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Thread: what makes a good headshell?

  1. #11
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: The New Forest

    Posts: 1,170
    I'm Steve.

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    If you are fitting a SPU Royal N to one then HEAVY is what makes it good - the other things mentioned as well of course.
    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

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  2. #12
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Sheffield - UK

    Posts: 6,049
    I'm Mark.

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    As far as I am concerned, a good head shell is not removable from the arm tube - not in the manner of the old SME system anyway. The design of removable head shells is rendered somewhat moot by the relatively lossy connection used at the arm tubs junction.

    100% Analogue

  3. #13
    Join Date: Mar 2016

    Location: Barnet, london UK

    Posts: 945
    I'm Adam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YNWaN View Post
    The design of removable head shells is rendered somewhat moot by the relatively lossy connection used at the arm tubs junction.
    and just how lossy would that coupling be?
    "lack of passion is fatal"

    Vinyl: Garrard 401, Russ Collinson 'shindo' plinth / Tenuto gun metal mat / SME-3012 j7 rewired / audio-technica ATP-12T - phonomac modified / Ortofon Vintage SPU GTE /Shure M3D / Ortofon Royal N / Cartridge Man Music Master with isolator / Miyajima Zero B 0.7mil mono / Vintage GE VRII mono / Amps: Radford STA25 mk3 / David Coe AD Audio 'Satchmo' pre & phono / Hashimoto HM-7 SUT / Digital: SW1X Audio Design DAC 1 signature / Roon / Tidal Speakers: Tannoy 12" MGs' in RFC custom 'Rutland' Cabinets with RFC custom crossovers / Cables: Duelund DCA16GA tinned copper / Kimber 12TC / SW1X Audio Design USB-SPdif / Duelund DCA20GA interconnects / SW1X Audio SPDIF Aero 6 / Mains Power Conditioner / Box Furniture sapele rack

  4. #14
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 36,235
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YNWaN View Post
    As far as I am concerned, a good head shell is not removable from the arm tube - not in the manner of the old SME system anyway. The design of removable head shells is rendered somewhat moot by the relatively lossy connection used at the arm tubs junction.
    I agree.

  5. #15
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 46,101
    I'm Grant.

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    Prefer wood personally
    Regards,
    Grant ....

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
    .... ..... ...... ...... ................... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....
    OPPO BDP-103D DARBEE - JBE SERIES 3/B&O SP1/EMOTIVA XPS1/12V BATTERY - TWIN PRO MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIERS - XIANG SHENG DAC\PRE\HEADPHONE AMP\WE TUBED - TWIN AVANTREE OASIS CLASS 1 BLUETOOTHS - AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-MSR7 & OPPO PM-3 PLANAR HEADPHONES - WIN10 JRIVER24, SPOTIFY - SMSL M6 MINIDAC - RPI/AUDIOPHONICS/VOLUMIO/5V BATTERY - FULL RANGE TWIN TELEFUNKEN/Q ACOUSTIC BT3/CANTON SUB - P.INSPIRED MAINS REGENERATED.

  6. #16
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,163
    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YNWaN View Post
    As far as I am concerned, a good head shell is not removable from the arm tube - not in the manner of the old SME system anyway. The design of removable head shells is rendered somewhat moot by the relatively lossy connection used at the arm tubs junction.
    Totally disagree. The flexibility offered by a removable headshell - to easily use different cartridges for different applications (different eras of vinyl or even for different musical genres) - far, far outweighs any potential/theoretical benefit from a fixed headshell. Feel free to come round and see if any of my tonearms sound crap because of 'lossy' connectors.

    Frankly I think this is yet another hifi old wives' tale - there are good arms and there are bad arms, and some in each category have removable headshells, and some don't.
    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.

  7. #17
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Sheffield - UK

    Posts: 6,049
    I'm Mark.

