Miyajima Labs 1.0 mil Infinity Mono

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#41
finally got the EMT948 and Durand Kairos set up for my Infinity 0.7 mil cartridge.:cool: i had been waiting for longer screws for the thick shank of the Kairos arm head shell. turns out the provided screws worked, just had to turn them upside down and use a special socket wrench on the tiny nuts. then to adjust it i have to remove the arm and turn it over. not elegant but workable.

got it set up and it's playing now. and sounding really great on Sam Records Donald Byrd mono reissue "Byrd in Paris". the 0.7 mil version of the Infinity is quite a bit better than the 1.0 mil on these stereo cutter head modern monos.:)

if i keep the tt/arm combo i will buy another Adona matching rack. for now it's a bit cobbled, lower by 18" than the other tt's, harder to set-up, and with a plain table beneath the plinth, using Wave Kinetics A10 U8's (8 of them) for a bit of decoupling. not sure this table is even really level and no way to really level it. no matter the music is just leaping from those mono grooves. i think the EMT is living large benefiting from the Kairos a lot. this is leagues better than my recollection of the stock EMT arm and TD15 on the NOS EMT 948 i had a few years back.


EMT948-Kairos-1 (1 of 1).jpg EMT948-Kairos-2 (1 of 1).jpg
 
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Mike Lavigne

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#43
i think Miyajima is Japanese for "the joke's on you".

you have this hair shirt mounting scheme, maddening really, and they are really inexpensive, yet sound heavenly. their website is comical in a 'zen' sorta way.

you listen and realize the irritation was no big deal......whatever they are doing, they should keep doing it. inelegant in a very elegant way.
 

dminches

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Oct 22, 2011
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#44
Mike, I bought my GFS based on your recommendation and I have never looked back. It is the most enjoyable cartridge I have ever owned in my system. Likewise, I think I bought the Miyajima Zero based on your and Mark’s comments. Interestingly, I think I always prefer mono recordings with the Zero over the GFS, even though I didn’t love the Miyajima stereo cartridge (Madake). Miyajima’ s mono cartridges are really fine.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#45
Mike, I bought my GFS based on your recommendation and I have never looked back. It is the most enjoyable cartridge I have ever owned in my system. Likewise, I think I bought the Miyajima Zero based on your and Mark’s comments. Interestingly, I think I always prefer mono recordings with the Zero over the GFS, even though I didn’t love the Miyajima stereo cartridge (Madake). Miyajima’ s mono cartridges are really fine.
Same, I like the zero but not the muddyke
 

Mike Lavigne

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#46
a week into the EMT 948/ Durand Kairos/ Infinity 0.7 mil mono. tonight i'm listening to the AP 45 in glorious Mono of "Relaxin' With The Miles Davis Quintet" and i think i died and went to heaven. 'If Were A Bell' just blew my brains out. and the rest is just as fine.

i had been doing a number of large orchestral stereo pressings this evening and needed to take a break from big music for a while, so threw this one on. wow!

the EMT is a ball of energy and perfect for this music. super low noise. the drive and flow is just infectious. Miles and Coltrane have never sounded better to my ears. this is perfect. Mono? really? could have fooled me. what a perfect combo of gear. i suppose it does not hurt to play one of the best jazz recordings ever.
 
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spiritofmusic

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#47
Mike, what is the reason for running two mono carts again, necessitating this additional tt/arm?
 

Mike Lavigne

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#48
Mike, what is the reason for running two mono carts again, necessitating this additional tt/arm?
simple answer;

early mono Lp pressings (late 40's to mid 60's) used a wider groove, and typically sound better with a 1.0 mil stylus. mid-60's forward typically a stereo cutter head was used for mono records so a 0.7 mil stylus is preferred. all the relatively newer mono reissues i have are cut with a stereo cutter head. the 'Ortofon' link below does have an alternate take on this view......as using a smaller stylus size on some older pressings might take you to a fresh quieter surface compared to where the larger stylus size had played.....i've not yet really observed that. i've found that the 1.0 mil is almost always quieter than the 0.7 mil on older pressings.

and there is much more to a mono cartridge than stylus size. maybe one Miyajima Infinity cartridge with either stylus size might be better than one of each stylus size of a lesser mono cartridge. i can only comment on what i'm hearing with the Infinity as far as comparing stylus size.

