As the aspect changes, new colors come into view, their modulating sheen endlessly fascinating. Millions of points of light define object and space. The air is carved into deeply solid shapes and volumes. Airbrushed arabesques fly through splashes and riots and clouds of color. A crack of thunder rents the sky as rain falls on the living room floor. Horns caress and cajole the ears. I am wonderstruck.
You may think, “I want what that guy is smoking!” And, if you are thinking, “I want to hear what that guy is hearing!” you’d be on the right track. (Not that there’s anything amiss with the former.)
This conversation has been about what happens when a system is well and truly treated with all things that facilitate its ultimate performance, when nothing has been held back, no stone unturned. In that context, when you arrive at a certain plateau, smaller and smaller upgrades yield larger and as yet unimagined vistas.
So here’s an interesting conundrum: I have an important person coming to visit, I have just performed one of two planned “minor” tweeks, the first of which has sent me into orbit. In fact, I’m so deep into the process of absorbing the effects of this one that I have decided to postpone putting in the next, even though it will without question propel the system further. Is this a mistake? Let me just say that the fullness of the current experience is so breathtaking that it is hard to imagine what could be better, but, as I have recorded here in this sequence of blogs, these breakthroughs continue unabated.
This tweek comes to me by way of a good customer in D.C. who has gone further with his cartridge than I have dared. Not that I am unwilling to investigate, it’s just, like I say, I need time.
So what is this tweek? See the photo just below.
You see two silver colored dots of fo.Q Phone Art damping material on the screws holding my Ortofon Windfield cartridge in place. They are about 3/16” in diameter and weigh next to nothing. I simply centered them as well as possible and very gently pressed them into place.
With this tweek there was an immediate and unmistakable increase in delicacy and transparency which in turn had an effect that was tantamount to carefully turning up the vibrance control in photoshop, not in a way that exaggerates colors, but in a way that brings them more into line with reality and allows you to notice them as they shimmer, change and disappear. I don’t think my customer used similar adjectives, but the level of impact he described was the same.
Our current thinking on this is that you want to experiment with the mechanical parts surrounding the cartridge such as the head shell screws and possibly even certain parts of the cartridge itself:
I can't guarantee that you will hear things as I am describing them. This upgrade will likely manifest a little differently in each system depending its makeup. You should hear an improvement that is proportional to the level of resolution of your particular system. Remember, these things are cumulative. There are many paths to the top of the mountain.
If you would like to experience our vision of State of The Art, please contact us for an audition of the Lotus Group Reference System. And, please let me know your experiences with using Phone Art, TA32 and TA-102 damping material from fo.Q. Send photos. I will share what you have discovered so that we can all benefit and bring our systems to the highest level possible.
Thank you very much.