EMPIRE cartridges

the thin end of the wedge
GrumpyGazza
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EMPIRE cartridges

Post by GrumpyGazza » 04 Nov 2009 10:16

G'day, just looking for some info on a EMPIRE 2000 E/111 cartridge.
Bought a Hitachi PS17 Turntable today that has one of these cartridges attached. I have been using an AT95E with my other TT's and just wondering where on the CHEAP scale these sit.
Thanks for any info.

33audio
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Post by 33audio » 04 Nov 2009 11:20

Hi Grumpy,

I found a new Empire 2000 conical stylus and also had a 2000 coil.

I find the 2000 to be a very good budget cartridge. Very well behaved.

Most of the available stylii are probably aftermarket generic types.
They usually have a strange fizziness in the midrange due to resonance.

This Empire original came in a Pfanstiel aftermarket package. They also sold originals for a higher price. A real Empire stylus will say "Empire" on the stylus guard.

Russell Industries bought Empire Scientific a few years ago and they may still make a stylus for this cart, but it may not be the same as the older ones. Russell also bought the Electro-Voice "EV" aftermarket stylus company. No telling what inter-company alterations in design have occurred.

I doubt that their current 2000 stylus is the same as it used to be.

Real Empires are common on ebay. Regards, Mark

GrumpyGazza
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Post by GrumpyGazza » 04 Nov 2009 12:23

Thanks mark. I must say initial listening does sound promising. I'll swap the Empire over for a AT95E tomorrow and see-hear what happens.

bauzace50
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Post by bauzace50 » 04 Nov 2009 16:22

HI,
one of the original 2000/E-III graced my system years ago, with very good performance. The only concern now is whether the suspension is deteriorated with age...these models were marketed around 1975.

Regards,
bauzace50

33audio
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Post by 33audio » 04 Nov 2009 20:11

http://www.mantra-audio.co.uk/

This web page has a link to a spec brochure for these cartridges.

If they are not doing maintenance on their site then they are broken down. Most links do not work, including Empire.

Here is a photoeditor crop from a "print screen" of the mantra brochure that I stored months ago, in case it won't open on their page.

100K download

http://www.33audio.com/enter/pics/Empir ... ochure.jpg

GrumpyGazza
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Post by GrumpyGazza » 05 Nov 2009 01:33

Thanks for the replies. Wow! didn't realise the Empire was that old. It looks new to me. Maybe the previous owner gave it a bit of a spit and polish :roll:

josephazannieri
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Empire cartridges

Post by josephazannieri » 05 Nov 2009 02:04

Yo Grumpy:

I was a fanatical partisan of Empire cartridges for many years. 888's, 999's 1000's etc. Every time they would make a new one I would buy it. They were remarkably smooth sounding, and they would track anything. I tried one of those Shure Audio Obstacle Course tests with my 999, and it knocked off all the Shure V-15's, which supposedly would out track anything. 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.

In the late 70's and early '80's the Empire build quality started to deteriorate severely. I had 2 or 3 2000Z's where the stylus cantilever came loose from the rubber block, and the stylus actually came adrift, one right after the other. That suggested that I needed a more reliable unit. I bought a used Shure V-15IV from a buddy who had replaced it with a Koetsu Onyx. It had a brand new stylus and I got it for $50. It had a much better sound than the earlier Shures, and I was satisfied with it. Didn't chew your ears off. I would say that if you can find a 2000 with a good reliable stylus you will have smooth response and really good tracking, but if you like a hot midrange, the Empire may not be for you. For clarification, I had a couple of 2000E's and they were OK. It was the 2000Z's that were shaky.

Hope this helps!

Joe Z.

Cobra2
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Post by Cobra2 » 05 Nov 2009 10:48

I did a quick test with an Empire 2000E/III and a 200LTD, both performed in Shure 97-class, maybe better... IMHO

Arne K

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Post by 1200y3 » 05 Nov 2009 11:19

The Empire quality and design is first rate for its day and stll is. They had a stylus compliance simailar to Stanton and Shure, so its stylus would be rugged (an audio requirement). I believe it is an isolated floating compliance that has less tonearm visiblity. If you can't find an original you will need to use a generic, and if you want decent sound the generic may need some modifying to improve it. I have a couple Empires but I haven't tried to get them running. MCM Electronics has a generic replacement, and there are some others supplilers as well.

So on a price scale, Empire was in the same league, with a different stylus compliance design (apples and oranges). They claimed to have a high quality stylus originally. With the type of compliance the Empire has generics should work O.K. With AT compliances the original is very sophisticated. Hang on to the Empire. It is one you can make work if you had no choice. Any stylus with a magnet could slip into it stylus shaft, with a dab of silicone or latex rubber.

I am not sure what the gold finish is, but it shines forever.

Cobra2
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Post by Cobra2 » 05 Nov 2009 13:40

The Empires are like Ortofon OM: one body can take many different stylus, and E/III can take most "2000" and "4000" seires stylus.
There are plenty of genuine needles on the marked, better ones start at $ 50, and genuines are sometimes found in Pfanstiel boxes.

Arne K

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Post by dean man jim » 06 Nov 2009 00:02

bauzace50 wrote:HI,
one of the original 2000/E-III graced my system years ago, with very good performance. The only concern now is whether the suspension is deteriorated with age...these models were marketed around 1975.

Regards,
bauzace50
I think the Empires may have used an unusually good rubber in the suspension...my ca. 1969 1000 ZE/X with a NOS stylus is in regular use and performs beautifully, no worries. I also love my 888TE, 900GT, 600LAC O:)

Regards,
Jim

[img]10670[/img]

fantasia
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Post by fantasia » 06 Nov 2009 01:41

HI guys nice disscussion,

The only empire i ever heard was one of the really cheap ones!!
not the lovely gold coloured body 2000/4000 series or later which will take some very good stylii there are even generic shibatas made for them.

But i must say that i have never heard that any were duds which impresses me, i did once buy a pricey well known cart which is a dud.

More opinions please only trouble is that they can go for sill prices at places like ebay.

fantasia

Cobra2
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The numbering game:

Post by Cobra2 » 06 Nov 2009 08:53

Many bodies are identical. I have checked/measured these:
(sorted by stylus-type)

LTD200 = LTD 400 -> ~1,5k/600mH
P 60 RC -> ~ 770 ohm/350mH
1080LT = RM 65 -> ~1,55k/735mH
----------------------
2000E/III -> ~1k/570mH
EXL-10 -> ~530 ohm/360mH
--------------------
385LT=485LT=...=1085LT ->500 ohm/600mH
----------------------
140C -> 500 ohm/525mH

All tested on a fairly cheap(un-calibrated) LCR-meter

Arne K

Alec124c41
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Post by Alec124c41 » 07 Nov 2009 00:28

I had a couple of used Empire carts. The sound was good, but the output was quite unbalanced, and no amount of re-alignment would correct it. I still have a couple in my parts box, but never thought it worth trying to resurrect them.

Cheers,
Alec

bauzace50
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Post by bauzace50 » 07 Nov 2009 05:40

Alec,
your poor experience with those cartridges may have been specific for the models you had. This is totally different from the excellence I had with several Empire models (880p, 888p, 1000 Z/E, 2000-E-III).
REgards,
bauzace50

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