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
I like the  Glanz 610LX a lot.....

I've been thinking for a while now......🤔
You guys can detect the smallest differences between cartridges.
You can hear:-
  • Whether a MM or MC
  • Differences in Loading
  • Differences between Headshells
  • Differences between Arms
I have little doubt that if I recorded the same track with various changes to VTF and VTA....you'd be able to hear them 🤗
This is really mind-blowing stuff when you think about it...🤯
You're able to detect these differences via the limitations of the YouTube Video!!

But can you hear the differences between TURNTABLES??!!!
Of course you can....🤪
Many lovers of Belt-Drive claim they can't stand the sound of Direct-Drive 🙉
Good grief.....the entire world of High-End Audio (particularly in Great Britain in the '70s and '80s) began with the 'revolutionary' CLAIM that the 'Turntable' was the most important element of the Audio System!!!
Linn, Rega, STD, Pink Triangle, Avid, SME all swamped the turntable market and drove the 'lowly' Japanese-made Direct-Drive industry into a DJ and low-consumer-only product.
I bought my first serious Hi-Fi System in 1978 before reading any journals or doing any research.
So I bought a Technics SL-1700 with Kenwood Integrated Amp, Tuner, Tape-Deck.
As soon as I heard the sound, I was 'hooked' and delved into the world of 'AUDIO'.
In Australia at that time, there was no Stereophile or TAS (I learned later that these were 'Underground Magazines'...not available at Newsagents) but we had the British 'Hi-Fi Answers' and 'What Hi-Fi' which were very entertaining and convincing.....
After two years of reading 'only' about Linn, Rega and other Belt-Drives...I saw a Rega Planar 3 with Hadcock Arm in the Classifieds (John Russin-"Exotic Stuff Cheap") 🙏
I sold my SL-1700 to a friend at work and set up my new deck....
I was about to experience the 'High-End'....👏
As I worked my way through my modest record collection....I couldn't for the life of me, hear added detail, information or PRAT over the Technics!!!?
Was I the victim of a 'scam'....? 🤥🧐

The previous 'blind' cartridge comparison here was great fun......
Why not try it with two turntables?

TURNTABLE 1 - Belt-Drive or Direct-Drive? 
                           And WHY?
TURNTABLE 2 - Belt-Drive or Direct-Drive?
                           And WHY?
TURNTABLE 3 - Belt-Drive or Direct-Drive?
                           And WHY?
TURNTABLE 4 - Belt-Drive or Direct-Drive? 
Not so easy........? 🤔

I remember years ago, when I stated on another Audio Forum that I couldn't be confident of picking the difference between my Belt-Drive Raven and my Direct-Drive TT-101 in a 'blindfold' test....I was derided as being 'clotheared' 🦻!!!
This Test, not only contrasts different turntables....but different arms and cartridges!!!!
There MUST be 'differences'??!!

Yet no-one can hear them....🤔
What does that say about Audio Reviewers who can prattle on about the differences between a turntable they happen to be currently testing, and others that are no longer in their listening room?
They're doing it from MEMORY!!!!! 🤥

So don't give me this drivel about 'attack' and 'sustain' and 'drive' when comparing turntables, tonearms and cartridges.
Especially when you're doing it from 'aural' memory 🤪

We're such a gullible lot when comes to 'unprovable' subjective opinions proffered with 'authority' or 'superiority'.....😳
@halcro 
I've actually been busy getting my new ensuite ready for the plumber to hook everything up.

I'm happy to give it a go, but in an ideal world I would want the same arm/cartrtidge on both TT's - I believe I could pick it every time in a blind test with the same arm/cartridge.

TT1 - DD
TT2 - Belt

On TT1 I hear grain in the treble region, which I would associate with the Victor. There is also a slight imprecision in the lower base region on TT2  which I have heard on your Raven before.


TT3 - DD
TT4 - Belt

This was much harder to pick - on this recording the bandwidth limiting seems to narrow the differences in the upper mid/lower treble.
However again there is a slightly better very low base articulation with TT1, and therefore based on previously hearing the Raven's imprecision in this region, would guess TT1 - Victor, TT2 Raven.

Sock it to me - how did I go.
@dover 
I give you kudos for putting your neck (ears) on the line.....👏
I'll delay revealing your 'score' in the hope that others may also be so brave....👀

Hope you don't mind.....


TT1 sounds better - more detail retrieval, deeper insight into the music. Better drive. A little coarse but clean.

TT2 duller, further back in the auditorium. maybe nore space between instruments but loss of detail makes this a drag.

TT3 sounds better right from the opening. More dynamics, defined bass, air..

TT4 meh.

Now, I really don't have a clue which one is which but I have heard the Raven at AXPONA with triodes and Acora speakers and it sounded very warm and fluid but not very dynamic. I've also heard Technics 1200GAE and it was pretty detailed.

With that I mind I'll GUESS:
DD
BD
DD
BD