anyone else running vintage Empire carts?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by gadget73, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. wualta

    wualta < Spike Milligan, 1961

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    It's a good place to come and ponder, and think out loud, and stuff!
     
  2. boreas

    boreas Lunatic Member

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    A little while ago I bought a couple of cartridges on eBay from a guy in Israel. They were an Excel ES70S (the one I wanted) and one of the uboquitous early AT10 - 13 bodies. When they arrived, however, three weren't two cartridges but four. In addition to the ones I bought, there was a Sonotone V100 and an Empire 999XE/X, a clone of the blob 66/X.

    I contacted the seller and asked him whether the two extra cartridges were sent by mistake or whether they were a bonus. He responded that they were indeed a bonus and that I was welcome to keep them.

    So I did.

    Of the four, the Empire was the only one that came with a stylus, an S906 conical, and it was so grungy that I couldn't tell whether there was a diamond under all that crud or not. So I ran it through my ultrasonic jewelry cleaner about 4 times until I could see under the microscope that the diamond was still there and looking pretty good.

    So back into the jewelry cleaner for another 8 or 10 times to get as much of the remaining crud off as possible. I was finally able to clean the diamond completely and was able to determine that the stylus was essentially unworn. I was also able to see that the crud was in fact the result of corrosion from the bushing. The parts of the bushing which I managed to get clean were heavily pitted.

    But I wasn't out of the woods yet. Oh, no. Not yet. The suspension was in the early stages of failure. So I administered Dr. Boreas' Famous Miracle Fish Oil Cure TM and let the stylus sit most of Saturday and all day Sunday. Today I gave it a run and I have to say that it's pretty remarkable for a conical. Now, If I could only find an elliptical, something like a NOS S912E, I'd be truly happy.

    John
     
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  3. Doug G.

    Doug G. Addicted Member

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    I think it's a good idea to not underestimate conicals. My ADC 220 with a conical and my Empire Broadcast 1 with a conical both sound really good.

    Doug
     
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  4. Been a little while since I had a chance to log in and do some ponderin'. Had to attend, then recover, from a music festival that basically multiplies the towns population 10x for a week or so. Absolutely nuts I tells ya.

    -

    I think it's a shame that conicals have been so neglected by manufacturers and the market, they can sound fantasitc and even have some advantages.
    Does a modern MM spherical of say DL103 caliber/quality even exist today for under DL103 money?

    I'd buy one...

    This reminds me, I still need to play around with my SBC-1 in the 66 body and see how they pair.
    Doug, are you using yours in a proper Broadcast One body?
     
  5. Graceman

    Graceman Member

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    I purchased a NOS Empire 600LAC a couple of years ago and I've just found it again (!) and set it up on my Rock ll. Must say, it's not a bad little cartridge, tracks very well and sounds excellent. I'm looking forward to some extended listening once it has bedded in.
    I've no idea how old it is or where it sits in the Empire pecking order, but I hope someone will be along soon to enlighten me..!
     
  6. wualta

    wualta < Spike Milligan, 1961

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    It's the top model from a line of cartridges that Empire brought to market in 1980, just after the company had been sold to E. Benz. You'll find them collectively called "Chunkies" in this thread because of the odd (compared to Empire's earlier models) styling of the mounting cap. The original official name was "Dynamic Interface".

    On the inside, they were the same design Empire had been using since 1966, but much lighter, a very welcome improvement, and with overall better styli. You can think of them as an evolution of the old 2000E series, but with tech borrowed from the 1979 EDR.9 flagship, which was a summation of everything Empire had done up til then.

    The 600 LAC isn't state of the art in some respects (effective tip mass, for one), but it's still a pretty serious cartridge. The cantilever is tapered and lightly dusted with vapor-deposited boron, and its high-frequency resonance is tamed by using a tiny internal inertial damper-- a needle within the needle, if you will-- instead of mechanical damping by the rubber suspension.
    Here's an illustration, taken from an EDR.9 ad, showing the inertial damper partially withdrawn from the cantilever:
    Empire EDR9 inertial damper partially withdrawn.jpg
    The "LAC" diamond is a line-contact type.

    When simply thrown together, these things don't necessarily add up to great sound, but Empire specialized in making all the parts work together, so you have a cartridge that sounds better than its spec sheet reads.

    The 600 LAC's body isn't rare, but it's not common. You can't put just any "Chunky" stylus in it and get a flat response curve.

