Dear friends: I always said that each day is a learning day and if like me that from several years now think always " out of the box " many of you will find out great rewards that audio always has for us as an unexpected gifts.

Obviously that’s not easy to think " out of the box " because to do that we have to have a different kind of self attitude where between other things we must to forget for ever at least the 50% of all the information we learned through our audio life in the AHEE. With out that " forget " we just can’t do it.

This review is more than an usual audio item review for many reasons I will try to explain over the thread.

First I want to leave very clear my room/audio system main target: STAY TRUER TO THE RECORDING.

To achieve that we have to think that usually the recording microphones are positioned at very near field of the MUSIC sources even like in the 3 Blind Mice recordings: inside the instruments. Recording microphones are not " seated " at 20m-35m. from the source as usually we listen when attend to a live acoustical music event. So we have to have self experiences of live MUSIC seated at near field. If some of us do not have that kind experiences then is very dificult to understand what I’m talking about here and elsewhere.

OK, the ADC 26 cartridge is a vintage Induced Magnet invented motor design by Peter Pritchard ( that pass away. ), it’s not a MM or MI or MC kind of cartridge design. Here you can read about and on his patent and a little of his audio life history:

The cartridge under review is this:

that is part of the ADC 25, 26 and 27 cartridge family.

This is the ADC 25:

and this the ADC 27:

and here the ADC 26 specs ( please take note those 15° stylus tip mounted angle. ):

As you can see and read all seems very old and rudimentary with really humble cartridge specs ( nothing spectacular down there. ) where the elliptical stylus is: 0.03 x 0.07.

The ADC 25 red dot stylus ( exist the red blue 0.03 x 0.09 and the white dot. ) is similar to the 26 and the ADC 27 change is that is the same 26 stylus type but nude. I own all those models that comes with the same cartridge body but different color and where the cartridge motor in the 26 and 27 is similar and the cartridge differs only in the stylus and that the compliance instead 50 cu as in the 25 and 26 is " only " 40cu.

All these cartridges are my oldest ones ( comes from the 60’s. ) that I bougth years ago when started the very long MM Agon thread and I remember that I mentioned there the 25 and 26 but almost no one took cares about not even me because I really never gave it the enougth listening time to those cartridges and was only like a month ago that I really discovery this fenomenal, outstanding, astonishing and " perfect " performer.

When you listen it you are not listen as if was alike MM/MI/electrect cartridges but more as a live event/truer to the recording with some characteristics only shared for the best of the best LOMC cartridges.

I made my self developed evaluation proccess where I’m deep trained and is almost " bullet proof ".

The best MM/MI cartridge is with out doubt the AKG P100LE followed by Astatic MF-2500 and others as the JVC X1MK2 or the Technics EPC 100CMK4 but no one of them can even the quality performance levels of the ADC 26. The ADC is in a different league " the major league ".

I compared the 26/27 against the Colibri, Ortofon A95, Lyra Etna, My Sonic Labs Supereminent ( I think ? ? ) Dynavector XV-1s, Clearaudio Goldfinger and some other vintage top MC designs. No one of them beats overall the ADC 26.

The main 26 characteristics to beat belongs at both frequency extremes where if we want first rate quality performance there first condition is the transient response/attack of the music notes and develops of harmonics along the decay timing that’s where exist clear differences in between MC cartridges and all the other kind of designs. Nothing but the 26/27 compares with a top LOMC cartridges in those regards.

The transient response and fast timing decay in the low of the bass range is second to none and " mimic " what we can listen in a live event at nearfield position. With out this " sole " characteristic MUSIC as MUSIC just can’t exist and is here where belongs the MUSIC foundation.
At the other frequency extreme things are more of the bass range quality performance. In both frequency range it’s not only the rigthness of the transient response but the notes definition its very clear distinction in between and its harmonics. Exist no overhang or bold sound. At the high frequency range ( at the top. ) nothing can beats a Colibri 0.22mv output and the only contender for is precesily these ADC 26/27 ! !

As you can see the 26/27 specs says not very wide frequency range but when listen to it you can sware it goes from 5hz to over 100khz but the more important issue is the clear definition. When the timing in those frequency ranges are spot on then the overall MUSIC rythm is just spectacular and makes and moves all your feelings and body.

