Empire 880P phono cartridge Specifications

Sidebar: Specifications

Description: Moving-magnet stereophonic phono cartridge. Frequency range: 6Hz–30kHz. Separation: >30dB. Output: 8mV per channel. Compliance: 30x10–6 cm/dyne. Dynamic mass: 0.5mg. Tracking force: 0.5–3 grams. Total weight: 10 grams. Recommended load: 47k ohms per channel. Stylus: 0.6-mil-radius diamond.
Price: $47.50 (1963); no longer available (2019).
Manufacturer: Empire Scientific Corp., Garden City, NY (1963); company no longer in existence (2019).

Empire Scientific Corp.
Garden City, NY (1963)
Company no longer in existence (2019)

Kal Rubinson's picture

I had an Empire 298 TT and 98 arm and began with a 108 cartridge. All was just fine. However, with the advent of the 880p, I found that the progression to higher compliance and lower mass was leaving the old 98 behind. My two samples of the 880p were both short-lived although they sounded good as long as they worked.

Replaced the 98 with an ADC-40 arm and moved over to the ADC cartridges for many years. Kept the TT.

wolfie62's picture

I have the 880P, along with the Empire EDR.9, 2000Z, 2000X and 6 other Empire Carts. I also have the Shures from 1963 to the last one, and the ADC carts from the 10E MKII, MKIV, Astrion, XLM MKIII, NAD 9300. The 880P is a really surprisingly good cart! Its a heavy beast, but it sounds very dynamic, smooth, detailed, and WAY ahead of its 1961 introduction! It bested the Shures through 1966. I still enjoy mounting that headshell from time to time, just to dive back into the "day" when it was new. Very enjoyable cartridge!

Ortofan's picture

.... me. OTOH, I don't recall ever seeing Empire - or
Grado, for that matter - cartridges available at any of the local hi-fi dealers. The lone high-end (aka McIntosh) dealer sold Ortofon and B&O cartridges, while the rest had ADC, Pickering/Stanton and Shure, plus one dealer had just started carrying Audio-Technica.

Herb Reichert's picture

an Emprie 888 and liking it for its high-definition

Tiburd's picture

I bought an Empire 888SE for $20 from Allied Radio before Radio Shack bought them out and shut them down (with an antitrust action by the U.S. Department of Justice). It was a much better cartridge than my modest turntable deserved in those days. Later I had an ADC carrtridge which rendered timpani much more faithfully but was less refined on top. Both were fine cartridges for their time.

Kal Rubinson's picture

The bad experience with Empire's quality control on the cartridges drove me away from them after the 88X series. Moved on to ADC, Sonus, Shure, Nagatron, Ortofon, Decca, Denon, Dynavector, Koetsu, Microacoustics.........(in no particular order). Still have a few.

Ortofan's picture

... either ADC or Sonus appeared to be a step up from that at Empire - or not so much?

Kal Rubinson's picture

The memory is not vivid but I cannot recall having problems with ADC over the course of using many of them. Nor with the single Sonus. Memory of my disappointment with the Empires does remain.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Look at the bright side ....... At least the Empire phono cartridges did not burst into flames and go up in smoke :-) ......

Such an experience would certainly cause PTSD :-) ...........

doak's picture

Did not know such Beasties ever existed, but ‘63 is a bit (but just a bit) before my time.
That said, my Decca London Super Gold (still a current model) specs @ 5mV.
Started with ADC in mid 70s, Shure V15-IV then Dynavector 23R by ‘80.
Wow, just thinking: a list of “carts I have owned (and sometimes loved)” would be hard to get on one page.

Ortofan's picture

... Empire fixed-coil cartridge tooling/manufacturing equipment after Benz acquired the company?
Did it ever get moved to Switzerland?
Or was it acquired by another company, or just scrapped?
Fremer? Fremer?

wolfie62's picture

But has done nothing with Empire, other than put the "Empire" name on Pfanstiehl needles and sell them as "original" Empire styli.

If they were smart, (they aren't!)they would dig out the engineering drawings and go into production on the styli and modernized versions of the best of Empire carts, such as the 600LAC, EDR.9, 2000Z.