Hear my Cartridges....🎶


Many Forums have a 'Show your Turntables' Thread or 'Show your Cartridges' Thread but that's just 'eye-candy'.... These days, it's possible to see and HEAR your turntables/arms and cartridges via YouTube videos.
Peter Breuninger does it on his AV Showrooms Site and Michael Fremer does it with high-res digital files made from his analogue front ends.
Now Fremer claims that the 'sound' on his high-res digital files captures the complex, ephemeral nuances and differences that he hears directly from the analogue equipment in his room.
That may well be....when he plays it through the rest of his high-end setup 😎
But when I play his files through my humble iMac speakers or even worse.....my iPad speakers.....they sound no more convincing than the YouTube videos produced by Breuninger.
Of course YouTube videos struggle to capture 'soundstage' (side to side and front to back) and obviously can't reproduce the effects of the lowest octaves out of subwoofers.....but.....they can sometimes give a reasonably accurate IMPRESSION of the overall sound of a system.

With that in mind.....see if any of you can distinguish the differences between some of my vintage (and modern) cartridges.
VICTOR X1
This cartridge is the pinnacle of the Victor MM designs and has a Shibata stylus on a beryllium cantilever. Almost impossible to find these days with its original Victor stylus assembly but if you are lucky enough to do so.....be prepared to pay over US$1000.....🤪
VICTOR 4MD-X1
This cartridge is down the ladder from the X1 but still has a Shibata stylus (don't know if the cantilever is beryllium?)
This cartridge was designed for 4-Channel reproduction and so has a wide frequency response 10Hz-60KHz.
Easier to find than the X1 but a lot cheaper (I got this one for US$130).
AUDIO TECHNICA AT ML180 OCC
Top of the line MM cartridge from Audio Technica with Microline Stylus on Gold-Plated Boron Tube cantilever.
Expensive if you can find one....think US$1000.

I will be interested if people can hear any differences in these three vintage MM cartridges....
Then I might post some vintage MMs against vintage and MODERN LOMC cartridges.....🤗
128x128halcro
@halcro 
Thanks for the reveal.
After @frogman 's last post I thought maybe I screwed up, unless he was being devil's advocate.

But alas "MM" for me is green eggs and ham. I knew "A" was a MC, as I called it, the only doubt was was it the Decca ? or a MI/IM, but it sounded too uneven to be a Decca.

I was surprised at some of frogman's qualitative comments - this has only happened once before - I think my standard i buds are presenting quite differently to his stax headphones as you would expect.

The actual cartridges are a surprise - my faded memeory of the SPU was a little warmer in tone than in the video.

Now the Glanz MFG 610LX is an interesting one - of course it is a moving flux, not a moving magnet. It sounds quite different to my MFG61 which would seem to be more extended in the top end.

I am wondering if your capacitance and/or resistive loading is out. It sounds like mine with too much capacitance. With the MFG61 the recommended capacitance is 100-150pf and resistance 47k. I'm running 146pf - to get there I have to change my phono cable to an ultralow capacitance Audioplan ( 46pf total  ) instead of my usual MIT which is very capacitive ( not a problem with MC's ). Try these and let us know - you will have to allow for your phono cable.
From what I can see on the net if you are using Cardas Golden Reference RCA , then 3m is about 120pf, and you would need about 30pf max on the phono input. If you are using CGR XL your cables are about 70pf, you would need 30-80 pf max on the phono input.

Great experiment - and as you say it shows we can hear differences via youtube video's online.
Fun indeed!  Yes, playing devil’s advocate can get one in trouble.  My wife always tells me I like to be contrarian.   Much in the sound of “A” told me that it should be the MC, but still…… Thanks, Halcro.  Interesting as always.
Thanks for the advice @dover re the Glanz MFG 610LX.
As you suggest.....I find mine to be PARTICULARLY sensitive to all the parameters of set-up, although that may be exacerbated by the fact that I have less than 100 hours playing time on it?

I found I was needing to load it at nearly 20 Ohms initially to tame its high-frequency response and I added about 100pf capacitance.
This was with a VTF of 1.35Gm......
That is how the YouTube video was recorded.

Strangely enough.....the day after posting the video, I was listening to it with some familiar music and it sounded awful 😟
After some adjusting....I increased the VTF to 1.5Gm, changed the loading to 40 Ohms and the Capacitance to 70pf together with subtle changes to VTA.

I don't think the adjustments are anyway near final and a lot more playing is obviously required.

What is your VTF on the MFG61?




@halcro 

Recommended VTF for the MFG61 is 1.5g plus/minus 0.25g.
From memory initally I started at 1.7 due to the age of the cartridge - my rational is that the suspension can stiffen up with age ( or collapse - which will result in a low rider ) and therefore to avoid mistracking I start at the higher end ( I do this with new cartridges as well ).
Then once I am happy it is running well and tracking well, after running in I'll lower the tracking force.
I'm pretty sure I ended up around 1.6gm.
Dont forget when you adjust VTF you change the VTA, and it needs adjusting. For correct tracking force I use "feel" rather than frequency response - in other words at what VTF does the cartridge sound like its tracking securely but not slugged ( too heavy ).

When you say 40ohms loading - do you mean 40k ?
I would suggest stick to 47k. This is the recommended load ( for 61 )

Do you have the specs for the 610 ?? I'm curious to know whether the cartrdiges are the same.

@dover
Yes....20k Ohms and 40k Ohms......

Unfortunately my Glanz came without box or specs.
I seem to recall that some Poster on A’Gon alerted us to the fact that there was a Seller offloading a handful of these NOS cartridges....

HERE is a close-up of the cantilever/stylus which is the best I can do for you.
Any similarities to the MFG61?