Soundsmith has recently given their cartridge range a brand new appearance, although it's not all about the aesthetics, as the new body shape also carries some new technology as well.
The ES line features not only a dramatic new look, but is a significant evolution of the DEMS system design (Dynamic Energy Management System). The new Soundsmith ES cartridge designs are a significant advancement in cartridge performance due to their ability to direct internal vibrational forces without reflection and disperse them properly to the tone arm. The absence of reflections enables the stylus to stay in far greater statistical contact with the groove walls — a critically important technical refinement. Increased liquidity and reduced “grain,” without loss of detail are some of the immediately discernible advantages of Soundsmith’s new ES models.
The new line also features Azimuth adjustment built-in to each cartridge, as well as the option for electrical isolation for hum-prone systems. (see picture below)
Every cartridge in Soundsmith’s lineup will now feature their sleek new ES body design. The upgrade is far more than cosmetic; the new shape is a departure from the reflective and “boxy” design of many cartridges whose internal construction contribute to uncontrolled vibrational issues adversely affecting performance.
Peter Ledermann (Owner of Soundsmith) says, “Think of how singing in an open field compares with singing in a shower.” Soundsmith has always challenged conventions, looking deeper into nuances of cartridge design that dramatically affect immediate and long term performance. These have included extreme reductions of moving mass and the use of novel materials and designs. The new ES lineup is a continuation of that research and development.
The new ES has some special mounting features that you need to be aware of.
Sometimes when mounting on a grounded metal arm, a cartridge will create hum due to a ground loop. If you experience some low level hum due to ground loop, you can now solve this issue by using the two half-round white rods which are to be placed and used in the OUTER slots, seen on the top of the cartridge. Place them flat side UP.
The rods are made of Alumina, and are insulating, thus allowing ground isolation for your cartridge without compromising the crucial mechanical energy transfer into the tone arm. This energy transfer is maintained due to the use of Alumina, which has the same properties as aluminum, but is non-conductive. Due to the novel body design of the ES cartridge, electrical isolation can still be maintained even though you may use metal screws.
On tone arms that do not allow azimuth adjustment, it is now possible to achieve this adjustment by way of the ES series by using the one full round alumina rod in the center slot only, alternately tightening and loosening the mounting screws by small amounts.
Check out the new Soundsmith range here: