[Review] Einstein EMT TU2 (Tubaphon) Cartridge

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by scott_01, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. scott_01

    scott_01

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    Sep 1, 2005
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    Einstein EMT TU2 (Tubaphon) Cartridge

    I'll start by stating that this isn't a comparative review and I haven't taken any measurements to back up my thoughts. It's more of an opinion piece on the above Cartridge.

    I don't have the luxury of comparing it like for like with other similarly priced items but hope to do so at some point in the future. Therefore please don't take this as definitive advice / fact but as my opinions and experiences with this particular piece of equipment. I also don't listen to Jazz or Classical music really so please take that into account.

    Right, now that I've disclaimed myself to death. here goes.....

    CARTRIDGE Einstein EMT TU2, also known as Tubaphon TU2

    DESCRIPTIONB] This is a stripped down version of the well known EMT TSD / XSD 15 studio cartridge. Resourceful individuals discovered some time ago (early 80's I think) that shedding the stock protective body and headshell improved the sound of the EMT cartridge. To my knowledge the first in this country was Richard at Vantage Audio. As a quick advertorial, he will strip them down if you get hold of an EMT and want it done his details are at the bottom.

    'TECHNICAL'

    The picture below shows the exposed body and semi exposed cantilever. I think they were originally available with a wide variety of tips, from the standard 'Super fine line' the Van Den Hul tip or the Spherical tip. Each one of these gives better tracking ability with a variety of recorded material:

    For tracking stereo grooves, Styi with tip radius of 4, 6 or 15 µm
    For tracking mono grooves, Styi with tip radius 25 µm
    For tracking standard grooves@78 rpm: Styli with tip radius 65 µm

    The SFL has tip radii of 6, the VDH 4 and the Sph 15µm. EMT manufacture alternative tips for their mono and 78 cartridges (1)

    This model is the SFL.

    To the best of my knowledge the Technical specs are exactly the same as the EMT cart.

    Weight 7.2 gm (measured by me on Clearaudio stylus gauge)
    Output 0.21 Mv
    Freq Response 20Hz - 30000
    Tracking Weight 2 - 2.5 Gm (I prefer it at 2.0 gm)
    Impedance 2 x 24 Ohm

    FINANCE / PHYSICAL APPEARANCE

    The Cart cost me 700 Euros including postage. It was on E BAY.De as BNIB but did not meet the reserve price, I was the highest bidder at 590 Euro. I contacted the seller afterwards, he named a fair price and It felt right so I paid via paypal. A week later the cartridge arrived safe and sound.

    [​IMG]

    It comes in a reasonable looking box. The cartridge itself is well protected from damage and is fixed to the box body. Accessories are minimal but all you need. A small allen key, mounting bolts and a print out of the measured frequency response. (see the picture below)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The cartridge tag wires are very fragile and the tags had detached themselves from the wires in transit. Soldering them back on was easy enough but required a bit of care and patience. If the wires had come loose from the body I would have been more reticent to do the job myself. The tag leads are far too long in standard form and will probably need trimming for most headshells. I just can't be bothered to do mine right now.

    [​IMG]


    SOUND

    To me It's awesome. I've been listening to my records all weekend. Everything sounds better, bigger, fuller yet better timed etc.

    I think each time I have changed a cart it has been an extremely significant upgrade. I am beginning to feel that the deck and arm are generally the limiting factor in getting the most out of a given cart.

    Moving from the Syncro and Linn basic+ to the SP10 and DV505 really helped the DL304 to sing. The DL304 is great value for the money in my opinion, not the last word in prat but consistent across the frequency range and no massive faults. The new arm and deck were great. Noise floor plummeted, bass was deeper and better defined and the timing definitely improved. Treble was clearer across the freq band, much less 'hash' at the top end. There was a clear and massive improvement.

    Changing to the EMT has wrought another and possibly even bigger improvement. I don't think it's the quietest cart but the sounds that come out of it are amazing.

