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Thread: Crystal Cartridge

  1. #1

    Default Crystal Cartridge

    #1 Today, 11:53 AM
    Combwork
    AK Member Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Kirriemuir, Scotland
    Posts: 898

    Crystal Cartridge

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    Years ago I found one of the first STEREO record players sold in the U.K. in a second hand shop. It had a Garrard autochange deck plus original cartridge. To give an idea of age, the cartridge was V shaped and held together with tiny nuts and bolts; about 10 BA or thereabouts. Style of manufacture made it look almost as if they'd started with a couple of mono cartridges and modified them. It had a 10 valve amp which a friend of mine rebuilt; part of the deal was he fitted a 'modern' crystal cartridge; the original went into his collection.

    Memory is never a good judge, but people who heard it playing through a pair of Lowther PM7s in original cabinets said it sounded better than 300+ systems they'd heard elsewhere.

    It's long gone (as are the Lowthers) but I was just wondering. Given a decent stylus, how good can a crystal cartridge sound? As I understand it, they have much higher output, so avoid having to use a phone stage.

    EDIT. I've copied the above from a post I put on AudioKarma, hence the weird heading.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: South Wales

    Posts: 8,808
    I'm NotTakingLifeTooSeriouslyTheseDays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by combwork View Post
    #1 Today, 11:53 AM
    Combwork
    AK Member Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Kirriemuir, Scotland
    Posts: 898

    Crystal Cartridge

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Years ago I found one of the first STEREO record players sold in the U.K. in a second hand shop. It had a Garrard autochange deck plus original cartridge. To give an idea of age, the cartridge was V shaped and held together with tiny nuts and bolts; about 10 BA or thereabouts. Style of manufacture made it look almost as if they'd started with a couple of mono cartridges and modified them. It had a 10 valve amp which a friend of mine rebuilt; part of the deal was he fitted a 'modern' crystal cartridge; the original went into his collection.

    Memory is never a good judge, but people who heard it playing through a pair of Lowther PM7s in original cabinets said it sounded better than 300+ systems they'd heard elsewhere.

    It's long gone (as are the Lowthers) but I was just wondering. Given a decent stylus, how good can a crystal cartridge sound? As I understand it, they have much higher output, so avoid having to use a phone stage.

    EDIT. I've copied the above from a post I put on AudioKarma, hence the weird heading.
    hi,
    i remember seeing one of those cartridges many years ago, and as you say it did indeed look like it was two cartridge bodies fixed together!
    also as you rightly observed crystal cartridges do have a very high output compared to moving coil, and even moving magnet cartridges. ceramic cartridges are also high output devices, and because of their natural frequency characteristics they rarely use any form of RIAA correction.
    anthony...

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jun 2008

    Location: London

    Posts: 228
    I'm Rob.

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    Strain Gauge pickups - kind of got swept away by moving magnets through the 70s but you have to wonder what a modern 'sorted' cartridge using that technology could do.
    I'm sure there is a current high end SG cartridge in fact though the name escapes me.

    I remember as a kid gluing a ceramic cartridge to one of those old Keith Monks sweep arms with the little furry roller. Stood it on my grandfathers TT and recorded the output straight into the tape socket of a Pye RadioCassette recorder

  4. #4
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: South Wales

    Posts: 8,808
    I'm NotTakingLifeTooSeriouslyTheseDays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobHolt View Post
    Strain Gauge pickups - kind of got swept away by moving magnets through the 70s but you have to wonder what a modern 'sorted' cartridge using that technology could do.
    I'm sure there is a current high end SG cartridge in fact though the name escapes me.

    I remember as a kid gluing a ceramic cartridge to one of those old Keith Monks sweep arms with the little furry roller. Stood it on my grandfathers TT and recorded the output straight into the tape socket of a Pye RadioCassette recorder
    ahhh,,, those were the days,you probably got a lot of satisfaction out of doing it too, i beleive some of the best discoveries and learning curves [for me anyway] good or bad stem from our childhood.
    anthony...

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobHolt View Post
    Strain Gauge pickups - kind of got swept away by moving magnets through the 70s but you have to wonder what a modern 'sorted' cartridge using that technology could do.
    I'm sure there is a current high end SG cartridge in fact though the name escapes me.

    I remember as a kid gluing a ceramic cartridge to one of those old Keith Monks sweep arms with the little furry roller. Stood it on my grandfathers TT and recorded the output straight into the tape socket of a Pye RadioCassette recorder
    Please pardon my ignorance but what is a strain guage pickup?

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