to my ears the Miyajima Infinity is an amazing sounding mono cartridge that happens to make Mono records sound the best i've heard. so when the bar is raised, the advantages to each stylus size get logically higher. my initial intentions were not to own both; but with a delay in shipping the 1.0 mil version Robin Wyatt generously sent me a new 0.7 mil version to use until my 1.0 mil arrived. so i was able to compare them. i played the 0.7 mil with my mono reissues and was very impressed, while my older vintage pressings were still very good. then i got the 1.0 mil and those vintage pressings much better with lower noise and increased dynamics. yet the 1.0 mil was not nearly as good with my reissues and later mono pressings. i decided then to keep both versions as the Infinity is relatively modestly priced.

so far very happy to own both the 1.0 mil and 0.7 mil versions. i have maybe 900-1000 (and growing) mono pressings, some of which are the best recordings i own. and as great as my Etsuro Gold stereo cartridges are, the Infinity is better with mono pressings. and that is saying something.

here are two links that get deeper into mono stylus questions, not sure they clear things up or make it murkier.:)

https://www.yoursoundmatters.com/do-you-need-a-mono-cartridge-to-play-mono-records/#:~:text=A modern 18µm (0.7mil,0.6 – 0.7mil) option.

https://www.ortofon.com/hifi/cartridges-ranges/true-mono/

lastly; the first question about mono cartridges you should be asking is whether they sound better than your stereo cartridge on mono pressings? and how many mono pressings do you own? do you love golden age early jazz? i do strongly recommend investigating a mono cartridge if you love jazz. i also enjoy vocals and classical with mono, but the jazz mono's are other-worldly. the best all time jazz artists at their artistic peaks heard the best way.
 
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spiritofmusic

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#49
I guess my Q then is, could you have added a second arm to your Saskia, especially as this is your favoured tt for jazz, and most of your mono LPs are jazz ones?
 

Mike Lavigne

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#50
I guess my Q then is, could you have added a second arm to your Saskia, especially as this is your favoured tt for jazz, and most of your mono LPs are jazz ones?
where would i put that 2nd arm? plus.....the EMT with the Kairos is formidable on jazz. awesome really.

and i have 300-400 classical and vocal vintage mono pressings. again, that total will grow.

3TR--Saskia  (1 of 1).jpg
 

spiritofmusic

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#51
Good point, Mike Lol.
 

antelion

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Feb 6, 2017
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#52
i think Miyajima is Japanese for "the joke's on you".

you have this hair shirt mounting scheme, maddening really, and they are really inexpensive, yet sound heavenly. their website is comical in a 'zen' sorta way.

you listen and realize the irritation was no big deal......whatever they are doing, they should keep doing it. inelegant in a very elegant way.
The website is the typical japanese approach to creating international sites with auto translate. Mr. Miyayima is very pleasant to interact with.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#53
The website is the typical japanese approach to creating international sites with auto translate. Mr. Miyayima is very pleasant to interact with.
nice to read about that feedback regarding Mr. Miyayima. thank you.

i meant no disrespect. this was after a particularly frustrating experience struggling to mount the cartridge. i do perceive a 'joy' of sharing these products with their customers from their website. no doubt the Miyajima cartridges are worth the effort to overcome the challenge to mount them.
 

dminches

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Oct 22, 2011
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#54
nice to read about that feedback regarding Mr. Miyayima. thank you.

i meant no disrespect. this was after a particularly frustrating experience struggling to mount the cartridge. i do perceive a 'joy' of sharing these products with their customers from their website. no doubt the Miyajima cartridges are worth the effort to overcome the challenge to mount them.
I called Robin a couple times when I was mounting my Zero. Probably the most difficult cartridge I have ever mounted. Worth the effort though.
 
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antelion

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2017
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#55
nice to read about that feedback regarding Mr. Miyayima. thank you.

i meant no disrespect. this was after a particularly frustrating experience struggling to mount the cartridge. i do perceive a 'joy' of sharing these products with their customers from their website. no doubt the Miyajima cartridges are worth the effort to overcome the challenge to mount them.
Dear Mike,
for me it never came across as disrespectful and your appreciation of the products comes across genuinely. Myajima‘s website is just one perfect example of the oftentimes (from our cultural perception) quirky impression we perceive from Japan. And given the frustration in unlocking the performance your sharing of your joy and experience shows clearly that you value the qualities and essence of these products.
Best Gregor
 
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iaxel

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Oct 25, 2016
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#56
this was after a particularly frustrating experience struggling to mount the cartridge.
Hey Mike,
Can you elaborate what caused the mounting to be difficult?
 

