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EMPIRE cartridges

the thin end of the wedge

Postby raymondo75 » 12 Nov 2010 16:20

I found 3 Empire 400TC's lying in the basement of local electrician. They are new in the box (There was also 3 Philips GP-412 Mk III's witch I was so excited about that I reviewed it the second night I was listening to it) Bought them all and I'm happy I did!

The 400TC seems to get better day after day. Sound stage is wide and the sound! I'd use words "more tone" compared to more modern cart's I've used. A lush sound. It's also my second experience of lp's being played througout without innergroove distortion. (the Phillips was first :)

Just a-b tested some cd's to lp's with this cart. I used Luxman C-300's phono stage. no contest.. the pleasant highs and lush midrange much richer in nuancer and character than digital. I was just about to sell my 80's Rainbow records 'cos I thought they sounded bad.. well now they are staying.. very nice to hear Ritchie's guitar floating in the air with all the edge and nuance but without fatique. Never heard it like this before.

Hope to find 600lac.. so if someone can help please do!

Btw.. The Phillips is also nice. Not quite as wide soundstage or lush sounding but pleasant with qreat resolution and very tight powerfull bass on a RB300 arm. Great for pop and Lee Ritenour kinda records..
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Postby bauzace50 » 12 Nov 2010 18:10

Hi,

During many years I had a love affair with Empire cartridges. The latest one is one New Old Stock 2000 Z (moving iron, of course). I had great expectations, but it had somehow taken a steep dive in treble response. Its sound is mostly dull, lifeless. The very same thing happens with one 1000 Z/E I have...GREAT tracking ability, but strangely dull treble response. Totally different from its great sound when it was new 30 years ago.

Does anyone have an idea if the internal magnets may have lost magnetism? Any other idea about this strange behavior?

Thanks,
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Postby Cobra2 » 12 Nov 2010 18:25

Get new "load" resistors in the riaa/phono-stage, the old Empires "freshen up" with ~75k ohm load, 47k kills the top-end

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Postby bauzace50 » 12 Nov 2010 21:56

Cobra2,

thanks for the solution. To be sure, it is a tweak which had not been necessary when the cartridges were fresh out of the factory...30 years ago. Age seemed to charge for its "services".

Regards, and THANKS, again,
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Postby Cobra2 » 12 Nov 2010 22:52

In the 70's, it was not uncommon for receivers/amps to have adjustable loading for MM, and many of the MM-pick-ups designed for Quadro, should work into 100k ohm

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Postby dean man jim » 25 Nov 2010 04:21

raymondo75 wrote:I found 3 Empire 400TC's lying in the basement of local electrician. (snip)... I was just about to sell my 80's Rainbow records 'cos I thought they sounded bad.. well now they are staying.. very nice to hear Ritchie's guitar floating in the air with all the edge and nuance but without fatique. Never heard it like this before.

Hope to find 600lac.. so if someone can help please do!


I thoroughly enjoy all of the small group of Empires I have, and like you none result in listening fatigue. Only engaging music! Regarding the 600LAC, it along with the 900GT and LTD750 seem to perform similarly (though not identically). I mention this because your 400TC styli will work with any of them if you run into a body without an LAC stylus.

Listening to some Mozart string quartets tonight (Quartetto Italiano on Philips) via my Empire 888TE. Just lovely.

Jim
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Re: Empire cartridges

Postby starterwiz » 25 Nov 2010 05:42

josephazannieri wrote:Yo Grumpy:

I liked the sound better than the comparable Shures because the Shures of the period, such as V-15 III had a really agressive ear biting midrange.

Joe Z.


I used to think that about my Shures until I discovered the magic of adjusting the VTA.
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Postby raymondo75 » 25 Nov 2010 20:53

I thoroughly enjoy all of the small group of Empires I have, and like you none result in listening fatigue. Only engaging music! Regarding the 600LAC, it along with the 900GT and LTD750 seem to perform similarly (though not identically). I mention this because your 400TC styli will work with any of them if you run into a body without an LAC stylus.