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    A removable headshell is undoubtedly convenient - but that doesn't mean it is a good solution in sonic terms. Even SME abandoned the two pin bayonet system with the removable headshell of the M2 and 300 series. I think a removable headshell can be done well - just not in the way he headshells in this thread are implemented.

    whether the headshell is removable is only one element of arm design - but, all things considered, it is my view that this is one compromise easily avoided.

    -------

    If I were to hear your system then I might feel it sounded good - but this could easily be despite the removable headshell - who knows how much better it could sound were it fixed.....

    Alternatively, I may not like the sound at all and, similarly, this could have nothing to do with the removable headshell.

    100% Analogue

  8. #18
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 46,101
    I'm Grant.

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    Never had an issue with mine. So far.
    Regards,
    Grant ....

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
    .... ..... ...... ...... ................... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....
    OPPO BDP-103D DARBEE - JBE SERIES 3/B&O SP1/EMOTIVA XPS1/12V BATTERY - TWIN PRO MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIERS - XIANG SHENG DAC\PRE\HEADPHONE AMP\WE TUBED - TWIN AVANTREE OASIS CLASS 1 BLUETOOTHS - AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-MSR7 & OPPO PM-3 PLANAR HEADPHONES - WIN10 JRIVER24, SPOTIFY - SMSL M6 MINIDAC - RPI/AUDIOPHONICS/VOLUMIO/5V BATTERY - FULL RANGE TWIN TELEFUNKEN/Q ACOUSTIC BT3/CANTON SUB - P.INSPIRED MAINS REGENERATED.

  9. #19
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,163
    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YNWaN View Post
    A removable headshell is undoubtedly convenient - but that doesn't mean it is a good solution in sonic terms. Even SME abandoned the two pin bayonet system with the removable headshell of the M2 and 300 series. I think a removable headshell can be done well - just not in the way he headshells in this thread are implemented.

    whether the headshell is removable is only one element of arm design - but, all things considered, it is my view that this is one compromise easily avoided.

    -------

    If I were to hear your system then I might feel it sounded good - but this could easily be despite the removable headshell - who knows how much better it could sound were it fixed.....

    Alternatively, I may not like the sound at all and, similarly, this could have nothing to do with the removable headshell.
    SME haven't abandoned it it's currently used on several of their arms.

    Where's the evidence that the sound is compromised? Some of the best arms in the world have a removable headshell. (And some of them don't).

    Your opinion has no evidence behind it.
    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.

  10. #20
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: London

    Posts: 3,134
    I'm Robert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by montesquieu View Post
    Totally disagree. The flexibility offered by a removable headshell - to easily use different cartridges for different applications (different eras of vinyl or even for different musical genres) - far, far outweighs any potential/theoretical benefit from a fixed headshell. Feel free to come round and see if any of my tonearms sound crap because of 'lossy' connectors.

    Frankly I think this is yet another hifi old wives' tale - there are good arms and there are bad arms, and some in each category have removable headshells, and some don't.
    Have to agree
    My System:
    Amplification - Sansui AU-alpha 707 DR
    Turntable - Modified Technics SL1210 MK5G
    Mike New precision bearing, bearing base plate, ETP Platter
    Micro Seiki MA-202 tonearm, rewired, hybrid ceramic bearings
    Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge
    Yannis Tome 423.5 Silver-Litz tonearm cable with KLEI Pure Silver Harmony plugs
    Ebony armboard
    Audio Technica MS-8 Magnesium headshell, Ortofon pure silver headshell leads
    Isonoe Isolation Feet
    Paul Hynes SR7EHD PSU (plus regulator modules), DCSXL pure-silver DC lead with Jaegar low impedance connector
    CDP - Pioneer PD-91
    Speakers - Spendor D7
    QED Silver Spiral speaker cable, Airlock plugs - bare wire amp end.
    Mains - Ultra Pure silver plated un-switched socket, Missing link EPS 500 silver plated plugs with Hi-Fi Tuning gold plated silver ceramic 13 amp fuses

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