The Search for the 'Grail' Cartridge is Over
Moving coil aficionados have been on a long search for super clear high frequency combined with firm tight bass. Such a cartridge would be the holy grail of moving coil cartridges. But the search is over now. The grail cartridge exists.
When customers asked Rega to produce an MC cartridge, Rega's engineers began by analyzing existing designs on the market. They were astonished to discover that 99% of the products followed the same design principles established almost 50 years ago when materials and manufacturing processes were far less advanced than today.
"Stunning Spatial Performance"
"I noticed from the start that the Rega's spatial performance was stunning," reports Art Dudley in the December 2006 issue of Stereophile magazine. "I heard imaging effects throughout XTC's Skylarking that had completely escaped me in the past."
A Brand New Approach
Conventional MC cartridges utilize a steel suspension system (tie wire) which creates a high amplitude H.F resonance (normally around 8-12Khz). Such resonance is unacceptable and is usually damped by a rudimentary piece of foam rubber. However the foam rubber deteriorates with age and cannot prevent the complete structure from vibrating and "ringing."
The specifics and adjustment of the tie wire and damping determine whether the cartridge is under damped (bright) or over damped (warm and bass heavy). A happy medium is rarely achieved.
This encouraged Rega to pursue a new direction inspired by modern materials and the basic laws of magnetism. The Rega Apheta contains neither a tie wire nor a foam damper. After four years and many hundreds of experiments. the innovative design of the Apheta was complete.
"It's too early in this product's history, and my experience with it is too limited, to say that the Rega Apheta will always perform better into an active device than into a voltage-gain transformer, but that's certainly how it sounded to me: The Apheta sounded better driving the perennially recommendable Linn Linto phono preamp (input impedance: 150 ohms) than the EAR 834P, either with the latter's own transformer stage or my external Tamura TKS-83. With the Linn, for instance, piano chords sounded much more real: more forceful than with the trannies, but not at all hard or glassy."- Art Dudley, Stereophile, December 2006