Cartridge Isolation.

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Cressy Snr
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#1 Cartridge Isolation.

Post by Cressy Snr »

I've just done a cheap version of the cartridge isolation principle, promoted by the Late Len Gregory and latterly, The Funk Firm. It cost me about 1p.
A piece of Black-Tack about the size of a pea was placed on top of my cartridge.
Cart was then pressed into place on the underside of my SME 3009 head-shell and lined up with the mounting holes.

What you do then is:
Insert bolts and tighten evenly until the goo squirts through the head-shell perforations around the mounting points
Remove the bolts and the cartridge remains stuck fast to the head-shell, with a layer of Black-Tack between it and the cartridge body.
Bolts are then removed so as not to bypass the damping layer..
EDCE6611-22AC-4B08-A18C-09F89C7430F2.jpeg
Excellent result. Yes. Believe it or not, it works a treat.
Very low surface noise, and wider frequency range from the cartridge. Presentation solid and secure, better transient attack, wider dynamic range, And no, I'm not kidding.
Molly Winley, she smooks loike a chimley but she’s my little nicotine gal.
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Greg
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#2 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by Greg »

Good One.

All blue, white, black tac’s have limited effective life.


They naturally dry out and loose their elasticity and adhesion properties with the passage of time. Considering that, be prepared to replace your black tac very regularly. As much as I don’t buy into the ‘Houdini’ nonsense, you don’t seem that far away from believing In a fraud. It’s all a nonsense. Just fix your cartridge as recommended by the manufacturer and FFS, don’t over tighten. End of.

If you are needing to explore these particular tweaks, maybe you need to look closer at your system overall. Something isn’t right. I think you need to find what that is.
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#3 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by karatestu »

Greg wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:32 am Good One.

All blue, white, black tac’s have limited effective life.


They naturally dry out and loose their elasticity and adhesion properties with the passage of time. Considering that, be prepared to replace your black tac very regularly. As much as I don’t buy into the ‘Houdini’ nonsense, you don’t seem that far away from believing In a fraud. It’s all a nonsense. Just fix your cartridge as recommended by the manufacturer and FFS, don’t over tighten. End of.

If you are needing to explore these particular tweaks, maybe you need to look closer at your system overall. Something isn’t right. I think you need to find what that is.
Who rattled your cage? :roll:
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pre65
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#4 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by pre65 »

karatestu wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:15 am
Who rattled your cage? :roll:
Are you suggesting that Greg's not allowed to express his opinion Stu ?

By all means join in the discussion, but your comment is not helpful.
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#5 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by karatestu »

Hello Phil.

I have no problem with Greg having an opinion. Blutack drying out is something that we all know about (or should).

My comment was aimed at the snide little swipe at Steve and that there is something wrong with his system.

Just ignore me, most do.
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pre65
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#6 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by pre65 »

I'd prefer it if nobody dismissed an others experiences if they have not tried it themselves, but most of us here have a rapport with each other and accept that posting styles can differ without (necessarily) taking offence. :)
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. John Lennon

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Cressy Snr
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#7 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by Cressy Snr »

Greg wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:32 am

If you are needing to explore these particular tweaks, maybe you need to look closer at your system overall. Something isn’t right. I think you need to find what that is.
Hi Greg. I know perfectly well what's wrong with the system:
I need to replace the speakers, the amp, the DAC, the turntable, the arm, the cartridge, the CD player and most of all stop buying off iTunes and streaming inferior 256K low res crap off Apple Music. That ought to do it. :D

As for believing in a fraud, I have an open mind on this sort of stuff, well... super fuses, cable lifters, and Peter Belt’s crackpottery is where I do draw the line. Actually ARA was fixing cartridges to SME headshells, with something resembling Plumbers Denso compound, way back in 1979. My first SME 3009 came with a sachet of the stuff. I simply object to the stupid prices being charged for cartridge isolation devices. Make do and bodge is the way to go, otherwise I wouldn’t be into this ridiculous DIY lark. After all if I wake up one morning to find the cartridge hanging off the headshell with only the wires preventing disaster, it harms nothing but my cheap ass cartridge. :lol:
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ed
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#8 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by ed »

pre65 wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:49 am
karatestu wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:15 am
Who rattled your cage? :roll:
Are you suggesting that Greg's not allowed to express his opinion Stu ?

By all means join in the discussion, but your comment is not helpful.
which one of those posts was not helpful?
I, for one, found Stu's post amusing....
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Cressy Snr
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#9 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by Cressy Snr »

Greg’s concerns are perfectly valid. I don’t mind.

I’ll add a disclaimer though:
Don’t try this with your Benz Glider!

The Series 2 SME arm is from bygone era and in today's terms, its rigidity is questionable and that's being kind. What with the nylon knife-edges and soup strainer headshell. The underside of said head-shell, is not even flat, because the cartridge mounting holes, form pips on the underside, which means the cartridge is only in contact with the headshell at two points, and is able microscopically, to rock back and forth with abandon. In terms of vinyl groove dimensions and the wavelengths involved, this is seriously floppy, no matter how tight the bolts are done up.

