Author Topic: New Cartridge on the way  (Read 9639 times)

Offline tmazz

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New Cartridge on the way
« on: July 22, 2021, 06:00:48 PM »
The suspension on my Benz Micro glider collapsed so I had to seek out a new cartridge. After listening to Peter Ledermann speak at the NJ Audiophile Society zoom meeting a few weeks ago I diced to go with something from Soundsmith. I just really liked his design philosophy adn the way he approaches the physics of phono reproduction.

I ordered a Soundsmith Carmen Mk II ES. The tracking report from USPS says that the package has reached Metro NY so I am hopeful that the cart will be in my hands by either tomorrow or Saturday.   8)
Remember, it's all about the music........

• Nola Boxers
• Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
• McIntosh MC 275
• ARC SP-9
• VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Soundsmith Carmen Mk II ES
• Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Rasp Pi Roon Endpoint
• DigiBuss/TWL PC&USB/MIT Cables

Offline Nick B

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2021, 08:05:31 PM »
I’ve always enjoyed listening to Peter Ledermann and Frank Schroeder as well. I just looked up the Carmen Mk II ES on the web. Is this your first moving iron cartridge?

I think this is the NJ Audiophile Society meeting you mentioned…

https://sound-smith.com/reviews/positive-feedback-review-carmen-mk-ii
Orchard Starkrimson Ultra amp
Hattor Big preamp
JMR Voce Grande speakers
Holo Cyan2 dac
Holo Red streamer
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Audio Envy p cords
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PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline tmazz

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2021, 08:20:57 PM »
In the past I tried two different wood body Grados. I really liked the way they sounded, but they were not shielded and picked up too much hum from my TT motor, so I could not use them.

I spoke with the folks at Soundsmith and they assured me that their carts have been install on many VPI tables and they never came across with them picking up motor noise.
Remember, it's all about the music........

• Nola Boxers
• Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
• McIntosh MC 275
• ARC SP-9
• VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Soundsmith Carmen Mk II ES
• Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Rasp Pi Roon Endpoint
• DigiBuss/TWL PC&USB/MIT Cables

Offline Nick B

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2021, 08:49:53 PM »
In the past I tried two different wood body Grados. I really liked the way they sounded, but they were not shielded and picked up too much hum from my TT motor, so I could not use them.

I spoke with the folks at Soundsmith and they assured me that their carts have been install on many VPI tables and they never came across with them picking up motor noise.

Same old song, so to speak, with the Grados…sound great and pick up too much hum…
Orchard Starkrimson Ultra amp
Hattor Big preamp
JMR Voce Grande speakers
Holo Cyan2 dac
Holo Red streamer
Hapa Aero digital coax
WyWires Silver cables
TWL Digital American II p cord
Audio Envy p cords
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline tmazz

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2021, 08:51:08 PM »
Nick, that was a video of Peter's talk. Thanks so much for puttng up that link.

I have a friend who was looking forward to hearing what Peter had to say. Unfortunately he ended up getting rushed to the hospital that afternoon causing home to miss it (His problem was resolved and he is in good health now.  :clap:)

I will be passing the link on to him and I am sure he will be very happy to get a second change at seeing Peter's talk.  :thumb:
Remember, it's all about the music........

• Nola Boxers
• Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
• McIntosh MC 275
• ARC SP-9
• VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Soundsmith Carmen Mk II ES
• Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Rasp Pi Roon Endpoint
• DigiBuss/TWL PC&USB/MIT Cables

Offline tmazz

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2021, 08:57:15 PM »
In the past I tried two different wood body Grados. I really liked the way they sounded, but they were not shielded and picked up too much hum from my TT motor, so I could not use them.

I spoke with the folks at Soundsmith and they assured me that their carts have been install on many VPI tables and they never came across with them picking up motor noise.

Same old song, so to speak, with the Grados…sound great and pick up too much hum…

It was definitely an issue with my HW-19 because it was fairly quiet at the beginning of a record but as the arm got closer to the center (and therefore closer to the motor), the hum got louder and louder. I have been told that the lower output versions of the wood body Grados did not have the same problem as the lower number of wraps on the coils reduced the sensitivity to inductive hum, but I never had the opportunity to try one on my table.
Remember, it's all about the music........

