Dyscoveries on Dyna, Denon, Supex, Technics,FR,Ik

Dear friends: Over the time and testing/trying different cartridges ( " old " and new ones ) with different tonearms to find the " best " performance on each cartridge I find some interesting subjects that I want to share with all of you:

Denon 103: this is one of my oldest cartridges that I own and I use it for a while many years ago. In the last three years every time that I mounted and hear it I can't heard it for more than half hour, that's why I always treat it like a " rubbish cartridge " in my posts about. I try it with almost every single tonearm that I own and the result was always the same.
Then, I take in count that in all the tonearms ( removable and fixed headshell ) I can't tighten to much the headshell screws because the 103 is " open " ( input to output ) all the way where the screw goes and if I try to really tighten then the screw goes out of the cartridge body ( it is dificult to me this explanation because my English problems, I hope you can understand ).
I don't like to tailored the cartridge sound through tight ( more or less pressure ) the headshell screws, I always tighten the screws at " its limits " where IMHO and experiences there are less resonances/vibrations on it with better overall performances.
So, what to do?, it happen that I have an Audio Technica AT-LH18/OCC headshell ( headshell weight: 18grs. ) that has screwed holes underneath the headshell ( these holes are 2mm in deep, don't cross/pass the headshell ) in this manner I can tight the screws at maximum with out any trouble, well this was a great solution ( along with the weight of the headshell ) because I mounted the 103 in the Dynavector 505 ( similar to 507 ) and the performance change for the better like night and day, now I can hear the 103 for more than half an hour: very good improvement, this not means that now the 103 is at the XV-1/Myabi/etc performance level: no, but now the 103 has a decent performance that for its price is very good.

Dynavector XV-1: this one is one of my favorite cartridges, I really like it. It is a cartridge that almost always perform very good in almost any tonearm. Well I never be satisfied with " very good " performance I always look for excellent/exemplary performance.
I read some posts where XV-1 owners posted that this cartridge is a very good match with the Dynavector 505/507 tonearms and this was not my own experience about, it sounds good but nothing more.
I decide to try a little hard on the subject with: VTA/VTF/load impedance/etc,/etc with out any " great " results.
Then I decide to try with different headshells ( other than the original 507/505 ones ) till I find that with a light weight headshell ( Denon 100% magnesium, 6gr. The Dyna headshells weight: around 14-15 grs. ) the performance was/is glorious for say the least: I never heard ( any where ) better XV-1 performance that in this set-up.

Fidelity Research MC 702: this is a very " old " MC cartridge design. It is an integral headshell design, bulky one ( " ugly " ? ) at 30-32 grs, low compliance 6-7 Cu, low output 0.2mv and likes VTF 2-3grs.

I own this cartridge for at least 20 years and I buy it second hand in almost new/pristine condition. After many years I set up ( last December ) in my Micro Seiki MAX 282 tonearm ( it likes tonearms like: Ikeda, Dynavector, Audiocraft, SAEC, etc, etc ) and for the very first musical note I knew that this cartridge was something very special.
After 20 hours the sound performance was/is formidable/marvelous, I don't have words to describe my " surprise ", the best I can tell is that the music flow easily through this cartridge like in almost any other ( any where ) cartridge I heard.
If you " see " it ( second hand ) and if you have the right tonearm and phonolinepreamp then buy it!!!!!

Supex SDX 2200R: Another " old " MC design with screw open body type design ( like the 103 you need the right headshell ), ruby cantilever and low output 0.2mv. Man

I make the set-up on the Lustre GST 801 tonearm and sound was terrible at the begin, I have to wait 30 hours for the suspension settle down.
This was/is a great cartridge too, IMHO it competes with cartridges like the Universe ( are very similar in quality performance ) or any other today ones. Many people look for the Supex 900 series ( that I owned ) well the Supex Ruby beats easily those ones.

Audio Technica ATML 180 OCC: One of the greatest MM cartridges ever made.
This model ( I understand ) never sale in USA, the one that was on sale was the ATML 170 and 160 ( still very good ).

