That is a very important point - the arm has to suit the cartridge, or the
cartridge has to suit the arm. Moving coil cartridges are low compliance and
will not work right in a low-mass tonearm. OTOH, arms designed to mate with
moving coils are not likely to be right with high-compliance stylus
assemblies such as Shures, Stantons, the very popular Audio Technicas, or
some Ortofons. It's a question of both the resonant frequency of the
combination and the rigidity/internal resonances of the tonearm and plinth.
A low-compliance cartridge can send a lot of energy into the tonearm, which
many can't dissipate without causing major sonic problems. And a
high-compliance, 1 gram AT can't properly drag around a relatively high-mass
arm and still work right.
Of high relevance to this list is the characteristics of the 78 styluses
made to work with Shure or Stanton cartridges. Do they retain the medium- or
high-compliance suspension, or are they damped or stiffened? We really need
someone who is expert in this application to give us an guide, along the
lines of the digital standards for archiving. Otherwise, it's a lot of guess
work. Makers of TT/tonearms are generally of little help, defaulting to a
supposed middle-ground universalism that is inadequate for serious work.
Thinking back to the days of type approval for broadcast equipment, wouldn't
it be great to have similar published standards for various discs? Assuming
growing demand for transcription work in the coming years, maybe that would
encourage a manufacturer to make such things, correctly integrated
TT/Tonearm/cartridge systems for LP and shellac, given an estimate-able
market size. The affordable offerings I've seen out there look like
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of BPT
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2012 2:17 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Interesting details on new Beatles LP reissues
On 11/14/2012 3:33 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
> I do agree with Fremer about the Stanton 681EEE cartridge that Magee
> uses for playback on the lathe. EMI can't spring for something better?
> That's a POS. At least get something accurate like a Denon DL-110,
> which retails for almost the same as what the Stanton used to (it's
> not made anymore -- good riddance!). If they want something
> "industrial strength" or "broadcast grade" to go on the SME tonearm,
> get a Denon DL-103 or the reissue Ortofon broadcast cartridge.
I have to disagree on this point about the Stanton 681EEE, particularly
with the "S" stylus.
The real issue with the 681EEE is the high-compliance that requires an
extremely low-mass tonearm to function as intended. About the only
tonearm that works properly with it is the old SME series III
plastic-fantastic with the TiN tonearm tube. The original SME design
isn't going to work well with the EEE because it is a much higher mass
design. Load the EEE in a 1970s/1980s era direct drive turntable, and
you'll get extremely poor results because those tonearms are anything
*but* low-mass designs.
With the EEE in the series III SME, you get nothing short of a miracle.
The combination tracks nearly anything you can throw at it, and it
sounds rather nice to my ears. I've been using this very setup in a
restored c.1961 Empire DB-208 since the early 1980s. I've upset a lot
of audiophile-types that spent far more money on their turntables with
my relatively-inexpensive setup. The phono preamp I use is the old
Lampton design made from a pair of Signetics NE5534AN chips, fed by a
heavily-filtered +/-15V supply. The results are impressive, especially
with the old Mo-Fi UHQR discs.
Are there better cartridges than the old 681? Probably. Set any of
them up with the proper tonearm mass and capacitive/resistive loading,
and you're way ahead of the game. Very few consumers back in the 70s
bothered to do this. Even today, I'm surprised at how few of the
remaining hi-fi bugs out there know anything about proper turntable setup.
(yeah, I'm still around)