Dear friends:The main subject of this thread is start a dialogue to find out the way we almost all think or be sure about the thread question :  " true " answer.


Many years ago I started the long Agon MM thread where several audiophiles/Agoners and from other audio net forums participated to confirm or to discover the MM/MI/IM/MF/HOMC world and many of us, me including, was and still are" surprised for what we found out in that " new " cartridge world that as today is dominated by the LOMC cartridges.


Through that long thread I posted several times the superiority of the MM/types of cartridges over the LOMC ones even that I owned top LOMC cartridge samples to compare with and I remember very clearly that I posted that the MM and the like cartridges had lower distortion levels and better frequency range quality performance than the LOMC cartridges.


In those times j.carr ( Lyra designer ) was very active in Agon and in that thread  I remember that he was truly emphatic  posting that my MM conclusion was not  true due that things on distortion cartridge levels in reality is the other way around: LOMC has lower distortion levels.


Well, he is not only a LOMC cartridge designer but an expert audiophile/MUSIC lover with a long long and diverse first hand experiences listening cartridges in top TT, top tonearms and top phono stages and listening not only LOMC cartridges but almost any kind of cartridges in his and other top room/systems.


I never touched again that subject in that thread and years or months latter the MM thread I started again to listening LOMC cartridges where my room/system overall was up-graded/dated to way superior quality performance levels than in the past and I posted somewhere that j.carr was just rigth: LOMC design were and are superior to the other MM type cartridges been vintage or today models.


I'm a MUSIC lover and I'm not " married " with any kind of audio items or audio technologies I'm married just with MUSIC and what can gives me the maximum enjoyment of that ( every kind )  MUSIC, even I'm not married with any of my opinions/ideas/specific way of thinking. Yes, I try hard to stay " always " UNBIASED other than MUSIC.


So, till today I followed listening to almost every kind of cartridges ( including field coil design. ) with almost every kind of tonearms and TTs and in the last 2 years my room/system quality performance levels were and is improved by several " stages " that permits me better MUSIC audio items judgements and different enjoyment levels in my system and other audio systems. Yes, I still usemy test audio items full comparison proccess using almost the same LP tracks every time and as always my true sound reference is Live MUSIC not other sound system reproduction.


I know that the main thread subject is way complicated and complex to achieve an unanimous conclusions due that exist a lot of inherent differences/advantages/unadvantages in cartridges even coming from the same manufacturer.


We all know that when we talk of a cartridge we are in reality talking of its cantilever buil material, stylus shape, tonearm used/TT, compliance, phono stage and the like and my " desire " is that we could concentrate in the cartridges  as an " isolated " audio item and that  any of our opinions when be posible  stay in the premise: " everything the same ".


My take here is to learn from all of you and that all of us try to learn in between each to other and not who is the winner but at the " end " every one of us will be a winner.


So, your posts are all truly appreciated and is a thread where any one can participates even if today is not any more his analog alternative or is a newcomer or heavily experienced gentleman. Be my guest and thank's in advance.




Ag insider logo xs@2xrauliruegas

How do you know a flugehorn kind of sound, or the kind of sound of a double bass or a piano instrument if you never heard it live?

How do you know what a flugelhorn or piano recorded in another venue as interpreted by the recording engineer sounds like if you weren’t there and/or were the recording engineer?  Hearing a flugelhorn or piano live on certain occasions in various venues doesn’t mean that translates to or what was captured on a certain recording nor what you should expect.  It’s by definition a moving target and thus hearing something live somewhere is an unreliable and unrealistic reference point as to what you think you should hear on a recording.  I play drums but don’t use the sound of my drums as the standard by which I hear drums on a given recording — there are just too many variables involved to make that a viable standard or useful benchmark for reproduced recorded music at home.  Anyway, I’m otherwise very much enjoying the various takes on the sound of different cartridge designs — very interesting and educational.

As Raul wrote, the key is extensive exposure to live music.  No offense intended, but those who oppose using live music as a reference are copping out and/or are listening to the wrong things when (if) they spend much time attending live performances.  There are aspects of live sound that can be appreciated no matter the venue, musician, your seat in the venue, etc,; all those “variables” that for some invalidate the use of live as a reference.  

