Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond

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neobop

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #940 on: 19 Jan 2015, 04:53 am »
I think everyone's waiting to hear more about the JVC X1/Z1.   Griff kindly loaned me an X1 for review, as it were.  He sent three styli with, but due to a mix-up one is for a Z1.  The two X1 are a bonded spherical on an aluminum cantilever, and a nude shibata(?) on what looks like an unusual aluminum cantilever with a suspension wire.  It's unusual because the front flattens out and is parallel to the record, but is an elongated flat part.  It looks to be about a third longer than usual, and with the naked eye makes the cantilever look curved.  I only have 30X at the moment, but the shibata looks like a spherical. 

I don't have enough time on this yet to say anything definitive, but it does have great bass.  It's deep and powerful without sounding bloated or sloppy.  So far that's the long suit of the cart.  I have it on the Unitrac, tried a different alignment and had to put it back to Baerwald etc. etc.  Capacitance load is supposed to be 275pF and max VTF 1.75g.  Please correct me if this is wrong.  I also read that cu is 12 @ 100Hz. 

That's about all I've got at the moment.  I expect we'll be hearing from David before too long and Halcro in a couple of weeks. 

L - 429mH/464 ohm
R - 406mH/464 ohm

neo




dlaloum

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #941 on: 19 Jan 2015, 12:46 pm »
I found an original X1e aluminium cantilever eliptical on ebay this week - so my review will in due course include that as well...

dlaloum

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #942 on: 19 Jan 2015, 01:03 pm »
On another note - one of my searches over the last couple of years was for classic MM's with LC tip designed for mid mass arms.... The X's are one family that meets that requirement, but there are also the JVC 4MD-10X (have one waiting..) and the 4MD-30X (a higher VTF lower compliance ATS14 derivative - have not found this needle yet...)

The X1 is 1.7g +/- 0.15g
2.7mV
6g
The other X.... appears to have been sold in Germany as X2 and Japan as X1mkII - the pictures look the same for these two... and may explain the confusion between X1mk2 and X2... For simplicity I will call both X2, until I have evidence that they differ!

The X2 is 1.5g +/- 0.2g
3mV
7.5g

Both are 12cu at 100Hz

Neo, I have not found any mention of C load in doco I have found - I am assuming that given they are CD4 cartridges the load is probably intended to be 100pf? (and presumably 100k for CD4 or 47k for stereo...)

Where did you find the 275pf load figure?

neobop

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #943 on: 19 Jan 2015, 05:15 pm »
I must have capacitance mixed up with Shure carts, which I've been looking at lately.  Guess that explains why I got better results with 175pF (total), than 275pF.  Dropped preamp capacitance to 100pF and the top end opened up and mid bloat went away. 

12cu @ 100Hz implies rather high compliance.  Have you measured arm/cart resonant frequency? 
The 440 is 10cu @ 100/18cu @ 10 and tracks at a max of 1,8g. 
I suspect I'll have to try another arm anyway.  So far, presentation is good, but harmonic detail is lacking.  I was listening to Tete last night and it seemed as if 25% of the strings in the piano were missing.   Before I switch arms I think I'll try it on the other system, although I'm probably putting off the inevitable. 

Check out LP Gear JVC replacement styli:
http://www.lpgear.com/category/JS.html

More than half are AT.  I wonder if JVC actually manufactured these X1/Z1.   Gear describes the ATN14S as the 4DT20X original manufacturer replacement?
http://www.lpgear.com/product/JVCS4DT20X.html

Turntable Needles has a Jico shibata for $118. 

Almost forgot - VE library lists the Z1 output @ 4mV ?

neo

neobop

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #944 on: 21 Jan 2015, 03:53 am »
A funny thing happened as I was changing out the cart.  One of the cartridge clips fell off the wire in the Unitrac headshell.  I wonder if that could have something to do with preliminary results.    :duh:   :roll:

I'll never really know if the X1 and Unitrac are a good match.  The cart is now residing in a Sony PUA-7 with a lower mass headshell.  Oh my, this is a whole other thing.  I was going to try the Alphason 100S (11g mass), but the Sony has VTA on-the-fly and this gets tedious. 

