Shure vs Audio Technica
I readjusted the tracking on the Phaser TT (just thought of that one instead of writing out Phase Linear 8000a series 2 all the time) and the Shure sounded much better. It is an RXT4 which apparently is a version of the M97. The M97 was a second tier phono cartridge back in the day and was similar to the venerable V15s. I admit it sounded very good. From the condition I would say it was NOS.
My version appears to have the same motor but has a plastic mounting frame rather than the metal one of the M97. Styli are the same and there are upgrades that are available to take it into holy territory if the ads are to be believed.
The Phaser looks like it was seldom used if ever. I cannot imagine it being sold by Radio Shack who sold the RXT4 as a house brand. RS was never high end anything and Phase linear was high end. So it was a replacement of the original? Hence NOS.
I was playing what I call my sacrificial album. Superbly recorded music I do not like. Mofi pressing of Al Stewart’s Year of the Cat. About the least exciting recording artist of the was it the 70s or the 80s. Engineered by Alan Parsons so great mix and far better musicians than the songs deserve. Enough editorializing. The Shure sounded clean with great bass and nice detail. It could be a keeper in the right home. Should I try it in the Sony and Grace tone arm. The Grace 707 and the Shure V15 was a famous golden pairing in the 70′s.
For comparison I replaced it with the AT 7 I just bought. It is brand new and may need breaking in. It is supposed to be very like the 440MLa in the HK TT just more laid back in the treble. I played the same album again and it was different of course. Bass was less but I think better defined. Detail was more refined. There are some Sax solos that sounded more saxy on the AT. Both tracked superbly. There were some harmonica bits here and there that sounded more metallic on the AT. So they are different. Frankly I want the AT to be better so psychology is a factor. The Shure had nice bass and I will call it a richer sound not bad at all. Different.
I went to a favorite album next for just the AT7. Paul Simon “There goes Rhyming Simon” side one. This was mostly to get familiar with the Phaser TT. Differences between the HK and Phaser the big guy is quieter. I hear NO rumble or background between tracks. Squeeze through of loud sounds from the next tracks of songs is more evident. That’s kind of funky. This album is from 1976 and sounds NEW. The background singers in “Tenderness” were big as life. I THINK I prefer this to the 440Mla. Gotta do a lot more listening oh well.
Finally I went to my old Emmylou Harris Album “Quarter Moon in a Ten cent Town”. Cartridge torture test album. I swear there are sounds on this that only dogs can hear and most cartridges have to run and hide. Good solid result. The highs may need taming perhaps the thing has to break in, but better than my old V15 back when both were new. It never tracked this album well in the inner grooves. Listened to one song then had to shut down. I will follow up tonight.
See if I can clearly hear Willie in there on one paper kid.”
I may be in buyer justification mode, but even the wife likes the look of the machine and complimented the sound. I have to do some furniture re-arrangement as I bought a stereo stand and need to move a desk to assemble it.