bauzace50 wrote:-A- Are there two cartridges involved here (ie- one "103R" and one "103")?
two cartridges involved - a DL-103 & a DL-103R. The standard '103 is the one with the Paratrace & sapphire cantilever. The '103R is in original form.
-B- Is the cartridge in Graph #2 the modified version of the one illustrated in Graph #1?
No, the 1st graph shows the difference between the recording I made in June 2010 of the DL-103R and a recording of the same cartridge made today. I did this comparison to satisfy myself that I could trust what came next.
The second graph compares the June 2010 recording of the unmodified DL-103 (I did a whole lot of cartridges that day) with today's recording of the same cartridge but one which now sports a different diamond and cantilever.
I'm using an EQ plugin that has a matching feature which is quite useful for this kind of detective work. Both graphs are actually two traces over-layed on top each other. The important line is the blue dotted line in the middle - it's the EQ settings needed to match the frequency profile of one recording to another. In this case with an identical test signal feeding the respective processing pipelines it is equivalent to the frequency response difference
between the two pipelines, at least on that particular test signal.
If we are talking of the same cartridge in both graphs, there are several conclusions to be had.
-1- The cartridge has a frequency response whith a very mild downward slope. THAT is my aural impression of my "103R" (very slight softening as the sound moves toward the treble). This is the actual impression at a good concert hall.
Don't be fooled by the gentle downward slope of the pink noise traces - the level reduces by 3dB-per-octave (or should, this is normal for pink noise). You need to imagine the line rotated anti-clockwise a bit.
I do agree with your view of the DL-103R sound. It doesn't have the MC top emphasis and it is pretty flat but it's not the flattest MC in my collection. That would be the Dynavector Karat 17D3 - it has virtually no vices at all.
-2- The unmodified cartridge has very smooth response, with NO anomalies throughout its entire range. I strongly prefer this behavior.
It's quite impressive, I agree, but don't forget that the blue dotted line is not the response, it's the difference. Looking at the actual pink noise traces it's impressive out to 15K and rises by maybe 2-3dB beyond that to 20K although I'm guessing a bit given the pink noise slope.
-3- The modified cartridge shows an obvious anomaly in the treble range, consisting of a peaking response starting at 8 KHertz.
Yes, that's exactly how I see it and hear it. It's not subtle on the ear - it's obviously brigher than it was and is way brighter than the DL-103R is now. It's pretty exciting on the right recording and on others it's like Fuji Velvia - adds some welcome contrast to a murky scene.
This is the type of change I perceived in the Stanton 500 EE Mk II which SoundSmith modified for me with a ruby cantilever and special tip. Precisely the tonal change which I did not like, as compared with the unmodified version.
Now we need to know what's the main contributor to the brightness, the diamond or the cantilever.
This is, also, the same anomaly I got when modifying one Sumiko BP-EVO 3 with a Paratrace. The response changed from a mild dryness to a strongly bright character. BUT this brightness does NOT occur in all modifications (I have NOT had this added brightness in two other "Paratrace-only" mods: Stanton 500 EE Mk II, Shure M97xE). No tonal change, but an agreeable delivery of finer details. Two succesful modifications, in my book.
That's really interesting. I had my Koetsu re-tipped with the Paratrace at the same time as the '103 and it didn't come back with any obvious change of character - certainly nothing like the change that occurred with the Denon.