Author Topic: Food For Thought- Cartridge Compliance and the Arm You’re Using  (Read 4139 times)

Offline James Edward

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 779
I’m in the market for a new cartridge, and have been doing a lot of reading. As an older geezer, I’ve had tables and cartridges, though never paid attention to the cartridge compliance/arm mass compatibility until now. It’s really an interesting topic, and I just thought I’d bring it up here for discussion.
I’ve got a decent, though far from exotic, turntable that sports a low mass, 6 gram arm. This dictates a high compliance cartridge. There are a number of reasons for this, and the converse- a high mass arm would dictate a low compliance cart. I’m not going to go into detail, as I’m no expert, but it bears looking into if you’re shopping for a new cartridge.
This knowledge was spurred on by an article I read a year or so ago, having to do with the resonant frequency of particular arm mass vs cartridge compliance.
I’m just throwing this out there for discussion- it seems not well discussed- I don’t recall any table I’ve purchased having this brought up in the manual. To be fair, this may widespread knowledge that I just haven’t been privy to.
My current table is not all that high-end, but I don’t remember the VPI Prime nor the SOTA Comet providing this guidance. Maybe I’m wrong…
FWIW, armed with this new info, I’m getting the high compliance version of the Soundsmith Otello; thanks ‘Tmazz’ for doing the sleuthing and getting me the arm specs for my table.
Luxman L- 590 AX MK2
Esoteric K-07X
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB
Audience Au24SE
PI Cat6
Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S
Stereo Hsu ULS-15 Mk2
Supra Classic 6.0

Offline BobM

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 3321
Re: Food For Thought- Cartridge Compliance and the Arm You’re Using
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2022, 02:13:05 AM »
I don't think it's much of an issue for moving magnet or moving iron cartridges, but it definitely is something you need to consider with moving coil cartridges. There are "calculators" online to help with this.

I had an issue some years ago where the compliance wasn't quite right and I got an underlying rumble/hum that sounded like I needed a rumble filter to get rid of, but all along it was a bad compliance between cartridge and arm.

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you'll have to blow your nose.

Offline James Edward

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 779
Re: Food For Thought- Cartridge Compliance and the Arm You’re Using
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2022, 04:21:08 AM »
In reading up on the subject, I see susceptibility to footfalls can also be exacerbated by compliance incompatibility.

When I had my VPI Prime table, I nearly had to sit in a straitjacket and take shallow breaths so as not to have records skip. This MAY have been worsened by an incompatibility between cart and arm. Being on a suspended wood floor did not help matters.

My current, much less expensive table is much better in this regard- the factory installed cartridge is the right match for the arm. I can walk by without exciting things.

Having said all that, the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge leaves a lot to be desired SQ wise. I’m hoping the new, properly spec’d cartridge will give me the sound I desire along with less excitability in the grooves. Time will tell…
Luxman L- 590 AX MK2
Esoteric K-07X
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB
Audience Au24SE
PI Cat6
Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S
Stereo Hsu ULS-15 Mk2
Supra Classic 6.0

Offline jimbones

  • Audio Neurotic
  • *****
  • Posts: 1290
  • Two plus Two Speakers
Re: Food For Thought- Cartridge Compliance and the Arm You’re Using
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2022, 11:38:14 AM »
In reading up on the subject, I see susceptibility to footfalls can also be exacerbated by compliance incompatibility.

When I had my VPI Prime table, I nearly had to sit in a straitjacket and take shallow breaths so as not to have records skip. This MAY have been worsened by an incompatibility between cart and arm. Being on a suspended wood floor did not help matters.

My current, much less expensive table is much better in this regard- the factory installed cartridge is the right match for the arm. I can walk by without exciting things.

Having said all that, the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge leaves a lot to be desired SQ wise. I’m hoping the new, properly spec’d cartridge will give me the sound I desire along with less excitability in the grooves. Time will tell…

If the current cartridge arm combo matches up nicely and it is just the SQ you are concerned with, I would look up the compliance spec on your current cartridge and match it to a cartridge higher in performance. Then you should have the best of both worlds.
Rogue RP7 Pre, Art Audio Vinyl Reference Phono,CJ Premier 12 Pwr, VPI Classic II/Dynavector 20X2L, Roon Rock, Auralic Vega DAC, Emotiva ERC-3, MIT, TWL, WireWorld, Wywires, Shunyata

Offline James Edward

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 779
Re: Food For Thought- Cartridge Compliance and the Arm You’re Using
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2022, 12:05:12 PM »
Yes- that is the plan- the 2M red is mid to high compliance; I’m hot on the trail of a Soundsmith cart with high compliance. I’ve spoken to both the table manufacturer and Soundsmith for what should be an excellent fit.
Luxman L- 590 AX MK2
Esoteric K-07X
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB
Audience Au24SE
PI Cat6
Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S
Stereo Hsu ULS-15 Mk2
Supra Classic 6.0

Offline rollo

  • Industry Participant
  • *
  • Posts: 6957
  • Rollo Audio - Home demo the only way to know
Re: Food For Thought- Cartridge Compliance and the Arm You’re Using
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2022, 08:03:12 AM »
Now after the compliance issue is resolved  have you considered the character of the cartridge to mate with your system ? Does your phono stage have the available loading for it ? Why Soundsmith ?

charles
contact me  at rollo14@verizon.net or visit us on Facebook
Lamm Industries - Aqua Acoustic, Formula & La Scala DAC- INNUOS  - Rethm - Kuzma - QLN - Audio Hungary Qualiton - Fritz speakers -Gigawatt -Vinnie Rossi,TWL, Swiss Cables, Merason DAC.

Offline James Edward

  • Obsessively Audiophilic
  • ****
  • Posts: 779
Re: Food For Thought- Cartridge Compliance and the Arm You’re Using
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2022, 10:52:43 AM »
Loading is good- 47k ohms is what my integrated specs for. Character I can’t be 100 percent sure of, but who can…
As far as Soundsmith goes, they’re made right here in NY, USA.
Sure I’d love to get a pimped out model that meets all the particulars but money is a factor; also psychologically I can’t bring myself to put a thousand dollar plus cartridge on a six hundred dollar turntable.
I’d say I’m rolling the dice and taking my chances, but I’ve spent some time looking into this, and I feel my odds are pretty good.
Luxman L- 590 AX MK2
Esoteric K-07X
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB
Audience Au24SE
PI Cat6
Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S
Stereo Hsu ULS-15 Mk2
Supra Classic 6.0