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stevoz

Cartridge 'Enabler'....snake oil or for real?

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This simple little device from Origin Live is claimed to enhance SQ by " a combination of damping, decoupling and reducing reflected energy. "

 

THEAUDIOPHILEMAN.COM

Looking to enhance sound quality at a low, low price, Origin Live offers the dinky Cartridge Enabler, which sits in between your...

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Does it work? Well, this guy loves it and at a price of 19 pounds (probably end up being $Au50+), it has potential for us all. He tested it on a GBP28.000 system and a GBP200 TT/cheaper system and obtained noticeable SQ improvement on both systems:

 

"Enhanced sound quality by the bag full, whether you’re looking at a high-end system or a simpler budget design or anything in between. The Cartridge Enabler improves overall sonic quality across the frequency spectrum. In fact, the Origin Live Cartridge Enabler is one of those ‘no brainer’ add ons that you hear about from time to time. Well, this is one of those times."

 

Interesting.....

 

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Pretty inexpensive to see if you think it works. 

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looks interesting/promising.

 

whether I'd notice any difference in SQ? I kinda doubt it, but may well be wrong...

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Looks like a copy of a carbon spacer a recently deceased member has been using 

We also recently discussed a similar product or how to DIY it  on a thread 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Full Range said:

Looks like a copy of a carbon spacer a recently deceased member has been using 

We also recently discussed a similar product or how to DIY it  on a thread 

 

 

I was thinking 'how hard would it be to make one?'. Would be nice to know what the material used is but it is "a company secret" of course.......but maybe we could speculate what it might be a composite of. 🤨 No doubt there will be carbon involved.

Edited by stevoz

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1 hour ago, stevoz said:

I was thinking 'how hard would it be to make one?'. Would be nice to know what the material used is but it is "a company secret" of course.......but maybe we could speculate what it might be a composite of. 🤨 No doubt there will be carbon involved.


This is the thread we discussed the item and it’s material construction 

 

 

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I understand carbon fibre being the front runner material, however cannot stop thinking - dense sorbothane.

 

If isolation of energy is the goal - but that's assuming the premise of the whole idea is sound.

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17 minutes ago, Full Range said:


This is the thread we discussed the item and it’s material construction 

 

 

Duc's 'isolator' was 3mm thick...too thick for those without VTA adjustment. Due to this, I would go for 1mm thick, the same as the 'Enabler'.

 

This stuff @ $20.12 for a 200x250x1mm thick sheet......if just carbon fibre is ok.

 

WWW.EBAY.COM.AU

100% Carbon Fiber plate 3K with gloss surface both sides. Thickness: 0.5/1/1.5/2/2.5/3mm. Material: carbon fiber. 1 x Carbon...

 

 

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a similar sort of thing in sorbothane 100x50x1mm

WWW.EBAY.COM.AU

While many other materials exhibit one of these characteristics, Sorbothane combines all of them in a stable material with a long...

 

however still cannot decide if I'm for or against this idea - regardless of material.

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While sorbothane is a great isolator, some say it's use (or overuse) can deaden sound(?).

 

I would worry that this may be the case if used for this purpose.....but I'm no expert and at just 1mm thick, it may be fine.😉

 

 

Edited by stevoz

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39 minutes ago, stevoz said:

While sorbothane is a great isolator, some say it's use (or overuse) can deaden sound(?).

 

I would worry that this may be the case if used for this purpose.....but I'm no expert.😉

 

 

I have strong suspicions along similar lines.

 

It's a sort of to couple or to isolate question. There's a reason tonearms cost a pretty penny, so do you really want to decouple from it?.....

Edited by zippi

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CFRP is not a damper material for macro external vibration, it is way too stiff for that. It does have more capacity for internal energy dissipation than isotropic materials (especially metals) and hence, internal damping of micro vibrations (i.e. energy that is transferred inside the laminate itself). As a macro material, it behaves as any other material with its mass and modulus of elasticity driving its dynamic response to external vibration. However, when sandwiched between the cartridge and head-shell there is no elastic response worth mentioning, and therefore there is no vibration damping. 

 

Felt or soft foam can be used as damping materials in this position but results can be variable. By introducing damping there, one is also introducing a potential instability and a misalignment source. The tracking force should be at least an order of magnitude less than the force required to deform the damping material, at which point there will probably be very little damping effect left. In real dynamic systems it is hard to obtain stiffness (i.e. stability) and damping (i.e. flexibility) in the same element and at the same time. 

 

So, in conclusion - like most of the so called "snake oil" in audio, this is is based on plausible science but just slightly misplaced and misunderstood. It does not hurt to try with some DIY options but I definitely would not spend $50 on it. 

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4 hours ago, zippi said:

however still cannot decide if I'm for or against this idea - regardless of material.

My take on it is that the cartridge has to faithfully record the groove modulations, and it can't do that if it is allowed to move.  Hence it must be solidly fixed to the headshell.

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I've got cartridge isolator someone put me on to that def works. More along the size of Duc 's.

Single material but I  don't know what or from where any more.

