. . . Black or Blue . . . !

CJSF

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Good day all, I hope you are all enjoying your Christmas day. Got up late . . . its great not having kids about! been there, don that . . . However felt a bit chilly when I did get out of bed, the central heating has gone on the blink, think its the pump again, that the third one in 9 months, back to Danfos I think! Ho-hum, get the electric heaters out, well prepared.

Moving on, played a couple of records, relaxed, Hazel pottering in the kitchen preparing dinner. As we all know I've been working on replacing the Ortofon M2 Blue, loads of questions, research, phone calls to dealers, beating myself metaphorically 'black and blue'. Got hold of a used Black, they ain't what they are made out to be IMHO. Went back to the Blue, relax . . . start again, more phone calls, with a little extra knowledge? Still a similar reaction, getting a straight answer to a straight questing on cartridges is near impossible. I say 'near impossible' there are a couple of dealers who are trying hard to help, but brand/stock is limited obviously.

One gets the distinct feeling that lip-service is being played to vinyl . . . 'whats wrong with CD's and down loads', is the underlying question, reading between the lines?

Well, I am not parting with anymore cash without being 'eyes wide open' . . . ?

As said, gone back to the 2M Blue, and enjoying it. I have discovered the Blue is ultra sensitive to tracking force, so as I sat, I thought, as I do! . . . Black sitting rejected in its box, I could hear the 'orible silvered copper wire. Why not try the Shiabata stylus in the Blue body. I know, been there, but I did not give it enough of a listen, to keen to install the Black body . . . plus, I know more about the way to set up M2's?

. . . Black stylus in the Blue body, reset the tracking force 1.5gs, sure enough, it requires a bit of adjustment, very critical, less required, to light and it became very flat, I found the sweet spot! . . . OK, no hasty judgments, there is extra detail, Carol Kidds voice has taken on a very natural close up sound, with the acoustic guitar behind her sounding less boxy. One criticism, surface noise is higher than the very quiet Blue.

Thats my analogue listening sorted for the next 36 hours, 'Black or Blue'?

Enjoy the rest of your Christmas holiday . . . CJSF

PS, just listened to Chris Rea 'Auberge', of which I also have the CD, I compared the Blue/CD and the Black Stylus/CD. General reaction, not so much difference between Blue/CD. However, the Black Stylus/CD, there was a warm, smoothness from the vinyl. Thats not 'better/worse', simply my observation, I have not decided if the Black stylus is a good move yet, ie., save me fretting in the New Year over a new cartridge, a halfway house or a nice subtle upward move at no extra cost?
 

floyd droid

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Hi there CJ. Are you calling dealers who 'major with a passion' on the vinyl side of the fence ?. They are out there, quite a fair few infact, but im not so sure these days if i am allowed to post up any links etc. These dealers talk your language so to speak. However getting a straight answer is nigh on impossible, far too many variables as you should well know to be honest. My thoughts are as you keep tweaking around, trying to make a silk purse from a sows ear,so to speak, then Ortofons really are not cutting the mustard for you and looking at a different brand is the way to go. Which brand, well thats the leading question isnt it. :)
 

MajorFubar

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I think you spend too much time analysing and not enough time just sitting down enjoying what you hear. :)

We all on here analyse and scratch our chins to a certain extent, swapping this and that and going "Hmmm...." as we try to figure out what's better, what's worse and what's just different. But there comes a time when one can't see the woods for the trees and one just needs to take a few steps backwards to put it all into perspective.

Have a very merry Christmas and try to just relax and enjoy what you've got a little more without getting too OCD about it.

I find this :beer: helps the relaxation and listening process a great deal 8)
 

CJSF

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OK folks:? . . . I do an awful lot of listening and enjoying, but, I do know what I'm missing, (missing less than I was a few months ago) . . . a 20 year old memory it might be, but its still there, memory gets stronger by the day. The Blue is surprisingly good, considering its a cartridge with a street price around £125, get an awful lot for the money, take a bit of time and trouble setting it up8) Black in a Blue body is more of an experiment, I was always into 'different' and 'it cant be don' . . . a challenge, paid off too! Its harder these days to swim against the tide, I'm to old, less motivation . . . feeling the mojo stirring?