Till you hear a MM cartridge with the right phonolinepreamp you can't understand how good/great are the MM cartridges. During my last trip I was in San Diego and Norm heard in his system ( I think for the first time ) a MM cartridge the Empire EDR.9: he was happily surprised, he really likes the quality sound performance of this 100.00 dls MM cartridge.

Some MM cartridges like this one not only compete with any top MC cartridge out there but in some ways beat them, yes ( IMHO ) is better that any single Koetsu I heard it, that any ZYX or Lyra.
It is incredible that a 500.00 MM cartridge could be better performer than a 6-8K MC one.
This cartridge I mated with the Technics EPA 100MK2.

Technics 205CMK4: A marvelous MM cartridge. As good the Audio Technica is this one is better!!!!
What can I say about?, almost nothing but: Magic Diamond, Allaerts, Dynavector, Transfiguration, you named: the Technics is at least at the same level in any single sound performance parameter and beat almost all those MC cartridges for neutrality/natural tone balance, like I already say: marvelous cartridge!!!!!, if you have the tonearm and right phonolinepreamp then buy it!!!!
Mine is matched with the Micro Seiki MAX 282.

Ikeda 9REX: This one is a today MC cartridge with a unique design characteristic for a MC cartridge: it does not use cantilever ( like the cutter lhate/heads on the recording ), the design is with out cantilever. It is a very low output 0.16mv, weighty: 17grs, low compliance: 6CU and like VTF 2.8grs.

It is obvious that this cartridge is not for everyone, not only need the right tonearm and the very best phonolinepreamp out there but a lot of patience to obtain the best performance.
When you achieve this " best performance " you knowed because you will be in heaven.
The sound performance of this cartridge is a " little " different for all we know: the inmediacy of the sound and transients are second to none, the pitch/texture/no overhang/tight/fast bass is second to none, the high frequencies extension and speed are second to none, etc, etc.
You can't be near the live music like with this Ikeda cartridge: this one really is truer to the recording audio device!!!
You have to be a experienced music lover who attend very often to live events to understand what you are hearing through the Ikeda cartridge, you can't compare its sound performance with the sound performance of any other cartridge: it is not only the subject if it is better or not but the subject is that is different/near the live event.
It is an infamous bad traker: it does not like any single dust in the LP or in the stylus, we have to have everything in pristine condition. It takes more than 200 hours to hear it at its best. Like I told you: we need patience and know how.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Ag insider logo xs@2xrauliruegas

Thanks for the great observations. Quite a few people love the Ikeda cartridge. Need to try a MM one day. My 103 is very enjoyable. Not much detail and needs to break in but a pleasure in the Ikeda.

You are saying the exact same thing I have been saying. Mass is critical in cartridge matching. It is not just the tonearm, but the headshell etc. Everyone loving a Dynavector is using low to medium ass tonearms such VPI or Graham.

There were a few Ikeda cartidges around recently. How is the sense of space???

Have you tried your RSP on a unipivot? How does it fair compared to the Ikeda / Lustre?
Dear Darren: Unfortunately the Ikeda cartridges have a very low profile in advertasing, many people even don't know exist. It is a great cartridge ( not for every one ) that when you heard it it is very dificult to return to the " normal " cartridges. When we hearing through the Ikeda cartridge all seems like we take out not one veil but several of them, the distortion is that low. The cantilever ( in " normal " cartridges ) makes a degradation to the signal, more than we imagine. I think that the analog music sound reproduction deserve a lot better designs that what we have, it can do it and the Ikeda cartridge is a good example that things could be better.
It is not an easy to work with the Ikeda cartridge but the reward is very high: it works very well in tonearms like the Ikeda, SAEC, Dynavector, Audiocraft, Micro Seiki and Mission The Mechanic ( this is the one where I'm using it after try it on other tonearms ), I can't be sure but maybe in the Phantom too.

+++++ " There were a few Ikeda cartidges around recently. How is the sense of space??? " +++++
It is more beiable than in " normal " cartridges, there is no exaggerate soundstage in any way: just more natural.

