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  1. #1
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    High Mass with Low Compliance VERSUS Low Mass with High Compliance...seeking info.

    I'm not talking cart and tonearm matching, rather assuming the user knows how to do that and has the options to take advantage of either. Also lets disregard the issue of dampening with a stabilizer brush or fluid-filled tonearm base.

    I realize that a great many Moving Coil designs are mid to low compliance, though the exact reasons for this are a mystery to me.

    I also realize that lower compliance makes cantilever rigidity more important due to the required downforces, which may necessitate more exotic materials to get effective tip mass down to minimize high frequency mistracking and FIM distortion on loud records.

    I also get that measuring loud treble mistracking and FIM distortion is difficult due to various harmonics involved, such that a cart that tests perfectly on one test record can still have issues that are audible in other ways on loud pressings.

    Any benefits between high mass/low compliance compared to low mass/high compliance other than this? Any links you know about? You gurus with any inside info, post away. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    It may be less complicated that you think. In general terms, low output moving coil cartridges tend to be heavier than their moving magnet, or high output MC counterparts. The exotic materials that you mention can be quite heavy. However, magnet structures in these cartridges also add significant weight.

    If all of that weight is positioned above the cantilever and stylus, then you'd need a more rigid (less compliant) stylus to support that weight, and still provide good tracking characteristics.

  3. #3
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whell
    It may be less complicated that you think. In general terms, low output moving coil cartridges tend to be heavier than their moving magnet, or high output MC counterparts. The exotic materials that you mention can be quite heavy. However, magnet structures in these cartridges also add significant weight.
    While I do not have an answer to Reticuli's question, I'm not sure if I can agree with you.
    Like you say, there are heavy LOMC cartridges with low complaince, but there are also plenty of heavyweight MC carts with higher compliance, such as top of the line Benz Micro, Ortofon, and Clearaudio.

    I too have wondered why designers chose certain compliance#, but never cared to find out why....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    While I do not have an answer to Reticuli's question, I'm not sure if I can agree with you.
    Like you say, there are heavy LOMC cartridges with low complaince, but there are also plenty of heavyweight MC carts with higher compliance, such as top of the line Benz Micro, Ortofon, and Clearaudio.

    I too have wondered why designers chose certain compliance#, but never cared to find out why....
    I hear you, and i don't disagree. I used the word "generally" because you can certainly find exceptions to every "rule" in this hobby.

    However, the following might help illustrate some reasons for the variance. But first I'd suggest that one of the issues that one can encounter when trying to compare compliance specs from different cartridges is that there is no universal standard for manufactures to report on the compliance of a cartridge. Therefore, it is often suggested to ignore the stated compliance specs and look at the manufacturers recommended tracking force instead. Generally (there's that word again!), the higher the reccommedned tracking force of a cartridge, the lower the compliance.

    That said, let's look at a few cartridges and see what we can see. First, the Benz Micro LP Ebony MC, which is the TOTL Benz I think you may have referred to. Weighing in at 10.7 grams, it would fit into the medium compliance camp with a 1.8 to 2.2 g reccommeded tracking force. It does have a boron cantiliver with a LC stylus. Boron which is incredibly stong and light weight. Therefore, even with a cartridge that is heavier than the norm, the weight is supportable with the boron cantiliver without the need to increase tracking force (decrease compliance) to compensate.

    Compare this to the venerable Denon DL-103. Lighter than the Benz at 8.5 grams, it tracks heavier at 2.5 grams. However, an aluminum cantiliver with a spherical stylus would require additional down force for good tracking.

    Does this help define the reason for some differences?

  5. #5
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whell
    I hear you, and i don't disagree. I used the word "generally" because you can certainly find exceptions to every "rule" in this hobby.
    Understood and must say this has been one of the most useful discussions (potentially) we've had in analog forum. One question to all though.

    It's been my understanding the compliance shows the stiffness of the cart's suspension in the combination of cantilever and rubber gromet/yoke, not just the stiffness of the cantilever. After all, whatever sounds best to our ears, right?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Understood and must say this has been one of the most useful discussions (potentially) we've had in analog forum. One question to all though.

    It's been my understanding the compliance shows the stiffness of the cart's suspension in the combination of cantilever and rubber gromet/yoke, not just the stiffness of the cantilever. After all, whatever sounds best to our ears, right?
    Yes. The entire cantilever sub-assembly is responsible for the compliance measure.

  7. #7
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    Though the stiffness of the cantilever itself hopefully is having very little effect.

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