Silk purse from a sows ear? a bit harsh on the system I think, I enjoy getting the best out of what I have, even better when it dont cost much. Used Black I already have, in a plain copper coil Blue body, discovered how sensitive the 2M's are to tracking weight . . . I will get great pleasure from having a long and relaxed listen on Boxing day? Its obvious that my individual pleasures and interests developed in the 80's dont seem to match to well with 'hifi thinking these days?' . . . Its no wonder Glen Croft keeps himself to himself!!!

Will I stay with Ortofon . . . . . . . . :silenced:

You all have a good Christmas and a good New Year . . . CJSF:wave:
 

floyd droid

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CJSF said:
Silk purse from a sows ear? a bit harsh on the system I think, I enjoy getting the best out of what I have, even better when it dont cost much.

Dafty. I was refering to the Blue not your system. :)

Could i suggest,if you havnt already?, that you register to the Vinyl Engine Forum. Some serious experimenters over there.

Howsabout you try something from the Grado Prestige (Blue/Red) for a direct comparison, as they are not overly expensive.

I think Glenn actually released a new product not all that long ago. He came out of hibernation ,lol.
 

CJSF

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If only I could get an intelligent answer from a Benz stockist . . . ? I can only find 2 within 100 miles, one wont answer the phone, the other does not demonstrate or stock below the Glider! I understand the importer is not the easiest to deal with either, although if I was prepared to take a punt, they have the Micro on offer direct at £220 . . . looking at their web sit again they dont seem to show anything above the Micro?

CJSF
 

floyd droid

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Have you called Ivan at Cool Gales and is Bath outside the 100 miles from your base camp ?.

Scrap that he isnt a Benz Dealer. I thought he was !!.

Walrus are though.
 

floyd droid

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All well and good Matthew but it may not sing with CJs phono in what he is after soundwise. Likewise any suggestions I or a.n.other put forward. Its all a sum of all parts and the listeners lugholes isnt it.

Im not sure exactly what CJ is after, of course its flipping tricky putting it into type.

As i know full from an earlier post,lol.
 

CJSF

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floyd droid said:
CJSF said:
Silk purse from a sows ear? a bit harsh on the system I think, I enjoy getting the best out of what I have, even better when it dont cost much.

Dafty. I was refering to the Blue not your system. :)

Could i suggest,if you havnt already?, that you register to the Vinyl Engine Forum. Some serious experimenters over there.

Howsabout you try something from the Grado Prestige (Blue/Red) for a direct comparison, as they are not overly expensive.

I think Glenn actually released a new product not all that long ago. He came out of hibernation ,lol.

Ah, OK my misunderstanding, apologies:doh:

You have got my thinking spot on flyod . . . I can get Grado's on loan from Divine Audio . . . In fact in my mind its between Grado and Benz, if I can find a Benz dealer . . . Dynovector bringing up the rear perhaps?

Strange one is Glenn, he actualy used to talk to people in the 80's . . .

Had an hour last night 'Horlicks time' . . . with the Black stylus/Blue body, I'm of the opinion this is a combination that might just work for some? 2M's are so sensitive to tracking weight, seeming to be happier lite in my setup? I feel I have got the hybrid combination working . . . 16th century church music; Allegri Meserere, its smoothness a revelation, especially the top end, Chris Rea's 'Auberge' also sounded good, problem at that time of night is volume and music type.

Give it another session this afternoon, drag out some Queen and my favourite Sandy Nelson LP, see what some 'wick up' organ music sounds like as well, I also intends to have a listen to some Classical orchestral, not my usual choice, and Jazz, especially the ubiquitous Jazz at the Pawn Shop, very revealing.

