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Introducing the Phono Cartridge Measurement Library

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So we may reach 100k views today, exactly 8 months into this thread. That's an average of 416 views a day! This is absolutely nuts for a turntable-related thread anywhere on the internet. It is proof that people really do care about better understanding the medium and are ready to move on from the marketing mumbo jumbo that has limited and muddied discourse for too many years. It was time (in many ways to go back to better days).

The work here is obviously not perfect--not for a lack of trying--but I have a feeling additional complimentary, useful, and fascinating resources are coming our way this year as we now have our feet on the ground, including EQ and ABX tests. Congrats to everyone that made this possible, but a special round of applause to @scott wurcer and @JP, who have generously made understanding phono cartridges a much easier, more precise, and tangible process for everyone.
 

Jimi Floyd

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So we may reach 100k views today, exactly 8 months into this thread. That's an average of 416 views a day! This is absolutely nuts for a turntable-related thread anywhere on the internet. It is proof that people really do care about better understanding the medium and are ready to move on from the marketing mumbo jumbo that has limited and muddied discourse for too many years. It was time (in many ways to go back to better days).

The work here is obviously not perfect--not for a lack of trying--but I have a feeling additional complimentary, useful, and fascinating resources are coming our way this year as we now have our feet on the ground, including EQ and ABX tests. Congrats to everyone that made this possible, but a special round of applause to @scott wurcer and @JP, who have generously made understanding phono cartridges a much easier, more precise, and tangible process for everyone.
I love this thread, it has been really helpful and instructive to me, and I spin records since 48 years now. I would like to thank all of you who posted measurements and the OP first and foremost. I am tempted to get a measurement record and start experimenting myself, maybe I will post some graph here sooner or later. Thanks again, seriously!
 

Col. Panic

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Wow! Thanks for the detailed feedback. I'll try your suggestion about the piece of paper. On a car alignment, I guess that'd be a slight toe-in and positive camber adjustment? Then I'll take another measurement incorporating your other various suggestions and PM you the files. Thanks so much for the kind offer! I'll try to get that done sometime this week.
Thanks again for the advice. I'm having a hard time making really fine adjustments on my turntable - it takes a fair degree of finesse not to go too far and lose the starting point. To make sure I'm not chasing phantoms, I made did a quick repeatability study. This is five consecutive measurements with normal household noise in the background: a barking dog, tv on in the other room, etc. I looks pretty good. Next, I'll try azimuth tweak again.
repeatability.png
 

Balle Clorin

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How do you overlay 5 tracks in one plot? 4 I can imagine ( 2 channels x 2 files) but 5 ?
 

Col. Panic

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I've attached the code here - just change the extension from ".txt." to ".py". (It looks like the this form doesn't let you upload .py files.) It's just a few tweaks and point solution for this specific task. If there's interest I can modify it to accept an arbitrary number of files and plot them against each other. Let me know if folks would find that useful.
 

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red_delta

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AT VM95C
ATVM95C 2g.png
Notes

  • Cartridge: Audio-Technica AT VM95C
  • Stylus condition <100 hrs on vinyl
  • Test record: CBS STR100 issue 3
  • Turntable: Fluance RT82 Stock
  • Tracking force: 2g
  • Phono stage and ADC: Pro-ject phonobox usb
  • Capacitance- Approx 210pF, given 120pF for phono preamp and 90pf for stock fluance cables (credit to USER)
  • Realigned the cartridge multiple times to attempt to get the FR to be smooth and consistent between the left and right channels, other alignments showed an overall jagged FR above 7khz
  • Generally mirrors the results of lowbeats
  • This was posted prior, but it seems I accidentally used a discord link of the image resulting in it being deleted in the original entry, I apologize for this
 

red_delta

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Taruya 01M-S Blue

taruya O1M-S.png


Notes

  • Cartridge: Taruya 01M-S Blue
  • This has a sapphire needle, which their marketing makes some interesting claims regarding
  • Stylus condition <50 hrs on vinyl
  • Test record: CBS STR100 issue 3
  • Turntable: Fluance RT82 Stock
  • Tracking force: 3g
  • Phono stage: Schitt Mani
  • Capacitance- Unknown, shipped the record to a friend so he could measure his cartridge
  • This was posted prior, but it seems I accidentally used a discord link of the image resulting in it being deleted in the original entry, I apologize for this
 

red_delta

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so this is a preliminary measurement of my VM540ML, but the crosstalk appears to be completely off does anyone have any tips for improving it? I already have .7mm shims under each side (measured with digital calipers) to correct for the difference in height between the default flaunce rt82 cartridge (om10) and the VM540ML.


vm540ml.png
 

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OP
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so this is a preliminary measurement of my VM540ML, but the crosstalk appears to be completely off does anyone have any tips for improving it? I already have .7mm shims under each side (measured with digital calipers) to correct for the difference in height between the default flaunce rt82 cartridge (om10) and the VM540ML.