Not much help really.

 

 

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An interesting topic, and one with some interesting ideas about pros and cons with Cartridge mounting systems, but there seems to be no actual experience on offer. So I'll add my two bits since I'm using a Cartridge Mounting System. Without my experience. I'd probably agree with "aussievintage" and "zippi" above and conclude "if the Arm is designed well, tracks true, has a good resonant nature, and good competent bearing system, then why decouple from it and introduce a possible "flexure point" (non rigid mount) which could cause misalignment. Perfectly reasonable rational.

 

I'm not going to express an opinion on the "Cartridge Enabler" Material because I have no contact with it, but I will tell you about the system I am using.

I got talking to Leonard Gregory ( Cartridge Man) via email regarding getting my tired Koetsu Rosewood Sig rebuilt. He convinced me to try his Music Maker Classic, his best Cartridge at the time. This unit had his Isolator riveted to the Cartridge so had to be used with it,...like it or not. Leonard's Cartridges have been hit seriously hard with the "ugly stick", but this Cartridge floored me sonically. I won't bore you with the details, suffice it to say I later went on to buy his Music Master, same Isolator System, (diff material) also riveted to the Cartridge Body. It tracks beautifully, does not sound the least bit over damped, and is one of the most balanced and dynamic Cartridges I've ever heard, and I've heard quite an few. This thing is everything I want in a Cartridge,...except for looks.

 

The isolator Leonard uses decouples the Cartridge from the body "breaking" the feed back loop of the vibration from the Stylus, running down the Arm causing bearing chatter, and bouncing happily back to the Head Shell making a micro mess of the information the Stylus is trying to retrieve. The extent of this form of distortion is not apparent until it is removed, not unlike lowering an Amplifiers Noise Floor. This ideology works really well in application, and reduces a lot of the problems tone arms face while trying to control a madly vibrating Stylus/Cantilever at the other end of a stick. So a pretty good arm can perform really well because many of it's problems (bearing chatter, natural resonance and vibration conduction) have been reduced or eliminated. My own Kiseki Gold Arm is just a good arm, but performs exceptionally well partly due to this decoupling. Can't afford a Triplanar or a Graham,.....you may well consider a simple Isolator like Leonard's.

 

I've included photos of my two cartridges and a link to Leonard's website. See what you make of it.

 

Cheers Mark.

 

WWW.THECARTRIDGEMAN.COM

the cartridge man, music maker cartridge, stylus re-tipping, cartridge repair, stylus guage and turntable leveling guage...

 

P1020161.JPG

P1060958.JPG

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@Shark woah!!! that must be close to 5mm thick. a serious looking gadget. intricate geometry + 2 layers. thanks for sharing.

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I wonder if the material used is "carbon rubber", basically rubber with black carbon added for reinforcement. Are people thinking of carbon fibre due to the conductive properties or for it's extreme light weight?

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That arrangement is very interesting and it should work as an imagined constrained layer damper (CLD) to suppress any HF vibrations coming through the arm bearing and tube into the headshell. The real question is about the true need for something like that. How sensitive the pickup can be to say, very low level 30-40KHz vibratory input coming through several mechanical interfaces and the cartridge housing as well (which should serve to isolate the pickup coil from said vibration)? I am not sure that there is an accelerator sensitive enough to actually measure that.  

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34 minutes ago, blybo said:

I wonder if the material used is "carbon rubber", basically rubber with black carbon added for reinforcement. Are people thinking of carbon fibre due to the conductive properties or for it's extreme light weight?

 

That makes more sense than just straight out hard carbon fibre.

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I often wonder with these types of add-ons whether it is simply that because you need to take everything apart, you obviously need to set it all up again. 

 

When you set up carts, things that may have been out are now fixed and therefore a better sound.  

 

Who knows? 

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I'm curious about the rubber.  Isn't it better to have the cart mounted securely to the headshell, which would imply using a solid piece of carbon fibre?  The rubber would not mount it as securely. 

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7 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

I'm curious about the rubber.  Isn't it better to have the cart mounted securely to the headshell, which would imply using a solid piece of carbon fibre?  The rubber would not mount it as securely. 

But carbon fibre is not a dampening/isolating material, so wouldn't work in the way described in the review. Rubber is dampening/isolating to a degree

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11 minutes ago, blybo said:

Rubber is dampening/isolating to a degree

 

 If you dampen the cartridge vibrations you will lose high frequency response.  The cart needs to work against a solid mount.  Visualise it in the extreme - a very stiff cart cantilever and a very soft mounting.  When the record groove pushes the cantilever, the mounting will move, and reduce the deflection of the cantilver.

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5 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

 

 If you dampen the cartridge vibrations you will lose high frequency response.  The cart needs to work against a solid mount.  Visualise it in the extreme - a very stiff cart cantilever and a very soft mounting.  When the record groove pushes the cantilever, the mounting will move, and reduce the deflection of the cantilver.

Surely only in the very unlikely event of the 'isolator' material used being softer and more pliable than the carts own suspension?

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