Ovenmitt

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Nov 21, 2017
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#58
Hi Mike,

I wonder if I can ask you a couple questions? have you compared the Miyajima to any of the other new(ish) mono carts that are coming out? You’re really making me curious about the Infinity, but I’ve also wondered about the Ortofon mono-A. The really high end Grado that Fremer reviewed is also interesting, but it’s a lot more expensive.

It seems that most people are using their mono set-ups to listen to ear;y jazz and classical recordings - with good reason! I love that music but I’m also a huge Beatles fan and have some of their 1st pressing mono’s. I also own the newer mono box set. I’m thinking you might also have some of these records. So, I wonder if you have any thoughts on any of the Beatles stuff - or other R&R mono recordings? Do they also sound a lot better with a mono cartridge?

Thanks - I sure do appreciate reading your thoughts on all of this.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#59
Hey Mike,
Can you elaborate what caused the mounting to be difficult?
before i answer i want to be clear that this hassle is worth it.

Miyajima has a different mounting approach than any other cartridge i have used. on the three Miyajima's i've owned they use a long screw with a philips head (from the top) all the way through the body of the cartridge with a small nut on the bottom for tightening. i can understand the benefit of this design; you eliminate the issues (and expense) of tapping some part of the cartridge body to accept a screw thread. and assuming you can access the nut properly, you can tighten it effectively.

there is a fundamental 'gotcha' to this process. since the stylus is on the bottom of the cartridge, and the cartridge protector case covers the screw holes where the nuts should be tightened, you are doing a high wire act trying to tighten these nuts without harming the stylus since the guard cannot be attached.

On the Infinity, this is further complicated by the fact that the surface of the bottom of the cartridge has recesses for those nuts. and these recesses makes it near impossible to get any sort of wrench or pliers on it. so you end up trying to grab it with your fingers, or (as Robin suggested as he laughed his evil laugh) you hold a small flat head screwdriver wedged into the space to leverage against by holding it up close to your body, then try to get the philips head screwdriver onto the top screw head, all the while not harming the stylus. this is exactly when i had violent thoughts about Mr. Miyayima.......is he nuts? Robin's other thought was to use a compression nut that digs into the wood.

as the coup de' gras with my Telos and Kairos with composite arm wands, the cartridge mounting shank is too thick for the provided screws to work. there is a really long one that sticks out below about 1/3rd of an inch, below the level of the stylus.:eek: how do i source exactly the right length of these tiny screws to make sure they are the perfect length considering the consequences?

the Infinity 1.0 mil is mounted on my Durand Telos with a wood arm wand that uses a metal cartridge plate and the screws provided are the right length. so i was able to eventually get it mounted and tightened. the first time i played it it came loose. i had not tightened it enough. but now that seems to be ok. after much more drama than i've ever had before mounting a cartridge.

with the Infinity 0.7 mil i was stuck; then i realized i could use the screws from below and have them stick up above the top of the cartridge and have the nuts on the top. but again; i could not access the recesses in my headshell with any sort of socket or pliers to tighten it. and then how can i make fine adjustments to the set-up with a nut on top?

my solution was that i have a set of 50 Wiha small tools that just happen to include a deep socket 4mm driver. this tool seems to be the savior of the situation. as it can fit into the recesses to tighten the nut. and so far i'm ok. it does not look like i can use that driver to tighten up the nuts for my other Infinity 1.0 mil as there does not appear to be enough space, but i've not yet tried that. if that does work then absolutely that tool is essential to own an Infinity.

https://www.wihatools.com/precision-esd-safe-nut-driver-4-0mm

we still have to use the philips head on the bottom of the cartridge without the stylus guard to mount the cartridge while holding the 4mm socket with the other hand. but it can work.

and it's not ideal making small alignment adjustments with the nuts on top instead of the philips screw head. i had to turn the arm wand over a couple of times to loosen and move the cartridge to get it right. but a little hassle with that by that point was no big deal. how often will i touch it?

Infinity screws-2 (1 of 1).jpg Infinity screws-5 (1 of 1).jpg Infinity screws (1 of 1).jpg
 
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iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
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#60
Good write up Mike, thanks!
Indeed getting the nut on top seems to be the way to go.
I also need to get me a set of tools to loosen and secure it while holding the screwdriver from the bottom.
IIRC, the Audio Technica AT33PTG has similar setup. But I don’t recall if the stylus guard could be used while tightening the screws.
 

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