An Ode To Analog...The Phono Cartridge And Them Ole Hi-Tracks!Mar 3, 2005 (Updated Mar 13, 2005) Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in BooksThe Bottom Line Don't throw those old phono cartridges out. Beautiful music and fun is what Analog is all about!
Who can remember
the fun of yester November
of installing your first tonearm's transducer
with its parameters perhaps a bit looser
yes, those days of phono reproducers
And they were beauts were they not?
those half inch mounts connected to your HH Scott
The mags were all so good...Of course they were
from Empire to Pickering to Shure
And fun I had as I became the great installeur
To others it was just simply a bore
and to many well...just quite the chore
But oh the labor and the eyes-a-squinting
but the results were so worth their meager minting
There were hi-tracks with lo-backs and gold-bodied wonders by Empire
Though the task could be tedious there was no need to hire
With a bit of patience and a strong desire
one could have quite a sound
coming from that platter that turned quietly around
And they boasted all kinds of colours and packages
from clear pill canisters to rosewooden cased sackages
And although most of them appeared to be quite simple
to my face their stylish colours only added a dimple
And the turntables themselves were quite a sight
they all sounded so good and looked to be so right
From Benjamin/Miracord to PE to BIC to Pioneer to Sansui
everyone loved them and no one said phewey !
From Technics To Thorens to Philips to AR and to Dual
they all played well and looked so cool !
Yes, even the BSR/MacDonalds, Marantzes and Garrards did rule !
If one were a bit lucky...if one did it right
one could attain sound of such delight
but still aside from this point
the phono cartridge was the hit of the joint !
The early ones had to track heavy
They had to sound good and work like a Chevy
And they would eventually get light
with one or two grams force to our vinyl's delight
they sounded so right
And I owned them all...alright
...maybe just very many
At times it would even burn my very last penny
I cleaned out the dealer so he wasn't left with any !
I loved them all and gathered quite a collection
so, I think I'll name them all to the best of my recollection
There was The GE VR-II and the Astatic model that could flip
then there was the Empire 808E, 999E,2000E,
2000E One Two and Three
that added more zip
And let us not forget the mighty Broadcast One
that brought so many FM listeners so much fun !
But the phono cartridge that really caused so much glee
was none other than the Empire 4000 D
Did I forget to mention the 1000ZE?
Mount them in a Troubadour and you'll see !
The Pickerings were among the best around
and could sing better than those who had their moving coils wound
The high output PAT,TLV, XV-15 200E and ATE would really rock
but the XSV-3000 could really provide sock.
Then along came ADC with its model XLM
that could track really low...I had all three of them
...but then again...
That was not all that I owned from ADC
Add to my collection the QLM34 and 220Xe
Their Linear Tracking turntables forget us not
with their super low prices they hit the spot !
There were other P-Mount LT's from others you see
from Technics, Pioneer, Radio Shack and JVC...tee hee
I've had Grados, EV's, Elacs and a Sony or two
but give the Stanton 681EEE-S and L847S their due !
along with the L720EE and 680EE too !
The 500's were great for cuing
but they couldn't equal what the Ortofons were doing
The OM 3E and 5E were and still are wonders to young and old
but the most wonderful of all was the OM-40 Gold
Out of Sumiko's Blue Japan came the Audio-Technica
with its high frequency tracing stylus...the Shibata
But do not be fooled by the lower cost
of the A-T 12E, 11E and 10 as little info was lost !
And don't forget their version of a spin-off
as Signet OFC cartridges were no rip-off
They and their Precepts played as well as any
so-called Digital source that would cost us plenty !
Yes, my collection over time grew fast
who knew that all this fun would not last
Still, my favorites have not been fully mentioned
for I owned many Shures...so let me go fetch them
There was the M3D, M44G and M55E but that's just the beginning
It was the other Shures that were really winning
The V-15's from Two to Five
made the music seem to come alive
with great detail and separation
they were simply the best in the nation
Can anyone else remember all the fuss
when Shure introduced their Super-Track-Plus
and claimed that it...Three could do
anything better than Super Track Two ?
But the ones I truly loved I have not mentioned...yet
Oh, those fantastic Hi-Tracks did new standards set
For thirty bucks or less
I had the best of the best
The M97HE, ED and EJ fought the almighty warp and sounded so fine
They with their stabilized brushes would not decline
to pretty much set the pace
for the rest of the big Analog race
The M95ED with its bright yellow stylus you heard right
could rapture you up in pure musical delight !
Then there were the ones that accompanied many a table
The M91E, M75E and ED were able
to track heavily modulated passages
but the M70B, M75C, M72EJ and B were absolute savages !
And Did anyone notice or am I the only fool
that these wonders sound particularly good in a BIC PE or early Dual
And better yet...
who could ever forget...
the M110He, M111He and ML-140He with their Hyperelliptical styli
no no no, indeed I would not lie
in my Pioneer PL-518 they sounded so sweet
Yes...the most demanding needs they did meet
Enough already you say...but I've only just begun
Era IV was upon us and I'm far from done
give my wonderful Shure its due
Bonds and flags they did waive
As Era V was introduced so was Analog's grave
And don't forget those Realistics...they were no gimmick
as Shure Hi-Tracks they certainly did mimmick
At two grams and a lower cost
they played every tick and pop with nothing lost
But of those ticks and pops we grew tired
and to the Phono Cartridge we said "You're fired !"