    Bass

    Listening to 'catch a fire' by Marley and the Wailers, the bass on concrete Jungle is awesome. I can hear the secondary, lowest bass notes for the first time. It's tight when it needs to be (James Brown, 'Talkin Loud and Sayin' nothing) too.

    Mid

    Voices are sounding much more natural than they have to me in the past, even on vinyl. Belle and Sebastien, 'The state that I am in' and the start of 'Solid Air' by John Martyn are excellent. Even the interaction between the various members of the MC5 on 'Kick out the jams' sounds great! Instruments appear to be pitched just right too, can't think of any examples other than all the ones on Isaac Hayes 'Live at Sahara Tahoe'

    Treble

    It doesn't shout out to me but there seems like there is more of it, the soundstage has widened and the cymbals on The Stone Roses 'Breaking into Heaven' and 'Tears' are excellent. New Order 'Round and Round' is also fantastic. the synths sound great and the hi hat really kicks on nicely. The re0issued Depeche Mode 'Violator' is really good pressing, the atmospherics and high notes are presented just as they should be (IMHO).

    The thing that jumps out at me is the sound stage. It makes my modded Cambridge 840 sound positively anemic. Right now I don't think it is trading off the timing for this increase in information though and it seems spot on to me.

    The next thing is the detail that comes out. On 'Pat Garret and Billy the Kid' OST, you can hear Dylan, Steve Cropper etc fingering their strings and tapping their guitar bodies before they come into play. It has really got the music out of a number of really old and not too well maintained records. The difference in recording quality between 'Parachute Woman' and 'Jigsaw Puzzle' on Beggar's Banquet is interesting.

    Overall

    I've listened to shed loads of my records all the way through this weekend and have enjoyed every one. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

    I think it's neutral but don't read that as 'lacking musicality', being tonaly 'grey' or 'unemotional'. I think I'm getting exactly what is in the grooves, or as close as possible at the price point I'm playing at.

    It is notoriously hard to demo cartridges and harder still to compare like for like. At the price of 700 Euro there are a few with good reputations. I can't imagine them being significantly better than this and have a suspicion that they won't be nearly as good. But I've no evidence as yet to prove this. I'd recommend a purchase at that price or lower but follow your ears and your phono stage to what suits you best.


    Associated Kit


    SP10MKII, DV505, Vantage Audio tonearm cable, Okki Nokki record cleaner.

    Dussun 3i Phono Stage

    Cyrus ACA 7.5 +PSXR
    Crimson 640D monos

    Revel M22 Performa

    JPS Labs speaker cables

    SOURCES

    1. Richard @ www.vantageaudio.com L-07D specialist, did a great job on my SP10 MKII (Post coming soon)

    2. http://www.toneimports.com/emt/EMTlist.html
     
    scott_01, Sep 2, 2007
    #1
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  2. scott_01

    Stereo Mic

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    Nice review - thanks for sharing.
     
    Stereo Mic, Sep 3, 2007
    #2
  3. scott_01

    mellstock

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    Wow - great review - can almost hear what you're playing since I share your tastes to the point of having many of these LPs. Also has got me thinking about my own Denon DL304. The model has seen me through 2 upgrades (Manticore Mantra with almost all the upgrades to Spacedeck to Hyperspace) but I clearly have to look elsewhere when I've run this one into the ground - maybe another year/18 months to go. The only bit of me which disagrees with with what you've said is my wallet.
    Thanks again
    ________
    Jailbroken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2011
    mellstock, Sep 3, 2007
    #3
  4. scott_01

    scott_01

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    scott_01, Sep 3, 2007
    #4
  5. scott_01

    SCIDB Moderator

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    Hi,

    Good review. These EMT based cartridges have always been of interest. The Roksan Shiraz is another cartridge that EMT, as is the Brinkmann.

    The prices do vary but if they can be got cheap, they might be worth a try.

    SCIDB
     
    SCIDB, Sep 4, 2007
    #5
  6. scott_01

    sq225917 Exposer of Foo

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    scott check you PM box.
     
    sq225917, Sep 5, 2007
    #6

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