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matching cartridge and tonearm compliance

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hoping some expert out there could help me with a knowledge deficit. How does one determine what the compliance of a particular cartridge is, and likewise a particular tonearm. What is the process.

 

I once added to a discussion on a Nagaoka MM cartridge that I owned and thought better than my Sumiko Celebration MC cartridge and was blasted for misleading readers because having an SME 3009 tonearm, with its' inherrent compliance (whatever that is), that of course the Nagaoka would sound better than the Sumiko. Both cartridges look to be about the same size and weight, both have about the same vertical tracking force, so what do I measure to know these things?

post #2 of 5

Every cartridge has their own measured compliance.  Are you asking about resonance frequency?
 

post #3 of 5

This is a somewhat complicated question.  There is no easy DIY method that I'm aware of to calculate cartridge compliance.  You have to go by the manufacturer's published specification but they don't all state compliance in the same terms. European manufacturers usually state compliance at 10Hz and most calculators use this standard.  Japanese companies often use compliance at 100Hz (multiply by about 1.7 to get a 10Hz figure) and American companies sometimes state a static figure (halve that to get a 10Hz figure).  The idea is to use the effective mass of the cartridge + mounting hardware + tonearm against compliance to arrive at a resonant frequency.  You want that figure to be below 20Hz (potential music frequencies) but above 8 Hz (record warps & floor resonances).  There is some argument as to exactly where the sweet spot for cartridge/tonearm resonance lies, some sources state  from 8 or 9 to 12Hz while others cite a higher set of frequencies in the range of 12 - 16Hz, if I remember correctly.   Here are some links:

http://www.theanalogdept.com/cartridge___arm_matching.htm

http://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge_database_tools.php

 

How well the cartridge suspension is damped and whether or not there is some form of tonearm damping also influence compatibility to a degree.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by plantsman View Post

This is a somewhat complicated question.  There is no easy DIY method that I'm aware of to calculate cartridge compliance.  You have to go by the manufacturer's published specification but they don't all state compliance in the same terms. European manufacturers usually state compliance at 10Hz and most calculators use this standard.  Japanese companies often use compliance at 100Hz (multiply by about 1.7 to get a 10Hz figure) and American companies sometimes state a static figure (halve that to get a 10Hz figure).  The idea is to use the effective mass of the cartridge + mounting hardware + tonearm against compliance to arrive at a resonant frequency.  You want that figure to be below 20Hz (potential music frequencies) but above 8 Hz (record warps & floor resonances).  There is some argument as to exactly where the sweet spot for cartridge/tonearm resonance lies, some sources state  from 8 or 9 to 12Hz while others cite a higher set of frequencies in the range of 12 - 16Hz, if I remember correctly.   Here are some links:

http://www.theanalogdept.com/cartridge___arm_matching.htm

http://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge_database_tools.php

 

How well the cartridge suspension is damped and whether or not there is some form of tonearm damping also influence compatibility to a degree.


Thanks, this is a good start. I will plug in my assumed values on the vinylengine tool as well and see whats what.

post #5 of 5

Among the data and tools sections at Vinyl Engine you'll find the information for a huge number of cartridges and a fair number of tonearms so you probably won't have to use assumed values.
 


Edited by plantsman - 10/5/12 at 6:21am
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