• Nola Boxers
• Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
• McIntosh MC 275
• ARC SP-9
• VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Soundsmith Carmen Mk II ES
• Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Rasp Pi Roon Endpoint
• DigiBuss/TWL PC&USB/MIT Cables

Offline Nick B

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2021, 10:28:38 PM »
Nick, that was a video of Peter's talk. Thanks so much for puttng up that link.

I have a friend who was looking forward to hearing what Peter had to say. Unfortunately he ended up getting rushed to the hospital that afternoon causing home to miss it (His problem was resolved and he is in good health now.  :clap:)

I will be passing the link on to him and I am sure he will be very happy to get a second change at seeing Peter's talk.  :thumb:

That’s great, Tom. Glad I found it  :thumb:
Orchard Starkrimson Ultra amp
Hattor Big preamp
JMR Voce Grande speakers
Holo Cyan2 dac
Holo Red streamer
Hapa Aero digital coax
WyWires Silver cables
TWL Digital American II p cord
Audio Envy p cords
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline toobluvr

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2021, 02:13:58 PM »
I enjoy my Soundsmith Zephyr Mk3, and all the re-tips Peter has done for me, very much.  Good luck with your Carmen!     :thumb:
Spkrs: Sunny Cable Tech, Reynaud, Zu, Klipsch, Gallo subs, Wharfedale
TT1: Townshend Rock 3/OL Silver Mk3A
TT2: OL Aurora/OL Encounter Mk3C
Carts: Soundsmith Zephyr,  Music Maker 3, Dynavector xx2-Mk2, Shelter 501
complete: see Sunnydaze system on AC

Offline tmazz

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2021, 09:15:11 PM »
The new cart arrived this afternoon. I mounted it , gave it an initial alignment and then preceded with an inaugural spin of what else, The Carmen Suite (Alexander Gibson/Royal Opera House Orchestra Covent Garden.)

The first thing I noticed was as compared to the Micro  Benz (I played the same record using it right before I swapped the carts) was that the Carmen picked up significantly less surface noise, resulting in a quieter, blacker background. It also a much more defined and realistic sense of space. Instruments really took ownership of the space they were in . Instead of a instrument being on the right side it was in very specific spot on the right side. Is lead to a very clear sense of not only where the instruments were, but also where they weren't.

Next up The Harry James King James Version for Sheffield. The Carmen track this on without ever breaking a sweat. Since it handled Harry James with such ease I figure I would give it a real tracking test, The Telarc 1812 LP with the big cannon blasts.  I have owned cartridges with significantly higher price tags than the Carmen that couldn't come close to tracking this record. In fact the Sumiko Blackbird, which lists for 25% more than the Carmen, actually jumped off the record every time it hit a cannon blast and laded several groves way from the blast. The Carmen sailed through this record without even a hiccup. Very impressive. Now I have to say that it was late and my wife was already in bed so I played this with the volume just loud enough to let me listen for mistracking. I will try it again tomorrow to see if the air compressing in the room from the cannon blast at a more typical value will have any effect on how the Carmen tracks this record.

At this point I am very happy with what I have heard so far.

More updates as things develop.
Remember, it's all about the music........

• Nola Boxers
• Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
• McIntosh MC 275
• ARC SP-9
• VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Soundsmith Carmen Mk II ES
• Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Rasp Pi Roon Endpoint
• DigiBuss/TWL PC&USB/MIT Cables

Offline BobM

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2021, 07:54:50 AM »
Congrats Tom. A good cartridge is truly an enjoyment that lets you forget what those suckers actually cost.
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Offline Triode Pete

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2021, 12:05:14 PM »
Congrats, Tom... Can't wait to hear it one day!

Cheers,
Pete
www.TriodeWireLabs.com
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Offline Nick B

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2021, 05:27:59 PM »
The new cart arrived this afternoon. I mounted it , gave it an initial alignment and then preceded with an inaugural spin of what else, The Carmen Suite (Alexander Gibson/Royal Opera House Orchestra Covent Garden.)

The first thing I noticed was as compared to the Micro  Benz (I played the same record using it right before I swapped the carts) was that the Carmen picked up significantly less surface noise, resulting in a quieter, blacker background. It also a much more defined and realistic sense of space. Instruments really took ownership of the space they were in . Instead of a instrument being on the right side it was in very specific spot on the right side. Is lead to a very clear sense of not only where the instruments were, but also where they weren't.