View attachment 354060
You cannot use that CBS test record for proper crosstalk measurements. Based on the frequency response channel matching, it seems that azimuth is more or less set correctly (for that record anyways) and the results are good enough to get a dependable overview of the performance. This specific crosstalk result is likely simply telling you that it is at a point beyond the limit of the record (often around -20dB). It sort of "breaks apart" when it goes past its limit. Take the midway point as your result (~-23dB). When I compare crosstalk results between my records, I find that the CBS generally performs 10dB worse than my best record, DIN 45 543 and my copy of CA-TRS-1007 performs 5dB worse.

Here is my result on the DIN 45 543. It too has broken up a bit. My midpoint result is about -33dB. In the end we are consistent and I don't think you have anything to worry about.
Audio-Technica VM540ML - Sony PS-X50 - DIN 45 543 - 2.png
 
Last edited:

narud

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couldn’t the magnets be misaligned? i had a vm95ml stylus that had the diamond installed into the cantilever crooked. i rotated the cantilever so the diamond was perpendicular to the groove, but the v magnets were then off. the reading i took with the rotated cantilever looked like that. with the magnets in their proper place, the crosstalk matched up.
 

red_delta

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@USER Thank you, I noticed that I swapped out my cables for higher capacitance ones to get a flatter FR on my VM95C and forgot to switch them back for the VM540ML. I re-ran it with the prior cables, which are assumed to be 90pf, plus whatever the waxwing is and got the below which matches the other results more closely. It is an interesting case study in cable capacitance and FR at the very least. This did show I need to mess with the cartridge positioning a bit though. Ill have an official post for this cartridge ready by the end of the week
 

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Bernard23

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AUDIO TECHNICA VM95ML (EDITED)

View attachment 297877
View attachment 297878

NOTES:
  • Music Hall Stealth DD ->QUAD Artera PRE -> RME ADI-2 PRO
  • Test record not flat
  • Redone after cart re-setup and using side 2 of the test record
  • <10 hours on cart
  • strange distortion wiggle
  • Not exactly extended
This explains a few things! I had one for a week, didn't like it, sounded lacking in presence compared to the technics 270C I've got.

Just wow, this thread! Just found it and already on page 2 mention of the Jico SAS boron. Got some catching up to do!
 

Bernard23

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The 7khz distortion peak probably indicates the cantilever resonance - it's a bit of a porker...
Would be interesting to see the same cartridge measured with a SAS stylus (which are available for it)...
Agree, I'm also not surprised it measures well as it sounds good. I'm using a Nagaoka G28 replacement stylus on mine, I have no info on the diamond shape and cant look it, but I suspect the same profile as the original 270ED given that Nagaoka made the 270 for Technics. I have also tried the Analogis Swiss Black Diamond stylus, and imo not as good as the Nag. I's so tempted to fit a new SAS Boron, but had my wallet burnt by a couple of alleged NOS 205C with Jico SAS and was disappointed.
 

Bernard23

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Skimmed through all 48 pages and couldn't reach a conclusion to the vexing question I have, that is whether the invest in a SAS Boron for the 270C, or stick a 540ML on and be done. I wasn't a fan of the 95ML, sounded dull in comparison in my system and room. I was also thinking about trying the 205 mk3 with an NOS 205ED3 stylus, but it's a risky investment. How did the 205CII-L with original Ti cantilever compare?
 

JP

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Skimmed through all 48 pages and couldn't reach a conclusion to the vexing question I have, that is whether the invest in a SAS Boron for the 270C, or stick a 540ML on and be done. I wasn't a fan of the 95ML, sounded dull in comparison in my system and room. I was also thinking about trying the 205 mk3 with an NOS 205ED3 stylus, but it's a risky investment. How did the 205CII-L with original Ti cantilever compare?

Hard to imagine the 95ML being dull. That’s compared to what, and at what load?
 

Bernard23

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Compared to Technics 270C / Nag G28, and to a Goldring 2400. Maybe I was expecting a significant step up over the 270, but it wasn't, didn't seem to punch as hard. Loading was whatever the phone leads are plus the 220pF / 47K of my Yamaha phono stage. The caveat is of course my room/system. Elac DBR6.2 in a very odd shaped room.
 

Thomas_A

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Skimmed through all 48 pages and couldn't reach a conclusion to the vexing question I have, that is whether the invest in a SAS Boron for the 270C, or stick a 540ML on and be done. I wasn't a fan of the 95ML, sounded dull in comparison in my system and room. I was also thinking about trying the 205 mk3 with an NOS 205ED3 stylus, but it's a risky investment. How did the 205CII-L with original Ti cantilever compare?
There is no guarantee with the JICO SAS/B. It varies with models and stylii. Some work excellent, others don't.
 

JP

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Compared to Technics 270C / Nag G28, and to a Goldring 2400. Maybe I was expecting a significant step up over the 270, but it wasn't, didn't seem to punch as hard. Loading was whatever the phone leads are plus the 220pF / 47K of my Yamaha phono stage. The caveat is of course my room/system. Elac DBR6.2 in a very odd shaped room.
What controls were used for the comparisons?
 
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