The Colibri “Master Signature”

bonzo75

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This is based on what? The first two carts are too similar. One arm will suit them better than the other, you just need to find out which one. The VdH to me is much better than both of them, though if I had two carts I would have one of vdh and one of Opus/zyx (again, it will just be a matter of finding out which, not having both). Even assuming you have trouble with the sibilance, once you have two carts, you will not have that issue, unless you insist on listening to each track with both carts. I can't comment on grado but tang will soon have both
 
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Tango

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I thought Tinka might want to listen to one track 16 times to give all cartridge/tonearm combinations a fair audition. But maybe you are right. Tinka likes to travel. (On one of our earliest audio expeditions together I brought Tinka to Touraj’s Vertere office where Touraj and I compared his three turntables by playing my “Send in the Clowns” track over and over and over and over and over and over. She does not want to repeat that experience!)

Thank you for this further experience information. It is interesting that the Atlas and the ZYX did not display greater nuance than the VdH.

I would like to have:

1) ZYX UNIverse Premium on a 3012R;

2) Opus 1 on a Bergmann Odin

3) Grado Epoch on a Reed 5T

4) Opus 1 or Grado Epoch on a second 3012R.

But I intend to stop at the first two combinations (unless audioquattr persuades me and others that we cannot live without a Grado Epoch on a Reed 5T).
Choosing cart is really depending on owner's objective. I can only comment the differences. The Opus I found it the safest bet to all people. It is just excellent straight A cart...my benchmark. The Universe Premium has the same tone as Opus, but presentation is more upfront, more aggressive, not as nuanced or finely detail as Opus, not as dimensional (in degree). The Master Sig is most energetic, aggressive, vividly dense and transparent of all. So lively. But the cart is also very sensitive picking up tiny artifacts in the groove more making the ZYX and Opus more quiet background. The Master Sig has best value for money too. For me, I choose to keep the Universe Optimum instead of the Universe Premium because this cart has spellbound midrange closer to real than other carts even the Master Sig. It takes me to virtual reality listening to vocal and yes without expressive sibilances. When I listen to vocal I just switch to this cart like Bonzo proposed in his comment. My itch is on Grado. If it is that good the Atlas will be knocked off my AS2000.

Kind regards,
Tang
 
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tima

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Mar 4, 2014
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I always start with eyeballing the stylus perpendicular to the record and then go from there. With the SME 3012-R I tend to up lower than eyeball straight but I don't think that's true for all tonearms.
One other thing that came to mind since this morning is that aside from the tonearm design tail up or tail down with the same tonearm will change depending on the height of the armboard, ie the distance from the top of the armboard to the top of the platter. The difference between Tang's setup and mine could be just that, he has his armboard positioned lower than mine. This is something that you need to figure out in your own setup.

david
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience, David - much appreciated.

In yr first msg. (above) am I safe in taking it to say: I tend to go lower than eyeball straight. ?

You make a good point above 'arm tail up or down relative to armboard height, and given that, how one setup could be tail-up and one tail-down and both be basically in the same spot.

When setting up a cartridge, I set the 'arm+cartridge parallel to the platter using the Wally VTA gauge. That is my starting point for raising or lowering the 'arm tail.

To plow a bit deeper: can we be more specific than arm board height or is it literally arm board height (top of arm board)?

FrancK specifies the top of the 4Point cueing mechanism platform should be level with the platter. I believe what this does is place the 'arm's vertical bearings level with the platter top.

In the case of my Monaco + 4Point, The armboard is considerably lower than the platter but the bearing height is roughly 5mm higher than the platter.

DSC01700A.JPG

DSC01703.JPG

Excuse this minutae. From your explanation, how would you consider the relevant height in this scenario? TIA
 

bonzo75

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I read Ron’s post as follows:
  1. I want cart A on Arm 1
  2. I want cart similar to A on arm 2.
To me, the reason for using two combos is as follows:
  1. You want to explore multiple options And keep eliminating the lesser one
  2. You want different options for different moods/music genre over the longer term
Ron is making purchase decisions, so he should be focusing on point 2, but his combos will end up on point 1 which does not seem to be his objective

Yes, if he wanted only one cart, he should compare both Opus and Zyx on 3012r and Odin, and choose one. But, as he is looking for two carts, he should have a cart different sounding to those two so that he listens to both rather than just one.