Next up The Harry James King James Version for Sheffield. The Carmen track this on without ever breaking a sweat. Since it handled Harry James with such ease I figure I would give it a real tracking test, The Telarc 1812 LP with the big cannon blasts.  I have owned cartridges with significantly higher price tags than the Carmen that couldn't come close to tracking this record. In fact the Sumiko Blackbird, which lists for 25% more than the Carmen, actually jumped off the record every time it hit a cannon blast and laded several groves way from the blast. The Carmen sailed through this record without even a hiccup. Very impressive. Now I have to say that it was late and my wife was already in bed so I played this with the volume just loud enough to let me listen for mistracking. I will try it again tomorrow to see if the air compressing in the room from the cannon blast at a more typical value will have any effect on how the Carmen tracks this record.

At this point I am very happy with what I have heard so far.

More updates as things develop.

Congrats, Tom. The Carmen seems to be quite a bargain when taking into account the low noise and tracking capabilities. I’ll be curious to know how the walls will withstand the Telarc 1812 being played during daylight hours 💥
Orchard Starkrimson Ultra amp
Hattor Big preamp
JMR Voce Grande speakers
Holo Cyan2 dac
Holo Red streamer
Hapa Aero digital coax
WyWires Silver cables
TWL Digital American II p cord
Audio Envy p cords
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline S Clark

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2021, 05:52:06 PM »
Let us know what you think after a week or two.  A new cartridge is always a cool experience.   :thumb:
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Offline tmazz

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2021, 09:23:02 PM »
Let us know what you think after a week or two.  A new cartridge is always a cool experience.   :thumb:

I will.
Remember, it's all about the music........

• Nola Boxers
• Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
• McIntosh MC 275
• ARC SP-9
• VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Soundsmith Carmen Mk II ES
• Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Rasp Pi Roon Endpoint
• DigiBuss/TWL PC&USB/MIT Cables

Offline tmazz

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Re: New Cartridge on the way
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2021, 09:30:38 PM »
The new cart arrived this afternoon. I mounted it , gave it an initial alignment and then preceded with an inaugural spin of what else, The Carmen Suite (Alexander Gibson/Royal Opera House Orchestra Covent Garden.)

The first thing I noticed was as compared to the Micro  Benz (I played the same record using it right before I swapped the carts) was that the Carmen picked up significantly less surface noise, resulting in a quieter, blacker background. It also a much more defined and realistic sense of space. Instruments really took ownership of the space they were in . Instead of a instrument being on the right side it was in very specific spot on the right side. Is lead to a very clear sense of not only where the instruments were, but also where they weren't.

Next up The Harry James King James Version for Sheffield. The Carmen track this on without ever breaking a sweat. Since it handled Harry James with such ease I figure I would give it a real tracking test, The Telarc 1812 LP with the big cannon blasts.  I have owned cartridges with significantly higher price tags than the Carmen that couldn't come close to tracking this record. In fact the Sumiko Blackbird, which lists for 25% more than the Carmen, actually jumped off the record every time it hit a cannon blast and laded several groves way from the blast. The Carmen sailed through this record without even a hiccup. Very impressive. Now I have to say that it was late and my wife was already in bed so I played this with the volume just loud enough to let me listen for mistracking. I will try it again tomorrow to see if the air compressing in the room from the cannon blast at a more typical value will have any effect on how the Carmen tracks this record.

At this point I am very happy with what I have heard so far.

More updates as things develop.

Congrats, Tom. The Carmen seems to be quite a bargain when taking into account the low noise and tracking capabilities. I’ll be curious to know how the walls will withstand the Telarc 1812 being played during daylight hours 💥

I played the 1812 again this afternoon with the volume turned up as loud as I dared to. The walls shook, the cannon blasts hit you in the chest and the Carmen still tracked the record just like it was something with a "normal" dynamic rage. This record gave the cart (and my subs) quite a workout and it never broke a sweat. I was very impressed.
Remember, it's all about the music........

• Nola Boxers
• Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
• McIntosh MC 275
• ARC SP-9
• VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Soundsmith Carmen Mk II ES
• Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/Rasp Pi Roon Endpoint
• DigiBuss/TWL PC&USB/MIT Cables