True 2-Channel Analog Additions

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Posting some pics of my Zenn/Klipsch MCZ cartridges here. I already owned a couple of the Klipsch MC carts (and love their sound), so couldn't help but pounce on some NOS (unused) Zenn MCZ carts from a collector in Ireland. My recent (Zenn) acquisitions are on the left in these pics, and vintage Klipsch cart packaging on the right.
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Specs on these carts are easy to obtain, but in summary, they are LOMC, with a low compliance.

The most exciting item from my latest haul is a NOS Zenn MCZ/7, which has a Boron cantilever.
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I've had an MCZ-2(?) re-tipped with a boron cantilever for a while, but IMO, it has always sounded a little too polite for my system. I am interested to hear how this MCZ-7 with 'native' boron cantilever sounds.
"This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
"Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon

Comments

  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,696
    edited February 2023
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    Congratulations Jody on your new cartridges. Will these primarily be collector's items or are you planning on putting them to use?
  • msg
    msg Posts: 9,703
    edited February 2023
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    Clipdat wrote: »
    Congratulations Jody on your new cartridges. Will these primarily be collector's items or are you planning on putting them to use?
    Moment of truth, @jdjohn -Jody - pick a side.

    I've historically had a bad habit of picking up two of things I thoroughly enjoy. One to use, and one (or more) as a backup. (You know, for when jackleg manufacturers discontinue the things I like.) This is impractical for a number of reasons, obviously. Further, I'm still afraid, sometimes, to use the one that's for using!
    I disabled signatures.
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 3,046
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    I will definitely be using them! Hopefully the suspensions are still good :#

    I also took a few pics of my Micro Seiki LC-40 cart.
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    This cartridge is actually a two-piece design, where I suppose the intention was to have a replaceable stylus.
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    I've never seen the separate stylus for sale anywhere...shame. This has a very low output - less than 0.2mV.

    Don't be afraid, Scott! Use yours!

    My question is: why did I choose such a goofy name for this thread? I guess with all the recent chatter about DACs, networking, and streaming, I wanted to show analog a little love here <3



    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • bcwsrt
    bcwsrt Posts: 1,720
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    Made me click on it!
    Brian

    One-owner Polk Audio RTA 15TL speakers refreshed w/ Sonicap, Vishay/Mills and Cardas components by "pitdogg2," "xschop" billet tweeter plates and BH5 | Stereo REL Acoustics T/5x subwoofers w/ Bassline Blue cables | Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III integrated tube amp | Technics SL-1210G turntable w/ Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 MM cart | Sony CDP-508ESD CD player (as a transport) | LampizatOr Baltic 4 tube DAC | Nordost & DH Labs cables/interconnects | APC H15 Power Conditioner | GIK Acoustics room treatments | Degritter RCM
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 3,046
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    Many folks know about the Grace F9 cartridge as being one of the best MM carts ever made. The SF-90 is basically the same cartridge, but integrated into a headshell. The SF-90 is somewhat rare, but does pop-up occasionally in the aftermarket.

    I obtained two examples of the SF-90, with this set having much of the original packaging.
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    I removed the protective stylus sleeve for this pic.
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    Those who are informed know that SoundSmith still makes hand-made replacement styluses for the F9. In this pic, I've installed the RS-9U replacement, which has an aluminum cantilever.
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    Top view:
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    The original Grace F9 stylus body has a rounded shape, but I actually like how the SoundSmith replacement continues with the angular look.

    Obviously, the integrated cartridge/headshell configuration does not allow for alignment adjustments, but I have found that tonearms with pivot-to-spindle lengths in the range of 222-230mm will work fine with the SF-90.

    Since the F9, and SF-90, are high-compliance, a lighter mass tonearm is more suitable. I have also found that a lower capacitance load sounds better.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 3,046
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    Another installment here, this time of the Technics EPC-205C MM cartridge, and a couple of NOS styli I found. The EPC-205C is one of the better(best?) MM carts ever produced. These are well-regarded enough that JICO still makes several different replacement styluses for them, ranging from simple aluminum cantilevers with bonded tips, up to boron and sapphire cantilevers with the famous JICO SAS diamond tips.

    Again, for this post, I found two NOS replacement styli. First, an EPS-205EX, which I think was the standard stylus on the EPC-205IIX cartridge. This stylus even came with original packaging, and although the box was opened, the case was still sealed.
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    Here it is mounted on the cartridge.
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    Here's a close-up of the cantilever and diamond.
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    I thought this might have been a gold-plated boron tube, but I think it is actually a titanium tube since the end is crimped a bit.

    Next is the EPS-405QD, which is a nude Shibata stylus.
    Here it is mounted on an EPC-205C cart.
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    Here are a few different closeups of the tip.
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    Notice the typical Shibata scalloped facets on the rear of the diamond. Still breaking this one in, but it seems to really minimize vinyl surface noise. Luckily, the suspensions on both of these still seem to be intact.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,696
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    Good stuff, Jody!
  • BlueBirdMusic
    BlueBirdMusic Posts: 2,118
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    Jody some really great detailed photos.
    "Sometimes you have to look to the past to understand where you are going in the future"


    Harry / Marietta GA
  • jdjohn
    jdjohn Posts: 3,046
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    I've got a couple of Fidelity Research cartridges to post about. My newer acquisition is a PMC-1 MC cart. It has a cool, red glossy finish.
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    The stylus is not the clearest, or prettiest, gem, but still a nice nude elliptical, mounted on an Aluminum cantilever.
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    The unique thing about these cartridges is that they have 'air coils', which basically means that the coil wires are wrapped around a non-ferrous core. This equates to less moving mass, which is a good thing.

    The resulting sound caused me to document a few initial notes.

    - I'm a fan of Eva Cassidy (RIP), thanks to my wife, and with this cart, I found her voice even more soulful, and the musicality of the accompanying players also jumped out at me more than before.

    - While listening to some Genesis tracks, I picked-up on an extra drum beat (eighth or sixteenth note) that I had never noticed before.

    - Some Atlanta Rhythm Section tracks also had extra depth and detail that were new to me.

    Overall, I noticed greater dynamics from quiet and loud passages, with more layering of sounds from front-to-back, so basically, more depth. Apologies for not having a direct A/B comparison cartridge to mention. All of the above bullet points are exemplary to my previous listening experiences, which is to say: the PMC-1 may have exceeded the sound quality of all my previous cartridges. Needless to say, I am really enjoying it, but I realize there are many other modern, higher-end options out there. Personally, I just love playing around with these vintage beauties B)

    While on the subject of Fidelity Research cartridges, I thought I'd also include the FR-6SE, which I think may have been their best MM cart.
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    The original stylus was a nude-mounted square-shanked elliptical, and this cart is in my MM top 5, especially in the low-compliance realm. Sadly, replacement styli are non-existent. I would describe the sound as one click towards warm, yet still analytical.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon