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Vinyl madness

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#5
You're talking about wealth talismans, not audio reproduction or sound quality.
 
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#7

TBone

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#8
So the modern vinyl business seems to be a place of its own logic.
Yes, just like so many other items unrelated to this hobby at the extreme.

Indulgence and DIY madness, all at the same time. Allow me to related the above to your "rabbit hole" DIY rant; I confess that I build my own fishing rods. Doesn't mean I know more than Loomis or Shimano, but their off-the-shelf products are not built specific to my tasks. To that end, I DIY, and use premium parts. A single blank can well exceed $500, each individual silicone carbide eye is expensive (and many are required), top quality cork doesn't come cheap, and the time needed to acquire, learn, build such a beast can be both frustrating & extensive. Time well wasted I guess, or perhaps I'm just nuts, hell, I keep repeating this process as new discovered applications demand. Crazy ole me! The overall cost of one DIY rod can exceed what any normal person would spend on all fishing items during his/her entire lifetime. Worse yet, it's not even a general use type rod, very limited in scope, specifically built for one bait/application/purpose. I might only use it once or twice a year. Multiply all that madness by a factor of >25; approx the # of rods I've DIY over the many years. Fact is, the vast amount of money I've "wasted" or spent on fishing gear alone dwarfs any and all contributions put towards my stereo system. Perhaps, instead, I should have purchased 1 super-expensive DAC, or an inventory of DAC's, which all presumably sound the same, but redundantly, measure differently?

We can all justify our hobbies in our own specific ways. Not for me - or you - to decide if spending $$,$$$ for any cartridge, DAC, amps or speakers or a bunch of fishing rods is justified. Different hobbies, different indulgences, so why begrudge just the audio faction, and specifically vinyl?
 

restorer-john

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#9
It's funny how Ortofon themsleves call it a 'needle'.

"Ortofon Replicant 100 diamond, thin and light, with an extraordinarily large contact surface, tracing accuracy unparalleled by any other needle in existence. "

Specs are so last century or the century before:

Channel balance at 1 kHz - 0.5 dB
Channel separation at 1 kHz - 25 dB
Channel separation at 15 kHz - 22 dB
Frequency response - 20 Hz-20 kHz +/- 1.5 dB

They'll sell some to Russian Oligarchs and tech millionaires with no idea. Hilarious.
 
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#10
Ha ha i know people (yes with a Ortofon element) the first thing they do is rip/record there Vinyl immediately digital 24 bit. They don't hear any difference and want preserve asap the analog quality (they think) once and for all in a digital form. A good match between Analog & Digital
 
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Sal1950

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#11
Can't wait to hear what Fremer will have to say, "lifted 10,000 veils -------")
Nothing here to surprise in any case, it plays right into the luxury goods marketing plan of high end audio. The more things cost the better they sound, at least that is what will be reported by the media. The manufacturers and retailers percentage cut will increase and the more the media is able to charge for advertising. A viscous circle of commerce that has become modus operandi of today high end, one where there's no limit to how rediculos you can set the top level of pricing as long as the media will continue to support it.
 
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#12
Yup, the critics will probably drip gobs of unctuous, audiophiliac verbal ooze on this one. Maybe compare it to rare wine and truffles. If it isn't exclusive of the benighted masses, it's trash.
 

TBone

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#13
Well, no, money is no guarantee of sound quality ... but ... hmmm ... if it wasn't my money at risk, and I had to choose one or I'd lose an index finger ... would I choose a $10k DAC, one which presumably sounds no better, and perhaps identical, to any other decent $500 DAC, or ... a $10K cartridge that, by virtue of better construction/part quality alone (+lower moving mass), offers my entire library of LP's far more potential sound quality compared to any $500 cart? Well, carts don't last forever, but hopefully, my finger does ...

Can't wait to hear what Fremer will have to say, "lifted 10,000 veils -------")
In the $10K cartridge article in which he supplied the rips below, he simply allowed for comparison, no such silly poetry ...

Below is the right channel (unscaled) plots from two of Fremer latest rips, both taken from a recent Classic re-master; compared to the re-mastered CD and my 1976 re-issue. Fremer ripped two different ~10k carts, both with diamond cantilevers.

(Note: These particular Fremer rips includes a ~$28K SAT tonearm. More over indulgence perhaps, but in terms of a historical perspective, (compared to his prior rips), this arm -alone - has improved his rips x10fold (which conversely; doesn't say much about his previous rips/system/setup quality, but again IMO)).

re-mastered CD(Pink), Fremer(Brown/Purple), TB1(Red) ...
1534172589823.png


CD (re-mastered) DR channel: 8.61 dB --- 9.51 dB
Fremer(Proteus) DR channel: 11.67 dB --- 12.44 dB
Fremer(CAR60) DR channel: 11.72 dB --- 12.18 dB
TB1(1976 re-issue) DR channel: 13.10 dB --- 12.61 dB

The CD, in comparison to my rip, sounds obviously compressed and much louder. That said, the CD offers far more weight in the lower octaves, and is brighter in tonality. The CD superior frequency response doesn't help it much in reality, it's so damn compressed, I can't listen to it at even moderated volume, yet another (in a long long line) of 90's overly compressed re-masters, void of "audiophile" value. Fremer's rips make my rips sound muted by comparison, "vails lifted". IMS, they absolutely destroy the re-mastered CD in terms of overall listenability.

