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EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

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EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby BMRR » 01 Feb 2017 21:52

I recently came into possession of an Empire RM 350LT cartridge. It's a P-mount cart that came with a standard mount adapter. I assume it's from the era when so-called "universal" cartridges were all the rage.

I've searched Google and I can find absolutely NOTHING about this cartridge. No web pages, no photos, no proof that it ever existed. But I know it's real because I'm holding it in my hand right now! I'd like to find out what the specs are, to determine whether or not I should bother getting a new stylus for it.

Photos below. Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on it!
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby needlestein » 01 Feb 2017 22:30

Wualta will be along any time and demystify this cartridge for you. But it's a cartridge that was supplier-made, and if I'm not mistaken, it comes in both moving magnet and induced magnet types so you have to be careful when ordering styli. I don't have this cartridge, but I have a Nagatron by Induced Magnetic Systems as well as a cheapo from an unknown AM Denmark brand that is this very cartridge. I've also seen a Marantz version of this cartridge.

The IMS cartridge sounds way better than the AM Denmark cartridge, by the way. The styli interchange.
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby BMRR » 01 Feb 2017 22:41

Thanks!

And sorry about the disgusting images; that's exactly how the cartridge was given to me. I believe it spent about 20 years in the previous owner's basement.
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby BMRR » 01 Feb 2017 22:49

Speaking of induced magnets... is the MG29/Red Ed/Elektra/et al. an induced magnet or moving iron cart? I've mostly seen it referred to as a moving magnet (and once as a moving iron), but I never actually had one in my hands until now (in the form of an Empire 205LT), and when I removed the stylus (very difficult BTW) I saw a huge magnet in the upper part of the cartridge body above the hole where the stylus inserts, and it reminded me of the magnet on ADC "beige brick" induced magnet carts. I put the cart body back in a box with some other cart bodies, and it attached itself magnetically to a nearby Pickering XV-15. :lol:
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby wualta » 02 Feb 2017 02:11

needlestein wrote:...The IMS cartridge sounds way better than the AM Denmark cartridge, by the way..

I've never come across these two versions. Any possibility of a photo? or three?

BMRR wrote:I recently came into possession of an Empire RM 350LT cartridge... is the MG29/Red Ed/Elektra/et al. an induced magnet or moving iron cart?

You've discovered another rebadge of this very nice moving-magnet cartridge Empire had someone in Japan (my guess is Nagaoka, and this is bolstered by the IMS version 'stein has) make for them-- thanks!.

Yes, there are two versions, but Empire, going against type, decided they wanted the moving magnet, abandoning their 20-year moving-iron stance. We needn't worry, since the MM styli are really quite good, especially the red 246-DEX, still available from Gary at tVOM, aka VMAE. Gary has a 4246-DEX as well-- I should try it one of these days.

The MI Marantz, Sonus and Nagatron/IMS/Nagaoka versions used body magnets in the style of the late-'60s ADC "bricks". There's an Excel version whose operating principle I don't know, and then there's this AM Denmark thing, which I hope 'stein will describe or depict for us.

The Empire 105/205 are the moving-iron version(s) of the MG29, which is MM. You can try an MG29 stylus in the Empire, but my limited experience with this combo suggests you'll get better sound with an "original" Empire MI stylus.
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby BMRR » 02 Feb 2017 18:24

Regarding the RM 350LT:

needlestein wrote:...it comes in both moving magnet and induced magnet types so you have to be careful when ordering styli.


What should I look for to determine whether mine is the MM or IM version?

needlestein wrote:I have a Nagatron by Induced Magnetic Systems as well as a cheapo from an unknown AM Denmark brand that is this very cartridge. I've also seen a Marantz version of this cartridge.

The IMS cartridge sounds way better than the AM Denmark cartridge, by the way. The styli interchange.


Are the Nagatron and AM Denmark both induced magnets, or is one an IM and the other an MM?

Here are some more photos of it, now that I've cleaned off whatever that horrid white stuff was (had to use five or six Q-Tips soaked in 91% iso before I finally got it all off...)

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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby BMRR » 02 Feb 2017 18:26

Photos continued:

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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby BMRR » 02 Feb 2017 18:47

wualta wrote:The Empire 105/205 are the moving-iron version(s) of the MG29, which is MM. You can try an MG29 stylus in the Empire, but my limited experience with this combo suggests you'll get better sound with an "original" Empire MI stylus.


It's bizarre/fascinating that some of these ubiquitous bodies came in both MM and MI versions.

Lots of people rave about the MG29 (although I wonder how much of that is hype/urban legend/myth, based on Ed Saunders' skill at writing convincing ad copy)... but most of those raves would be based on the MM version, yes? Does the MI version sound different, and if so, is it good different or bad different?

