My personal journey to MY SONIC LAB

shakti

Well-Known Member
May 9, 2015
1,050
1,302
275
Cologne, Germany
Over the last decades I used a lot of different cartridges and it took me some time to understand, that many of my favorite carts,
even beeing from different brands (Supex, Air Tight, Koetsu, Miyajima) were from the same man (co) developed and produced:

Master Yoshiaki Matsudaira

It seemed, that he is mostly working behind the scenes, but with a lot of influence to the sonic Art of Japanese Cartridges.

I tried to understand his life for Cartridge Art a little bit better, and the following summary is what google is showing up in different sources.
(no chance for me to prove, so if someone knows better or more, please write a comment):

My Sonic Lab was founded by Yoshiaki Matsudaira in 2004. Matsudaira was no stranger to the Japanese Cartridge market. He started his career at SUPEX, whose Carts still enjoys a legendary reputation today. There he worked together with Yoshiaki Sugano, who later founded the Koetsu company. It is said that Yoshiaki Sugano especially loved the wooden case Koetsu and the first stone case Koetsu, the Koetsu Onyx, was significantly developed by his friend Yoshiaki Matsudaira.

During his time at Supex, Yoshiaki Matsudaira, probably together with Yoshiaki Sugano, fulfilled an OEM order for Luxman and developed a TA for Luxman. The project manager for this Luxman cartridge was Atsushi Miura, who was responsible for the tube devices and the Cartridges at Luxman. Atsushi Miura was also married to the daughter of the Luxman company founder ... but that's another story. Atsushi Miura was very satisfied with the development work done by Yoshiaki Matsudaira, and when Atsushi Miura left Luxman (which stopped producing tube devices in 1982) to found Air Tight, it was clear that he would take care of the tube devices but he also wanted pickups in the range that he ordered from Yoshiaki Matsudaira.

Yoshiaki Matsudaira was now full-time at Audio Craft and, incidentally, developed and built pickups for some Japanese companies in parallel. In 2004, Yoshiaki Matsudaira decided to found the company My Sonic Lab, which will continue to primarily fulfill OEM orders, but will also offer pickups under its own name My Sonic Lab. At the moment, many well-known pickup providers are among the "official" customers of My Sonic Lab, such as Transrotor (Tamino), Air Tight, TechDAs, Murasakino, etc. But some other manufacturers, at least in part, also seem to use MSL without publishing this manufacture, e.g. Koetsu, Miyajima etc.


Realizing, that I never had an original cartridge from the Masters own brand, I decided to buy a MSL cartridge.

As it should be at least in the league of the Sumile cart, it was obvious, that the decision should be done between the "Signature Gold" and the "Signature Platinum". As nearly no dealers in Germany do have both carts on demo , I spoke to fan boys and distributors. The out did recommend the "Signature Gold" as the warmer and more charming model of the two.

My current set up at home is well balanced (at least for me), so no need to shift the balance further into the warmer region, as even the more analytical MSL Siblings are are not as harsh or sibilant critical as others carts in this segment , so the decision was taken to buy the

- My Sonic Lab Signature Platinum

Cartridge as the current MSL to product.


Matsudaira has sind decades the goal to reduce the moving mass of the coil in his cartridges. He is producing carts with a very small number of turns, resulting in low DC resistance numbers like 0,6ohm.
He is using a high permeability magnet, so still he can get out of the 0,6ohm cart around 0,25mv voltage.
The MSL signature Platinum has 1,5ohm DC resistance and 0,5mv output.

The classical MC Cart impedance set up, saying 10x up to 20x times of the DC resistance is the best value for the PhonoPre (direct connection, no step up)
would give a number of 15ohm to 30ohm impedance as best.

But the MSL manual is explaining in detail, that an impedance below 100ohm would kill the dynamic power of the Cart. And that even number up to 800ohm will work.
MSL recommends an impedance value of 200 to 300ohm.

For using a step up, the 10x or 20x types are recommended, which translates into a value of around 500 ohm or around 125ohm seen impedance for the Cartridge.

Since a couple of weeks I am using the similar Murasakino Sumile cart, so I tried a lot of different impedance combinations. So far no final recommendation,
as the value depends too much on the individual Phonostage in use.

With Boulder 2008 I prefer 200ohm, with Jeff Rowland Cadence I prefer the 250ohm value (which seem to be a 10x step up with parallel resistor)

It is said, that the very low MSL carts do like current amplification stages, like vdh Grail oder CHP P1.


Fitting of the MSL Signature Platinum was straight forward and simple, as the body is clean shaped and the diamond is well protected ( so no Colibri stress ...)

The MSL carts do follow fine adjustments with ease, so a first set up becomes very fast satisfying.

Fine tuning will be done after some hours of listening.

The TechDAS AF3P is now fitted with three carts in a similar price range, the

- Murasakino Sumile
- My Sonic Lab Signature Platinum
- Soundsmith Hyperion OCL Signature


Listening to this 3 will become an interesting comparison, I will write about it in an separate thread :)

This thread about the MSL SP and the sonic performance will be continued after the "burn in " of the Cartridge.



IMG_3371.jpg IMG_3372.jpg IMG_3375.jpg IMG_3373.jpg IMG_3374.jpg
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
Very interesting, Shakti

We look forward to your usual careful and comprehensive comparative observations!
 

Hi-FiGuy

Member Sponsor
Feb 24, 2015
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The first time I heard MSL my doors were blown off and will be my next cart purchase.
 

shakti

Well-Known Member
May 9, 2015
1,050
1,302
275
Cologne, Germany
after the first few hours of listening and some initial comparisons between

- Murasakino Sumile

and the

- My Sonic Lab Signature Platinum

I tried to decode the technical DNA of the sound differences.

Yoshiaki Matsudaira (My Sonic Lab) has adopted the following elements for the tonal tuning of his pickups over the decades:

The used and MSL-specific magnet type "SH-μX" is explained in detail on the Japanese URL,
which is currently used by MSL for all pickups, including for customer orders.

http://www.mysonic.jp

Another constant in his current and OEM systems is the diamond as such,
which is always a sharp semi-line contact (3 μ mm × 30 μ mm).

According to my research, the coil turn technology and internal wiring material are constant for MSL and OEM
and always made of high-purity copper.

The differences to the tonal customization primarily concern the following 3 areas:

1.) The amount of turns of the coil used and the related values of DC resistance and output voltage. This parameter also influences the moving mass of the drive. The special MSL magnet can be seen as an existential component of these parameters. The interaction of these sizes means that MSL recommends a comparatively high terminating impedance for its drives (100 to 800 ohms). The drives used in OEM orders are similar in this regard and mostly want to be connected with 100 to 200 ohms.

2.) The material of the needle cantilever
This has a massive influence on the flow of energy between the needle and the drive. The influence on the resonances and the vibrations flowing back to the needle is also very strong. Alloy is said to have a somewhat warmer sound and Boron is said to have a somewhat more neutral / analytical sound.

3.) The material of the cartridge base plate and the material of the housing as well as the surface treatment / painting / anodizing of the material used.
Matsudaira writes that he has tried many aluminum alloys and other metals and that he now understands and can use the tonal signature of these materials.
It is therefore not surprising that he explicitly deals with headshells and tonearms in interviews and the user manual of My Sonic Lab. He recommends not using exotic materials, but preferring stable metal constructions. This is the only way to ensure the pickup vote that he has chosen. Otherwise, the voicing of the headshell and tonearm would overlay the tuning of the pickup.

I had this experience at Murasakino Sumile and tried a total of 7 headshells until I had the feeling that all the parameters were right. The My Sonic Lab headshell is made of A6063S Alloy, so it comes as no surprise that I have had very good experiences with the Arche L headshell made of aluminum and have installed both pickups in it.


Here is an example of the housing of a TechDAS TDC01 Ti cartridge.

Unknown-1.jpeg Unknown.jpeg







Atsushi Miura (Air Tight) decided on the following two pickups as follows:

for the fairly new Air Tight Opus 1 (RRP 13500 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4 ohms
- Output voltage: 0.45 mv
- Housing base: A7075 Alloy with DLC coating
- Case: A5056 Alloy Rhodium coating
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 12.5g

for the latest edition of PC1, the Air Tight PC1-Coda (RRP 8000 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.7ohm
- Output voltage: 0.5mv
- Housing base: A7075 Alloy
- Housing: A6063 Alloy
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 12.7g




Hideki Nishikawa (techDAS) specified the 2 Carts on offer like this:

TechDAS TDC01 Ti (RRP 10250 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.45mv
- Housing base: titanium with special surface hardening
- Housing: Titanium with special surface hardening and damping
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 17g

TechDAS TDC01 (RRP 9050 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.45mv
- Housing base: A 7075 alloy with DLC coating
- Housing: A 7075 alloy with DLC coating and damping
- Cantilever: A 2017 alloy
- Weight: 12g




Daisuke Asai (Murasakino) chose his pickups as follows:

Murasakino Sumile (RRP 9000 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.2ohm
- Output voltage: 0.35mv
- Housing base: A 7075 alloy
- Housing: Solid steel with gold coating
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 14.5g



Yoshiaki Matsudaira (My Sonic Lab) as the mastermind of these pickups has chosen the following set-up for his two reference pickups:

MSL Signature Gold (RRP 7000 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.5mv
- Housing base: A 7075 alloy
- Housing: A5056 Alloy
- Cantilever: A2017 alloy
- Weight: 10g


MSL Signature Platinum (RRP 8400, - eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.5mv
- Housing base: titanium, hardened surface
- Housing: A5056 Alloy
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 13g

(all prices GERMAN RRP)

If you read the test reports and interviews with the developers, the decision-making process and the technical implementation of the "voicing" become clearer again and you start to be able to read the sound character of the system from the technical description.


D Asai (Murasakino), for example, worked for Air Tight for many years and got to know Air Tight pickups and the influence of Y Matsudaira.

Asai himself plays the oboe and got to know the influence of different metals and surfaces on this instrument. He is also a fan of "Stainless Steel" in the analog playback area, which is also used in many well-known tonearms and record players.

He does not consider Matsudaira's requirement not to let the pickups weigh more than 10g, so that they come to lie together with a headshell between 20 and 25g, and has the Sumile system built on a "Stainless Steel" base plate which he coated with heavy gold. The system weight increases from 10g (for the MSL Signature Gold) to 14.5g for the Sumile. With regard to the needle carrier, he agrees with Air Tight's decision and also takes the slightly higher-resolution Boron needle carrier.

H Nishikawa, on the other hand, follows the recommendations of Matsudaira and has its first TechDAS cartridge built according to the specification of the original MSL Signature Gold, ie made of aluminum and with an aluminum needle cantilever. Since Nishikawa is a big friend of titanium, he develops the system further and uses titanium for the base plate and the housing. To match his "taste", he also takes the Boron needle cantilever. Thus, techDAS now has a somewhat round and somewhat analytical playing pickup system on offer.

A Miura from Air Tight likes to combine 2 different Alloy types with its pickups and attaches great importance to coating the surfaces, which is sound-relevant for him. His systems also play with the Boron needle carrier.

After these various OEM experiences, Matsudaira decided to further develop the signature gold into the signature platinum. As a system basis, synonymous with TechDAS, a titanium is also used, which is then additionally coated with a special surface. He leaves the housing itself with Alloy. But, and this is rare with MSL, he now also uses a Boron needle cantilever with the MSL.

So he follows the approach of his companion Nishikawa and offers 2 reference systems, one sounding a bit warmer and one sounding a bit more fast and neutral..



After this internet research some music is heard again :)
 
Last edited:

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
5,599
2,755
820
Utah
after the first few hours of listening and some initial comparisons between

- Murasakino Sumile

and the

- My Sonic Lab Signature Platinum

I tried to decode the technical DNA of the sound differences.

Yoshiaki Matsudaira (My Sonic Lab) has adopted the following elements for the tonal tuning of his pickups over the decades:

The used and MSL-specific magnet type "SH-μX" is explained in detail on the Japanese URL,
which is currently used by MSL for all pickups, including for customer orders.

http://www.mysonic.jp

Another constant in his current and OEM systems is the diamond as such,
which is always a sharp semi-line contact (3 μ mm × 30 μ mm).

According to my research, the coil turn technology and internal wiring material are constant for MSL and OEM
and always made of high-purity copper.

The differences to the tonal customization primarily concern the following 3 areas:

1.) The amount of turns of the coil used and the related values of DC resistance and output voltage. This parameter also influences the moving mass of the drive. The special MSL magnet can be seen as an existential component of these parameters. The interaction of these sizes means that MSL recommends a comparatively high terminating impedance for its drives (100 to 800 ohms). The drives used in OEM orders are similar in this regard and mostly want to be connected with 100 to 200 ohms.

2.) The material of the needle cantilever
This has a massive influence on the flow of energy between the needle and the drive. The influence on the resonances and the vibrations flowing back to the needle is also very strong. Alloy is said to have a somewhat warmer sound and Boron is said to have a somewhat more neutral / analytical sound.

3.) The material of the cartridge base plate and the material of the housing as well as the surface treatment / painting / anodizing of the material used.
Matsudaira writes that he has tried many aluminum alloys and other metals and that he now understands and can use the tonal signature of these materials.
It is therefore not surprising that he explicitly deals with headshells and tonearms in interviews and the user manual of My Sonic Lab. He recommends not using exotic materials, but preferring stable metal constructions. This is the only way to ensure the pickup vote that he has chosen. Otherwise, the voicing of the headshell and tonearm would overlay the tuning of the pickup.

I had this experience at Murasakino Sumile and tried a total of 7 headshells until I had the feeling that all the parameters were right. The My Sonic Lab headshell is made of A6063S Alloy, so it comes as no surprise that I have had very good experiences with the Arche L headshell made of aluminum and have installed both pickups in it.


Here is an example of the housing of a TechDAS TDC01 Ti cartridge.

View attachment 65589 View attachment 65590







Atsushi Miura (Air Tight) decided on the following two pickups as follows:

for the fairly new Air Tight Opus 1 (RRP 13500 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4 ohms
- Output voltage: 0.45 mv
- Housing base: A7075 Alloy with DLC coating
- Case: A5056 Alloy Rhodium coating
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 12.5g

with the slightly older Air Tight PC1-Coda (RRP 8000 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.7ohm
- Output voltage: 0.5mv
- Housing base: A7075 Alloy
- Housing: A6063 Alloy
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 12.7g




Hideki Nishikawa (techDAS) specified the 2 Carts on offer like this:

TechDAS TDC01 Ti (RRP 10250 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.45mv
- Housing base: titanium with special surface hardening
- Housing: Titanium with special surface hardening and damping
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 17g

TechDAS TDC01 (RRP 9050 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.45mv
- Housing base: A 7075 alloy with DLC coating
- Housing: A 7075 alloy with DLC coating and damping
- Cantilever: A 2017 alloy
- Weight: 12g




Daisuke Asai (Murasakino) chose his pickups as follows:

Murasakino Sumile (RRP 9000 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.2ohm
- Output voltage: 0.35mv
- Housing base: A 7075 alloy
- Housing: Solid steel with gold coating
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 14.5g



Yoshiaki Matsudaira (My Sonic Lab) as the mastermind of these pickups has chosen the following set-up for his two reference pickups:

MSL Signature Gold (RRP 7000 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.5mv
- Housing base: A 7075 alloy
- Housing: A5056 Alloy
- Cantilever: A2017 alloy
- Weight: 10g


MSL Signature Platinum (RRP 8400, - eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.5mv
- Housing base: titanium, hardened surface
- Housing: A5056 Alloy
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 13g

(all prices GERMAN RRP)

If you read the test reports and interviews with the developers, the decision-making process and the technical implementation of the "voicing" become clearer again and you start to be able to read the sound character of the system from the technical description.


D Asai (Murasakino), for example, worked for Air Tight for many years and got to know Air Tight pickups and the influence of Y Matsudaira.

Asai himself plays the oboe and got to know the influence of different metals and surfaces on this instrument. He is also a fan of "Stainless Steel" in the analog playback area, which is also used in many well-known tonearms and record players.

He does not consider Matsudaira's requirement not to let the pickups weigh more than 10g, so that they come to lie together with a headshell between 20 and 25g, and has the Sumile system built on a "Stainless Steel" base plate which he coated with heavy gold. The system weight increases from 10g (for the MSL Signature Gold) to 14.5g for the Sumile. With regard to the needle carrier, he agrees with Air Tight's decision and also takes the slightly higher-resolution Boron needle carrier.

H Nishikawa, on the other hand, follows the recommendations of Matsudaira and has its first TechDAS cartridge built according to the specification of the original MSL Signature Gold, ie made of aluminum and with an aluminum needle cantilever. Since Nishikawa is a big friend of titanium, he develops the system further and uses titanium for the base plate and the housing. To match his "taste", he also takes the Boron needle cantilever. Thus, techDAS now has a somewhat round and somewhat analytical playing pickup system on offer.

A Miura from Air Tight likes to combine 2 different Alloy types with its pickups and attaches great importance to coating the surfaces, which is sound-relevant for him. His systems also play with the Boron needle carrier.

After these various OEM experiences, Matsudaira decided to further develop the signature gold into the signature platinum. As a system basis, synonymous with TechDAS, a titanium is also used, which is then additionally coated with a special surface. He leaves the housing itself with Alloy. But, and this is rare with MSL, he now also uses a Boron needle cantilever with the MSL.

So he follows the approach of his companion Nishikawa and offers 2 reference systems, one sounding a bit warmer and one sounding a bit more fast and neutral..



After this internet research some music is heard again :)

I’ve owned or heard almost all these cartridges in my system or one that I became familiar with, the standout one for me is the Opus 1.

david
 

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
4,390
4,737
730
Bangkok
Good aspects I find in MSL Plat are 1) more quiet click n pop surface noise 2) nice n easy vocal 3) not slow, 4) not so expensive.

Comparing to the more expensive sibling Opus1, With Opus I can hear more from micro details, the air is clearer (not black or dark), I can hear deeper into the listening venue, I can get a better approximation of the venue volume and boundary (not a never ending darkness in the back and to the side), the clear air and transparency makes better sense of instrument dimensionality. The Opus1 has more treble in tone and less from mid-bass down. It just has better realism imo. The MSL Plat is a very good cart with great sound. Ron would like it so very much...sibilance-free. I can no longer use the word "natural" to describe sound since everyone seems to hear everything every gear sound natural. May be it is better to say if you listen to them next to each other in my system, you will be able to tell which one can fool you more like you were there at the venue. My comment is limited only to my system which is a lot more simple and less customized than Shakti's phono chain. Shakti is five star chef. Sound could be very different in his.
 
Last edited:

bazelio

Well-Known Member
Sep 27, 2016
1,742
1,071
245
California
Very curious to hear further MSL Platinum impressions. My experience with it left me lukewarm. I felt it was too smoothed over for my liking and certainly at the time I heard it, fresh off hearing the Red Sparrow in the same system.

@ddk - have you spent time with the SS Hyperion and what are your thoughts on this high end MI (or at least high priced) cart? It certainly has the technical advantage of the lowest moving mass out of the bunch.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
5,599
2,755
820
Utah
Very curious to hear further MSL Platinum impressions. My experience with it left me lukewarm. I felt it was too smoothed over for my liking and certainly at the time I heard it, fresh off hearing the Red Sparrow in the same system.

@ddk - have you spent time with the SS Hyperion and what are your thoughts on this high end MI (or at least high priced) cart? It certainly has the technical advantage of the lowest moving mass out of the bunch.
I have never heard any of SS's cartridges. I feel the same about MSL Platinum and all their cartridges.

david
 
  • Like
Reactions: bazelio

miniguy

Well-Known Member
Dec 18, 2013
377
116
175
San Diego area
after the first few hours of listening and some initial comparisons between

- Murasakino Sumile

and the

- My Sonic Lab Signature Platinum

I tried to decode the technical DNA of the sound differences.

Yoshiaki Matsudaira (My Sonic Lab) has adopted the following elements for the tonal tuning of his pickups over the decades:

The used and MSL-specific magnet type "SH-μX" is explained in detail on the Japanese URL,
which is currently used by MSL for all pickups, including for customer orders.

http://www.mysonic.jp

Another constant in his current and OEM systems is the diamond as such,
which is always a sharp semi-line contact (3 μ mm × 30 μ mm).

According to my research, the coil turn technology and internal wiring material are constant for MSL and OEM
and always made of high-purity copper.

The differences to the tonal customization primarily concern the following 3 areas:

1.) The amount of turns of the coil used and the related values of DC resistance and output voltage. This parameter also influences the moving mass of the drive. The special MSL magnet can be seen as an existential component of these parameters. The interaction of these sizes means that MSL recommends a comparatively high terminating impedance for its drives (100 to 800 ohms). The drives used in OEM orders are similar in this regard and mostly want to be connected with 100 to 200 ohms.

2.) The material of the needle cantilever
This has a massive influence on the flow of energy between the needle and the drive. The influence on the resonances and the vibrations flowing back to the needle is also very strong. Alloy is said to have a somewhat warmer sound and Boron is said to have a somewhat more neutral / analytical sound.

3.) The material of the cartridge base plate and the material of the housing as well as the surface treatment / painting / anodizing of the material used.
Matsudaira writes that he has tried many aluminum alloys and other metals and that he now understands and can use the tonal signature of these materials.
It is therefore not surprising that he explicitly deals with headshells and tonearms in interviews and the user manual of My Sonic Lab. He recommends not using exotic materials, but preferring stable metal constructions. This is the only way to ensure the pickup vote that he has chosen. Otherwise, the voicing of the headshell and tonearm would overlay the tuning of the pickup.

I had this experience at Murasakino Sumile and tried a total of 7 headshells until I had the feeling that all the parameters were right. The My Sonic Lab headshell is made of A6063S Alloy, so it comes as no surprise that I have had very good experiences with the Arche L headshell made of aluminum and have installed both pickups in it.


Here is an example of the housing of a TechDAS TDC01 Ti cartridge.