+++++ " Need to try a MM one day " +++++

IMHO, all the music lovers must try and MM cartridge, no one knows what we are " loosing " if we never try it.
All of us think that the money/high price is one of the parameter to " measure " the cartridge quality performance and I think that it is a big mistake, example: the Sumiko Celebration is by today top MC cartridge price standards a very low price ( only 1.5K ) and we think that is a " low end " performer and that the cartridges with a high price ( 5-8K ) are a lot better, but the real subject is that the Celebration is better than many of the 5-8K cartridges exactly in the same way that many MM " very low price " cartridges are better than them too ( unfortunately the Audio Technica and Technics MM cartridges that I named are very hard to find: both are exceptional!!! ), IMHO all those " sealy high MC cartridge prices " have no single justification in any way: we are paying big dollars in " change " of dimes, we are not receiving the quality performance for what we are paying.

Darren, now imagine a MM cartridge with a " rudiculous " price of only $125.00 dls that could beat or even many of those top MC cartridges, can you believe it?.
Well that " one day " is here: buy the Empire EDR.9 ( NOS ) on e-bay ( for that sealy price ), give it 50 hours and then return to this thread and give us your thoughts about.

+++++ " Mass is critical in cartridge matching. It is not just the tonearm, but the headshell etc. Everyone loving a Dynavector is using low to medium ass tonearms such VPI or Graham. " +++++
Absolutly right. I try my XV-1 with Ikeda/Lustre/Audiocraft/SME and Dynavector tonearms it performs very good in almost all but ( Like I told ) in the 505/507 tonearm with a very low mass headshell it is glorious!!! I loaded at 100 Ohms with 2.1gr on VTF and positive VTA.

I try the RSP in the Audiocraft and Satin unipivots and the overall performance is " just good ", it is a lot better through the Ikeda or Lustre tonearms.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul: very interesting and informative reference postings.

Maybe we should keep this thread up for quick reference.

BTW, my limited experience coincide with yours in:
Denon 103 (the basic 103): not superlative sound, but yes, better when securely screwed to the headshell. I also tried some blu-tac (very little). It didn't really help.

Remember Pickering? I remember the 5000 -- not extremely good, but I think slightly better than Shure 15.
AT 180: glorious sound ASAIR, I had one years ago...
Technics: never experienced

Empire: MUST purchase. Where, other than e-bay??

Great and informative thread on cartridgesthat that I,m sure many of us would not know about. Concerning New old stock and vintage cartridges does time deteriorates them?....,It seems to me that glues and suspesion could get
out of spec. with time, what do you think,
Best Wishes, Carlos
That was an interesting set of insights, Raul. I took your word for it and just bought an Empire EDR9 on ebay. There were 2 for sale, new, both from a guy in France. It cost $146 shipped to US.

I'll be comparing it to my Ortofon Kontrapunkt B, a $1200 cartridge. If it is as good as you say, I'll probably sell the K-B -- right now I use a Grado ME+ mono cart on the table as well, and it's a bit of a hassle switching the preamp from MC to MM settings when I listen to mono recordings. Having an MM stereo cart will be a better arrangement for me -- if I can find one that compares favorably to the wonderful K-B.

I'll keep you posted.
Dear Greg: I agree with you, the Pickering and Stanton ( similar ) cartridges were over the Shure.

At 180, you had it and you let it go: wow!!!

I don't know other source for the Empire EDR.9. This people on e-bay are in France and are totally trusty.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Rich: Good " move ". I'm sure that you will be happy with it and yes I appreciate that you keep us posted about.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear carlos: My experiences with NOS and vintage cartridges ( that I own or owned ) are that we don't have to worried about. I never had any trouble with the operation of any of those cartridges, as a fact the last time that you joined me we heard one of those MM vintage cartridges, remember?

