We also compared the vdH Grand Cru on the SME 3012R arm to the MSL Signature Gold on the SME V-12 arm.
I think the general consensus was good. They remarked on the sheer amount of “detail” they heard. We disagreed on which arm/cartridge combination sounded more tonally correct, but we did seem to agree that the vdH conveyed more of the music's energy.
They preferred the presentation of the MSL Signature Gold on the V-12 arm. I preferred the vdH Grand Cru on the 3012R arm. I think they liked the warmer tonal balance and felt is was more timbrally correct, while I thought that combination was a bit warm and slightly soft sounding with slightly less energy.
I think of the vdH/3012R as cool clear bottle of water during a lovely afternoon sail. The MSL/V-12 is more like a warm bottle of Sake with a delicious sushi dinner. It is a matter of preference and taste.
The silver gold ZenWave cables Tango is referring to is the ZenWave D4 cable. Dave Calhoon has proprietary silver/gold alloy wire made for him by Neotech. This alloy wire is used in the D4 and D5 interconnect cables along with pure silver Neotech UPOCC wire.Thank you Tang. Yes, I think we do have similar preference in sound, perhaps even music.
I have had ZenWave D4 IC and power cables in my system and heard them in my friends' systems. I like the D4 but do not know if I have heard the silver gold cables.
I chose my current cables and connectors very carefully and am quite satisfied. I appreciate the suggestion.
Very, very interesting Al and Ian.
I find the various subjective sonic views on the vdH Master Signature cartridges to be fascinating.
Ian, what were your impressions of the sonic differences between the cartridges? Which one would you "take home"?
My goal has been to change the overall sound of my system to a point where I am listening more to the music and less to the sound.
It is great that people who dont own a Vdh get to hear the Vdh and make honest comments from what they hear. Apart from the favorable and unfavorable aspects of MS many people have mentioned, I also learn that the MS has this unique clarity of air in musical scene. From other excellent carts from East or West, I can get super air clarity from the front of musicians. This makes me feel " Great! This is a transparent cart." But once I play MS, this air clarity goes between instruments and beyond more noticeably than other carts. This more transparent clean air (not black quietness black ground) help make sound of an instrument more dimensional and as if it is originated from that point of space. I am not saying the MS makes instruments in the back pop up more. What is in the back I still hear as it is in the back and shouldn't be heard distinctive as what in front if it wasnt intended to. Just the clear air around and beyond that I am talking about. It is pretty much the same type of stand out transparency that I found separate AS2000 from my other tts at first heard. Bare naked not necessary beauty. Japanese carts all try to suppress or mute surface noise. The VDH does not seem be designed to do that. So not a quiet cart is another aspect.Looks like a fun gathering. It's interesting the difference in perspectives regarding the carts. If the MSL Gold (which I've not heard) shares the same "unetched" character of the MSL Platinum (which I have heard), then my perspective is that the MSL is overly smooth while the Master Signature (which I've also heard) is crisper and more realistic. I love the retrieval of inner detail by the MSS also, particularly sustain and decays which to me are the hallmark (or not) of a high resolution system. Without this resolution, I personally find the listening experience lacking. Incidentally, I'll have a new Gran Cru in my system soon....
Looks like a fun gathering. It's interesting the difference in perspectives regarding the carts. If the MSL Gold (which I've not heard) shares the same "unetched" character of the MSL Platinum (which I have heard), then my perspective is that the MSL is overly smooth while the Master Signature (which I've also heard) is crisper and more realistic. I love the retrieval of inner detail by the MSS also, particularly sustain and decays which to me are the hallmark (or not) of a high resolution system. Without this resolution, I personally find the listening experience lacking. Incidentally, I'll have a new Gran Cru in my system soon....
Do you think you are caused to do this, or, if a choice, what leads to making it one way or the other? So much of the discussion from all of us here (WBF and your own thread) is about sound and equipment. Can changing system 'orientation' (or whatever is the right word for the type of changes you've made lately) cause or lead one to focus less on equipment and sound?
I'm less inclined to think of this 'focus' as intentional or a choice. Having had enough gear pass through my system over the years I find some of it simply makes me think less about it and more about the music - and some it just the opposite. We know it when we hear it.