View attachment 65589 View attachment 65590







Atsushi Miura (Air Tight) decided on the following two pickups as follows:

for the fairly new Air Tight Opus 1 (RRP 13500 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4 ohms
- Output voltage: 0.45 mv
- Housing base: A7075 Alloy with DLC coating
- Case: A5056 Alloy Rhodium coating
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 12.5g

with the slightly older Air Tight PC1-Coda (RRP 8000 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.7ohm
- Output voltage: 0.5mv
- Housing base: A7075 Alloy
- Housing: A6063 Alloy
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 12.7g




Hideki Nishikawa (techDAS) specified the 2 Carts on offer like this:

TechDAS TDC01 Ti (RRP 10250 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.45mv
- Housing base: titanium with special surface hardening
- Housing: Titanium with special surface hardening and damping
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 17g

TechDAS TDC01 (RRP 9050 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.45mv
- Housing base: A 7075 alloy with DLC coating
- Housing: A 7075 alloy with DLC coating and damping
- Cantilever: A 2017 alloy
- Weight: 12g




Daisuke Asai (Murasakino) chose his pickups as follows:

Murasakino Sumile (RRP 9000 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.2ohm
- Output voltage: 0.35mv
- Housing base: A 7075 alloy
- Housing: Solid steel with gold coating
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 14.5g



Yoshiaki Matsudaira (My Sonic Lab) as the mastermind of these pickups has chosen the following set-up for his two reference pickups:

MSL Signature Gold (RRP 7000 eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.5mv
- Housing base: A 7075 alloy
- Housing: A5056 Alloy
- Cantilever: A2017 alloy
- Weight: 10g


MSL Signature Platinum (RRP 8400, - eur):
- DC resistance: 1.4ohm
- Output voltage: 0.5mv
- Housing base: titanium, hardened surface
- Housing: A5056 Alloy
- Cantilever: Boron
- Weight: 13g

(all prices GERMAN RRP)

If you read the test reports and interviews with the developers, the decision-making process and the technical implementation of the "voicing" become clearer again and you start to be able to read the sound character of the system from the technical description.


D Asai (Murasakino), for example, worked for Air Tight for many years and got to know Air Tight pickups and the influence of Y Matsudaira.

Asai himself plays the oboe and got to know the influence of different metals and surfaces on this instrument. He is also a fan of "Stainless Steel" in the analog playback area, which is also used in many well-known tonearms and record players.

He does not consider Matsudaira's requirement not to let the pickups weigh more than 10g, so that they come to lie together with a headshell between 20 and 25g, and has the Sumile system built on a "Stainless Steel" base plate which he coated with heavy gold. The system weight increases from 10g (for the MSL Signature Gold) to 14.5g for the Sumile. With regard to the needle carrier, he agrees with Air Tight's decision and also takes the slightly higher-resolution Boron needle carrier.

H Nishikawa, on the other hand, follows the recommendations of Matsudaira and has its first TechDAS cartridge built according to the specification of the original MSL Signature Gold, ie made of aluminum and with an aluminum needle cantilever. Since Nishikawa is a big friend of titanium, he develops the system further and uses titanium for the base plate and the housing. To match his "taste", he also takes the Boron needle cantilever. Thus, techDAS now has a somewhat round and somewhat analytical playing pickup system on offer.

A Miura from Air Tight likes to combine 2 different Alloy types with its pickups and attaches great importance to coating the surfaces, which is sound-relevant for him. His systems also play with the Boron needle carrier.

After these various OEM experiences, Matsudaira decided to further develop the signature gold into the signature platinum. As a system basis, synonymous with TechDAS, a titanium is also used, which is then additionally coated with a special surface. He leaves the housing itself with Alloy. But, and this is rare with MSL, he now also uses a Boron needle cantilever with the MSL.

So he follows the approach of his companion Nishikawa and offers 2 reference systems, one sounding a bit warmer and one sounding a bit more fast and neutral..



After this internet research some music is heard again :)
The PC-1 Coda is newer than the Opus. It is a re-engineered PC-1s, the previous PC-1generation, and shares some technical details with the Opus.
 
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shakti

Well-Known Member
May 9, 2015
1,050
1,302
275
Cologne, Germany
The PC-1 Coda is newer than the Opus. It is a re-engineered PC-1s, the previous PC-1generation, and shares some technical details with the Opus.
Your are correct, I mixed it up with the former PC-1 version,
I edited my post. accordingly.
 

shakti

Well-Known Member
May 9, 2015
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have you spent time with the SS Hyperion and what are your thoughts on this high end MI (or at least high priced) cart? It certainly has the technical advantage of the lowest moving mass out of the bunch.
I am not DDK, but I have the Hyperion OCL fitted to the same turntable, so it is easy to change between the carts.