**** So why apply a standard of live music when it doesn’t even apply to a lot of music we listen to? ****

Fair question, but the answer is simple: because live unamplified musical sounds have the most information available to the audiophile.  And, yes, those who listen to amplified music primarily are at a disadvantage in this regard.  Sorry, but true.  Dynamic, rhythmic, timbral and textural nuance are there to be heard on a level much richer and finer than in amplified/processed music.  Nothing wrong with not using this as one’s guide and simply striving for a sound that is liked, just as there is nothing wrong and certainly not a “farce” to believe in using it.  However, to not use it is the reason that so many “audiophile” systems make sounds that one never hears live, while some which are assembled with this in mind can get reasonably close.  And that is a worthy goal for some.  

Dear @frogman  :  I think I know you on MUSIC/audio reproduction targets and of course rhythm  is at the top chatacteristic and is not for free or at random because exist several reasons behind it.

From where comes/came that live MUSIC rhythm?. Well and this is only my take about:

months ago maybe years in other Agon forum was opened a thread with a dialogue about rhythm and I participated down there and what I posted is that differences for the better or bad belongs to Transient Response here is where starts MUSIC and from that Transient Response ( instruments/audio system ) is developed the Rhythm and MUSIC Dynamics.

That first attack that @bdp24  is exactly where start Transient Response but the Rhythm that is developed depends of several issues:

first which the rhythm proposed by the MUSIC composer and is very important because  ( example ) the Orchestra Director needs a correct explicit interpretation of what the composer try to achieve and the Director must has to transmit that issue to the Orchestra players  that's why so many training sessions to show a MUSICAL score to the Hall public seated there. 

But here exist some troubles: one is the venue that has implicated part of the natural color of tha MUSIC score, then the quality level of all the player instruments and obviously their talent invloved there but each human being today can have a rhtyhm/feels and 6 hours latter a little different one due to changes in the mood or for whatever other reason.

With out transient response rhythm can exist, overall is to complicated to explain it and needs a new thread but at the end that rhythm is what makes the differences between cartridges even coming from the same manufacturer.

The ones like me that owns or listened in their system several cartridges know exactly what I'm talking about. Each cartridge has its own rhythm that sometime makes us to move our legs/foots very easy and other times not so easy or even no movements at all and yes we  all have our own rhythm too.

Cartridges with out rhythm are cartridges with bad transient response or not so good levels.




Raul, I agree with what you wrote and I can only add that it goes even much deeper than that as concerns how rhythmic nuance is conveyed by audio equipment. Transient response is key, but only one piece of the puzzle it seems to me. And I do believe it is a puzzle because I have not seen entirely satisfactory explanations, from a technical standpoint, for all that contributes to the sense of immediacy and tension/release that one hears in well performed live music and from well reproduced recordings.. All things that contribute to great rhythmic feeling. One example:

A string section in a great orchestra plays a musical passage that consists of sustained chords. One hears the initial transient attack of one chord that has to be perfectly timed within the overall context of the music for it to be correctly rhythmic. This sustained chord then resolves to another sustained chord that likewise has to be perfectly timed. However, it is not just the temporal relationship between those two transients that matters, it is also what happens in between those two transients that makes the difference. It is the excitement created by the sense of tension/release of one chord leading to the next, like a coiled spring finally releasing that makes all the difference. Some audio gear does a much better job of conveying this type of nuance than others do.

Surely tension/release is a neurological matter rather then one created by a skilled orchestra, a good venue or a fine cartridge? We talk of joyful music, sad music and so on, but we are simply describing the emotions it engenders in our minds, not in the music. It is interesting that we generally agree on the emotions that music causes: it gives a small insight into the way our brains work. One of the admirable qualities about Puccini was that he wrote in emotions as much as in melodies; he had the ability (was it conscious?) to reach straight into one's thalamus and manipulate the emotions. Probably heightened by all the excitement of a live performance, where travelling there, dressing up, the set, the costumes, and finally the music all contribute to the final effect of leaving me weeping.

I want my music reproduction to work at several levels:

—I want the detailed timbres of an intimate venue chamber recital or solo voice reproduced so I can hear them as if I were there, I want to hear how much rosin is on the horsehair

—I want my feet to tap from the musicality of it all, which is simply a physical manifestation of how successfully the music is dominating all other mental processes

—I want that emotional experience

But then, I'm easily satisfied...