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Thread: Cantilever 'haze'

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 1,845
    I'm Alex.

    Default Cantilever 'haze'

    I keep hearing people mention 'cantilever haze' which, according to some accounts, becomes apparent once you hear the 'magic' of Decca C4E cartridge (which has no cantilever to speak of).

    However, Decca C4E is notorious for being notably 'temperamental' (some compare it to vintage British automobiles); people are encountering a lot of quality control issues with it. Also, reports of mis-tracking abound. So according to many testimonials, this cartridge a blessing-and-a-curse type of a component.

    Which makes me wonder: given the advantages of cantilever-less cartridges (i.e. the absence of cantilever haze and the amazing speed gained through the more direct signal path), why aren't some other cartridge manufacturers building cantilever-less cartridges? Does Decca own patent rights or what?

    I mean, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand the many disadvantages of having a metal tube suspended via some rubber 'ring' vibrate and relay the signal. It is definitely desirable to eliminate that 'middle man' and shorten the distance between the tracked grooves and the coils/magnets that generate electrical signals.

    It would be great if we were to see some competition in that arena. A little bit of a price war, and also hopefully a bit better quality control (Decca is historically notorious for its spotty quality control process).
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

    Posts: 2,748
    I'm jamie.

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    good points,id like to think though due to mine being rebuilt and retipped any quality control issues are long gone
    My System/ Yamaha NS1000M speakers, Townsend Elite rock 2 turntable,,Alphason HR-100S-MCS,Zeta tonearms,Decca C4E Cartridge ,Sony 700ES Amp,Sony X555ES CD Player, Nakamichi ca5 pre amp ,

  3. #3
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 1,845
    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamie123 View Post
    good points,id like to think though due to mine being rebuilt and retipped any quality control issues are long gone
    Also, another important point is the extreme difficulty of setting the Decca cartridge properly. Seems like you need to pay a qualified dealer to set that cartridge for you. And even then, even when properly calibrated and fitted, it is known to mistrack and seems picky which LPs it wants to play.

    So maybe a competitor could take those issues and solve them somehow, while retaining all the good aspects of the cantilever-less cartridge?
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

    Posts: 2,748
    I'm jamie.

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    i found my c4e a doddle to set up,the tip looks in line with the cartridge body which is your only point of reference for alignment,that was a concern,the actual stylus tip is clearly visible for aligning with an arc protractor.
    in my experience,which i agree is only this cartridge,i had much more trouble with the 2m black.
    the decca to be honest has been one of the easiest to set up.

    ive not had any mistracking issues so far.
    My System/ Yamaha NS1000M speakers, Townsend Elite rock 2 turntable,,Alphason HR-100S-MCS,Zeta tonearms,Decca C4E Cartridge ,Sony 700ES Amp,Sony X555ES CD Player, Nakamichi ca5 pre amp ,

  5. #5
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 1,845
    I'm Alex.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jamie123 View Post
    i found my c4e a doddle to set up,the tip looks in line with the cartridge body which is your only point of reference for alignment,that was a concern,the actual stylus tip is clearly visible for aligning with an arc protractor.
    in my experience,which i agree is only this cartridge,i had much more trouble with the 2m black.
    the decca to be honest has been one of the easiest to set up.

    ive not had any mistracking issues so far.
    That's great to hear. I never had a chance to install Decca on my turntable, but I've been hearing stories about people having difficulty setting it. There also seems to be certain controversy surrounding the appropriate vertical tracking force of that cartridge. What force did you set?
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2017

    Location: Epsom

    Posts: 33
    I'm Joe.

    Default

    I don't have any problems with all my SC4Es.
    I find them easy to align with a proper protractor.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

    Posts: 2,748
    I'm jamie.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by magiccarpetride View Post
    That's great to hear. I never had a chance to install Decca on my turntable, but I've been hearing stories about people having difficulty setting it. There also seems to be certain controversy surrounding the appropriate vertical tracking force of that cartridge. What force did you set?
    i set mine to 1.8 as john wright advised.
    My System/ Yamaha NS1000M speakers, Townsend Elite rock 2 turntable,,Alphason HR-100S-MCS,Zeta tonearms,Decca C4E Cartridge ,Sony 700ES Amp,Sony X555ES CD Player, Nakamichi ca5 pre amp ,

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 16,447
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    "Cantilever haze" was a term devised by the engineers at Decca to describe information transmission loss due to a less than perfectly rigid cantilever. Long before the use of stiffer materials such as boron, ruby or diamond, the only practical available material to use for the cantilever was aluminium.