The Hyperion is in the league of the Top Carts, but the performance is even more dependent on the best & correct Impedance match.
So difficult for me to compare on the same PhonoPre. Currently my Hyperion is connected to a NAT XS 10x step up and the RCM THERIAA Phonostage. The MSL Platinum Signature and the Sumile have both their own Jeff Rowland Cadence Phonostage, using the 10x step up / 250ohm connection.

I have some other Carts in the 3 to 5k area from Kiseki and Soundsmith , the difference from the mid priced carts to the Hyperion and MSL type carts is huge. In relation the difference between the three "top" carts on my turntable is relatively small.

The Hyperion OCL performance is a little bit colder, similar level of details, voices are more pronounced,
percussion, drums, are more in the front.

Some of my guests do prefer the Hyperion OCL, my personal taste likes the MSL siblings more, more close to my understanding of "natural"

Again, the differences are not that big. When I exchange the tonearm cable of the Sumile (fitted to the Glanz tonearm) from Glanz wire to a JPS Suppler Conductor V type, the difference of that change is bigger, than between MSL Platinum Signature and Sumile.

(Glanz cable is "warm" and "full" sounding, JPS is more "lean")

So I always have to swap cables between the Tonearms, that they have a similar start into the comparison.


But I am still in the investigating phase.

I felt it was too smoothed over for my liking and certainly at the time I heard it, fresh off hearing the Red Sparrow in the same system.

In my set up, the MSL Siblings and the Hyperion are just "right" and far away from smoothed, but it took some time to match them with headshell and headshell cable. When I do the same with vdh colibri versions, the carts are not too far away from each other. I wrote in another thread, that the integration of a new cart in an existing set up can even end up, that you can customize a Koetsu Coral Stone to have the tonal balance of a vdh Colibri and vice versa.

If your phono gear is optimized for a vdh colibri and you install a MSL Sibling, it will be "smoother", I fully agree on this.
You cannot exchange them 1:1, they have different "needs" to perform at their best level (just my point of view)
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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Shakti, you are always a good source of indepth information on phono cartridges. Your posts on the vdH Colibris were helpful to me personally. The history/bio of the Japanese cartridge artists is a wonderful look at these men and the analog culture of Japan - maybe you will write a book some day. I want to thank you for doing your research and sharing it with us - and dare I say many vinylista here are equally appreciative.

Thanks for the photos.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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In my set up, the MSL Siblings and the Hyperion are just "right" and far away from smoothed, but it took some time to match them with headshell and headshell cable. When I do the same with vdh colibri versions, the carts are not too far away from each other. I wrote in another thread, that the integration of a new cart in an existing set up can even end up, that you can customize a Koetsu Coral Stone to have the tonal balance of a vdh Colibri and vice versa.

If your phono gear is optimized for a vdh colibri and you install a MSL Sibling, it will be "smoother", I fully agree on this.
You cannot exchange them 1:1, they have different "needs" to perform at their best level (just my point of view)
Please expand on this strategy. I realize tonearms, headshells and cables have a direct effect on final sound and very few are neutral. Are you saying that you play around until you a find a pleasing combination for a cartridge which may or may or may not be neutral? These decisions are system dependent as well and with an eclectic collection of gear such as yours where do you start? Just looking at a couple of your tts, AF3P & MS DDX1500 isn’t a question of differences in sound there’s a big delta in performance, abilities and quality between the two, how does this come into play when you’re tuning the cartridges? You mentioned cable choices play a part for you too, MIT & NBS each have their own very strong characters and color, I can see throwing the latter in to boost the lackluster bass performance of the MS but on the AF3P and which one of your arm and phono combinations the boost becomes an exaggeration so you have to compensate yet with other pieces of gear. I bring this up because of your last comment about making a Koetsu and Colibri sound similar so people understand that it’s not just a simple case of setup but you’re actually changing and coloring the sound to your taste otherwise the cartridges are nothing alike in nature or tonal balance. I’m not judging what you’re doing but pointing out that there’s a difference between assessing cartridges based on their qualities in a neutral setting and painting a sound.

david
 
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ALF

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Mar 15, 2012
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Shakti, I agree with Tima and also enjoy reading your descriptions of how you go through the processes of your evaluations. I have also found that the characteristics of optimized impedance with the cartridge and phonostage matching follow your observations. For example, the two internal Jensen SUT MC options for the Lamm phonostages for the standard SUT is ~430 Ohms and the more sensitive SUT is ~31.5 Ohms.