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul :
Yes of course , and not only that but it sounded fantastic(Micro Acoustic?.),the time deterioration is just a concern
that i cant avoid thinking when it comes to vintage gear.
Best wishes,Carlos.
Dear Carlos: Yes, was Micro Acoustic MA 630, hard to find but I " see " it two-three weeks ago on e-bay, some lucky person is now enjoying it.

Like I told you: don't worried about time ( don't be afraid in any sense ) deterioration and better than that enjoy that vintage great sound cartridges, you can try with the Empire EDR.9. Btw, Empire was former today Benz Micro: not bad!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.
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Dear Psychicanimal: +++++ " Just remember the Empire has an eliptical stylus. " +++++

This seems like a warning, is it?. Please explain/share your thoughts about.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Cardani - The "NOS" EDR.9 I received was claimed to be unused and sat on the shelf for 20+ years. As it turns out its arrival came a few days before Raul's visit to our area. It was a pleasure to meet him in person and to hear his Essential 3150 in a number of systems in town. The details of these terrific 4-5 days with Raul and his preamp will be posted in a separate thread.

During one of many of our analog listening sessions, we heard several recordings using a Miyabi/47 Labs MC (100 Ohm load), JMW 12.5, and VPI Extended Aries 1 through at least three phonostages. A nice feature of the JMW arm is that it makes it easy to compare cartridges if you have multiple arm wands. I surprised the group by showing them the EDR.9 already mounted (with VTF and azimuth already set) on another JMW arm wand. This cartridge had not seen a groove.

Out came the arm with the Miyabi, in went the wand with the EDR.9 and the Essential 3150 phonostage was set to MM. For starters, the VTA was quickly adjusted to a "neutral" position. This was done using a VDH spirit level aligned on top of the headshell, parallel to the tangential line along which the cartridge tracks the groove. [I have found that using this inexpensive tool leads to more repeatable VTA and azimuth settings than the standard eyeball methods.] So now we were ready to hear this oldie. Except for the MM setting and the SPL level, all other parameters were equal -- TT, arm, wire, IC, etc.

We listened again to the last LP heard through the Miyabi -- Eagles' Hotel California on the When Hell Freezes Over live album. The first task was to try and match the volume level to that of the Miyabi/MC setup. I can't remember if we did or not [likely not]. Instead what I remembered most was how the four of us were all taken by the quality of the music that came through. OK so the Eagles album is not acoustic and is far from a minimally mic'd recording. So we put on Rutter's Pie Jesus of Reference Recordings and we continued to smile.

No, the EDR.9 did not outperform the Miyabi. In all of the parameters mentioned below the Miyabi was more refined and was at a higher level of performance quality overall. But the differences between them were not night and day and the EDR.9 VERY impressively held its own. It immediately called attention to itself with its terrific tonal balance with convincingly natural timbral presentation of instruments and voices. It had acceptable dynamics & articulation while also having relatively smooth presentation (see below for more details). It was resolving and had good image focus with convincing layering, depth and overall scale of soundstage. We continued to smile...

The HF playback of the EDR.9 was the only area that stood out as not getting near enough to the Miyabi's performance. It just did not have the smoothness and tended to be on the brittle & hashy side (not in a dramatic way, only enough to be noticable). This was particularly evident in cymbals and sibilances. To these observations Raul replies, "BUT REMEMBER, THIS CARTRIDGE HAS NEVER BEEN PLAYED BEFORE." He went on to recommend at least 50-100 hours of break in before it "settles".

So you can see how why we never got to exactly matching the volume levels. We were so taken by the music the EDR.9 delivered. So what if we were missing the last 5% or so (hypothetical only with no quantitative basis) of what the top cartridges can do. It simply does not matter with the EDR.9. So what if you break the cantilever. The stylus replacement cost is around $55-60 USD + shipping. ;-)

Wanna continue to enjoy your LPs and increase the life of your MC's and bring them out only for special listening sessions or for critical listening? You can with the EDR.9. Thanks Raul for introducing me to this cartridge.

[Note: As an FYI, I consider the Miyabi/47 Labs MC to be among the top MCs I have heard. It is different in construction and in sonics from prior Miyabi MC versions, including those made with other manufacturers' label.

