Crazy good-sounding ceramic cartridge

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by needlestein, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

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    It could be. I think that the bass section on the Shure test record gives a lot of cartridges a tough time, even magnetic ones. With magnetic cartridges that are going to fail, you'll get a fuzzy sound and maybe even a skip over to the next groove by Level 4 or 5. But the ceramics actually jump like a bunny at Level 4. They usually get through Level 1 and Level 2 though, and maybe a little trouble and break up at Level 3, but each level is twice as loud as the former level so it's a significant jump in modulation. Also, none of the ceramics have had trouble on actual records, and I've found that they categorically track the high end better than magnetic cartridges and with a lot more realism. Transients are phenomenal, so when you get a big bass transient, the thing goes "Bang!" Sorry, but I don't think these will track the Telarc 1812 Cannons, but they could possibly launch a BB placed on top of the headshell during the passage.
     
  2. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

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    Trackability is the bane of the Decca cartridges as well. I suppose there's a limit to how much realism one can extract before problems start. Decca's own arm was a unipivot, which apparently helps by softening the cart''s grip on the groove.

    The alternative is a huge increase in arm mass, which would not be atypical of the conditions these cartridges were expected to run with.
     
  3. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have been saying this for so long I hate bringing it up. :biggrin: I think it's a greatly overlooked direction to take. Imagine the 2 gram cart used in those Zenith changers updated in design using state of the art materials. I really wish someone would do that.

    They are supposedly good, but they are more MM-like in design than the direct coupled true ceramic carts. They are more of a hybrid from what I remember. They use a condenser element, but aren't really "real" ceramic carts. Not that they don't sound good. (as the file from Russooll proves.)

    I'm loving the files onwardjames uploaded. There is a real "snap" to the sound, not very refined, but very "direct" sounding and with some real unambiguous depth...something a ceramic cart isn't credited with doing *at all.* I notice what sounds like some mistracking to me here and there, but that can be from any number of things. From all I have read, it sounds like what people say a Decca cart sounds like, mistracking and all.
     
  4. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

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    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to download Onwardjames's files because I am time and technologically challenged. But my set up doesn't have any mistracking, but I've added the auxiliary weight to the back of my arm as well has headshell weights and that removed any sizzle.
     
  5. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yes, I suspect it's more setup/compatibility related than a defect though with examples so old, you really can't discount that either.
     
  6. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    I'd love to try the Sonotone with more mass, just haven't gotten around to it, and no experience doing so.

    Glad u like the clips. Yes, there is some mistracking, but the realism and snap of that cart astounded me.

    Apostrophe by Zappa sounded much better on it than I expected.
     
  7. cdk99

    cdk99 Well-Known Member

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    If you have some lead solder (and if not, the auto parts places carry it for body and fender work), take a length that weighs what you need and and hammer it flat into a ribbon (which is easy, go gently), then wrap it around the arm. It's soft and easily unwrapped.

    If that sounds too dicey, a product called Blu-tack is like soft silly putty with some grip, it has decent mass, and can be shaped to fit anywhere. I like adding mass right in front or in back of the pivot so I'm not adding swing inertia to the ends of the arm.
     
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  8. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

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    UPDATE!

    Actually, I must take this back. These track the Shure test record great! I forgot that the last time I tried the Shure test record, it was before I increased arm mass. Shame on me! I just tried them all and the best was the 9TA (not even the HC which was not part of the test, but the 9TAF-S). It tracked all five levels at just two grams with mild breakup at Level 5. The 16T needed 3g as well as the Chuo Denshi, but the Chuo Denshi exhibited breakup at about Level 3 and the 16T also at Level 3. I have moving magnet cartridges that don't do this well.

    The 16T was the worst and still jumped out of the groove at 3g. That's no surprise because the 16T has a hard nylon yoke while the other two have very soft rubber yokes, although the Chuo Denshi has a soft gushy yoke compared to the 9TA. The 9TA also has a much softer cantilever bushing which the Chuo Denshi does not.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
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  9. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    Looks like I need to get busy adding mass. Thanks everyone, and Needlestein especially for his enthusiasm on this forgotten tech.
     
  10. cdk99

    cdk99 Well-Known Member

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    He's got me wanting to hear one. I wonder if he found a warehouse full of them cheap somewhere and this it step 1. :^)
     
  11. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

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    Heh, heh. I am not that crafty. In fact, I'm defeating my own purpose. If I decide to abandon magnetic cartridges, I'm sitting on a huge stash of them that I have just devalued. I maybe smart, but I'm not that smart.

    Also, being that this is an audiophile forum, I expect that when I admit to having tried the cheapo Chinese Chuo Denshi that people will immediately change the channel. I am not sitting on a pile of these, and I am cheap enough to be annoyed that the version with the 1/2" bracket costs at least $15 where I can find it when the cartridge alone can be found for under $2.

    http://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/cata...ameCartridges&MfgName=Chuo+Denshi&Categories=

    They do seem to come with the "upgrade" stylus these days, with the diamond tip and aluminum cantilever. Maybe the all plastic one with the sapphire tip is a thing of the past.

    Even these ones with the plastic styli are described as diamond, though I'm not so sure they are.

    http://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/cata...ameCartridges&MfgName=Chuo+Denshi&Categories=

    So, one's making any money off these.

    I'm also NOT recommending these, necessarily. If I were recommending something, which I'm not, just sharing experiences, I'd say get a Sonotone 9TA.

    But the Chuo-Denshi do sound good--they're just fragile and kind of a pain to work with.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
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  12. theophile

    theophile Pheasant Plucker. Subscriber

    There is a lot to be gained in the sound quality department simply by sidestepping the RIAA stage. Any great quality cartridge that can manage that trick will deliver both better dynamics and more 'immediacy'.
     
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  13. vwestlife

    vwestlife Active Member

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    Here is my first test of the LP Gear/LP Tunes "Cerapreme Blue" .3x.7 mil elliptical stylus on a 1986 Soundesign turntable with an all-plastic BSR mechanism and the CZ800 cartridge. But it is a genuine Japanese-made Chuo Denshi CZ800, and even with a regular conical stylus it sounds far superior to the $2 Chinese knockoffs that are ubiquitous these days. I used the ceramic phono input of my Realistic SA-155 amplifier to get the correct impedance match.

     
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  14. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

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    Thanks for that video. It's hard to tell the sound quality though. Nice to find another person taking these cartridges seriously. Was that an ambient recording into the cell phone mic or a direct line hookup?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  15. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

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    That's probably true. I don't bypass the RIAA stage though because my TT Is too far from my amp. The ideal ceramic cable capacitance from materials I've read is 100pF either to the amp or the phono stage, or about two feet of average cable. Twice that is supposed to be okay. More than that and who knows? I've got ten to twelve feet.

    I keep saying I might move my TT closer to the amp just for the sake of experimentation though. Too much going on right now though.
     
  16. vwestlife

    vwestlife Active Member

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    It's a direct audio recording. You can download an uncompressed WAV of the audio here:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_oqlENevINHUXFEWENKT2RiUW8
     
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