I took another look at the stylus, the one with the tension wire and clear plastic.  It's a round shank and considerably smaller than the Jico (or whatever) spherical.  It looks like it could be bonded, but it's hard to tell with 30X.  I really should get one of those USB scopes. 

Things are looking up.
neo

griffithds

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #945 on: 21 Jan 2015, 03:41 pm »
Hi Neo,

I am going to pull all my JVC X-1 and Z-1 cartridges and styli together and compare to my known list of said items.  From the results of that comparison, we will, or I should say, I will know what combination of styli you have and what I need to sent for you comparisons.
BTW:  Where's David?  He should be chiming in with some feedback for his listening session with his X-1!
Regards,
Don

dlaloum

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #946 on: 21 Jan 2015, 11:33 pm »
Sorry guys, it is difficult to get the requisite peaceful time in a household with a toddler...

Being a Dad has sort of killed a lot of my music and technical sessions.... especially those related to delicate turntables and cartridges.

It's on my list of things to do - but the various planets must align to allow it....

bye for now

David

neobop

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #947 on: 22 Jan 2015, 07:57 pm »

Otis

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #948 on: 24 Jan 2015, 07:30 pm »
Here's a temporary diversion back to the AT95e.

A German gent has come up with a tripod cantilever mod. "It puts Ella in the room."

It helps if you read German but Google Translate makes it understandable.

http://de.schiller-phono.de/produkte

neobop

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #949 on: 25 Jan 2015, 02:41 am »
Thanks for the link Otis.  Interesting stuff, I never saw that before.

Potential problem though.  Tip mass must be very high and tracking is probably marginal at best.  Maybe Ella sounds as if she's in the room, but I suspect other deficiencies.

neo

neobop

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #950 on: 26 Jan 2015, 03:28 pm »
I think I'm starting to get a feel for the X1, but so far results are only for this Sony set-up and only with this stylus with the suspension wire.  The stylus fits snugly in the carrier, nice interface.  I suspect other problem(s) of a tweaky nature - more about that later.

My normal fare is small group jazz and that's where I started.  I had a couple of records out, Stitt Plays Bird and Red Rodney's Bird Lives.  The X1  integration of the bass line in the ensemble is outstanding.  With some set-ups the bass line tends to get lost or overshadowed.  Not here.  Like the description of the German tripod cantilever, I heard some bass detail on a couple of records that I hadn't noticed before.  Saxophones jump out at you and the presentation is enticing, but the high end is soft and a little recessed.  This balance compromises the overtones/harmonic detail slightly and seems to negatively affect transient response.  Please keep in mind, this isn't my top table and deficiencies could disappear with changes to set-up or table.  On the other hand the AT20SS or a Virtuoso normally resides here and IMO either one outperforms the X1 in this set-up, so far.
I have a Warne Marsh record on Criss Cross and results were similar.  The X1 is good at presenting different instruments at the same time, but the same caveats apply.

These results made me curious about rock performance.  What happens when you turn it up?  Joni Mitchell's LP Mingus is outstanding at high volume.  This was recorded with Weather Report guys when Joco Pastorious was her boyfriend.   Jaco Kills it with his fretless electric and Joni's amplified guitar strumming is a wake up call for someone in a different time zone.
Tracy Chapman's first album is another good comparative test. 
I like ZZ Top and I used to listen to Eliminator CD in the car all the time.  I'm not sure if it's just my copy, but this one is hard to get sounding right. 
The X1 did a great job of taming ZZ's top end, but all in all, the same general strengths and deficiencies apply.
BTW, Paul Simon's Graceland is another good one for this.  Like any album, you have to be familiar with it.

A couple of times I heard a pronounced midrange resonance.  Not sure where it's coming from, but I thought I'd try a little tack around the stylus holder and metal cart body.  That works on the AT95, I think it's worth a try.  Before we move on to another arm I'll triple check alignment and set-up parameters.  I never saw such a tight VTF spec for a MM.  It looks like a J. Carr loading spec for Lyra.   :o
Maybe out of curiosity I'll try the spherical stylus.
neo






 

dlaloum

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #951 on: 27 Jan 2015, 07:07 am »
Here's a temporary diversion back to the AT95e.