Then we did embrace
new Digital wonders from Sony and Philips during the race
to be the first and the best
that could put the Compact Disc to the test
And for Shure Analog would finally rest !
No more worries about those ugly ticks, pops and scratches
We'll eliminate them all in batches !
...these Digital wonders claimed
Our CD players will soon all be famed
The laser beam can read right through them all
with no noise and fuss at all !!
But I wonder about that and wonder from time to time
Were not my old turntables with magnetic cartridges worth every dime ?
Now instead of pops and ticking
if we're not careful we'll get major clicking
And when things go bad and the laser's heart ceases to beat
instead of replacing it like a stylus...the whole business simply takes a back seat
So off to the local dump it does go
but it only serves to make my heart grow
just a wee bit fonder of the fun I had...
with them old made-in-America Hi-Tracks...man, they were bad !
And that means they were really good after-all
through all seasons...Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall
and one could quite downright honestly say
especially after playing music with them all doggone day
Well, my phono friends...God bless the USA !!
But then Shure packed up and marched off to Mexico
but they weren't the only ones to go
Empire and ADC then decided to completely leave
We were left with sisters Stanton and Pickering...I believe
Things just were not the same, my sister and brother
Analog rocks and there really is no other
form of digital apparatus with which we should bother
As time marches on so they say
a time will come when there will be no work of art to display
It'll be all right there on a chip
which saddens me somewhat and lowers my lip
For you see part of the fun and glory
was that the record player looked great
and the record told a story
The album cover was so artful and seemed so clear
If we really miniaturize...this will all disappear
You'd call it a needle...I'd call it a stylus
Though to some a pain...I call it marvelous
And every year we'd replace it
but our records would oh so embrace it
When I stop and think about it...It really is kind of sad
that my phono cartridges started to vanish and that's kinda bad
and over time they became few
but I ask you for Shure...who really knew ?
that I would miss all the fun of creating a system
that could turn records with the best of them !
Now two of my turntables are back
and I've been able to get some phono cartridges I did lack
and I am glad to say that for me Analog is back !
While the rest of you continue to discard and trash
I think I'll just have one big bash
Just keep sending me your old Hi-Tracks that to you no longer have worth
I'll replace the stylus and give 'em a rebirth
Yes, for every phono cartridge I've ever owned I wish I had a penny
They're all listed here and I believe I've had many
But wait just a moment...what do I see ?
why it's the return of Stanton's 881S and 681 Triple E Mark Three!
How did this happen and to whom do we owe this pleasure?
Why would Stanton Magnetics take such a calibrated measure ???!!!
The young ones have most assuredly found out
with their DJ competitions what it's all about !
Yes, to our children indeed we should be ever so grateful
with their new found fun...scratchin' and their straight-armed turntable
Because of this new breed's great emergence
many of my beloved phono cartridges have seen a resurgence
Oh my my...don't you see?
Because of them we once again have the Shure M44G and M97Xe
not to mention the ever-so-popular audio-technica A-T 3482P
And thanks to them Shure has kept alive
the mightiest phono cartridge of them all...the V-15 Type Five !
Joe Grado's nephew has joined the pack
of needle makers that have been brought back
Think I'm kidding?...No, it's true
We now have the Prestige RED GREEN BLACK and BLUE !
Who knows...if one has a little time and perhaps the inclination
A Science project with your son or daughter may bring your old turntable to restoration
Think of the time well spent with your loved ones including your niece
Just a drop of oil and a smidge of grease
and perhaps one can search out a part or two
maybe just a small plastic fragment in need of some glue
Okay, a Service Manual may very well be in order too
But don't forget that cartridge and its needle
replacing it should never take second fiddle
Imagine the great bonding plus all the fun that has been won
not to mention the great brain power spent together after all is said and done
Oh, it's so ironic and isn't it funny
when things were rough and we didn't have money
no one ever gave trashing beautiful equipment a thought
and perhaps before it's all over we will be taught
to respect a thing of good taste and glory and ne'er grow distraught
Now...it's come down to this and I've turned my back
on Digital receivers and I now use to attack
my Polk speakers with...get this, friends...a classic
that from heaven above most assuredly came back !
A Pioneer SX-990 stereo receiver that has not one but TWO
MAGNETIC PHONO INPUTS...Phew !
It's got tremendous sound capability
but it also sports low phono sensitivity
So keep sending me your ole hi-output Hi-Tracks
as on Analog you so solidly did turn your backs
all you wonderful home theater-like folks
as these wonders excite my Polks
As back into time, phono cartridges and mo'
you've let me take you for a short walk
Thank YOU!!...for I do appreciate it so
and hopefully someday they'll all again talk !...Peter
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