clearaudio or unclear audio

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clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby m_shoe_maker » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:19 pm

Wow! Different Sound! What the Hell is this Sound???

Clearaudio is one of those brands which people really love or really hate. :D Clearaudio’s moving coil cartridges are probably the most controversial among the brand’s product line-up given its prices as well as its “house sound”. :?:

During the early 90s, MSM tried out his first Clearaudio MC cart as he wanted to find out what all the fuss was about regarding the brand. :?: The model purchased was a Gamma, and MSM’s initial impression was: WOW! :rock: What detail retrieval! :rock: It was exciting, and no other Japanese MC cart MSM has owned matched the Gamma’s ability to extract so much detail. :o In less than a year, the Gamma was sold for the same reason, too much freakin’ detail. :shake: Great work, wishy-washy MSM! :P Around 2001, MSM was at it again with a second Clearaudio MC, this time, a Sigma (what’s wrong with this guy?). :P Within the same year, MSM upgraded to a higher model, the Victory (there he goes again!). :P All three models belong to Clearaudio’s “Hammerhead” series, sporting a stylus profile the company called, “Trigon”. :!:

After going through 3 Clearaudio “Hammerhead” MCs, this was MSM’s impression (YMMV): :!:
1. Sound was thin! :@ Even thinner than MSM! :@ :@ This was despite MSM’s system which comprised of an all tube pre-amp / phonostage, a Dynaco ST70 (everyone knows how “fat” and “forgiving” the ST70 sounds), a laid-back sounding Celestion SL600si, and a mid range galore Spica TC-50. :| What the hell?! :swear:
2. Top-end etch for free! :devil: The impressive thing about the “Hammerhead” MC was its ability to retrieve detail from midrange to infinity! :clap: This however was let down with a top end etch which to MSM was quite irritating ‘coz instruments sometimes sounded as if they were made of metal. :puke: What the F_ _ K?! :swear:
3. Inner groove distortion to your heart’s content! :devil: MSM thought he had lost his mojo and the ability to properly align cartridges. :sweat: But whenever he installed his Lyra or Benz Micro, inner groove distortion was non existent! :| Even with another fellow’s more expensive system, the “Hammerhead’s” inner groove distortion was still present at astonishingly high levels – and this was on an Air Tangent, an air bearing linear tracking tonearm using an Accurate! :roll: To think the Accurate was already one of the top models in the “Hammerhead” MC line-up. :^)

So why did it take MSM around 10 years, and 3 “Hammerhead” MC carts before finally giving up on the Clearaudio brand? :?: Is he so hard headed, or is it just his nature to hit himself with a hammer on the head? :doh: Not really, there is something about the Clearaudio sound which appeals to some, and that is its ability to retrieve even the tiniest detail from your LP. 8) If you prefer and belong to the “musical” / “malambing” sounding camp, then walk away from this brand or else you might commit suicide. :devil: But if you are, or have a hint of that “audiophile” / “hifi artifacts” type, then you will understand why a typical breed of audiofool choose to live with that small window of high resolution amidst all that analytical sound from a Clearaudio “Hammerhead” MC. ;) The Clearaudio “Hammerhead” was a different animal altogether…. good or bad, that depends on the personal preference of the user. :!: It was just like having that old British roadster which constantly leaked oil and ruined your hairstyle, the price to pay for that exhilarating driving experience. :geek:

The Clearaudio brand hit mainstream with HP and MF raving about it :up: :up: , while Salvatore hating it :n: . And no thanks to its Philippine pusher, IHJ, the brand also went mainstream locally, and audiofools here got to experience the brand’s “house sound” around 5 - 7 years ago. :P Let’s admit it, a lot of us have called the brand with adjectives such as; “CD Sound”, “Analytical”, “Payat”, “Matalas”, “GERMAN Sound” (remember the sound of those German MB Quart car speakers back in the 90s? – exciting at first, but……). :devil: :devil: :devil: “Mataba”, “Bilog”, “Shade of Beige”, “Syrupy”, “Mellow”, “Sweet” were just some adjectives never associated with the brand. :P MSM once told IHJ that he will never buy a Clearaudio MC again coz whenever MSM listens to a Clearaudio “Hammerhead” MC, he felt that the sound was like a metal screw being pierced through his forehead! :@ Now we know why MSM’s forehead is so big – no thanks to those “Hammerheads”! :@ Through the years, a lot of audiofools have purchased and eventually disposed of their respective Clearaudio “Hammerheads” due to its unusual “house sound”, making IHJ scratch his balding head, while MSM thinking in his evil mind; “I told you so”. :devil: :devil: :devil:



Hmmmm… there is something different… but NO! “Once a Clearaudio, always a Clearaudio!”