I'm 'playing' with what I have for the present, I have a theory, the full Black is a wrong'un, but the Black/Blue combination with plain copper coils, correctly tracked . . . there might be something there? I dont normally subscribe to a cartridge being suitable for a particular type of music . . . but in this case . . . the super smooth Shiabata stylus might just be an exception? It seems to have a really nice almost delicate top . . . then Ortofon come along and stuff it up with 'squeaky' silvered copper coils, we then try to neutralise the silver sound with VTA, bias and tracking adjustments, going round in circles! Eliminate the silver and one can hear what the 'diamond is actually doing' . . .

I'm looking forward to this afternoons session, a bit of 'rough and tumble music', turn the wick up, see if I can get the hairs on the back of my neck to rise. Will the 'M2 hybrid' rise to the occasion, will it reveal what is in the grooves, or simply damp everything down to a smooth unexciting warm syrup . . . The truth of the matter is, a cartridge should play whats in the groves, not put its own signature on the music . . . Idealism I know, we put our own signatures on our system as we build it, then expect it to be neutral . . . hypocritical:? perhaps we dont think enough?

What ever, with the knowledge one gains by doing things 'my way' . . . driving myself a little mad in the process? The future auditioning for a new cartridge will be that much more an informed and a richer experience for it;)

CJSF
 

chebby

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matthewpiano said:
No interest in the Rega Elys 2 suggestion then?

After all it was made to go with the RB303 arm and RP3 turntable....

With a P5 (or the new RP6) I would go for the Exact. However, it is an exciting, musically infectious and upbeat sounding cartridge that would not suit a more 'analytical' listener. My short experience of it (about 5 LP sides) completely sold me on it.*

*Except I then gave up on vinyl and sold my turntable (rather than upgrade it) shortly afterwards.
 

floyd droid

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CJSF said:
The truth of the matter is, a cartridge should play whats in the groves, not put its own signature on the music . . .

You somehow, by hook or by crook,have to get your mits on a Benz then. You may not like them obviously, but i really cant think,off the top of my head, of another brand that gets close to meeting that criteria.

ACE SH is what you are after unless you fancy pulling your SUTs out of the cupboard.
 
floyd droid said:
CJSF said:
The truth of the matter is, a cartridge should play whats in the groves, not put its own signature on the music . . .

You somehow, by hook or by crook,have to get your mits on a Benz then. You may not like them obviously, but i really cant think,off the top of my head, of another brand that gets close to meeting that criteria.

ACE SH is what you are after unless you fancy pulling your SUTs out of the cupboard.

This is where I'm confused by the OPs threads: Firstly he says he likes it fairly warm and now it's a cartridge that doesn't "put its own signature on the music..." By definition if the sound is coloured it WILL have its own sound.

Majorfubar was spot on about over analysing: I've done it, many others have done it... sometimes it's best to step away for a while, listen to the music and readdress the issue a few weeks down the road

Perhaps the OP is looking for something that doesn't exist? all upgrades, generally speaking, are tiny unless you have bottonless pockets. It is these subtlties here and nuances there that when the system is upgraded makes a beautiful whole.

Or in other words: hi-fi is a compromise.
 

matthewpiano

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chebby said:
matthewpiano said:
No interest in the Rega Elys 2 suggestion then?

After all it was made to go with the RB303 arm and RP3 turntable....

With a P5 (or the new RP6) I would go for the Exact. However, it is an exciting, musically infectious and upbeat sounding cartridge that would not suit a more 'analytical' listener. My short experience of it (about 5 LP sides) completely sold me on it.*

*Except I then gave up on vinyl and sold my turntable (rather than upgrade it) shortly afterwards.

I forgot CJSF has a P5 rather than an RP3, and I see your point.

I find the Elys 2 infectious and involving but, as you summise with the Exact, perhaps it wouldn't suit an overly analytical listener.
 

CJSF

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Quote CJSF:. . . The truth of the matter is, a cartridge should play whats in the groves, not put its own signature on the music . . . Idealism I know, we put our own signatures on our system as we build it, then expect it to be neutral . . . hypocritical
confused.gif
perhaps we dont think enough?