Other favorite MCs of mine are:
1) the Colibri - no two I have seen/heard are alike and you really have to know your system and your listening priorities well to appropriately place an order for one, and
2) and XV-1S.

All three of the above I own and I have compared and prefer them over the Condor, Universe, Rosewood Signature Platinum, Shelter 9000, or Jubilee. These five cartridges I prefer over the likes of Shelter 901, Koetsu Rosewood signature, and Celebration. I have not heard the Transfigutation Temper or Orpheus, Titan, Allaerts, Shelter 90X, or other Zyx cartridges.

I have not yet compared the EDR.9 to my other cartridges. It would also be great to compare other quality MM to it, so stay tuned.]

In what ways did you prefer the Colibri and what ways the Dynavector. They are on my short list. What were your impression of the ZYX Universe or the RSP and what was the basis for you prefering the XV-1s or Colibri over the ZYX, Condor & RSP?
Thanks a lot for your account on the performance of the EDR.9., it defenitly appears to be a giant killer; can,t wait to get mine running. If it almost compare to your $4K Miyabi , I,m sure its going to give my Ortofon Kontrapunkt A a run for its money,
All the Best, Carlos.
Dear Carlos: Well done, you will be satisfied and a little surprised about.

yes, we appreciate your " listening " report.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dgad - The answers to your questions are quite involved and will require going back to my notes, which I do not have at the moment. In fact it has been a while now since I did the comparisons. Trying to remember and provide you with a vague summary, which can easily lead toward an unfair misrepresentation of one cartridge over another.

Suffice it to say that I had the KRSP for nearly two years and decided to sell it once I heard it against the XV-1S. As an FYI, I had the KRS for two years prior to the KRSP purchase and sold it once I compared the two. I also had the Condor for about two years and sold it after I listened to it against that Colibri XGW.

The Zyx Universe is very good and was particularly appealing in the way it made poorly recorded LPs sound more listenable. This could be an irresistible attribute and is one of many reasons why this cartridge is liked by a number of happy owners. However, a transducer that makes a bad recording sound good simply did not jive with my notion of accurate reproduction. I questioned if what the Universe does is correct. To this day I cannot comfortably come up with an answer.

Compared to the Zyx, I did find the Colibri to have more dimensionality and resolution, with smoother and more refined highs. As to the XV-1S, I preferred its tone/timbre, dynamics and articulation vs. that of the Zyx.

Thank you for your comments. Much appreciated. Which Colibri are you using with what phono stage at this time?
Dgad - It is the XGW with the Wavestream Kinetics MC phnostage. I have also heard the above mentioned cartridges through a Herron VTPH-1mc plus phono preamp and my relative preferences did not change. Best regards!
Raoul, about elliptical & spherical stylus shapes...you know better. Also, better profiles extract more information. That's one of the reasons why my KAB modded DJ cartridge is such a killer!
just bought an empire. i always find your posts fascinating, Raul. I'm looking forward to comparing it to my dl103r on my humble rewired RB300 (twl mod) and MAS 282 tonearms. cheers, david
I came to this post a bit late,but thoroughly enjoyed it!
Raul what can I say?This is great stuff,and I hope you continually add more input/insight to this.
I love threads like this as well, cuz they send me off in a new direction considering things I didn't even know about before. The experience of others here is such a treasure trove of possibilities.
Dear Psychicanimal: +++++ " Also, better profiles extract more information " +++++

The subject it is not how much quantity but which kind of quality. You must to hear that cartridge before make any asumptions.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear David: I'm sure that you will be satisfied with the quality sound of that cartridge.

Regards and enjoy the music.

I haven't heard the Empire, though I was serious about buying one. I did ask Kevin of KAB Electroacoustics, however. Instead, I'm sticking to my modfied Stanton DJ cartridge and purchased two NOS Super Stereohedron styli. I also got hold of a NOS Stanton Trackmaster I, when their guts were the same as a Hi-Fi cartridge. The very first Trackmasters have half the coil windings of subsequent iterations. Imagine the sound with a NOS Super Stereohedron stylus...it will blow away 2K moving coils.

