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Thread: Comparing SPU Cartridges

  1. #1
    Join Date: Aug 2013

    Location: Isle of Wight, UK

    Posts: 40
    I'm David.

    Default Comparing SPU Cartridges

    Hello, I know this is an impossible question but I wonder whether anyone who has heard a selection of SPU's would care to comment on the perceived differences between them please? I have done a search and although there are quite a few historic SPU threads I haven't found a good comparison of the sound between say the Classic GM MkII, Classic GM Mk II E, Silver Meister, Royal GM and A95. I've been meaning to try one for ages but just go round in circles trying to choose between them.

    I realise this will be in your systems rather than mine but it would be really helpful and allow me to find a good place to start, many thanks.

    David Whistance

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 734
    I'm Mike.


    Look at Ammonite Audio's thread on SPUs. Hugo and Tom (Montesque) are familiar with some of them.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Aug 2013

    Location: Isle of Wight, UK

    Posts: 40
    I'm David.


    I dont suppose you have a link to that thread please, I've just done a search and can't find it?

    David Whistance

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 2,438
    I'm Hugo.


    Tom (Montesquieu here on AoS) is definitely your man for this sort of opinion. I've only recently taken on Ortofon SPUs so I have not yet enough experience to be able to give clear advice based on actual listening to the various SPU models and incarnations. My first stock delivery of a single SPU#1E only arrived today!
    Last edited by Ammonite Acoustics; 27-04-2018 at 16:49.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,166
    I'm Tom.


    I sold my SPU Silver Meister to SpeedySteve (Magna Audio) about seven years ago and he still has it! It's a fantastic cartridge, I had it up against a Koetsu Rosewood at the time and kept the Koetsu, but I'm not sure I'd make that choice now if I had to do it again. It's has all the SPU virtues but is slightly less warm/coloured and probably a touch more detailed than the SPU Royal GM/SPU Royal N which is the SPU I'm running at the moment. (Though I happen to like the Royal N's slight rosiness in comparison).
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 / Ikeda IT-407 tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon SPU Royal N, Ikeda 9C III, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Sonovox MC-4 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; preamp - Firebottle custom; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage: Firebottle Plus; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink; Schiit Multibit DAC.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Nov 2012

    Location: Serbia

    Posts: 33
    I'm Nebojsa.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: The New Forest

    Posts: 1,170
    I'm Steve.

    Default Silver Meister then Royal N

    I did have Tom's Silver Meister but sold it on a good while ago.

    I had a Royal N at the same time and kept the Royal N..

    The Royal N has a slightly more rounded overall performance and all music types in my opinion but both are fantastic.

    I've heard other SPU's over the years but can't remember them well enough to compare - other than I know I like what I have.

    They need a nice heavy tonearm. If you are fitting a Royal-N make sure it's in a really heavy headshell. Forget Sumiko heavy, think Fidelity Reseach heavy. Mine really started singing once paired with the latter.
    System: Turntable : SP10 MKII slate plinth, Custom Ebony tonearm board, Arm : Fidelity Research FR64s, Cartridge : SPU Royal N. SUT : Lundahl 1:13. Phonostage : Icon Audio, Digital CD spinner, Serious USB->I2S streaming, ADC / DSP XO / Pre / 4 DAC's : WAF Najda, Poweramps : 3 x EL84 SET's, 2 x D class amps on bass channels, Speakers : 5 way front loaded horn system: 2 X Tapped sub 15" LF drivers / 2 X Exponential mid bass 15" drivers / Tractrix 200Hz mid horns with JBL2482's, / Tractrix 550Hz upper wooden horns with factory refurb'd Vitavox S2's / Raal Lazy Ribbons as high frequency tweeters. Wires: good silver or good copper where best suited. DIY RCM.

    Maker of counterweights, tonearm boards, Tannoy GRF style speaker cabinets, horn speakers and more.
    For more information about my creations and products please click below

    http://fosworld.wixsite.com/magna-audio & on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/magna_audio/

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