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stevoz

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

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11 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.

Don't shoot the messenger. I'm only quoting how the reviewed product is said to work.

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10 minutes ago, stevoz said:

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

No, if the mounting has ANY give, then some small amount of movement will occur when ever force is applied, and even a soft cantilever will be applying some small force.

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I know that Linn had always recommended that the cartridge be HARD BOLTED to the arm/headshell. (I have no idea if they've changed.)

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27 minutes ago, blybo said:

Don't shoot the messenger. I'm only quoting how the reviewed product is said to work.

No intention of shooting you :)    

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Ok, so Physics dictates that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. No argument there. But the amount that the isolator is moving in response to wiggles from the Cantilever would be so small as to be irrelevant. Do either of my cartridges sound "soft" or undynamic as a result of a compliant mount, not by any aural measurement, and my system is very fast and any compromise in dynamics would be bluntly apparent. So to my ear, there is no audible loss of energy in the Generator System to the Isolator. Remember the Cartridge itself has an inertia of it's own therefore a tendency to maintain it's current motion status and will resist the Cantilever trying to wiggle it into submission. In this system the Cartridge/Cantilever needs to be viewed as co-dependant bodies "floating" independently.

 

Balance this inaudible loss,  against a "hard mount" (no pun intended) where the Cartridge Resonance will absolutely conduct along the Arm Wand then bounce back again, perhaps with some bearing chatter added, to arrive at the Cartridge Body and excite it, potentially blurring the new signal being retrieved. All this is nice theory,...but in the end, the proof is in the listening, and these Isolators really do deliver. The investment is nothing compared to an arm upgrade which might be ~ $2K (or more)! I'm not asking anyone to buy one,....just don't write them off just because tradition dictates otherwise.

 

Cheers, Mark.

 

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On 25/11/2019 at 8:24 PM, Shark said:

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

Australian price and reseller 

WWW.DECIBELHIFI.COM.AU

The Cartridge Man's Isolator

 

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About 16 years ago on the old WAD forum various members tried different types of damping the h/shell/cartridge. At the time I saw that Lidls (a German discount supermarket present in most EU countries) was selling drinks coasters made of s/steel with a bonded composite rubber under surface. This material had just a little give. These coasters were easy enough to cut to size and many found that it's effect was positive on the sound. 

 

Fast forward to now and I wanted to lower the arm mass on my Kenwood KD990. The arm is superb in it's design and engineering and comes with a sturdy aluminium h/shell. I bought a lightweight h/shell to replace it and this has indeed lowered the arm mass. I replaced the brass screws and nuts that came with the AT 33EV cartridge with an aluminium set. I then saw that plastic sets were available. The plastic set tightens up just like a brass/aluminium ones but i believe it has an advantage in that it will have a higher damping factor. Both the aluminium and plastic sets are considerably lighter than the brass set.

 

I have a contrarian opinion on h/shell arm combinations. A one piece arm means that any vibration/resonances will be fed directly into the cartridge - there is nothing to stop this happening. With removable h/shells a rubber washer/small amount of Blutak will nullify this effect.

 

Rather than pay £19 + postage why not take a look at what's available in packaging that comes with so many products. The s/steel coasters also provided h/shell weight that many desired for the cartridges they were using. Getting the cartridge/h/she;ll arm combo right makes all the difference to the vinyl sound - have fun.

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On 25/11/2019 at 11:21 AM, stevoz said:

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...

image.png.64f8a4a94a256f027bfd759c0f4730b4.png

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.....

 

$38.50 

WWW.DECIBELHIFI.COM.AU

ORIGIN LIVE Aladdin moving iron cartridge

 

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If this tweak worked, why have none of the tonearm and cartridge manufacturers implemented it in their products?  In fact the opposite - they recommend solid mounting to the tonearm ( Linn was mentioned earlier I think )

 

I can't resolve what seems like having it both ways with regard to resonances.  If they remove the resonance in the audible band, they will remove the frequency response as well - it's just another vibration and the isolator can't tell the difference.

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9 hours ago, aussievintage said:

If this tweak worked, why have none of the tonearm and cartridge manufacturers implemented it in their products?  In fact the opposite - they recommend solid mounting to the tonearm ( Linn was mentioned earlier I think )

 

I can't resolve what seems like having it both ways with regard to resonances.  If they remove the resonance in the audible band, they will remove the frequency response as well - it's just another vibration and the isolator can't tell the difference.

Hi Aussievintage, yes, I too have wondered why so many great tweaks aren't just included with new product,..if they work so well. This question applies to all tweaks. The answer is probably the manufacturer does not own the Intellectual Property, and would need to pay the IP owner a royalty. Anther reason is price increases. We all know the feet from Stillpoints work a treat, but nobody supplies them as original product,..they just supply plain rubber feet, like on Audio Research amps,.....and assume the new owner will put on what they will post purchase. And using someone else's expensive feet will make money for someone else and not for the manufacturer whilst pushing their sale price up.

 

The notion of solid mounting is as old as Tone Arms, and by saying "that's the way we've always done it" in my industry is one of the most dangerous statements you can make. Solid mounting most certainly has it's merits, I've been doing it for decades, but don't limit your options by excluding new ideas. You may be surprised.

 

Regarding resonance, the Cart Body is going to resonate, it has to. It's a matter then of if you want to hold the resonance there at the Cart. and deal with it, or let it travel along the Arm Wand and create some havoc. The Isolators have caused no limitation in the frequency response of my setup I can tell you.

 

Cheers, Mark.

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