Now, don't get me wrong, the real difference above is perhaps less system orientated, and much more influenced by each specific mastering. Classic records have a history of lifting the frequency extremes, and I suspect this is exactly what's happening here. So perhaps, even a good $1k cart would track/sound the same given the exact same pressing ... but that said, this is easily the best I've heard the track Bargain(Who's Next) by quite a large margin, in any format.

Nothing here to surprise in any case, it plays right into the luxury goods marketing plan of high end audio. The more things cost the better they sound, at least that is what will be reported by the media. The manufacturers and retailers percentage cut will increase and the more the media is able to charge for advertising. A viscous circle of commerce that has become modus operandi of today high end, one where there's no limit to how rediculos you can set the top level of pricing as long as the media will continue to support it.
With carts, cost should be defined by the material and construction. Diamonds don't come cheap ...
 

Sal1950

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#14
With carts, cost should be defined by the material and construction. Diamonds don't come cheap ...
I ran a Dynavector Ruby with the ruby cantilever back in the day, I couldn't afford the Karat with the diamond.
In the end I preferred the sound of my Stanton 881S MM :)
Like all mechanical transducers they are going to sound pretty different from one another.
You buy your ticket and take your ride.
 
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#15
These high end cartridges are virtually all handmade. Tiny coils, wires and mountings assembled by microscope. One irony, with the tiny size scales, construction is difficult to standardize and any batch probably has variances in sound quality. So which sample did the audio critic get?

Audiophiles behave as if these cartridges are constructed with absolute precision and uniformity. There is probably a lot of variance just in the way the housing is related to the guts.
 

Frank Dernie

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#17
These high end cartridges are virtually all handmade. Tiny coils, wires and mountings assembled by microscope. One irony, with the tiny size scales, construction is difficult to standardize and any batch probably has variances in sound quality. So which sample did the audio critic get?

Audiophiles behave as if these cartridges are constructed with absolute precision and uniformity. There is probably a lot of variance just in the way the housing is related to the guts.
This is absolutely correct.
It is certainly the case that mid price models made on good repeatable tooling are likely to be much more consistent than either the expensive hand made items (or the cheap models where cantilever alignment etc can be way off).
My guess is that the big manufacturers like Audio Technica and Ortofon produce much more consistent cartridges than small makers possibly could.
The lump of diamond making the stylus is not expensive but grinding it to one of the complex line contact profiles is.
A friend of mine who computer models magnetic circuits, mainly for speakers, was asked by one of the high end cartridge makers to look into their magnetic circuit. A quick look showed it to be crude and non-linear but they decided not to go ahead with designing a linear one. It was unclear whether that was cost of designing and making the bits or a fear that the non-linearity was the reason for their "house sound" which they did not wish to lose.
Whilst we are debating the audibility of DAC shortcomings way better than 0.001% cartridges are typically >2% sometimes much more and it is very very rare to find one around 1%.
If one uses the old (admittedly unproven) metric of keeping distortion below 0.1% it is pretty clear that -all- pickup cartridges are likely to have audible levels of distortion as well as the big differences in frequency response.
I fear Ortofon are pandering to high end biases with the MC Century whilst producing splendidly linear and consistent cartridges at 1/10 of the price and less.
 

Sal1950

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#18
It is certainly the case that mid price models made on good repeatable tooling are likely to be much more consistent than either the expensive hand made items (or the cheap models where cantilever alignment etc can be way off).
Do to reliablity reports, the same can be said of many high end components from amps to speakers.
 

watchnerd

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#19
Ha ha i know people (yes with a Ortofon element) the first thing they do is rip/record there Vinyl immediately digital 24 bit. They don't hear any difference and want preserve asap the analog quality (they think) once and for all in a digital form. A good match between Analog & Digital
I have a lot of vinyl rips, both made by myself and others.

Playing back my own rips, they're not even close to listening to the real LP in real time; it's trivial to pass an A/B test.

I think the electro-mechanical nature of LP picks up resonances from the room, sounds from speakers, etc, that creates a euphonic distortion and amplification that doesn't happen when you play back a vinyl rip.
 

watchnerd

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#20
This is absolutely correct.
It is certainly the case that mid price models made on good repeatable tooling are likely to be much more consistent than either the expensive hand made items (or the cheap models where cantilever alignment etc can be way off).
My guess is that the big manufacturers like Audio Technica and Ortofon produce much more consistent cartridges than small makers possibly could.
...
I fear Ortofon are pandering to high end biases with the MC Century whilst producing splendidly linear and consistent cartridges at 1/10 of the price and less.
The materials, quality and consistency of manufacture I've seen on the upper-mid priced Ortofons, Audio Technicas, and Denons exceeds that of more boutique carts at 2x-3x the price (if not more).

Hell, the lowly Denon DL-103 I used to own (till the cantilever got busted) came with its own individual frequency response curve and output measurement in the box, channel matched to .01mV.

You can get an exotic stylus shape of your choice (shibata, fine line, microline), with an exotic cantilever (boron, sapphire, ruby), 30dB of channel separation, channel balance of 0.5dB....all basically as good as it currently gets in the world of mainstream carts....for $500-$1000 from Audio Technica and Ortofon.

IMHO, there is little point in spending much more than that on standard, commodity MC technology that is mostly the same since the late 1980s.

If you want to blow bigger money on a cart, at least spend it on something like an Audio Technica ART1000, which has a unique drive system, as opposed to hand lacquered cartridges made by kinky Japanese grandfathers in their basements.
 

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