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.
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.....🤪
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).
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.....🤗
Take your time Maestro.....
There's only two audiophiles sweating on the verdict 🥴
Tough one; and interesting and insightful comments by Dover and Noromance.

In the absence of the common denominators of same cartridge and tone arm, I have to go by my experience as a long time strictly-belt-drive TT owner and my expectations of what the stereotypical differences between the two technologies might be; most notably, the presumed superior pitch stability of DD.

First, I agree with Dover and Noromance and would say that TT’s 1&3 and, by default, TT’s 2&4 are the same turntable. However, I’m afraid that I don’t agree with some of the characterizations of their respective sounds and the attributed technological provenance. In fact, I hear TT’s 1&2 in completely the opposite way that Noromance does. Possibly a semantics issue; or, perhaps playback gear. Besides, I wouldn’t dream of disappointing can’t Halcro by NOT “breaking the consensus wide open” 😊

I hear the sound of TT’s 2&4 as bigger, bolder and with more (not less) high frequency energy. However, the sound is also a bit less colorful with just a hint of the dreaded (for me) bleached quality, especially in the Stravinsky; and, too tight and borderline shrill (piccolo) in the higher registers. The sound of TT’s 1&3 is, to my ears, a bit rounder and plush, with more of the natural tonal colors that I hear in live sound. However, it is also less bold and less expansive; more contained and set back a bit further and, on the Stravinsky, it could be described as slightly covered. I do agree with the comments about bass articulation.

Taking into account the unknown but expected unique contribution of the arms and cartridges used, what is left for me and the deciding factor is the perceived pitch stability of each and my, possibly fatally biased, expectations of what that may mean. This, taking into account that the pitch stability of this belt drive will be excellent regardless.

There is little in the Stravinsky to provide an obvious clue re pitch stability except the perceived boldness of TT2; possibly attributable to superior pitch stability. However, on the “Look of Love” I hear just a hint of waver in the decay of piano notes with TT3. Those decays sound more solid to me with TT4.

Which one sounds more like the real thing? I suppose that, as always, it depends on one’s priorities. Tonally, TT’s 1&3 do it for me. Pitch stability wise, 2&4. So, with that and the other observations in mind, I will go out on a limb and say that TT’s 1&3 are the belt drive and TT’s 2&4 are the direct drive.  As always,  very subtle differences and very fine sound all the way around.  

Oh, the pressure! 😱

Btw, Halcro, very sneaky of you to have both TT’s spinning at all times 😉

Btw, Halcro, very sneaky of you to have both TT’s spinning at all times 😉
Not only that Maestro.....I also alternated where my stylus cleaning apparatus was located to confuse the 'eagle-eyed' even more 🧨 😝

So to recap:-
Dover and Noromance pick 
  • TT1 - DD
  • TT2 - BD
  • TT3 - DD
  • TT4 - BD
Frogman picks
  • TT1 - BD
  • TT2 - DD
  • TT3 - BD
  • TT4 - DD
I think this shows....regardless of the results....that this is not as easy as most pundits have been declaring for decades!!?
Those declaring their astute 'hearing' abilities the most....are conspicuously absent in all these 'listening tests' 🤥

Before the 'Big Reveal'......does anyone wish to reconsider his choices?
Still time for Edgewear or anyone else to chime in....

Wouldn't it be great if @grooves (Michael Fremer) had a try....? 🙏
Thanks for this experiment Halcro, great fun. It is still difficult for me to listen through the distortion of the laptop speakers and tonal nuances mostly get lost in translation, but I'll give it a go anyway.

I concentrated on listening to the rhythmic presentation, based on my impression that DD is usually prone to latch on to the attack, while BD more emphasizes the flow of the music. At least that is what I hear comparing my own DD table (Pioneer PL-70L II) and BD tables (Micro BL-91G and RX-1500S). I also tried to bring back from memory the experience with my previous BD table (TW Acoustic Raven GT SE with Black Knight battery power supply), which tended to sound slightly dark and subjectively slow paced. This could be a TW family character shared by Halcro's Raven AC.

All that said, I feel TT1 & 4 have the more tightly organized rhythmic presentation I associate with DD, while TT2 & 3 have a more relaxed and flowing presentation, so these would be the BD tables.

Would mr. Fremer take the challenge? The suspense is growing.....😆

Thanks for accepting the challenge Edgewear......
We now seem to have all bases covered 🤗
  • TT1 - DD with Glanz 610LX
  • TT2 - BD with London Decca Reference
  • TT3 - BD with AS Palladian
  • TT4 - DD with Sony XL-88D
Congratulations Edgewear 👏🎉
All that said, I feel TT1 & 4 have the more tightly organized rhythmic presentation I associate with DD, while TT2 & 3 have a more relaxed and flowing presentation, so these would be the BD tables.
This is how I hear it 'Live'....
Your experiences with the Raven and Pioneer turntables possibly gave you the edge 😃

It would be interesting to hear what you all take away from this experiment? 🧐
Thanks for your 'bravery'.
No-one on YouTube had the guts to try it...