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Thread: My Sonic Labs Gold Signature VS. Air Tight Supreme

  1. #11
    VIP/Donor [WBF Founding Member] ack's Avatar
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    Exactly! Combinations, selected by ear; none of this is new... There is no real science behind combining one type of stylus with a cantilever, in conjunction with a certain metal for the coils, the number of turns of the coils, and/or the influence of the body, etc. Experimentation is important. This why I always look at the design of anything I buy; in the case of the A90, it was quite clear what Ortofon's goals were: a cutterhead-like stylus, lightness, stiffness, speed, accuracy, dynamics (though it could be better), pure copper, and as few resonances as possible - I am sure all within a budget (e.g. they could probably extract more performance with a pure carbon lattice cantilever, aka diamond).
    Sources: mod. VPI Aries 3;mod. JMW 10.5i/Ortofon A90;mod. Pass XP-25;Spectral 3000 xport/mod. Alpha DAC;mod. Magnum Dynalab Etude;mod. Revox B-77II Amplification: Spectral DMC-30SV/DMA-400RS Speakers: Heavily mod. MartinLogan (custom Mundorf xover, cabling, woofers; structural mods);mod. REL Cabling: MIT Oracle 50ic,MA-X/Oracle 90.1 Power: MIT Z-Strip, Magnum Z-Trap; Shunyata Black Mamba CX HC cords, Typhon Tweaks: EAR Isodamp c1002 References: Live unamplified music
    System link WBF

  2. #12
    VIP/Donor [WBF Founding Member] ack's Avatar
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    I believe there are only two major manufacturers of styli left, in Japan
    Here they are: Ogura http://www.ogura-indus.co.jp/ and Namiki http://www.namiki.net/product/jewel/dia/index.html

    Search the net and you will find some interesting data, e.g. http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/thread...3#post-7440789
    Sources: mod. VPI Aries 3;mod. JMW 10.5i/Ortofon A90;mod. Pass XP-25;Spectral 3000 xport/mod. Alpha DAC;mod. Magnum Dynalab Etude;mod. Revox B-77II Amplification: Spectral DMC-30SV/DMA-400RS Speakers: Heavily mod. MartinLogan (custom Mundorf xover, cabling, woofers; structural mods);mod. REL Cabling: MIT Oracle 50ic,MA-X/Oracle 90.1 Power: MIT Z-Strip, Magnum Z-Trap; Shunyata Black Mamba CX HC cords, Typhon Tweaks: EAR Isodamp c1002 References: Live unamplified music
    System link WBF

  3. #13
    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
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    For some time now I have been interested in comparing the My Sonics Labs Signature Gold to the AirTight PC-1 Supreme. Both cartridges are designed, or at least manufactured by Mr. Y. Matsudaira of Japan. The Supreme has been my reference cartridge for two and a half years now. It replaced the original AirTight PC-1.

    I have listened to the MSL now for over a month. It had 20-25 hours on it when I mounted it on my arm and I’ve put another 45 hours on it, so it should be fully broken in. The two cartridges have slightly different specifications. The Supreme weighs 12 grams, has an internal impedance of 1 ohm, and an output of 0.4 mV while the Sig. Gold weights 10 grams, has an internal impedance of 1.4 ohms and an output of 0.5 mV.

    The set up procedure was very straight forward. To my relief, the cartridge mounting hole to stylus distance is exactly the same for the two cartridges, so I was able to use my MINT BEST LP Protractor to align each cartridge. Because my SME V-12 does not have a slotted headshell, the MINT is made specifically for my V-12 and Supreme combination. And with the different weights, I did have to remove one of the SME counterweights from my arm to best balance the MSL.

    I found the VTA to be the same for both cartridges. As you may know, I have a specific SRA for each of my LPs. Many have the same setting, so I do not have to change the VTA each time I listen, but I have about five different settings for my collection of LPs. At the average VTA setting, VTF for the Supreme is 2.125 grams while the Sig. Gold is 2.0 grams. These VTFs vary slightly as I adjust VTA. Zenith was adjusted to line up at the null points on the MINT. There is a very small amount of play in the mounting holes on the SME headshell, so I am able to slightly rotate the cartridge in the headshell. There is no azimuth adjustability with the SME arm.

