Friday, April 7

Sonic Pleasures

Last night I mounted.... a new Phillips cartridge on my NAD turntable. It replaced an old Stanton cartridge that Sue had with her when she came to Montreal; probably filched from CHMA, and certainly not in the best of repair. Well, let me tell you, what an improvement. Everything sounds better! Instruments like guitar and voice convey much more subtlety; percussion, particularly cymbals, are much more precise and appealing; and the separation of the instruments has improved: whereas before all the sounds were jumbled together and it was difficult to pick out each individual instrument, now the soundscape is much more detailed. I could hear much more of what each member of the band was doing.

The first listen with the new cartridge was Dire Straits' first LP. On almost every track I listened to I was able to pick out lyrics that were heretofore unintelligible. With the improved detail of the sound, much more of the emotion of the instrumentalists is conveyed; I can feel the joy and playfulness they felt when the track was recorded. It took me to another place! I hope that you have something in your life that brings you as much pleasure as listening to records brings to me

Just by chance I recorded a few songs onto my new computer before I replaced the cartridge. I'm in the process of making a mixed tape. Just for fun I rerecorded one of these songs ("Swimming" by Martha and the Muffins) and compared the two versions. While the difference between these two tracks was, naturally, not as great as the difference between the original with two different cartridges, it was still there, particularly in terms of the separation between the instruments. This kinda surprised me; if I were to predict what would have happened, I would have thought that the improvement would have been in the detail of the instruments, and not so much the separation. I intend to rerecord some of the other songs and make additional comparisons.


At 2:09 PM, Anonymous ryanm said...

Well yay.

At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Sue said...

I resent your accusation that I feltched that cartridge from CHMA -- I shelled out a whole $50 for that cartridge from shitty musicstop shortly before arriving in Montreal, which was -- 2 1/2 years ago?

May I recommend a nice orfono cartridge for your next round?

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Sam said...

My mistake. I guess that's just what I would have done.


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