A German gent has come up with a tripod cantilever mod. "It puts Ella in the room."

It helps if you read German but Google Translate makes it understandable.

http://de.schiller-phono.de/produkte

Caught up with this link... by the way if you go to his home page, there is an English option, which leads to a more limited website...

Although he is clearly (by the pictures) manufacturing these, there is no sign of a link to an online store - I am not aware whether these are available anywhere for sale or at what price.... anyone know?

neobop

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #952 on: Yesterday at 02:18 pm »
David,
If you hit the button labeled 'offers', you'll see a couple of tables for sale.  There's also a button labeled 'contact'.

Maybe a mechanical engineer could enlighten us, but it seems to me those additional cantilever supports would add directly to tip mass, otherwise it wouldn't increase rigidity?  Some of the carts had 4 or more supports.  So if a stock 95E has .6mg (guess), the modified one has > 1.8mg.

Maybe this is wrong and it only increases partially.  This is something to figure out, but if tip mass is dramatically increased, tracking suffers and high frequency extension and transient response as well.  I think there's a reason cart designers use exotic cantilevers rather than an aluminum Eiffel Tower.
neo






neobop

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #953 on: Today at 04:21 am »
The next installment of the X1 takes an unexpected twist.  Things have been a little strange here at bop palace.  It's been unusually cold and it seems to be upsetting the ghost(s) that haunt the place.  Don't know why, I'd think they'd be immune.

We last ended up with our hero (X1) about to undergo experimentation with a little tack on the body behind the plastic stylus holder, and a little up high in the back bordering on the top and pin holder plate.  When I first mounted the cart I was suspicious of the integrity of the top to body interface, but it's not my cart so I didn't mess with it. 

That was interesting, the wonderful bass was greatly diminished, replaced by a top end previously unheard.  The strength of the cart seems to be in bass and midrange dynamics.  I then proceeded to mess up the alignment.  Now it sounds like a cheap cart with sizzle and hollow mids and bass. 

Tack round two - fixed the alignment, had it right in the first place, and left the tack as is.  BTW this cart is unusually susceptible to alignment imperfection.  I think it must be the short cantilever.  Anyway, sounding a little better.  The high end is much better, but the magic is mostly gone.  I think judicious tack removal might restore the bass and retain the high end. 
Stay tuned to this channel,
neo

dlaloum

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #954 on: Today at 07:13 am »
Hmm the vagaries with the body (resonance control?)  - makes one perhaps take a second look at the difference between the X1 and the X2 (X1mk2) --- as the core bodies seem the same but with differing mountings and resonance control.....

neobop

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #955 on: Today at 04:04 pm »
There are a couple of unknowns.  Would the same thing happen with all X1's or is it specific to this example or even set-up?

I think it's time to move on to another arm.  Maybe the PUA7 and X1 isn't a great combination.  Now to decide two things.  Which arm, and do I tweak the tack before or after the move?

The 11g Alphason 100S seems the logical choice.  It's a lovely arm even if no VTA OTF.  I think I'll leave the tack alone initially, and see what the difference is.  Then I can remove it in stages. 

neo




Otis

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #956 on: Today at 09:40 pm »
Neo, good work with the JVC. The comparo with the AT20 is particularly apt since many of us have or have had a variation of it. Helps assign a rank. By all means, if you can, try it on a different arm. If it still doesn't out play the 20, well...  :?

I think your instincts about the German cantilever guy (he calls it 'Space Needle'. Wonder if he's been to Seattle?) are correct. The unstated assumption seems to be the added ETM is offset by the stiffer cantilever.
Wasn't there a Shure paper that said alu cantilevers whip like an unattended garden hose? If so, that would explain other companies use of diamond and ruby as materials. It's interesting users of the exotics and the tripod cantilever both cite tremendous "clarity" as the main benefit.

dlaloum

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Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond
« Reply #957 on: Today at 10:03 pm »
But the same gains are available on short cantilever designs - eg: Karat, Decca, or the more traditional ADC & Sonus cartridges, and even the now hard to find ATML1x0 series

All of which achieve the objective (in part at the very least) without sacrificing tip mass...

Still would love to get hold of one for testing....