. What is interesting is that specs for the regular 2000 line recommend 400-500pF. Could there be a mistake on this spec sheet?
 
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Nah, going higher in capacitance, it'll droop too much past 12kHz. Raising the capacitive load could straighten it out some more - though they do clearly state 47kOhm on the spec sheet above, as well as this one: https://images.reverb.com/image/upl...90,w_620/v1503966923/nxy8p6va5mjtd0bcrjne.jpg
That CBS measurement they use is not truly flat as the test record is off by a little. (I think I have seen some cartridges that were tuned to that test record and are off in an interesting and specific way!) If we take it at its word it actually rises at least 0.5dB after 5kHz before drooping back down at around 17kHz. It would need less capacitance than stated for "flat," and that is a low number for them at the time I think. I know I am pushing it, but it is something to consider. Their test record could have been off too for all we know. Good reason to measure another one of these!

Here is what flat likely looks like on the CBS.
Shure V15 V-MR⁴ - Denon DP-35F - CBS⁸ - 3.png
 

dlaloum

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Thanks folks, an At33ptg/ii has been on my list for a while. Will probably use it with a SUT.

Bit of a rare beast, but does anyone here have experience of strain-gauge carts such as the Win-Labs or Panasonic CD4 carts (EPC 451 onwards). These with a microline stylus would surely have very low cantelever mass?
In theory yes - but in practice, the old quad system required response out to 40kHz, but did not require a flat frequency response out to 40kHz....

All the carts designed for it used line contact stylus needle types (mostly shibata)
 

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Just wow, thank you for this great thread.

So much fun to catch up with these 'old friends!'

(Disclaimer: "Of course, LP is a poor aural stepchild to modern digital recording technology. ) ;)
 
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Audio-Technica AT71E vs AT95E
Audio-Techica AT71E vs AT95E - 2.png

This might be my favorite graph so far.

Same output, same resistance, same inductance. Pretty sure they are basically the same cartridge inside. Two entirely different turntables though and on different days!

You can see the effects of cartridge-tonearm incompatibility clearly. The AT95E was measured on a Sony PS-X50 with a high-mass tonearm that yields optimal results. Unfortunately the AT71E did not fit on its headshell so it is on a low-mass tonearm. Also note that the latter is close to a 40 year old cartridge and the former is likely around 10 years old. It's always a bit shocking seeing how well cartridges can hold up through time when well-made and cared for. Audio-Technica can do this in its sleep. It's also even more shocking to see such a match on two completly different (DD) turntables.

If you think this is crazy, in a few days I will post an even wilder one. Another two Audio-Technica cartridges. Made by different people and, obviously, through entirely different systems. Different CBS records. Should mention different capacitance settings too. (Guess what the FR will be.) Made years apart.
 

dlaloum

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I have a 4000/DI.
Styli.... originals are unobtainium.... and replacements aren't to the same specs... :(

Jico do have a replacement stylus (US$200) ... I would love to see that tested.
 

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Styli.... originals are unobtainium.... and replacements aren't to the same specs... :(

Jico do have a replacement stylus (US$200) ... I would love to see that tested.

Ya I generally don't do aftermarket styli. My interest is in the originals, so I'll either by complete carts that are NOS or low hours, or buy original styli and then find the right body later. My 4000/DI is NOS.
 
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Denon DL-301
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Denon DL-301 - Denon DP-30L II - CBS²ᶜ - 2.png
Denon DL-301 - Denon DP-30L II - CBS²ᶜ - 3.png

Denon DL-301.jpg
PXL_20211210_003133599.MP.jpg
PXL_20211210_002045175.MP.jpg

Notes
  • This is an old measurement as I no longer have the cartridge
  • I converted the CBS STR-100 FR to CA-TRS-1007 as best as I could
  • Measured through a Manley Chinook and miniDSP SHD
  • I left my sub crossover on by accident so there is an 8th order high-pass filter at 80Hz
    • If anyone knows how I can reverse this accurately please let me know
  • The Manley Chinook's RIAA filter tapers a little bit above 15kHz
  • This is a higher compliance 1980s vintage Denon MC cartridge
  • Used, 0.7 x 0.14, special elliptical stylus with tapered aluminum cantilever
    • Effective mass of 0.27mg
  • It is hard to say how much wear this has
    • Denons generally have high distortion above 5kHz
  • The test record did not provide helpful crosstalk results
 
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I used Izotope RX9 to manually EQ my CBS measurement of my Shure V15 V-MR to get close to the CA-TRS-1007 one. It's important that it's a "flat" cartridge. It's not a perfect conversion but it would never be anyways given the many margins or error we are dealing with so I am not sweating it. I did not go overkill. Very minimal correction below 1kHz as we can basically ignore that area. Each CBS record has its issues so there would be no universal EQ to share. I am only comfortable with this because I have been doing this for years, I own the test records, and have been able to compare them many, many times. And I've posted enough measurements that you can simply compare them to each other only if you are more comfortable with that. You can find some discussion and evidence of consistent differences on the script thread. I also highlighted the differences in my very first measurement on this thread. It is very important to distinguish them from regular CBS test record measurements.

Edit: Before anyone asks,
Figure 2023-09-28 235744.png
 
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aaaakkkk

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Empire 2000Z

View attachment 314620
View attachment 314621
  • Original stylus in used, unknown condition.
    • Nude elliptical
    • Looks to be well used, still some life left
  • Test record: Clearaudio TRS-1007 side A track 1 & 2 sweeps
    • Warped and hole is off-center
  • Cable capacitance estimated to 125 pF, not actual measure
  • Slightly less ‘ruler flat’ than official freq plot
    • High freq roll off from warped record?
    • Something else affecting results?
View attachment 314622
A hard damper will affect the high frequencies, you can do a tracking test, low tracking will indicate that the damper has become hard. I have the original insert from Empire 1000, where the damper is almost petrified.
 
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What could the difference between official Denon DL-301 test and your results? The rise starts at about 5kHz on yours and a little higher up the freqs on theirs. Just the test record or something else? The 301 is also in this old German test, not sure what test record they actually used though: http://www.classic-audio.info/assets/plugindata/poolc/test40tonabnehmer.pdf

BTW, should be 115 Ohm and not kOhm, right? @USER
 

dlaloum

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A hard damper will affect the high frequencies, you can do a tracking test, low tracking will indicate that the damper has become hard. I have the original insert from Empire 1000, where the damper is almost petrified.
Depending on the rubber formulation used , oil of wintergreen, AKA Methyl Salicylate, can be used to refurbish it and re-soften it.

Obviously, use with caution, in tiny, tiny amounts (tiny dropplet on the end of a toothpick)

No guarantees - but it may salvage a stylus with hardened suspension.

(also useful of other situations where there is rubber suspension, eg: vintage turntable suspension or feet)
 
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What could the difference between official Denon DL-301 test and your results? The rise starts at about 5kHz on yours and a little higher up the freqs on theirs. Just the test record or something else? The 301 is also in this old German test, not sure what test record they actually used though: http://www.classic-audio.info/assets/plugindata/poolc/test40tonabnehmer.pdf

BTW, should be 115 Ohm and not kOhm, right? @USER

Good catch. It is 115ohms. I'll change this later.

And as far as the FR rise, given the medium and its many variables, I wouldn't worry about it. It could be a slightly stiffened suspension, it could be related my set-up (I align it much better now with digital calipers and get far more consistent results), it could be the phono preamp (I use one without RIAA now to bypass this issue), it could be the CBS STR-100, or my correction. What matters is that you get a sense of the overall tonality, and it seems consistent with these Denons. It's the same with the Audio-Technicas. I believe that I show there are 3 general results depending on the cartridge or how you load, but expect the measurements posted to vary slightly from them for any of the reasons above.
ezgif-5-8486ace762.gif
 
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Denon DL-303
Click to increase size

Forum member @mackat was kind enough to share with me measurements of his extraordinary collection of cartridges. He is a long time collaborator on this project and has already posted measurements for many of these in other threads. I will be posting close to 30 of his measurements here during the next couple of months. You are in for a treat as they represent a judiciously selected and super high-quality collection. Included also are examples of stylus re-tipping (both good [we think] and very bad) and even a luxury/audiophile sample.

Note that these measurements were taken with CBS STR-100 test records and that I adjusted FR to my CA-TRS-1007 as best as I could. (I was comfortable attempting this as there were 30 measurements but please don't consider anything above 10kHz to match my CA exactly.) There were a variety of phono preamps employed so assume small discrepancies due to varied RIAA inaccuracies. You will see that for most cartridges -20 dB crosstalk is the limit. A couple seem to provide a "phantom center" measurement that aligns with spec of around -25 dB. And one seems to actually read out correctly well past -30 dB! I have no idea what that is about. As per usual with this test record, 2H distortion bottoms out at around -40 dB at 1kHz. The non-MC cartridges were adjusted for CBS STR-100 so the end result once converted are not as flat as hoped, but generally a good to course of action for anyone using these to adjust is to lower capacitance 50-100pF from what was used.

Denon DL-303 - Technics SP-15 - CBSᶜ - 2.png
Denon DL-303 - Technics SP-15 - CBSᶜ - 3.png

dl303 002.jpg

Original post

Notes
  • NOS cartridge
  • Special elliptical stylus with aluminum cantilever
  • An even higher compliance offering
    • Effective mass of 0.18mg
  • As you can see these Denons have high distortion above 5kHz
  • There is also a consistent FR with a "MC" high frequency boost
 

morillon

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I imagine that you have an xg7001... ;-)
you can check this crosstalk on its 1khz signals reference 3.54cm...
they can be measured around 35db... if it is 35 don't tell us if it could be better. ..but if less...come from the cartdrige.....
the problem is to know when the limits are side tests used and when the cartdrige...
(some discs offer the possibility of doing better than 35 db at 1khz, but this is on signals at 6.5cm or 8cm.... see dedicated tests)
 
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