    You can see from some of the photographs earlier in the thread the details about stylus profiles and cantilever design. The Supreme uses a solid boron cantilever while the Sig. Gold uses a hollow duralumin cantilever. Here are some additional photographs of the two cartridges:

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    I listened to a variety of records, but mostly to small scale jazz, vocals and classical chamber and symphonic music. Some of the more familiar recordings:

    Tschaikowsky, Violin Concerto, Heifetz/Reiner, RCA Living Stereo
    Rachmaninoff, Symphonic Dances, Eiji Oue, Reference Recordings
    Mozart String Quintets, Grumiaux Trio, Philips
    The Sheffield Drum Record, Jim Keltner, Direct to Disk
    Beethoven, Appassionata, Kamiya RCA, Direct to Disk 45 RPM
    Muddy Water, Folk Singer, Chess reissue, 45 RPM


    Listening Impressions: Compared to the Supreme, The Sig. Gold is more neutral with a flatter tonal/frequency response. It is slightly more extended in the bass and treble. It is extremely resolving and it has explosive dynamics. I had never heard the amount of pure energy on the Sheffield Drum Record and on the Bosendorfer piano on Beethoven’s Appassionata from my system. Full orchestras also had an increased power and scale from even my small system based on the Magico Mini II speakers. It really was incredible. With this cartridge, I feel as though I'm hearing more from my records than ever before. And it is very natural sounding.

    The Supreme, on the other hand, is tonally slightly tilted toward the midrange frequencies, so it sounds a bit more forward and present, though it has an overall slightly more relaxed sound. It also has slightly more developed harmonics and overtones and tends to sound warmer, richer and fuller. Perhaps it is a bit darker. Some might call this a coloration or distortion. I find it makes voices and strings sound absolutely beautiful, palpable and real in my room. It's funny, but I never noticed this slight character with the AirTight until I heard the MSL in my system. It is that subtle.

    Both cartridges extract a tremendous amount of information and detail from the grooves. Despite this high degree of resolution, neither is aggressive or causes the least bit of fatigue. One can listen for hours and simply be lost in the glorious reproduction of music. I think the Supreme is just a bit quieter in the grooves and is a slightly better tracker. I heard this tracking difference only on the ultra dynamic solo piano in Appassionata and had to increase the VTF just slightly.

    If I were to sum it up, the MSL is more about truth while the AirTight is more about beauty. Though I have not heard either a Lyra or a Koetsu in my own system, I would think that the MSL is not quite as precise or as detailed as the Atlas, nor is the Supreme nearly as warm or as rich as a typical Koetsu, but this is just a guess. These two cartridges are more similar than they are different. They are variations on the same theme. They each strike a balance between high resolution and detail on the one hand while still sounding rich/warm and highly musical on the other. Unlike Koetsu and Lyra, they are like two slightly different flavors in the middle. A bit like butter-pecan and almond ice-cream instead of like chocolate or vanilla. Each is highly resolving, has great detail, tone and dynamics, but they are voiced slightly differently.

    Both cartridges are extremely good. In my system, the MSL tells me slightly more about the recording and sounds unbelievable on the best of them while the AirTight sounds more beautiful on more of the LPs in my collection and can put a singer or violin right in the room with me. Like the Supreme, the Signature Gold is one of the truly great cartridge designs available today. It is a shame that it is not better known here in the US. It deserves more attention and a couple of reviews.

    I have decided to add the Signature Gold to my small but growing collection of cartridges.
    Last edited by PeterA; 08-02-2014 at 06:01 PM.
    My system link on WBF: http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...-Sublime-Sound
    Analog: SME 30/12, SME V-12, My Sonic Labs Signature Gold, AirTight Supreme, VDH Colibri Platinum, MINT LP protractor
    Electronics: Pass Labs XA160.5 amp, XP-20 preamp, XP-25 phono, Cables: Transparent REF XL MM2,
    Speakers: Magico Mini II, Essentials: Jim Smith RoomPlay, 3 Vibraplanes, Dedicated circuits

