I'm wondering what the best way to compare cartridges given my available options. I would like to see the differences between my at-oc9ml/II and a soon to arrive clearaudio concerto. The Concerto should win hands down but I would like to do a test. I have a digital recorder with cf memory card. Should I record several songs to the recorder with the at and then the same songs with the concerto and then compare?
Sounds like fun!
Of course, your ears will tell the real story.
Your idea sounds like a very cool Hi Fi thing to do for fun, though!
YES exactly! I've got a Korg MR1000 and it's amazing for comparing components. For instance, I hook up the Pro-ject Tube Box direct to the Korg and then compare that to running it through the Conrad Johnson CA200 and back out. You can change interconnects, change tracking angles, change cartridges, etc., etc. and actually hear the differences with great clarity.
The higher the resolving power of your recording device, the better the comparison, of course. When I compare at 5.6MHz sampling rate, the source and the recording sound exactly alike, so far as I can tell. (The limitation is that I can't do an AB because I don't have a duplicate my sources.)
Switching cartridges is a pain in the behind, but I'd record some very quiet, low volume stuff and some loud stuff and something with lots of sibilance and something with lots of bass. Then when you compare, rearrange the order so that cut 1 is played on cart A then cart B sequencially, then do the same with cut 2, etc.. Start in the middle of phrases, so that you can digitally jump back and forth between the samples.
The samples don't need to be real long for comparing, just make sure that you get the same phrases and maybe go 10 to 20 seconds each. Be sure to relax as you listen. If you get stressed, then it gets hard to hear (like tunnel vision for a pilot about the crash). If you have trouble hearing a difference and you've been able to relax, then buy based on price alone.
Cartridge differences are some of the easiest to hear, so you should find this very useful.
I happened to come across this just last night; http://www.soundstage.com/vinyl/vinyl.htm
Thanks guys for the replies. I think I'll get all tracks from the audio technica and the same tracks from the concerto and then transfer them to my computer and do as was suggested and put as track 1 from cart A and the same track as track 2 from cart B and see the differences.
I'm pretty impressed with the humble oc-9. I know for sure that it tracks better than my concerto. It struggled, but got through the last track on the hi-fi news record.
It might be a bit bright but I'm not sure about it. That's where the comparisons will be interesting.
The new cartridge may be bright because it needs to break in and the VTA may be different. Comparing cartridges is a pain, because it's really hard to optimize both the reference and the new contender.
Two identical LP12's on the same slab of granite. There. Done.