    But Decca's engineers came up with the novel idea of using a very short cantilever (and came up with the marketing phrase "Direct scanning" to describe their idea). However Deccas are moving iron designs (sometimes called variable reluctance), so the cantilever has to be made of a permeable material, and with the 'cantilever' being clamped a short distance from the stylus means the compliance will be low. It does have the advantage that the pivot point is better defined than if a compliant rubber material was used.

    Originally the Decca cartridges were monophonic, and the compliance in the lateral plane was high at least 20cu). With the advent of stereo, Decca had to find a way of sensing motion in the vertical plane, so they added two vertical magnet and coil assemblies and arranged the 45 degree Left and Right signals to be derived as a sum and difference combination of the vertical and lateral signals. Unfortunately the motion of cantilever in the vertical plane is more resticted because the clamping of the cantilever favours movement in the lateral plane, so the compliance in the vertical plane is very low (~ 5cu).

    I would imaging the patents have now expired (I think in the UK patents can only run for a maximum of 21 years), so other cartridge designers could use Decca's ideas. In fact a few years ago, I believe Krell (or maybe it was Madrigal) developed a moving coil cartridge using the 'cantileverless' ideas of Decca. For reasons unknown it didn't go into production. Maybe it was too difficult to build for an acceptable price.

    Since the demise of Decca Special Products the licence to build 'Decca' cartridges has be bought by John Wright who continues manufacture under the 'London' label, and the new cartridges are built to a much better and reliable standard and use a four pin connection system.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,215
    I'm James.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jamie123 View Post
    i found my c4e a doddle to set up,the tip looks in line with the cartridge body which is your only point of reference for alignment,that was a concern,the actual stylus tip is clearly visible for aligning with an arc protractor.
    in my experience,which i agree is only this cartridge,i had much more trouble with the 2m black.
    the decca to be honest has been one of the easiest to set up.

    ive not had any mistracking issues so far.
    I agree, the Decca is far easier to set up than the 2M.
    VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T Tonearm / 2M Black /Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Spendor SP2

  10. #10
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 1,845
    I'm Alex.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    "Cantilever haze" was a term devised by the engineers at Decca to describe information transmission loss due to a less than perfectly rigid cantilever. Long before the use of stiffer materials such as boron, ruby or diamond, the only practical available material to use for the cantilever was aluminium.

    But Decca's engineers came up with the novel idea of using a very short cantilever (and came up with the marketing phrase "Direct scanning" to describe their idea). However Deccas are moving iron designs (sometimes called variable reluctance), so the cantilever has to be made of a permeable material, and with the 'cantilever' being clamped a short distance from the stylus means the compliance will be low. It does have the advantage that the pivot point is better defined than if a compliant rubber material was used.

    Originally the Decca cartridges were monophonic, and the compliance in the lateral plane was high at least 20cu). With the advent of stereo, Decca had to find a way of sensing motion in the vertical plane, so they added two vertical magnet and coil assemblies and arranged the 45 degree Left and Right signals to be derived as a sum and difference combination of the vertical and lateral signals. Unfortunately the motion of cantilever in the vertical plane is more resticted because the clamping of the cantilever favours movement in the lateral plane, so the compliance in the vertical plane is very low (~ 5cu).

    I would imaging the patents have now expired (I think in the UK patents can only run for a maximum of 21 years), so other cartridge designers could use Decca's ideas. In fact a few years ago, I believe Krell (or maybe it was Madrigal) developed a moving coil cartridge using the 'cantileverless' ideas of Decca. For reasons unknown it didn't go into production. Maybe it was too difficult to build for an acceptable price.

    Since the demise of Decca Special Products the licence to build 'Decca' cartridges has be bought by John Wright who continues manufacture under the 'London' label, and the new cartridges are built to a much better and reliable standard and use a four pin connection system.
    I was under the impression that the main factor contributing to the 'cantilever haze' was not the rigidity of the cantilever itself, but the unavoidable damping that occurs when the rubber meets the cantilever at the 'entrance' to the body of the cartridge. That touchpoint was something that Decca managed to avoid with their design, thus enabling the kinetic signal generated by the stylus to be transferred to the coils/magnets without interference by intermediary components.

    Obviously, anyone who's had a chance to listen to this cartridge set properly on a quality system can attest to the extraordinary clarity it can deliver.
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

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