    The 600 LAC had a near-twin, the boron-less LAC 75.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
  7. Graceman

    Graceman Member

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    Thanks wualta, that's just the information I was looking for.
     
  8. wualta

    wualta < Spike Milligan, 1961

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  9. Doug G.

    Doug G. Addicted Member

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    It's been a while but I don't think I have a Broadcast 1 body. I would have put it into an Empire body with the same inductance, however. I just remember it sounding really good. Very robust and dynamic.

    Doiug
     
  10. wualta

    wualta < Spike Milligan, 1961

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    Another 888TE story:
    Bought a known-collapsey but new-old-stock true-nude S888TE for a good price and figured I'd give it what we jokingly call the Fish Oil Treatment, aka WD-FOTy (a fo'tuitous acrosticle). Well sir, I propped it and dropletted it. Not enough. So I drenched it, tested it, became puzzled, drenched it some more. It reached a limit beyond which it would not go. I doubted it would hold itself off the record at even a gram, but I tried it anyway, and while it does ride very low at 1.1g-- note that these old late-'60s Empires do ride low, [probably] by design-- it sounds great.
    So, once again, if you come across one of these S888TE styli, grab it. They'll fit and work properly with the later 1000ZE/X-style (round-hole) bodies too.
    5a.JPG
     
  11. bimasta

    bimasta Well-Known Member

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    Excellent, Wualta. I always rely on you for your broad and reliable technical knowledge — but you've kept your wit under wraps.

    But to make it perfect, you must move the apostrophe one place to the right — a fot'uitous acrosticle

    That way you preserve the "FOT" which is the key to the pun: Fish Oil Treatment.

    Always check the fine print...
     
  12. boreas

    boreas Lunatic Member

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    Another successful Fish (Oil) Story! Congratulations on your persistence.

    John
     
  13. wualta

    wualta < Spike Milligan, 1961

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    Aw, twarnt nuthin. The Fish Oil Legend continues!

    Now, something different. We've talked about the 1980 Dynamic Interface line of Empires, aka "Chunkies", and their various descendants. I don't think we've discussed the P series Chunky variants, mostly because they don't often show up. I own the base model, the P 40 E (aka P40E), which was more or less a recosmeticized 200 E, the heavy-tracking base elliptical with the blue stylus. But there were two other more advanced models, the P 50 NS and the P 60 RC. They all have uberchunky bodies (weight is the same, ~5.5g), but will take appropriate Chunky styli. They look like
    1.JPG 2.JPG 3.JPG .
    They provide the same slots for the same square nylon nuts known to Chunky fans worldwide, and at least the 40 and 50 models are known to be ~700mH, so will accept most available styli, except the early ones meant for TOTL models (S55E, ID50, S600LAC, etc), which will have the top two octaves rolled off if put in a 700mH body. The mystery model is the P 60 RC, for which I have no elecrical specs, though I strongly suspect it's a ~700mH model too. Here are the [incomplete] specs:
    Empire P series specs 1.jpg Empire P series specs 2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
  14. 1tumbleweed

    1tumbleweed Kozmik Kowboy Subscriber

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    "Resonance Controlled" = Inertial Damping?

    And they couldn't spell "samarium" correctly....sigh...

    Cheers,
    Larry B.
    (nitpickius sapiens)
     
  15. wualta

    wualta < Spike Milligan, 1961

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    Yup, looks like an ID prefix/suffix model, but suited to [I'm guessing] a high-inductance body.
    When a company can't spell samarium properly, you know they're on the way out. At least they didn't go for "sumerian" or "samaritan".
     
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  16. boreas

    boreas Lunatic Member

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    I expect Audio Empire to close it's doors for good any day now. Then some upstart company will probably buy the rights to the name.

    John
     
  17. wualta

    wualta < Spike Milligan, 1961

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    "There is another theory which states that this has already happened."
     
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  18. boreas

    boreas Lunatic Member

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    LOL! I see what you did there!

    John
     
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  19. wualta

    wualta < Spike Milligan, 1961

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    Hitchhiker's theme music up full.. and out. Cue Peter Jones reading copy explaining the Empire system of naming cartridges, in a bitterly ironic tone of voice.
     
  20. 1tumbleweed

    1tumbleweed Kozmik Kowboy Subscriber

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    Coming soon - the 2000BBBOT model, complete with towel...

    Cheers,
    Larry B.
     

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