Fun adventures in cartridge loading tonight. During our Zoom chat the other day Mark said he thought I'd be hard pressed to hear 25 ohm differences. Well it could all just be in my mind -- recent discussions about burn-in have me doubting everything -- but I think I really did.
It seems to be a pretty straightforward tradeoff between euphonic presentation and clarity. My test album was Side 1 of Pet Sounds (I truly love that album, and the Analoge Productions pressing is really good). At 500 ohms, it was round and warm and gave me a tickle in the belly and I thought it was perfect. But there was a bit of bass bloom in the bowed bass in "You Still Believe in Me." At 600 ohms, things snapped into much clearer focus, making me realize I was in fact missing something at 500 ohms. But now I was missing the tickle in the belly, and the bowed bass was too hollowed out. At 550, goldilocks scenario, liveliness, richness, clarity, everything. I though I liked 600 a bit better than 500 all things told, so tried 575 next, but no, it was missing the richness. 525 next, and it was better than 575 but just a touch too syrupy. So 550 seems just about perfect, leaning lower if I had to choose. Maybe 540 or something would be ideal. Not sure I could tell the difference between 550 and 540, though!
Of course I was listening not only to loading resistors but also to the Paradise itself. I think it's really starting to "reveal" itself to me. I'm still excited by the cymbals and snares and the acoustic textures (like bowed basses) as I was last night. But tonight's word is "intimacy" -- there is a feeling of being right there, close to the music, immersed in it even, that I haven't experienced before. Fun times!
I continue to experiment with placement, for aesthetic and practical reasons. I think the PSUs look very nice stacked like that, and that would leave room for the Mober PSU box. The main Paradise boxes would look great up there on the top row stacked, too (or sitting on top of the PSUs). But the arrangement they're in is better for them, right? Seems they'd like lots of room around them for reasons of heat dissipation, and also to be away from transformers and other things that could mess with the delicate signals. Maybe I could stack the two main boxes in the shelf right next to the turntable -- or would stacking be bad for heat (you build a special stand, right Mark — or was that just because of the acrylic cases you use?)
Also, annoying as the scratched-off logo incident was (I barely touched it), I just went ahead and made another.
The old logo came off way too easily -- a few scratches and not a trace was left. I tried some very gentle heat-setting with this one -- low setting on a hair dryer -- but maybe something like a clear coat of lacquer is needed to protect the logos?