Proper Cartridge Loading Can Make a Big Difference

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Raylinds, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Raylinds

    Raylinds Martinis, music and glowing tubes Thread Starter

    I recently installed a Van Den Hul Colibri cart and last night decided to try different loads on it. My phono stage allows for on-the-fly changes using a remote, so it was very easy There were very noticeable differences and at 500 ohms the sound was much clearer and had more detail and weight to the sound.

    If you have never tweaked the loading on your cart, I strongly suggest you do, as it can make a noticeable difference.
     
    H8SLKC, Catcher10 and Thorensman like this.
  2. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    I agree wholeheartedly .
    I made a box of tricks to adjust capitance and loading,
    It's become an essential part of my set up.
    Hubert Jan Designed it.
     
    H8SLKC, patient_ot and SandAndGlass like this.
  3. John Moschella

    John Moschella Forum Resident

    Location:
    Christiansburg, VA
    I have not found this to be the case with my Benz Ref Silver that has a 10 Ohm coil. Pretty much anything in the 100-1000 range sounds about the same.

    Your cart has a much higher coil impedance depending on which version you have, but I can see that if you tried something like 100 Ohms, it may load it down and would significantly affect the sound. Note that Van Den Hul recommends > 500 Ohms for that cart.
     
    Rolltide likes this.
  4. Night Version

    Night Version Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New York
    I have a Sumiko Blackbird ( awesome), but never notice a difference at different loading settings.

    What is the general consensus on audible diffs typically experienced when going from 50 to 1000?
     
  5. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    It's not just the loading at the preamp, cable capacitance plays a big part too. Lyra does not recommend high cap cables, I had one with the Delos and as much as I liked the sound loaded at 121 ohms, once I dropped to a low cap cable, the sound exploded from my TT. I was able to load the preamp at 380 and then 475 ohms. Funny that just last night I changed to 660 ohms and the sound opened up even more.
    Mathematically based on my cable I should be at 475 ohms and that sound is really, really nice, not sure about the more open sound at 660 ohms, will leave it there for a couple weeks. Generally the lower loading you go the sound becomes very tight, focused and a bit tighter bass, higher loading gives you a more open airy sound, again assuming your cable is what the mfg suggests.

    What you need to make sure is the loading you choose should not limit how your cart performs, incorrect loading could cause stiff compliance as you could be making the cart work too hard, the cantilever will not move freely. This is the design of the Delos, it wants to see a higher load at the phono stage and not make the cart work harder. And since I had a high cap cable I was able to understand this better and also hear it. Tons more resolution, dynamics are coming from my Delos with my current configuration.

    I will not own a phono stage without extreme loading options like the Nova II gives me, this allows extreme sound tailoring based on cable and cartridge, very much like a 20-band equalizer can do vs a 10-band one.

    I also think too many people get locked into the 10x internal impedance method, this almost always sets you at 90-120 ohms.....It's a good start for sure, but if you can I say play with different loading, and if you don't know the cap of your cable find out......
     
    jupiterboy likes this.
  6. Raylinds

    Raylinds Martinis, music and glowing tubes Thread Starter

    Is yours the hi output or lo output version? I know on the hi output version Sumiko recommends a 47,000 ohms load, not sure about the lo output. If yours needs to be loaded at 47k ohms, there would likely not be a difference between 50 and 1k ohms, but try it at 47k ohms.
     
  7. Night Version

    Night Version Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New York
    LO version (and 47k isn't an option on my preamp)
     
  8. Raylinds

    Raylinds Martinis, music and glowing tubes Thread Starter

    That's a really great cart- I am sure you are already happy with it.
     
  9. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    I just bought a Budgie phono preamp for this very reason. I am excited to hear how it sounds.
     
    Strat-Mangler likes this.
  10. Night Version

    Night Version Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New York
    Quite so. The loading settings don’t seem to do much for these ears so I leave at 400.
     
  11. rtrt

    rtrt Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    Can someone answer a question for me…

    Iirc MC carts are supposed to be less sensitive to loading than MM.

    Where do High Output MC sit?
     
  12. Raylinds

    Raylinds Martinis, music and glowing tubes Thread Starter

    I have only used MC carts so I don't know about relative sensitivity to MM. My experience is that both low and high output MC carts re affected by loading.
     
  13. soundQman

    soundQman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arlington, VA, USA
    Now that is interesting to me, never having heard before that electrical loading could affect the compliance and mechanical performance of a phono cartridge. I always thought it was simply a matter of impedance, and the resulting frequency-amplitude electrical response.
     
    Nascimento Brasil likes this.
  14. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    "Loading" refers to providing the cartridge both its recommended capacitance and recommended impedance (parallel resistance). The cartridge is part of an RLC resonant circuit, and the contribution of the R and C from both your cabling and your preamp's internal loading will shape the high frequency resonance and its rolloff.