As I say, perhaps one is 'hypocritical'? . . . I 'would like' natural, but I know I tend towards 'warm and detailed' . . . In the 80's I settled for many years of LS35a's on my Foundation Designer stands, driven by a pair of EAR 509's and our own valve pre. The TT was a Townsend Rock, power supply, arm, silicon trough and an Ortofon SPU Gold that I totally denuded, made a 1/4" magnesium spacer to fit it to the standard 1/2" tone arm, this fed into an EAR Head step up transformer with load options.

The whole produced an amazing open, just on the warm side of neutral sound, analytical . . . I'd prefer 'detailed', this was all held together by a sound stage that even now, just thinking about it, raises the hairs on my neck.

In the very late 80's, I swapped the 35a's about with PMC LB1 on occasions . . . LB1's have the better base extension, 35a's slightly better imaging.

All I have left of the system is the LB1's and Designer stands. So the system I have built so far in terms of what I remember is always that way inclined. My 'analytical' bent (serch) is to recreate that sound, once achieved I will stop, as I did back them, very little swapping or upgrading, 'I enjoyed the music'.

So, analytical, I dont think so, 'detail', yes most definitely, neutral, lets say I bend towards a 'just the warm side of neutral, with smoooooth' . . . goals I feel I am close to achieving, perfection, no, but enough to satisfy. Tuning the P5 has been interesting and revealing. The M2 Blue has served well, in producing enough information on the record, the rest of the system simply kept pace as tweaks have been made, says a lot for the Croft amp and the PMC LB1's.

I'm along way up my road . . . in my mind . . . I'm 'searching', not analysing. The main requirement 'for me now' is that SPU sound/image. Obviously SPU's are still available, but I dont have that sort of cash, for cartridge or the correct TT.

Pull head in, let things settle, I'm still going to work with/listen to my Blue/Black Hybrid, I believe there is potential as a stop gap? . . . continue the search for a cartridge that sounds or has the caricature of an SPU; Smooth with a hint of warmth, detailed and an image/sound stage that uses half the garden and knocks down the study walls . . . !

CJSF

PSF, time for an hour of two's musical enjoyment . . . :dance:
 
"The whole produced an amazing open, just on the warm side of neutral sound, analytical . . . I'd prefer 'detailed', this was all held together by a sound stage that even now, just thinking about it, raises the hairs on my neck."

A neutral sound doesn't necessarily mean 'analytical'. My Leema is neutral sounding but it's far from analytical or mechanical. If, on the other hand, you're craving a mechanical - analytical - sound then changing a cartridge may not (and probably will not) be the answer.

What's the rest of your kit?

This is why, on one of your other threads, I mentioned ClearAudio Classic Wood cartridge: It's open and detailed, with a tight, fast bass, yet it pulls you to the heart of the music. It sounds very natural.
 

CJSF

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plastic penguin said:
My Leema is neutral sounding but it's far from analytical or mechanical. .

Chebby has my system spot on.

I suppose PP, I might be able to say that of my Croft, it certainly does not sound valvey. Slowly I'm getting to the bottom of what I want . . . mechanical, certainly not . . . I want detail plus musicality and as much base as my LB1's can muster, easy on the ear; . . . warm and smooth, the sort of sound one can listen to and relax with, like I did in the 80's. Reading the web . . . points to Grado, Benz and Clear Audio wood. Not heard any yet so I dont know . . . ?

I have just spent 3 solid hours listening to selected tracks ranging from Jazz through 80's rock, organ and choir music, to classical. Selected because I know most of them well, listening only with the Black/Blue hybrid. Detail was great, control was exemplary but involvement . . . afraid not, colour, on the bright (cold) side of natural, openness, not as much as I would like.

Its back to the full Blue M2 until I can get some sample listening or even better, sample cartridges to try. Then and only then it appears will I be able to have any further meaningful thoughts.

My main need is decent dealers who might be able to help, within a radius of around 100 miles from Ipswich, tried Walrus, not really interested if I dont want a Glider, although they did suggest a Dyno 10x5 when I pushed them, and Home Media in Kent, did not answer phone? The only really helpful dealer is Divine Audio in Desborough, they are falling over to help, 10 out of 10!

