we've recently had testimonials about cartridges that swim against the current, and this is another one of those, with real value for this audience. I was attracted to it because my initial intention was getting a generic P-mount adapter alone. Figured: "Might as well get a cartridge in the deal".
It is the Audio Technica "AT 3482H/U" with CARBON FIBER cantilever, round tip, light tracking, P-mount plus adapter, $29.95 price in several vendors including Needle Doctor, LP Gear, even eBay.
This one was badged for Pfanstiehl, through eBay, with genuine AT cantilever/stylus. Its designation "3482H/U" indicates the 1/2-inch headshell adaptor, and No Adaptor without the "U".
Seller was http://www.andersonsmusic.com
and they also have the generic 1/2-inch headshell adapter.
This cartridge distinctly merits a backup status for exploring 2nd-hand LPs. It will not harm your LPs while playing fourth fiddle to your Goldfinger during retipping. It will give almost-free exploration of the valuable-bargain netherworld. And it has slightly mellow sound, free from treble highlighting, plus AMPLE tracking ability at 1.5 grams.
They have a more upscale stylus on the page.
Model name: AT 3482H/U
.7 mil conical tip
Carbon Fiber Cantilever
P-Mount, with 1/2-inch headshell adapter
(No 1/2-inch adapter without the "U" model designation).
Tracking at 1-to-1.5 grams
Includes mounting hardware
SETUP and TESTS:
The 1/2"headshell adapter makes for risk-free mounting, but care is needed in routing the headshell leads, due to limited space for maneuvering.
The SME 309 tonearm balanced this light cartridge for 1-to-1.5 gram tracking. The "torture bands" of the Hi-Fi News Test LP were ALL played perfectly. The low-frequency resonance came at 8-to-9 Hertz, but could be around 10 Hz with the Rega RB-250, which is slightly lighter than the SME 309 with its 9.5 grams effective mass.
The phasing band gave very distinct results over headphones. The highest tracking band was played free from distortion.
The "white noise" bands were impressively full-range, and free from specific highlighting or suckouts. The 1kHz channel calibration tones on the Shure TR-117 came in perfectly balanced.
The Sheffield Direct-to-Disc Harry James Big Band was played notably free from mistracking on the hottest trumptet phrases of "Corner Pocket", while the cymbals and drums were clear and "airy". The saxophone was appropriately midrangy and impressive, and the stereo effect was believably ample, atmospheric and deep.
The general tone was full-range but mellow on top. This is a Point of Quality in my book, since a highlighted treble is a demerit for me. The large swing dynamics had strong impact. And this, on a recognized high quality "audiophile" LP.
This clearly merits further exploration, since the brief setup impressions show capability in frequency coverage, freedom from treble distortion, high tracking ability, low tracking force, and very few demerits.
Extensive listening will be done over the next few days, and duly reported. For the time being, the Carbon Fiber cantilever impresses as "apt, and free from vices". Its distinct feature is the capability to do these at 1.5-gram tracking!
Additional explorations are clearly merited.