The “Hammerhead” MC line-up was eventually replaced by Clearaudio with its newer “Finger / Flower” :tmi: MC line-up (“Finger / Flower” does not sound nice – lets just call it “Flower”) :lol: . When the first batch of the “Flower” series arrived in Manila, Clearaudio pusher IHJ inquired if MSM would want to audition it, hoping MSM would have a change of heart about the brand. :^) MSM was not interested. :!: As far as MSM was concerned, he would rather own a Shure M44 MM cartridge rather than a Clearaudio MC (well, if it was given for free, MSM would take it and sell it pronto for half the price, unused!). :devil: MSM has learned his lesson. :!: The “metal screw in forehead” type of sound was not his cup of tea. :!: Poor MSM, he was traumatized with Clearaudio’s “house sound”, big time. ;(

Years have gone by, MSM was able to hear the current “Flower” series (now in “V2” form); Concerto, Stradivari, Da Vinci, Titanium, Goldfinger from systems other than his. But MSM never really listened seriously to them. :geek: MSM would just walk around the room browsing at the LPs and gears, but never having the nerve to sit in the sweet spot in fear of that killer screw hitting his forehead again. :P He had all the reason to, as to MSM’s mind, “a Clearaudio will always be a Clearaudio”. :smirk: Well, that was his justification to himself.

Although not admitting it, MSM did notice something different about the “Flower” series. :^) Yeah, Clearaudio’s ultra hyper detail retrieval was still there, but there was a hint of a more bodyful midrange as well as a smoother top end. :^) Still not interested to seriously listen within the sweet spot, MSM opined to himself that the perceived more “body” he was hearing off axis may just probably be room resonance and stuff. “Nah, a Clearaudio cannot have a bodyful midrange…. its just like saying that Ferrari will come out with an SUV”. Poor, MSM he was still in denial mode. :D


Nothing like an Open Mind

MSM has always had an open mind when it comes to MC cartridges. :!: As long as funds permit, MSM was willing to gamble on different MC brands just to get a glimpse of its “house sound”. :) If he liked it, then it was kept for quite some time. :clap: If he did not like it, then it was up for sale. :puke: No regrets, it was a learning experience. :!: MSM’s open mindedness extends by not being judgemental to a particular brand’s “house sound”. He may call it with various funny adjectives, but not an outright statement that it is junk. It may just be a mismatching thing, or more importantly, just a personal preference for something else. ;)

It’s been years since MSM seriously listened to Clearaudio MCs. And having an open mind on things, MSM gathered all his courage to listen to one. :) This new frame of mind to listen again to a Clearaudio MC was on the simple premise that things can actually change for the “better”, yes, even the “house sound” of a brand may change to a small degree. :) MSM has experienced this first hand. ;) To him, old Scantech / Lyra MCs of the early 90s sounded very detailed and as “thin” as ramp models (the rebadged Audioquest 7000 comes to mind), but current Lyras seem to now have a body more of commercial models rather than ramp models. :clap: It must be noted though that through these years, Lyra has still kept its main “house sound”, which to MSM boils down to be the king of airiness between the instruments / vocals and its pinpoint imaging. :up: MSM thought; “If Lyra was able to do this, maybe, just maybe, the German Suchy boys could have likewise revoiced their MC carts to have more meat”. :?:


The Moment of Truth with the Ruthless Maxx Fried Chicken

At this point, MSM has already heard in length Clearaudio’s “Flower” series. He has now recognized that the sound is still typical Clearaudio as it still had tons of detail as well as extended highs. :^) But the important thing that MSM perceived was the “Flower” MCs seemed to have far less inner groove distortion (practically none), a lot less top end etch, and more body in the mids as compared to the old “Hammerheads”. :)

MSM still wanted more proof, and this should be through an acid test. :!: This opportunity came about when a “Flower” MC was to be played through a pair of Wilson Maxx. These speakers are ruthless, it’s a “garbage in – garbage out” champion. ;) If there is something wrong with the source / LP or gear, these buggers will reveal ‘em big time. MSM felt that if Clearaudio’s “Flower” MC cart just had a hint of top end distortion and etch, and thinness in the mids, the Maxx would reveal it. :!:



So came the moment of truth… :nod:

The LP was placed on the platter… :nod:

The platter was spun… :nod:

The tonearm was queued… :nod:

MSM listened… for just a few minutes… :music:

Tapos ang boxing!!
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby O.D. Yeo » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:07 pm

Them is fightin' words! . . . this better have a good endin'
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby JackD201 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:00 pm

My lesson learned from having both the Stradivari and the Titanium. The $%$^%$*^%$ are tough to set up. So tough that Tatang and MSM could not do it without removing the matapang side. No need for muted delrin platitos or bouncy bouncy tables either! :P :P :P :P Patience however is a virtue and eventually I got it right or rather I found the secret to smooth CA sound even from V1 Flower Children. What is this? I demand royalties from Tatang for the information! Isang free Double Matrix RCM and lifetime supply of cleaning fluid and I will tell all! :devil: :devil: :devil: :devil:
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby mandym » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:54 am

