Case in point, the recent cartridge upgrade I made to the $1,400 Clearaudio Emotion turntable and Satisfy tonearm setup I have been using. This rig originally came with a Benz Micro MC20E2 moving coil cartridge ($250). But Garth Leerer, the head of Musical Surroundings, subsequently sent me along a $1,200 Clearaudio Talismann cartridge.
The Talismann is a moving coil design with an aluminum cantilevered, elliptical stylus, all wrapped up in an ebony wood housing, and weighing in at 11 grams. It puts out 0.5mV with 45 ohms impedance, with a suggested loading of 400 ohms. The manual is all in German, which might as well be Greek for me. But setting up the Talismann was easy.
The Satisfy tonearm counterweight required a lot more twists though, than with the much lighter MC20E2 in order to get a tracking force of 2.5 grams with the Talismann.
I flipped some dipswitches on the Nova Phonomena phono stage to get these new musical worlds in alignment, and spun some vinyl.
Bang! The differences between the MC20E2 and Talismann were right in your face. There was no squinting of ears and thinking well, maybe, hmm, perhaps.
Uh-uh. This was night and day.
Good as the MC20E2 is, the Talismann did just so much more right. Bottom line, the Talismann is way more musical than the MC20E2. Rhythm, pacing, and tap your feet joy was just so right there. And everything was properly in its place, with no meandering musicians mucking the channels up.
To keep things straight, I once again put Sgt. Pepper's on the platter, dropped the Talismann straight into a "Day in the Life" and compared my listening notes with the MC20E2. Ditto, I did a cartridge comparo with John Coltrane's "Lush Life" album, and so the back and forth went.
Oh, screw it. And screw the notes, too.
All I wanted to do was listen.
The record surface noise that sometimes bugged me with the MC20E2 was almost completely absent with the Talismann. The midrange was peeled off from its platter patina and blossomed forth, and the bass easily muscled past the you-can't-hold-me-down grooves.
Everything, and I mean everything, sounded so much better with the Clearaudio Talismann.
It's one sweet thang.
21st, The VXM Network, http://www.vxm.com