We all hear through all our body not only through our ears. We hear through the skin, bones, skind hair and millions of nervous terminations in the body and when you are listening to the ADC 26/27 all those have a true meaning as never before.

What about soundstage, layering, inner detail and the like: just very first rate. Tonal balance is outstanding nothing at the broad wide frequency range tells you " hey: I’m here ", exist a true coherence in between all frequency ranges.

Yes, it’s a UNIQUE listen experience a NEW listen experience coming from a very older cartridge and YES is the best Pritchard design and if you think that you already own the best cartridge ever you need to experience the ADC 26/27. I compared against the best out there in the same system with the same tonearms and same everything.

Was not only me but some other audiophiles friends where at least one of them is a music player. This one is a drummer/batery player and when he was at my place I run ( between other LPs. ) the Sheffield D2D with Ron Tutt and Jim Keltner great drummers with out telling him which cartridge was playing and my friend that’s a true expert with those instruments and golden ear by nature was " jaws dropping " and it’s because is incredible the TRUE of that kind of sound coming from the ADC’s
. This recording specially is something to listen through the 26/27 at 95db SPL with peaks in the 100db neigborhood, you can touch the sound and cut it with a sizzers ! ! !. It’s amazing.
The ADC never lost its aplomb no matters at what SPL you are listening from 70db to over 95dbs .

Every single good recording " sings " as never before of all what I experienced in my system and several other top audio systems.

One of the best MUSIC LP for testing any audio item is the Telarc 1812 and not because the cannon shots but overall frequency ranges that’s always a challenge for any cartridge andd for any audio system in other frequency ranges than the bass range.
No one of the other top LOMC cartridges can even overall the ADC 26/27 quality performance levels in this LP recording in all the frequency range other than the very low bass where the ADC beats to all of them.

I running the ADC 26 at 1.1grs and due ot its very high compliance ( 50cu. ) and cartridge body design is a very low rider when the 27 is only a low rider.
As with other top LOMC cartridges the alignment set up is critical but with the ADC 26 we have to do it with the best accuracy we can and with the VTA/SRA tiny/sligthly up at the tonearm bearing. This VTA/SRA is critical and as always not only depends of the accuracy overall set up but room system dependent.

That explosiveness, power, dynamics, transient response, thightness, flow, true tonal balance agresiveness, natural brigthness, rythm that usually exist only in a live MUSIC event with the ADC 26/27 you can feel that never was in your home audio system as nearer as with these ADC cartridges.

Those audiophiles terms as: lush, organic, color, smothness, bold, and the like does not exist through these " truer to the recording " performers. Those audiophiles terms/characteristics of sound just does not exist in the nearfield MUSIC live events are only characteristics " invented by the AHEE and very far away from reality.

The ADC 26/27 as the very top LOMC cartridges are made it for true music lovers more than for " audiophiles ".

I think that in the 60’s the ADC 26/27 you can get fro no more than 80.00 and today can compete against 15K+ LOMC cartridges.

This all new experience through the ADC 26/27 bcartridges came in the best moment when I 'm more mature in all subjects with MUSIC and audio and when my room audio system is at its best with all the up-dates and up-grades I can afford bor the better.

As always your contributions in the thread all are welcomed and appreciated.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

Ag insider logo xs@2xrauliruegas
Dear @bimasta @tzh21y : I started the MM/MI long thread now because in those times I discovered a true and real analog alternative to the very well regarded LOMC cartridges.

Was in the very old times when the cartridge market was dominated by all those vintage MM/MI cartridges and not by MC ones as today.

The competition in between all those MM/MI cartridge manufacturers was really a " world war " and that one fierce competition made it that each designer made it at their best knowledge levels. Almost " each day " came out a new cartridge to compete in that market.

That’s why exist so many vintage cartridges with so good quality level performance but today exist too very good MM/MI performers coming from: Reson, Audio Note UK, Grado, Ortofon, AT, Nagaoka, Sumiko etc.. I don’t name SoundSmith because it try to compete in price against MC today designs when the other today manufacturers of MM/MI cartridges comes with very reasonable market prices.

Again, MM/MI is a good alternative and at its price a real bargain. Good LOMC cartridges outperforms the MM/MI alternative but at really very high price for.