Thanks for the info Jim. On the manual it looks like the only difference between 600lac and 500Id is the stylus. The other specs are identical. So if I can find a 500id and put an lac stylus on it it would be 600lac. Or am I wrong?
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Postby dean man jim » 26 Nov 2010 23:03

Hello raymondo, I don't own the 500ID but I think you would have a 600LAC (or one very very close to it)-- that said 500ID on the cartridige body.

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Postby raymondo75 » 27 Nov 2010 11:30

Quess I'll have to buy 500id then and find out how it sounds.. they are still forsale in France for small amount of €.
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Empire 2000 eIII

Postby corners » 22 Dec 2010 15:23

I have 2 Empire 2000 E III's, and one looks brand new, and sounds quite nice on my VPI with Profile arm. The older cartridge has a stylus that has a sticker on the top that says "Empire", but it sounds smoother than the "new" looking one. The older model also has less record noise, a lot less.
The "new" cartridge has "Empire I" on the stylus guard, and looks good under a scope, but has a lot of record noise. I love the sound when the music level rises above the noise level, but when levels are lower the noise can be annoying.

I have switched the stylus's from one cartridge to another, and the "new" always is noisier but with more resolution, and separation, soundstage.

What if anything can be done other than VTA,VTF, azimuth, (I have tried) ?
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Postby Doug G. » 22 Dec 2010 18:32

The mark on the front of Empire stylus guards is not a "1" or "I"

It is merely a vertical mark to aid in the cueing of the stylus onto the record.

Also, the 2000 series styli without the guard on them are the older ones. They have the gold "EMPIRE" sticker on the horizontal surface.

The newer styli will have a flip-down guard on them with "EMPIRE" embossed into the front of the guard.

Doug
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Empire stylus interchangability

Postby glrickaby » 22 Dec 2010 20:12

The shape of the shaft going into the cartridge body is most commonly a
"heart" shape like on the 2000 series which will fit a mutitude of models.
I've put a 2000E III on an EDR 9 which is a perfect fit though obviously
an elliptical rather than an LAC stylus. The 2000T and Z series have
the same heart shape but with a narrower shaft. The older styles
have a round shaft and usually metal hinges on the stylus guard.
The 2000 E III type stylus will even fit many of the later plastic
bodies like the 190 on up numbers. Underneath the plastic, they
are the same metal bodies as the 2000 type. Another late type
has a little nub on the stylus unit and usually are not of the higher
end quality. Interestingly, some of the colors of the 2000 type
stylus will indicate diamond quality. Black is usually lowest,
then Green and then Red, then Clear etc., The stylus shaft holding
the diamond also becomes narrower as the line goes up. A 2000
series body with a .002 x.007 stylus, though not an EDR9, is
probably the best value soundwise. The Gold bodies became
plain metal as things evolved. Believe I read someplace that
the metal body units actually used an inside foil to generate
the sound which isn't exactly moving iron. A 4000 series body
is no different than a 2000 except possibly the color of the metal.
Some like the EXL10 are even painted black but basically a 2000
series with a conical stylus. Some 2000's are also black. Nice
open sound usually but not always the detail, depending upon
the diamond used. Generally NOS styli don't seem to deteriorate
with age in my experience which pretty much is with the 2000
series and after, timewise.
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Postby Doug G. » 23 Dec 2010 08:25

The stylus colors and configuration of the original 2000 series are thus:

2000 - Clear smoke - straight cantilever .7 mil. conical
2000E - Clear red - straight cantilever .3X.7 mil. bonded elliptical
2000 E/I - Clear green - straight cantilever .2X.7 mil. nude elliptical
2000 E/II - Clear blue - tapered cantilever .2X.7 mil. nude elliptical
2000 E/III - Clear (no color) - tapered cantilever .2X.7 mil. nude elliptical
2000Z - Gold - tapered miniature cantilever .2X.7 mil. elliptical

The difference between the models with the same type stylus is in the compliance and tip mass.

Actually, the 4000 series cartridge bodies are different than the 2000 series. Since they were originally designed for CD-4 quadraphonic use, the electrical specs are different. The DCR is typically 500 ohms instead of 1000 of the 2000 series. They were designed to work into a 100Kohm load instead of the 47Kohm load of most stereo cartridges.
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Postby kcc123 » 23 Dec 2010 11:14

The 2000E IV has a purple body with .2X.7 mil. elliptical stylus(S912E).

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