SPECIAL EDITION MAPLESHADE PHONO CARTRIDGES
Hand Crafted By Soundsmith
For the last 20 years a genius cartridge designer in upstate NY has been quietly turning out world-class cartridges. The first one we heard, the SMMC-2 (now renamed the Boheme), thoroughly trounced Pierre's beloved $2500 Lyra. So we spent a year evaluating the rest of Peter Ledermans line. Same results: both at the low end and at the high end, his Soundsmith cartridges typically beat superb cartridges costing 3 times as much. That includes Dynavector, Ortofon, Benz, Clearaudio, Sumiko, Grado, Denon, Koetsu, Van den Hul, Shelter, Zyx and Lyra. What makes Soundsmiths so dominant? Three unique features (plus a myriad of devils details):
The moving iron principle, combining moving magnet and moving coil benefits: the tiny moving iron design (i.e., a fixed magnet and fixed coil, both anchored to the cartridge frame) leads to much lighter moving mass than any moving coil. Result: a faster, more transparent, more detailed soundbut with that special solidity, warmth, and sweet, un-edgy treble (plus high output) of moving magnets, due to incorporation of the moving magnet's rigid, frame-mounted, non-resonant coil.
Ultra-small, hyper-rigid body structure: by using a cartridge body only half the size of standard moving coils, structural rigidity increases seven-fold and resonance amplitudes decrease by 85%.
Solid ruby/sapphire cantilever: in listening tests this non-conventional material sounded notably better than the hollow boron cantilevers used in most megabuck cartridges.
Peter's cartridges are so impressive, we've commissioned Soundsmith to build unique Mapleshade Special Editions of their stock Otello and Boheme models. Based on his careful listening comparisons of suspension stiffness, suspension damping, and case materials Pierre came up with specificationss that extract the ultimate in sound quality from the superb basic Soundsmith designs. These Mapleshade-only specs include brass yoke, high-compliance suspension for better bass extension and definition, 1.2g tracking force, reduced suspension damping for improved treble shimmer and sparkle, brass mounting screws and acrylic body for improved mid and treble clarity, cryogenic treatment for reduced background grunge. The combined sonic impact is more than worth the modest increase in price.