Something that does not honor the MM/MI cartridges is that almost exist no-dedicated/designed phono stages that achieve all MM/MI needs. Normally the phono stages are designed for LOMC ones and does not comes with a dedicated/separated MM true stages to fulfill all what the MM/MI are asking for.

Hi Raul.  personally, I don't believe the hype or your new cartridge of the month..

please send me the cartridge and I will use it on my Pioneer Exclusive P3 and Technics SP10mk3 with Thales arm.  If it is as good as you say I will buy it.

I will say there is something to the naturalness and the way the music is presented on MM/MI cartridges.  In many ways better then MC, especially when it come to the Timbre with Cymbals woodwinds and voices.  WOW.  The Pickering cartridge I am using is just incredible.  I was so impressed that I bought an old Sonic Sonus Gold Blue Cartridge.  Even if it is worn, I am still ahead with the Pickering.  I would say it easily beats many cartridges.  If it is in good condition, it will be a major win in my opinion.  Overall for both Five hundred bucks it will sounds as good potentially as spending much more.
Dear @downunder: I don’t believe your Thales hype neither, just joking.

Now if you are talking seriously and you are willing to pay according its quality level performance ( not as a vintage IM cartridge. Not even near the EPC100cMK4 price. ) that puts the cartridge at Etna or any other top LOMC I named here then email me here:


Dear friends: Last week came to my place the owners of the Etna Sl and Goldfinger cartridges to pick-up their cartridge and to have a listening session.

We started listening to those both cartridges and after a while I switched to the ADC 26/27 with out telling them which cartridge we will listening it.

We used the same LP tracks that already heard it and after a few minutes to listening the ADC and with out say a word both turn their face to each one with their " open eyes " expresion. They like it what was hearing. We followed with those LP tracks and when I told them what we were listening those " eyes " gave a non-credibility expresion. They were really impressed as me.

One of the LP in that listening session was the the D2D M&K Flamenco Fever and we listened to two tracks in the side one. First was Danza Mora and the second is Farruca.
The recording session took place at " El Matador " club in west LA and that first track is a solo of an extraordinary guitarrist that in this D2D is so lively that you can’t believe what you are hearing.
The second track will have a meaning only for those gentlemans that already experienced flamenco dancers in the " tablao ". The track start with those dancers playing castanets and if you already heard live at near field those castanets: its impact, transient and it power dynamics that’s exactly what you will find in this track played by the ADC but the more impressive starts when the dancers starts to dance and stamp/tap their heels and only if you already experienced live those flamenco dancers could understand the very high level of lively track experiences because they use to their hand and those hands applause and finger clips are astonishing.

We have to interrupt the session because started a heavy rain with thunders and hail. Here in México it’s raining time and rain almost every single day in México city.

After the storm we continue the listening session that gaves us the opportunity ( because I remembered. ) to listen two tracks of the MoFi ( 004. ) The Power and the Majesty Lp that as you know is not a music recording and by coincidence in one side was recorded a thunderstorm like the one we just experienced. This recording is exceptional one and was recorded with a custom made tape recorder live and I don’t know the microphone that were used.

Anyway, the track is a full lesson an room/system evaluation test. Our experience was and is so vivid that striking us the reality of the sounds when the hail strikes against the window glass exactly as we just experienced live a few minutes ago and followed by the rain water drops fall and striking to the surface was so real that there are no words to express it. What we heard was something like what @luckyx02 posted in this thread:

""" the midrange presence so good that you look scared when the turns / singers / in gets going if you are not alone in the room. """

Outstanding. The other side of that LP are the sounds coming for live steam locomotives through its railroad. All the track is impressive ( depending of the quality performance levels of your room/syste. ) and the locomotives came with air horns and steam whistles and when you listen the very first of the steam whistle sound you just give a " steps back " because at the same time the all train is passing in front of you. You need to listen this track at high SPL.

At the end of the session one of my friends ask me to listen again his cartridge and even that performs very well he was not satisfied against what he just listened with the ADC.
This week I will be at his place with the ADC 26/27.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

@downunder tha’s the quality of the " month " cartridge. Obviously you don’t have idea about because never listened it,, the ADC is superior to your Technics. I'm still waiting your email.