In the absence of listening, David and Tang are his best data points because they have the exact same table and the 3012r, and have/heard all these carts. But he seems to have ignored their recos. David has also said he did not face sibilance issues in multiple installations, the cart has been in the WE room at Munich over the last two years and the vox Palladian last year. Myles and Dr. Dre have also reviewed it. Yes Fremer did mention the sibilance. But since Ron is planning two carts it should not matter.

He has heard the Grado and loves it, so he should find out if Grado is a substitute for the Zyx/Opus sound or the VDH sound. He has heard the Zyx and the Grado though in different system, so he can make a guess and confirm with David and Tang. Now if it is an entirely different cart to the other ones above, he will need three combos, or go to David’s and decide which two.
 
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ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience, David - much appreciated.

In yr first msg. (above) am I safe in taking it to say: I tend to go lower than eyeball straight. ?

You make a good point above 'arm tail up or down relative to armboard height, and given that, how one setup could be tail-up and one tail-down and both be basically in the same spot.

When setting up a cartridge, I set the 'arm+cartridge parallel to the platter using the Wally VTA gauge. That is my starting point for raising or lowering the 'arm tail.

To plow a bit deeper: can we be more specific than arm board height or is it literally arm board height (top of arm board)?

FrancK specifies the top of the 4Point cueing mechanism platform should be level with the platter. I believe what this does is place the 'arm's vertical bearings level with the platter top.

In the case of my Monaco + 4Point, The armboard is considerably lower than the platter but the bearing height is roughly 5mm higher than the platter.

View attachment 47368

View attachment 47369

Excuse this minutae. From your explanation, how would you consider the relevant height in this scenario? TIA
Hi Tim,
- Armboard height is literally the distance from top of the armboard to top of the platter.

- Depending on the tonearm recommended armboard height (as explained above) does differ from one brand to another and with some like the SME depending on the cartridge it can operate in a wider range than optimal armboard height as suggested by manufacturer.

- I don’t use any tools for initial VTA starting or ending point, I literally start eyeballing the bottom of the cartridge casing parallel to the record if there’s one and then eyeball the stylus and set it as perpendicular to the record as I can by eye. I don’t look at the tail of the arm it ends up where it ends up but typically my end point is lower than my starting point but not always. That’s why I can’t give you a straight tail up or down answer, specially in this case where vdH sometimes varies the cantilever length and/or suspension height from one cart to another and there’s no casing to use for initial position, just the stylus as the guide.

I’m not familiar with Wally’s VTA gauge but if you need a tool why not use a small round bubble level on the headshell, this way you can set the azimuth too.

- Since VTA is set by ear you have to determine the up or down direction by trying both to determine which way to go In your setup.

Sorry if I can’t be more helpful, too many variables.

david

PS- Audiophile powercords can make the process more difficult and even impossible with their colorations!
 
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PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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I thought Tinka might want to listen to one track 16 times to give all cartridge/tonearm combinations a fair audition. But maybe you are right. Tinka likes to travel. (On one of our earliest audio expeditions together I brought Tinka to Touraj’s Vertere office where Touraj and I compared his three turntables by playing my “Send in the Clowns” track over and over and over and over and over and over. She does not want to repeat that experience!)

Thank you for this further experience information. It is interesting that the Atlas and the ZYX did not display greater nuance than the VdH.

I would like to have:

1) ZYX UNIverse Premium on a 3012R;

2) Opus 1 on a Bergmann Odin

3) Grado Epoch on a Reed 5T

4) Opus 1 or Grado Epoch on a second 3012R.

But I intend to stop at the first two combinations (unless audioquattr persuades me and others that we cannot live without a Grado Epoch on a Reed 5T).
Ron, you can only persuade yourself by listening. Since you are basically assembling this system from scratch, why not simply follow David's advice. I'm guessing he would recommend a VdH on the 3012R. Perhaps the ZYX or Opus on a second 3012R. Live with the system for a while, get to know it well after settling in, careful set up and fine tuning, and then decide if you even need more flavors.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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Utah
Ron, you can only persuade yourself by listening. Since you are basically assembling this system from scratch, why not simply follow David's advice. I'm guessing he would recommend a VdH on the 3012R. Perhaps the ZYX or Opus on a second 3012R. Live with the system for a while, get to know it well after settling in, careful set up and fine tuning, and then decide if you even need more flavors.
Actually it's good for Ron to try other arms and carts so in time he'll have more reference points, besides his choices are all good and it gives me an opportunity to hear a tonearm I've never heard before :)!

david
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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Actually it's good for Ron to try other arms and carts so in time he'll have more reference points, besides his choices are all good and it gives me an opportunity to hear a tonearm I've never heard before :)!

david
Yes but he is looking to buy a final purchase, not try.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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jackelsson

Active Member
Dec 1, 2013
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.de
What specific parameter are you addressing?
Just azimuth really. I always found Adjust+ to be a valuable help for setting this parameter, never really far off of what my ears tell me.