My little bodge with the black adhesive compound actually provides, on this particular headshell, a more damped and stable fixing than a pair of bolts. SME cartridge bonding compound was there for the same purpose, so one could reasonably expect a significant improvement in sound and that’s exactly what happened. The fact that nobody I know of ever used SME’s goop doesn’t mean it was a bad Idea. As the brains behind SME, ARA would have had a valid engineering reason for supplying it.

Now, one could argue that the simplest option would be to have fitted a better, more rigid head-shell, but I’ve done this and the cartridge doesn’t sound as good in an Audio Technica cast alloy headshell as it does stuck to the stock SME one. I go on what I hear and the improvements are repeatable and demonstrable.

The problem with the Series II improved arm is that it is not fit for today’s high-end cartridges and why would it be? It’s from a different era and worked with that era's high end carts, not this. We therefore have to either work with it, use a compliant MM and embrace its design principles or get a modern arm. Going between the two principles IMV gives the worst of both worlds, with the consequent wooly sound that the hi-fi press attribute quite wrongly, I’ve just discovered, to this classic tonearm.

Damping of unwanted vibration rather than rigidity and efficient transmission is how it works in engineering terms. Both are equally valid principles and the damping principle, which fits with the arm's engineering ethos, is how the thinking has gone with these experiments. It’s not voodoo. The results give wide bandwidth, and excellent reproduction of the frequency extremes which easily compare with a modern rigid arm. Despite all the improvements I got, the rigid jobs will probably still beat this old clunker hands down on jump factor and dynamics, but I like the easy going wide-band sound available from this combo.
Molly Winley, she smooks loike a chimley but she’s my little nicotine gal.
Cressy Snr
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#10 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by Cressy Snr »

There's the actual genuine SME seating compound.
Our Ant found this link:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SME-Cartridg ... 890.l49292
My compound choice is still cheaper. :D
It does say on the bag, to put the screws back in, when the cart is seated but I prefer the sound without. Guess I'm living on the edge.
It does say 'Loony Bin' below my name after all. :lol:
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Toppsy
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#11 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by Toppsy »

but I like the easy going wide-band sound available from this combo.
Steve, this brings back memories of those LDR preamps that lots of folk (including our own Greg) raved about some years back. Turned out that the wide/huge soundstage these preamps produced was the effect of the amount of distortion generated by the LDR's. Even Greg in the end had to conceed to that. I'm wondering if the introduction of the 'paste' isolation layer is adding distortion since the whole cartridge is now not rigidly mounted to the headshell? My nature of the sealing compound this will allow a small degree of flexing of the cartridge when riding the groove that could manifest into distortion and hence the widening of the soundstage? Just a thought.
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#12 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by Dave the bass »

Cressy Snr wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:29 pm It does say 'Loony Bin' below my name after all. :lol:
Sorry! My fault, thats to do with our joke post 'ratings' from years ago.
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#13 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by Cressy Snr »

Toppsy wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:30 pm
but I like the easy going wide-band sound available from this combo.
Steve, this brings back memories of those LDR preamps that lots of folk (including our own Greg) raved about some years back. Turned out that the wide/huge soundstage these preamps produced was the effect of the amount of distortion generated by the LDR's. Even Greg in the end had to conceed to that. I'm wondering if the introduction of the 'paste' isolation layer is adding distortion since the whole cartridge is now not rigidly mounted to the headshell? My nature of the sealing compound this will allow a small degree of flexing of the cartridge when riding the groove that could manifest into distortion and hence the widening of the soundstage? Just a thought.
Yes, additional distortion is always possibility Colin. I'll probably have to put the bolts back in eventually, but we'll see how things go.
Last edited by Cressy Snr on Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#14 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by Cressy Snr »

Dave the bass wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:44 pm
Cressy Snr wrote: Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:29 pm It does say 'Loony Bin' below my name after all. :lol:
Sorry! My fault, thats to do with our joke post 'ratings' from years ago.
I thought it was funny. :)
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#15 Re: Cartridge Isolation.

Post by Thermionic Idler »

Cressy Snr wrote: Thu Feb 04, 2021 10:46 pm the Late Len Gregory
Wow - I didn't even know Len had passed on. I visited him in Croydon years ago when I was running his Music Maker cartridges. I think at the time he had a Croft phono and preamp, some vintage BBC valve power amps, Quad ESL57 electrostats and something that evidently began life as a Michell Gyrodec or Orbe (or it might have been a Nottingham Analogue), but had since been heavily modded with bits of foam and garden twine, held together by the grace of some unknown deity. I also remember there being cats and dogs everywhere.
Deck: Garrard 301 - Audio Origami PU7 - Van Den Hul Black Beauty
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Linestage: AMB α24/LCDuino
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Speakers: FF225WK 'Big Met' Metronomes c/o Cressy Snr
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