We have first listened to PUA-7 with its original SH-165 headshell, and then repeated the evaluation with our own HS-A02
in its place. The listening was done with a 3D printed ABS counterweight stub connector in place of the ruined nylon original.
With the Sony headshell, the subjective performance was good rather than outstanding. As the measured lack of high frequency peaks predicted, the sound is a bit on the warm-and-dark side. It's hi-fi at its best, with excellent readability and clarity. But the decays are cut short, some of the spatial information is lost, and the timbres tend to be a bit boring.
Swapping the SH-165 for Korf HS-A02
shows the true potential of this arm. Hi-fi sound? Not a hint of it. This is a thoroughbred that can hold its own against any of today's mass-market tonearms. What really impressed me was lack of the arm's own sonic signature. Not necessarily a bad thing (SME V
has one), but I personally prefer tonearms that don't constantly remind me of their existence.