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Headshell Performance — SME 3009
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29 May 2019
Headshell Performance — Stamped Aluminium OEM
In this series of articles, we measure the performance of removeable tonearm headshells. Today, the subject is a noname headshell sold under many brands.

The headshell is stamped from an aluminium alloy sheet 2 mm thick. It weighs about 6.5 grams without wires, 7.3 grams with them. This makes it even lighter than the SAEC ULS-2X.
It's powder-coated, so gluing an accelerometer to it is a breeze.


The headshell under test has a similar construction to a SAEC headshell we tested earlier, and it shows in the oscilloscope trace:
No-name OEM
SAEC ULS-2X
On the spectrogram, it's quite clear that this $10 OEM and a $100+ SAEC are two of a kind.
Noname's main resonance is lower in frequency, and that's not a good thing. But it's second peak near 1 kHz is somewhat less pronounced. I would say that these two are about equal in measured performance, despite the OEM no-name being almost 3 grams lighter.

But how long does it ring? Let's see:
We have a new record! 550 milliseconds. SAEC was very slightly better with 500 ms.

For IET measurement with a Technics EPC-U24 cartridge, we're also comparing our OEM headshell with the SAEC.

No surprises. They perform in remarkably similar way.
A cheap stamped aluminium headshell is just as good as the sought-after SAEC
Ok, it's a pretty poorly performing headshell. But I've expected it to be measurably worse than the SAEC. After all, SAEC is made of magnesium alloy, and has this thickening on top that's supposed to increase the rigidity somewhat.

That did not happen. A headshell I bought for $10 performed almost the same way as the expensive SAEC.
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