I do appreciate you bringing this subject up. Too many believe a lot of money needs to be spent. As a matter of fact, Van Alstine came up with the modded Longhorn Grado Green more than a couple decades ago.

As I said above, I took Raul's word and bought the Empire EDR.9 from the French vendor on ebay. That was 8 days ago. It arrived today, in perfect shape. Over the next few days I'll be comparing it to the Ortofon K-B I have mounted on my main table. To warm it up a bit I mounted it on the table in my second system, replacing the AT-440mla I've been using since the good word was spread on this excellent budget AT cart. The 440mla has about 40 hours on it, and I've enjoyed every one of them.

I only had time to play one LP before I left for work this afternoon. I played Brahms' Double Concerto. Let me just say this:

Do not buy the Empire EDR.9. If you buy it it will be a big mistake. Raul should never have even mentioned this cart to all of us gullible audiogon audiophiles. It was a big mistake, Raul. Because I'm a very giving and caring person, I'm going to go right back to ebay and purchase all the remaining inventory...to save you all from yourselves. Do not try to beat me to it. It's the least I can do for all the trusting souls out there.

In short, on its very first side, fresh out of the box, the Empire completely outclassed the 440mla -- the voices of the cello and the violin were extremely vivid, realistic and detailed; nuanced. Soundstage - better. Rhythm - better. Emotional sense - better.

It's too late to play music in my house tonight, but over the next few days I'm looking forward to hearing this cart on all my music, then comparing it to the K-B.

God, this is fun!

I have 2 older, stock Yamaha DD tables -- I used the EDR.9 in the YP-D6. I just switched it to the YP-D8 -- a heavier, better table.

By the way, a side benefit of this cart is that it's easy to mount on Yamaha's removable headshells because it turns out that when the cart is slid all the way forward in the headshell screw slots, the stylus is at exactly 52mm for perfect overhang and alignment.
I've put about 15 hours on my new EDR.9 now, and am getting ready to compare it to my Ortofon K-B. I did switch them once yesterday, listening to a Mozart String Quintet twice. I wasn't doing critical listening but was surprised anyway that when I switched to the K-B for the second listen, no noticeable improvements jumped out at me. I was going to get analytical about it, but decided to wait until this weekend's showdown. Whatever the result of that showdown, the EDR.9 is a keeper -- I love the overall breadth and depth of the sound and soundstage. And it seems to get every instrument's voice right. On silent groove's there's a hair's breath more noise than with my AT440mla, but it's still negligible.

Thanks for the suggestion Raul.

Oh, and I did buy a second one already from the French vendor on ebay!
The EDR-9 is very compliant (28cu). Anyone tried it in a medium mass arm like Rega RB250? The Cart/Arm system frequency will be as low as around 7Hz. Will this not be problematic?
A member contacted me offline wanting to know if I used a Benz LP or an SME V, and I as much as I would have liked to, I have not used or owned either.

So I turn the question to all of you to see if anyone has experience with the Benz LP and/or the SME? More importantly will the Empire EDR.9 be a good match for the SME V?
Dear Krenzler: I never try in a Rega tonearm because I haven't but I ?m using with the medium mass wand of my Micro Seiki MAX 282 and in my ( medium mass too ) Audiocraft and works just fine. Probably could works better in a low mass tonearm but with a medium mass there is no trouble at all.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Ctm: I used both and I used together with good performance.

The SME V is a medium mass tonearm ( I used with two medium mass tonearms with good results ) and I can't see any trouble: you can try it.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Based on Raul's observations I was able this week to hunt down the last of a batch of 5 NOS Technics 205CMK3 from of all places Totem loudspeakers (none left so don't ask).