Interestingly I got different advice from Feickert and vdH in regard to what to take as reference. Feickert's advice is to go for the phase, vdH advised to optimize for crosstalk.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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This is based on what? The first two carts are too similar. One arm will suit them better than the other, you just need to find out which one. The VdH to me is much better than both of them, though if I had two carts I would have one of vdh and one of Opus/zyx (again, it will just be a matter of finding out which, not having both). Even assuming you have trouble with the sibilance, once you have two carts, you will not have that issue, unless you insist on listening to each track with both carts. I can't comment on grado but tang will soon have both

This is based on:

1) I have liked the 3012R in every single one of the several systems in which I have heard it.

2) I have liked the ZYX UNIverse Premium in every single one of the several systems in which I have heard it, including the several times I have heard it on the 3012R.

3) I have liked the Opus 1 in every single one of the audio show and dealer demo systems in which I have heard it, including the one time I heard it on the Bergmann Odin tonearm.

(Lest you think I simply like anything I hear several times, in contrast, I have preferred the alternative cartridge in every two-cartridge system in which I have ever heard a Lyra Atlas.)

4) Audiophile Bill told me that it is his understanding that our zerostargeneral is familiar with the Bergmann Odin tonearm and likes it.

5) Michael Fremer has consistently voiced skepticism about the practical design and actual implementation of most linear tracking tonearms, yet he enjoyed the Bergmann Odin tonearm with respect to both sonics and operation, and he thinks it avoids some of the theoretical design compromises of some other linear tracking tonearms.

6) I have heard the Grado Epoch only on the Reed 5T laser-guided linear tracking tonearm, and only in audioquattr’s system, but sometimes you just know magic when you hear it.

7) I cannot stand any unnecessary sibilance on vocals. It is just one of my sonic “things.”

I find sibilance distracting, and it reduces my suspension of disbelief. Any consensus or even suspicion that the VdH manifests even a little bit more sibilance than other cartridges in which I am interested disqualifies the VdH for me personally.
 
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Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Choosing cart is really depending on owner's objective. I can only comment the differences. The Opus I found it the safest bet to all people. It is just excellent straight A cart...my benchmark. The Universe Premium has the same tone as Opus, but presentation is more upfront, more aggressive, not as nuanced or finely detail as Opus, not as dimensional (in degree). The Master Sig is most energetic, aggressive, vividly dense and transparent of all. So lively. But the cart is also very sensitive picking up tiny artifacts in the groove more making the ZYX and Opus more quiet background. The Master Sig has best value for money too. For me, I choose to keep the Universe Optimum instead of the Universe Premium because this cart has spellbound midrange closer to real than other carts even the Master Sig. It takes me to virtual reality listening to vocal and yes without expressive sibilances. When I listen to vocal I just switch to this cart like Bonzo proposed in his comment. My itch is on Grado. If it is that good the Atlas will be knocked off my AS2000.

Kind regards,
Tang
Thank you very much, Tang, for these additional listening impressions and comparisons and contrasts. Most interesting to me in this post is your feeling that on vocals you prefer the ZYX Optimum over the Premium, and that on vocals the Optimum is your favorite cartridge of all.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Ron, you can only persuade yourself by listening. Since you are basically assembling this system from scratch, why not simply follow David's advice. I'm guessing he would recommend a VdH on the 3012R. Perhaps the ZYX or Opus on a second 3012R. Live with the system for a while, get to know it well after settling in, careful set up and fine tuning, and then decide if you even need more flavors.
I agree with this, Peter. The only amendmen I am making really is that I have decided I do want a traditional linear tracking tonearm.

Of course it would be fun, at some point, to put the ZYX on the Odin and the Opus 1 on the 3012R for that direct swap comparison.
 