JackD201 wrote: Patience however is a virtue and eventually I got it right or rather I found the secret to smooth CA sound even from V1 Flower Children. What is this? I demand royalties from Tatang for the information! Isang free Double Matrix RCM and lifetime supply of cleaning fluid and I will tell all! :devil: :devil: :devil: :devil:


Is this it?
Image

MSM is such a good thriller writer that even though I am not interested in cartridges which will take food off my family table, I am breathlessly awaiting the final count!
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby arnoldc » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:15 am

@shoe_me, kanya kanyang preference yan eh. gusto mo ba ng malinaw o ngogo, mataba pero panget, payat pero maganda, at kung ano pang combination, pero di ako agree na payat na panget :lol:

I re-started my audio journey with an Oracle (thanks Hyper) and Eminent Technology after a brief stint with an entry level Technics. Merong isa na hate na hate yung kanyang Sigma, so nag blood money na lang ako para lang mawala na sa kanya yun. That's my first Clearaudio MC experience. Coming from a Clearaudio Alpha MM, the Sigma brought my listening experience to a different level. I will concur with you that the level of detail extraction is major major. Etch, yeah oo nandun, lalo na pag panget na mga new wave vinyl pinapatugtog, like Rebel Yell :rofl:

So panget pala yung Air Tangent na yan at may distortion pa din? :lol: Kaya nagsisi ako nung binenta ko yung ET ko eh, biro mo ET 2.5 na binenta pa, tapos nag hanap ng 2.0 tapos binenta din, kung 'di naman pala ako eng-eng eh. So now I miss the ET. Buti pa si Jadis, married for life sa ET nya.

So kakabasa ko ng Wiredstate na sabi NYO na panget yung mga Hammerhead series, nag venture ako sa Benz. Unang salpak ko pa lang, ampooch! Akala ko ba edgy, etchy and itchy itong Clearaudio?! Eh mas clear pa sa Clearaudio itong Benz :lol: Kanino nga bang Benz 'to? So binalik ko agad, at napatunayan ko sa sarili ko na hindi totoong Clearaudio lang ang clear. :rofl:

Tapos yung may ari nung Sigma, hate nya na din yung Tangent na tonearm nya :devil: So, nag blood money uli ako at inalis ko na ang pag durusa nya. His loss is my gain ika nga. Inner groove distortion, ano yun? :lol: O mas magaling lang ako sa yon mag align, ha ha ha! Ah, hate mo nga pala mga linear tracking?

Nag level-up din ako from Sigma to the Concerto, twice. Binenta ko kasi nawalan ako ng pera dahil sa ibang bisyo :o Pinag sisihan ko yung pag benta ko. Ibang level na yung Concerto, makinis, malaman, at definitely 'di payat tulad mo. Kaya nga nag sisi ako eh.

Dahil ang buhay ay gulong, bumili naman ako ng Talisman, na hindi house sound ang tunog. Inayawan mo din ito? Kala ko gusto mo ng mataba? Hindi secret na pinakyaw ng Clearaudio yung mga Denon 103 na cart, tinalupan, nilagyan ng sosyal na body, kiniskis ng paiba yung stylus, at tinawag na Talisman. Ganda, sabi nila yung maitim lang ang mataba, hindi naman pala. Pero ewan ko, naka dalwang DL-103 din ako, di ko talaga maka sundo. So parehong benta yun.

Nag ZYX Bloom din ako, at yung ngayon na Transfiguration. Parang ays krim lang yan, lasang ays krim pa din, pero may mas matamis, may matabang, maalat... :lol:

Bandang huli napansin ko na ang tanga ko dahil bibili ako ng cart at good prices from our pushers here, tapos bebenta ko ng kalahati nun. Aba ay sobrang katangahan na ata yun. Kaya mag kamatayan na kami nitong Transfiguration :rofl:

Pero may napupusuan akong bago, yan ata yung nasa yo. Game ender ba? 8)

edit:

Hindi pala iyo. Hindi ko binsa ng tama eh, kaka kape ko lang so naintindihan ko na (ata) na nakikinig ka dun sa naka MAXX at Flower power pa din ginamit nyo. V2 na boy! :lol:
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby JackD201 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:08 pm

mandym wrote:
JackD201 wrote: Patience however is a virtue and eventually I got it right or rather I found the secret to smooth CA sound even from V1 Flower Children. What is this? I demand royalties from Tatang for the information! Isang free Double Matrix RCM and lifetime supply of cleaning fluid and I will tell all! :devil: :devil: :devil: :devil:


Is this it?
Image

MSM is such a good thriller writer that even though I am not interested in cartridges which will take food off my family table, I am breathlessly awaiting the final count!


