Product name: Carbon
Cost: £26 (Currency conversion)
Reviewer: Mike Cox - TNT UK
Reviewed: September, 2015
These days it is hard to find true audio bargains. I don't mean a fabulous amplifier costing several hundred pounds, that sounds as good as one costing several thousand.
Yes, this type of bargin does exist, but they are still a lot of money. I mean a bargin costing a few tens of pounds, yet still makes a significant contribution to our audio enjoyment.
Recently I discovered what must be, one of best bargins of the century, the Rega Carbon moving magnet cartidge. This humble cartridge is a lowly £26 and is widely available on line.
As the name suggests the cantilever is made from carbon fibre and the stylus is user replaceable.
The setup is really simple using the two, supplied nuts and bolts. The Carbon does not support the unusual, three hole fixing of the other Rega cartridges. Tracking weight is recommended at 2-3g, I set it at approximately 2.5g and this seems to be just about perfect.
I have a simple cardboard, cartridge alignment gauge, I acquired from "Popular HiFi" many years ago, and this has worked for me ever since, for setting up cartridges.
Rega Carbon in my Garrard/Rega Tutntable
The Carbon was simple and very quick to setup, and within 15mins I was working through my album collection.
It is difficult to describe why, but the Carbon brings a smile to your face, and you sit back and enjoy the music. This is no giant killer, though it does sound way better that it should for the tiny price. The bass is clean and tidy, with a good tonal structure through the mid-range.
The treble is probably the weak link, sounding a bit rough at times. The Carbon does need a good run in before serious listening. Give the cartidge a couple of weeks playing 2 to 3 hours a day before it settles down.
Following the burn in period, the treble opens out and is less harsh, easier on the ears. This is a seriously good cartridge for the money, it will remain in my collection for those days when I want to listen and have fun. With the Carbon there are no worries about damaging, or wearing out your expensive moving coil cartridge. If you have an accident, no problem, for less than £20 you can quickly fit a new stylus and you are off and running again.
© Copyright 2015 Mike Cox - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.tnt-audio.com