How and why is this cartridge different from, and possibly superior to all the others? Is it a "moving coil" or a "moving magnet" design? Neither! Only a lighter, thinner shorter, magnetically active metal foil, bearing the stylus, comprises the entire moving system. This results in lower moving mass than either moving coil or moving magnet models. The London Decca cartridges may be the only ones which have no cantilever, in the conventional sense. This appears to be the underpinning of their stunning success- it has been said that the London Deccas "reek of musicality."
Other cartridges (both moving coil and moving magnet) mount their styli on the long end of a thin tube (cantilever) which works like a lopsided "see-saw." The short end of the cantilever attaches to either a coil of wire or a magnet. At the fulcrum point, a flexible "rubbery" sleeve functions as a pivot, allowing the stylus/cantilever assembly to respond to the "wiggles" in the LP groove. Because the front section of the cantilever, which holds the stylus, is much longer than the rear section which is attached to the coil or magnet, a large movement of the stylus is transformed to a smaller movement at the coil or magnet, possibly causing cantilever-design cartridges to sound dynamically compressed and lacking in transient attack. London Decca's engineers advise that this problem with dynamics and transients is compounded by the cantilever's "rubbery" fulcrum point which tends to absorb a significant amount of the stylus-generated motion, before it can reach the coil/magnet electrical generator assembly. Also, a smearing of the sound is said to occur, which they refer to as "cantilever haze."
But in the London Decca, there is no long cantilever and no "rubbery" fulcrum point to absorb, dissipate and smear the vital musical energy. Instead, the stylus is attached directly to a magnetically active, metal support just a few microns thick (armature) which passes through the center of the main generating coil-positioned only about 1 millimeter above the stylus! The stylus motion is not inverted or "transformed" to a smaller value, as in long cantilever designs. Flowing from this immediate- positive-direct scanning of the groove is a breathtaking "alive" quality. The listener tends to feel that the performing artists are actually in the same room, with a startling, palpable presence.
From the beginning, music lovers have lauded the unparalleled vividness of the London Deccas which were first introduced over 25 years ago. However, earlier models were criticized, at times, for such reasons as their unusually high vertical tracking force, a tendency to mistrack, and the need for special (damped) tone arms. The new London Decca Jubilee has retained and enhanced the legendary musical realism of its predecessors, but also achieves "world-class" tracking ability, at only 1.8 grams (VTF). A damped tone arm is not necessarily required, and unlike most high quality moving-coil designs, the electrical output level of the London Decca Jubilee is among the highest- 5mV, needing no pre-preamp or step-up transformer.
The London Decca Jubilee is individually hand crafted, using coils wound of oxygen-free copper conductors and high flux samarium cobalt magnets. Its cartridge body is machined by computer from a solid block of aluminum, and shaped to hold the motor assembly and the polished, natural grain--oriented, line contact diamond stylus with absolute precision. This acoustically inert cartridge body contributes to the Jubilee's low-coloration music reproduction.
The same positive-scanning, direct generator system (with no cantilever) which is found in the incomparable London Decca Jubilee. All of these London Deccas have sound quality which is arguably better than cartridges priced well over $1500.
Don't rely on the rave reviews, instead, you be the judge! A line contact, polished, grain-oriented diamond stylus, similar to the Jubilee's, mated to less costly generator coils and housing. If you have never heard music through the $2875 London Decca Jubilee, you may well think the SUPER GOLD is the world's best cartridge under $2000! Subjectively 90% of Jubilee's world-beating musical realism. Frequency range: 20Hz to 40kHz.
Decca Super Gold Cartridge w/Decca Pod
Soundscape Price: $1,495.00*
London Decca Gold Cartridge Nude, polished, grain oriented elliptical stylus, with the same generator and similar housing of the SUPER GOLD, above. We estimate the GOLD cartridge provides 80% to 85% of the state-of-the-art musical realism provided by the top-of-the-line Jubilee. Frequency range: 20Hz to 40 kHz.
Decca Gold Cartridge w/Decca Pod
Soundscape Price: $1,395.00*
Last Update: March 7, 2009
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