Not at all Tito Mandy no need for fur :)

Looks like I'm paying for the RCM. I have divulged the info to Tatang for free nga pala the last time we saw eachother!

:headbang: :headbang: :headbang:
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby ihatejazz » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:36 am

Bomalabs is the newest member. Installed a Concerto V2 yesterday.......
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby sinar » Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:18 pm

wow, fritz! finally! you've heard the difference of the current gen of clearaudio cartridges from all the other brands. full mids (not bloated and exaggerated), tuneful bass, right size imaging (not enlarged mouth of the vocalist :rofl: ) and extensions/sheen in highs to die for.

we actually have the same dilemma during those hammerheads days. but when i first heard the first gen flower series, tapos din ang laban. :D

i've heard different cartridges from friends' set ups but i'm still very contented and happy with my clearaudio.
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby ihatejazz » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:28 am

mandym wrote:
JackD201 wrote: Patience however is a virtue and eventually I got it right or rather I found the secret to smooth CA sound even from V1 Flower Children. What is this? I demand royalties from Tatang for the information! Isang free Double Matrix RCM and lifetime supply of cleaning fluid and I will tell all! :devil: :devil: :devil: :devil:


Is this it?
Image

This is a natural perception of what is needed by most WS members when listening to a Clearaudio! No pun intended
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby Bedroom Eyes » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:16 am

Guys, 2 members (myself & Wye Fi) of the B.A.S.T.O.S boys adores the sound of the Concerto. I have been enjoying mine for years already without the thought of replacing or upgrading it. Just like all of you we do not have hearing impairements and hoping our comments will add luster to the growing reputations of the Concerto. ;)

The 3rd B.A.S.T.O.S member Highlander is saving for this model also. 8)

BTW, This is not a paid testimonial becasue Im hoping to get a big discount on my dream "Aesthetix IO Phono Stage" :D :D
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby Octaver » Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:08 am

Bedroom Eyes wrote: 8)

BTW, This is not a paid testimonial becasue Im hoping to get a big discount on my dream "Aesthetix IO Phono Stage" :D :D

Image

:clap:
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby arnoldc » Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:20 pm

Madaming baseless opinions, wala namang first hand experience in the product :rofl:
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby dimfer » Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:47 pm

arnoldc wrote:Madaming baseless opinions, wala namang first hand experience in the product :rofl:


meron akong kilalang may masters degree dyan, maging sa audio o sa auto :geek:
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby JackD201 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 4:17 pm

Buti nalang hindi ako puwedeng diskitahan diyan. Hammerhead and Flower Power veteran tayo :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby ihatejazz » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:19 pm

dimfer wrote:
arnoldc wrote:Madaming baseless opinions, wala namang first hand experience in the product :rofl:


meron akong kilalang may masters degree dyan, maging sa audio o sa auto :geek:


http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y6/m_s ... G_0510.jpg
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby dimfer » Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:10 pm

ihatejazz wrote:
dimfer wrote:
arnoldc wrote:Madaming baseless opinions, wala namang first hand experience in the product :rofl:


meron akong kilalang may masters degree dyan, maging sa audio o sa auto :geek:


http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y6/m_s ... G_0510.jpg

you mean pagdating sa tsiks, walang first hand experience si da great msm? oh my :tmi:
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby m_shoe_maker » Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:37 pm

dimfer wrote:
ihatejazz wrote:
dimfer wrote:
meron akong kilalang may masters degree dyan, maging sa audio o sa auto :geek:


http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y6/m_s ... G_0510.jpg

you mean pagdating sa tsiks, walang first hand experience si da great msm? oh my :tmi:


Wala talaga akong first hand experience dyan coz I don't need it and I'm not longing for it. ;) But the chicks always claim to have first hand experience with me. I really dunno why..... :?: :?: :D
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby ihatejazz » Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:13 am

Wala talaga akong first hand experience dyan coz I don't need it and I'm not longing for it. ;) But the chicks always claim to have first hand experience with me. I really dunno why..... :?: :?: :D[/quote]


http://www.ibiblio.org/jwsnyder/rft/Unc ... rd-400.jpg
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby docsialu » Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:17 am

ihatejazz wrote:Wala talaga akong first hand experience dyan coz I don't need it and I'm not longing for it. ;) But the chicks always claim to have first hand experience with me. I really dunno why..... :?: :?: :D



http://www.ibiblio.org/jwsnyder/rft/Unc ... rd-400.jpg[/quote]
:rock: :rock: :rock:
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Re: clearaudio or unclear audio

Postby manilaman » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:10 am

November2010 HI FI SHOW is just around the corner - why not do a sound off challenge between market "categorized" cartridges - same rig, same accessories, same room, cut across music genre - just the CART varies. ;) ;)
;)


let the music "speak" for itself........... Let the Germans, japanese & American whacked each other on an even playing field.
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