    Moving-coil cartridges are more sensitive to impedance than to capacitance variations and use a low impedance input stage (~1000 ohm), whereas capacitance has more contribution when using MC or moving iron cartridges (which use nominally ~47k ohm input). In fact many preamps with selectable loading and both MC/MM inputs may only give impedance adjustment for the MC input and only capacitance adjustment for MM (although both are tunable parameters).

    Here we can see a MM cart response is significantly affected by both varying capacitance or impedance:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You can see how mis-loading, creating a non-linear response, might sound "clearer" by pronounced high-frequency over-emphasis.

    The loading inside a solid-state phono stage is literally just a ceramic disc capacitor and a resistor hooked across the input. You can add to these values by using external loading plugs, or even by soldering in different components if your phono stage doesn't have a selection.

    Without high-frequency test records to do such experimentation, the goal should just be to provide the cartridge its specification.
     
  15. rtrt

    rtrt Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    Thanks Raylinds
     
  16. rtrt

    rtrt Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    Thanks for taking the time to post the graphics andd your thoughts Harby.

    Had seen the TNT load the magnets article in the past.

    At some point id like to experiment there, as I have the m97 shure cartridge here as well as a Hana EH.

    Its the Hana EH thats making me ask the question re HOMC and loading
     
  17. quicksilverbudie

    quicksilverbudie quicksilverbudie

    Location:
    Ontario
    I have been lucky and have used cartridges that always work with 47K as I don`t want to change anything. So I would say yes. If it was on the fly (cartridge loading) then perhaps I would but I don't want to play with fuses on my Pre-amp

    sean
     
  18. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    The difference for me is the amount of high-end that I can hear into the signal. Kind of like a Treble knob and loading is system dependent in the sense that a loading of 100 might sound great in one system but terrible in another.
     
  19. gakerty

    gakerty Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California
    In my system (Lyra Delos, Pass XP15 -> Halo) the loading doesn't seem to make much difference. I have my Delos loaded down to 84 ohms currently. 91, 100, 161, 200 ohms sound almost the same. There MAY be an increase in treble with the higher loads, but it's certainly not stark. I'm trying to load down as I'm sensitive to excess treble it seems. The Delos sounds great at 84, and yeah it sounds great at 100 too. It's one of those YMMV things. I haven't tried above 200 yet, but since I'm trying to tame excess perceived treble, not rushing to do that. I do wonder what 1000 ohms - 47K would sound like though...
     
    Dennis0675 likes this.
  20. Ski Bum

    Ski Bum Happy Audiophile

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    In my system, loading affects the tone/smoothness of the high frequencies and the enunciation of the bass.
     
    Mike from NYC and Axis_67 like this.
  21. gakerty

    gakerty Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California
    Along these lines, I still don't know exactly why increasing loading impedance LOWERS effect on treble.
     
  22. Grower of Mushrooms

    Grower of Mushrooms Omnivorous mammalian bipedal entity.

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Analogous to riding a bike with an old fashioned dynamo lighting system. Riding with the lights switched off (high impedance load) is easy. Riding with them on (low impedance load) pedalling is harder.
     
  23. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    Do you know the capacitance of your phono cable? Based on the Delos instructions, it would suggest you have a very high cap cable like more than 300pF. You should find out, if you don't know email the mfg of your cable.
     
  24. gakerty

    gakerty Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California
    The phono cable is "hardwired" in my Clearaudio Concept, and according to the manual, it's not high, @ "Cable - capacity: 156pF/m" from http://clearaudio.de/_assets/_pdf/manuals/turntables/CA_Concept_E+D.pdf. On a related note, the perceived treble is not being helped by a new XLR cable (series 3.1 from Anticable) from the Pass XP15 into the Halo. That cable which is coning across as a bit strident so far compared to my previous (Mogami based), but that may be a separate issue.
     
  25. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    Assuming it is a 1mt cable then you should be in the 330 to 160 ohm range. The first number Lyra suggests is calculated to reduce any peaks at RF frequencies to 3dB using a 150pF cable......If I were you I would, and if your XP15 can, adjust to around 330 ohms and let it settle for a few days and listen. Adjust down to around 160 ohms and again just listen after a few days, this process takes much time but you should get rewarded with nice sounds.

    A lot of times any distortion (intermodulation) we hear is actually not from the cartridge but the phono stage. JCarr told me once to find out the optimum range your phono stage designer suggests and then stay within that spec. Phono stages will react differently depending on the design and components used, you should find out the most stable range of the preamp from the designer. Ultimately your ears are the final answer, but as you noted your treble is harsh right now and could be the XLR, could be a combo of that and the low loading making the cart work harder....Only time will tell though.

    Have fun!
     

Share This Page