• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Introducing the Phono Cartridge Measurement Library

oliviabrandon361

New Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2024
Messages
2
Likes
1
gre
How Our Results Compare to Official Laboratory and Professional Review Measurements
Click on images to increase size

Sony XL-30
View attachment 321412View attachment 326776

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
View attachment 296359View attachment 321415

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.
View attachment 326775View attachment 326774
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).
View attachment 297712View attachment 326772

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).
GREAT ANALYSIS....:):)
 

mackat

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
147
Likes
202
Nagaoka MP-200

I was hoping that this one would be as flat as the MP-500, but alas, it isn't so. I'll have to do a test with lower capacitance, but I doubt it will affect much.

Still a nice sounding cartridge :)

Nagaoka MP-200_1.8 g_~180 pF_47k Ω_CA-TRS-1007 #1 - Side B_norm1_1_17 Beta.png


EDIT: It does look like it prefers less capacitance!

Nagaoka MP-200_1.8 g_~80 pF_47k Ω_CA-TRS-1007 #1 - Side B_norm1_2_17 Beta.png
 
Last edited:

Thomas_A

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
3,516
Likes
2,548
Location
Sweden
Nagaoka MP-200

I was hoping that this one would be as flat as the MP-500, but alas, it isn't so. I'll have to do a test with lower capacitance, but I doubt it will affect much.

Still a nice sounding cartridge :)

View attachment 362439

EDIT: It does look like it prefers less capacitance!

View attachment 362562
Try reduce the 47l to 35-40k if you have the possibility.
 

dlaloum

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 4, 2021
Messages
3,260
Likes
2,528
Blue Jeans LC-1 interconnect and Sutherland phono stage that doesn’t have added capacitance
I use the LC1 too (and cut it short, to get the C even lower)... I'm down at 60pf (but that requires the phono stage be placed right next to the TT...)
 

Balle Clorin

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 26, 2017
Messages
1,399
Likes
1,268
But the phonostage must have som pF, it cannot be zero, my meter fluctuates strangely when I try to measure input C, and the arm cable in my SME adds15pF too..
 

dlaloum

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 4, 2021
Messages
3,260
Likes
2,528
But the phonostage must have som pF, it cannot be zero, my meter fluctuates strangely when I try to measure input C, and the arm cable in my SME adds15pF too..
On my setup, the C measurement (60pf) includes the arm cabling.

BUT - I simply have no idea how I could go about measuring the C of the phono stage - yes it has no "additional" C loading (unless I add it via plugs) - but how to measure the base preamp capacitance?
 

Balle Clorin

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 26, 2017
Messages
1,399
Likes
1,268
Hard do do correctly, we probably have to trust whatever the manufacturer state. Why it is difficult I do not understand
 

mackat

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
147
Likes
202
Here is the MP-200 at 34k Ω. I'm guessing somewhere around 40k would be optimal.

Nagaoka MP-200_1.8 g_~100 pF_34k Ω_CA-TRS-1007 #1 - Side B_norm1_1_17 Beta.png

Normalized version of the graph:

Nagaoka MP-200_1.8 g_~100 pF_34k Ω_CA-TRS-1007 #1 - Side B_norm0_1_17 Beta.png


MP-500 at the same loading (not sure what's up with the LCH 2H distortion. It seems to randomly go pretty high on some tests with this cartridge)

Nagaoka MP-500_1.8 g_~100 pF_34k Ω_CA-TRS-1007 #1 - Side B_norm1_1_17 Beta.png
 

Balle Clorin

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 26, 2017
Messages
1,399
Likes
1,268
How do they sound?
Any photos of the stylus on record for SRA check
 
Last edited:

mackat

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
147
Likes
202
How do they sound?
Any photos of the stylus on record for SRA check
The MP-200 sounds good at both loadings. I didn't listen to the MP-500 at 34k due to the obvious downward slope in the response.

I'll have to work on the SRA stuff. The MP-200 was very slightly tail down, while the MP-500 was slightly tail up, possibly due to small manufacturing variations in the arm wands.

I try to level the arm wands themselves, which can be a bit tricky as they are tapered.
 

mackat

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
147
Likes
202
Dynavector DV-50A

This is an NOS cartridge that I acquired a couple weeks back.

It's a good thing it has a strong stylus protector, as one of the mounting screws had come slightly loose in shipping and it was rattling around when I opened the box :)

Screenshot 2024-04-14 at 3.08.08 AM.png


Dynavector DV-50A_1.5 g_~180 pF_1k Ω_CA-TRS-1007 #1 - Side B_norm1_1_17 Beta.png


Not bad at all! It sounds quite nice.


tempImagejqTdV7.png
 

Balle Clorin

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 26, 2017
Messages
1,399
Likes
1,268
The top end distortion looks a bit high to be NOS..?Maybe running in will help
 

mackat

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 31, 2019
Messages
147
Likes
202
The top end distortion looks a bit high to be NOS..?Maybe running in will help
I’m not sure that you can really predict wear based on distortion by comparing cartridges by different manufacturers.

Certain MC’s just seem to have higher distortion in general.
 

Thomas_A

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
3,516
Likes
2,548
Location
Sweden
Have not done it systematically but checking the level at 5 kHz, low distortion (< -30 dB) seems to correlate to:

- fine-line or micro-ridge stylii
- new stylii
 
Top Bottom