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Cartridge Man Isolator Review

Ant

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 5, 2005
3,909
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Hythe, Kent
AKA
Antony
System used

Nottingham Analogue Spacedeck

Hadcock 242 intergra

Cartridge Man Music Maker III

Graham Slee Era Gold V

Homebuilt Transformer volume control

Cairn Mea Monoblocks

PMC FB1+

Nordhost, Krystal and Van Damme cables

Synergy is a word so heavily used in hifi discussions and in magazines.

# The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

Now having read other reviews of the Isolator when used in conjunction with the Hadcock and Music Maker III the differences are supposed to be quite marked, this becomes less apparent with other cartridges or arms. We are told that the Music Maker III works very well with the Hadcock, that the Hadcock works very well on the Spacedeck etc.

So it would seem from my system list that I have been well and truly suckered into the synergistic approach and especially the one of British designed vinyl playback. I don't know if Mr Fletcher, Mr Gregory and Mr Slee have set about helping each others businesses by cross promotion or if it's just something that's true. Either way I have ended up with kit that I think works very well together.

I did not pay money for the Isolator, I do not have to make sure that Cartridge Man pay their advertising etc. This is a purely personal and independent review with no money changing hands in either direction.

Upon opening the packet I was presented with a little gem box with a little bag inside containing the Isolator

Isolator.jpg


I don't know if my is a pre production sample (it has been sitting around for a long time so very well may be) but it looked like crap, there was excess adhesive on the bolt threads and the whole thing didn't inspire me with confidence. When the time came to put it in the headshell of my Hadcock it wouldn't fit, this meant I was going to have to drill out the threaded mounting holes (which I would have to if I was mounting a threaded cartridge anyway). Now this presented me with a dilemma. I fully expected from reading reviews for this device to smooth things over and soften it all up, not what I wanted at all so I'd pretty much decided this was coming off after I'd given it a chance.

With some clever drilling and tapping I opened the holes up enough to let the thing fit but still allowed my normal choice of hardware to fit 'when' I revert back. From there it was a straight forward matter of sticking the cart onto the isolator and bolting it in. Usual arm setup followed and I found the extra size of the isolator really helped with azimuth adjustments and I had somewhere to rest my tiny spirit level.

Onto the listening.

rcoltrane2003.jpg


Ravi Coltrane's superb album Mad 6 went on the deck and before I even got to my listening chair I noticed the difference. The depth of sound was amazing, it sounded so much more real. I settled in and was enjoying the hell out of it, whereas before it sounded like Ravi was behind the other guys plying through them it now sounded like they were to his sides and you got so much more spatial awareness from the recording. Bass was a lot more detailed, the strings hitting the fretboard obvious without being pushed down your throat. It was as if the detail had been turned up without the treble rise people associate with such a phrase.

Joni Mitchell Blue next, I find in my system a slight thickening of Joni's vocal and whilst this hasn't gone away her voice is much clearer and precise, subtle phrasing became obvious to me that I had missed before, I played all the way through and then side 1 again for good measure.

My worn old copy of Dark side of the moon came out. There seemed to be more surface noise here, the clicks not being loud but defined more, hard to explain but definitely an audible difference. The track Money showed just what a difference the Isolator had made, at my normal listening level it was joyous, the bass really propelling things along, the voices being more legible and just more emotional contact. Turning it up to full however added another benefit, it never got out of hand on the bass side of things, perhaps the bass in the room was interacting with the signal less? Basically on track where I thought my speakers were too much for my room I do not think this is the case anymore. Maybe if I'd moved the TT to the other room it would have had a similar effect? Who knows, but it has made a positive difference in this respect.

One last record Dire Straights' money for nothing. This just added to what I had found with DSOTM, full volume abuse of my internal organs followed and I was in awe.

nuts-tightened.jpg


£85 for this odd looking not very well put together 'tweak'. If someone had improved my system by this much and asked me to hand over £250 without saying what they had done I'd bite their arm off. It really is amazing and I was so sceptical of it. If you have a MMIII in a Hadcock go and get one now. I have no idea if it will work with another setup anywhere near as well, but I'm not taking it off to find out
smile.png


Ant

 

Lawrie

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 20, 2005
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Ant,

Excellent review! As you know, I have heard the Isolator in action on an NA Hyperspace, Cartridge Man Conductor tonearm (with air-bearing pump) andMusic Maker Classic cartridge. That was music making of the highest order. I can't say what contribution the Isolator made but the sound was sublime. Personally, I don't know a CD player that can produce what I heard there and then but I am open to suggestions.

