Allright: quick report on what I think
is going on with the 303-
I am a big believer in a/b/x testing and a real pessimist about going through the time required to put in a tonearm and come back with any reasonable comparison to what was heard before. Also, this weekend I reinstalled my 'new' SAE 1000e, replacing a fresh Ortofon 2M Blue. That said:
- I sense much better, sweeter articulation of transients across the spectrum, bringing things to greater immediacy.
- Things which push out in the spectrum, like the CS&N remastered LP's lower midrange bloom, and splash and and crash cymbals in different albums, push more. Articulation is higher for things like acoustic guitar and drums overall. Given that, I put on some MFSL Sintatra box set stuff to see what happened to vocals and they basically stayed the same in terms of immediacy and presence (as I recall from the day before). I expected more, but no.
- King Crimson's "Beat", from the 1980's, seemed a bit more bright and aggressive than I recalled. Not a good thing.
- The real revelation came when I put an immaculate vintage Jeff Beck Group LP on my (Paradigm in-wall) kitchen speakers. The high-hat on "Ice Cream Cakes" was very in-your-face (it always is), but: throughout the first side the band just sang. There's no other word for it. My NS1000's define things so well that it's possible to get caught up in details. The lesser kitchen system really made it clear what the RB303 contributes.
The RB303 just brings everything that has to do with time much closer. Words like "sing" and "sweet" come to mind a lot. In a way, it's a perfect match to the SAE 1000, which while I feel it has a lot of authority and presence, lacked my Ortofon 2M Blue's sparkle. The SAE made the Ortofon sound cheap, but I missed that liveliness. The 303 brings that back in a better, much better-defined
I have never, seriously never written such vague poorly-defined slop in my life, but it's the best I can do. I do think the RB303 is a great move for owners of RB300 arms.