The Korf Blog

The inside story: our research, development and opinions

17 April 2019
Headshell Performance — Orsonic AV-101b
In this series of articles, we measure the performance of removeable tonearm headshells. Today, the subject is the Orsonic AV-101b.

I've encountered this kind of headshells before, and always admired the seemingly excessive complexity. Come on, it's just a headshell, right? Right? ...

Orsonic AV-101b consists of cast or CNC'd aluminium "bridges" connected by 2 steel rods. The weight without the wires and mounting hardware is 14.5 grams. There is no fingerlift.
I love epoxy powder coating. Blessed be the engineers who specify it for finishing the parts I need to put an accelerometer on. No problems with getting good adhesion whatsoever.


Here's the trace of Orsonic's IET measurement. For comparison's sake, I've included oscilloscope traces from the most and least rigid headshells so far: AT-LH13 and SME 3009. The trace looks fairly neat, with the vibrations dying down quickly.
Orsonic AV-101b
AT-LH13
SME 3009
Here are the spectrogram comparisons. First, with the SME 3009:
Then, with the AT-LH13 that is the stiffest we've measured so far:
And this is absolutely remarkable measured performance! There is just one high Q, but low amplitude resonance at about 480 Hz. Please note the lack of harmonics too. Our experience with tonearms show that this kind of resonance is the most benign sonically.

There's a much stronger one at 15 kHz, but you have to keep in mind it's way above accelerometer's specified frequency limits. We can say that it's definitely there, and it's high-Q, but its amplitude is an estimate at best.

The waterfall plot confirms what we've seen on the spectrograms. All is quiet after 100 milliseconds.

Here are the results of the IET measurement with a Technics EPC-U24 cartridge attached.

The main mode shifted down to about 300Hz. The rest of the spectrogram looks more "orderly" than AT-LH13's, there's less smearing going on.

Orsonic's mechanical complexity is there for a reason
When it comes to measurements, we have a new champion. This is the most rigid headshell we have tested yet. Looks like all that mechanical complexity is there for a reason.

I am not surprised by how desirable this style of headshell is. If we are correct in our assumptions, the measurements point to very good subjective performance.
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