Originally Posted by shipsupt
Wow. I've spend a lot of hours this weekend learning about tone arm resonance, cartridge compliance, etc... my head is spinning!
My SME 3009 improved (fixed head shell, 6.5g) tonearm is getting rewired back in Canada and I'm starting to narrow down my cartridge choices.
1. The Soundsmith cartridges look like a great choice for a really light arm since they are high compliance, light weight, and don't need much in the way of recommended tracking force. There are some very good reviews out there, but not that many... I've been looking at the Carmen/SMMC3 range.
2. The Ortofon 2M black, while a little heavier, is relatively high compliance and a recommended tracking force that will work with the SME. It also seems like it would do well with the 3009.
I have not completely ruled out MC, but there seems to be more recommendations to go MM with this arm than MC and it appears easier to find higher compliance MM vs MC. I also think this option will play well with my selected phono stage.
I'd be happy to hear any thoughts, comments, etc... esp. if anyone else is running any really light arms.
Well, SME 3009 Series II Improved non detacheable headshell arm is still a " bus" when compared to really lightweight class, like 3009 Series III, Infinity Black Widow (around 3 gram eff mass ), not to mention Transcriptors Vestigal ( around 5 g lateral, 2 or less vertical ) or the lightest of them all, Transcriptors Microtracer as featured on Transcriber turntable ( approx 2 gram ). Technics SL series of linear trackers is also very low effective mass design, approx 3 gram eff. mass. So is Opus 3 Cantus linear tracker ( some 20 or so g lateral, approx 3-4 vertical ). Experience ( and in some cases daily use ) with all of the above except Microtracer - I and my high compliance carts felt great relief back in late 70s when switching from "heavy" Series II ( like yours, lightest version ) to Vestigal.
One MC that is kind of readily available and has highish compliance that works at 1.4 gram VTF is Denon DL 304, or its more posh relative, DL S 1. But please note both of these are about as demanding of the phono input as it gets. Low output ( 0.12 mV IIRC ) and highish internal impedance of approx 40 ohm - making life tough both for head amps and transformers.
Soundsmith ( up to date Bang & Olufsen ) carts are supposedly good - but do not overlook NOS B&Os, as they are peculiarly "common" in your neck of woods. Specially top models featuring sapphire cantilever are said to be preffered by some over current Soundsmith ruby cantilevered versions. Both tend to burn a decent hole in the pocket.
If you areeeeeee paaaaaaaaaatient and can waaaaaaaiiiiit til you get the vintage MC cart(s) that fits the description,please PM me for these, way too rare to post on any forum as the shoestring on which is based supply of these has been stretched way beyond breaking point decades ago and only sporadically it is knotted together to allow for an odd sample to come through.
Of currently available MM carts, Audio Technica AT 440MLa, 150MLX and 150ANV would fit the bill. Ortofon 2Ms are a bit lower compliance, but should still work reasonably well.
If you have money to burn, Van den Hul can make you a high compliance/low tracking force Colibri.