May 30, 2010
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(...)
7) I cannot stand any unnecessary sibilance on vocals. It is just one of my sonic “things.”

I find sibilance distracting, and it reduces my suspension of disbelief. Any consensus or even suspicion that the VdH manifests even a little bit more sibilance than other cartridges in which I am interested disqualifies the VdH for me personally.
Many recordings have intrinsic sibilance, it is not added by the cartridge - we find it when listening to both the LP and the digital version. However some electronics will help hiding it - for example the VTL combo shows it a lot more than the Lamm's. The Shefield direct cuts are free from sibilance, the Jennifer Warmes recording shows some.
 
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Ron Resnick

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Of course. And just as you are correct that some electronics tend to hide sibilance, other electronics tend to exaggerate it.

I think a lot of the sibilance has to do with microphone selection, recording technique and distance from the singer, and recording equipment.

In general, all else being equal, I hear more sibilance on digital recordings than on analog recordings.
 
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bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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This is based on:

1) I have liked the 3012R in every single one of the several systems in which I have heard it.

2) I have liked the ZYX UNIverse Premium in every single one of the several systems in which I have heard it, including the several times I have heard it on the 3012R.

3) I have liked the Opus 1 in every single one of the audio show and dealer demo systems in which I have heard it, including the one time I heard it on the Bergmann Odin tonearm.

(Lest you think I simply like anything I hear several times, in contrast, I have preferred the alternative cartridge in every two-cartridge system in which I have ever heard a Lyra Atlas.)

4) Audiophile Bill told me that it is his understanding that our zerostargeneral is familiar with the Bergmann Odin tonearm and likes it.

5) Michael Fremer has consistently voiced skepticism about the practical design and actual implementation of most linear tracking tonearms, yet he enjoyed the Bergmann Odin tonearm with respect to both sonics and operation, and he thinks it avoids some of the theoretical design compromises of some other linear tracking tonearms.

6) I have heard the Grado Epoch only on the Reed 5T laser-guided linear tracking tonearm, and only in audioquattr’s system, but sometimes you just know magic when you hear it.

7) I cannot stand any unnecessary sibilance on vocals. It is just one of my sonic “things.”

I find sibilance distracting, and it reduces my suspension of disbelief. Any consensus or even suspicion that the VdH manifests even a little bit more sibilance than other cartridges in which I am interested disqualifies the VdH for me personally.
Sorry to keep on, but this is exactly what I was referring to. This style of thinking explains why someone might select one arm or cart - not two. The missing link is that when you have two, your choice of one is dependent on the choice of the other, and not necessarily your two independent favorites. So what will happen is what you alluded to to Peter in post 253 - you will do a direct swap comparison, and then end up listening to only one, not the other. For example, even if the AF1 P might in some ways be a better complete TT compared to the EMT, Tang ends up listening more to AS and EMT, not AS and Techdas. This is because he has two. If he had to only listen one, he might have listened more to Techdas over EMT.

Your point also ignores that with two you do not have to listen to sibilant vocals on the VDH. Data points from David's 11 installs across 5 systems, Myles, Dr. Dre, Munich 3 rooms, have been ignored regarding VDH, not that it matters because with two carts sibilance is not an issue even if it exists.

Apart from that, there are two points (not relevant to the above logic point)
- The General prefers LTs - this is also because he has experimented and found they better preserve vinyl. As one, if not the largest collector, archiver, and reseller of Lps that is important to him. So with that hat on, he will listen more to the LT vs almost any pivot. Now, with the sonic hat on, he has not heard the Odin. That will be your choice entirely and irrespective of whether you like it or not, you will listen to only that or the SME with one of your Zyx and Opus, ignoring the other combo, once you have done a few compares.
- You can easily PM Fremer via stereophile to check more on Bergmann. I already have. But that should not affect the above issue I keep mentioning, as even if he tells you it is the best arm, it will still not stop you from ignoring one or the other of your combos after a few listening sessions :)
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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Hi Tim,
- Armboard height is literally the distance from top of the armboard to top of the platter.

- Depending on the tonearm recommended armboard height (as explained above) does differ from one brand to another and with some like the SME depending on the cartridge it can operate in a wider range than optimal armboard height as suggested by manufacturer.

- I don’t use any tools for initial VTA starting or ending point, I literally start eyeballing the bottom of the cartridge casing parallel to the record if there’s one and then eyeball the stylus and set it as perpendicular to the record as I can by eye. I don’t look at the tail of the arm it ends up where it ends up but typically my end point is lower than my starting point but not always. That’s why I can’t give you a straight tail up or down answer, specially in this case where vdH sometimes varies the cantilever length and/or suspension height from one cart to another and there’s no casing to use for initial position, just the stylus as the guide.

I’m not familiar with Wally’s VTA gauge but if you need a tool why not use a small round bubble level on the headshell, this way you can set the azimuth too.

- Since VTA is set by ear you have to determine the up or down direction by trying both to determine which way to go In your setup.

Sorry if I can’t be more helpful, too many variables.

david

PS- Audiophile powercords can make the process more difficult and even impossible with their colorations!

Here is a 4Point headshell with Wally VTA attached.

4P Headshell w Wally VTA_s.jpg

- You can see why a small bubble level can not work. There's no flat spot to put it.

Wally VTA
- Mount a cartridge, place it on a record, then measure the height to the underside of the headshell with a supplied scale. I do this once for each cartridge and write that down in my notes for it.
- The Wally VTA has shims of various thickness: .25mm, .50mm, etc. It's default height is 16.0mm. Add shims to equal the measure height of the cartridge.
- Rest the long blade of the W/VTA on the record and adjust arm height until the blade is perfectly flat on the record.
- Result: Tonearm/headshell bottom is perfectly level to the record.

From there I adjust arm height to assure equal amount of space, up and down, for adjusting VTA. There is a height gauge on the side of the 4P's VTA tower. I set the 'arm height to the middle marker on the gauge. I don't mind if you think this is less simple than eyeballing. :) I know a guy who uses a laser level to set the 'arm parallel.

I guess I can visualize why the armboard height is relevant as it may apply to the 'arms height position as pertains to a starting point for SRA setting and possibly the amount of up-down space available for that. The 4P has a long shaft on its VTA tower that allows the 'arm to be moved up and down. If that shaft were short, armboard height could be critical. Thanks for the lesson!
 
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ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,591
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Utah
Here is a 4Point headshell with Wally VTA attached.

View attachment 47389

- You can see why a small bubble level can not work. There's no flat spot to put it.

Wally VTA
- Mount a cartridge, place it on a record, then measure the height to the underside of the headshell with a supplied scale. I do this once for each cartridge and write that down in my notes for it.
- The Wally VTA has shims of various thickness: .25mm, .50mm, etc. It's default height is 16.0mm. Add shims to equal the measure height of the cartridge.
- Rest the long blade of the W/VTA on the record and adjust arm height until the blade is perfectly flat on the record.
- Result: Tonearm/headshell bottom is perfectly level to the record.

From there I adjust arm height to assure equal amount of space, up and down, for adjusting VTA. There is a height gauge on the side of the 4P's VTA tower. I set the 'arm height to the middle marker on the gauge. I don't mind if you think this is less simple than eyeballing. :) I know a guy who uses a laser level to set the 'arm parallel.

I guess I can visualize why the armboard height is relevant as it may apply to the 'arms height position as pertains to a starting point for SRA setting and possibly the amount of up-down space available for that. The 4P has a long shaft on its VTA tower that allows the 'arm to be moved up and down. If that shaft were short, armboard height could be critical. Thanks for the lesson!
Actually the Wally looks pretty straight forward, if the start point is accurate, ie perpendicular to record stylus, start by lowering the back for the vdH.

david
 
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Sep 7, 2016
194
162
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Netherlands
I also have this Vdh MS cartridge and i do like it. From the first track it allready sounded very good. It was and still is getting better with more hours tracktime, now about 60+ hrs.

I don't have and hear any sibilance with this cart (when vta and load is set good). But it has a lot of high energy. So tonal shifted to the highs. Allmost not natural. But this cart give some kind of magic to the sound, it is very good 3-dimension and very dynamic. Bass is very good quality, the best for me i think, but a bit less quantity. Mids are so fluid so explosing and still so smooth.

So no negatives? Well i very much like to listen to this cartridge, but i have to pick my records. And i can't listen to it longer than 1,5 hour at 85dB with this cartridge. It is very very good but not my favourite. All IMHO offcourse..
 

shakti

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May 9, 2015
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