Still unopened in the box I did not realise that the cart and headshell are integrated. Came with its own measurement graph. Gave it a quick spin last night after a couple of hours break in. First impressions are it is a different presentation style to the mc's; more up-front, easy to pick out individual instruments, full dynamic sound, soundstage concentrated towards the middle rather than the boundaries. Other impression is compared to my UNIverse the slam factor is more pronounced, articulation less analytical. Tried it briefly on an EPA 100 and MAX 282 / AU arm. At this point it is highly recommended and extraordinary value compared to the stratospherically priced moving coils we buy.

One wonders yet again, why some of this Japanese mid/hi-fi didn't win any popularity contest either in N.America or most of Europe at the time. Germany might be an exception as they seemed to have latched on more than most to the high end Japanese gear. Bear in mind this was a relatively inexpensive cartridge in its day - the original price tag was still on the box at C$300 - which is what I paid for it. I wonder Raul if you could tell us the difference between the MK3 and the MK4. I note you can still get replacement stylus for $30, albeit aluminium cantilever rather than the original boron.

Thanks again Raul for pointing out some hidden gems.
Gave it a quick spin last night after a couple of hours break in. First impressions are it is a different presentation style to the mc's; more up-front, easy to pick out individual instruments, full dynamic sound, soundstage concentrated towards the middle rather than the boundaries. Other impression is compared to my UNIverse the slam factor is more pronounced, articulation less analytical. Tried it briefly on an EPA 100 and MAX 282 / AU arm. At this point it is highly recommended and extraordinary value compared to the stratospherically priced moving coils we buy.
Now you guys can see why I stick to my KAB modded Stanton DJ cartridge: it's kick ass and has the midrange of a $1500 moving coil. It's not audiophile approved, though...

Based on Raul's observations I was able this week to hunt down the last of a batch of 5 NOS Technics 205CMK3 from of all places Totem loudspeakers (none left so don't ask).
Obsessive compulsive, among other things.

Dear Steve: A NOS Technics?, how lucky you are !!!!!

Yes your model is an integrated one mine it is not.

The Mk4 has a little higher output: 2.5mv instead 2.0mv, a little broader frequency range: 5hz to 100Khz instead 80Khz, channel separation at 1Khz: more tan 27db instead 25db.

Steve, your quality performance report was after only 2 hours of break in and more than 20 years on stock!!!!, you will be surprised after 30 hours: IMHO the Universe is not a challenge for the Technics.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I couldn't resist the allure of the Empire EDR9 so picked one up from the guy in France. I fitted it today and can agree with the consensus on this cart's value for money.

I'm tracking at 0.79 grams. Timbral balance is very good, dynamic attack is strong and soundstaging is tall, wide and deep judging from Walton 1/Sargent. I'm noticing more prominent surface clicks and pops compared to my usual XV1s, but I'm using a different table [Lenco], arm [pre-production Artisan] and phono stage [Dynavector P75] so I can't blame that on the Empire. Maybe I'll fit it to my main table and hear how that compares, the Galibier is very good at dropping the noise floor.

On balance, it's probably the most enjoyable MM cart I've heard and excellent value at the price.
Flyingred, why are you tracking at 0.79g when the manufacturer recommends 1.5? Thanks.
Flyingred, why are you tracking at 0.79g when the manufacturer recommends 1.5? Thanks.

The product information that came with the cart gives a recommendation of 0.75 to 1.25. I usually start at the lower end of the range and move up if mis-tracking is an issue.

Where did you get the 1.5 gram figure?

I bought 2 EDR.9s, and just checked the small instruction sheet that came with each one. The Spec page for each lists recommneded tracking force at 1.5g precisely -- they do not give a range.

My computer is tied up right now rendering a large video file, but when it's done I can scan the Spec page for you if you want. If that would help, let me know your email address because I don't know how to get a scanned document into an audiogon reply.