What surprises me about the Isolator is that it hadn't been broughtout long time ago given what we know about vibrations travelling up the tonearm into the main chassis etc etc.This makes me believe that the the Isolator will work for manycartridge/tonearm set-ups which should lead to even more music been released from 'them' grooves.

I have been told by the Cartridgeman himself that the Music Maker III Classic will not work with my tonearm. However, I was also told by a source that addingthe Isolator between the MM III Classic and my tonearm removes any negatives or imcompatibility that might exist? Hmmm!!!Where is that dealer'stelephone number?
smile.png


Enjoy the musicâ„¢

Lawrie:D

 

Ant

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Aug 5, 2005
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Well lets arrange a Saturday for a mini bake off then. My room has one seat so you'll have to take tunrs
smile.png


 

hifinut

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Mar 17, 2006
900
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Ramsgate Southeast K
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Paul
I could make those from scrap in my work shop they are as many tweaks so simple so £85 is a ripoff it's 2 bits of metal I'd hope stainless non magnetic with a pair of bolts welded one side and threaded tube the other sandwiched between a sponge far away from rocket science HOW MUCH:shocked:

Whats the dimentions of it I will make my own one to play with.:Coool:

 

Ant

Wammer
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Aug 5, 2005
3,909
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68
Hythe, Kent
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Antony
Dunno wha tthe dimensions are without measuring. The bolts are not welded but glued and I suspect it is a high nickel content stainless steel.

There is another review on the web somewhere that mentions the origins of the foam.

 

ClassikFan

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Jul 19, 2005
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Stuart
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Ant wrote:

Well lets arrange a Saturday for a mini bake off then. My room has one seat so you'll have to take tunrs
smile.png
In all the bake of pics I've seen, you are always sitting in the prime listening seat!

We'll just stand at the back.
biggrin.png


 

Ant

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 5, 2005
3,909
2
68
Hythe, Kent
AKA
Antony
ClassikFan wrote:

Ant wrote:
Well lets arrange a Saturday for a mini bake off then. My room has one seat so you'll have to take tunrs
smile.png
In all the bake of pics I've seen, you are always sitting in the prime listening seat!

We'll just stand at the back.
biggrin.png
I don't think I've ever been in the prime seat, wait a minute I've only ever been to one bake off
smile.png
Let me know when you are free and I'll sort it out with Duvet.

Dan if you wanna pop over in the week pick a day.

 

griffo104

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Sep 30, 2005
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HiFi Trade?
  1. No
The cynic in me would say there was some poor design in the MM III and the Hadcock if it needed a bit of foam to get the best out of them - £85 does sound a hell of a lot of money.

However, stopping the cynic in me for a moment, would be interested if anyone has used this with any other combo.

 

GJO

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Sep 1, 2006
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Graham
I have been tempted by this,but but the price is a total rip off.
shock.gif.7732780fe7e208b945ce79ca96402fca.gif


Have heard of people using bubble wrap and getting a similar response.

Hifinut.you should go into buisiness,would buy one at a reasonable price.

Good review though.

 

Ant

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Aug 5, 2005
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Antony
I'd agree with you if the MMIII didn't sound so much better than it should at £625 if it came with the isolator and cost £700 it would be the bargain of the century.

 

GJO

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Sep 1, 2006
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Graham
Oh well,am in W1for a couple of days next week will pop in and have a word with Les @ Walrus.

 

ClassikFan

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Jul 19, 2005
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HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Ant wrote:

ClassikFan wrote:
Ant wrote:
Well lets arrange a Saturday for a mini bake off then. My room has one seat so you'll have to take tunrs
smile.png
In all the bake of pics I've seen, you are always sitting in the prime listening seat!

We'll just stand at the back.
biggrin.png
I don't think I've ever been in the prime seat, wait a minute I've only ever been to one bake off
smile.png
Let me know when you are free and I'll sort it out with Duvet.

Dan if you wanna pop over in the week pick a day.
News_show06.jpg


kharma037.jpg


These are just 2 examples I found.

whistling.gif.b56e45ab421c066833020c8ede98c081.gif


 

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