I found this on eBay and it was only $8 so I ordered it, but it's not clear to me whether this is truly the same as the Empire S205 stylus, or if it's an MG29 stylus repackaged by Empire from the era when they were selling a lot of replacement styli for many different brands:

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 12.43.36.jpg
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And here are photos of the actual S205 stylus I have here:

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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby BMRR » 02 Feb 2017 18:49

Along with some better photos of the 205LT body, with ADC Brick-style magnet clearly visible:

FullSizeRender(9).jpg

FullSizeRender(10).jpg

FullSizeRender(11).jpg
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby wualta » 02 Feb 2017 23:44

Yep, the red Empire stylus packages are generics. The dark gray/black packages are genuines. What you have there looks like an MG29 (moving-magnet) stylus. Try it in the 205 and see how it goes.

That yellow stylus is the base conical, so you might want to grab a 246-DEX while they're still available and affordable. You're very unlikely to buy the wrong (ie, moving-iron) stylus for the RM 350 LT, since they never seem to show up. Just make sure it says EMPIRE on the guard.
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby needlestein » 03 Feb 2017 02:18

Digging through cigar box ...

image.jpeg


Lessee here...

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AM left IMS right


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Close up of AM


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Styli disconnected
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby needlestein » 03 Feb 2017 02:21

image.jpeg
Identical from bottom view


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AM stylus fits IMS (and works!) but not other way around



These are both cheapies with conical styli. I got the IMS from Garage-A'-Records (miss them) and the AM of Denmark from eBay. The IMS doesn't track at 125 mg and the AM sounds like you're listening through a long pipe. So, neither gets much play. They just take up space in the collection.

If you want the mediocre in every way Nagatron IMS P2000, Bluz Broz (adelcom) will sell you one for almost seventy-five smackers.

https://www.adelcom.net/NagatronicsCart1.htm

If you want an AM of Denmark RS-4, thankfully, I can't tell you where you might find one. It's terrible.

I love that packaging though. Makes me nostalgic for the days when I'd come home with a fresh pack of blank Maxell metal cassettes.

The Empire 395LT (this one is on eBay right now) looks like another variant in a fancy golden case.

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Gold means better
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This 485LT on eBay right now looks the same, too.

image.jpeg
485 LT


There's also a 280LT which is a "real" Empire converted to P Mount. That's a great sounding cartridge. Also, this is some kind of record. I've never seen so many Empire P Mounts on eBay at once. Normally you see one or two a year.
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby wualta » 03 Feb 2017 04:53

Yay! Thanks to 'stein for the photos and links. Also thanks for trying the swap between the IMS and the AM Denmark, which happens to resemble my Empire LTD 600:

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Thanks also to BMRR for the good closeups of the Empire 205 LT.

I'll bet if you (or a reasonable facsimile) cracked off the AM Denmark's swoopy top, the IMS stylus would fit, but don't nobody bother, since the AMD is moving-magnet and the IMS is moving-iron. And, as 'stein says, those two styli are nothing to get excited about. Grab a 246-DE or better and be amazed.

There's also an IMS P-2500 which I don't have:

IMS P-2500b-E.jpg


Many believe in the power of gold to make a cartridge sound better somehow, but I'd bet all these bodies (except the 205) measure the same inductance- and resistancewise (all my Empire versions do), but I'm embarrassed to say I never measured my IMS. I'll have to shuffle over to Facility A where all these cartridges under discussion are stored and report back. I predict a ho-hum no-surprise result.

Another thing I got from Garage was a hyperelliptical stylus for the Empires, a black S1085. I'm not certain it's original, but then again, neither was the original, and it sounds great. I mention it not to brag but to warn you that Gary shows it in his listings-- I've asked about it, and it's not in stock, or at least it wasn't two years ago when I asked.
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby needlestein » 03 Feb 2017 06:19

It looks to me like that magnet holder is some kind of a sling but in my case they still left the magnet off. Whatever. If the IMS is induced, why no magnet sling with a magnet in it?
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Re: EMPIRE cartridge experts: know anything about this cart?

Postby wualta » 03 Feb 2017 08:17

I remember now. I was wrong-- you could indeed put the IMS stylus in the Danish body and get sound, because the same little pill-shaped magnet you saw in the 205's body, and which would fit the empty socket on the Empire, is in the nose of the IMS stylus.

That makes the IMS truly universal, since you could stick an Empire 246-DEX on there or a moving-iron stylus (if only you could find a good one), as long as the stylus brought along its own fixed magnet. The Sonuses are built like this.
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