vbw,
-a
 
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ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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Have you tried the MSL SUT. Great sounding and obviously tuned for very low impedences which many phono stages have trouble with.
Yes if you’re asking me.
david
 

howiebrou

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Jun 29, 2012
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Yes if you’re asking me.
david
I was mainly asking Shakti since he has the MSL cart, but please chime in David, with respect to this SUT coupled with MSL carts, or even other low impedance carts.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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I was mainly asking Shakti since he has the MSL cart, but please chime in David, with respect to this SUT coupled with MSL carts, or even other low impedance carts.
I tend to buy house brand SUTs if one is offered for the cartridge to start off with, sometimes it’s a positive match and sometimes a negative one but for the most part it won’t change my overall opinion of a given cartridge. In this case I only tried the MSL SUT with the brand’s cartridges and I didn’t care for it but YMMV. There are too many system variables involved in this before we even get to personal preferences.

david
 
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bazelio

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Sep 27, 2016
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Shakti, I agree with Tima and also enjoy reading your descriptions of how you go through the processes of your evaluations. I have also found that the characteristics of optimized impedance with the cartridge and phonostage matching follow your observations. For example, the two internal Jensen SUT MC options for the Lamm phonostages for the standard SUT is ~430 Ohms and the more sensitive SUT is ~31.5 Ohms.

vbw,
-a
There are two different resistance/impedance values in play. One is the DC resistance (DCR) of the SUT's windings. This should be relatively well-matched to the cartridge's internal DC resistance in order to not affect measured performance. The other is the load impedance reflected through the SUT to the cart. Values of 430 ohms must be the load impedance. 31.5 Ohms could be either/or, but I assume to also be the latter. It's more sensitive because it has a higher windings ratio, which in turn reduces the reflected load impedance. Tuning a cart via loading is common practice, but selecting a SUT whose DCR is a mismatch for the cart is not the right approach. So, IMO, take the SUT-cart matching out of the equation entirely, and then tune loading to taste (exception being the Hyperion; see below). This is why simply selecting a SUT from the same manufacturer can solve problems.

The MSL Platinum has a very low internal resistance at only 1.4 ohms, and should be mated to a similarly low resistive SUT. Below 5 ohms would be best. However it also specifics load >100 ohms. This is a good place to experiment and find the best result to one's ears. When I heard the MSL Platinum, we were using a suitably low impedance SUT, and 470 ohm load.

The Hyperion has internal resistance around 10-12 ohms, and is ideally suited to a different SUT. You'll also not want to go higher than a 1:10, with 1:7 likely being the best bet with Hyperion. The MI inductance is very high, and measured response will be poor when connected to a standard 47k phono through a SUT greater than 1:10. Even at 1:10, we should expect some high frequency rolloff, thus the recommendation for ~1:7. At that point, no loading should be used with this particular cart -- the Hyperion. Since load resistors are typically applied as parallel to the primaries, they can only reduce the reflected load to the cart. You don't want this with Hyperion.
 

ALF

Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2012
485
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There are two different resistance/impedance values in play. One is the DC resistance (DCR) of the SUT's windings. This should be relatively well-matched to the cartridge's internal DC resistance in order to not affect measured performance. The other is the load impedance reflected through the SUT to the cart. Values of 430 ohms must be the load impedance. 31.5 Ohms could be either/or, but I assume to also be the latter. It's more sensitive because it has a higher windings ratio, which in turn reduces the reflected load impedance. Tuning a cart via loading is common practice, but selecting a SUT whose DCR is a mismatch for the cart is not the right approach. So, IMO, take the SUT-cart matching out of the equation entirely, and then tune loading to taste (exception being the Hyperion; see below). This is why simply selecting a SUT from the same manufacturer can solve problems.

The MSL Platinum has a very low internal resistance at only 1.4 ohms, and should be mated to a similarly low resistive SUT. Below 5 ohms would be best. However it also specifics load >100 ohms. This is a good place to experiment and find the best result to one's ears. When I heard the MSL Platinum, we were using a suitably low impedance SUT, and 470 ohm load.

The Hyperion has internal resistance around 10-12 ohms, and is ideally suited to a different SUT. You'll also not want to go higher than a 1:10, with 1:7 likely being the best bet with Hyperion. The MI inductance is very high, and measured response will be poor when connected to a standard 47k phono through a SUT greater than 1:10. Even at 1:10, we should expect some high frequency rolloff, thus the recommendation for ~1:7. At that point, no loading should be used with this particular cart -- the Hyperion. Since load resistors are typically applied as parallel to the primaries, they can only reduce the reflected load to the cart. You don't want this with Hyperion.
Well said bazelio...

I was referencing the two different Lamm SUT options that available are available with their phonstages. Skatki has well matched phonostage options for his cartridge adventure...:cool:
 

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