LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 24, 2013  |  102 comments
Below you will find ten 96K/24 bit FLAC files, each containing a version of “Spider And the Fly” from Myra Taylor’s double 45rpm album My Night to Dream (Analogue Productions APO 2017).

Each was recorded using one of ten different cartridges, nine of which were mounted on a VPI Traveler connected to a Graham Slee Era Gold Mk. V MM phono preamp.

The tenth is Ortofon’s $8499 Anna, which was mounted on the Continuum Cobra tonearm, Caliburn turntable combo connected to a Ypsilon MC-16 step transformer and VPS-100 phono preamp. That file is the “control” against which the others should be compared, except it will not be identified as such. None of the files, all created using a moderately priced HRT LineStreamer+ analog to digital converter, will be identified.

If you so choose, you can download the FLAC files and using a USB DAC, play them through your audio system. This will enable you to compare each cartridge’s rendering of the same song and your judgments without knowing which was which. Should you choose, you can vote for your favorite and in addition, in the comment section, we welcome your top three or top five favorites.

Listed from least expensive to most expensive, the nine moderately prices cartridges are:

Audio-Technica AT95E ($40)

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Audio-Technica AT95SA ($149.95)

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Audio-Technica AT7V ($159.99)

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Grado Gold 1 ($220)

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Ortofon 2M Bronze ($419)

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Nagaoka MP-300 ($499)

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Sumiko Blue Point EVO III ($499)

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Ortofon 2M Black ($719)

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Audio-Technica AT150ANV ($999)

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All are moving magnet designs, with the exception of the Grado Gold 1, which is a moving iron and the Sumiko Blue Point EVO III, which is high output moving coil design.

While the cartridges are listed above in order of price, the files are not! The are organized randomly. Right click on PC or Control click on a Mac to download to your desktop.

Download Cartridge Test File #1 (68.8 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #2 (73.7 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #3 (71.8 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #4 (77.7 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #5 (71 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #6 (73.7 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #7 (74.5 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #8 (71 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #9 (75.6 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #10 (71.6 MB)

In a few weeks we will reveal their identities. In addition, because I’m sure some if not many of you will not take the time to download and listen, I will review each from my perspective and include the specs (etc.).

In addition, if you like the track (I didn’t get sick of it and I listened dozens of times), HDTracks has generously given us a discount download code if you are so digitally inclined. Also note that the album is available on CD and SACD as well as on vinyl.

Special HDTracks.com offer: Now through August 31st receive a 20% download discount on Myra Taylor's "My Night To Dream". Choose either the 88.2/24 bit or the 44.1k/16 bit version or both. Use promo code "compare20"

Choose your favorite sounding Cartridge Test File below:

Nine Cartridge Survey Produces Audible Results?
Michael Fremer  |  Jul 24, 2013  |  1 comments
Back in 1995 in The Tracking Angle's second issue I wrote of acoustic folk/blues artist Doug MacLeod's performances on his Audioquest LP Come to Find (AQ 1027): "You'll hear a lifetime's accumulation of feelings, experiences and influences in his fingers, in his voice and in his songs...."

MacLeod was 46 at the time. Eighteen years or so later MacLeod is still at it, as he's been since he picked up bass and guitar as a child. He's issued 19 studio albums some live ones and even an instructional DVD. The years have only enhanced and enriched MacLeod's technical and communicative abilities. He's an even more fluid and nuanced guitarist and singer than he was back in 1995.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 23, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  25 comments
Do you own a copy of Buckingham Nicks? It was Stevi Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham's pre-Fleetwood Mac pairing featuring an icky cover both probably regret. Issued on Polydor in 1973 it's credits show that the duo and producer/engineer Keith Olsen knew what they were doing!

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 22, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  5 comments
Every so often, when I get down (and I don't mean as in "get funky''), I wonder whether I'll run out of analog things to write about. After all, we're only a year from 2000, and this needle-in-the-groove invention is already more than 100 years old. What's left to say?

Or so I think when I get blue. But it doesn't last long, not with so many inspired correspondents writing and so many manufacturers creating new products—even though, as we all know, vinyl is dead.

And then there are the bizarre incidents.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 22, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  10 comments
The plan is to post links tomorrow to the 10 96/24 FLAC files of Myra Taylor's "Spider and The Fly" from her My Night to Dream album (APO 2017) released in 2000 as a double 45rpm 180g LP by Analogue Productions, reproduced using the 9 cartridges identified in a previous post plus the Ortofon Anna on the Continuum Caliburn.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 21, 2013  |  19 comments
Real name Sarah Joyce, the 34 year-old singer-songwriter who goes by the name Rumer (after the English writer Margaret Rumer Godden), was born in Islamabad, Pakistan and is most often described as having a Karen Carpenter-like soothing, dreamy voice.

The daughter of a British woman whose British engineer husband was assigned there to work on a dam, Rumer and her six older siblings lived isolated in an ex-patriot community. Not until she was 11 and her “parents” divorced and the family moved back to England did she and her siblings discover that her father was the family’s Pakistani cook.

Jon Iverson  |  Jul 20, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  146 comments
Register to win one of 25 Boys Don't Cry by Rumer LPs (MSRP $24.98 each) we are giving away.

According to the press:

“We seem to be, in England, capable of bringing these singers out like Adele, Duffy, and Amy Winehouse and Now Rumer. People with extraordinary voices. They don’t come along that often and then you get one that comes along like Rumer’s. Just extraordinary, a beautiful voice. She’s going to be a huge star.” – Sir Elton John

[This Sweepstakes is now closed.]

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 18, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  33 comments
The listening has been completed to the nine moderately priced cartridges for this survey. The cartridges are: The Audio Technica AT95E, the AT 95SA, the Ortofon 2M red and 2M black, the Grado Prestige Gold 1, the Sumiko Blue Point Special EVO III, the Audio Technica AT7V and AT150ANV and the Nagoaka MP300.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 17, 2013  |  10 comments
Sublime music making of the highest order despite the "shock value" cover, the collaboration between pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall, who at 82 is still performing produced two albums of enduring beauty and quiet grace
Michael Fremer  |  Jul 16, 2013  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  9 comments
ORG today announced an ambitious London/Decca and Mercury classical release schedule for the 4th quarter of 2013 and 2014.

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