the home of the turntable

Headshell tweaking

snap, crackle and pop

Headshell tweaking

Postby Jimbuy » 20 Mar 2018 15:56

The aspect of vinyl playback that I think differentiates it from other media is the almost infinite ways and means of refining and fine tuning that can be done. The one that I am looking at now is cartridge/headshell mating. I looked to see if this topic has been discussed recently and didn't find any general discussion, so I am opening one here. I thought tonearms was the best forum; because the headshell is the variable; not the cartridge.

I will confine my own comments to my Sumiko Premier MMT with Cards rewire. I had been researching a possible replacement arm for my Oracle Alex MK III; but I am abandoning that for now, as the only affordable options seem to involve fixed headshells. So I'm looking to tweak the Sumiko. If anyone knows of any good tweak for the MMT, feel free to share.

The cartridges/headshell I use:
Hana SL/Sumiko with Cardas Rhoduim wires the rubber collar washer is lost. 19.26 g/lowish? compliance
I've ordered a Yammamoto HS-4 (carbon) intended for this one because I just can't leave well enough alone and I think I thought I may have heard something I slightly didn't like on one LP the other night.

Denon DL-301 II/LP gear Supreme 18.52 g/22 uN
Dynavector 10X3/TT-N 19.63 g/12 uN (I use damping)
Shure V15 RS SAS/Ortofon SH-4 16.24 g/25 uN and Stabilizer

I listened to the Shure, Hana, and Dynvector with and without collar washers today. No earthshaking differences; I think I prefer the Hana without and the Shure with. The Dyno sounded the same.

As I said, I plan on mating the HS-4, which is about 0.7 g lighter than the Sumiko, with the Hana.
I am thinking I'll move the Dyno to the Sumiko to lighten the load there. But maybe the DL-301.....?

Regarding leads, I am not sure I buy the idea of silver or rhodium having much effect unless the entire arm is wired the same way. Kind of seems like a 4" pipe connected to a 2" one. The 2" controls the flow rate. That being said, I'll probably try switching the Cardas leads to the HS-4 if I haven't bent a cantilever by that point.

Comments? Advice? Similar experiences?
senior member
senior member
Posts: 420
Joined: 25 Oct 2015 18:04

United States of America

Re: Headshell tweaking

Postby Alec124c41 » 21 Mar 2018 04:05

I have an Alexandria III, with the SA-250 arm that came with it. I have been thinking about upgrading to the MMT.
The MMT is a very good arm, and I have 4 of them One came with VdH wiring, loose bearings, a broken wire, and a shortie headshell to make up for being mounted in a Linn hole, 1/2 inch too short.
The Jelco headshell leads are generally good litz, and I have not thought to change them.
I have a number of headshells, in various weights, to fine tune the sound from my cartridges, too.
Turntable Weights (closed) used to do a brass cap for the top of the pivot, for the SA750. It was a friction fit on the oil cap. Never tried it, but have thought of making one.

vinyl engineer
vinyl engineer
Posts: 21588
Images: 76
Joined: 28 Oct 2002 04:24
Location: North of Toronto, Canada


Return to Turntables and Tonearms