Rich (rdr@webryders.net)
Dear Rich: Yes, this is the manual that you have and I can read: 1.5gr. Some one makes this change with out notice:


Anyway, IMHO the 0.75gr to 1.25gr range is ok. I'm using 1.1 ( coming from 1.25gr ) and is just great.
You can try it ( 1.5gr ) if you want.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul, thanks for the link. The manual at vinyl engine is interesting - the tracking force line looks like it has been changed because it is white on black, like a sticker. On mine, in that space it reads "Tracking force range 3/4 to 1-1/4 grams. It's in the same type face and red/black ink as the rest of the leaflet.
Hi folks
Have just aquired an edr 9, on Gilbodavid's recommendation....got it on a Rega RB300 arm on my Lenco (yeah, I'm another of jeannantais fans!)...was initially a little disappointed but after reading later posts on this thread, I played around with the tracking weight a bit more and ended up reducing it from the recommended 1.5g to 1.2g and what a difference! Its had about 5 hours playing now, and im VERY impressed with it..quite blown away in fact. There's an aliveness and dynamism Ive not heard from my system before..brings out the perkiness and PRAt of the Lenco superbly...cant wait to see what it sounds like after another 20-30 hours!!!
Well, I spent the weekend comparing the ~$150 EDR.9 to the ~$1,200 Ortofon K-B. I've had the K-B for a few months and have loved every minute of listening to it. I broke in the EDR.9 for about 15 hours before doing a head-to-head listen.

Both carts are mounted on swappable Yamaha headshells, easily changed onto and off of my Yamaha YP-D8. The K-B was tracking at the recommended 2.5g, and the EDR at the recommended 1.5g.

I listened to Fasano's version of the Four Seasons, Grateful Dead's Reckoning, Debussy String Quartet, Coltrane and Johnny Hartmann, Norah Jones' first LP, Ella sings the Harold Arlen songbook, Stephan Grappelli & Yehudi Menuhin's collaboration on 1930's music (sorry, I'm at work now and don't have all the titles with me), and Nancy Griffith's live LP One Fair Summer Evening.

Used both a Musical Surrounding Phonomena (cover off for quick changes of settings) and the amazing budget preamp TC-760 (that phonopreamps sells on ebay). I'm presently using a Yamaha RX-V2400 receiver as my source of power, playing LPs in the "Direct Stereo" mode. Speakers are GMA Continuum 1's.

First of all, at the end of the weekend, both carts win. The K-B is a wonderful cart to listen to; so is the EDR.9. Of course, that makes the EDR.9 a much better value, at about 1/8 the cost of K-B.

Soundstage for both carts in my system was comparable. Depth is somewhat limited because I can only place the speakers about 18" away from rear wall. Width was about the same for both carts, with each spreading out about 2 feet beyond outer speaker edges. Height was also comparable.

The differences I did hear were in imaging and instrumental timbre. Keep in mind these were very subtle differences.

On stereo recordings, the K-B seemed to image more precisely. It allowed me to point to a space in between the speakers and "see" a precise point in space where a specific instrument was playing. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that that space was a 4" square imaginary spot. The EDR images wonderfully, but I would be pointing to a 16" square spot. Personally, I preferred the EDR's imaging because it struck me as more like my experience of live music. When I sit in a hall, I can hear the wonderful timbre of, say, a live violin, but with eyes closed I cannot point precisely to the sound hole -- the sound fills the room. So for imaging I preferred the EDR.

Instrumental timbres are excellent on both carts as well, but, again, I preferred the EDR. I thought that the K-B produced "thinner" voices for each instrument. The EDR produces weightier, fuller voices. And, again, these thicker voices struck me as sounding more like my experience of listening to live music.

Both carts excel at rhythm and speed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the MM EDR didn't appear to lag in any way when conveying pace. It also handled trills and vibrato on a par with the K-B.

So, I'll be putting the K-B up for sale soon, and using the proceeds to buy more LPs and, perhaps, another EDR. I've enjoyed it a lot, but I can't justify keeping it when the EDR can satisfy me this well. Frankly, it also makes my life a lot easier if I only have to manage switching between an MM stereo cart and my MM mono cart.

Of course, your mileage may vary. These results are purely subjective, for one person, with one system, at one moment in time.
Dear Winegasman: Thank you for share with us your EDR.9 findings.
Do you already try it at 1.2grs VTF?

Regards and enjoy the music.