Your approach seems to be about changing the set up of the components you have to achieve the goal. Do you think that one can achieve the same goal with different components or can any components lead to the desired result by changing their setup?
I tend to focus less on the gear or sound, and more on the music. It is more relaxing, less effort. I don't know if this is a conscientious decision or not. It just seems to happen.
How did you come to realize your system was not meeting your goals and begin to re-orient it in the ways you have recently? What led you to that revelation?
Hi Tim, MikeL thinks I ask the tough questions. These are good ones, and they are not so easy to answer. It has been a gradual and deliberate process, with a few significant moves that led to a revelation.
I touched on some of this in my report on the Pass Labs XP-32 preamp. Years ago when I really started getting into this hobby, I bought specific gear thinking it sounded good. I enjoyed playing my old records, buying new ones, and very incrementally improving the sound of my system through the occasional upgrade.
About eight years ago two things happened: Jim Smith came to voice my system to my room mainly by adjusting first my listening seat position (height and location) and then my speaker position. He demonstrated a very methodical process which resulted in a more engaging listening experience. From reading his book and then spending a weekend with him, I started thinking of music reproduction in his simpler terms: Tone, Dynamics, and Presence. Progress from here involved improving one or more of those attributes.
Around this same time, I visited an acquaintance in Vienna who subsequently became a good friend and audio mentor. He introduced me to a behind the scenes exploration of music making in one of the worlds greatest music venues, the Vienna State Opera. He suggested I listen to the energy created by the cello and various other instruments in the pit and to the voices on stage and how that energy expands through that hall. He taught me that there is no absolute sound. He taught me about the origins of sound and its essence. The sheer beauty of sound in that hall is amazing. Rehearsals in an empty hall heard from the edge of the pit to performances at night at the back of the hall in the Director's box. Sound during the day, music at night. I began to understand better grasp the distinction.
Then, about a year ago, I started to pay attention to ddk's ideas. I had always wanted to try a second tone arm and my questions to him about the SME 3012R led to many discussions and the further reading of his posts here on WBF. The concept of something even simpler than Tone, Dynamics and Presence became "Natural".
With the memories of years of listening to live music, friends' systems, and my own system, I began to realize that the reproduced audio I was hearing was pretty far removed from what I heard live, in Vienna, at the BSO, at small chamber settings, and at jazz clubs. With other hobbies, sailing in particular requiring more resources, I decided to try to change the sound of my system without spending much money. I talked more to David and sought out his advice.
I realized that the conventional way I had been doing things was not getting me closer to my goal of a more natural sound. David encouraged me to experiment by ditching some of my long held beliefs and to reassess everything with the very simple question: "Does it sound more or less natural?"
I started by removing things from the room and system: acoustic treatments, audiophile signal cables and power cords, isolation platforms. I then repositioned my speakers to face straight ahead. Each time I did something, I simply asked myself if it sounded more or less "natural".
That was the first basic move. It was not easy, it took time and a lot of experimentation, particularly with speaker position. I have found that with zero toe in, finding the right location in the room is considerably more challenging than when the speakers are toed in to meet a foot or two behind the listening seat. The interactions with the walls and resulting room reflections takes more fine tuning to sound right. This process took a long time and there were setbacks. Audio friends did not like the sound, but I continued in this new direction anyway.
With these changes the system sounded much more natural to me. I was reminded of what my mentor taught me in Vienna. My room was more energized, the music was more engaging and I was less conscience of the gear and system and room. This led to the second effort.
Once the room was energized and the music more alive, I wanted more of the clarity I heard from the BSO. This lead directly to the new preamp and signal cables. The vdH cartridges were actually the first hint of what was now possible in terms of clarity and natural sound.
That is a long history of the evolution of my system and my methodology, but it basically comes down to this: natural sound (ddk), energy (Vienna), and clarity (BSO). I think David would refer to it simply as "natural resolution".
The revelation came from hearing the results of my willingness to experiment with ddk's advice and to try something less conventional, even against the conventional wisdom. It was a kind of disruption or break from my long held audio beliefs. I now listen more to the whole rather than to the parts and have a clearer goal of where I want to end up.
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
|Julian (The Fixer)|
Website Build | Marketing Managersing