Gets very frustrating at times, this analogue business . . . :wall:

CJSF
 

CnoEvil

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Is it possible that you are trying to re-create the sound from your past, with kit that is not quite up to the task (good though it is for the money)?

This is not a statement of fact, just throwing it out as a possibility.
 
CJSF said:
plastic penguin said:
My Leema is neutral sounding but it's far from analytical or mechanical. .

Chebby has my system spot on.

I suppose PP, I might be able to say that of my Croft, it certainly does not sound valvey. Slowly I'm getting to the bottom of what I want . . . mechanical, certainly not . . . I want detail plus musicality and as much base as my LB1's can muster, easy on the ear; . . . warm and smooth, the sort of sound one can listen to and relax with, like I did in the 80's. Reading the web . . . points to Grado, Benz and Clear Audio wood. Not heard any yet so I dont know . . . ?

I have just spent 3 solid hours listening to selected tracks ranging from Jazz through 80's rock, organ and choir music, to classical. Selected because I know most of them well, listening only with the Black/Blue hybrid. Detail was great, control was exemplary but involvement . . . afraid not, colour, on the bright (cold) side of natural, openness, not as much as I would like.

Its back to the full Blue M2 until I can get some sample listening or even better, sample cartridges to try. Then and only then it appears will I be able to have any further meaningful thoughts.

My main need is decent dealers who might be able to help, within a radius of around 100 miles from Ipswich, tried Walrus, not really interested if I dont want a Glider, although they did suggest a Dyno 10x5 when I pushed them, and Home Media in Kent, did not answer phone? The only really helpful dealer is Divine Audio in Desborough, they are falling over to help, 10 out of 10!

Gets very frustrating at times, this analogue business . . . :wall:

CJSF

Cno may have a point. I've often compared (in the early days) my current set-up to ones of the past... that's only natural.

If you want advice on Rega TT and cartridges contact my favourite dealers http://www.badaweb.co.uk/infidelity2/contact.html. They are the kiddies when it comes to Rega, Ortofon, Rega and ClearAudio carts. They are big Rega approved dealers and are normally very helpful.
 

CJSF

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CnoEvil said:
Is it possible that you are trying to re-create the sound from your past, with kit that is not quite up to the task (good though it is for the money)? This is not a statement of fact, just throwing it out as a possibility.

You cold be right Cno, mono blocks, Rock TT, SPU cartridge . . . :? yes I agree, but one feels so close, especially when the full Blue is on song. I'm happy to compromise . . . a bit! I doubt I will ever get that big open airy sound stage . . . but I've got the depth and some of the height with the Blue set right, which I know how to do now, but the width, its good, often wider than the speakers, but, yes you are right I want to much.

Its significant maybe, I keep coming back to the Ortofon Blue, it responds so well to setup adjustments, it has an involving voice to the music . . . it is, in my system, musical . . . :?

CJSF
 

CJSF

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Round and round and . . . back to the 2M Blue, had a great session this morning see post in 'what vinyl are you listening to'.

Every time I change the stylus I have to re adjust the tracking weight and bias. I've reported how ultra sensitive the M2's are to tracking weight in my system. Well, I think this time, I might have hit the sweet spot of the sweet spot . . . ? The audiophile 'Clarity recordings', have that warm edge that I've been on about, the 'come hither finger' . . . or is it the cartridge set up, have I actually dropped the Blue on the money? I dont know the Clarity recordings at all, they have sat for16 years in my collection never played. They were the last recordings I purchased in 1995, the year Kathy died.

Dire Straits 'Love over Gold' had a really good sound, Hazel came in from the kitchen to have a listen! . . . Mmm, one even thinks, is the system coming of age? the 2 CDs (Mary Stallings and Kevin Gibbs) I'm currently listening to are sounding very inviting?

All wist full thinking I'm sure, the old brain is shouting, enough already!!! Whatever . . . its nice to listen to 'the sound', relax and enjoy the music, consider my options with out feeling under pressure.

CJSF
 

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