2006 Product of the Year (The Absolute Sound)

2006 Editors' Choice Awards (The Absolute Sound)


PC-1 The Reference Cartridge
An Epoch-Making Low-Impedance MC Phono Cartridge

The ultimate target of MC cartridge is to derive "High" energy from "Low" impedance circuitry. For this purpose, so far many manufacturers, small or large, have employed various sorts of materials and devices such as:
  • Purification of wire material
  • New material for housing
  • Selection of cantilever material
  • High-energy magnet
  • Polish on stylus tip
But actually for these 30 years, nothing has been noticeably improved in respect of technical data; to the contrary something adverse has been done in the light of the above-mentioned principle "output voltage vs. internal impedance".

Certainly, compared to the samarium or cerium cobalt magnet used 30 years ago, the neodynium magnet forming today's mainstream is enhanced by as much as 3 times in terms of energy product, but it does not help augment the output voltage.

Through our long experience, our ultimate goal was set up to clear the barriers: 2.5 ohms at internal impedance & 0.6mV at output voltage, and our bold challenge started here to work out a solution to this theme; that means, the high source impedance (resistive components of coil) causes considerable consumption of the generated energy in the inside of the coils, whilst small output voltage yields transmission loss to the next stages including interconnections, thus inevitably deteriorating signal quality and increasing noise components. Nevertheless, it is mechanically and physically impossible to increment the output voltage of today's MC cartridge up to the 3mV - 5mV level due to load amount imposed on the vibration system.

In view of usual workable range of the step-up and head-amp devices, it was considered to be reasonable to set up the output voltage at 0.5mV - 0.7mV. How to reduce the impedance with such output level?

The first task tackled was to design high-efficiency magnetic circuitry. The reason why the high energy product inherent in today's magnet cannot be utilised lies in the magnetic saturation of the pole piece & material, and whatever material you may select, you are unable to get over the barrier unless saturation flux density is augmented.

After years' exhaustive R & D efforts, finally developed is our exclusive ultra-hi-µ core material named the SH-µX. This SH-?X boasting of such huge saturation flux density and initial permeability exceeding 3 times more than those of conventional Hi-u core brings forth unprecedented high-efficiency magnetic characteristics, which permits remarkable reduction in the number of coil winds, thus suppressing the inner loss down to the minimum, while its high output voltage makes it possible to reproduce an overwhelming energy sensation and extraordinary high resolutions throughout whole spectrum of audio bandwidth.

* Designed by Mr. Y. Matsudaira
* Background story of PC-1

Type Low-impedance moving coil cartridge
Frequency response 10 - 50,000 Hz
Output voltage 0.6mV/1kHz
Internal impedance 2.6 ohm
Core material SH-µX
Magnet Neodynium #50
Stylus pressure 2 - 2.2g
Cantilever Boron
Stylus tip Semi-line contact (3µm x 30µm)
Channel balance within 0.5dB (1kHz)
Crosstalk more than 30dB (1kHz)
Terminals shiny rhodium-plated pins
Weight 11g