  4. #14
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! MadFloyd's Avatar
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    Great post, Peter.
    Speakers: Magico M-Project w/MPods Amplification: CAT JL7s (preamp and phono TBD)
    Analog: Kronos Pro Limited Edition / Black Beauty tonearm / Zyx Universe Premium, Ortofon A95
    Digital: Roon / dCS Vivaldi DAC/Upsampler
    Cables/Power: Kubala Sosna cables / Shunyata Denali 6000T, Sigma Zitron PC's / Furutech outlets
    Misc: Steve Blinn Designs rack & amp stands

  5. #15
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] jfrech's Avatar
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    And some GREAT photography !! That's tough getting those shots
    Speakers: Rockport Altair 2
    Preamp: Robert Koda K10
    Amp: Nagra HD Amps
    Cables: Transparent Opus Gen 5 & Magnum Opus phono
    Power Transparent Opus, Opus Source Power Cords & Opus Power Isolators
    Power Shunyata DPC-6 v2
    Digital dCS Vivaldi full stack w/ Transparent Reference XL Digital cables
    Phono: Grand Prix Monaco TT, Spiral Groove Centroid, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement v2, Nagra VPS/VFS/MPS
    Racks: Grand Prix Audio Silverstone F1

  6. #16
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    Excellent post Peter and very enlightening. Know we need you to just add the Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement to your arsenal.

    Al

  7. #17
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! MadFloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrech View Post
    And some GREAT photography !! That's tough getting those shots
    That's an understatement!
    Speakers: Magico M-Project w/MPods Amplification: CAT JL7s (preamp and phono TBD)
    Analog: Kronos Pro Limited Edition / Black Beauty tonearm / Zyx Universe Premium, Ortofon A95
    Digital: Roon / dCS Vivaldi DAC/Upsampler
    Cables/Power: Kubala Sosna cables / Shunyata Denali 6000T, Sigma Zitron PC's / Furutech outlets
    Misc: Steve Blinn Designs rack & amp stands

  8. #18
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
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    Yes, this is a great review. While Peter filled in a lot of details that naturally escaped me because obviously I did not have the intense exposure to the sound of the two cartridges that he has, in general his observations correspond well to my similar impressions when I listened in his home to both of these cartridges. My rather clear preference is for the MSL, primarily because of the more extended highs that in my view balance Peter's system better.

  9. #19
    Addicted to Best! XV-1's Avatar
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    Nice review Peter

    I believe I would like the My Sonic Lab better for my tastes and system.
    Source:TW Raven AC-3 - Thales Simplicity II, Graham Phantom, Exclusive P3 & P10, Linn LP12 - Naim ARO
    Cartridges: Lyra Atlas, Delos, Dynavector XV-1s, Technics EPC100mk4, Ortofon A90, GM Royal, GM Classic, Denon DL-S1, ESC'd 103R, Audio Tech AT25, OC9II, Linn ESC'd Troika
    Phono Stage: TW Acustik/Thoress phono, Accuphase C-37, Esoteric E-03 EQ: ​​DEQX HDP-4
    Preamp: cj GAT, Amps: cj teflon premier 8a's, D'Agostino Momentum Stereo, Speakers: Wilson Maxx3 -Townsend Supertweeters

  10. #20
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! Sunnyboy1956's Avatar
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    Thanks for an excellent review. Superb pics. What camera/lens did you use ?
    Best
    Pradeep
    Last edited by Sunnyboy1956; 08-03-2014 at 04:50 AM. Reason: Typo
    Amps: Wavac HE833V2 on Sistrum 101 stands
    Preamp : CJ GAT
    Speakers: Rockport Aviors
    Phonostage : Nagra VPS+ VFS + MPS and BPS
    Turntable : TW AC with BN mods, Garrard 401
    Tonearm: Durand Talea2, Kairos and Ortofon 309D
    Cartridges:Lyra Atlas, Etna, Kleos Mono and Ortofon A95
    Digitall : Musical Fidelity KW 25 dac+ Transport
    Cables : Cables Audiomica,Poland, Lyra Phonopipe
    Power : Triton V2+ Typhon, allpower chords Shunyata Sigma HC etc
    RCM : KLaudio
    Rack :Cohernz Audio, Singapore

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